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21. Finance for Managers (Harvard
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22. The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart
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23. Harvard Business Review on Doing
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24. The Hidden Power of Social Networks:
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25. Rising Tide : Lessons from 165
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26. The HR Scorecard: Linking People,
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27. Aligning the Stars
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28. Taking Charge in Your New Leadership
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29. Harvard Business Review on Brand
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30. MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves
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31. The Art of Possibility: Transforming
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32. The War for Talent
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33. Remember Who You Are: Life Stories
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34. Leading Quietly
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35. The Innovator's Solution: Creating
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36. Beyond the Core: Expand Your Market
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37. Creativity Inc.: Building an Inventive
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38. Beyond Budgeting: How Managers
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39. How Industries Evolve: Principles
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40. Right from the Start: Taking Charge

21. Finance for Managers (Harvard Business Essentials)
by Harvard Business School Press
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 1578518768
Catlog: Book (2002-02-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 43237
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Harvard Business Essentials

Your Guide and Mentor to Doing Business Effectively

In the faced-paced world of business today, everyone needs a personal resource-a place to go for advice, coaching, background information, or answers. Bosses and colleagues aren't always available when you need them-and they might not always have the most reliable solutions to your business problems right at hand.

The Harvard Business Essentials series fills the gap. Concise and straightforward, these books provide highly practical advice for readers at all levels of experience. Whether you are a new manager interested in expanding your skills or an experienced executive looking to stay on top, these solution-oriented books give you the reliable tips and tools you need to improve your performance and get the job done. Harvard Business Essentials titles will quickly become your constant companions and the trusted guides you'll turn to throughout your business career.

Finance for Managers Calculating and assessing the overall financial health of the business is an important part of any managerial position.From reading and deciphering financial statements, to understanding net present value, to calculating return on investment, this book provides the fundamentals of financial literacy.Easy to use and non-technical, this helpful guide gives managers the smart advice they need to increase their impact on financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential, Yes, and for Many, Invaluable
This one of the volumes in the new Harvard Business School Essentials Series. Each offers authoritative answers to the most important questions concerning its specific subject. The material in this book is drawn from a variety of sources which include William J. Bruns, Michael J. Roberts, and Robert S. Kaplan as well as Harvard Business School Publishing and Harvard ManageMentor®, an online service. Each volume is indeed "a highly practical resource for readers with all levels of experience" but I think those who have only recently embarked on a business career will derive the greatest benefit.

This volume explains the basic concepts of finance to managers who are not financial managers. As Richard Luecke notes in the Introduction, "Knowing how to finance assets, forecast future cash flows, maintain a budget, determine which operations are profit generators and which are not, and judge the real economic merits of different investment opportunities will help you stay in business and turn a profit." Samuel L. Hayes served as subject advisor to Luecke, writer of this and other books in the Harvard Business School Essentials Series and author or developer of more than 30 other books as well as several dozen articles.

There are ten chapters followed by an Appendix: Activity-Based Budgeting. (More about that material in a moment.) Each chapter is introduced by a list of "Key Topics" to be covered in it. For example, in Chapter 5, the focus is on start-up financing, financing current operations, financing growth, establish a proper match of assets with financing, and typical financing arrangements. Obviously, all of this material may seem basic (if not self-evident) to the experienced financial manager but keep in mind that the material was carefully selected for managers who are not financial managers.

One of the most informative discussions is provided in the Appendix when brief but sufficient attention is given to "Developing Cost Drivers" and more specifically to activity-based budgeting (ABB) and how it differs from activity-based costing (ABC). Less experienced non-financial managers are frequently asked to prepare a report which, more often than not, involves a budget or at least a cost analysis. A basic understanding of ABB and ABC will guide and assist the completion of that task. Whereas ABC starts with the cost of resources, allocates these costs to activities, and then allocates these costs to products and/of services, ABB starts with the planned product or service, estimated sales volume, and mix and comes up with the requisite activities to produce the mix and volume.

Financial managers as well as non-financial managers who supervise other non-financial managers should seriously consider providing copies of this book to those who currently do not understand "how to finance assets, forecast future cash flows, maintain a budget, determine which operations are profit generators and which are not, and judge the real economic merits of different investment opportunities" which will help [their organization] stay in business and turn a profit." Of course, younger executives need not wait for such provision. Published as a paperbound volume and priced attractively, Finance for Managers would be a modest investment for them to make in their own careers. ... Read more


22. The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action
by Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton
list price: $29.95
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Asin: 1578511240
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 37183
Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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Every year, companies spend billions of dollars on training programs and management consultants, searching for ways to improve. But it's mostly all talk and no action, according to Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton, authors of The Knowing-Doing Gap. "Did you ever wonder why so much education and training, management consultation, organizational research and so many books and articles produce so few changes in actual management practice?" ask Stanford University professors Pfeffer and Sutton. "We wondered, too, and so we embarked on a quest to explore one of the great mysteries in organizational management: why knowledge of what needs to be done frequently fails to result in action or behavior consistent with that knowledge." The authors describe the most common obstacles to action---such as fear and inertia---and profile successful companies that overcome them.

Among the companies that Pfeffer and Sutton say do it right: General Electric, the Men's Wearhouse, SAS Institute, Southwest Airlines, Toyota, and British Petroleum. The book, based on four years of research, is broken into chapters with titles such as "When Talk Substitutes for Action," "When Fear Prevents Acting on Knowledge," "When Internal Competition Turns Friends into Enemies," and "Turning Knowledge into Action." Each chapter contains tips on what to do and what to avoid, and provides examples of how a lethargic company culture can be transformed. The Knowing-Doing Gap is a useful how-to guide for managers looking to make changes. Yet, as Pfeffer and Sutton point out, it takes more than reading their book or discussing their recommendations. It takes action. --Dan Ring ... Read more

Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not really applicable to small companies
This book is not so much about knowing-doing gap as about how things are done in big traditional hierarchical organization. I doubt that there are many small entrepreneurial companies that have similar problems.

