May 2nd 2016

Thieves of State. Why corruption threatens global security. Sarah Chayes.

Seal of the C.I.A. - Central Intelligence Agen...

Thieves of State. Why corruption threatens global security. Sarah Chayes.2015. ISBN 9780393246537.  This is quite the book. It was suggested to me by David Mouton and I am glad he did.  The author details how various corrupt governments today ( Afghanistan, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria for eg)  have been seized by kleptocracies so that the national revenue flows into the hands of the ruling few. She also shows how the individual living in these places gets caught between the religious right and the corrupt administration to the point that uprising seems the only option. Especially galling is that the Western powers and NGOs seem to always align with the corrupt administration, so the West is seen as part of the problem.   She makes a very good case ( and worked in several of these countries on this) , the the West should be very concerned about dealing with corrupt administration/systems that are in all intents criminal in nature..  That is if thee West is interested in helping these populations have any alternatives to violence.  She has some pretty good dirt on the CIA and US State department as well.  Of course she also shows how the control of the US govt by Wall Street interest was not that short of being criminal.

April 25th 2016

Content Inc. How entrepreneurs use content to build massive audiences and create radically successful businesses. Joe Pulizzi

Content rottweiler

Content Inc. How entrepreneurs use content to build massive audiences and create radically successful businesses. Joe Pulizzi. 2016 ISBN 9781259589669.   This could be called the Content Bible on building any content based business.  The author is a successful  pioneer in this field and he knows how to make it work.  The book is full of get to the point quickly content and a plethora of case studies and examples of how others have done or are doing it.  With this book and the requisite hard work you are more than 3/4 of the way to a successful business.  Having read his other books  I am a fan, but you will find it a very worthwhile use of your time to get this book.

April 18th 2016

The Circle. Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers at the 2007 Brooklyn Book Festival.

The Circle. Dave Eggers. 2013.  This book is part of a small but growing stream of  writings about how AI /computer technology  could evolve.  Eggers envisions a creeping malevolence about what could happen if  something like FANG  ( FacebookAmazonNetflixGoogle ) moved to become one  incredibly huge wealthy company that would slowly take over pretty well everything so that no one person  or action was anonymous. A good writer,  the author does draw you in and strikes the right balance between today and what could happen.  I appreciate that all the “innovations” mentioned started with the best of intentions, which through being monetized and proselytized  could become The Circle.   Good read for a cross country flight.

April 11th 2016

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. George R.R. Martin

English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a...

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. George  R.R. Martin. 2015.  ISBN 9780345533487.  Martin has placed this story about 100 years before A Game of Thrones.  So it has all the royal families and famous names the predate his bigger story. It revolved around the misadventures and adventures of a hedge knight Ser Duncan (Dunk ) and Egg (Prince Aegbert) his squire.  Full of tournaments, fighting, and various Lord s and Ladies, it is a tale well up to Martins skills.  We are   given a bit of a foreshadowing at the  end of perhaps many more tales to come of Ser Duncan and Egg.  Easy rollicking read.

April 4th 2016

The Power of No. Because one little word can bring, health, abundance and happiness. James Altucher & Claudia Azula Altucher

English: Chart of Micro-cosmos in Stoicism

The Power of No. Because one little word can bring, health, abundance and happiness.  James Altucher & Claudia Azula Altucher . 2014. ISBN 9781401945879.  This book was referenced on one of the Timothy Ferriss podcasts.  The two authors are well suited, he is a tech guy and she is a yoga instructor.  Not surprisingly there is bit of Zen and some Stoicism in this book -= as it should be all truths being cross cultural.   Good book for people who are stuck and or at across roads. I also thought it relevant to give to your angst ridden teenagers.  Worth the read and despite having two authors , quite readable.

March 28th 2016

A Guide to the Good Life. The ancient art of Stoic joy. William B. Irvine.

Cover of "A Guide to the Good Life: The A...

