Archive for January, 2009

Salt. A world history. Mark Kurlanski

Salt is mostly sodium chloride (NaCl). This sa...
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Salt. A world history. Mark Kurlanski.2002. ISBN 0142001619. I wish they had taught history this way when I was chained to my high school seat. Instead of itching to get at math, i would have paid attention. The author (who has a delightful easy to read writing style) cut his teeth writing about the Basques and also cod. This one is a real keeper. Yes it has some recipes (very old) and lots of geography covered (since everyone needs/uses salt). But the interlinking between the rise and fall of civilizations that followed the fortunes of the salt industry, is simply fascinating. Great airplane /holiday book – reads like a fiction novel and it just makes so much sense. The gold nuggets for me were the insights into how govts, families and cartes manipluate these markets and countries. One thing I believe is that cultures and people do not change.

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Here are the Emerging BC Rocket Companies (Ones to Watch ) for 2009

Here are the 2009 Ready to Rocket 25 Companies

Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play. Mahan Khalsa

A Day In the Lemonade Business
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Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play.  Mahan Khalsa. The demise of dysfunctional selling and the advent of helping clients succeed. 1999. ISBN 1883219507.  

(Just buy it) When I read a book and find it really insightful/useful  you can tell my the number of Post It stickies attached to pages.  I used an entire package on this book.!  If Sharon Drew Morgen is the #1 practitioner of the ultimate qualifying phone call, Khalsa is No 1 in the consultative sale and follow- up.  With these two authors,  you really need little else for the study of sales.  The author has worked for the Covey Cos since 1995, and he has devoted his consultancy to this work.  It took me quite some time to track down a copy of this book but it was well worth it.  You can read an excerpt  at

His company is the sales performance group.

The real gold items  for me were his consistent responses to actions that happen in every b2b sales situation.  He has a process,  plans and activities that help you help your clients succeed.  A very ethical person comes through in this book.

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Shakespeare. The world as a stage. Bill Bryson.

Cover of
Cover of Shakespeare

Shakespeare. The world as a stage. Bill Bryson. 2007. ISBN 9780061673696.  This completes my task  to read everything Bill Bryson has written so far. A book on the life of Shakespeare is always going to be a small book, since so little was written down about him.  Bryson does a good job of organising and relating what is known, what is surmised and what is made up about “The Bard”.  This is a quick, easy  read I enjoyed. Yet the book seemed to be missing much I could bite on – which is more likely due to the subject than the author.   I was intrigued by the whole story wrto debunking Francis Bacon as WS with its genesis in the nutty thoughts of a US spinster, who seemed gifted at bending influential peoples ears and wills.

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How we Lead matters. Reflections on a life of leadership. Marilyn Carlson Nelson

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How we Lead matters. Reflections on a life of leadership. Marilyn Carlson Nelson.  2008. ISBN 9780071600170.   Marilyn Carlson Nelson was CEO of Carlson, which had brands such as Radisson, Regent, carlson Wagon Lit Travel, T.G.I Fridays, Carlson mMarketing, and other hotel chains.  This little book is very inspirational and  useful for any leader.  She goes beyond the obvious platitude method by applying every idea to a situation  she faced.   I also enjoyed that each idea was prefaced by a short famous quotation that was vey apt. I found myself re reading the quotation after the article as well.  The kind of book you put on your bedside table to ispire you each day. It does not have to be rushed through – but savoured.  Truth has no need to be wordy.

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Blog Blazers. 40 top bloggers share their secrets. Stephanie Grenier.

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Blog Blazers. 40 top bloggers share their secrets. Stephanie Grenier.  2008. ISBN 9780981085203.  OK if you want to really be businesslike about your blog (or your companies blog), this is one meaty little book.  If you have no ambitions/questions/ideas about blogging, skip this post.

Take my example, I read the book slowly, enjoying the nuggets that each of the bloggers shared.  When I finished the book, I had a full day of work ahead  to  add the first five things to what I was already doing with this blog. My support guy wishes I had never read the book I am sure, since I have another ten things to do next update day.

This book reinforced and dramatically increased my utility and usage of Twitter, Stumbledupon and de.lic.ious  . I updated my Digg account and picked up that  RSS feed to Google Reader – awesome.  I have new ideas about trackbacks, retweets and commenting.

This book is likely the leadng best practises on blogging repository at the moment.  If this is

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something you care about, you need this book.

You can get it on

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Mimesis. The representation of reality in western civilization. Erich Auerbach.

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Mimesis. The representation of reality in western civilization. Erich Auerbach. 1953. ISBN 9780691113364.   Aurebach was a

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Whats with all this “Selling in a Down Economy” stuff?

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Whats with this “Selling in a Down Economy” stuff?  Consider this my 2009 rant.  I am getting really tired of my inbox and RSS feeds being filled with undifferentiated sales stuff using phrases like:

  • Increase margins and profits with…
  • Selling in a down economy
  • When the going gets tough….
  • Sales secrets for challenging times…
  • When your sales manager just does not understand …

At this rate I will wear out my Delete key.

Who writes this stuff?  (It must be salesmen) Why would I even open up the message – when it looks like everyone else?  If everyone else is saying this, why does that make it a good idea for you to?   How does selling like everyone else show that you are different ?

To be effective in any market you need to be seen as different (Differentiation people!),  regardless of the economy. The whole premise of being precise is to match your message more exactly than your competition to the target audience. Different people need and read different “precise” messages.

Think about it.  you know in your heart that you want to be talked to about things you are interested in, by people who quickly show they will not waste your time.  That will not happen if they look and sound like everyone else.  And that’s 30.

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The Gods that Failed. How blind faith in our markets has cost us our future. Larry Elliot & Dan Atkinson.

The Gods that Failed. How blind faith in our markets has cost us our future. Larry Elliot & Dan Atkinson.  2008. ISBN 978184792030.  Two financial writers in the UK  have penned quite a scathing review of the present financial situation from the view from the UK.  It gives you a good   touch point to review the US and Cdn takes.  Things are not that great all over, but they  really make a case that core to rebuilding our system is a strong robust middle class. The banks need to be regulated and taken back to their basic functions.  What they say we all can expect ( no surprises):

  • Taxes will rise.
  • Oil will drop then rise steadily (there is not enough)
  • House prices will fall -worldwide
  • The bad news continues with little guess how many years.
  • If food energy costs rise we risk a wage- price spiral
  • A set of  environmental disasters would be very hard to recover from at this time. (Eg Katrina)
  • Geopolitics will be unstable eg. Russia will club others with their oil and gas riches.
  • China could suffer the Olympic “curse” unless they spend even more on their infrastructure than they spent on Beijing.
  • State supervision and control of financial sector will dramatically impact business behavior.
  • Large reforms of the banking sector
  • Unions to survive will become more pro-trade

They make quite a statement about the need to use democracy to force accountability through all  politics with now the present public ownership in some business sectors. This needs an increase in public attention to voting etc. To Governments they suggest:

  • Don’t spend what you do not have
  • Increase taxes on the wealthy
  • Reduce corporate welfare
  • Increase the safety net for the poor
  • Invest in education, technology, and forward facing infrastructure.

Check them out at

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