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61. The Improvement Guide : A Practical
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62. More Than a Pink Cadillac : Mary
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63. W.D. Gann Treasure Discovered:
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64. Confessions of an Economic Hit
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65. Built for Growth: Expanding Your
66. Built from Scratch : How a Couple
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67. A Whole New Mind: Moving from
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68. John Kenneth Galbraith : His Life,
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69. The Fred Factor : How Passion
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70. Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment:
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76. Joy At Work: A Revolutionary Approach
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77. The Power of Appreciative Inquiry:
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78. Fun Is Good : How To Create Joy
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79. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective
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80. Double-Digit Growth : How Great

61. The Improvement Guide : A Practical Approach to Enhancing Organizational Performance (Jossey-Bass Business and Management Series)
by Gerald J.Langley, Kevin M.Nolan, Clifford L.Norman, Lloyd P.Provost, Thomas W.Nolan, Clifford L. Norman
list price: $48.00
our price: $48.00
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Asin: 0787902578
Catlog: Book (1996-07-12)
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Sales Rank: 29586
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Improve quality and productivity in most any organization

Based on W. Edwards Deming's model, this guide offers an integrated approach to testing and improvement?one that is designed to deliver quick and substantial results. Using simple stories to illustrate core ideas, the authors?all active consultants?introduce a new, flexible model for improving quality and productivity in diverse settings. They draw from research conducted in a variety of areas?manufacturing, government, and schools?to present a practical tool kit of ideas, examples, and applications. What's more, they've included a Resource Guide to Change Concepts so even beginners can utilize the tested techniques of some of the world's most experienced practitioners.

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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read for all Black Belts
This is a very practical and powerful guide for improvement.

1. The first revelation this book brings is: improvement is a change. From this viewpoint, the fundamental questions faced by the improver (e.g. Green Belts and Black Belts) are:

(1) What are we trying to accomplish? (Define phase)
(2) How will we know if a change will result in an improvement? (What are the key Y's?)
(3) What changes can we make that will result in improvement?
(What are the key X's and their settings to affect Y's)
Appropriate tools from '6-sigma' tool sets can be used to seek answers to (2) and (3).

2. The Guide emphasizes testing a change in small scale before full implementation so we can learn and improve the proposed change using the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle. This significantly improves our typical 'trial-and-error' approach.

3. The Guide classifies improvement into 3 categories:
(1) Eliminate Quality Problems (the aim of many '6-sigma' projects)
(2) Reduce Costs while maintaining or improving quality (the goal of many internally focused improvement efforts)
(3) Expanding Customer Expectations
Specific advises and examples are presented for each of these categories.

4. Best of all is a list of 70 Change Concepts categorized under 9 sessions, e.g. standardization under Manage Variation, Synchronize under Improve Work Flow.
Using these change concepts can significantly reduce the time to develop the specific changes.

This book is very easy to follow and contains a lot of examples. It is a must read for all improvement practitioners including Green Belts and Black Belts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Improvement viewed as a science.
Whether involved with improving products/processes within a business or coaching little league baseball, The Improvement Guide provides a practical and fundamental approach for improving performance. The book serves as an excellent reference for those involved with change, specifically, change that will result in improvement.

A few of the items from the book which ring in my mind continuously include:

Improvement can be viewed as a science (in fact, some of us do!).

Three questions provide the framework for improvement: 1. What are we trying to accomplish? 2. How will we know if we if a change will result in an improvement? 3. What changes can we make that will result in improvement?

While there are many opportunities to change, there are only 70 change concepts (included in the Appendix) available to us today.

Any system for improvement will include five activities: 1. Establishing and communicating the purpose of the organization/team. 2. Viewing the organization/team as a system. 3. Designing and managing the a system for gathering information for improvement 4. Planning for improvement and integrating it with business planning. 5. Managing individual and team improvement activities.

Leaders are required to implement change that will result in improvement and they draw their power from three sources (the informal leader gets his/her power from sources 2 and 3 below). 1. Authority or position 2. Knowledge 3. Personality and persuasiveness (caring about people)

These items and many more, are introduced in the book via an easy-to-understand model that uses proven methodology for developing, testing, and implementing change that produces specific, identifiable improvements.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Answer to Dr. Deming's question: "By What Method?"
Dr. W. Edwards Deming, whose management ideas and Profound Knowledge provide the theoretical underpinnings of this book, continually asked the question to anxious audiences: "By what method? How do you go about it?" As a professional in the quality sciences field, I believe this book has the answer to those questions as it relates to improvement. The Improvement Guide defines improvement and describes in complete detail workable, easy to use techniques that are effective and time-tested. The book is based around the Improvement Model, an expanded and improved version of the Deming-Shewhart cycle, whose historical roots trace are grounded in applications of the scientific method and applied scientists since Roger Bacon. The principle of testing on a small scale, learning using the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle, and building knowledge sequentially using the Improvement Model are some of the most practical and useful aspects of the book. Part I is written on an introductory level and provides lots of simple examples that guide the beginner through theory and practice. The heart of the book, and some of its most useful content, describes ways to develop, test, and implement a change. The insights provided, based on decades of experience and knowledge of the authors, are invaluable. They are followed up by thoroughly documented and easy to understand case studies that ring true using real life examples related to manufacturing, services, health care, and a variety of standard business and educational processes. Finally, the third section describes an integrated approach to various standard improvement goals and useful strategies for achieving them. This section also includes extremely insightful guidance for leaders trying to promote and enable improvement, and an innovative and thought-provoking section suggesting techniques for expanding customer expectations to increase demand for products and/or services. This section, too, is replete with examples and case studies to support and illustrate methods and concepts.

This book should be studied by anyone, beginner or experienced professional, interested in a systematic method for improving processes, products, or services. I strongly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The definitive book on performance improvement
I think this is the most important and practical book available on performance improvement since Deming's "The New Economics". I found this book to be highly useful and well articulated around the practical application of Deming's system of profound knowledge, authored by some of the world's most preeminent thought leaders and practitioners in quality improvement. Chock full of relevant and easy to understand examples. The Model for Improvement, introduced in this book, is an amazingly simple way to bring about improvement in any undertaking. If you are interested in performance this book is a must.

5-0 out of 5 stars A significant contribution to quality literature
In the extensive library of quality material, a select few items stand out for their practical approach to implementing powerful quality principles in such a manner to be understood by everyone. These authors, strongly tied to Deming principles, are consultants with Associates in Process Improvement, a national quality consulting firm, and have consulted on quality with numerous industries in the US, Canada, and Europe. They are heavily schooled in statistics and quality engineering and now add this valuable item to the elite group of quality tools. The book is driven by their simplified approach to the now well known PDSA cycle, preceding this with their three fundamental questions: What are we trying to accomplish?, How will we know a change is an improvement?, and What changes can we make that will result in improvement? After considering these questions, the authors then take the reader through the classic PDSA steps in this useful model of quality improvement easily adaptable in any business. Part 1 introduces and explains this model, part 2 further applies the model in exemplary business situations, and part 3 offers solid advice for leadership in a quality organization. The added resource guide, alone worth the investment in this work, further explains how different executives are applying in their business the numerous concepts that fill this excellent guide to improvement. This is a very useful addition to the library of any quality professional, and will be most useful to those newly entering the endless road to quality improvement. ... Read more

62. More Than a Pink Cadillac : Mary Kay, Inc.'s Nine Leadership Keys to Success
by Jim Underwood
list price: $21.95
our price: $14.93
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Asin: 0071408398
Catlog: Book (2002-12-05)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 25638
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Remarkable insight into the leadership culture of one of the world's largest cosmetics companies

It's no secret that Mary Kay Inc. -- home of the famous "Pink Cadillac" -- is one of the best run and most successful companies in the world, prompting Harvard professors and U.S. Government agencies to study what made the company a global phenomenon.But what many people may not realize is that Mary Kay is much more than a Pink Cadillac.While this widely recognized icon is a symbol of top performance, it stands for something greater - a way of doing business with a personal concern for people that has made Mary Kay a different kind of company.This book explains the methods and mindset that can bring the same kind of success to your organization.

More than a Pink Cadillac provides insights into a unique and extraordinarily successful business - one that grew out of, and is still founded upon, a simple set of powerful principles.It represents the first time the company has given an outside author -- Jim Underwood -- unlimited access to its employees and management.The principles he reveals in this book have already influenced the lives of hundreds of thousands of men and women around the world - and they can do the same for your organization.

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Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
Mary Kay, Inc., is perhaps best known for two things: the cult of personality surrounding its founder, Mary Kay Ash, and the fact that it rewards successful salespeople with pink Cadillacs. In this illuminating book, management expert Jim Underwood delves into the guiding principles of Mary Kay, Inc.'s daily operations, which remain, 40 years later, true to Ash's founding vision. Countries or corporations founded by a charismatic leader often sag or sink when that leader inevitably steps down. Mary Kay's leadership was unique in that she built a solid foundation for the company so it could continue without her day-to-day guidance. This corporate biography represents the first time the privately owned company allowed an outsider complete access to its managers and employees, enabling Underwood to persuasively illustrate nine leadership rules with testimonies from members of the "Mary Kay family." We recommend this to anyone who aspires to leadership. Mary Kay may look fluffy, but it's all about the firm.

