ISBN 9780671708634 Published Sept. 1990
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Posted Aug. 29, 2012 9:54 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
There is a strong trend towards hyperbole in business books these days. Perhaps because everything around us seems to be changing so quickly, every idea is put in the context of how it will change the world. Do you want to build a strong and sustainable company, become a better manager, maybe work more efficiently and provide your employees and customers with tools and services that will improve their daily experience with you? You're changing the world!
But maybe it's not such a stretch. When Stephen Covey passed away last month, I wrote here that:
A lot of business books can improve your career or help you change your business. Stephen Covey’s will change your life. It has changed the world, individual reader by individual reader.
And I stand by that. Covey's modestly titled 7 Habits of Highly Effective People highly affected a lot of people, selling more than 25 million copies in almost 40 languages. It is always sad when someone passes from the world, but in cases like Covey's, we can at least take consolation that his work lives on not only in words on a page, but in the daily lives of so many individuals.
From Leslie Kaufman's account of Fisher's life in The New York Times:
Professor Fisher is credited with helping initiate the summit meeting between the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan in 1985, convincing Reagan staff members that just meeting to brainstorm and build relations was more important than settling a specific agenda.
In 1979, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance went to Professor Fisher’s house on Martha’s Vineyard before the meeting at Camp David that would lead to a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. Professor Fisher suggested to Mr. Vance the “single negotiating text” method that was used to bring the parties together, said Bruce M. Patton, who wrote Getting to Yes with Professor Fisher and worked on many diplomatic projects with him. The strategy involved having President Jimmy Carter alone be responsible for writing solutions and letting the other leaders shape the treaty through a back-and-forth critiquing process.
In 1991 in South Africa, Professor Fisher and former students led workshops with both the Afrikaner cabinet and the African National Congress negotiating committee leading into talks to end apartheid and to establish a new constitution.
His upbeat approach to some of the world’s most intractable problems led some critics to assert that he was unrealistic. But Mr. Patton said Professor Fisher recognized and relished the “complexity and irrationality” of the situations he addressed.
Ms. Kaufman ended her obituary of Fisher in The Times by sharing this scene:
His family recalled that when Professor Fisher celebrated his 80th birthday, his colleague John Kenneth Galbraith toasted him by saying, “Whenever I thought, ‘Someone should do something about this,’ it eased my conscience to learn that Roger was already working on it.”
Galbraith himself passed away years ago, but if he were alive today hopefully his conscience could still take ease knowing that his friend left us a tool that can be used to continue his mission of Getting to Yes. Heaven knows we can use it.
And, hopefully, more authors working today will follow his example and, more than simply putting pen to paper, go out and find ways to put their ideas to work in this often complex and irrational world and see if they can change it for the better.
Stephen R. Covey, 1932 - 2012
Posted July 16, 2012 1:22 p.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Stephen Covey's seminal book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, changed the business book landscape. It was a book that introduced us to the concept of paradigm shifts in our lives, and it shifted the paradigm of the entire industry. It has been translated into almost 40 languages and sold more than 25 million copies worldwide. There have been many imitators, and many have been extremely good, but Covey's book is the sun shining behind hundreds of lesser candles.
"Paradigms are inseparable from character. Being is seeing in the human dimension. And what we see is highly interrelated to what we are. We can't go very far to change our seeing without simultaneously changing our being, and vice versa."
—Stephen R. Covey
Jack sent the office an email this morning linking to the news of his death. The subject line read simply, "This is a big deal." And it is, but his wisdom and his work will resonate long after him. A lot of business books can improve your career or help you change your business. Stephen Covey's will change your life. It has changed the world, individual reader by individual reader. His passing from this world leaves us one less man of character, but his existence in it has helped build the character of millions of others.
The Wall Street Journal Business Gurus List
Posted May 6, 2008 7:38 a.m. by todd-sattersten
In Lists - 800 CEO Read Blog
The Wall Street Journal yesterday had a major feature titled "New Breed of Business Gurus Rises." The article provides a ranking of the thought leaders in business today. The ranking system is based on the 2003 book What's the Big Idea? : Creating and Capitalizing on the Best New Management Thinking by Thomas Davenport. Davenport compiled the rankings using data from Google mentions, Lexus-Nexus media hits, and academic citations.
The methodology creates a systematic way of measuring popularity, but it seems problematic. Take the case of Bill Gates at #3 on the list. For the man who created Microsoft, people are constantly talking about him in the media, online, and in academia. It seems a stretch that business people look to Gates for advice.
Outside of Gates, the folks at the top are no huge surprise to folks who follow business books. Gary Hamel, Tom Friedman, Gates, Malcolm Galdwell, and Howard Gardner round out the top five. Below is a list of the gurus with their 2008 rankings and one of their noteworthy books:
|Gary Hamel||1||Competing for The Future|
|Thomas Friedman||2||The World is Flat|
|Bill Gates||3||Business @ The Speed of Thought|
|Malcolm Galdwell||4||Tipping Point|
|Howard Gardner||5||Frames of Mind|
|Phillip Kotler||6||Marketing Management|
|Daniel Goleman||8||Emotional Intelligence|
|Henry Mintzberg||9||Mintzberg On Management|
|Stephen Covey||10||Seven Habits For Highly Effective People|
|Jeffrey Pfeffer||11||The Knowing Doing Gap|
|Peter Senge||12||The Fifth Discipline|
|Richard Branson||13||Losing My Virginity|
|Michael Porter||14||Competitive Strategy|
|Michael Dell||15||Direct From Dell|
|Geert Hofstede||16||Culture's Consequences|
|Clayton Christensen||17||The Innovator's Dilemma|
|Tom Peters||19||In Search of Excellence|
|Ikujiro Nonako||20||The Knowledge Creating Company|
There are some gurus listed here who we have not given much attention to. Anybody read much on Hofstede or Nonaka? We will do some research as well.
