Archive for April, 2010

Lemonade Stand Simple. Accelerate your small business growth. Diane Helbig.

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Lemonade Stand Simple. Accelerate your small business growth. Diane Helbig.20098. ISBN 9780981800462.  This is a Sales Gravy Press book – so it will deliver on what it promises.  This is sales reduced to the simplest essence you could ever find.  It has good examples, good explanations and is an easy quick useful read. If there any parts of the sales story that you do not understand, this is like the Coles Notes version (Coles got me through English 200  the first time) in that you get exactly what you need.

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The 1 % Windfall. How successful companies use price to profit and grow. Rafi Mohammed

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The 1 % Windfall. How successful companies use price to profit and grow. Rafi Mohammed. 2010. ISBN 9780061684326. Rafi  is the guru on pricing as he has been consulting on it for over 20 years.  His previous book ,  The Art of Pricing, was a good book, but this one goes much further into the topic with great examples , worksheets and a step by step plan for a pricing strategy . Did you know that when it comes to pricing there are :

  • Four fundamental pricing strategies
  • Fifty pricing tactics
  • Two offensive pricing blossom (his model) strategies
  • Six defensive pricing blossom strategies and
  • Thirteen culture-of-profit principles?

This is a very thorough study and it is so clearly written that you can read it like a novel. I could not put this one down. It is the best writing on pricing I have ever come across. if you run a business you need this book.

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Stones Into Schools. Promoting peace with books, not bombs, in afghanistan and pakistan. Greg Mortensen

Greg Mortenson-Three Cups of Tea
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Stones Into Schools. Promoting peace with books, not bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Greg Mortensen. 2009. ISBN 9780670021154.  When we left Greg Mortensen in Three Cups of Tea, he had promised tribal leaders from  one of Afghanistan’s wildest parts to come and build a girl’s school like he was doing in Pakistan. This is the chronicle of the work CAI his foundation is doing in Afghanistan as well as deep insights into the tribal leaders, people and students he encounters on his journeys.  Inspiring, and uplifting as his work is, you are constantly brought back to the constant roadblocks that life in these parts puts in front of the individual who wants to better them self.  In this book Greg is surprised at the work that the US and Allied military is putting in to be sensitive to the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Being on the front, the soldiers develop tremendous empathy for the lot of the civilians. This book validates the nation building work that the Canadian and US military are committed to. One soldier said it, ” you can not bomb your way to peace.”  In page after page you read about the incredible dedication of the people to get some kind of an education. They are very tired of war and want to build their country.   An uplifting read and a noble cause.

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Dead Aid. Why aid is not working and how there is a better way for africa. Dambisa Moyo.

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Dead Aid. Why aid is not working and how there is a better way for africa. Dambisa Moyo.2009. ISBN 9780374139568. The author, born in Zambia has a terrific CV – World Bank, Harvard, Oxford, Goldmann Sachs. This is a black  African talking about how Africa can be, could be helped.  She builds a compelling case First all the aid that has been poured into Africa has resulted in African people becoming poorer, not better off.  Second the money (World bank et al)  has found its way into “lucky hands” ie the corrupt rulers/administrators and resides in Swiss bank accounts.   Third, Africa needs trade and investment such as being offered by China and India. Fourth, Inter african trade needs to be freed up ( A car cost $1500 to ship from Japan to The Ivory coast and a further $5000 to get it over a few borders)  .  Third Western nations need to  stop sending aid and stop subsidizing their own  farmers (who then dump product onto world markets – putting African s out of business)  - free international  trade.   Then stop supporting the guys like Mugabe with “free money”  Ask for results, roads, bridges  and commodities from the investments (like the Chinese). Put the countries on notice that the aid will stop over five years.   She has really got onto something and is passionate about it.   I wonder if Rick Mercer realizes that if he ships free  mosquito nets to Africa he is putting local manufacturers out of business?  Better to buy locally.  well written and rolls right along. Once again common sense is not that common.  Less Bono and more Moyo. Someone should send this book to Steven Harper.  The best thing is Moyo lays out how this can be done.

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Three Cups of Tea. One man’s mission to promote peace…one school at a time. Greg Mortenson & David oliver relin.

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Three Cups of Tea. One man’s mission to promote peace…one school at a time. Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin.2006. ISBN   This is a real life story on one man, Greg Mortensen who discovered his life’s work , while climbing K2.

As of 2010, Mortenson has established over 131 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, which provide education to over 58,000 children, including 48,000 girls, where few education opportunities existed before.  This story lays out the hardships and risks he has taken in order to provide the ultimate for his adopted countries Pakistan and Afghanistan.  You can not help but be uplifted by this book. He provides yet  another validating data point to the analyses provided in the the Bin Laden book by Yossef Bodansky I reviewed.