When talk replaces action - when there are too many people in the company whose sole job is "analyzing", "monitoring" and "controlling". No wonder that their performance is measured by talking, presenting and writing. In a company of 10 people nobody would tolerate a "talker" for more than several days.

When memory replaces thinking - on the whole that's not a bad thing because we are talking about experience and intuition here. Big corporations have so much "memory" that they don't need to think much about anything. Actually in such cultures as Japanese intellect and formal knowledge are almost synonyms.

When measurements prevent good judgment - measurements are needed when real-life results and actual work are set too much apart. In small companies you simply deliver or not.

All other major key points of the book are also applicable mostly to big companies and don't explain why in small companies knowing - doing gap exists. Maybe because thinking replaces memory?

3-0 out of 5 stars Contemporary Update on Change Management
'The Knowing-Doing Gap' describes the barriers to turning knowledge or strategy into action based upon surveys, interviews, and case-study evidence spanning many sectors. The problem: US companies annually spend over US$100 billion on training and consulting often failing to improve operations.

The well-referenced and presented chapters span:

* knowing "what" is not enough- evidence, measuring & significance of the knowing-doing gap, and knowledge management projects.

* when talk substitutes for action- presentations, documents, mission statements, planning, smart-talk, smart negative people, business school 'bad' training, and complexity & jargon (remedies described include working leaders, simplicity, vocabulary).

* when memory is a substitute for thinking- convention & consistency, culture, history, and need for cognitive closures.

* when fear prevents acting on knowledge- fear as management and the remedies.

* when measurement obstructs good judgement- problematic measures, short-term financial focus, over-complexity, and in-process versus outcome measures (remedy- simplicity & focus on critical elements).

* when internal competition turns friends into enemies- undermining loyalty & teamwork & knowledge sharing, and significance of interdependence.

* firms that surmount the knowing-doing gap- British Petroleum, Barclays Global Investors, and New Zealand Post.

* turning knowledge into action- 8 guidelines including- company philosophy, knowing from doing and teaching others how, action counts more than elegant plans & concepts, forgiving mistakes from action, drive out fear, fight external competitors, measure what matters, and lead by example.

Weakness include the subjectively dry "unemotional/unengaging" style of writing; the verbatim repetition of some sections in different chapters (perhaps a re-edit could reduce page count by 25% without losing content); occasional errors in use of sector-specific jargon; and relatively shallow treatment of significant subject- perhaps a deeper follow-up text with case-study evidence of whether the recommendations actually work together is due? Also the book neglects attention to dot.com enterprises- which are through self-fulfilling prophecies- transforming the global business landscape.

Overall a timely text, addressing a real-problem, that is worth shelf-space. Despite that, to this reviewer there were no new 'aha' moments- as the findings/recommendations repeated many already existing in change management business texts spanning the last 3 decades.

3-0 out of 5 stars too lengthy but good ideas
I like the writings of Bob Sutton and had high expectations when I read this book but was somewhat disappointed for a couple of reasons. First, the book is about a number of (very good) ideas, which could have been brought across in much fewer pages. After some pages, the same couple of thoughts about the same couple of companies become repetitive. Secondly, as with many management books, there tends to be black and white but not much gray (eg where the authors interview employees and where you get a sense that the output is very one-sided). But in business, there's a lot of gray, and true understanding is often about the nuances.
Nevertheless, the book is strong where it's about unconventional approaches and makes good, albeit sometimes light, reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars How wide is yours?
With few exceptions, the most valuable business books are those in which their authors share the results of efforts to answer especially important questions. That is certainly true of this book. As Pfeffer and Sutton explain, "We wrote this book because we wanted to understand why so managers know so much about organizational performance, say so many smart things about how to achieve performance, and work so hard, yet are trapped in firms that do so many things they know will undermine performance." Obviously, knowing what to do is not enough. Inorder to identify the causes of what they refer to as the "knowing-doing gap," Pfeffer and Sutton embarked on a four-year research project.

What they learned is shared in this exceptionally informative and thus invaluable book. They organize their material within eight chapters, followed by an appendix in which they provide "The Knowing-Doing Survey." This survey of restaurant managers all by itself is worth far more than the cost of the book. The items to which participants respond can easily be modified to accommodate any other kind of business. Moreover, even in small privately-owned companies, it will enable decision-makers to measure the nature and extent of their own "knowing-doing gap."

Pfeffer and Sutton correctly point out that knowing (in italics) about that gap is different from doing (in italics) something about it. "Understanding causes is helpful because such understanding can guide action. But by itself, this knowing is insufficient -- action must occur." Most executives may not be able to eliminate the gap entirely but, guided and informed by what Prefer and Sutton reveal in this book, they can at least reduce the gap. Moreover, those with supervisory responsibilities will also be able to help reduce the gap for each of those for whom they are responsible.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Sydney Finkelstein's Why Smart Executives Fail...and What You Can Learn from Their Mistakes as well as Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan's Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done.

4-0 out of 5 stars Turn knowledge and talk into action.
Pfeffer and Sutton caught my interest immediately in The Knowing-Doing Gap by telling the story of a major U.S. Bank who had hired 5 consulting firms in six years who made the same recommendation based on the same data. But, the recommendations had never been implemented. With billions spent on consulting, and countless M.B.A.'s in the workforce, it is amazing how much we know as compared to what we actually deliver.

As an HR person, I often struggle to find out why some people and organizations are able to get things done while others simply talk about things and cannot deliver results. It is often our role to lead the leaders and to help build the capability of our people. The authors examine the reasons why we often fail to do what we know needs to be done. We substitute talk for action, we rely on imitation or memory of the past as a substitution for new thinking, an atmosphere of fear prevents acting on what we know, we rely too heavily on measurement systems that obstruct judgment and common sense, and we compete internally instead of externally.

Several examples of companies who have demonstrated the ability to turn knowledge into action are described including British Petroleum, Barclays Global Investors, and the New Zealand Post.