P.S. Rebecca also has a post on the side conversation going on at wsj.com about the lack of women on the list.
Forbes' 20 Most Influential Business Books
Posted April 21, 2006 3:52 a.m. by todd-sattersten
In Lists - 800 CEO Read Blog
In the Forbes' article that Tom referred to yesterday, the writer Dan Ackman pointed to a list of business books the magazine put together in 2002. Forbes calls these The 20 Most Influential Business Books. As you look down the panel experts, you'll notice our own Jack Covert was among those called to contribute. Since this was put together before the blog was born, I thought we should get it put up here.
- In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman (1982)
- Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras (1994)
- Reengineering the Corporation by Michael Hammer and Jim Champy (1993)
- Barbarians at the Gate by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar (1993)
- Competitive Advantage by Michael Porter (1998)
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Galdwell (2000)
- Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore (1999)
- The House of Morgan by Ron Chernow (1990)
- The Six Sigma Way by Peter Pande et al (2000)
- Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey(1990)
- Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis (1989)
- The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen (1997)
- Japan Inc. by Shotaro Ishinomori (1988)
- Den of Thieves by James Stewart (1991)
- The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker (2001)
- Competing for the Future by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad (1994)
- The Warren Buffet Way by Robert Hagestrom (1991)
- Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch with John Bryne (2001)
- Good to Great by Jim Collins (2001)
- The New New Thing by Michael Lewis (2000)
Good and Bad Habits
Posted June 3, 2005 5:41 a.m. by tom-ehrenfeld
In Uncategorized - 800 CEO Read Blog
Steven Coveys The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Peopleis an excellent book, a great guide for personal effectiveness that draws from a careful and thorough reading of many books in this field. Coveys classic is accessible, sensible, and extremely useful. Its little surprise that so many people cite his habits as tools that help them be more productive in their lives.
Thats why Coveys new book, The Eighth Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, comes as a bit of a shock. Its poorly written, confusing, and comes with a bonus CD that promises to add value but merely distracts. How bad is the writing? Try this passage on for size:
"The solution to the problem is like most significant breakthroughs in human history--it comes from a fundamental break with old ways of thinking. The promise of this book is that if you will be patient and pay the price of understanding the root problem and then set a course of living the timeless, universal principles embodied in the solution outlined in this book, your influence will steadily grow from the inside-out; you will find your voice and will inspire your team and organization to find theirs in a dramatically changed world."
Or in other wordshuh?
I hate to bash Covey, especially, since, as the saying goes, 50 million fans cant be wrong, and especially more, cause I consider him a smart guy with a great deal of integrity. The self-help field certainly has its share of charlatans, which he isnt. So rather, let me point out something new from him thats really good. As part of the release of 8th, the Free Press has released a new version of 7 Habits, which we can call, um the 7.1 Habits. An excellent new foreword and afterword from Covey address a number of issues he has discovered in the process of helping individuals use the book.
Refreshingly, Covey reveals his integrity by reflecting on the human challenge of practicing what he preaches. He admits, for example, that he finds the habit of Seek first to understand, then to be understood the hardest for him to follow. When Im really tired and already convinced that Im right, I really dont want to listen, he says. Such material adds a nice touch to an established classic.
There are other useful new books in this genre. I tip my hat to The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield, the guy who sold eight and a half trillion copies of his Chicken Soup for the universe series. Im cynical about most self-improvement books, which often come across as cheesy or unctuous, and even a bit sad: stuffed with grand promises and gaudy stories, they often have a thinly veiled tone of desperation. Not so this book, which feels honest and candid. And indeed, dont we all seek improvement? Is business not about creating value, about the act of solving a need, making it better?
Canfield shares many small, thoughtful, helpful suggestions for dealing with your demons. In everything from time management to goal setting to financial planning, he blends his ideas with concrete ways to realize them. He breaks down his thinking into 64 principles such as taking responsibility for your life and building a success team. And he defines success in a broad manner that touches upon all the key areas of your life. Granted, some of this is old, and some of it corny; but its also largely true, and so I guarantee that any patient reader will find much of value in the book. Generous in spirit and content, this book can help any reader take a new approach to the areas of life that comprise their definition of success.
And okay, one more recent title thats worthy in this field: TurboCoach by Brian Tracy. I admit that of the three, this one feels like the one most likely to be hawked on QVC. TurboCoachs essential argument is to conceive of your career as a business and then develop the systematic principles and methods to max it out. He starts with useful material helping the reader define their business and mission, moves on to smart lessons on improving productivity, and expands the advice to growing the business. Worthy. Nothing stunningly original, but, hey, this stuff works.