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Posted Dec. 21, 2011 2:07 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Over the course of this week, we will be introducing, by category, the candidates for the 2011 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards. Even though only one of the candidates can win the big prize, good business books deserve an audience, and perhaps one on this list will be the winning book..to you.
Today, we take a look at the candidates in two categories, Entrepreneurship/Small Business and Finance/Economics.
- The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business That Works for You by Adelaide Lancaster, Amy Abrams | Portfolio/Penguin US
- Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler | Portfolio/Penguin US
- Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain: How I Went from Gang Member to Multimillionaire Entrepreneur by Ryan Blair | Portfolio/Penguin US
- The Method Method: Seven Obsessions That Helped Our Scrappy Start-up Turn an Industry Upside Down by Eric Ryan, Adam Lowry with Lucas Conley | Portfolio/Penguin US
- Great Again: Revitalizing America's Entrepreneurial Leadership by Henry Nothhaft | Harvard Business Review Press
- The Entrepreneur Equation: Evaluating the Realities, Risks, and Rewards of Having Your Own Business by Carol Roth | BenBella Books
- From Idea to Success: The Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network Guide for Start-Ups by Gregg Fairbrothers | McGraw-Hill Professional
- The Lean Startup : How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries | Crown Publishing Group, Crown Business
- Making It Happen : Turning Good Ideas Into Great Results by Peter Sheahan | BenBella Books
- The Startup Game: Inside the Partnership Between Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs by William H. Draper, III | Palgrave Macmillan
- Will Work for Shoes: The Business Behind Red Carpet Product Placement by Susan J. Ashbrook | Greenleaf Book Group
- Selling Sunshine: 75 Tips, Tools and Tactics for Becoming a Wildly Successful Entrepreneur by Tony Hartl | Greenleaf Book Group
- Bold: How to Be Brave in Business and Win by Shaun Smith and Andy Milligan | Kogan Page
- The Growth Map: Economic Opportunity in the BRICs and Beyond by Jim O'Neill | Portfolio/Penguin US
- The Price of Everything: Solving the Mystery of Why We Pay What We Do by Eduardo Porter | Portfolio/Penguin US
- Retirement Heist: How Companies Plunder and Profit from the Nest Eggs of American Workers by Ellen E. Schultz | Portfolio/Penguin US
- Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis by James Rickards | Portfolio/Penguin US
- Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL by Roger L. Martin | Harvard Business Review Press
- Boombustology: Spotting Financial Bubbles Before They Burst by Vikram Mansharamani | Wiley
- The Future of Value: How Sustainability Creates Value Through Competitive Differentiation by Eric Lowitt | Jossey-Bass, An Imprint of Wiley
- The Coming Jobs War: What Every Leader Must Know About the Future of Job Creation by Jim Clifton | Gallup Press
- Banker to the World: Leadership Lessons from the Front Lines of Finance by William Rhodes | McGraw-Hill
- Pinched: How the Great Recession Has Narrowed Our Futures & What We Can Do About It by Don Peck | Crown Publishing Group, Crown Publishers
- The Most Important Thing: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor by Howard Marks | Columbia Business School Publishing
- Guaranteed to Fail: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Debacle of Mortgage Finance by Viral Acharya, Matthew Richardson, Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, Lawrence J. White | Princeton University Press
- Borderless Economics: Chinese Sea Turtles, Indian Fridges, and the New Fruits of Global Capitalism by Robert Guest | Palgrave Macmillan
So which book is going to win the Entrepreneurship and the Finance categories and be in the running for the 800-CEO-READ Best Business Book of 2011? We'll announce the shortlist and winner in January!
Jack Covert Selects - The Big Enough Company
Posted Sept. 8, 2011 11:41 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Entrepreneurship. Starting your own business. Running your own company. These words and phrases are ripe with potential, optimism, freedom. They mean realizing your dream, saying no to the corporate grind, being your own boss, setting your own value.
