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BOOK REVIEWS
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Business Development

Biographies & Etc.

Business Development

     


Getting it Done (How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge) Roger Fisher and Alan Sharp, Harper Business Book, 1998

In more cases than not, people find themselves in groups or meetings that need direction and motivation, but they aren’t the designated leader. It maybe a parent - teacher meeting, a jury, task force, a civic group or any similar assembly of people. The group can’t agree on even the simplest of issues. Using the lessons learned from this book you can make a difference. It isn’t easy but it can be done if you follow the steps they layout. I recommend this book to everyone that has to accomplish their goals by working with others. I guess that is about all of us, unless you’re a hermit.


The Monk and the Riddle   by Randy Komisar, Harvard Business School Press, 2000

In one word this book is great. It is absolutely a must read for all working people. It is so much more than an account of Silicon Valley start-ups. It is a justification of opting for the romance not the finance in life’s work. Randy does a masterful job of convincing the reader of the benefits of placing passion in the fore front when searching for employment or contemplating a new business start-up. His explanation of the difference between drive and passion is one I never considered. Don’t be misled that you can work hard to gain the freedom to do someday what you really want to do. Life is fragile. In fact “time” is the only true resource we have.


Start Small - Finish Big   by Fred DeLuca, Warner Books Inc., 2000

The name Fred DeLuca may not ring a bell with you, but I am sure Subway® does. When Fred was seventeen he borrowed $1,000 from a friend and started a sandwich shop. Today there are more than 14,000 Subways® in over 70 countries. Annual sales exceed $3 billion. Was it easy? Were there difficult times and occasions when quitting was tempting? I guess you know the answer to both of these questions. If this book was just Fred’s story it would be well worth reading, but it is much more. There are the successes of twenty other entrepreneurs. You will meet will Mike Ilitch, pro baseball player who started Little Caesar’s®, Paul Orfalea who without any business experience started Kinko’s® with a rented copier, and scores of others. Many of the stories are more about overcoming multiple failures than successes. The author uses these entrepreneurs to explain his fifteen lessons of business. It is on my must read list.


Blown to Bits by Philip Evans and Thomas S. Wurster, Harvard Business School Press, 2000

The success of today’s business hierarchy is the channeling of information. In many cases if your competitors had access to all the information you have, then your market advantage diminishes. What if your customers had access to this information? Your advantage is now "blown to bits". That is what is happening with today’s technology. The authors explain how this will deconstruct much of the business, as we know it today. If you are a deep thinker and enjoy reading difficult books this is for you. In my humble opinion the authors have made the book more difficult to read and follow than was necessary. I would not recommend this book unless your business is in imminent danger due to the information explosion on the Internet.


The 33 Ruthless Rules of Local Advertising by Michael Corbett, Breakthru Publishing 1996

I read this book several years ago and used many of the author’s tips when I operated the outdoor power equipment business. I recently reread the book and once again realized how useful the book could be in planning an advertising campaign. A key word in the title is local. Local advertisers must play by a whole different set of rules than national advertisers. This book is very easy to read and follow. I recommend that you make a list of the 33 rules and review them each time you meet with a media rep. It will save you a fortune.


Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, & Sheila Heen, Penguin Books 1999

When I read the title and the forward, I figured this was it; I would be able to talk to anyone about the most controversial subject and not find it difficult. Well I quickly learned it just isn’t like that. There is no easy formula when you are about to have a difficult conversation. No matter how many times you rehearse and plan some conversations are just plain unpleasant. What this book does is help you learn how to get the most out of these conversations and make them constructive. I was just a little disappointed that there wasn’t a little more "meat" in the book, however I admit I have used some of what I learned already. Based on that I conclude reading it was worth my time


Experiential Marketing by Bernd H. Schmitt, The Free Press 1999

If you study recent advertisements you will see more and more ads that are designed to make you part of an experience. They are structured to make you sense, feel, think, act, and/or relate to a product or service. These ads are very different from the standard features and benefits approach. This form of promoting a product or company can be very effective. The writing style of the author caused me to become distracted and at time loose interest; however if you want to find a new approach to get your message out take the time to read this "text book". I recently read a Pella window ad that simply said, "From inspiration to installation Pella is viewed as the best" Pretty powerful, I would say.