3-0 out of 5 stars "Nothing happens until somebody sells something."
The book was interesting enough to keep me listening all the way until the end. I listened to the 6 CD version of the book on the way to work.
Without being associated with Mary Kay, I had a hard time relating to the experience the author was trying to convey.
If I had some first hand experience with the product or the sales staff, my opinion of the book might be different.
It sounds like a fine company. Based on the individual stories in the book and the company sales statistics, the company merits high praise. It seems as if they offer a wonderful culture and opportunity to anyone who might be interested in selling. I must say after reading Jack Straight from the Gut first, I can not think of a greater contrast in management style than that of Mary Kay and Jack Welch at GE. Two successful companies - Two completely different management/leadership styles. I sounds like Mary Kay applied the Dale Carnegie method to her company and people.
The Nine Keys:
Create and Maintain a Common Bond
Create the Future: Think and Act Strategically
Make Me Feel Important
Motivate Others with Recognition and Celebration
Never Leave Your Values
Innovate or Evaporate
Foster Balance: God, Family, Career
Have a Higher Purpose
OK Never Does It: You've gotta been Great!

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!
Mary Kay, Inc., is perhaps best known for two things: the cult of personality surrounding its founder, Mary Kay Ash, and the fact that it rewards successful salespeople with pink Cadillacs. In this illuminating book, management expert Jim Underwood delves into the guiding principles of Mary Kay, Inc.'s daily operations, which remain, 40 years later, true to Ash's founding vision. Countries or corporations founded by a charismatic leader often sag or sink when that leader inevitably steps down. Mary Kay's leadership was unique in that she built a solid foundation for the company so it could continue without her day-to-day guidance. This corporate biography represents the first time the privately owned company allowed an outsider complete access to its managers and employees, enabling Underwood to persuasively illustrate nine leadership rules with testimonies from members of the "Mary Kay family." We recommend this to anyone who aspires to leadership. Mary Kay may look fluffy, but it's all about the firm.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very inspirational...
This is not a self help type of books for MK consultants. It describes the type of leadership you will find at the MK headquarters and throughout the company. Many business owners and corporations could learn a thing or two from this book, as well as the lay person in search of living a better life and improve their interpersonal skills. I am a consultant and now I understand many things I've been learning from my directors. If you are in MK you MUST get the book. If you are a business owner, YOU MUST also get the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A BOOK ANYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM!
I am a MK Consultant and this book is a great recruiting tool! A must-have for ANY MARY KAY Independent Beauty Consultant OR Director. Also, a perfect book for any employer or large corporation to read and apply the nine Leadership keys! ... Read more

63. W.D. Gann Treasure Discovered: Simple Trading Plans for Stocks & Commodities
by Robert Krausz
list price: $161.80
our price: $137.53
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Asin: 1592800661
Catlog: Book (1998-01)
Publisher: Marketplace Books
Sales Rank: 29072
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This modern-day classic features a treasure-trove of proven, viable trading plans suitable for every type of trader. Based on the proven methods of trading legend W.D. Gann, this thorough work has been updated to be relevant for today’s most active traders – and even includes powerful new swing trading techniques. Each plan featured provides well-defined entry & exit rules, risk management assessments and profit objectives. And, the charts and support materials are large and clear, so you can easily grasp the essence of each plan, and incorporate them into your own trading. A companion video workshop is also included that clarifies each concept in detail, so you can understand exactly when, and how, to implement them. Having a solid, reliable trading plan is the only sure way to achieve consistent trading success. Now, Gann master Robert Krausz reveals numerous trading plans and trading techniques that have been proven to be profitable in all different market climates, and which have endured for decades. It’s the definitive guide to Gann trading methods for today’s trader.COMES COMPLETE WITH VIDEO! ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is it!
If your psychological temperament permits you to be a swing trader - AND you are adequately capitalized (a $25,000 account is 'way too small) - you will find a wealth of information in this book and its accompanying video. This book is one of the few available that was written by a successful trader. It is absolutely the best book on trading methodology that I have ever encountered!

If you want to learn how to actively manage your own speculative-fund portfolio, your effort will be well-served from studying this book! ... Read more

64. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
by John Perkins
list price: $24.95
our price: $15.72
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Asin: 1576753018
Catlog: Book (2004-11-09)
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Sales Rank: 386
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Book Description

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man reveals a game that, according to John Perkins, is "as old as Empire" but has taken on new and terrifying dimensions in an era of globalization. And Perkins should know. For many years he worked for an international consulting firm where his main job was to convince LDCs (less developed countries) around the world to accept multibillion-dollar loans for infrastructure projects and to see to it that most of this money ended up at Halliburton, Bechtel, Brown and Root, and other United States engineering and construction companies. This book, which many people warned Perkins not to write, is a blistering attack on a little-known phenomenon that has had dire consequences on both the victimized countries and the U.S. ... Read more

65. Built for Growth: Expanding Your Business Around the Corner or Across the Globe
by Arthur Rubinfeld, Collins Hemingway
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 0131465740
Catlog: Book (2005-03-07)
Publisher: Wharton School Publishing
Sales Rank: 12086
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

If there’s one thing that’s consistent in today’s business world, it’s rapid change. So how do you not only stay steady but actually grow—and quickly enough to stay safely ahead of your competitors? Built for Growth delivers specific solutions to create a brand and presence that generates true customer passion, as you lay a solid foundation for long-term success. Author Arthur Rubinfeld was a major driver in Starbucks' unprecedented retail expansion from 100 stores to more than 4000-- and its transformation into one of the world's most recognized brands. Here he draws on his singular expertise to present a proven, holistic approach to conceiving, designing, and executing your business plan: creating exciting concepts, growing them to fruition in local markets, expanding rapidly, and keeping your brand fresh and relevant as it matures. His revolutionary approach to business strategy embodies strong personal values, promotes exceptional creativity, leverages scientific methodology in finance and market analysis, and brings it all together with 'old-time' customer service. Each lesson is clearly distilled with detailed examples from one of the best business writers, Collins Hemingway, co-author with Bill Gates of the #1 bestseller Business at the Speed of Thought. So whether you're seeking to reignite growth or planning your first store, Built for Growth will be utterly indispensable. Foreword by Jeff Brotman, Co-founder and Chairman of Costco, the world's #1 warehouse club. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid And Straightforward
Everything you ever wanted to know about success in retail in jammed into this one book.This author covers it all, not just by focusing on the brand or location, but real solid ideas on people management, property management, finance and long term strategy.Somehow the author covered both how an upstart company can get it done and how a big and bland organization can get back on the right track.The books main focus is helping a retail business expand into becoming the next Starbucks.

The author starts out by detailing some rather hard facts.Most new business owners jump into the enterprise.They do little planning and as a result over half fail within the first year.The author details that the real issues are not always a lack of cash, but that the entrepreneur had a lack of knowledge of how to avoid mistakes, how to efficiently operate a business, and how to think through business issues.The author believes that you need a holistic approach to conceiving, designing and carrying out a retail business plan.This book gives you real world examples on how to keep your brand fresh and relevant.On top of all this the book is also well written and easy to read.The pages fly by.Overall I thought the book was wonderful.It had a ton of insight and more good ideas then you can possibly use.This is one of those books that you keep handy and keep going back to.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Overall book
I am only half way through this book and have more than gotten my money worth.I am not a retailer but a service business owner and would still consider this a must read.If you like Good to Great, you will like this as well...

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading!
Run, don't walk, to pick up this book. This is one of the most stimulating and thought provoking books I've read in quite some time. Built For Growth unveils the secrets of the Starbucks expansion. It is full with magnificently researched concepts, leaving a great trail of other inspiring materials. Well written sets of practical tools can be put to use right away.The book outlines growth models that are going to be essential to get ahead. Want to stay one step ahead of the competition? You have to read this book then!

5-0 out of 5 stars Add This to Your Buisness Bookshelf
Rubinfeld and Hemingway identify their audience by asking a simple question, "Who doesn't want to run his own business?"Then they segment the audience between the young who "think about it from time to time" and the old who "wish [they] had opened that little shop before the kids came."I fall in the latter category.Still this book offered me much to consider.

The chapter most directly relevant to me described how to create, train and motivate an effective organization.It was written in the context of hiring a retail team, but the authors' advice carries over well to creating organizations in general.In the hiring process, dig beyond the resumes.A person's values and abilities are the characteristics that make them succeed, not their pedigree.Get past the formal questions quickly and ask less formal ones, ones the interviewee can't anticipate and prepare for in advance and ones that reveal their core values. Look for "utility players," people who can adapt their experiences to different situations.Don't rush the hiring process.Make sure you find the right person and once you do, immerse him or her into the culture of your company as quickly and completely as possible. To get the best you need to be able to tell a compelling story for why that person should want to work for you.You, the hiring manager, need to prepare as much as the interviewee.

Throughout the book, Rubinfeld and Hemingway stress the importance of articulating your core values when you define your retail business and suggest an exercise:Create a mantra of three words that captures your values, then in a sentence or phrase, explain how each word reflects your values.The examples they give for the companies Il Fornaio Cafe and Bakery, Omaha Steaks and Gateway Computers are instructive for retail purposes, but it occurred to me that this was a valuable exercise even for my own personal values and I took the time to work through my own mantra.

The strength of the book is definitely Rubinfelds' experiences working with companies either as an employee or a consultant.The authors use those experiences effectively to support their views about what it takes to create first-class retail businesses.The stories of Starbucks, Blue C Sushi, Potbelly Sandwiches and others are each interesting in their own right and they are told over the course of the book in an interesting fashion.

"Built for Growth" is a book worth reading and keeping on your bookshelf next to other classic business books like Jim Collins's books "Build to Last" and "Good to Great" both of which are referenced by Rubinfeld and Hemingway.If you found the Collins books interesting, you'll enjoy "Build for Growth."

