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Posted May 3, 2010 4:51 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Every month, Penguin/Portfolio posts a new free podcast that you can download from iTunes or listen to on their site called The Business Beat. It was exciting news to hear that The Business Beat was featured in USA TODAY’s “Watch, Listen and Read” column today--it’s on 6B of the Money section, if you have a paper copy on hand--, not only because we love the work that Portfolio does with its business books, but because at the end of every program, Jack reviews a classic business book in his Just Jack! section.
The past month's episode...
answers the questions that many new business school graduates are asking themselves: How can we maintain our ethical standards while succeeded in our careers? How do we continue our business education after graduation? What do we do with the rest of our lives? And does an MBA even matter these days? To answer these questions, co-hosts Courtney Young and Laura Clark brought in a panel of experts. Portfolio president and publisher Adrian Zackheim talks about the significance of an MBA in today's business climate. Peter Escher, co-author of The MBA Oath, discusses the efforts of a group of Harvard Business School graduates to bring ethics back to business. 800-CEO-READ's Jack Covert, author of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, explains why everyone needs to read Po Bronson's What Should I Do With My Life. And Michael O'Malley, author of The Wisdom of Bees, shares some business lessons from an unexpected source.
The next edition, available May 18th, will find Jack reviewing Guy Kawasaki's The Art of the Start.
USA Today writer, Michele Archer, describes The Business Beat as such: "Clocking in at about 25 minutes, The Business Beat makes a fine commute accompaniment." And we agree wholeheartedly.
Joy Panos Stauber is a Cool Friend
Posted April 29, 2010 11:22 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
If you've looked at anything our company has produced in the past five or six years, whether it's our website, a ChangeThis manifesto, In The Books, The 100 Best, or an invitation to our book awards, you have witnessed the wonderful work Joy Panos Stauber does. She is not officially employed by 800-CEO-READ, but has been a part of our team for many years now, creating our visual identity and helping us communicate with you more effectively.
Erik: What's at the essence of what you're trying to do in your daily work?" Joy, always great at getting to the heart of things quickly, replied:
Joy: You're trying to help somebody connect with their constituency. At the end of the day, design just helps you communicate better.
Joy later discusses how powerful that seemingly simple task is:
An instructor of mine at school once explained that you don't burn yourself in the shower because you know the little red dot is hot and the little blue dot is cold. People don't realize that everything they encounter all day long is designed. And the designer either can make your life better or worse, depending on how well they did their job.
Well, I know Joy has made our lives much better here at 800-CEO-READ and, hopefully through the work she's done with us, she's touched yours as well.
Posted March 26, 2010 11:07 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
➻ If you haven't read Texts Without Contexts, Michiko Kakutani's piece from last Sunday's New York Times yet, I can't recommend it highly enough. It's almost counter to the point of the story to quote an excerpt, but I am going to anyway:
Now, with the ubiquity of instant messaging and e-mail, the growing popularity of Twitter and YouTube, and even newer services like Google Wave, velocity and efficiency have become even more important. Although new media can help build big TV audiences for events like the Super Bowl, it also tends to make people treat those events as fodder for digital chatter. More people are impatient to cut to the chase, and they’re increasingly willing to take the imperfect but immediately available product over a more thoughtfully analyzed, carefully created one. Instead of reading an entire news article, watching an entire television show or listening to an entire speech, growing numbers of people are happy to jump to the summary, the video clip, the sound bite—never mind if context and nuance are lost in the process; never mind if it’s our emotions, more than our sense of reason, that are engaged; never mind if statements haven’t been properly vetted and sourced.
Now go read the entire article.
➻ Michael Mace wrote a very lengthy, veritable dissertation on the subject of The future of publishing: Why ebooks failed in 2000, and what that means for 2010. It's certainly the most in depth analysis of the situation that I've read. But, being a lover of short stories, there's one possibility he raises that really struck me:
Short fiction is a great fit for e-readers because it can be consumed in small bites, and if authors could sell directly to their readers, the revenue could eventually be good enough that people would go back to writing short fiction. Plus it would give e-reader devices a real benefit -- content that you can't get anywhere else.
What's missing is the marketplace to make that happen. We need the equivalent of an iTunes store for short stories, tied to a mass market tablet device.
➻ strategy + business has a new article up from Edward Tse, adapted from his new book, The China Strategy: Harnessing the Power of the World's Fastest-Growing Economy.
➻ In a case of one author of one of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time talking to another, The New Yorker has video of James Surowiecki (The Wisdom of Crowds) speaking with Michael Mauboussin (More Than You Know) about "common investment mistakes, how to improve decision-making, and what investors can learn from the recent stock-market woes."
➻ AN INTERESTING LETTER FROM DAVID MAMET TO THE WRITERS OF THE UNIT ON WHAT MAKES FOR GOOD DRAMATIC WRITING HAS BEEN MAKING ITS WAY AROUND THE INTERNET THIS WEEK.
➻ It quite old now, but I love Nicholas Carr's Tweet fantasy:
How cool would it have been if Twitter had been invented a couple hundred years ago so our forebears could have used it?transcendo: RT @emerson new idea: "the making a fact the subject of thought raises it" http://bit.ly/cAhzDL (expand)<----interesting!
