March 27th 2017

Illuminate. Nancy Duarte & Patti Sanchez

Twelve (Patti Smith album)

Illuminate. Nancy Duarte & Patti Sanchez. 2016. ISBN 9781101980163.   The sub head says,  Ignite change through speeches, stories, ceremonies, and symbols.   This is a book for change agents, almost a blueprint for change.   Liberally sprinkled with recognizable examples the text is logically organized.  The impetus for the book was a serious reorg that Duarte had to undergo when her business really took off.  Likened to changing jet engines in mid air, Duarte carried it off.  This is a book that you need t read end to end.

March 20th 2017

Confessions of a Pricing Man. How price affects everything. Hermann Simon

World map showing countries by nominal GDP per...

Confessions of a Pricing Man. How price affects everything. Hermann Simon. 2015. ISBN 9783319203997.  I follow pricing literature quite closely.  Each book has its value, but many times it can drop rather quickly into the weeds of economic theory.  This author is not afraid of complexity, but her does know how to create value for the reader.   Pricing discipline for profit does drive everything and it is always wiser to maintain profit over volume.  The analyses he presents with the multiple real world examples ( and you will likely recognize most of them)  builds a very readable book in a genre that too often is not known for readability.   Again I am struck by the contrast between firms understanding  that they need to deliver value to a customer to stabilize/grow their profits, yet in North  America it is all about commission sales based on volume, not profits.   Every CEO, CFO and Sales manager should read this book.

March 13th 2017

Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice. Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan.

Photo I took in Rochester, Minnesota 2005-12-3...

Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice.  Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan. .2016. ISBN  9780062435637.   As ever any book from Christensen is a delight to read. This one fleshes out the concept of a Job to Be Done as the driving force behind successful innovation.  Many successful and  innovative companies start out with a clear focus on the users job to be done and they are wildly successful. Later as this focus gets muddied by all the reams of data coming from the marketplace, many companies lose their way.   Using experience gained from the numerous companies they  have worked with over the years, the authors clearly show how the successful companies like Amazon, Intuit, The Khan Academy ,  The Mayo Clinic and others continue to stay focused on their North Star.  I recommend this book to anyone in a position of leadership to read, ponder , reread and implement.

March 6th 2017

A Truck Full Of Money. Tracey Kidder.

Soul of a New Machine

A Truck Full Of Money.  One man’s quest to recover from great success. Tracey Kidder. 2016.  ISBN 9780399589553.  I read Kidders seminal book , The Soul of a New Machine when I was first selling computer hardware.  It was a book that changed and then reinforced my outlook to these wonderful machines.  This  book takes a look at the career of Paul English – who co created Kayak and then struck big time money.  With his easy to read, cogent style, Kidder makes this into a novel that pulls you along English’s career track.  You will come away, knowing much more about the challengers and pull of programming/software engineering and the mindset of these very creative often difficult folks.  I recommend this book to anyone in the software industry today as well as those contemplating a career in it.

February 27th 2017

The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need. Antony Iannarino.

English: Journal of Personal Selling & Sales M...

The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need. Antony Iannarino. 2016.   This is a very refreshing and complete book. You will first develop the mind set and then the skill sets of a well developed salesperson.  By working through this text, you will develop  maturity and insight needed to sell in today’s business world.  There is something for very sales person and sales manager in this book , regardless how long you have been doing this job.  Buy it, read it and re read every year.

February 19th 2017

The Dead Zone. Stephen King

Cover of "The Dead Zone"

The Dead Zone. Stephen King. 1980.  This book is oddly prescient. It follows two characters. One is a young man who at times has a form of second sight when he touches some people and he can glimpse their future. The other is a career huckster , with  a vicious self importance who builds a business, then becomes sheriff,  mayor and the Congressman. At that time the young man gets to touch the Congressman and he sees a portent of the future that is terrible. The congressman bears an uncanny resemblance to Trump in his growth an actions.  This book is 37 years old.  Like other king novels, it is a galloping good read, but the story is often too close to home these days.  Soon to be a TV series.

February 13th 2017

The three-body problem. Cixin Liu

Inretial co-ordinates in 3-body system

The three-body problem. Cixin Liu. 2014  ISBN 19781466853447. This is part 1 of a sci fi trilogy by Cixin Liu, China’s most famous sci fi writer.  Much of the early chapters  revolve around the impacts/effects of  The Cultural Revolution on chinese scientists.   From this emerges a decision to reach out to the stars to find extraterrestrial life.   Unfortunately the first earth person to make contact has become disaffected by humanity and she starts a sequence  whereby an invasion force is sent to earth – and the journey will take 400 years.  This book ends with mankind realizing the terrible impact of  the future invasion and what may ensue (besides the elimination of humanity) .  The author takes you on a terrific journey in physics ( maths and computer science) that will really keep your attention. In this the author is refreshingly different  from American authors. He does not try to spoon feed the science and maths, nor over simplify the challenges.  Now I have to find the next two books (  The Dark Forest,  Death’s End)  to see how this comes out.

January 30th 2017

Predictable Prospecting. How to increase your B2B sales pipeline. Marylou Tyler & Jeremy Donovan.

SuperTarget logo, 2006–present.

Predictable Prospecting. How to increase your B2B sales pipeline. Marylou Tyler & Jeremy Donovan.  2016. ISBN 9781259835643.

A most  fitting adjunct/companion  to Aaron Ross ‘s an Marylou Tylers Predictable Revenue book  This is easily the most thorough/useful book on lead generation I have read. It’s definitely in the running for sales book of the year.  Using broard steps of Target, Engage and Optimize the authors teach you how to get the most out of your SDRs in order to drive bottom line revenue to your company.  Everything they talk about is achievable, tested and valuable. Every CEO  and Sales manager needs this book on their reading list and desk library.

January 23rd 2017

Mistakes Millionaires Make. Lessons from 30 successful entrepreneurs. Harry Clark.

Spelling mistakes in Hebrew

Mistakes Millionaires Make.  Lessons from 30 successful entrepreneurs. Harry Clark. 2016. ISBN9781626343283.   The author, a member of EO went out to 30 others members/acquaintances who like him had built up and lost significant sums while running their businesses. He extracts extremely expensive lessons learned, how to recognize and avoid this issues and then inoculate yourself  against making those same mistakes.  The language is simple, unvarnished and concise.  The damage that these mistakes caused  to their business, family life , investors and friends was significant.  Each story is worth a read and a reread.  Every entrepreneur needs this book.

January 16th 2017

Pancakes in Paris. Craig Carlson.

Deutsch: Paris: Eiffelturm und Marsfeld

Pancakes in Paris. Craig Carlson. 2016. ISBN 9781492632122.  So a young American falls in love with all things France and Paris and through many twists and turns eventually finds his way back there to open up a Breakfast in America diner, since that is what he missed the most while living there.   His writing is very personal and human and he is totally unvarnished about the byzantine labor laws in France that make running a business a nightmare.    You will laugh and cry through this book as the author meets and then then gets through many incredible struggles. There are some good business and life lessons in this book.