His work has not been without difficulty. In 1996, he survived an eight day armed kidnapping by the Taliban in Pakistan’ Northwest Frontier Province tribal areas, escaped a 2003 firefight with feuding Afghan warlords by hiding for eight hours under putrid animal hides in a truck . He has overcome two fatwehs from enraged Islamic mullahs, endured CIA investigations, and also received threats from fellow Americans after 9/11, for helping Muslim children with education.

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managing IT as a business. A survival guide for CEOs. Mark D. Lutchen.

managing IT as a business. A survival guide for CEOs. Mark D. Lutchen. 2004. ISBN 0471471046. A colleague ( Vicki Price Wright) gifted me this excellent book. It is a PWC publication and reflects the high  standards of PWC consulting.  Chuck full of short pithy case studies this provides a very fertile ground where a business leader can learn how to grow his skills. It is not for the faint of heart, nor the casual reader since this book requires a time commitment to really reap the benefits,  it is that thorough.   IT also provides a good insight into the IT environments/challenges of very large companies. The stories and graphics are illustrative and are essential to your learning.  I was pleased that PWC did not use the text to proselytize one little bit.   Thank you Vicki.

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Putting the Public Back in Public Relations. How social media is reinventing the aging business of PR. Brian Solis & Deirdre Breakenridge.

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Putting the Public Back in Public Relations. How social media is reinventing the aging business of PR. Brian Solis & Deirdre Breakenridge.  2009. ISBN 9780137150694.  The two authors have served their time as PR pros and have written a very definitive book on how to meld PR with the social media to create  much stronger  customer/reader conversation.  From mentions of the beginning pof PR in 1906 through to the most recent innovations this is a very good book. It makes good use of case studies, examples and market truths. As well it is a good easy read.  I especially enjoyed the very thorough treatment of metrics which show numerous ways to bring ROI to the social media space as well as accountability to PR.  A must have book for your marketing dept. In our practise we stress teh effectiveness of good PR to your customers, investors, prospects and employees. It certainly beats out advertising on every level.

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Superfreakonomics. Global cooling, patriotic prostitutes, and why suicide bombers should buy life insurance. Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

Superfreakonomics. Global cooling, patriotic prostitutes, and why suicide bombers should buy life insurance. Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner.  2010. ISBN 9781554686087.  This reads like a novel with twists, turns and surprises on every page.  A very easy to read fact filled and entertaining book.  If you have read Freakonomics you know what you are in for. If not you will find this a treat.  I really enjoyed the discussions form Intelligent Ventures in Seattle.  If you have heard about geoengineering, you will find out more about much simpler responses to global warming than we have head from others. And yes you will hear detractors. But such is the lot of people who debunk sacred cows – especially ones that have so much funding and lobbying attached.

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Seizing The White Space. Business model innovation for growth and renewal. Mark W. Johnson.

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Seizing The White Space. Business model innovation for growth and renewal. Mark W. Johnson.2010 ISBN 9781422124819.  The author is co-founder with Clay Christensen of Innosight.   This book is distilled from many years of applying the Innovators Dilemma.  For that alone it is an important book. However the author has stepped even further down the path of applicability  by forcing you the reader to consider your business as solving the question, ” what job does the customer want done?”  From there one can see applying the ideas of Blue Ocean Strategy (Johnson alls it “white space” . But the growth in your learning continues as you realize just how powerful these ideas are for reinventing your company business model.   The author could have stopped then and it would have been a fine book. But he is thorough and so he proceeds to show you all the things that interfere with new business model innovation, how  many different approaches worked (or failed)  for different companies and the structural thinking behind it.   This is not a huge book , nor a heavy read .  It is theory into practice with a heavy emphasis on practical.  This is a must read, must own book if you are or aspire to be a business leader.

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The New Rules of Marketing & PR. Second ed. David Meerman Scott.

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The New Rules of Marketing & PR. Second ed. How to use social media, blogs, news releases, online video, and viral marketing to reach buyers directly David Meerman Scott.  2010 ISBN 9780470547816.    I reviewed the first edition in June 2007, and really found it ground breaking.   This Second Edition is even better than the first.  His original truths are still true, however he has added the smart use of social media to the arsenal of marketers.   His examples are updated,  pithy, timely and very useful.  Recommended to anyone who thinks they know anything about marketing and also for those who do not.  As ever a well written speedy book. You will remember what he says – it just makes so much sense.

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