Archive for the 'Leadership' Category

The Innovator’s DNA. Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators. Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, Clayton M. Christensen

Group Hug

The Innovator’s DNA.  Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators.  Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, Clayton M. Christensen. 2011. ISBN 9781422134818.  I have all of Christensen’s books and this is a fitting addition to your library.  I agree that the creative/disruptive way to find and approach a problem lies with posing the questions.  Questionstorming as a technique is a great idea. As well they talk about the ten things you have to ask about a customer as they “try to get the job done’.  I appreciate the comment about looking at customer workarounds to get insight into what needs doing.   Easy to read, this one is a great four hour plane ride read.  It will make you think as it is really pragmatic.

Cold Hard Truth. On business, money and life. Kevin O’Leary

English: Entrepreneur & Reality show personality

Cold Hard Truth. On business, money and life. Kevin O’Leary. 2011.ISBN 9780385671767. I am working my way through the books the Canadian Dragons have written.  Kevin’s business  experience comes closer than all the others to my own. Yes he is brusque, some say nasty but he is a real truth teller on Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank.  He also makes the best arguments for investing in stocks/bonds than have a dividend/yield.  It works and I confirm it.  After readingg this book I would have much more time to listen to O’Leary (and Amanda Lang).  All these successful people have a story to tell and lessons you can learn from.  It is always about commitment and keeping going when the opportunity is presented.   Both he and Herjavec state that a business must grow or it dies. O’Leary my be seen as cruel – but he is being  kind to let people know immediately where they stand or their idea is foolish.  He also has very good words for those around him. Worth a read – I could not put it down as it flows well.

Driven .How to succeed in business and in life. Robert Herjavec

English: Robert Herjavec from Dragons' Den in ...

Driven .How to succeed in business and in life. Robert Herjavec. 2010. ISBN 9781554687091. One of the original Dragons on Dragons Den Canada ( also on Shark Tank in the US). A young Croatian comes to Canada, starts with little  and does very well.  This book is less a description of how he built and sold a  series of successful businesses and more an anthology of business advice collected through the years. Very enjoyable , but not concise.  I would advise young business people to read this book.

Decisions. Making the right ones, righting the wrong ones. Jim Treliving

Boston Pizza

Boston's chain logo

Decisions. Making the right ones, righting the wrong ones. Jim Treliving. 2012. ISBN 9781443411813.  The author , one of the founding Dragons on Dragons Den (CBC)  is also a founder of Boston Pizza, Mr Lube and several other businesses. His straight shooting style is evident on TV and in this book.  When you read his book you feel that this is a very trustworthy guy who worked really hard to get to where he is. I would suggest that every Grade 10 student in Canada should read this  book.  We can not all be entrepreneurs, but we can all be upstanding contributing Canadians.  Good read – perfect for a three hour flight. If you have a Canadian business and are thinking on expanding to the US – read his experience and heed the advice.

The Power of Why. Amanda Lang.

Amanda Lang @ CBC Lang and O’Leary Exchange (m...

Amanda Lang @ CBC

The Power of Why. Amanda Lang. 2012. ISBN 9781443413183.  Being a TV personality does not do a person any favors as the medium lessens the impact of the real person. Witness this book. It is thoughtful, surprisingly delightfully fresh and very well written. Lang also does what Christensen does – she makes notes that are as useful as the text.  This is a serious book that will change the way you think (as David Chilton said) .  All Canadians can learn from this.  For me it was the comment about being a problem finder rather than a solver that opened my eyes. I would advise every leader, educator and parent to buy this book and inculcate its ideas in everyone you come across.  In a field full of books on innovation, this one stands very tall.  Great for a flight from SF to New York.

To Sell Is Human. The surprising truth about moving others. Daniel H. Pink.

Cover of "Drive: The Surprising Truth Abo...
Cover of "A Whole New Mind: Moving from t...

To Sell Is Human. The surprising truth about moving others. Daniel H. Pink.  2012. ISBN 9781594487156. Pink ( DriveA Whole New Mind)  has done the world a favour.  This is never a book about how to sell, its a book explaining how sales permeates all our lives.  That said, Pink points out (and explains so well) very useful research (some new, some applied in new ways ) which will help anyone who ever needs to persuade, whether its a client, a manager, a child , a partner or a ticket agent.  This is a story that needs to get out into the wild. Those of us lucky enough to be paid to sell realize that persuasion and movement are essential to today’s selling and we use this in all our daily interactions.  Way to many great ideas here , but one that stuck out for me was that problem finders fare better in life than just being a problem solver.  This is a skill which will outlast whatever changes occur in the marketplace.  A lifeskill book -perfect for a four hour flight.  Buy it and pass it onto your family.

Check out my first rant – on Politicians.

Politician Stay Home.  Jim Rogers had this idea first  (Street Smarts)

Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream. Steve Van Remortel.

Vanilla ice cream

Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream. Steve Van Remortel.2012. ISBN 9781608323876. A complete walk through of a strategic planning process with a difference. The author takes you through all the steps to show you how to discover and develop the individual talents of your team and from there how to learn to better differentiate your company by analyzing all facets.  This system allows the planning team to look at the business with fresh eyes and to develop skills of continuous renewal.  Quite impressive. I have been in a few situations where the company could have benefited from this process. The book is logically organized and clearly written.

The Top 10 Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees. Keith Cameron Smith.

Almost Agent Smith

The Top 10 Distinctions Between Entrepreneurs and Employees. Keith Cameron Smith. 2012. ISBN 9780345535504.  A little book, full of great insights. The author has the ability to clearly and simply articulate and then expand on what makes the difference.  E.g. Distinction no 1. Entrepreneurs take risks because of faith. Employees play it safe because of fear.  This is a worthwhile addition to your self help library.  One of those books that bears multiple re-readings.

The Launch Pad. Inside Y combinator Silicon Valley’s most exclusive school for startups. Randall Stross

Image representing Y Combinator as depicted in...

The Launch Pad. Inside Y combinator Silicon Valley’s most exclusive school for startups.  Randall Stross. 2012. ISBN  9781591845294. The author( a good  writer)  spent the summer of 2011 with the 64 start-ups funded by Y combinator and recored what happens.  It is three month uber intensive (selective 3% of applicants get in)  program ending in a marathon Demo Day in front of several hundred qualified investors.  The book has similarities to Tracey Kidders 1981 classic , The Soul of New Machine,  in that all the covers are off and you get to look right into how it is done – warts and all.  This makes this a new classic.  Y Combinator is really Paul Graham the founder, and his core of follow on investors who put up $150 00 for every company that demos.   About 2/3   of the companies each session get even more follow on investing, 1/3 a small amount more and 1/5  none at all.  The success rate shows that by 2010,  Dropbox exited for more than  the next 199 all together , and No 2 OMGPOP exited for more than the next 198 cos altogether. Perhaps you can add up 21 of non exiting stars who had a value of $ 4.7 b. So the odds are long, but this model appears to work better than any other startup model.   You need highly selective auditions, companies that had a killer coder and a killer salesperson,  non stop attention to the job at hand and sufficient guaranteed follow on  funding to make the time/effort  expended worth the while of the participants.