After establishing that the knowing-doing gap is an important problem that must be overcome, the authors give eight guidelines for action:

1. Why before How: Philosophy is Important.
2. Knowing Comes from Doing and Teaching Others How.
3. Action Counts More Than Elegant Plans and Concepts.
4. There is No Doing without Mistakes. What is the company's Response?
5. Fear Fosters Knowing-Doing Gaps, So Drive Out Fear.
6. Beware of False Analogies: Fight the Competition, Not Each Other.
7. Measure What Matters and What Can Help Turn Knowledge into Action.
8. What Leaders Do, How They Spend their Time and How they Allocate Resources, Matters.

An easier read than Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan's Execution, The Knowing-Doing Gap gives us a better understanding of organizational processes that stand in the way of real results. The solution relies on actually turning knowledge into action. Each chapter gives solid advice which if followed will yield actionble results.

While written for the general business reader, Human resources professionals will find many ways to assist our business partners in overcoming lots of talk and no action or results. There are suggestions for overcoming obstacles, communication, leadership behavior, driving a productive corporate culture, and overcoming past behavior that is counter productive. ... Read more


23. Harvard Business Review on Doing Business in China (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)
by Harvard Business School Press, Rick Yan, Kenneth Libeberthal
list price: $19.95
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Asin: 1591396387
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 28195
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Book Description

All eyes are on China. Home to a quarter of the world's population, China's rapid growth, expanding openness, and developing consumer market have made the region a hotbed of opportunity-and risk-for today's multinationals.

Harvard Business Review on Doing Business in China offers a timely and insightful analysis of what it will take to successfully do business in twenty-first-century China. Featuring eight articles, each written by experts in Chinese business and culture, HBR on Doing Business in China explores issues including:

-The possibilities and pitfalls multinationals face in the newly opened Chinese domestic market

-The unique cultural and social factors that govern the buying preferences of Chinese consumers

-The deep-seated cultural traditions Westerners must understand to negotiate successfully with the Chinese

-The emergence of Chinese brands as powerful rivals in the global market

-Strategies for entering and winning in China as competition- both local and global-heats up

... Read more


24. The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations
by Rob Cross, Andrew Parker, Robert L. Cross
list price: $29.95
our price: $20.37
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Asin: 1591392705
Catlog: Book (2004-06-02)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 19071
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Identifying and Leveraging the Hidden Social Networks That Drive Corporate Performance

In today's flatter organizations, collaboration in employee networks has become critical to innovation and to both individual and companywide performance. Executives spend millions on new organizational designs, cultural initiatives, and technologies to promote the sharing of knowledge and expertise across functional, hierarchical, and divisional lines. Yet these efforts have achieved disappointing results.

Rob Cross and Andrew Parker argue that's because most managers have little understanding of how their employees actually interact to get work done. In fact, formal "org charts" fail to reveal the often hidden social networks that truly drive--or hinder--an organization's performance. In this eye-opening book, Cross and Parker show managers how to find, assess, and support the networks most crucial to competitive success.

Based on their in-depth study of more than sixty informal networks within organizations around the world, Cross and Parker show how managers can implement a wide range of specific and inexpensive actions-from bridging strategically important disconnects in a network to eliminating information "bottlenecks" to recognizing key connectors-that will enhance the powerful impact networks can have on performance and innovation. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Book for consultants
There are many network books out there -- this is the only one that focuses on networks inside business organizations. Being a management consultant who has applied Social Network Analysis to organizational issues since 1987 this book mostly fits my experience.

This book is an excellent introduction for the internal or external consultant considering their first social network analysis project. Cross & Parker provide many examples, and discuss both network mapping and measuring. They focus on the network methods and metrics that are understandable by common business people -- no PhD required, an MBA will do fine.

Coming from a research organization, the authors don't always go into great deatil on how to apply network analysis in solving business problems. A couple of stories of before/after networks are shared. Yet, how they apply interventions and solutions is often glossed over. The last few chapters delve into this with more detail, but it may be too late in the book for some readers. Several of the the network examples could have used more details to provide the reader a better context of what was happening in the organization.

The Appendix is great -- how to get started in a social network analysis project. This section alone may be worth the price of the book for many hands-on consultants.

As business schools start to teach social network analysis, this book will make an excellent textbook for both undergraduate and MBA students.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful and practical
The Hidden Power of Social Networks provides the most complete treatment of the subject of applying the understanding of social networks to organizations as you will find. It includes the insights from the many, many cases that the authors facilitated and it provides insight into the methodology itself. As such, it is a good book for both executives who have had inklings that there is something useful for them in all this "social network" hype, and for HR/organizational development specialists and consultants who want to understand the nuts and bolts of the method.

In recent years we saw (and I read) half a dozen books on the emerging science of networks (Linked, Six Degrees of Separation; from the management consulting Nexus, Living Networks); the language of The Tipping Point tipped into the vernacular; and social networking sites (LinkedIn™, tribe.net, Spoke, VisualPath) climbed the "hype cycle" by promising value in gaining access to powerful people just three degrees away. The jury is still out on the latter, but the genie is out of the bottle: organizations and individuals are making the shift to an understanding that social networks shape our lives and our work, and that we can learn how to identify, assess, and manage these networks.

This book is the first fully practical, actionable work on social network analysis in organizations. Cross and Parker are among a handful of professionals who have worked deeply in organizations to analyze existing social networks, position these networks within the context of the strategy, culture, and promise of organizations and recommend specific, positive steps that can alter the dynamics of the networks that exist.

For example, one of the themes explored is that of central connectors: people who, by virtue of their relationships with people in different organizations serve as boundary spanners (moving information and context from one group to another) or bottlenecks (impeding the flow of information and context). The authors develop the reader's understanding of this phenomenon by presenting the concepts of social network mapping, how the analysis of a network reveals the central connectors, the impact of these people on an organization, and, finally, the actions a manager can take to either (1) acknowledge and recognize these people or (2) shift the work patterns to alleviate the bottlenecks.

