June 4th 2020

run_frictionless. Free a founder from a sales role. Antony Coundouris

run_frictionless. Free a founder from a sales role. Antony Coundouris. 2018.  A concise road map and workbook on how to build a sales system that allows a founder to step away from daily driving sales. Using four quadrants to lay out the building blocks with many examples and a  full case study the author takes you through all the work and stages needed to be followed.   The quadrants are

  • Who we serve
  • What we serve
  • Who we are
  • How we serve

Under each are many statements of work to be done, how to do it and why you do it.

This is a useful book for any startup founder or those who are still driving all the sales after many years.

There is a better  way.

May 25th 2020

Salesman on Fire. Carson V.Heady

Salesman on Fire. Carson V.Heady. 2020.  The fable of Vincent Scott.  It follows his fictional career in selling up to present day. Through a biographical approach the content is laid out in a day long visit with Scott.  Scott’s life as a sales phenomena is laid out in three previous books and this one continues the saga.   This contains some very useful sales assistance content as well as how “the Man’ can get you in larger organizations.  Very easy read and well worth it for the young and experienced salesperson.  There be dangers afoot youngster!

May 18th 2020

The Ultimate Differentiator. The sales manager’s guide to talent development. Matthew McDarby

The Ultimate Differentiator. The sales manager’s guide to talent development. Matthew McDarby.  2020. ISBN 9781947486157.  A short book  for new and experienced sales managers.  Quite a few case study examples of where you can go wrong and how to set it right.  I found his hiring suggestions and ongoing training ideas very useful.  This books sits alone in the sales book category and does a very good job of presenting concise and simple arguments on improvement. Very apt for today’s world.  Good for sales manager and early CEOs.

May 14th 2020

Agency. William Gibson

Agency. William Gibson. 2020. ISBN 9780451490988.  A vision of a future where players can go back in time and create a “stub” a new future that plays out differently from what was reality. A cast of very original characters who can look back in time and interact with people who are living a different future from the original. Gibson weaves a surreal and personality rich tale that draws you into something that just might happen.  I could not put it down and finished it wanting more from this author, Just what will he do with the pandemic?

May 6th 2020

The Good Neighbor. The life and work of Fred Rogers. Maxwell King.

The Good Neighbor. The life and work of Fred Rogers. Maxwell King. 2018. ISBN 9780419727726.   The author became quite a friend of Rogers and helped many of his initiatives carry on after Mr Rogers died.  This is a very kind and detailed view of quite a complex and driven man. You find out about the wealth in the Rogers family and how it did not shape how Fred Rogers viewed life yet the family connections and resources certainly contributed to how Fred became so good at what he did. Its an insightful , albeit long book and you will enjoy the many anecdotes around Fred Rogers. He was certainly well ahead of his time in his approach to early childhood education. When we were raising our boys, we  restricted day time TV so did not allow them to watch programs like Mr Rogers etc. Perhaps that was an error, but we did not trust TV to be good for children. We did not know the story behind Mr Rogers.  I enjoyed the read and it is worth it.

April 21st 2020

New Dark Age. Technology and the End of the Future. James Bridle.

New Dark Age. Technology and the End of the Future. James Bridle. 2019. ISBN 139781786635488. The author is a British technology artist and commentator. His thesis is that the more information, data, networks and visibility we have , the less the society acts on it.  Whether it is declining scientific rigor, populist journalism, conspiracy theories, Creepy YouTube videos directed at children, NSA type spying worldwide, fake news, disinformation he feels that technology is not a panacea to ills that plague us.  Each chapter is an unique topic and could stand alone.  Its dystopian , dark  and filled with foreboding.  Yet I felt that his point of view was worthwhile and illustrative of valid points. I recommend this book to educators, parents and educated people as a counterpoint to populism.

April 14th 2020

The Secrets We Kept. Lara Prescott

The Secrets We Kept. Lara Prescott. 2019. ISBN9780525656166.  So what did happen to the brave women of the OSS ( predator of the CIA) who worked for Wild Bill Donovan in Europe? After years in WW II going behind enemy lines, running Resistance forces and all sorts of daring operations, they return to the US and the CIA offices. There they were relegated to the typing pool while their male colleagues became their bosses.  This book chronicles the life and times of several of these ladies as well as what happened to Boris Pastenak ( Dr Zhivago) after the CIA published his book and displeased the Soviet higher ups.  An excellent follower to Spymistress as some of the same people are in both.  Good gripping read.

April 7th 2020

Spymistress. The true story of the greatest female secret agent of WW II. William Stevenson.

Spymistress. William Stevenson. 2011. ISBN 9781611452310.  The story of Vera Atkins the person who ran multiple agents for the British SOE prior to , during and after WW II.  It reads like a thriller , but its all real. You will despair at the utter incompetence of the individuals in charge of Britain at this time, chosen because of the old school tie affiliations rather than any talent. Rampant antisemitism ran through much of this group and the Royals. You learn the real effects of the Soviet penetration of the British secret agencies and how Stalin plotted  to extend the war to allow his armies to lock up much of Eastern and Central Europe. The old boy network went to freat lengths to tie up much of this material until the 2000s. So many familiar names in this book of real heroes who went on to continue to do great things as well as other heroes who often were left to be executed in Europe through machinations by the British Central Office and the OSS. Great read.

March 31st 2020

Here We Are. American Dreams, American Nightmares. AArti Namdev ShaShahani

Here We Are. American Dreams, American Nightmares. AArti Namdev ShaShahani. 2019. ISBN 9781250204752.  An Indian family finds it way eventually to America.  They start to build a better life following the American dream getting green cards and working to citizenship. Through a serious of misadventure and  poor legal advice the father gets on the wrong side of immigration and lives in a perpetual state of fear of deportation. His daughter  (a NYTimes journalist) details the trials and tribulations of the many years  and what they went through. Its also a story being played out throughout  America still.  Very human story that will bring the people involved to the fore.

March 24th 2020

Iran: Make Love Not War. Mary Jane Walker.

Iran: Make Love Not War. Mary Jane Walker. 2019 ISBN 978047349160.  A concise and breezy trip through modern Iran.  The author is quite the adventure hound in the nothing ventured , nothing gained style.  She traveled mostly alone and met many helpful Iranians along the way. She has an eye for art and architecture and seems able to talk to pretty well anyone.  Her colour photos are worth the book. After reading this travelogue you will come away with a sense as to what the average Iranian thinks. As well, she finds that the locals are quite unlike and detached from the Muslim leaders, leaders who appear paranoid at being overthrown like they did to the Shah.  Locals are just folks getting by and apart from fearing for their future, you would feel quite at home with them.  This is also a short history lessons on Persia and Persian kings. The descriptions of the cities and architecture is also well done.  Your heart goes out to the mismanagement of water and top level corruption which imposes hardship on the locals.