5-0 out of 5 stars Business Book Page-Turner
This is a fun, well-written book that provides unique, expert insights into all the tools and concepts needed to turn an idea into a successful retail business.
It works on two levels.It's a great, practical nuts-and-bolts primer on the process of drafting a business plan, getting investors interested, deciding where to locate, negotiating the lease, designing the store, tailoring your goods to the customer's needs, and developing customer loyalty.It can be scaled up from a single store to a large chain. Co-Author Arthur Rubinfeld, now a prominent retail consultant, was a leading architect of the strategy that turned Starbucks into a household name throughout the world, so his advice is well-taken.He's generous with that advice; filling the book with interesting and amusing anecdotes about the real-world application of his principles.The "inside scoop" on Starbucks' wild ride reads like a good novel.
On a different level, the book explores the "big picture" ideas that form the zen of retailing.The authors provide hard-won guidance to prospective entrepreneurs in the difficult process of determining what their real goals are, how their retail store or chain will help realize those goals, and how that success will benefit their customers and their community. The authors make an effective plea for a more human approach to establishing a business identity, "branding", through quality service and not just fluff.Along the way they demonstrate that a little soul-searching in the beginning of the process can save many days of regret and lots of money.It will be a very useful and enjoyable addition to your library..
... Read more

66. Built from Scratch : How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812930584
Catlog: Book (1999-04-27)
Publisher: Crown Business
Sales Rank: 39262
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Built from Scratch is about two businessmen who achieve the American Dream by fundamentally changing the realm of home-improvement retailing. Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, cofounders of the Home Depot, explain how they established the first national chain in the industry by concentrating on low prices, customer service, and strong leadership values.

Ultimately, this is a book about grit and determination. "Building the Home Depot was a tough, uphill battle from the day we started," they write. "No one believed we could do it and very few people trusted our judgment." The two cofounders launched the company only after they were fired by a California hardware retailer because of politics. The Home Depot lost $1 million in its first year of operation in Atlanta. Today it's one of the great successes on Wall Street, with more than 700 stores across the country and 160,000 employees.

One reason the book is so engaging is that it includes corporate anecdotes. A favorite: the company banned wild parties after several employees were demoted and a couple were fired in the wake of a drunken annual managers' meeting. Another yarn involves Sears, which made one of the worst financial mistakes in retailing history when it passed on a deal to purchase Home Depot in the early 1980s. The authors are self-serving at times; for example, they whine too much about paying $104.5 million to dispose of a sex-discrimination lawsuit. But there's no denying the smashing performance of Big Orange. Marcus and Blank paint a story with some sparkling advice for practically anyone in business. --Dan Ring ... Read more

Reviews (25)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great story...
and very well told, which really makes this book a fast read (I had a hard time putting it down).

Provides, IMO, valuable information that will be useful for any business owner. I am glad these guys took the time to share their story, and I hope I get to meet them one day.

What a great way to spend a rainy weekend. You'll love it as it reads like a novel. And you'll never look at Home Depot the same way.

1-0 out of 5 stars Full of Lies
Let's face facts: home depot is known for abysmal service and really, really shoddy haphazard installations. They probably spend more on defending lawsuits than on store development. This book makes them look like such wizards, such brilliant and benevelont businessmen, when in fact they have done studies to see what the minimum level of customer service they can get away with is - and then tried to stretch that envelope.

I am sure Ken Lay could write books full of accolades to Enron. It would be just as true, and just as much a waste of time and money to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars The real home depot
This is a great book for home depot associates. Every employee should read it. It shows how the home depot it SUPPOSE to run. It basically just tells of how home depot started and grew to where it is now. For a business background, it doesn't offer much.

4-0 out of 5 stars Really good book
Is very inspiring for those who are thinking of starting their own business. The "American dream" can come true, even for Europeans like myself!

1-0 out of 5 stars Look at how great Home Depot is....
This entire book is a self-serving description of how good the Home Depot is and how smart the founders (the authors of this book) of the company are in conducting business. Sure customer satisfaction is important to the success of any business but it would have been much more helpful to detail how this function was promoted, implemented, and monitored during Home Depot's tremendous growth stage. Rather, the reader is offered selected stories of how an associate in a store did something incredible for a customer. Additionally, the authors appear concerned with offering excuses for past instances when the company did something poorly (e.g., lawsuits, acquisitions). This book had all the ingredients for a good story; unfortunately the authors appeared more concerned with their own legacies rather than a true discussion of Home Depot's history and present functional strategies. ... Read more

67. A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age
by DanielPink
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 1573223085
Catlog: Book (2005-03-24)
Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
Sales Rank: 332
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Book Description

Lawyers. Accountants. Radiologists. Softwareengineers. That's what our parents encouraged us to become when we grew up. But Mom and Dad were wrong. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind. The era of "left brain" dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, are giving way to a new world in which "right brain" qualities-inventiveness, empathy, meaning-predominate. That's the argument at the center of this provocative and original book, which uses the two sides of our brains as a metaphor for understanding the contours of our times.

In the tradition of Emotional Intelligence and Now, Discover Your Strengths, Daniel H. Pink offers a fresh look at what it takes to excel. A Whole New Mind reveals the six essential aptitudes on which professional success and personal fulfillment now depend, and includes a series of hands-on exercises culled from experts around the world to help readers sharpen the necessary abilities. This book will change not only how we see the world but how we experience it as well.
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68. John Kenneth Galbraith : His Life, His Politics, His Economics
by Richard Parker
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374281688
Catlog: Book (2005-02-16)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Sales Rank: 449
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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John Kenneth Galbraith has led an extraordinary life. The world's most famous living economist started teaching at Harvard when he was just 25 years old and has sold seven million copies of his four dozen books. One reviewer said Galbraith wrote "history that reads like a poem." During World War II, at age 32, he was named "tsar" of consumer-price controls in the United States, and he later advised three American presidents and served as ambassador to India. Now in his 90s, Galbraith is still active and has received 50 honorary degrees. All this was accomplished by a Canadian born in a tiny Ontario farming hamlet, whose major at an obscure agricultural college wasn't even economics but animal husbandry. Such an irony is typical of Galbraith's renowned iconoclasm, writes Richard Parker in his 820-page biography John Kenneth Galbraith.

Parker shows how Galbraith's irreverent views were shaped by the Depression, which helped turn him into a passionate advocate of Keynesian economics, the philosophy that inspired FDR's New Deal. Galbraith later became one of the architects of the expansion of federal social services after World War II. Because of his influence in successive administrations, readers get a fascinating fly-on-the-wall picture of debates and intrigue inside the White House during many of the major crises of the Cold War. Galbraith frequently played crucial behind-the-scenes roles that went beyond the duties of an economist: advising President Kennedy during the Cuba missile crisis, helping Lyndon Johnson write his first speech after Kennedy was assassinated, and opposing the Vietnam War, which became his most passionate cause. He later criticized the dismantling of government programs under Ronald Reagan and seemed to love clashing with conservative economists. Parker managed to sift through a mountain of material from Galbraith's long and lively years to distill an engaging narrative that, like Galbraith's own books, is easily accessible to non-economists. --Alex Roslin ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Long but Fascinating
I am a general reader with little familarity with economics, but I found this biography of Galbraith interesting right up to the end.It is a long book--669 pages of text. Richard Parker's writing is up to Galbraith's own, and is worthy of the task of writing Galbraith's professional biography--there is little of his personal life, which I didn't miss at all.For the layman, a little more explanation of economics terms might have been helpful, but reading further usually clears up the confusion, which I probably wouldn't have needed if I had taken Economics 101. Read it, especially if you are an old-time liberal and Keynesian!

4-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
The author covers an enourmous amount of economic, social and political ground in a way that is informative and entertaining.
Richard Parker does not come off as overly biased toward Galbraith and the ideas he stands for. Parker is able to pull-off an objective interpretation to not only the life and contributions of Galbraith himself, but also his masters.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dense and interesting, but a little heavy on the economics
John Kenneth Galbraith has been the most famous and widely read economist in the world. An engaging writer and drily quotable, he published four dozen books and countless articles, served as adviser to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and regularly blasted subsequent Republican administrations. Galbraith served on a post-war commission that studied strategic bombing of Germany (and concluded that despite its tremendous moral cost, it had had little or no effect on the Nazi war machine-much to our military's embarrassment), had a successful two-year stint as ambassador to India, was an early and vocal opponent of the Vietnam War, and even published three novels.

Richard Parker presents the first substantial biography of this six-foot-eight-inch, Canadian-born Harvard professor who refused to hide in academia. As co-founding editor and publisher of "Mother Jones" magazine, consultant and fundraiser for Democratic candidates and Greenpeace, and finally Harvard professor of economics and public policy himself, Parker was almost uniquely situated to draw a richly sympathetic portrait. Galbraith is not an inherently interesting man, nor do his life and theories present an especially compelling read. What makes the book worthwhile is its mosaic of the many worlds through which Galbraith moved: It offers an excellent review of recent political and economic history, though the slant is decidedly liberal.

It's good to be reminded that different political parties have repeatedly been thought dead (the Democrats in 1955 and 1985, Republicans in 1941 and 1965), only to rise again, and that the nation handled dire economic crises (inflation in 1971, the first oil crisis in 1973, the Depression itself), if uneasily and temporarily. Galbraith forecast the failure of Republican economic policies, the growth of corporate management that is unresponsive to shareholders and manipulates demand, and repeatedly scolded his profession for its increasing worship of complex mathematical modeling that ignores huge chunks of political and economic reality-such as burgeoning military budgets or the public good-to make the numbers work.

He saw the details as well as the big picture, and practiced what he preached. Galbraith froze his own Harvard salary after his books began to sell, and turned back the surplus to his department. He gave his longtime housekeeper a condo upon her retirement, directed a percentage of his books' royalties to his assistant and editor, and set up an anonymous fund to assist students who found themselves unexpectedly pregnant.

Parker seems to want to reach a broader, general audience, but his explanations of economic theory will leave lay readers lost. One would do well to keep a dummy's or complete idiot's guide to economics by one's elbow while reading this book.

