Archive for July, 2007

The Art of the Long View. Peter Schwartz

The Art of the Long View. Peter Schwarz. 1991. ISBN0385267320.
One of the books that could change your life. From 1982 to 1986, Peter headed scenario planning for the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies in London. His team conducted comprehensive analyses of the global business and political environment and worked with senior management to create successful strategies. Before joining Royal Dutch/Shell, Peter directed the Strategic Environment Center at SRI International. The Center researched the business milieu, life-styles, and consumer values, and conducted scenario planning for corporate and government clients. This his first book, is considered a seminal publication on scenario planning and has been translated into multiple languages. very easy to read, it predicts three scenarios for 2005, that will likely knock you over.
A library must have, it may be tough to obtain. He has however written several recent books.

http://www.gbn.com/PersonBioDisplayServlet.srv?pi=23910hwarz

Peter is the author of Inevitable Surprises (Gotham, 2003), a provocative look at the dynamic forces at play in the world today and their implications for business and society. He is also the co-author of The Long Boom (Perseus, 1999), a vision for the world characterized by global openness, prosperity, and discovery; When Good Companies Do Bad Things (Wiley, 1999), an examination of, and argument for, corporate social responsibility; and China’s Futures (Jossey-Bass, 2001), which describes several very different scenarios for China. He publishes and lectures widely and served as a script consultant on the films “Minority Report,” “Deep Impact,” “Sneakers,” and “War Games.”

www.gbn.com is quite a resource for managers wishing to get “A Longer View”.

Neuromancer. William Gibson

Neuromancer. William Gibson. 1995. ISBN 0441569595. So what could happen to us if present trends by the North Koreans to become the
very best crackers and invaders of cyberspace, in order to be the best warriors, able to shut down any enemies’ cybernets? Read this book, as he brings the black future to now. Its dark and dismal and a good guide to being aware. Gibson wrote many more, which I tried, that never came close to his first award winner.

From the publisher
Welcome to the world to cyberspace–and science fiction has never been the same.
The hero (?) was the hottest computer cowboy cruising the information superhighway–jacking his consciousness into cyberspace, soaring through tactile lattices of data and logic, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the money to buy his skills. Then he double-crossed the wrong people, who caught up with him in a big way–and burned the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from cyberspace, trapped in the meat of his physical body, Case courted death in the high-tech underworld. Until a shadowy conspiracy offered him a second chance–and a cure–for a price….

Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card. 1994. ISBN 0812550706. A book that predates world thought leadership via the Internet, the net result of present game playing, and an introduction to a very prolific thoughtful writer. Good writing and his other books are well worth the time, and they are all different. You may also then enjoy. Ender’s Shadow, Speaker for the Dead, Hegemon, Xenocide as examples of ethical dilemmas set in the future.

From the publisher
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

The Slow Pace of Fast Change. Bhaskar Chakravorti.

The Slow Pace of Fast Change. Bhaskar Chakravorti. 2003. ISBN 157651780X. This is the seminal book for moving technology into markets. Chakravorti is a partner with Schwartz in the Monitor Group. Combining thoughts and analysis of major market innovations and non events, truth rings out from these pages. Using John Nash’s “beautiful mind’ theory of the equilibrium of social networks being composed of individuals who act out of personal self interest and expect all others to do the same, Chakravorti shows how “an individual” seeking to introduce a “disruptive” innovation must behave in order to succeed, else the system will react to preserve the status quo and negate his efforts. A tremendous complement to Innovators Solution and others, Chakravorti presents a thought process and intellectual methodology of working back from the desired endgame, in order to make the appropriate strategic decisions based on the application of serious game theory. A must have book, very readable and compelling. Brilliant.