All the network maps in the book are from real cases - and they are universal as well. You'll not have a difficult time recognizing your own organization (or those you've worked with) in most of these examples. The "before and after" maps are illuminating and inspiring. The descriptions of the methodology are straightforward and useful. I'll say it again: this book is actionable, for both senior managers who want to understand and support networked organizational dynamics and for consultants (internal and external) who want a practical guidebook that establishes the standard for the practice of social network analysis.

Full disclosure: I am a practicing consultant who uses social network analysis in my work. When I first heard Rob Cross talk about social network analysis at an Institute for Knowledge Management workshop in Santa Fe four years ago, I knew that this was work that I needed to do in my organization. I had the good fortune to work with Rob and Andrew Parker on several projects, and to learn the method described in this book from them. I inherited, through their teaching and mentoring, the enthusiasm for bringing stunning insights to managers about their organizations as revealed in an analysis of their networks, and a strong sense of the ethics and responsibility in managing analysis projects. I've been waiting almost a year for this book to come out so that I can share it with my clients. ... Read more


25. Rising Tide : Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Procter & Gamble
by Davis Dyer, Frederick Dalzell, Rowena Olegario
list price: $29.95
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Asin: 1591391474
Catlog: Book (2004-05-27)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 14405
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Book Description

The Evolution of a Brand Powerhouse

The candles that lit the nights of Union soldiers during the Civil War. The synthetic detergent that eradicated hours of toil for women in the 1940s. The disposable diapers that added convenience to the lives of busy parents.

All of these breakthrough "firsts" and a host of others came from the same source: consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble. Rising Tide chronicles this company's extraordinary 165-year climb from a small, family-operated soap and candle company to a global powerhouse whose market-leading brands improve the lives of consumers everywhere.

Authors Davis Dyer, Frederick Dalzell, and Rowena Olegario were granted unprecedented access to P&G's corporate archives and exclusive interviews with key executives and employees. They describe the introduction and evolution of such household brands as Ivory, Tide, Crest, and Pampers and illustrate how P&G learned to satisfy consumers and compete in markets all over the world. They also recount insightful lessons about product innovation, global expansion, leadership transformation, business reinvention, and brand building.

Compelling and candid, Rising Tide is a fascinating journey through business history and material culture from colonial times through the Industrial Revolution and into the Information Age. ... Read more


26. The HR Scorecard: Linking People, Strategy, and Performance
by Brian E. Becker, Mark A. Huselid, Dave Ulrich
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 1578511364
Catlog: Book (2001-03)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 28771
Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Providing the tools and systems required for leading a "measurement managed" HR architecture, this important book heralds the emergence of human resources as a strategic powerhouse in today's organizations.

Three experts in the field outline a powerful measurement system that highlights the indisputable role HR can play as both a prime source of sustainable competitive advantage and a key driver of value creation. They draw from an ongoing study of nearly 3,000 firms to outline a seven-step process they call an HR Scorecard, specifically designed to embed human resources systems within a firm's overall strategy and manage the HR architecture as a strategic asset.Building on the proven Balanced Scorecard model, they also show how to link HR's results to measures-such as profitability and shareholder value-that line managers and senior executives will understand and respect.

The authors argue that human resources's strategic role begins with designing an HR architecture-the HR function, the HR system, and strategic employee behaviors-that relentlessly emphasizes and reinforces the implementation of the firm's strategy.Using compelling examples from a variety of leading companies, they explain how to develop and implement an HR Scorecard in order to both manage the HR architecture as a strategic asset, as well as measure the contribution of that asset to firm performance.

... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential for the Serious HR Leader's Library
As a seasoned HR professional, I have spent the last decade looking for the "Holy Grail" of H.R. Metrics. My quest is not over after reading The HR Scorecard, but the book presented many helpful concepts and tools that we can use to measure the effectiveness of HR as a function, to measure R.O.I. on talent and talent initiatives, to measure the impact of HR on organizational performance, and as a basis for business case development of our deliverables.

Three well respected thought leaders in the HR field have conducted extensive research of more than 2500 companies to uncover a model for implementing HR strategy and measuring results. If fully employed HR will deliver results linked to higher functional and organizational performance.

To transform the structure of HR into a strategic function, HR leaders must:

1. Clearly define the business strategy.
2. Build a business case for HR as a strategic asset.
3. Create a strategy map (with leading and lagging indicators, and tangibles and intangibles.)
4. Identify HR Deliverables within the strategy map.
5. Align the HR architecture with HR deliverables.
6. Design the strategic measurement System.
7. Implement management by measurement.

The concepts in this book are useful but may not be practical for all HR leaders. This book is for organizations that have the resources to implement an in-depth system of measuring their HR performance. It is not a way to create a simple snapshot to be included in business reviews. While the authors suggest using no more than 25 measures so as not to create a burdensome systems, many of the examples in the book are quite complex and can by used only by the largest of organizations. It is also difficult to pick just a few efficiency measures and performance drivers from the comprehesive list prepared by the authors.

Real life examples of scorecards are shown from organizations such as Verizon/GTE, General Mills, and General Electric. While these examples can help any size HR department think through how to measure the performance of their function, I would like to see a smaller organization profiled with more simple measures.

This book should be in the library of all serious HR practitioners. It is well written, well researched, and well presented. If the tools and concepts are implemented, the HR function can rise to a new level. For those in smaller organizations, a few HR efficiency measures can be gleaned to build a simpler scorecard based on the key HR deliverables for the enterprise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Measuring the Value of Human Resources
The book Providing the tools and systems required for leading a measurement managed HR architecture and draw from an ongoing study of nearly 3,000 firms to outline a seven-step process they call an HR Scorecard, specifically designed to embed human resources systems within a firm's overall strategy and manage the HR architecture as a strategic asset. You can reading EMBA journal in june, it make an abstract the book.

2-0 out of 5 stars Ignore this
The issue is to have an HR scorecard for the business. The book was disappointing since it continues with the theory that originated with "Balanced Scorecard". It should have focussed on the actual challenges and created a robust framework.