Not terribly lively but solid, this book offers plenty of consolation for the mournful blue stater who chooses to scale it, and food for thought about where we might (and maybe should) be headed.

5-0 out of 5 stars The high tide of the Keynesian era
This colorful and anecdotal biography of Galbraith stretchesacross almost the whole of the twentieth century and in the telling leaves behind a cogent history of economics and American government, stretching from the Keynsian revolution to the breaking up of the classic liberalism of the Roosevelt era beginning with Nixon. Galbraith's life puts a lens to the fine grain of virtually all the significant developments since the decade of the thirties and the Depression and leaves behind a lot of insightful asides about the interaction of economists with politicians. The record of clear-headed advice given, but not always taken, has some grimmer moments, such as the repeated cautions and warnings from Galbraith about Vietnam, even as Kennedy was overtaken by events. The picture of the high-tide of Keynesianism is refreshing after two decades of economic sophistry from the post-Reagan generation. You would think that Republicans could manage economies, but the record shows a great fall, as the crackpots with their fancy models and the rest of the looters took over. We could use some the common sense and economic basics that Galbraith once provided (and he wasn't a kneejerk Keynsian). Instead we may be undone by the voodoo artists and their laffer curves, nothing to laugh at anymore as the American public gets swindled one more time. Superb double history, the man, and the American scene. ... Read more

69. The Fred Factor : How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary into the Extraordinary
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1578568323
Catlog: Book (2004-04-20)
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Sales Rank: 9663
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70. Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment: How to Improve Productivity, Quality, and Employee Satisfaction
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
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Asin: 0449002829
Catlog: Book (1997-11-11)
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sales Rank: 31992
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Most managers know that revitalization in their companies must occur from the ground up. But how to get that message to employees without applying the kind of pressure that makes them even less productive? The answer is empowerment. In this motivating book, you will find specific strategies designed to help you encourage responsibility, acknowledgment, and creativity so that employees feel they "own" their jobs. It's all here, in an accessible guide for the successful managers of tomorrow. ... Read more

Reviews (33)

5-0 out of 5 stars Communicate Better!
Many people fail to focus on whether or not their message is received. More effective people focus on whether the message is received as they attempt to improve communications so their company can be more successful. ZAPP! also focuses on WHAT message is received. As the book shows, a perceived message can be dispiriting or empowering.

I liked the fact that the book spent as much time on explaining about bad communications as it did on good ones. That is a great way to help people improve.

The only thing I did not like about the book was that the end led into a sales pitch for consulting rather than tips for how to pursue this on your own. It seemed out of keeping in a book about empowerment. Skip the last 2 pages, and you will be left with a better taste in your mouth.

Buy, read, think about, apply, and share this book and the lessons above with your colleagues. That will help you get heart-warming results to go with the heart-warming feeling that reading this book provides. Enjoy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Avoid "Stallled Thinking" with Zapp!
Zapp! is fun and easy to read. It is a good basic reminder of the things that good managers and leaders should know but do not always practice. The cute story discribes the benefits of listening and sharing. Too many organizations are hindered by what I call the "Communications Stall". An additonal and very uccessful approach to this problem is to use many ways of communicating (print, videos, speeches, discussions,..) and to do so often. Part 4 accurately shows that in the larger company setting, the ways that people have always done things continuously get in the way of progress. We have found that these "Traditions Stalls" and "Bureaucratic Stalls" must be questioned if they are to be avoided, and new ways found to accomplish more. For example, take the seats out of the meeting rooms to make the meeting shorter. Zapp! begins to do this by saying "There must be another way". The key to finding 2,000 percent solutions and to making much faster progress, is to ask the right questions. I look forward to Byham's next book to learn how he recommends a manager or leader get started.

5-0 out of 5 stars Has Zapped me since 96 (when I first read it I think)
Read this book sometime around 1996. I know it changed my way of dealing with people not just at the workplace but also with my wife at home on the sports field and it continues to influence the way I even deal with my 8 month old baby.

I have since quit my job and moved to the US to pursue a PhD in INdustrial Relations & Human Resources (after working for 15 years). And this continues to influence my choice of research.

4-0 out of 5 stars A must read for all managers
Having worked for too many bosses who are micro-managers, I wish this book was required reading for all such managers. This book, although lacking in realistic settings, is nonetheless a good read. Managers can't expect employees to be excited about their work if they don't have Ownership of their task. How many times have I been given a project to do only to find out that I've been left out of the analysis phase of the project. All information is on a Need to Know basis, and I obviously don't. What do I do for a living? I'm a programmer/analyst.

4-0 out of 5 stars An allegory for leaders
This book got a big build up by my prof, so it's not surprising it didn't quite measure up, thus no 5 star. You have to like allegorical illustrations, you have to have a bit of an imagination, and you should have some work experience. Don't go into this book looking for data or illustrations from life or statistics. It's a morals tale for the new business world--you may learn something from it as you would reading Aesop or Brothers Grimm, but don't look for an epic or a treatise. Good readers can finish it in under 2 hours. The hard-headed should probably not waste their time (enpowerment, bah, humbug!) The rest of you, relax and enjoy. ... Read more

71. Brief Principles of Macroeconomics
by N. Gregory Mankiw
list price: $81.95
our price: $65.56
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Asin: 0324171900
Catlog: Book (2003-02-21)
Publisher: South-Western College Pub
Sales Rank: 189271
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In writing this textbook, Mankiw has tried to put himself in the position of someone seeing economics for the first time. The author's conversational writing style is superb for presenting the politics and science of economic theories to tomorrow's decision-makers.Because Mankiw wrote it for the students, the book stands out among all other principles texts by intriguing students to apply an economic way of thinking in their daily lives.Receiving such a praise as "perhaps the best ever" textbook in economic principles, it's no wonder Mankiw's prize project has quickly become one of the most successful books ever to be published in the college marketplace. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Does a good job for its objective
The book attempts to teach a reasonable mainstream core of macroeconomics and its basic models. The writing style is very good. For those who are looking for a broad discussion of policy issues, this may not be the book for them. However, the book is intended for first year college economics students and the need for them to understand a few consensus macroeconomic concepts and models so that they can apply those models and concepts to policy issues after they leave the course. A good example of putting the cart before the horse is the comment by a reviewer who thought the book had a liberal bent. Of course, we all now know that N. Gregory Mankiw is the head of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers (not exactly a recommendation for becoming a card carrying liberal). And that's the danger of reviewing introductory economics textbooks on the basis of an illusory political intent. The books most often ought to be rated on their objective--presenting a few models and techiniques to the student who will most often not take another formal economics course. Don't dismiss the book because it isn't steeped in political pronouncements. Check it out for technical useability and its writing clarity. You might like it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Don't look at those lib'ruls, children -- move along now
A nice intro, but as noted by another reviewer, very short shrift given to other schools of economic thought. A recommended reading list gives plenty of well-respected conservative writers, with Milton Friedman topping the list, but only Paul Krugman appears representing other thoughts, and he's singled out as a "liberal economist". I think there are somewhat more honest introductions to the subject.

3-0 out of 5 stars Some good, some poor
Mankiw's book has a good organization -- for what it has. He spends a lot of time laying out some key fundamental topics, such as unemployment, GDP, CPI, DJIA, and so forth.

However, his book is entirely mum on the fact that there are different schools of thought, e.g., Keynesians, Classicals, Monetarists, Austrians, etc. A reader comes away thinking that all economists agree with Mankiw, and that simply is not true. Many other principles-level economics books have specific chapters devoted to these schools of thought.

In my Macro classes, I put Mankiw on "reserve" in the library and suggest that students read the 5 chapters dealing with "The Data of Macroeconomics" and "The Real Economy in the Long Run." However, I use other text books for the rest of the course, since they explain why economists disagree, give better information about actual public policy issues, and help a student understand, e.g., what the federal reserve is doing, or why some politicians like deficit spending and others dislike it, or whether the trade deficit is important or not.

For a reader who merely wants to understand the core issues mentioned above, Mankiw is a good book which I highly recommend. For a reader who wants to understand the nature of the public policy debates over these core issues, Mankiw is a horrible book which I suggest that you avoid like the plague. ... Read more

72. Managerial Economics: Economic Tools for Today's Decision Makers
by Paul G. Keat, Philip K.Y. Young
list price: $133.00
our price: $133.00
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Asin: 0130353353
Catlog: Book (2002-08-27)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 88605
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Book Description

This distinctive book features a running case study at the beginning and end of each chapter that explores the decision-making processes of managers within a hypothetical company. It creates a vivid, dynamic business setting that highlights microeconomic theory and the tools of quantitative analysis used in management decision-making. In addition, actual business examples from the popular press—including numerous international examples—are incorporated into the chapters to reinforce the connection between economic and real business situations.Chapter topics cover supply and demand, demand elasticity, demand estimation, forecasting, the theory and estimation of production, the theory and estimation of cost, competition and monopoly, monopolistic competition and oligopoly, special pricing practices, economic decision making in the 21st century, capital budgeting, and risk and uncertainty.For today's managers in government and industry. ... Read more

73. Essentials of Organizational Behavior (8th Edition)
by Stephen P Robbins
list price: $80.00
our price: $80.00
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Asin: 0131445715
Catlog: Book (2004-06-15)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 70287
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This masterfully crafted introduction provides balanced coverage of all the key elements comprising the discipline of OB, in a style that readers will find both informative and interesting.This includes not only traditional topics such as personality, motivation, and leadership; but also cutting-edge issues such as emotions, trust, work-life balance, workplace spirituality, and knowledge management.People participating in any group or organizational activity. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well written and solid intro to the field of Org Behavior
"Essentials in Organizational Behavior" is a solid text for a course surveying the field of Organizational Behavior. Its sixteen chapters are grouped into four parts. Part I introduces the field of organizational behavior, its goals and functions within an organization along with some challenges and opportunities.

