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The Oracle of Oracle. (Bookshelf).

Amacom, 226 pages. $24.95.

Florence M. Stone.

The oracle in question, of course, is Oracle Corp. founder and CEO Lawrence Ellison. Ellison is often painted as a larger-than-life figure -- audacious, controlling and self-assured to a fault, a lover of Japanese samurai culture, a playboy with platinum tastes. He's been in the news lately as the huge software firm has slumped a bit, while he personally maps out a campaign for the upcoming America's Cup yacht races.

Author Stone has written books about Dell Computer and, so she's certainly familiar with the high-tech arena. And like Dell and Amazon, Oracle is largely identified with a founding chief executive -- but Ellison has been around a lot longer, since Oracle began as Software Development Labs in 1977. Despite some ups and downs, Oracle is the second-largest software company in the world, behind that certain behemoth in Redmond, Wash., and Ellison is one of the world's richest individuals.

Apart from some profile material in the opening chapter and a later one on Ellison as a leader, this really isn't a book about Ellison himself; it's certainly miles from a biography. Its focus is on Oracle as a company, its strategy, products and ethos -- much of which reflects Ellison's tastes and dictates. For a book compiled largely from secondary sources -- books and magazine articles -- Stone has done an effective job of summarizing where Oracle has come from and where it seems to be going, and why.
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Author:Marshall, Jeffrey
Publication:Financial Executive
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2002
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