The book missed the point and an oppurtunity. It might be interesting read but no practical value.

4-0 out of 5 stars Additional reading
The HR scorecard is a useful additional reading to those who already have a general idea of the HR management. There are some good examples and concepts but it is not easy to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars This plus the Beitler book!
This is a good book. I recommend it in addition to "Strategic Organizational Change" by Beitler. That makes a great combination for managers. ... Read more


27. Aligning the Stars
by Jay W. Lorsch, Thomas J. Tierney
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 1578515130
Catlog: Book (2002-04-26)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 97373
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Combining perspectives of "a doer and a teacher" with experiences of two dozen professional service firms representing the ups and downs of the Old and New economies, Aligning the Stars offers detailed analysis of such firms today--and specific suggestions for their future success. Jay W. Lorsch, professor of human relations at Harvard Business School, and Thomas J. Tierney, former chief executive of Bain & Company (and now chairman of its nonprofit affiliate), interviewed principals at successful and struggling law firms, ad agencies, investment banks, and similar institutions to determine the practices that have helped the best thrive. Their conclusion: "Outstanding firms are consistently able to identify, attract, and retain star performers; to get stars committed to their firm's strategy; to manage stars across geographic distance, business lines, and generations; to govern and lead so that both the organization and its stars prosper and feel rewarded." Their book subsequently provides specific ways these "stars" (key performances critical to organizational success) can be "aligned" (via practices and structures that match their needs with those of the business). Lorsch and Tierney progress logically through client-centered strategies, development- and motivation-oriented people systems, corporate structure and governance, organizational culture, and leadership. A final section aims to help readers succeed in these newly shaped environments. --Howard Rothman ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid Strategic Foundations for a PSF
Anyone interested in understanding what really drives succcesful PSF (Professional Service Firms) should read this book. This is the first book published by a group of professors at Harvard University that have been studying PSF for the past 10 years.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not for serious consultants
I've spent over 10 years with Big 5 consulting firms and read this book with a great degree of enthusiasm, given the background of the authors. But I was very disappointed! The book is laced with "feel good" examples about what other firms are doing in running their practices without actually formulating any definitive conclusions or suggestions (as one would find in David Maister's work). It appears more like the authors talking about their experiences/adventures with no particular audience in mind. So if you want to read this book, do not expect any serious advice coming out of it.

Hope this is helpful ... Read more


28. Taking Charge in Your New Leadership Role
by Michael Watkins
list price: $34.95
our price: $34.95
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Asin: 1578516595
Catlog: Book (2001-04)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 28512
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This is the definitive guide to taking charge in any new leadership position.Written by Michael Watkins, co-author of Right From the Start: Taking Charge in a New Leadership Role, this workbook provides step-by-step guidelines that will help managers at all levels prepare for, and make, successful transitions.By systematically focusing on four core transition management challenges-learning, influence, design, and self-management-it provides a roadmap for diagnosing the situation, developing priorities, and planning to get early wins.Taking Charge in Your New Leadership Rolealso provides comprehensive diagnostics for assessing leadership style, as well as helpful advice on building credibility, creating coalitions, and developing supportive advice and counsel networks. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Better to get his new book, older stuff good too.
I work for a leading health care company and went through one of Watkins's transition forum programs here. If really helped me get off to a running start. We used his newer book on transitions, The First 90 Days. We also got his negotiation book, Breakthrough Business Negotiation, which also was very helpful. I've since also read his book on influencing government and business strategy, Winning the Influence Game. Definitely helpful if you are dealing with issues of regulation and reimbursement as we are. It's nice to see him getting recognition for the First 90 days, but his earlier stuff is just as good, if negotiation or influence are important to what you do. ... Read more


29. Harvard Business Review on Brand Management (The Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)
by Erich Joachimsthaler, David Aaker, John Quelch, David Kenny, Vijay Vishwanath, Mark Jonathan
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.97
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Asin: 1578511445
Catlog: Book (1999-08-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 36592
Average Customer Review: 4.43 out of 5 stars
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Download Description

With the increasing globalization of brands, effective brand management in differentiating products has become even more essential. This helpful volume provides the latest strategies for maximizing the value of your brands and products. Articles include: "Building Brands Without Mass Media" by Erich Joachimsthaler and David A. Aaker, "Brands vs. Private Labels: Fighting to Win" by John A. Quelch and David Harding, "How Do You Grow a Premium Brand?" by Regina Fazio Maruca, "Should You Take Your Brand to Where the Action Is?" by David A. Aaker, "Extend Profits, Not Product Lines" by John A. Quelch and David Kenny, "The Logic of Product-Line Extensions" Perspectives from the Editors, "Can This Brand Be Saved," by Regina Fazio Maruca, "Your Brand's Best Strategy" by Vijay Vishwanath and Jonathan Mark. The Harvard Business Review Paperback Series is designed to bring today's managers and professionals the fundamental information they need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world. Here are the landmark ideas that have established the Harvard Business Review as required reading for ambitious businesspeople in organizations around the globe. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars Great ten years ago
This would have been a great read in 1995; however, the statistics and points made seem very dated given today's reality of fragmented segments, consolidated grocery distribution and strength of private label.

This is a good read if you are interested in how issues have changed since '94.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for perspectives but not a full picture of branding
This is a great collection of thoughtful "perspectives" on brand related issues, some very thoughtful (e.g., the one on extending premium brands with Transition health clubs as the lynchpin) and others somewhat perplexingly dichotomous (e.g., a chapter on the perils of line extensions which is immediately succeeded by another on the logic of line extensions leaving the reader with no cogent framework for how to decide between the two).

The "book" is structured as a collection of essays, each of which takes up a case study with an actual company and then presents the views of several big-tyke experts about branding issues that the company was faced with. This makes it a fascinating read as a case study guide. An attempt to weave these scattered insights into a summary recommendation at the end of each essay, or at least some mention of what the client in question actually ended up doing, would have been even more useful. Sans such synoptic editing, this book ends up being little more than thought piece for the branding experts on some issues that pertain to corporate identity (and the marketing bottomline) but this is by no means a holistic branding reference as one of the other reviewers seemed to indicate.

