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ISBN 9781400064281 Published Jan. 2007
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Posted March 20, 2013 4:35 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
If you aren't already aware, 800-CEO-READ powers the business knowledge-building site, KnowledgeBlocks. One of the services KnowledgeBlocks offers is a quarterly book club. For $80, you'll receive 4 quarterly shipments for a total of 9 books per year (see more details and sign up here.)
This quarter's KnowledgeBOX shipment contains a signed and customized copy of Chip & Dan Heath's third book, Decisive. Plus, you'll get an early Advanced Reading Copy of a great new Crown Business title as a surprise gift!
This KnowledgeBOX will ship April 15th, and there is a limited quantity, so don't wait! You'll immediately be sent a complimentary copy of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time when you register. So start building your business knowledge today!
DECISIVE: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
Chip Heath & Dan Heath
“And that, in essence, is the core difficulty of decision making: What's in the spotlight will rarely be everything we need to make a good decision, but we won't always remember to shift the light. Sometimes, in fact, we'll forget there's a spotlight at all, dwelling so long in the tiny circle of light that we forget there's a broader landscape beyond it.”
Decisive, page 3
From 800-CEO-READ's Jack Covert Selects Review:
Those who have read the Heaths’ previous books, Made to Stick and Switch, know they are great writers. Their books are filled with clever stories, detailed research told in a relatable way, and as a result, each page simply makes you think, and think more clearly. But what elevates their books above many others is that they operate both as “how-to” guides as well as social insight. You can read them to change what you do or how you think, and in the process, you’ll understand the world a bit better. Because decision-making is one of the great challenges for leaders, entrepreneurs, and really anyone trying to manage a career, Decisive may be their most an important one.
Jack Covert Selects - Decisive
Posted March 15, 2013 7:31 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Each day, all day, we make decisions. Often, these many decisions are simple: what to wear, where to eat, and how best to churn through the tasks on our to-do list. Sometimes the stakes are higher: how should we address an employee issue, should we make a career change, or do we stay the course with our business plan? In either case, we generally narrow the choices down to two solutions, create a mental list of pros and cons, and make our decision based on the results.
According to Chip and Dan Heath’s new book, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, we’re doing it all wrong. Our gut instincts are loaded with bias, and the pros and cons we create—even though our intent is to be objective—are based on those biased gut reactions:
Generating distinct options is even more difficult when our minds settle into certain well-worn grooves. Two of those grooves are common states of mind, studied widely by researchers, that play a role in almost every decision we make. One is triggered when we think about avoiding bad things, and one is triggered when we think about pursuing good things. When we’re in one state, we tend to ignore the other.
Instead, the Heaths recommend building a process by which to make better decisions. To start, they quote Steve Cole, VP of R&D at HopeLab, who said, “Any time in life you’re tempted to think, ‘Should I do this OR that?’ instead, ask yourself, ‘Is there a way I can do this AND that?” This kind of broader thinking about a situation is what the authors find an innovative, more risk-averse method of deciding what to do. From there, the Heaths explore a variety of process building scenarios: consider opposites, find previous solutions to the same problem, overcome short-term emotion, and more. And with each scenario, they present real examples of these processes (and their outcomes) in action.
Those who have read the Heaths’ previous books, Made to Stick and Switch, know they are great writers. Their books are filled with clever stories, detailed research told in a relatable way, and as a result, each page simply makes you think, and think more clearly. But what elevates their books above many others is that they operate both as “how-to” guides as well as social insight. You can read them to change what you do or how you think, and in the process, you’ll understand the world a bit better. Because decision-making is one of the great challenges for leaders, entrepreneurs, and really anyone trying to manage a career, this book is an important one.
Jack Covert Selects - Blah Blah Blah
Posted Nov. 10, 2011 4:03 p.m. by 800-ceo-read
We’ve been fortunate to spend time with Dan Roam over the years, and his new book, Blah Blah Blah is as high-energy, insightful, and creative as he is.
Blah Blah Blah is a book that may just be impossible to give justice to in a review. From cover to cover, Dan Roam uses his great skill at communicating through words and pictures to inform us, charm us, and convince us to accept his belief that ideas become clearer when they are represented by pictures. Not that words aren’t important—this book is full of them—but Roam explains that:
Words are abstractions, the ultimate mental shorthand. When we know what they mean, words instantly call to mind ideas, images, feelings, and memories. When we all speak the same language, our words offer near-perfect communications efficiency. … But the extraordinary verbal efficiency of words also has a steep downside. Like all abstractions, words are by definition distinct from the actual “things” they represent. If we are unclear in our own mind about which specific “thing” our word means or if we’re unclear when we share words with other people, the whole system crashes.
Roam’s solution? Make communication less of an abstraction by using pictures to help guide understanding, to learn more quickly and to share ideas more clearly.
Start with Roam’s method of creating a Visual Grammar: “When we say a word, we should draw a picture.” Easy enough. Then combine that grammar into Vivid Thinking, which is more than just linking word pictures together, but about combining them in a specific way that reflects the complexity of our ideas—because Vivid Thinking is Balanced Thinking. As Roam writes:
Verbal mind, visual mind. They see the same world, but they don’t see it the same way.
This is important: drawing pictures as Roam suggests is not about simplifying. Nor does it dumb down our ideas. Instead, it makes them more concrete, more sticky. In fact, reading through Blah Blah Blah reminds me of my first reading of Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. Perhaps it’s Roam’s use of the word FOREST as a mnemonic device for his 6 essentials of vivid ideas. (The Heath brothers used the word SUCCESS as a mnemonic to remember their keys to sticky ideas.) FOREST stands for Form, Only the Essentials, Recognizable, Evolving, Span Differences, Targeted.