A Guide to the Good Life.  The ancient art of Stoic joy. William B. Irvine. 2009.  ISBN 9780195374612.   Tim Ferriss often talks about the Stoics and how it has given him a different view on life.  Irvine, a college philosophy instructor believes that one needs a philosophy of life to thread your way through our changing world.   He picked Stoicism and in this book,   goes through various other Greek  & Roman based philosophy.  Then he leads you through the most well known Stoics such as Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca and others.   His choices are based on there still being records of their writings and stories for you to read.  For me this was an interesting area to learn about.   I kept hearing the words of my Father in the life lessons of the Stoics.  Not surprising as my Northern Scandinavian roots are bound up in working on what you can change or affect and not being too upset over things that you have little to no control over.  If this topic is interesting to you, this book is a good start.  Clearly written it can speak directly to you.  Stoic joy is achieving tranquility and we could all use some of that.

March 21st 2016

Sales Management, Simplified. The straight truth about getting exceptional results from your sales team. Mike Weinberg

Sales Management,  Simplified. The straight truth about getting exceptional results from your sales team.  Mike Weinberg. 2015. ISBN 978081443643.  Another home run from Weinberg.  Leading directly from New Sales, Simplified, his first book  the author has created one of the most useful sales management books today.   His basic premise is that there is still a need for focus on Sales 101 , the basics of good selling.  Yes there are many very useful tools out there, but they are in addition to good basic selling techniques.  He sees a coaching , leading role for sales managers and keeps saying  1 on 1 meetings and field sales calls are essential to great management.  Music to our ears. Concise, clearly written book that leads from the problems to solutions.  Every sales manager needs this book. (Most CEOs should read it too)

March 14th 2016

WordPress Made Super Simple. How anyone can build a professional looking website from scratch: Even a total beginner. Jack Davies & Sarah Wiley

English: WordPress Logo

WordPress Made Super Simple.  How anyone can build a professional looking website from scratch: Even a total beginner. Jack Davies & Sarah Wiley 2014.   This book does exactly what it proposes to do.  I have looked a few of these books this year and can not recommend this one too highly.  Like Jack  ”just the facts ma’am”  Palance , the author does not stray very far from the essentials.  The first book to read on the subject IMHO.

March 7th 2016

The New Rules of Sales and Service. How to use agile selling, real-time customer engagement, big data, content and storytelling to grow your business. David Meerman Scott.

Brian Halligan (right) with his co-author Davi... The New Rules of Sales and Service.  How to use agile selling, real-time customer engagement, big data, content and storytelling to grow your business. David Meerman Scott. 2014. ISBN 9781118827857. The author is the expert on this stuff. I have reviewed several of his books and he always delivers exactly what you need.  I made so many highlights in this book that it seemed it would have be easier to just copy it all.  Great stuff , like

  • more people have access to mobile phones than have access to toothbrushes.
  • the marketing staff needs to be the buyer expert, not just the product expert.
  • marketers become expert in persuading the audience of many , the salesperson  need to excel in persuading the individual buyers
  • companies need to be educating the salespeople about the buying process.
  • buyers operate in real-time
  • salespeople need to be able to bring value to the discussion

He is all about the buyer and knowing the buyers journey.   He peppers the content liberally with real world examples that are true and sadly, too funny in that they still occur.   One of the better books for the beginner through to the expert , there is something for everyone in this book

February 22nd 2016

Mindware. Tools for smart thinking. Richard E. Nisbett

Smart People Mindware. Tools for smart thinking. Richard E. Nisbett.  2015 ISBN 9780385680998.  A thoroughly useful book for today’s flood of “information”.  From simple tools from statistics, logic (East and West) to study and experimental results,  and economics Nisbett allows you to really understand how to make sense of what is coming down the pipe at you.  Plus you will be better  able to resist the daily misinformation spewed by the FOX network.  Should be required reading for all high school seniors.