All the same, I would still give it is a 4 star for its readability, for the breadth and the reality of the cases picked for discussion, and for the sharpness/relevance of the insights that went into discussing them. Should be a no-brainer of a buy if you are interested in the identity/advertising/marketing strategy industry in any way, especially as a real-world companion to any of Aaker's works.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's worth to buy it, read it, and think about it.
This collections would absolutely give either the managers in business war or students in acdemic area some fresh insights of "Brand". Most people misunderstand the true meaning of a brand, so they make wrong decisions when facing consumers' wants. You can get new ideas about your business positioning, your strategy, or media policy. Students also should read it, because it will help you to clarify your concept about what "brand" mean. I recommend it to you.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful Perspectives
In this volume, one of a series of anthologies of articles previously published in the Harvard Business Review, we are provided with a variety of different perspectives on a single business subject. Here are the titles and their authors:

"Building Better Brands without Mass Media" (Joachimsthaler and Aaker)

"How Do You Grow a Premium Brand?" (Maruca)

"Should You Take Your Brand to Where the Action Is?" (Aaker)

"Extend Profits, Not Product Lines (Quelch and Kenny)

"The Logic of Product-Line Extensions" (Perspectives from the Editors)

"Can This Brand Be Saved?" (Maruca)

"Your Brand's Best Strategy" (Vishwanath and Mark)

Even if you do not recognize at least a few of the authors' last names, The Harvard Business Review's brand is of sufficient credibility to encourage you to purchase and read this book. I am especially impressed by the inclusion of "Executive Summaries" of key points in each of the articles. No brief commentary such as this can do full justice to the rigor and substance of the articles provided. It remains for each reader to examine the list to identify those subjects which are of greatest interest to her or him. My own opinion is that all of the articles are first-rate. For me, as previously indicated, one of this volume's greatest benefits is derived from sharing a variety of perspectives provided by several different authorities on the same general subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a classic; nice to have in eBook format too.
I found this collection of articles to be a very helpful business tool day to day. Nice to have in eBook form on your PC, so you can go back and reference it from time to time. The pages render quite well on the screen and its easier to navigate from article to article. I also use the annotation tool to save certain phrases for reminders. Worth the $$ for this one.

Here are some of the articles in this eBook: "Building Brands Without Mass Media" by Erich Joachimsthaler and David A. Aaker, "Brands vs. Private Labels: Fighting to Win" by John A. Quelch and David Harding, "How Do You Grow a Premium Brand?" by Regina Fazio Maruca, "Should You Take Your Brand to Where the Action Is?" by David A. Aaker, "Extend Profits, Not Product Lines" by John A. Quelch and David Kenny, "The Logic of Product-Line Extensions" Perspectives from the Editors, "Can This Brand Be Saved," by Regina Fazio Maruca, "Your Brand's Best Strategy" by Vijay Vishwanath and Jonathan Mark ... Read more


30. MarketBusters: 40 Strategic Moves That Drive Exceptional Business Growth
by Rita Gunther McGrath, Ian C. Macmillan
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
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Asin: 1591391237
Catlog: Book (2005-04-04)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 1547220
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Book Description

A strategic guide to unleashing explosive growth

If all firms face similar obstacles to profitable growth, how do some companies successfully burst through these barriers, leaving their competitors in the dust?

Rita Gunther McGrath and Ian C. MacMillan argue that an answer to this question lies in MarketBusters: strategic moves that dramatically reconfigure profit streams in an industry and upend conventional competition.Best of all, the authors say, opportunities for identifying and executing such moves can be unearthed throughout a company's existing business platform-if managers know where and how to look for them.

Based on an extensive three-year study, McGrath and MacMillan identify five arenas in which exceptional growth opportunities can be found: the customer experience, reconfigured offerings and services, key metrics, industry dynamics, and emerging market shifts. The authors outline forty specific marketbusting moves and provide practical tools and checklists to help leaders determine the best move to use in a given situation. Vivid company examples illustrate the moves in practice, and clear guidelines aid managers in implementing their chosen moves effectively.

Driving continuous growth is imperative for every leader in every industry. MarketBusters is the field guide that will help them succeed.

... Read more


31. The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life
by Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander
list price: $22.50
our price: $15.30
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Asin: 0875847706
Catlog: Book (2000-09)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 19522
Average Customer Review: 4.28 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

The lure of this book's promise starts with the assumption in its title. Possibility--that big, all-encompassing, wide-open-door concept--is an art? Well, who doesn't want to be a skilled artist, whether in the director's chair, the boardroom, on the factory floor, or even just in dealing with life's everyday situations? Becoming an artist, however, requires discipline, and what the authors of The Art of Possibility offer is a set of practices designed to "initiate a new approach to current conditions, based on uncommon assumptions about the nature of the world."

If that sounds a little too airy-fairy for you, don't be put off; this is no mere self-improvement book, with a wimpy mandate to transform its readers into "nicer" people. Instead, it's a collection of illustrations and advice that suggests a way to change your entire outlook on life and, in the process, open up a new realm of possibility. Consider, for example, the practice of "Giving an A," whether to yourself or to others. Not intended as a way to measure someone's performance against standards, this practice instead recognizes that "the player who looks least engaged may be the most committed member of the group," and speaks to their passion rather than their cynicism. It creates possibility in an interaction and does away with power disparities to unite a team in its efforts. Or consider "Being the Board," where instead of defining yourself as a playing piece, or even as the strategist, you see yourself as the framework for the entire game. In this scenario, assigning blame or gaining control becomes futile, while seeking to become an instrument for effective partnerships becomes possible.