The use of FOREST is particularly memorable because of its relations to the phrase, “He couldn’t see the forest for the trees.” For Roam’s book offers easy to remember, easy to implement ideas that will help you see (and communicate) the forest and the trees.
How Made to Stick was Made to Stick: What Ideas Survived and What Died
Posted Aug. 30, 2010 10:48 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
We really loved the Heath Brother's first book, What Sticks: Why Some Ideas Work in the World and Others Don't, when it first arrived in our office in 2007. So much, in fact, that we saved the manuscript—something we rarely do due to the staggering amount of books we receive every year.
The subtitle was a little unruly, but the ideas spiral-bound up in that plastic cover were concise, well-written, and right on.
We liked it so much that we also saved the galley when it came through (also rare) which reflects the first major change to the book. It's title was tightened up and, subtly yet dramatically, improved to Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Don't. But you'll notice the galley uses Post-it® notes on the cover, which if anything are known for their lack of adhesive strength—not exactly the ideal product to demonstrate something that was made to stick. Maybe this was never meant to be the final cover, as most of the text on the various Post-it® notes describes the publicity, promotion and advertising that will be done in the lead-up to the book's release, but using Post-it® notes to demonstrate stickiness is still a rather baffling decision.
All which led to the final product. You can't tell from the picture, but that duct tape on the cover feels as if Duct tape were actually stuck to the cover, which brought a quick smile of appreciation to all of us as we passed it around the office. We ended up naming Made to Stick the first 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year* in 2007. Would it have won with a different title and lesser cover? We certainly judge books by the quality of the writing and strength of the ideas presented first and foremost, but you can't argue that the title change and final cover certainly improved the presentation of the book and made it more likely to succeed. It just goes to show you, sticky ideas sometimes take some time to fully develop.
*We're now accepting entries for The 2010 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards.
A Defense of Business Books
Posted Aug. 27, 2010 10:47 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
It's a common reaction. When I explain to people that I work for a bookstore that specializes in business books, most people either furrow their brows or wrinkle their noses. Sometimes this reaction is caused by confusion as bookstores, to most people, are brick and mortar locations that display New York Times best selling fiction, spin racks of greeting cards, and children's pictures books. When that happens, I try to explain, in a nutshell, the origin of our company: we are what is left of the Harry W. Schwartz bookshops, an independent chain of bookstores in Milwaukee that regretfully closed their doors last year. Then I briefly tackle the evolution of our branch of the company: we began selling books mainly to corporate libraries, but that service grew to include speaking events and corporate training programs, then blossomed further into all the work we do online connecting with lovers of business books and connoisseurs of great ideas.
That is the other cause of the consternation. Most people I talk with outside of work aren't business book lovers. In fact, for many people, the only business book they remember hearing about is Who Moved My Cheese, and regardless of how you feel about that particular book, most people don't have any clue just how broad and deep the business book genre is. I've had a plain-speaking tennis league teammate of mine ask, after an explanation of what I do for a living: "So...who reads that stuff?" And just last night, another attempt to explain my job was interrupted with: "Well...I don't think there really are any business books out there worth reading."
Now, I don't like to turn a night at the bar into a lecture on the value of business books, but when confronted with a face that is scrunched up in skepticism or confusion or simple disbelief that there can be anything interesting or even enchanting about the business book category, I try to quickly explain that while you may sit next to someone on an airplane or exercise bike who is reading something practical (though possible unappealing to you) like Getting Things Done, there really is something for everyone in a genre of books that stretches from investigative non-fiction, to novel, to screenplay, to practical advice, inspiring biography.
I find myself recommending books like Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success to my tennis teammates; The Female Vision: Women's Real Power at Work to my graduate school friends; Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die to my husband, a high school teacher.
This defense of the business book genre and all the sub-genres within echoes the current--and continual--debate about the true value of literary fiction, the undervaluing of genre fiction like fantasy and sci-fi, the misnomer that all fiction by women read by women qualifies as "chick-lit." The fervor over the unrestrained praise of Jonathon Franzen's new novel, Freedom (read more here, here, here, here, and here) is just the most recent example.
For whatever reason, elitism is alive and well when it comes to one's reading preferences. (I'm going to ignore here the current, very elitist, discussions about how reading or publishing a paper book is or is not superior to using an e-reader. I think we've all had a lot of that this week.) Some of this is stubbornness. We put blinders on when it comes to crossing genres. I know that I am loathe to listen to someone expound on the high-quality of science-fiction as I'm not one to be drawn into fictional and fantastical worlds, but at the same time, despite my literature degree, I'm a fan of English police procedurals and a variety of other crime and detective novels. I think I'm an able enough critic to know whether I like a book strictly based on entertainment value versus some truly good writing, but regardless, I'll defend my preferred genre. Some of it is ignorance. Because the business book genre was indeed limited to technical titles or fables about moved cheese for quite a long time, it is hard to spread the word and have people take you seriously that the genre has simply exploded over the course of the past decade.
And so it is that I find myself often defending the business book genre. Whether you have an interest in game theory, a fascination with the sharks on Wall Street and Washington, a desire to create a more balanced work environment for your employees, a need for a retirement plan, a fear of change, or you want to read a great story reminiscent of Mad Men, you can find (with our help if you don't know where to start) a quality book with depth and nuance that strives to be something more than a series of action steps. People in the United States spend a predominant portion of their lives working, and I am a passionate believer that the business book genre contributes to better work environments, improved personal happiness, and increasingly keener intellects.