His book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains, coming out in June, might be my favorite of the year so far.
➻ I was hoping we could end this week talking a little bit about health care reform. (Also, if you could hit me with a hammer, that would be great.) Eschewing the hyperbole and vitriol coming over our public airwaves lately, The Christian Science Monitor's Marjorie Kehe put together a fine list of books that could provide ground for a more civil debate, writing "For those hoping to gain a wider grasp of the American healthcare reform debate, here's a (beginning) reading list. The authors below do not offer common prescriptions, but they do share some lucid analyses of the problem:"
- Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis--And the People Who Pay the Price by Jonathan Cohn, HarperPerennial
- Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer by Shannon Brownlee, Bloomsbury Publishing
- Boomerang: Health Care Reform and the Turn Against Government by Theda Skocpol
- The Cure: How Capitalism Can Save American Health Care by David Gratzer, Encounter Books
- The Health Care Mess: How We Got Into It and What It Will Take to Get Out by Julius B Richmond & Rashi Fein, Harvard University Press
➻ The GalleyCat reports that LeVar Burton may have Reading Rainbow 2.0 in the works, which I mention only in an cruel attempt to get the original theme song stuck in your head for the next week.
➻ One of the very best 8cr excursions in company history was in NYC two years ago (we were there for our first awards event), when three separate groups of us all converged on the very hard-to-find, practically unmarked Issue Project Room in Brooklyn to see Jonathan Kane.
Jack Covert Selects - Getting Naked
Posted March 11, 2010 9:14 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
For over ten years, Pat Lencioni has helped define the genre of the business fable. He is most famous for The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which I thought so highly of that I included it in our collection of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. When Lencioni’s newest book came across my desk I was curious about the title, but also cautious: the title is eye-catching and memorable, but how was Lencioni going to pull this one off?
I needn’t have worried. What makes Lencioni’s fables so compelling is his skill at creating a real world populated by characters you believe in. Then into that world, Lencioni presents a common problem that you can relate to and a series of problem-solving decisions that you can then apply to your own experience. Time and again, Lencioni succeeds at teaching through storytelling and Getting Naked is no different.
Getting Naked is about vulnerability and transparency. Nakedness in this case is a counterintuitive approach to presenting yourself to a client or customer. Instead of going into a sales call loaded for bear with a PowerPoint presentation and all sorts of hype about who you are, you should go into the meeting naked, asking questions, being open, and nearly giving your expertise away. Every meeting should be about the client, not about you.
Lencioni’s story is about a big consulting firm that buys a little, but very successful, boutique consulting company. The executive responsible for the incorporation of the merger discovers that the small consulting firm has little or no sales costs, because most of the small firms clients are referrals from existing clients. The reason? Outstanding service derived from shedding the three big fears that drive customers away: fear of losing the client, fear of being embarrassed, and fear of being inferior. The executive then brings all he has learned back to the big consulting firm—and to you.
Besides being an outstanding storyteller, Pat Lencioni speaks a language that works perfectly for training. In fact, Getting Naked will be read by my staff and will be the basis of a new training program—that’s how valuable I think this book is.
Jack Covert Selects - Switch
Posted Feb. 12, 2010 6:29 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Chip and Dan Heath, brothers and scholars, won the inaugural 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year Award with their first book, Made to Stick. That book, despite being a newborn, also made our list of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. When the publisher sent me the advance copy of Switch, I was concerned about the “sophomore slump” that happens in sports and music, whether due to a true drop in quality or critical backlash due to expectations. Still, I dropped everything and stretched out on my couch to read, and I can tell you that Switch might even be better than Made to Stick.
In Made to Stick, the Heaths offered a methodology for how to make your ideas memorable. And, of course, one of the things the Heath brothers excel in is creating their own sticky ideas. They use clever acronyms, catchy phrases, and unusual connections that we can easily remember and reference for future situations. In Made to Stick, it was SUCCESs, and the “curse of knowledge” among other memorable lessons. Switch is about making change happen, despite our tendency to fight it. Here the Heaths teach us about the Rider—or rational mind—and the Elephant—our emotional mind— and how change needs a partnership between the two in order to “shape the path” ahead. We also learn about TBU—true but useless—which, undiagnosed, can lead to decision paralysis.
To explain an antidote to decision paralysis, the Heaths tell of a small community in South Dakota that had been losing young people at an unsustainable rate. A group of high school students decided to do something. In the past, decision paralysis ruled efforts like this because the problem was so overwhelming and the potential answers so numerous. The students commissioned a survey and discovered that half the residents shopped outside they county. The first step was to ask the residents to support local businesses, which in turn became the first step in a successful revitalization program.
The Heath brothers are teachers at heart, and Switch features the same high level of research-driven data brought to life through world-class stories as Made to Stick, while also offering loads of practical, how-to advice on how to start and maintain your next change initiative, whether in your business or in your personal life. The ultimate takeaway is that by recognizing that oftentimes it is the situation that must change, not the person, we are able to take action and not fear the unknown.