Packed with such examples of personal and professional interactions, the book presents complex ideas on perception and recognition in a readable, useable style. The authors' combined, eclectic experience in music and painting (as wellas family therapy and executive workshops) infuses their examples with vibrant color and sound. The relevance to corporate situations and relationships is well developed, and they don't rely on dry case studies to do it. Indeed, this book assumes the emotional intelligence and desire to engage of its reader, promising access to the rewards of that door-opening notion--possibility--in return. --S. Ketchum ... Read more

Reviews (40)

4-0 out of 5 stars Stretches your thought process
The Zander's redefine the way you look at things and view situations. I found the book to be a combination of art/creativity and psycho-analysis. Some of the principles I had a hard time really owning.

It reminds me a bit of Zen or Tao. Being in the present, not assigning blame, recognizing that is the way things are...

I couldn't read the book in one sitting. I found that it requires a lot of thought and reflection. Parts that I found inspirational were the white papers that were written by the musicians in response to a request from the conductor.

Some of the principles seemed to really line up well with the popular book from a few years ago "7 spiritual laws of success" by Deepak Chopra.

I would like to hear the authors read this as a book-on-tape, because I found myself thinking about things while I was trying to read. In a nutshell, the book says "put your life into a different playing field, Don't think win-win, think about making a contribution or about making a difference."

4-0 out of 5 stars Inspiring read for personal growth
This is an inspiring read for my personal life, and certain examples touched my heart deeply. Downside - I don't have much context for the authors' examples, though it's thought there is application of this to the corporate world. Was looking for a "thumping good read" to boost me on the job, and it more boosts me outside work world. Would a book more geared toward work maybe written by the authors+ a businessperson be a good next move? Hard to say. Still, as a former Landmark Education Graduate of many, many adult education classes, it was enchanting to see Landmark's concepts of creating possibility and vision embodied in the book. It's also exciting to consider those concepts being read about by many folks everywhere via Amazon.com

5-0 out of 5 stars The Art of Possibility
The "Art of Possibility" deeply resonated with me. Creating value by managing risk and uncertainty has been the core of my life's journey. It has been filled with complexity, tension, and dissonance...but it has also been filled with the discovery of possibility and meaning. The Zanders have done a real service in framing the "how" of possibility with their examples and practices.

This gem of a book will be useful not only in managing one's life, but also in helping other's to create their great life stories. The answers to core questions like "which game of success will I choose to play?","will I choose to be a contribution?", and "do I take myself too ___seriously?" are keys to a life of joy, meaning, and fulfillment.

Can you see the work of art within you? Within others? Or are you focusing on the facade? Who is winning the battle between the caculating self and the central self? Are you vulnerable or are you permeable? What is here now? And what do you want to do from here? Get yourself this book and engage in THE joyous adventure of opening up to your possibilities.

1-0 out of 5 stars 1970s Cult Jargon Fest
Ugh. How much of this Werner Erhard inspired sludge will we have to endure before the whole disgusting mess either dissipates or compacts down into an easily disposed of loaf? Familiar to any cult-watcher, the buzz words spill freely here. They are words and concepts that can mean anything to anybody. Fuzzy, new-age pap which the authors unashamedly admit come from the culty, self-improvement seminar called Landmark Education which used to be Erhard's "est."

Sad to say, many Landmark devotees are encouraged by their participation to "create" endless testimonials reflective of their own egos, swelled to megalomaniacal proportions by various psychological tricks and techniques, and the Landmark Corporation by proxy. "Spreading the word" is part and parcel of the whole trip. Keep a shovel handy.

2-0 out of 5 stars What a snoozefest.
After reading the reviews here, I thought this book might be a nice inspirational read. It has a few decent moments, but for the most part I could barely force myself to keep reading. I got through about 75% of it, then just had to skim the last few chapters because I couldn't take it anymore. I dunno--if you play in a symphony orchestra, you're into reading sappy and/or narcissistic little personal tales, or you just have to read every single inspirational book that gets published, you may like this. Not the worst book I've ever read, by a long shot, but not good enough to keep or recommend, so I'm giving it two stars. ... Read more


32. The War for Talent
by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, Beth Axelrod
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578514592
Catlog: Book (2001-10-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 32930
Average Customer Review: 4.15 out of 5 stars
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Talent, as defined by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, and Beth Axelrod, is shorthand for a key employee who possesses "a sharp strategic mind, leadership ability, communications skills, the ability to attract and inspire people, entrepreneurial instincts, functional skills, and the ability to deliver results." It's also, they contend in The War for Talent, an overarching personnel characteristic that companies of all kinds will require throughout their organizations in order to survive the competitive recruiting era that we appear to be entering. Michaels, Handfield-Jones, and Axelrod, authors of a 1997 McKinsey Quarterly article that uncovered a definitive connection between top performers and superior corporate achievement, spent the intervening years studying 13,000 executives in 27 companies to identify the programs and behaviors that help today's foremost firms attract and retain the best kinds of employees. The authors outline five common "imperatives" that they found these companies employed to strengthen their talent pools ("Embrace a Talent Mindset," "Craft a Winning Employee Value Proposition," "Rebuild Your Recruiting Strategy," "Weave Development into Your Organization," and "Differentiate and Affirm Your People") and construct a practical framework for making it happen in your company. --Howard Rothman ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars An outstanding, although not original, look at talent
I recommend this book highly for anyone who works in or owns a business. The information contained here is not original in concept, as many of the concepts can be found in (not surprisingly) successful and well know businesses.

The basic premise of this book is that the ability to attract, retain and engage the best talent available will give your business a competitive edge in the marketplace. Looking at these components in the "war for talent" the authors outline several strategies:

The first issue is that in order to be able to focus on talent, companies must "embrace a talent mindset" and realize that in this age of intellectual capital, getting the top talented people to work for you and your customers will make the difference in your results. "Embracing a talent mindset" means not just awareness of the importance of great people, but investing in development, setting high performance standards, and getting actively involved in people related decisions. In order to do this, companies must look closely at "EVP" or an "Employee Value Proposition" approach to keep top talent engaged in exciting work and value added opportunities.

The authors also discuss several different approaches to recruiting and identifying the key talent required for your business. In my experience, getting better talent up front makes all the subsequent processes better: training, communication, innovation, and of course business results.