Part II contains chapters two through six and focuses on how individuals function within an organization and the considerations managers need to have with values, personality, motivation, emotions, and how individuals make decisions.

Part III contains chapters seven through twelve and discusses groups in the organization. It begins discussion foundations of group behavior, some basics on work teams, communication, leadership & creating trust, power & politics, conflict & negotiation.

Part IV discusses the Organization System in chapters thirteen through sixteen. It begins with the foundations of organizational structure, culture, and then gets into the role of human resource policies and practices. The book concludes with Organizational Change and Development.

There is an epilogue to wrap things up, endnotes, and index and a glossary.

The book is clearly written. I like the way the author presents a variety of views and theories and never becomes dogmatic about a certain approach. Because it is concise it actually has a chance of being read (the usual 750 page textbook is largely left unread in most courses). However, to really become proficient in any of the many topics presented here the student will have to do much more study and practical work. I am confident that any teacher adopting the text for coursework would make the necessity for further study clear to the student. The endnotes do provide many fine sources for such study, but I would like to have seen some sources organized into a list of readings for study organized by topic. It would have added a few pages, but would not have overburdened this text.

In any case, this is a good introductory read for anyone who wants to a quick tour of the universe of Organizational Behavior.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great broad overview of concepts and research
If you're interested in organizational behavior either professionally or as a student, this is a great book to pick up. It gives a great, concise survey of the topic as it relates to each of the major components of individual, team, and organizational factors. Not laden with research details and theoretical jargon, this book is a must read for managers and students alike because of its fast pace and great coverage.

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the best intro to OB
I find Robbins's OB one of the best introductionary books for OB. Though it does not contain lots of case studies, to get started with concepts, the easy to read layout and the interesting activities that he presents makes it a very good book to get started. I personally started my OB with a much more detailed book, but after I found this one, I used this as the starting point, to get the ideas, and then used more high level books to explore further.
Why not 5 stars, well, coz as I said, I did need to look at other books to explore in detail!

4-0 out of 5 stars For the budding manager
This is a great book to understand the fundamentals of organizational behaviour. It is simple to understand, and the excellent layout and graphics make it enjoyable and ignite your curiosity. I read it from cover to cover in a matter of days. However, I do agree that more relevant case studies and applications should have been included.

3-0 out of 5 stars Decent overall review of OB theories.
Robbins discusses current OB theory in a brief, concise manner. He does not provide many examples of real-teime applications, however. This is a hinderance to the book's usefulness as it is sometimes difficult to conceptualize how many of the theories might be practically implemented. Overall, a decent reference book. ... Read more

74. Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Financial
by Anthony Robbins
list price: $15.00
our price: $12.60
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Asin: 0671791540
Catlog: Book (1992-11-01)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 2498
Average Customer Review: 4.04 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Wake Up and Take Control of Your Life!

Anthony Robbins, the nation's leader in the science of peak performance, shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life. The acknowledged expert in the psychology of change, Anthony Robbins provides a step-by-step program teaching the fundamental lessons of self-mastery that will enable you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life and harness the forces that shape your destiny. ... Read more

Reviews (206)

5-0 out of 5 stars There except for the grace of God, go. Thank you Tony!!!
Tony Robbins is not alone in coming under attack by unscrupulous people. Interesting the others are also best selling authors, highly visible and positively impacting the lives of people. So I guess that Tony is in good company. Only successful people who want to share their knowledge come under attack. That is a nice group to belong to.

Obviously the "reviewer from New York" at least browsed over Awaken The Giant even though they obviously didn't buy it or read the whole book. I say they because this individual did not identify whether they were a male or female. Sure posts a lot though.

Robbins has taken the science of NLP and condensed it into a simple, easy to understand and more effective method of programming. I attended one of Tony's seminars in New York. They are life changing. It is not about hype and Tony never represented or attempted to represent himself as God, but only as a trainer.

I'm not sure that the reviewer from New York even knows what metaprograms are and probably wouldn't be able to spell it if they hadn't seen the book or even heard of it.

There except for the grace of God go I is definitely applicable to this "person" from New York. Thank God some of us appreciate the great work that Tony Robbins is doing for all of us. And no, Tony Robbins is not God nor do I think he wants to be compared with God.

Awaken The Giant is a great book with powerful strategies for those who are perceptive enough to use them. Will it work for everybody? Only if you want to change and back it up with effort.

1 star reviewer, you can keep posting all you want. And everytime you do post your nonsense a phrase will come to mind to those who know better:

"There except for the grace of God, go I"

And Thank God for Tony Robbins!

3-0 out of 5 stars A lot of FLUFF!
I enjoyed this and Tony Robbins firt book UNLIMITED POWER! The problem, is that NAC (actually NLP, ROBBINS, changed the name) offers a limited time change. You feel good, but the changes don't last and this to me is misleading, as Robbins makes it sound like the changes will be permanent. You can't just "anchor yourself" or "swish" into a new per- sonality. A large portion of the book is just advertising for his "Date with Destiny" and other seminars. It's easier reading than the other NLP books out there by ... BANDLER & GRINDER, ANDREAS, ETC. and can be somewhat useful which is why I gave it a 5. For anyone who wants even more rapid change that will last, I recommend BRIAN TRACY's BOOK ---MAXIMUM ACHIEVEMENT and any of TRACY'S audio tape programs. I also highly suggest "THE SILVA METHOD" by Jose Silva or any good boo on alpha programming. Also, "SUPERSELF' by Charles Givens is outstanding and probably the most under rated self development book out there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very powerful book by Mr. Robbins
I have quite a library of books and tapes from people like Napolean Hill to Anthony Robbins. Many years ago, somebody gave me a book on NLP, I have yet to finish it. It was not easy reading.

Conversely, Robbins is as enjoyable to read as he is to listen to. He offers basic NLP techniques (he calls it NAC) and I agree with Tony that the key for long lasting results is to practice these techniques, to condition your mind with neuro associative techniques.

Perhaps the best key is to model other successful people. This can speed your success rate. The goal setting workshop is powerful.

Awaken The Giant is an outstanding book that can help you reach your dreams.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anthony gives you power to make yourself happy...
...however you define happiness... He does not promote power over others, as the uninformed person below wrote, but rather power over your own situation and mental attitude. Listening and reading his material has actually made me a BETTER person (and yes, I am a Christian) because it empowers me to go out in the world and make a difference with my actions. Before getting them, I had some major problems with stress, and not feeling competent. After listening to them, I was able to take control of my negativity and make much more of a difference in others' lives. He also gives me the motivation to clean my house-- now that's a miracle!

1-0 out of 5 stars Pompous Power Hungry Greedy Ideology
I can think of no more obnoxious concept than one which teaches us to do POWER TRIPS on others so as to make ourselves feel better, often at the other person's expense. It flies in the face of all that is Christian, polite, moral, and kind. That Americans are on such a mental trip says alot about our culture, food, mass media, Television - and the way in which GREED is the Number One driving force for most people. Tony Robbins, in my opinion, has done a lot of damage to interpersonal relations. ... Read more

75. Financial Institutions, Investments, and Management : An Introduction
by Herbert B. Mayo
list price: $108.95
our price: $108.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0324178174
Catlog: Book (2003-06-05)
Publisher: South-Western College Pub
Sales Rank: 470127
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Book Description

A general introduction to the three primary aspects of Finance and examination of how they interrelate.The book discusses financial institutions and their roles in helping to allocate savings in the economy, along with a description and analysis of securities issued and traded in money and capital markets.The book covers fundamentals of investing in stocks, mutual funds, derivatives, and other marketable securities with an emphasis on securities markets, mechanics of trading, techniques of analysis, diversification, and valuation of assets.Finally, the book lays out the processes, decisions structures, and institutional arrangements concerned with the use and acquisition of funds by a firm.This will include the management of the asset and liability structure of the firm under certain and risky situations. ... Read more

76. Joy At Work: A Revolutionary Approach To Fun On The Job
by Dennis W. Bakke
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0976268604
Catlog: Book (2005-03-07)
Publisher: Charisma House
Sales Rank: 476
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Dennis Bakke was co-founder and eventually CEO of AES, a large energy company which grew to over $8 billion in annual revenue and over 40,000 employees. Bakke's Joy at Work is in part, a CEO memoir, as it chronicles AES's growth, complete with anecdotes about boardroom confrontations, employee relations, and new openings of production facilities. Joy at Work goes beyond the standard business tale, though: Bakke believes in moral values as ends in themselves, as opposed to means towards the end of greater financial return, and he's not afraid to say it.

A number of authors in recent years have made the case that companies which embody humanistic values, and which nurture uplifting cultures, come to house happier, more productive employees. "Values" should be embraced, the argument goes, because they lead to better business results. Bakke shuns such thinking. He wants "values" for values' sake--because he believes they are an integral part of the human experience, and one that daily work should incorporate. He argues that financial return is only one good alongside others. As Bakke writes at one point in Joy at Work: "Why should enriching shareholders be more important than producing quality products and selling them to customers at fair prices?"

Readers who start off sympathetic to Bakke's worldview will likely enjoy Bakke's book. "Joy at Work" is situated perfectly within values-led business literature, alongside books like Howard Schultz’s Pour Your Heart Into It, the Body Shop's Anita Roddick (Take It Personally) and Ben & Jerry's Double Dip, by the ice-cream guys. Joy at Work provokes questions and warrants a read, if, for no reason other than its impressive string of blurbs from friends of the author: Everyone from President Bill Clinton to Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren vouches for Bakke and his gospel. --Peter Han ... Read more

Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars More sparkle than substance
As a career coach and consultant, I naturally gravitated toward a book with the title Joy at Work. The subtitle promised an "approach" to "fun on the job."