Guts! Kevin and Jackie Freiberg

Guts! Kevin and Jackie Freiberg. 2004. ISBN 0385509618. These two wrote Nuts! the story of Southwest Airlines. This extends their work in looking at”Companies that blow the doors off business-as-usual.” “It reveals the secrets behind 15 companies known for unorthodox leadership, a blatant disregard for conventional wisdom – and record profits.” They interview the CEOs who make this happen plus the supporting staff, so the observations and conclusions are validated. Companies such as SAS, Medtronic, Fredic’s, Planet Honda, Quad/Graphics, Southwest Airlines, Stanlet Steemer, Synovus, AFLAC, USAA, Bon Marche’ all open their kimonas on how they really look after their employees which results in high margins and great strong ethical businesses. Probably one of the better useful books on leadership today. www.freibergs.com check out cool tools! Get the book from the library, buy it if you believe it, bookmark the site.

Cross-Selling Success. Ford Harding

Cross Selling Success. Ford Harding.2002. ISBN 9781580627054. One of the hardest sales in a service business is to sell clients on related or alternative services that are different from what you were originally retained for. I have read many tracts on this subject, but until this book I had not found an author who understood the difficulty and could document successful approaches that still place the client first. This is not an easy read for some reason until you get well into it. However the suggestions and descriptions are real jewels and I am sure all of us can see ourselves in the mirror of reality in this book. It’s a keeper. I found it new from www.bookcloseouts.com.

Bang! Linda Thaler & Robin Koval

Bang! Linda Thaler & Robin Koval. 2003. ISBN 0385508166. Subhead; Getting your message heard in a noisy world. These two gals really get this mass marketing stuff. Their firm KTG is responsible for the AFLACK duck, the “Kodak moment”, the Herbal Essenses orgasm ads and many others which grabbed attention without breaking the bank. What is most interesting is their descriptions on how much more work it is to get the idea out there, with specific examples of how their company and teams operate. If you are in marketing, this is a personal bookshelf book. Also an very easy read, hey they are in marketing!

Making Rain. Andrew Sobel

Making Rain. Andrew Sobel. 2003. ISBN 0471264598. The author of Clients for Life has created the penultimate service business owners guide. Practical, innovative and pragmatic in an easy to read format, Sobel has raised the bar for client realtionship management. This is part of your business bookshelf. Take Maister’s views on creating trust, add value -creation, and go the extra mile and you have this book. Very enjoyable.

Silicon Follies. Thomas Scoville

Silicon Follies. Thomas Scoville. 2001.ISBN 0743411218. Where fortunes are fast, dating’s dysfunctional and computer geeks rule. A comedy written for the dot com boom from Salon.com. Meet Seattle Bill, his nemesis Barry the arrogant CEO of TeraMemory the dataminer success story (Jim clark look out!), Liz the brainy marketing assistant ,and Steve the hacker/ A very fast read, this is just plain funny. Dilbert if it came out as a novel. It is an inside joke book. Only we know that the craziness carries on

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The Innovators Solution. Clayton Christensen

The Innovators Solution , Clayton Christensen’s sequel to the Innovators Dilemma. ISBN 1578518520.

A must have book if you are serious about succeeding in the technology field. This is even better than the Dilemma!
It was written to teach managers how to use theories put forth in the Dilemma. It does a masterful job.
It is relevant to every CEO and manager in every company I can think of. This is not a hard read, not is it
a rapid read, and it warrants a thoughtful re-read annually. He lays out the structures and initial conditions
required for successful growth. Then he plays it out for small companies, large companies and investors
how to achieve success.
1. Start with a cost structure which is profitable at low price pointsand can be carried up market
2. Be in a disruptive position wrto competitors so that they are motivated to flee rather than fight.
3. Start with a set of customers who were nonconsumers so they are pleased with modest products.
4. Target a job that customers want to get done.
5. Skating to where the money will be,not where it was.
5. Assigning managers who have taken the right courses in the school of experience
6. Put them to work within processes and values that are attuned to what has to get done.
7. Have the flexibility to respond as a viable strategy emerges.
8. Start with capital that can be patient for growth, but impatient for profit.

Plus he is the master of the relevant case study and anecdote, dozens of them.
Each chapter has copious notes and you need to read those as well. There are
literally dozens of nuggets buried in these chapter notes.
He is the best at what he does than anyone I have read to date.