Archive for the 'Strategy' Category

Global Catastrophes and Trends. The Next fifty Years. Vaclav Smil.

English: Photo of Vaclav Smil Français : Photo...

Global Catastrophes and Trends. The Next fifty Years. Vaclav Smil.. 2008. ISBN  9780262195867. At first this seems like a weighty book to go through. However the widely read, and acknowledged expert author  ( Resident of Manitoba)  has just the right style to weave anecdote, research and analytic data together to create a compelling read.  It may be more for the Economist vs People magazine reader, but if you care about the planet and what may or may not occur bases on the numbers and the trends, a very needed read.   E.g. 9/11 killed about the same numbers of people as those who die in the  every two weeks because of medical  errors in the hospital, or every four weeks from car accidents.  Extrapolate what would happen if the money spent daily to  “prevent” another 9/11 addressed hospital error? And  car accidents and medical error continue. while 9/11 happened once.   Or that Russia kills so many adult makes due to chronic alcoholism and related events ( car crashes etc)  that their population will decline by 25% by 2025?  Read this book and you will have a completely different view of of the 6 pm news broadcast.

Value Proposition Design. How to create products and services customers want. Osterwalder, Pigneur, Bernarda & Smith

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Value Proposition Design. How to create products and services customers want.  Osterwalder, Pigneur, Bernarda & Smith. 2014. ISBN 9781118968055. A textbook, workbook and piece of graphic art all in one.   In our practise we help companies discover their value proposition and it is quite a bit of hard work for them.  This is a thorough look at the process with a terrific front end explanation as to why this is so important.   the book is a significant contribution to the field.  It should be required reading for all technology companies ( and more) . Clearly written , but you will need a lot of thinking time as you work through this process.

In the Beginning…Was the Command Line. , Neal Stephenson.

Cover of "In the Beginning...was the Comm...

Cover of In the Beginning…was the Command Line

In the Beginning…Was the Command Line. , Neal Stephenson. 1999. ISBN 9780061832901.  A short pithy and often hilarious essay by one of our eras better science fiction writers, coders and journalists.  I discovered that Neal had released quite a lot of his material into the public domain and in my searches found this essay.   Written about the time Apple was in a decline, Microsoft in the midst of antitrust suits and Linux was in a heyday, it is a great history lesson and guide for future programmers.   As an old UNIX programmer I know exactly what he is saying about its robustness and have at times decried that IOS is just a version of Linux, completely locked away from the bulk of the users.  This not a Cathedral vs Bazaar argument, but a simple story about how to get utility and usage out of what is available these days, if you want to.

A great comment, ” Apple has always been a hardware company first, using its software to protect the walled system system.  While Microsoft has chosen to be a software company,  using the cheap hardware out there, and forcing hardware manufacturers to write the code/drivers to work with Windows. , which extends Windows at no cost. ”

It will be interesting to see if his predictions play out – that OS  prices may inevitably  drive to zero.   Well written and useful if you like this kind of material.

A montage showing author Neal Stephenson and f...

Soccernomics. Why England loses, Why Spain, Germany and Brazil win, Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski.

Cover of "Soccernomics: Why England Loses...

Soccernomics.  Why England loses, Why Spain, Germany and Brazil win, Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski. 2014. This is Freakonomics for soccer an updated edition by experts in the field.  How data analytics are driving soccer  forward toward a high skill, high strategy game, leaving  Canada, Africa, and England a bit behind.  The authors trace the impact of strategists and statisticians as well as the Dutch total soccer movement.  They look at all facets of soccer all over the world and pick Iran and the US as ones to watch , depending on what they do after the World Cup.  The impact of a World Cup on a country is surprising ( Its really a big party so everyone feels good – pretty poor Roi). A fascinating and insightful yet easy to read book.  You will learn a lot.

Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again. Selecting candidates who are absolutely driven to succeed. Dr Christopher Croner & Richard Abraham.

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Never Hire a Bad Salesperson Again. Selecting candidates who are absolutely driven to succeed.  Dr Christopher Croner & Richard Abraham. 2014.  ISBN 9780974199610. I admit it,  I am an engineer and during my career I have been drawn to logic and  measurement tools that help in the sales and marketing process.  I have always rejected that it is an Art and you can rely on your gut for making hiring decisions. And  finally here is a book that provides insight and tools  to address the hiring process, backed up by significant research.   The A performers have drive ( a combination of competitiveness, a need for recognition and optimism) . These authors have sussed out how to identify the indicators of drive and incorporate it  into your hiring process.  A tool for every sales manager and entrepreneur to read and have handy. This is an excellent addition to the sales managers toolkit.  But you have to use it. I appreciate that it is short and snappily written so that any sales manager can get up to speed quickly.  Best advocacy of the importance of an industrial psychologist I have read.