Permission Marketing by Seth Goldin, Simon & Schuster, 1999

Consider a business where you could send your best 100 customers a new product or accessory several times a year and simply bill them. Your customers had total trust in you, your products and services and they gave you permission to review their needs and provide them with the exact solution. It takes years to develop that trust and loyalty, but it is worth every once of effort to reach that point. Unfortunately it only takes one small violation of that trust and all the permission that was granted is yanked away. In this book the author tells you how to "turn strangers into friends and friends into customers". I highly recommend this book. You can put Seth’s ideas into action.

 
The Long Boom by Peter Schwartz, Peter Leyden, & Joel Hyatt, Perseus Books, 1999

Written from the time perspective of 2050. The authors detail what the world powers need to do to maintain the economic boom that began in 1980. If their predictions are right the world will move towards a world economy and countries that are so connected that they would function as one. Because of the advances in medical science the life expectancy will approach 120 years. Interesting reading but in my humble opinion a fairy tale.


The E Commerce Book (Building the E-Empire)
by Steffano Korper & Juanita Ellis, Academic Press 2000

A relatively detail analysis of E-commerce site building. The authors explain what it takes to move a brick and mortar business to an Internet store. This is definitely worth reading if you have interest in the Internet. Because of ready-made software you can set up an online store in a matter of a few hours. Now getting people to visit your store, well that is a different story. Just visit Amazon.com and "one click" your very own copy.


Customers.com
by Patricia B. Seybold Times Business Random House 1998

This is an excellent source of information for any business considering multi-channel marketing including e-business. It takes you through many successful cases and how to apply their ideas to your business. It isn’t limited to e-business because the real focus is the customer. I recommend reading the last section first. It sets the stage for what to expect and how to use what you learn.

I’d Like The World To Buy A Coke (The life and Leadership of Roberto Goizueta) by David Greising, John Wiley & Son, Inc. 1998

This book follows the life Of Roberto Goizueta from his flight from Castro’s Cuba to CEO of Coca-Cola. Under his leadership Coke’s stock increased by 3500%. An excellent account of how failures are turned into triumphs.

Bloomberg by Bloomberg by Michael Bloomberg and Matthew Winkler, John Wiley & Son, Inc. 1997

A personal reminiscence of the business life of Michael Bloomberg. His unique management style built the leading financial information institute in just twelve years. His approach of dealing with his employees and his family teaches us a great deal we can use in our daily life.

Jungle Rules (How to be a tiger in business) by John P. Imlay with Dennis Hamilton, Dutton, (a division of Penguin Books 1994)


One of the most inspiring business history’s I have ever read. John Imlay took a nearly bankrupt company (Management Science America) to the largest independent software company in the world in just ten years. It is ok to read this book three times or more. Anyone that has will understand. Anyone that hasn’t, isn’t worth listening to.

Pushing The Envelope All The Way To The Top by Harvey Mackay, Ballantine Publishing Group, 1999

The fifth book by the envelope king. This book is very easy reading with short real life anecdotes. Many good tips for a team of sales associates.

Broken Promises by D. Quinn Mills and G. Bruce Friesen, Harvard Business School Press, 1996

Two professionals’ unconventional view of what caused the failure of IBM. Many of the mistakes that IBM made can also be made by the small business owners with the same result. Don’t make a promise you can’t keep.

The Spirit To Serve by J. W. Marriott Jr. and Kathi Ann Brown, Harper Business 1997

Bill Marriott shares his management techniques that have taken Marriott from a $150 million a year business to a $12 billion international leader. A good review of fundamentals that can help make your business grow.


Making The Grass Greener On Your Side by Ken Melrose, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. 1995

One of the very few books written by a person in our industry. An excellent history of the Toro Co. The principles employed by Ken during Toro disastrous 1981 can be used in both small and large companies. Definitely worth reading.


Direct From Dell by Michael Dell, Harper Business, 1999

Follow the business life of Michael Dell. I believe he is in the same league as Bill Gates. Dell, a $18 billion company stock, rose more than 36,000 % in this decade. Think about $12 million a day in sales on the Internet. That’s what Dell does. What are yours?