However, the book gets only two stars because the title appears misleading. Joy at Work is not about how *you* the indvidual can have fun -- it's more of a memoir. You'll even find family photos in the middle of the book!

What makes Bakke'sAES unique are values, premised on a core concept: Workers feel happier when they have more control over their environment. When they have control, they take ownership, so you need fewer supervisors. Workers have fun *and* the company gets profitable.

Frankly, some of Bakke's ideas aren't unique. Why have sick leave? Just let workers stay home when they're sick. Well, at least one large software company has had this policy for years, according to an acquaintance who worked there.And the notion of empowering workers has a familiar ring, too.

Are workers really happy? Does a CEO really know? When Bakke argues for a leaner workplace (which I agree *is* more fun), he sounds remarkably like Jack Welch.

On page 156, Bakke questions why shareholder values should drive the firm. Why not focus on employees, he seems to be asking.But on page 210, Bakke wishes he'd sought more equity than debt, selling more shares more frequently.Maybe I'm missing something, but investors will be more likely to buy stock if the company focuses on making them, the shareholders, richer.

So bottomline, this book won't help an ordinary person who's perched on the corporate ladder. You have to be a CEO(with a supporting Board and staff) to implement these values that presumably bring "joy."A manager could create only temporary, smaller-scale changes.

My biggest criticism: Books today are judged by their cover.Nothing on the book's jacket gives a hint that Bakke operates from a system of strong religious values, which he mentions in the text from time to time.The Postscript (pages 246-277 -- 10% of the book) has been titled "The Master's Joy." It is certainly appropriate for an author to present his religious views and values -- but please tell the reader up front, before we buy a copy or even check one out of a library.

Actually we get some clues if we read the 9 endorsements on the back cover, an eclectic mix of individuals ranging from Bill Clinton to a football coach to a US Senator.Inside the book are 15 more endorsements, from a church pastor, Chuck Colson of prison ministries, and an NFL quarterback.Only one of the 24 endorsements seems to be from a woman: the androgynously named Lynn Sharp Paine.

Appendix A provides a "Case Study" which is really a timeline, presented honestly. Of special note: AES's initial offering price was $19.25 in 1991. The stock hit an all-time high of $70.62 in October 2000 and then plummeted to $5 a share in February 2002. In June 2002 Bakke retired from the company.It would be interesting to hear how these trends would be discussed in a top MBA classroom.

2-0 out of 5 stars Dull and Dry with Few Insights
I've read the other positive reviews here on this work, and I must respectfully disagree.I purchased this volume with great expectations, and was sadly disappointed. Perhaps the main reason for my negative response is that this title came across to me as a Christian-oriented guide to management.For me, the best part of the book was the short postscript at the end.It was the only portion that was clearly faith-based.

Bakke here offers some insights that may be helpful to leaders in secular management, but individuals wanting a specifically Christian perspective should look elsewhere.

5-0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary.Refreshing.Real.
I regard most new books aimed at business leaders as recycled drivel.But Bakke's work stands out, and it could indeed be the seedling for a revolution in business culture, particularly in light of recent spectacular corporate failures.

Revolutionary: Early in the book, Bakke backs up and offers a brief history of the Industrial Revolution and its impact on current corporate structures - hierarchy, hourly wages, corporate specialists (i.e. accounting, purchasing, contracting), policy manuals, centralized decision-making, etc.Then he explains how these forces have removed personal initiative, measured risk-taking and a sense of contribution from workers, thus removing "joy" from the workplace.He replaces it with genuine respect for all workers, allowance for mistakes, and giving everyone an opportunity to make key decisions that can impact the whole company.He argues AGAINST the fundamental belief that return on shareholder value is the primary goal of a corporation.

Refreshing: Bakke makes the case for values over profits - even if adherence to corporate values means missed opportunities or forgone profits.In the post Enron/Tyco/WorldCom era, there has been renewed emphasis on values.But Bakke provides lengthy examples of how to identify, proclaim, teach and maintain on-going conversations about a company's values.He does away with the concept of our work life being differentiated from the rest of our life - if most people's goal in life is to "make a positive contribution in the world," the workplace should provide an opportunity for such goals.

Real:Unlike many academics that dream up such ideals in a vacuum, Bakke's lab for developing these revolutionary concepts is a global energy company with 40,000 employees, over $8 billion in revenues and operations in 31 countries (read, "cultures!"), where he served as co-founder and CEO.He is candid about how difficult and stressful it was to put these ideas into action, struggles with his board, and mistakes made along the way by himself and others he empowered.He provides actual excerpts from communications with employees, shareholders and clients.And in a helpful appendix, he differentiates between "a conventional approach" and "the joy at work approach" to dealing with compensation, auditing, employees, boards and other issues that leaders must address daily.

5-0 out of 5 stars I'd Like to Work for/with Him
Back more years ago than I can count on all my fingers and toes I remember an organizational theory teacher saying that the Roman Catholic church was easily the most successful organization of all time. One of the mail reasons, he said, was that the Catholic Church essentially had three layers in its chain of command: priest, bishop, pope.

At the time I was working for a computer company as an engineer and had eleven layers in the chain of command just to get out ot the plant I was in, and who knos how many more to get to the president. This one of those computer companies that completely missed the PC revolution and is now still alive but pretty sickly.

What attracted me to this book was reading a page where Mr. Bakke said that the corporation he founded had a three layer chain of command. I then went on to read of his concept of management of a company. He believes in empowering the worker to a greater extent than anyone I've read before.

In this book he presents a workplace vision that he apparently carried out in the formation of a quite large company. I am left with the feeling, however, that the company became a reflection of Mr. Bakke rather than the principles that he describes in the book. As I look at the AES web site now, I see words like "Focus on Performance" and little mention of Mr. Bakke, apparently he is not even a director. Certainly the structure of the company as he founded it would make it a joy to work there. I wonder if it still is.

This book is very interesting to read. It's more attuned to the individual starting or running a company than to the person working eleven or fifteen layers down.

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be called "Joy at Life"
It is interesting how finding Joy at Work results in finding Joy in Life.A very inspiring book which make one realize that not matter what their station is within an organization, that one person can make a difference.Bakke's principles are my guiding light in finding "Joy at Work" ... Read more

77. The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change
by Diana Whitney, Amanda Trosten-Bloom, David Cooperrider
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1576752267
Catlog: Book (2003-01-01)
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Sales Rank: 16659
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Power of Appreciative Inquiry describes a new strategy that inspires people and brings about a higher performance level in any organization. This method encourages people to study, discuss, learn from, and build on what works well when they are at their best, rather than focusing on what’s going wrong. The theory, practice, and spirit of this approach to organizational change is described in plain language. The authors provide guidelines for defining the change agenda, initiative, or project; forming the "steering team"; and launching an organization-wide kick off. Case histories demonstrate how organizations can attain sustained positive change by studying their strengths. This book is the most authoritative, comprehensive guide to Appreciative Inquiry by two of the founders and pioneers of this technique. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Power of Appreciative Inquiry
I read this book one weekend, and felt inspired! I have been a student of people, groups, and organizations for 30+ years, and was extraordinarily uplifted by the philosophy and stories that the authors captured. Their clear writing summarizes the rigorous underpinnings of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in psychology and sociology and in the maturing methodologies that have emerged in AI practice, yet the book is eminently accessible. And it does a good job of integrating theory and practice, so has widespread practical application for those who want to implement the appreciative inquiry process. Overall I felt fueled by the stories, and realized that opportunities to help create other positive stories exist everywhere: in my work with individuals, teams, and communities, and in health care and educational institutions as well as in businesses. Colleagues and I are reconnecting to our best selves, and creating conditions for other individuals, groups, organizations, and communities to do so also. Through making Appreciative Inquiry more transparent, the authors encourage us to be part of the contagion. I have heartily recommended the book to clients and colleagues. With deep appreciation, Bea Mah Holland

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Return on Investment
Note: the previous review I just submitted, I spelled the authors names incorrectly. Please adjust. Thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding book with a priceless ROI!
First of all, we must note that this is a significant book among the many that have been written on Appreciative Inquiry. This book is brilliantly written with the practioner in mind and is easy to understand. I mentally refer to it as my 'happy book' since I grin and feel good each time I pick it up to read. It deals with those pesky questions such as, 'what do I do first?' and 'how can I get a large organization enthusiastic about using AI?' These ladies also give us some other options than using the AI summit (there are 8 options in all), which can open more possibilities and let us use our own creativity to apply to AI.

The book is organized into three sections: Chapters 1-4 explain what AI is and how it works, Chapters 5-10 explain ways to practice AI and the last Chapter 11 deals with why it works so well. Additionally, each chapter gives specific, practical advice on "how to" with charts and case studies. Perhaps the most valuable chapter is in the third section, which answers the questions "why does AI work so effectively? Perhaps you may do as I did and read this chapter first. This is a very powerful and valuable chapter.

Although based on sound theory and research, the real value of this book comes from the experiences each author shares with us, which highlights ideas and concepts with specific examples from the field. Appreciative Inquiry can seem to be deceptively simple. Simple, it is not. We have only scratched 5% of the learnings from AI's beginnings and there is so much more to learn and experience. The importance of this particular book is that it can be so helpful for both the novice (the one who is trying to understand what AI is all about) and the experienced practioner (the OD professional who uses AI in her practice). It is both a good first book to read to try to understand the underpinnings of Appreciative Inquiry and a tool book for us more experienced folks.

This is a good solid book to have on your shelf that you can refer to often to clarify understandings, theory, and applications of appreciative inquiry. It's a joy to read.

I highly recommend it; the ROI is priceless!

