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PAGE TURNER

Reader interview: She gained from tips in management-strategy books, and also enjoys entertaining novels

Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 12:01 am

Editor's note: This week's Page Turner reader interview is with Betsy Thomas, an industrial engineer with Vera Bradley Designs.

“I am currently reading 'Eat, Pray, Love,' which was written by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's about a lady who's having troubles at home and has the opportunity to travel to different countries. It's about how in real life one goes through bad times and how you get through them.

“I do a lot of reading connected with my career, too. Right now, the book is 'Gemba Walks.' The author is Jim Womack, who writes how managers should not just sit at their desks but should get out and see what the problems are and what's going on in the factory or work rooms. The manager's job is not to just look at numbers.

“I borrowed the book from my boss and recommend it because it discusses a good way to see what is actually going on and to talk to the people who do the work. It contains excellent advice.

“Another book I have read for work is 'Ideas Are Free.' It's by Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder. It talks about how to engage employees in an idea system. Sometimes employers do not feel good about sharing ideas, but the authors say that management should review ideas — should review them every day to show they care. If not, some companies fail to make employees feel appreciated.

“There should be 24-hour feedback, and there are a lot of different ways to do that — from plants to hospitals — all areas. There may be suggestions for different areas of the business or ideas on how to make the job easier or just plain ideas like putting low-fat milk in the vending machine — anything to make lives better. Management should remember we spend a lot of time there.

“I do a lot of reading for entertainment, too. I love all of Mary Higgins Clark's books. And 'The Shack,' by William Paul Young, is a book I loved.

“But I'd call 'Life of Pi' a favorite. It sucks you in; I didn't want to put it down.