But of course it is far more complicated than that. Once you get your business off the ground, once your business becomes a success, it’s entirely possible that your little business, much like a child, will have developed a mind and personality of it’s own. And, as a result, you really aren’t going to have a lot of freedom, and you’ll be too tired for a lot of optimism, and identifying more potential will also mean more work.
Unless, of course, you have a plan—a plan that can help you establish and sustain a “big enough company,” big enough by your standards and no one else’s. Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams, owners of In Good Company, a community for women business owners, have authored a new book to show you how to develop such a plan.
The Big Enough Company follows the bifurcated advice the authors give on how to create a company that fits:
It is not enough for your business to be a means of fulfilling your personal motivations. Your business needs a purpose of its own in order to last in the marketplace.
The first half of the book is absolutely stuffed with real-world examples and case studies of entrepreneurs who followed their own authentic vision for the creation of their company. In the second part they get more prescriptive, concentrating more specifically on the decision-making and networking needed to help you keep your company doing the right things the right way.
The Big Enough Company tackles a timely topic while offering a fresh voice that defends the choice to create a company that is specific to your needs and values, and the right to say no to the chorus of “grow! expand! merge! sell!”
O is for Optimism
Posted Aug. 17, 2011 6:00 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
"D" words are being used quite liberally these days.
Double Dip. Dollar. Down. Debt. Debate. Dissent. Downgrade. Desperation.
Dum...dum...dum (that's the sound of impending Doom.)
Despite all of the bad financial news that is inescapable every time you turn on the radio, tv or Internet, there are plenty of entrepreneurial folks out there who are trying to make their small businesses take off or at least sustain life despite the harsh economic climate. Kudos to those who maintain a brave face and clear, moderate goals (hang on!) while they ride the roller coaster--it's not easy. A new article in Inc. magazine asks the question, Will Small Business Optimism Ever Recover? and reports that "[i]t's a tie between small business owners who think the economy and their businesses will improve—and those who think both will tank...."
This is a pretty sharp departure in tone from the distinctly hopeful and encouraging "leave the grind behind and set out on a quest to small business success" stuff that we have been reading over the last five years or so. That's not to say that success isn't possible. And by being lean, fast, and focused, you increase your chances of creating a company that peaks at just the right time. Small business owners are, after all, optimists. Optimism is not optional when you take the kinds of risks that small business owners take. Ah, "O" words! So much better than the "D" words. One new book coming out in September will have you focused on yet another great "O" word--obsessions--to help you reinvigorate your optimism.
The Method Method by Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry
From the bright and bubbly cover to the subtitle, 7 Obsessions that Helped Our Scrappy Start-Up Turn an Industry Upside Down, it's pretty hard not to smile when you pick up a copy of The Method Method. After all, part of what makes the Method brand so appealing as you stand in front of the shelves at Target is the style. The style of the bottles, the quirky descriptions, the atypical colors. (I'm personally a big fan of their toilet bowl cleaner Lil' Bowl Blu...how could you not be?) It's all quite deliberate as The Method Method, described as "an irreverent, candid firsthand case study", explains. From establishing a very specific corporate culture ("Building weirdness into how you operate as a company isn't as difficult as it might sound--as long as you start at the beginning with whom you hire.") that includes Monday Huddles, Come Clean surveys and corporate events where everyone is given a cape or celebrating Corndog Appreciation Day to staying committed to risky strategy plans like Kick Ass at Fast that requires "balance between long-term thinking and short-term innovation and speed...", Method is determined to do it their way. But their way is really about doing it your way, about creating a customer experience that will "transform mundane chores into pleasurable experiences" while also creating a "formula [that] is gentle enough to be safe on the skin yet powerful enough to stand up alongside its mainstream competitors." Why the focus on customer experience? "After all, products can be copied, but experiences are one of a kind." As is Method. And The Method Method will help you: "Find your own obsessions. Discover what drives you. Bring a higher purpose to your career and your life."