Helene C. Sugarman
Principle, Dynamic Communication
(Organization Development Consulting using AI) and
Chartered Co-owner of AIConsulting, LLP

5-0 out of 5 stars User Friendly Handbook for AI Interventions
As a practitioner and passionate "convert" to AI from more traditional action research and deficit approach/gap analysis models, I wish I'd had this book 5 years ago when first exposed to AI. It is an outstanding "how to." The descriptions of various designs and activities were pleasant affirmation that the interventions I had designed were "right on." I found the authors' weaving in of actual cases and their candor about when things waned or executives pushed refreshing and reassuring.

The model in chapter 2 of "change agenda, form of engagement, and inquiry strategy" is an excellent way of looking at an initiative from the beginning, parallel to Peter Block's "entry and contracting" phase in action research, but in AI language and philosophy. Whitney & Trosten-Bloom add 3 more underlying principles of AI to Cooperrider's original work:wholeness, enactment, and free choice. They are right on in my opinion. What was particularly helpful in this section was the "principle in practice" followed by an example.

The tables of suggested steps/sequences for each section describing the 4D model in practice were particularly helpful guides, though the authors continually remind the reader of the improvisational nature of this philosophy and approach to positive change. The whole book was respectful of different learning styles and made meaning out of so much of the earlier, more academic publications about appreciative inquiry.

Whitney and Trosten-Bloom have created a very "user friendly," accessible handbook, well organized and written in layman's language. I find it helpful for the current practitioner of AI wanting to learn through the lens of case study snippets, for the novice wanting to learn how it works and how to "do it" before investing the time for more rigorous academic readings, for the manager who wants to approach change in a positive framework, and the OD consultant seeking new, innovative ways to co-create effective, energized workplaces with their clients.

Hats off to the authors for this most recent addition to the growing body of knowledge on AI!

5-0 out of 5 stars A readable "how to" book about organizational change
The authors have produced a very lively and readable book that pulled me into the heart of positive change and the spirit of affirmation. Their stories of success establish them as credible organizational change experts. From the principles behind the theory, to the methods of operationalizing the change process, this book gives clear direction on how to start now and move your company (and its bottom line) in the right direction. Avoiding the dry and parched style of other OD books, The Power Of Appreciative Inquiry gently guides the reader on a path that allows each person to discover his/her own use of this wonderful change process. I recommend it highly to all small business owners. ... Read more

78. Fun Is Good : How To Create Joy & Passion in Your Workplace & Career
by Mike Veeck, Pete Williams
list price: $23.95
our price: $16.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1594861528
Catlog: Book (2005-04-06)
Publisher: Rodale Books
Sales Rank: 16024
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Maverick marketing whiz Mike Veeck presents his simple, no-fail formula for business success: make work fun and you'll create a culture where the best people will want to work and customers will want to spend their money.

Mike Veeck runs six minor-league baseball teams, and for each of them he's drafted a business plan that begins with three simple words: "Fun is good." The fun-is-good philosophy not only has worked to make an evening at one of his ballparks--full of laughs, zany promotions, and free giveaways--enjoyable for everyone; it has transformed a half-dozen money-losing or start-up teams into a thriving $25 million business.

In this book Veeck, son of legendary baseball owner Bill Veeck, shows why an injection of fun, creativity, and passion is so essential to business success. We learn:
o Why customer service, the lifeblood of any business, suffers when employees aren't having fun at work
o How just a few people with the fun-is-good attitude can transform an entire workplace
o What companies should look for when hiring people and how employees can forgea fun-is-good career path.

Throughout, the book is peppered with vignettes, where we hear firsthand from people who have benefited professionally and personally from the fun-is-good philosophy and how they have applied it specifically to their own industries and careers.
... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book worth buying and a book worth giving
Baseball and writing about baseball are my passions and being passionate about something is the heart and soul of the new book by Mike Veeck (and Pete Williams), "Fun Is Good: How to Inject Joy & Passion Into Your Workplace & Career" published by Rodale Press and to be released early next month. The book is part business philosophy, part autobiography, part confessional, part homage to his late father Bill Veeck, part salute to his 12-year old daughter who is fighting blindness as the result of retinitis pigmentosa, part a baseball love story and all fun. Because fun is what Mike, like all the Veecks, is all about.

Mike writes, "Somehow in our haste to seize the American dream, we've sucked the fun, passion, and creativity out of the workplace." How many of you feel that way? I guess that's why so many people say that work sucks. But as Mike points out, "Fun isn't just good; it's a necessity." "If you're not having fun, it's nearly impossible to project the upbeat, positive attitude necessary to service clients effectively."

We know that's the trouble with baseball, don't we? Somehow it has becoming way to much about greed. We could handle it if were about drugs, sex, and rock and roll, at least that's fun. Mike writes that when his father Bill Veeck died in 1986, "we had him cremated so he wouldn't constantly be rolling in his grave."

In the workplace it's about passion, the right attitude and being happy at what you do. Mike encourages change and risk taking because if you're unhappy you can't afford to stay where you are. In addition, your role whether you are an Indian or a chief is to help create a workplace atmosphere that is fun, positive and risk taking. He writes, "How effectively you interact with coworkers sets the tone for the organization," because if you take a genuine interest in the people around you, you never know where it might lead.

I was particularly struck with this philosophical statement, "If you approach things with optimism and with the mentality that any obstacle can be overcome with good humor, preparation, brainpower, and a little bit of luck, nothing is outside the realm of possibility." It is that statement that clearly drives Mike's wonderful daughter. The book is filled with interviews and vignettes from business leaders in which they express, in their own words, how the importance of a "Fun is Good" philosophy has driven the success of their company. None is more powerful or moving than the section written by Rebecca Veeck who truly sums up much more than the philosophy of the book when she writes, "Fun is Good because that's the way life is supposed to be. It's the main feeling that we're supposed to have. I mean, if you're not having fun, what's the point?"

I will be giving this book to my daughter Elizabeth on her birthday on April 11 (the same date as Veeck's eldest, Night Train Veeck) because as she prepares to graduate college and face the real world she needs to know that if you treat every day like Opening Day than life will be fun, and fun is good.

... Read more

79. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey
list price: $29.95
our price: $20.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 188321937X
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Covey
Sales Rank: 7580
Average Customer Review: 4.18 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity -- principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates. ... Read more

Reviews (558)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book has definitely changed my life for the better.
This is a book that has changed my life irrevocably and forever. It required great energy, patience and time to read, one with much meaning and very deep in content. In fact, after struggling through the first two Principles outlined in this book I found myself putting it away on the shelf. For nearly a year it sat there and I didn't pick it up again until I had another reason to. The second time around I could not put the book down and took prolific amounts of notes. The third time I read it I learned even more.

This book is about self, about becoming the true you and living your life optimally. This is not a pep-rally or a psychological breakdown of "The 100 Top Tips to Boost Your Self-Esteem". The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is all about understanding where you can (should) be taking yourself in your life. The influence, the support, the understanding, the energy that Dr. Stephen Covey discusses comes from within yourself; it is not an external influence that fades as soon as the source is gone. You create it; you live it; it becomes you and you become it. These principles are not subject to the whims of others. You create yourself, you build upon yourself and you become an effective person in your life through learning to help yourself and others. You learn how to graduate from dependence to independence and then even further on to a higher level: interdependence all by looking deeply within yourself and following seven sound principles that are laid out in a very logical, rational and emotionally-sound manner. The principles behind Dr. Covey's ideas are based on faith in self, community and God. He helps you to understand the philosophy, "Love Me for Me."

In The Seven Habits, Covey talks about the Personal Mission Statement. This is a project that you create, write, rewrite over and over until it describes the person you most want to be. Then you simply spend the rest of your life living those beliefs until you become that person. It is probably the easiest, yet most difficult thing you will ever do in your entire life. Why? Because you must devote your entire life, and energy to this task. How easy it is to become side-tracked and slide into old habits of comfort. But these old habits are the ones that you want to rewrite with new, better habits. This is a difficult road to follow. It is also, without a doubt the most rewarding activity you will ever do in your entire life. After all, the most rewarding things in life are often the most difficult.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive blueprint for revitalizing corporate America
Dr. Covey's book has deservedly withstood the test of time. If you appreciate the 80/20 rule that 80% of your benefit comes from 20% of (whatever), you'll know that sometimes the 95/5 rule applies: Ninety-five percent of your effectiveness in life and business comes from applying five percent of the advice available. Dr. Covey has culled that 5% that most deserves your time and energy.
He addresses the critical issues of how you set your goals and priorities, how you dedicate your time, how you manage people, and how you keep your ethics and values intact throughout the challenges of life.
If the Seven Habits had been applied during the boom instead of the Common Deadly Principles of Greed we would surely have had slower, steadier, more lasting economic growth. It's never too late.
More than ever, these positive principles are needed throughout American life - and especially within the business sector. The behavioral principles are sound and built on the rock of universal (not sectarian) spiritual laws.

Stephen Covey outlines the best strategies for maximum effectiveness in this great book. The fact that this book has remained a best seller for over 15 years should tell you something about the merits of the informmation that it contains.

Highly recommended book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Definitely a must read book
I have worked for major corporations and I have been self employed in direct sales and network marketing. Hardly a day goes by when I don't find someone who recommends and in many cases, carries The 7 Habits around with them in their briefcase.

In a world of me, me, me, me. It's great to have a noted and highly respected authority like Dr. Covey teach the concepts of "Win-Win" and "seek first to understand, then be understood."

I am also happy to see that Dr. Covey has endorsed network marketing and recommends it. easy to understand why. Network marketing is indeed the wave of the future so it makes sense that the professionals of the present and the near future will be applying Dr. Coveys techniques just as those Fortune 500 companies have been doing since the 1980's.

Great book. I highly recommend it to everyone and especially network marketers who want to significantly grow their business.

