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When IBM began planning its centennial celebration more than two years ago, publishing a book was high on the corporate to-do list. But, rather than producing a traditional centennial book (a glossy coffee table volume full of self praise), the company decided to do something quite different. The goal was to tell the story of the evolution of progress over the past 100 years, drawing lessons from IBM’s history and times that would be useful not just to IBMers but to others in business, government and academia. Also, since many people still think of IBM as a computer hardware company, the book would reintroduce the company to the world. It’s now, essentially, a solver of complex problems.

The book, published in June in the United States and more recently in seven other languages, is Making the World Work  Better: The Ideas that Shaped a Century and a Company.

To do the research and writing, IBM commissioned three journalists, Kevin Maney, Jeffrey O’Brien and myself. Mike Wing, IBM’s speech writer extraordinaire, was the editor. I believe that all four of us would tell you that making this book was one of the more interesting and intellectually challenging experiences in our careers.

Now we’d like to share the experience with you via the Making the World Work Better book club on Goodreads. From Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, we’ll be responding to questions from readers. The club is open to all IBMers, alumni and the general public. So please join us–and don’t worry if you haven’t finished the book yet.

How to join the club:

Once you’ve joined, make the most of your experience:

  • Discuss the book with other readers or add new questions for the authors.
  • Invite others to join the group.
  • Use the hashtag #IBM100book when you tweet about the book.

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April 23, 2012
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