Archive for June, 2009

Prime Rib & Box Cars. Whatever happened to Victoria Station? Tom Blake.

An uncooked rib roast
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Prime Rib & Box Cars. Whatever happened to Victoria Station? Tom Blake.2006. ISBN 0972796622. A chronicle from a very early employee on the rise and crash of Victoria Station. (We had one in Vancouver).  This could also be  history lesson on the 70′s hedonism of California-based business. Live, work, and party  large and hard.  Well- paced book,  easy read and he does a good job of taking you through the time. The author has talent as a copywriter and that shows with the clarity of the text.  This is also  a lesson for young brash entrepreneurs who are in a rush to grow.

http://www.vicsta.com/

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A Savage Factory. An eyewitness account of the auto industry’s self-destruction. Robert J. Dewar

Old Pontiac
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A Savage Factory. An eyewitness account of the auto industry’s self-destruction. Robert J. Dewar. 2009. ISBN 9781438952932.  Obama and his industry hand out guys should have read this book.  The author writes a narrative that is as gripping and fast paced as any No.1 thriller. If you had any thoughts that the problems of the US auto giants were not self induced , you will have them quickly dispelled by this well written book.  I can validate the ignorant, vulgarity-laced  behavior of senior auto execs as one of my “leaders” at Commodore Business Machines had come straight out of the GM executive ranks, that memory still boggles me.  This book just confirms that the US auto industry needs to fail to improve, and that the bail out money is long gone.   Data point, while the US firms have been laying off steadily in the US over the last ten years, the US plants of the Japanese/German auto ompanies have hired as many people for their non union plants, so the net numbers of auto employees has remained the same! Terrific book for a cross country flight.

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The Heart of Marketing. Love your customers and they will love you back. Judith Sherven & Jim Sniechowski.

Food For Sale In Portabella Market
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The Heart of Marketing. Love your customers and they will love you back. Judith Sherven & Jim Sniechowski. 2009 ISBN 9781600375590.   I really liked this book wrto its point of view to marketing and sales.

The book is itself a complete example of soft sell marketing. Show the client where there are shortfalls, how life would be better if they are met and how this couple has some materials for sale that could greatly assist in this.  No pushing,  rather a guided method with very good copywriting.  If you used this approach with what Sharon Drew Morgen shows us in her approach to qualifying/selling I believe you could have a doubling effect on increasing sales velocity and repeatability.

  • Once again we see the comment that you need to touch a prospect 3-9 times before he gets ready to buy.
  • Good insight, the role of marketing is to help a prospect get ready to buy. (Sharon would add,  if you have anything that would really help them)


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The skinny on series. The housing crisis, credit cards and willpower. Jim Randel

The Range of colors in which the Virgin Credit...
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The skinny on series. The housing crisis, credit cards and willpower. Jim Randel.  2009.

  1. The Skinny on credit cards. ISBN 9780981893549
  2. The skinny on willpower . ISBN  9780981893532
  3. The skinny on housing crisis. ISBN 9780981893525

These mini guides are great. They take what could be a complex issue and really break it down to its simplest story. The style is easy to understand, with a good use of humour. The tag line is …for really busy people.  The topics are such that youth and adults can gain from them . Great gifts to your children or  young friends/relatives.  Check them out at www.theskinnyon.com

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Greater Than Yourself. The ultimate lesson of true leadership. Steve Farber

Greater Than Yourself. The ultimate lesson of true leadership.  Steve Farber. 2009. ISBN 9780385522618.  I like the business fable as a communication model. Farber does a very good job on this book which  IMHO is  Pay it Forward on steroids.  It fits very well with today’s business needs in leadership with the new generations.  A very easy and fast read, it packs a solid punch. If you are the leader in a growing company  you must read this book, carefully.

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Get Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. David R. Portney

Get Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. How to use seminars and public speaking to market and promote your business, profession , or passion – profitably. David R. Portney 2009. ISBN 0976111179. This is a decent primer on public speaking as a business. But it is a really good example of non stop marketing and sales pitching on just about every page of the book.  He gives you the simple step by step  process of how to do this and all the logistics broken down into achievable bits.  He follows the rules of marketing very well as well as giving you realistic expectations for the business. So if you can get past the pure  US model rah rah selling style there is value in the book. It is very clearly written. watch for it on Amazon

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101 Cold Calling Tips For Building New Customers in a Down Economy. Wendy Weiss

Bicycles for Sale- Chelsea Flea Market
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101 Cold Calling Tips For Building New Customers in a Down Economy. Wendy Weiss.  2009. ISBN: 978-0-9671268-5-2.  The author says she is the Queen of Cold Calling.   These are very useful tips laid out in the right logical order.  For those of us in telesales, we can always use a boost and this book does a good job.   It is an e-book available from her website . I especially liked the clear and well thought out instructions on scripts and your  approach. I know of  some recent clients sales folks I met who just need  that  daily “boost” to keep going.  Almost-cold calls are still a part of the sales life , until you get your marketing lined up well enough to drive the traffic to you. Yet for really innovative new  products, no one knows about you so you have to go find the clients in order to have the conversation.

For daily desktop renewal I suggest you buy it and then print out this book so its a quick referral.  These tips work as many of them can also be gleaned from Art Sobczak the Business By Phone guy whose little Telesales Tips That Work book has been on my desk for a decade now.

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Pow! Right between the eyes. Profiting from the power of surprise. Andy Nulman

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Pow! Right between the eyes. Profiting from the power of surprise. Andy Nulman. 2009. ISBN 9780470405505.  What  a delightful easy to read and valuable book.  Nulman is a guy who has a whole host of successful campaigns behind him ( check out his client list!  When you read his thesis – you come up with , why not do it this way?  If you have any interaction/involvement with marketing – this is a must read book for you.  If you want a very enjoyable entertaining business book (That happens to “surprise” have some Vancouver related references.

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This Is Your Brain On Music. The science of a human obsession. Daniel J. Levitin


Cover of

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This Is Your Brain On Music. The science of a human obsession. Daniel J. Levitin. 2007. ISBN 0525949690.  This is one of those cross over books that impacts anyone who reads it.

We have all heard the 10 000 hours to mastery story, well this book was the source of that comment.  Consider a well experienced musi cian who goes back to school for a PhD in neural science in order tostudy what really happens in the mind (not the brain) when music is played. The book reads like the best gripping fiction, but it is all true, it is science.  Just not the science you are used to having ladled into your  unreceptive student brain.  While reading this you will be engaged and saying  “That is so true” so many times. For me this has opened up  completely new genres to listen to and learn from.  I measure genius as being able to take the complex and make it really easy to understand.  Thank you Dr Levitin. (And thank you son Brock for giving me this book)

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Being Strategic. Plan for success;out-think your competitors;stay ahead of change. Erika Anderson

Down to business
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Being Strategic. Plan for success;out-think your competitors;stay ahead of change. Erika Anderson. 2009. ISBN 139780312553982.   Likely one of the clearest books on strategy I have ever read. Many of our clients come to us with processes and plans that are an undisciplined mix of tactics and strategy. Anderson makes a some good definitions of strategy and tactics (e.g. Strategy is where you want to be, tactics is how you will get there) . The author clearly understands group dynamics making this an essential handbook on getting groups through strategy planning and execution sessions.  (I wish I had had this book 30 years ago. ) An easy read with sufficient activities and exercises that the reader has ample opportunity to imprint the learning.

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