Thank you Dr. Covey for a great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent book
The way the author has deconstructed human development and potential is insightful. The author's view is that people first develop a triumvirate individual competances and skills.

1) Be Proactive.
2) Begin with the End in Mind.
3) Put First things First.

Once they have mastered this they can then accelerate the results they achieve by mastering 3 more skills that enable them to enable others.

4) Think win-win.
5) Seek first to understand.
6) Synergize.

Encompassing these 6 habits is the seventh habit which emcompasses the others is the

7) Sharpen the saw.

Though the some of the ideas are a little trite or naive together they form a good toolset. ... Read more

80. Double-Digit Growth : How Great Companies Achieve It--No Matter What
by MichaelTreacy
list price: $15.00
our price: $10.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159184066X
Catlog: Book (2004-12-28)
Publisher: Portfolio Trade
Sales Rank: 36876
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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After Michael Treacy finished writing his bestseller, The Discipline of Market Leaders, he continued to track the companies profiled to answer one major question: how do market-leading companies foster growth? In Double-Digit Growth: How Great Companies Achieve It—No Matter What the MIT Management Professor addresses this problem with a five-part portfolio of management disciplines. He offers case studies of well-known and little-known companies that have achieved growth year after year based on this diversified approach.

His first three disciplines--"keep the growth you have already earned," "take business from your competitors," and "show up where the growth is going to happen"--may seem obvious, and even beyond the control of the average executive. But Treacy provides frameworks for applying each as business practice, not just wishful thinking. His fourth and fifth disciplines, "invade adjacent markets" and "invest in new lines of business," are perhaps the most controversial. Here, though, he is not advising rampant conglomeration. Rather, he stresses the need for acquisitions and expansions made based on reliable data predicting long-term growth with risk spread over diversified investments.

Treacy is not presenting a step-by-step formula for success. Through his quick, readable prose he offers instead a course in mental re-training for executives. A management team must construct tools for tracking and measuring its success against each of the five growth disciplines, and it must build a corporate culture that instills growth as a core goal. While he offers no guarantees, his arguments are compelling, and the nuanced management strategies he suggests seem a plausible base for attaining predictable growth. --Patrick O’Kelley ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great insights, a must for corporate "victims" everywhere.
Michael Treacy sets out to show that growth, double digit growth at that, is possible in every economic environment.This is of course a creative possibility, but is often not acknowledged or even sought after by many in corporate America who are content to do the easy risk-avoidance strategies which ensure their ultimate demise.I liked this quote early in the book to set the tone:"Why do many managers preside over no-growth organizations without confronting the reality that accepting the status quo is the business equivalent of committing suicide?"

The highlights of the book are the way the ideas are laid out and then described in action with examples across several industries.Some of the tactics include; Spread the risk, Take small bites, Balance your strategies, and Commit to superior value.One key according to Treacy is to accept that growth is a choice.He describes managers talking about growth difficulties as "a little like listening to an addict in denial. Don't they understand that growth is a choice - a choice that lies entirely within their power and no one else's?" (Page 17).

Treacy covers 5 disciplines; Improving customer base retention; Market share gain; Market positioning; Penetrating adjacent markets; New lines of business. While these are certainly solid examples of the ways to approach growth, the real depth in the book is around understanding consumer behavior.He points out the reality behind why most "customer retention" strategies don't work, and how to increase "switching costs" of your products and services.Making your products and services "sticky" is a key to growth working well, by retaining current customers while attracting new ones.

While the information and theories here are certainly not the final word on growth, this book should be required reading for all the corporate "victims" blaming their woes on things outside their control.It is clear that countless opportunities exist within every market niche and through every economic trend to facilitate growth.Many companies do in fact continue to grow, and they are usually ones who are committed to it.The companies that do not grow are usually gone in time.The section on Corning, caught in the euphoria of the late 90's telecom boom, was a great example of how even market leaders fail to get ahead of the indicators and lose as a result.

Overall, a great read, with some good insights.I would have liked to see a bit more focus on the inspirational factors that great leaders bring to align their employees to deliver when the employees themselves may not see the way.That is obviously a huge key to executing a strategy, and was not covered as in depth as it could have been here.Otherwise, a good look at how to achieve growth and will likely cause many light bulbs to go on while reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars Low Inflation Makes Revenue Growth Harder to Accomplish
During the times when inflation and GNP growth in the United States were higher, investors gradually expanded their expectations of what "growth" meant.During the great bull market of the 1960s, a company that grew revenues by 10 percent a year was considered a great growth firm.Soon, that target was being set north of 15 percent.Exciting breakthroughs in technology meant that many markets were actually growing faster than that, so those who were growing market share were expanding at enormous rates (remember Cisco in the 1990s?).

Since then, inflation has declined to almost nothing, GDP has been stagnant during the Bush administration (with a recent up tick), and the dollar has been plummeting (making overseas revenues worth much less).That's a tougher environment to grow in than even the 1960s.So Double-Digit Growth is talking about a difficult target for those who are not in the highest growth industries.In appreciation of that point, Michael Treacy (coauthor of The Discipline of Market Leaders) says that companies should measure their growth in terms of total gross profits.So if you are expanding your value-added enough, you may be able to have double-digit growth while having less than double-digit revenue growth.That said, he argues that ANY company can have double-digit growth.I assume that he means it is POSSIBLE.Based on the track record of the last three years, most would agree that it?s IMPROBABLE though if we look at time frames of five years or more.

As with The Discipline of Market Leaders, Mr. Treacy looks at a few successful companies that have met his targets in the past (Johnson Controls, Mohawk Industries, Paychex, Biomet, Oshkosh Truck and Dell) and extrapolates what they did into a few simple lessons.The strategic lessons are:

1) Spread your risk by pursuing many growth initiatives

2) Take on small growth challenges so you don't become overwhelmed by the size of the task

3) Use a variety of strategies involving organic growth and acquisitions, as appropriate to grow

4) Be committed to providing superior value

5) Develop your management to handle growth opportunities before tackling more opportunities

6) Make growth a central focus of your management processes (using Balanced Scorecard-like measures).

To implement these six strategic perspectives, he counsels that each company should focus on five management disciplines:

a) Reduce customer turnover

b) Take business from competitors

c) Emphasize those areas in your industry that are growing fastest

d) Invade adjacent markets where you can bring important advantages to bear

e) Invest in new lines of business

The heart of the book is devoted to these five disciplines.Each receives a chapter that talks about the difficulties involved and how to over come those difficulties.I thought that the book's advice was most practical and interesting when it talked about the disciplines.

If I look back to when I was first learning about strategy, I think that every article or book I read talked about the last four disciplines . . . but omitted the first.In fact, the best chapter in the book is on the first discipline, especially in debunking those who advocate that you can build loyalty in customers with any method other than making your value proposition be terrific.

Another excellent part of the book comes in the case history of First Data which used these disciplines to improve its situation.Presumably First Data was a consulting client of Mr. Treacy's.

I was pleased to see that Mr. Treacy noted that many of his champion growers frequently changed business models in positive ways (especially Paychex and Dell).Double-Digit Growth is rare book in noting and describing such management excellence.In doing so, the book's only weaknesses were that few examples of continuing business model innovation were included and not enough attention was paid to describing the key elements of this new and important management discipline.I hope in future books that Mr. Treacy will place more emphasis on the best practices in this area.

The book's perspective is that of the strategist and marketing executive, so those who come from other perspectives will probably gain the most from this book.Double-Digit Growth will give other executives a chance to understand what they should be focusing on as they meld their talents together with others in the organization.

If you are, however, a veteran strategist or marketing executive, you may get little benefit except from reading whichever company cases in the book (listed above) you have not read or heard about before.

As I finished the book, I wondered about how companies can make it more exciting to work on customer retention.Perhaps Raving Fans! has it right in that regard.

If you are not in a high growth market, though, I would still rate your chances of double-digit growth in revenues or gross profits to be slim . . . unless you become a master of continuing business model innovation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hits the nail on the head
In this excellent book, Michael Treacy discusses a subject that had been forgotten by most companies---growth. It's all about growth. Creating revenues. Being creative and competitive.Too many companies are focused on being Mr. Cheapskate by cutting back and many of those companies have lostbusiness to companies that are growth focused.Every executive and every business person must read this book if you want your company to move forward or even stay around in this new, tougher enviroment.Also recommend Good To Great by Jim Collins.

4-0 out of 5 stars Finally some good thinking after years of gloom n doom
Double-digit growth looks at an issue that is finally regaining importance.After years of cutting costs and getting rightsized we are not talking about making companies grow.Hurrah.Treacy does a good job in pointing out how really few companies consistently grow and the practices that they use to create this truely virtuous cycle.

He provides five disciplines:

1) Keep the growth you already have
2) Take business away from your competitiors
3) Show up where the growth is going to happen
4) Invade adjacent markets
5) Invest in new lines of business

The disciplines and their explaination are make in lively action oriented prose with actionable advice.This is a powerful book written about a powerful subject.I have been dismayed by the quality if business book ideas over the past three years and now with this book and some others, ideas and interest in them seem to be getting off the ground.

Read this book, if nothing more than to check yourself and your company against these disciplines.Look at what you are doing and how you are positioning yourself for growth.I think that you will be surprised at what you uncover.

5-0 out of 5 stars the mystery to growth revealed
Mr. Treacy's book offers clear and consise information about how to grow a company.I was drawn to this book because I am so tired of listening to all of the negativity about the economy, corporate scandals and the recession.Treacy proves- through excellent exmaples-- that several companes, of all shapes and sizes were able to grow durin these challenging years.Ultimately this book touts wise management, a plan to grow and the need to grow.Every American company would be wise to make this book required reading among their managment teams. ... Read more

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