Thursday, September 2, 2010

Book Review: The Ten Commandments for Effective Standards by @karenbartleson

The Ten Commandments for Effective Standards
Subtitled "Practical Insights for Creating Technical Standards", Karen Barlteson's new (May 2010) book is a must read for anyone wanting to get involved in Standardization Efforts, here in the US or Internationally.  It's a quick read and it contains exactly what the subtitle claims.  I polished it off after dinner (it arrived today) in about 45 minutes. 

Earlier this year I was asked to put together a class on Standards along with some of my colleagues for engineering master's degree students (not just in healthcare).  It was to last four hours, have about two days worth of homework and we were asked to recommend a text book.  We had no recommendations for texts, just a few good articles on the web here and there.  I just went back into the curriculumn and added this book as the text.

The book is very short, checking in at just under 100 pages of content (with about 25 pages or so of footnotes, references, and an index).  It can easily be read in one sitting (even if you aren't a speed reader).  It's also a picture book, as all of Ms. Bartleson's commandments are very well illustrated by Rick Jamison as demonstrated here.  I want the clip art!

Since you can get the 10 Commandments from the Table of Contents at Amazon, I don't have a problem listing them here.
  1. Cooperate on Standards, Compete on Products
  2. Use Caution when Mixing Patents and Standards
  3. Know When to Stop
  4. Be Truly Open
  5. Realize there is No Neutral Party
  6. Leverage Existing Organizations and Proven Processes
  7. Think Relevance
  8. Recognize that there is More than One Way to Create a Standard
  9. Start with Contributions, Not from Scratch
  10. Know that Standards Have Technical and Business Aspects
It was based on this short list of titles alone that I purchased the book online.  I may have less money now but I'm certainly richer for the experience. 

Karen also happens to write a blog on guess what ... standards.  It's called the Standards Game and is also worth reading.  But I have to go back and read this book again, just a little bit more slowly this time.  There has to be something in there that I can disagree with...



  1. Hi Keith,
    Thanks for your kind words. As a cartoonist, this was a fun topic to riff on. Standards clip art, eh? The wheels are turning...
    Rick Jamison

  2. Thanks for the great review, Keith! I'm glad you like the book. Let me know if you need help with any of your endeavors. It's wonderful to meet another standards blogger.