Success Is A Choice by Rick Pitino, Broadway Books, 1997

There’s surely a connection between success in sports and business. Rick takes the reader through the ten-step plan for success. Once you have read this book you will understand why he is one of the most sought after motivational speakers.


Dangerous Company by James O’Shea and Charles Madigan, Time Business 1997

The subtitle says it best "The consulting powerhouses and the business they save and ruin" This book looks at the worlds largest consulting firms like Andersen Consulting, Deloitte Touche, Gemini, McKinsey & Co. and others. A must read if your considering hiring a consultant. You best have a plan and the specifics of what you need to learn.


Nuts! (Southwest Airlines Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success) by Kevin Freiberg and Jackie Freiberg, Brad Press Inc. 1996

If you haven’t heard the Southwest Airlines story as told by Herb Kelleher, then you should. This is the Airline where they dare their employees to do crazy things, have their pilots and executives load baggage during busy times. It is an amazing and inspirational story.


Thriving on Chaos by Tom Peters, Alfred A. Knopf 1987

Every businessperson has heard of Tom Peters and quite likely read at least on of his books. The message I hear load and clear is never stop improving, never resist change and never watch the competition more than the customer.

 

Biographies & Etc. 

 


Sunnyvale (The Rise and Fall of a Silicon Valley Family), Jeff Goodell, Villard Books, 2000

When you think of the digital revolution that occurred in the eighties and nineties in Silicon Valley great wealth and prosperity comes to mind. The companies like Apple, Intel, and the like brought fortune to countless families in the valley. There is another side to this story that is seldom told. “Sunnyvale” is a chronicle of a family that was crushed by the wave of prosperity rather than carried by it to financial independence. Jeff Goodell tells the story of his family and one tragedy after another. I read the book frantically just hoping that there would be happiness somewhere for at least one member of the Goodell family. Was there? You be the judge.


Attitude Is Everything
by Jeff Keller, Inti Publishing & Resource Books Inc. 1999

I expect you have heard it from your parents, teachers and clergy. Attitude is so important to your success in all aspects of life. I thought I had heard everything about having a positive attitude. However I decided to read this book anyway. I found Jeff gave me a renewed emphasis to improve my attitude. Packed in just one hundred and thirty pages is dynamite that will really change your life. A quote from Dr. Swindoll that Jeff uses toward the end of the book says it better than I could ever sum it up. "I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it and so it is with you… We are in charge of our attitudes".


The Nascar Way by Robert G. Hagstrom, John Wiley Inc. 1998

Even if you have never watched a Winston Cup race or heard of Richard Petty, you should read this book and find out why stock racing is a $2 billion industry and fastest growing spectator sport today. The author comes to the sport not as a fan but as a portfolio manager of a no-load mutual fund called Focus Trust. His search for stocks that had a positive upside led him to the companies that own and operate the most profitable racetracks in the world. When you pack over 100,000 screaming fans into the stands at $50 to $100 a seat and do it 35 weekends a year there is something to be learned regardless of what your selling.

Blood Sport by James B. Stewart, Simon & Schuster, 1996

The story of the scandals that have surrounded the Clinton Whitehouse. This book is written by what I believe is a pro-Clinton author. However there is a huge quantity factual information. A pro-Clinton and a Anti-Clinton individual will both find facts to enforce their beliefs.


Betrayal by Bill Gertz, Regnery Publishing Inc. 1999

Damn scary is the best way to sum up the message Bill Gertz delivers. When Clinton took office there were only two nations that could deliver a nuclear warhead to any part of the globe. Now there are at least seven nations that have nuclear capabilities and unstable leaders govern some of these. Is Clinton to be blamed? You be the judge.


A Reporter’s Life by Walter Cronkite Alfred A. Knopf, 1996

An interesting story of a famous reporter and how he knew what he wanted to very early in life. Probably one of the most creditable people of our times. If you think about it you realize he could have been elected president if he wanted to.


David Brinkley,
A Memoir Alfred A. Knopf, 1995

Beginning with eighteen years of growing up in North Carolina, to four wars, 22 political conventions, 11 presidents and 2000 weeks of news you get a real inside look into one of the world’s most respected newscasters. A good book to take on vacation.

 

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