➻ While The Method Method will certainly inspire you during these somewhat dark times, and is one of the most enjoyable reads you will have in the small business sub-genre, perhaps you also feel the need for a more scientific approach to "penetrate...uncertainty about what customers will ultimately embrace, and discover a path to a successful business." Eric Ries' The Lean Startup is that book. Ries presents "a set of practices for helping entrepreneurs increase their odds of building a successful startup."
➻ Looking for an even more basic primer that will help you make your dream of being an entrepreneur into a reality, a reality that requires learning business basics, establishing best practices, getting things done, and managing your company? From Idea to Success: The Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network Guide for Start-Ups by Gregg Fairbrothers and Tessa Winter is an absolute must for your bookshelf.
➻ But let's say you have a successful business and you are being "bombarded with a flurry of "advice" on how to grow fast, be more profitable, and imitate other successful start-ups" and, well, you don't want to! How do you create a business that is sustainable, but that is, to paraphrase Goldilocks, just the right size for you? Enter The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business that Works for You by Adelaide Lancaster & Amy Adams. These authors take a somewhat different look at small business ownership, encouraging readers to "[build] a business you enjoy running without caving under the pressure to grow." How? By focusing on what you want from your business, what its purpose is, when your work and your company's work feels its most authentic, learning how to do less and sometimes say no, and how to engage with others so that what growth you do welcome can be supported instead of self-sustained.
➻ And while this book might not seem like an obvious choice for small business owners seeking guidance, it is a book that will show you that anything is possible, that "there are lessons in Israel's example that apply not only to other nations, but also to individuals seeking to build a thriving organization: Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel's Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer
Opportunity. Optimism. Ownership. Obsession.
"O" words are much better words.
(Though maybe in this volatile economic climate we need a little "Om" too.)
Women in Business(books)
Posted June 22, 2011 9:19 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
As I (and many others) have noted, women business book authors make up a very small percentage of the category, and while the number is growing, often books by women are more niche-oriented or geared toward the personal, so don't get the powerful push or word-of-mouth that more general business books get. So I'd like to spend a little time talking about the books written by women that have landed on my desk recently:
This spring, Anne Kreamer's book, It's Always Personal, first intrigued me--no, touched me--due to the personalized publisher copy being used to promote the book. Kreamer wrote:
I was told when I started work that if I wanted to be professional, I should never let my feelings show at work--that emotion had nothing to do with success. But somehow once I’d been working for a few years I realized that that advice seemed mainly to apply to women. The well-known chairman of my Fortune 500 entertainment company thought it was completely acceptable to call me up and scream at me because a good deal I’d made had not moved up the price of the company’s stock. He got explosively angry at me, but I certainly didn’t feel like I could reply in kind. So I cried. And felt even worse, but I sucked it up and went on, burying that experience until a few years ago when a former colleague and I were talking about how every woman we knew had had a similar experience. Because of my personal experience I realized I really needed to understand why crying on the job was such a taboo.
In most every intense conversation, including those I have at work, I tend to cry. And I hate it. And I avoid those intense conversations as much as I can. Which means I tend to avoid conflict, asking for help or recognition, laying it on the line. It's Always Personal spoke directly to me and I found great aid in Kreamer's assertion that "[w]e can...engineer and guide their course [of our emotions] so that they flow productively--used, if you will, for irrigating our crops and generating our power" instead of feeling like my emotions were instead robbing me of my power.
Lida Citroen, a branding expert, brings us a guidebook for "creating power through personal branding" in Reputation 360. Citroen starts us out with three questions: What kind of car would you be? What kind of song would you be? What kind of beverage would you be? Then, she suggests you ask the same questions of your target audience, and if you are an atmospheric Bon Iver cut while your audience is an 80's Journey sing-a-long, well, you've got a ways to go toward speaking your customer's language.
Other useable, accessible advice from Citroen? Remember that you've had successes, that you have had superhero moments, and don't pack those memories back in the past. Don't limit your networking only to people who can help you get a leg up; remember to surround yourself with cheerleaders too. Go with your gut: if something doesn't feel right, like your website design doesn't match up with your personality, change it, regardless if it takes extra time, money or effort. After all, it's your personal brand.