Invent It. Sell It, Bank It! Lori Greiner


Invent It. Sell It, Bank It! Lori Greiner. 2014. ISBN 9780804176439.   If you have a million dollar invention idea that you want to make a reality then this is a book for you.  One of the Sharks on Shark Tank, the author gives you the straight goods on making stuff and  selling it.  She has created over 400 products and generated %500 m in revenue to boot. (And its mostly on QVS.  Easy to read with lots of secrets laid out for you to take in.  Especially important if you are going to make things ( like you would in a MakerSpace).  I liked the book and found that it adds to good value to this space.

Game the Plan. Every sales rep’d dream Every CFOs nightmare. Christopher Cabrera.

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Game the Plan. Every sales rep’s  dream Every CFO’s nightmare. Christopher Cabrera. 2014. ISBN 9781938416545.   What a good book.  Sales reps everywhere will recognize their games and plays that they used to max their commissions.  The stories are great, and the lessons are better. Chris accepts that the games will continue and he lays out plans such that the company goals align with the reps goals. His insights into multi generational sales teams are bang on.  I can see years of poorly performing sales leaders  with inappropriate decisions being recognized in this book.  Absolute necessity for all sales leaders  to buy and read this book.   ~ 180 pp – you can read it on a regional flight – the first time but you will want to  go back to it.

Best Practices are Stupid. 40 ways to out-innovate the competition. Stephen M. Shapiro.

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Best Practices are Stupid. 40 ways to out-innovate the competition. Stephen M. Shapiro. 2011. ISBN 9781591843856. A small but powerful book that leaders will need to have on their bookshelf. The author knows this topic ans is able to deliver the 40 tips concisely with impact. I have used a few of the ideas already and they really did “cut through” the fog.  Lots of resources on his website as well as a blog on the topic.  You can also get the first five chapters as a sample.  Buying the book is a bit of a challenge but it is worth the search. Good stuff for a three hour flight.  I loved it that using best practices is the cost of playing the game- not what you need to win. His sections on game play are worth the price of the book


The Joshua Principal. Leadership secrets of selling. Tony J. Hughes

English: Car Sales Business - Fareham Situated...

The Joshua Principal. Leadership secrets of selling. Tony J. Hughes.   2013. ISBN 9780646503409.  This could be a nomination for b2b sales book of the year.  The author uses a story to communicate the growth of individual sales skills and attitudes.  Thus it is a very readable and easily digested text.  However I only recommend this book to the serious salesperson determined to be in the top 5% – if you have not the ambition nor aptitude to do the work , go back to the football game.   The premise is bang on and supremely current.   The process is easy to remember and straightforward to learn.  I would recommend this book to all sales schools that want to turn out high performers.  Perfect for a cross country plane ride.


the signal and the noise. why so many predictions fail – but some don’t. nate silver.

English: Icon representing Bayesian statistics

the signal and the noise. why so many predictions fail – but some don’t. nate silver.2012. ISBN 9781594204111. A hard book to classify. Better than Freakonomics and others of that ilk, this book has some pretty hard math and science behind it.  You will learn how gamblers, chess, baseball, poker, the stock market, climatology, weather, terrorism,  and earthquake forecasting schemas work and where they are weak.  As well you get some great advice on Bayesian mathematics, how to reduce  errors in your forecasts ( but never eliminate them, nor do you eliminate your bias).

Great lines (From many sources) :

  • The future seen as sprinkles of probability
  • With more evidence we can get closer and closer to the truth
  • The majority of scientific hypothesis deemed to be true are actually false
  • Big Data will make us more prone to failure
  • most data is noise
  • combining forecasts could reduce error 15-20%
  • the stock market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent
  • unknown unknowns are gaps in our knowledge – but we do not know they exist

Valuable book for your library – this is required reading to reset your brain away from common fallacies. Very readable, good for that trip to the UK and back . My only gripe is that the paper quality is too low – for my eyes I need a brighter white to  see the text.