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ISBN 9781591842408 Published Feb. 2009
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Posted March 31, 2009 5:29 a.m. by todd-sattersten
In Book Reviews - 800 CEO Read Blog
We got a note last week from a reader who was a little upset by a new product that Harvard Business Publishing recently put out.
Titled "10 Must-Read Articles from HBR", the electronic-only download highlights many of the same authors (and seminal ideas) as we did in The 100 Best. You'll find Drucker, Christensen, Goleman, Kotter among others with the Harvard Business Review article (ie condensed versions) of The Effective Executive, Innovator's Dilemma, Emotional Intelligence, Leading Change and so on.
We are not upset at all by this. HBP sees an opportunity to repackage their content (which they are brilliant at). They are merely providing a product that people might be interested given the publication of our book. They even did a service with including authors like Theodore Levitt, Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Michael Porter whose books didn't work for us, but whose ideas in the HBR form are perfect for the business reader.
The 10 Must Read Articles is $29.95 and available from the HBP website.
Global Tweeting of The 100 Best
Posted March 27, 2009 5:04 a.m. by todd-sattersten
In 100 Best - 800 CEO Read Blog
This morning I picked up some chatter on the twitter search for "business books":
100 best business books of all time binnen. shit ik ken maar 20%!!! help
Google translated the Bertrand Weegenar's concern for me from his native Dutch:
[100 best business books of all time inside. shit I know but 20%! help]
He also shared:
en wat ik (en misschien jij ook wel) echt mag gaan lezen Invloed van cialdini [and what I (and perhaps you also did) really should go read Influence of cialdini]
maar maar maar van de top 10 readers poll heb ik 90% score [but but but the top 10 readers poll, I have 90% score]
Love to see the book finding a global audience.
Jack Covert Selects - It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For
Posted March 17, 2009 5:05 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business is Driven by Purpose by Roy M. Spence, Jr. with Haley Rushing, Portfolio, 318 Pages, $25.95, Hardcover, February 2009, ISBN 9781591842415
As Todd and I were writing our book, The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, we discovered some themes that, to our surprise, appeared continually throughout the books we reviewed. One big one was the idea that successful people and organizations define a common purpose for their existence, and that once it's defined, all decisions going forward are based on that declared purpose.
Roy Spence, one of the founders of the famous Austin-based ad agency GSD&M Idea City, believes that passion drives purpose in organizations. In his new book, he details the specific steps that Southwest Airlines--an early client of his firm--and other highly recognizable businesses have taken to create and nurture this purpose.
For example, when Southwest began operations, the airline industry was highly regulated and flying point to point in Texas was very expensive. Because of that cost, only 15% of the people who could fly did. Southwest began flying to three cities within Texas--Dallas, Houston and San Antonio--and offered airfares that would make it cheaper to fly than drive. Every decision that Southwest made from that point on was based on the belief that keeping the costs down would allow more people to afford flying. That was their purpose. Not very complicated, but very effective.
As in all very good books, this book uses stories to teach. And, at the end of the book, the author has the "Key Principles from the Book." As an example, here are the three fundamentals for a high-purpose organization: They are built to make a difference; They are led by leaders of great purpose who act as stewards of their purpose and; They bring that purpose to life in meaningful and relevant ways in the marketplace. This summary section allows you to read the book as a linear narrative, without having to worry about taking notes. In effect, the author does that for you at the end of the book, leaving you free to enjoy the stories he tells.
The 100 Best Update
Posted Feb. 26, 2009 6:29 a.m. by todd-sattersten
In The Company - 800 CEO Read Blog
It has been three weeks since The 100 Best Business Books of All Time launched and I just wanted to write you a note and thank you for all of your support.
Twitter has been a-flitter with tweets: http://tinyurl.com/cm9pvp
There are 31,000 hits in Google now with most of them written by all of you: http://tinyurl.com/bnuaxz
The book has been covered by BusinessWeek, NPR Marketplace, and CNBC while we have written pieces for Harvard Business Review and Fortune. We have the whole list here: http://100bestbiz.com/media/
We are going to keep posting things about The 100 Best from time to time, but if you would to keep getting formal updates about The 100 Best, join our mailing list (under the book cover) at http://100bestbiz.com/
But I have one request before I go.
If you have purchased a copy, find three people to share The 100 Best with. Help us find an even better audience for the book.
If you have not purchased the book, Jack and I hope you will. We wrote The 100 Best so people could spend less time figuring out what to read and more time actually reading.
Here are some of the wonderful places you can buy The 100 Best: http://100bestbiz.com/the-100-best-store/
Thanks again for all of our support for 800-CEO-READ as well as The 100 Best,
PS In addition to the 100 best books, our book recommends 295 other books that are worth checking out. Typo is one of those books and its publisher Soft Skull Press is offering a free pdf download for the next seven days. Enjoy!