Life coach Alissa Finerman's book is about Living in Your Top 1%. What is unique about Finerman's book is that she presents nine rituals for achievement. Rituals. It's an interesting word to choose. She explains: "It is important to note there is a big difference between knowing about a concept and regularly practicing it." The focus is on practice, on recreating your reality through moderating your mindset and making small changes. Finerman's advice is supported throughout with highlighted Takeaways, Top 1% Tips and Pep Talks, and chapter-concluding Bottom Line Summaries. Particularly helpful, I found, was her "Go for the Goal" chapter which emphasizes the usefulness and practicality of small steps amounting to big things. And that is really what Finerman's book does, help you look closely at the details of your life so that you can make the right small changes to climb up into your top 1%.
In September, you'll hear us get really excited about The Big Enough Company by Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams, owners of In Good Company (where women entrepreneurs go to work, meet and learn). Well actually, we're pretty excited about it now! I can seriously tell you that even the galley is quite a gorgeous read in terms of content presentation and organization, full of solid advice that grounds the personal interviews.
The Big Enough Company explores how to grow your enterprise in a way that sustains your own personal goals and needs, not someone else’s standards. Drawing on the true stories of nearly 100 entrepreneurs, as well as their own experiences, Lancaster and Abrams guide readers through the best principles that really matter when you work for yourself. This book empowers entrepreneurs to ignore popular “wisdom” and peer pressure to take charge of their businesses in a way that will help them succeed on their own terms.
Also in the entrepreneurship category, I must mention Carol Roth's excellent The Entrepreneur Equation. This is the book to read if you are considering starting your own business and are brave enough to look the staggeringly poor odds (90% failure rate) in the eyes and learn how to avoid the common pitfalls. Roth will encourage you to look closely at your own personal motivations, evaluate the risks, assess the timing, and acquire the tools you need. What is so tremendous about this book is that Roth isn't cheerleading, but soberly advising, and that is exactly the kind of information new business owners truly need.
Vernice "Flygirl" Armour is a huge personality with a hugely engaging new book, Zero to Breakthrough. Armour is a flygirl for real: a former captain in the United States Marine Corps who has set a LOT of firsts in her life. So she is the perfect person to answer the question: "how do you get big things done?" What I love about this book is that Armour speaks directly to us as readers who are moving step-by-step through this book with her. After a particularly harrowing, adrenaline-filled story, she asks: "Okay, are you still breathing?" And then steps us through what we should take away from the story: "Here are a few ways to use this incredible story when you have to make tough choices." This kind of authorial language keeps us turning pages, ingesting her wisdom as though it's being served up by a good friend.
Here is an example of what differentiates Armour's advice from others. Typically when we are advised to face our fears, no one bothers telling us that we should not face all of our fears. Armour makes that distinction:
*Follow your fear if it means doing otherwise would put everything you have at risk.
*Avoid following through on fears that put others at unwanted or unnecessary risk.
What else? She offers a Combat Confidence that really resonates: "Use fear to your advantage by looking at it as a field guide to the areas of your life in which you need to acquire more knowledge."
With a professional history like hers, she knows of what she speaks. We'd all do well to listen.
Great on the Job by Jodi Glickman is all about communication and ranges from the very simple (saying "Thank You", or updating a colleague) to the more refined (crafting an effective elevator pitch) to the most delicate (communicating through a crisis.) Included in the book are Tear-Out Cheat Sheets that break down each chapter and might be handy to tuck into your wallet for future use. But Glickman's book isn't just about what to say, and how to say it right, it is about doing the right thing. Sound sappy? What I mean is this: Glickman will make you conscious of communication, of how other people are relying on you to step up, speak out, stay steady, and the only way you can truly be the person people rely on and turn to, is to communicate.
Two other exciting books coming up this fall that you should bookmark for future reference (and literally just came in the mail today) are:
Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking that Block Women's Paths to Power by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath and Mary Davis Holt.