In the late 1980s, Akio Morita, the co-founder of Sony Corp. , embarked on the most costly shopping expedition of his long career. A visionary who believed that Sony’s future lay in the convergence of hardware and “content” such as music and film, Morita eventually set his sights on Columbia Pictures Entertainment, with its two studios and a vast library of movie titles and television series. In September, 1989, after months of on-again, off-again negotiations, Sony agreed to pay the inflated asking price of $3.2 billion and assume $1.6 billion in debt.
What was the rationale for such a decision? According to John Nathan’s Sony: The Private Life, it was motivated only by senior executives’ desire to please the company patriarch. Even Morita, then Sony’s chairman and CEO, believed that Columbia’s price tag, originally $35 per share, was exorbitant. In a closed-door meeting in August, 1989, details of which have never been fully revealed, he told his seven top aides, who made up the decision-making executive committee, that he was abandoning the idea of the acquisition.
That would have been the end of it had Morita not voiced regret over dinner that evening with the committee members. “It’s too bad,” he lamented, “I’ve always dreamed of owning a Hollywood studio.” The next day, the group reconvened and promptly decided that Sony would purchase Columbia after all. In the weeks that followed, Sony upped its bid from an initial $15 to $27 a share and, by late September, made a deal that was ridiculed by industry experts. In 1994, mismanagement forced Sony to write off $2.7 billion and assume a loss of $510 million for its Hollywood experiment.
Sony: The Private Life is filled with such insiders’ tales, making it the most vivid and detailed account in English of the personalities who built the $50 billion-plus consumer-electronics giant. Nathan, a professor of Japanese cultural studies at the University of California, got access to dozens of executives who had contributed to or witnessed Sony’s development since its 1946 founding in war-devastated Tokyo. Nathan offers, however, only limited analysis of Sony, the corporation. And he tends to go over well-trodden ground: how Sony established itself in the U.S. and how it developed famous products or devices. Much of this has appeared before in articles and, to a lesser extent, in books.
This is not to say that Nathan’s book has no point of view. The company’s underlying problem, as illustrated in the Columbia case, is that the environment in which the Sony Corporation has historically conducted its affairs is less public than personal, less rational than sentimental. In conclusion, Nathan says that, under the current leadership of President Nobuyuki Idei, Sony is emerging as a rational company. Moreover, Idei and his practical-minded managers are intent on reinventing Sony as an Internet company. From now on, says Nathan, “personal relationships are not likely again to figure decisively.” But how will this Sony fare? Nathan admits that a dazzling future is far from guaranteed.
1. Which of the following is true of Sony’s acquisition of Columbia Pictures?
[A] It was motivated by Morita’s desire to project an image of success.
[B] Sony’s top executives were quite convinced of its benefits for the company.
[C] Entertainment industry insiders believed it was the failure of Hollywood.
[D] It was the expensive expansion from electronics into entertainment.
2. The word “patriarch” (line 2, paragraph 2) most probably means_____.
3. It can be inferred from the last two paragraphs that_____.
[A] Sony: The Private Life is the biography of Akio Morita
[B] Sony’s Japanese leaders have been too practical-minded
[C] this management problem of Sony cannot be rectified overnight
[D] Nathan did not write about how Sony established itself as the electronics giant
4. Nathan’s attitude towards Morita seems to be of_____.
[A] strong distaste
[B] implicit criticism
[C] enthusiastic support
[D] reserved consent
5. The best title for the passage may be_____.
[A] Sony’s Shopping Expedition
[B] Sony: the Private Life
[C] Who Drove Sony to Ground
[D] Sony: Management by Impulse
Not long after the telephone was invented, I assume, a call was placed. The caller was a parent saying, “Your child is bullying my child, and I want it stopped!” the bully’s parent replied, “You must have the wrong number. My child is a little angel.”
A trillion phone calls later, the conversation is the same. When children are teased or tyrannized, the parental impulse is to grab the phone and rant. But these days, as studies in the U.S.show bullying on the rise and parental supervision on the decline, researchers who study bullying say that calling moms and dads is more futile than ever. Such calls often lead to playground recriminations and don’t really teach our kids any lessons about how to navigate the world and resolve conflicts.
When you call parents, you want them to “extract the cruelty” from their bullying children, says Laura Kavesh, a child psychologist in Evanston, Illinois. “But many parents are blown away by the idea of their child being cruel. They won’t believe it.” In a recent police-department survey in Oak Harbor, Washington, 89% of local high school students said they had engaged in bullying behavior. Yet only 18% of parents thought their children would act as bullies.
In a new U.S.PTA survey, 5% of parents support contacting other parents to deal with bullying. But many educators warn that those conversations can be misinterpreted, causing tempers to flare. Instead, they say, parents should get objective outsiders, like principals, to mediate.
Meanwhile, if you get a call from a parent who is angry about your child’s bullying, listen without getting defensive. That’s what Laura McHugh of Castro Valley, California, did when a caller told her that her then 13-year-old son had spit in another boy’s food. Her son had confessed, but the victim’s mom “wanted to make sure my son hadn’t given her son a nasty disease,” says McHugh, who apologized and promised to get her son tested for AIDS and other diseases. She knew the chance of contracting any disease this way was remote, but her promise calmed the mother and showed McHugh’s son that his bad behaviour was being taken seriously. McHugh, founder of Parents Coach Kids, a group that teaches parenting skills, sent the mom the test results. All were negative.
Remember: once you make a call, you might not like what you hear. If you have an itchy dialing finger, resist temptation. Put it in your pocket.
6.The word “bullying” probably means _____.
[A] frightening and hurting [B] teasing [C] behaving like a tyrant [D] laughing at
7. Calling to a bully’s parent _____.
[A] has long existed but changed its content [B] is often done with careful thinking
[C] often leads to blaming and misunderstanding [D] is used to warn the child not to do it again
8. According to the surveys in the U. S., _____.
[A] bullying among adults is also rising [B] parents are not supervising their children well
[C] parents seldom believe bullies [D] most parents resort to calling to deal with bullying
9. When bullying occurs, parents should _____.
[A] help the bulling child get rid of cruelty [B] resort to the mediator
[C] avoid getting too protective [D] resist the temptation of calling
10.Laura McHugh promised to get the bullied boy tested for diseases because _____.
[A] her son confessed to being wrong [B] she was afraid to annoy the boy’s parent
[C] he was likely to be affected by these diseases [D] she wanted to teach her own son a lesson
参考答案：1-5 D A C B D 6-10 A C B B D