Slam-dunking New Boxes In a New Century
Posted Feb. 24, 2009 5:38 a.m. by todd-sattersten
In 100 Best - 800 CEO Read Blog
In 1994, Dave Dorsey wrote a great book call The Force about the Xerox salesforce that he followed around for a year. The book is so good we included it in The 100 Best. He has written a short piece for us about what the parallels exists between what he wrote about in The Force and what he see going on today:
The current financial crisis brings back memories for me. It reminds me of what I saw in the early 90s when I spent a year inside Xerox Corporation doing research for The Force, the story of a top sales team's effort to make its annual goal. Many years earlier, Xerox had been hailed by some as the greatest success story in American business. In the 60s, it made its shareholders astonishingly rich, after having invented and successfully convinced nearly everyone to buy the office copier. In thirty years, much had changed for Xerox. Its patents expired, and Japan started eroding its market, luring customers away with less expensive equipment. Also, technology had advanced. Xerox knew it had to get out of the copier business and move into digital networked printing systems. One way to approach this challenge might be to lower earnings projections for a transition to a new and better business model. But you don't tell Wall Street you're taking a sabbatical from profitability in order to retool. So, the company struggled to become something new, where reps would sell results and solutions through new processes, rather than pushing the latest model of copier. Yet to keep up its earnings, that's just what it had to do: keep "slam-dunking" new "boxes," as it called them, onto the premises of buyers who didn't always need them.
Xerox was having a harder time finding new customers, so reps were going back to their existing customers to lease a new machine before the old machine's lease was up. That meant having to say, "we'll make the balance on the old lease go away" while "baking" that remaining debt into the sum that would then be paid out, in installments, over the life of the new lease. Customers didn't realize they were still paying off the old lease in their premiums for the new lease. They also didn't realize, or didn't care, that their debt was getting larger and larger with each new lease, partly because the new contracts were also getting longer--from three years to four to five--in order to keep the monthly payment at a level that wouldn't shock anyone in accounts payable. Revenue from these premature leases would go into the Xerox quarterly and annual reports, so on the surface, everything looked fine. Yet it was all a way of forcing success to happen. And it was unsustainable. Ultimately, in desperation, the company began booking its service and lease revenue--for the life of the entire lease over four or five years--in the first year of the lease. That kind of accounting cost top Xerox executives tens of millions of dollars in fines later in the 90s when the SEC cracked down on the company.
Why do these memories keep coming back now? Because, the year I was inside the company walls, watching and listening, Xerox was giving me a glimpse, in microcosm, of what was going to happen to the economy at large. Over the past quarter century our manufacturing has been decimated by foreign competition--first by Japan, in the case of Xerox and others, and now by China and India, throughout domesting manufacturing. As we've lost our manufacturing base, we've become a FIRE economy, relying on finance, insurance and real estate to prop it all up--industries that appear to thrive on accounting principles when times are good and accounting games when times are bad. (Xerox itself moved disastrously into finance for many years, buying up other finance companies, emboldened by its own success in working the numbers.)
The nation as a whole has followed in this company's footsteps. We were once a manufacturing superpower. But our markets have shrunken dramatically, because, as Xerox did, we've taken assumed the future will resemble the past. We can't make things as economically as countries where labor costs so much less. We've become too rich for our own good, and we don't want to give up the quality of life we've grown accustomed to. As a result, through the illusory dot.com bubble during the Clinton years and then the real estate bubble during the Bush years, we've refused to heed the truth about our loss of manufacturing. For me, the current crisis follows a familiar pattern of decline: the false appearance that everything is on the uptick, while in reality it's all eroding, ending in a day of reckoning. Though Xerox isn't the fabled beacon of American ingenuity it once was, it seems to have put its house in order under its current CEO. It has largely become what it wanted to become: a digital printing company that offers services to help customers better manage documents, both electronically and on paper. Maybe that's cause for hope.
I liked the people I got to know at Xerox. They wanted want most people want: a good home, a nice car, and money for college. Most of them hated having to play games with the numbers to have those things. They must have felt relieved when they were required to clean up the way they sold products and do only what it was in their power to do, given the rules of a new, global economy. It's a challenge we all face now, to reset our expectations at a realistic level and quit playing financial games, with rising levels of debt. Maybe it means a smaller house and a new car every eight years instead of every three. Maybe it means the state university rather than the private school--or a trade school rather than a college. Possibly, it requires even greater sacrifices that no one wants to talk about. When it's over, who knows, it might come as a relief for all the rest of us, as well, when we start living within our means, as Xerox appears to be doing now.