The book also discusses a concept made famous by GE - differentiating performance and performers. While it sometimes feels like business Darwinism, differentiating your top performers and rewarding and investing in them accordingly will bring about better results than trying to raise the poorer performers up a level.

Overall, a great summary of the challenges and opportunities in this "war for talent" businesses are facing everyday.

5-0 out of 5 stars A powerful tool for leaders across organizations.
In a market characterized by uncertainty and instability, one thing holds true for all organizations: building strong talent is crucial to success. "The War for Talent" delivers a powerful argument for why this is the case, illustrating the need for leaders to adopt a "talent mindset" and develop a strategic approach to talent management. Executives and managers will find this book a valuable guide that lays out the steps required to attract, develop, excite and retain highly talented employees.

McKinsey & Company consultants Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones and Beth Axelrod translate five years of in-depth research and analysis into a clear perspective on how to develop a corporation's greatest asset - its people. The authors artfully weave examples of success stories from such companies as Amgen, GE, The Home Depot and Enron into a comprehensive framework for addressing long-term talent management. Their approach continually challenges the reader to assess his or her own organization and to take action. Leaders from all levels of organizations will gain practical knowledge and an insightful roadmap for winning the war for talent.

4-0 out of 5 stars The War For Talent Is About to Begin In Earnest
The War for Talent is a great book for the leaders of an organization to read. Why? They are the ones who can affect the culture of the organization. Most workers, even A Players, do not have the power to drive cultural change.

As a contract recruiter (www.recruiterguy.com), when I go into a company for the first time, I interview the managers and ask them, in their view, "Why would a top performer want to work for this company, in this position, for you?" As the competition for talent begins to gain steam over the next few months, companies who do a better job of addressing the needs of the Gen X'ers will find themselves in the enviable position of attracting the replacements to the Baby Boomers who are retiring or otherwise leaving the workplace. Sure there is still a surplus of workers as a result of the recession. However, companies who do not have a recruitment strategy will soon find themselves spending much more money to attract the best talent.

In The War For Talent, the authors used specific examples of companies who had either a recruiting or attrition problem and then solved it by improving their Employee Value Proposition (EVP). For instance, SunTrust had a problem where they were losing 46% of their branch employees in their Publix supermarket branches in Georgia and 55% of their high performers. The book discusses the steps they took to dramatically lower their attrition rate in a relatively short time.

Unfortunately for the book, it came out just as Enron was spinning into the ground. Therefore, some people have focused more on the Enron EVP and other qualities and possibly not enough on the other companies' qualities. Enron, while it was growing, appealed to a specific group of people who were not afraid to take what now appears to be excessive risks. There are many examples of other companies with other EVP's who have survived and possibly thrived during this recession. They were able to attract and retain the high performers, who generally tend to be more strategic and less tactical than their counterparts.

Just as Brad Smart in his book "Topgrading" focuses on recruiting, developing and mentoring the A Players, the authors of The War For Talent stress the importance of the A players in a company. It is surprising that "The Peter Principle" came out in 1969 and we are still discussing the concept but in different terms.

The War For Talent concepts should be discussed from the boardroom to your hiring managers. Your leaders need to embrace a talent mindset (title of a chapter in the book), develop a winning differentiation for your company, and develop recruiters who have the ability to attract A Players.

Read this book if you want to win "The War For Talent." .........

4-0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read
Easy reading, entertaining, interesting and informative. Light on details but a very good general overview of the topic.

Conceptually excellent. The value is in how you implement the recommendations - which is where you will find this book wanting.

If you get nothing else out of this book, the quote from Dee Hock (founder of Visa) will make it worth buying:

"Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second motivation; third capacity; fourth understanding; fifth knowledge; and last and least, experience.

Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind."

4-0 out of 5 stars Good theory but doesn't work in the real world.
This book is a good theory and in an ideal world it would all work out that way: the highly talented and highly skilled would get the promotions, good jobs, and plum assisgnments. But unfortunately, more often than not, the pie isn't divided so nicely. There are often other reasons, not work/talent related, that a person gets a promotion or a job. The classic example is the boss' son getting handed a top job in a company, which still happens today. Also how do you fit Affirmative Action into the equation? AA is not based upon talents, only gender & race. Personally I wish more management would read this book and use the basic idea but it probably won't happen. Companies keep talking about "needing good talent" but they don't walk the walk. ... Read more


33. Remember Who You Are: Life Stories That Inspire the Heart and Mind
by Daisy Wademan, Kim Clark, Rosabeth Moss Kanter
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 1591392845
Catlog: Book (2004-05-12)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 81295
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Surprising Advice from Top Business Minds on What It Really Means to Lead

Leadership requires many attributes besides intelligence and business savvy-courage, character, compassion, and respect are just a few. New managers learn concrete skills in the classroom or on the job, but where do they hone the equally important human values that will guide them through a career that is both successful and meaningful?

In this inspirational book, Daisy Wademan gathers lessons on balancing the personal and professional responsibilities of leadership from faculty members of Harvard Business School. Offering a rare glimpse inside the classrooms in which many of the world's prominent leaders are trained, Remember Who You Are imparts lessons learned not in business, but in life. From the revelations on luck and obligation brought by a terrifying mountain accident to a widowed mother's lesson of respect for people rather than job titles-these unforgettable stories and reflections, shared by renowned contributors from Rosabeth Moss Kanter to HBS Dean Kim Clark, remind us that great leadership is not only about the mind, but the heart.

Addressing the moral, ethical, and personal dilemmas professionals face as they climb the ladder to success, Remember Who You Are will help aspiring leaders everywhere use their time and talents in ways that truly matter. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Reflect, Learn and be Inspired
Is this book destined for the best seller's list? Probably not...but anyone who reads it will read it again.

This is a solid piece of work, an amazing collection of stories wherein the reader can reflect on their own life and career and be inspired.

Beyond inspiration, the stories are also a very telling of the professors who have spent decades training the world's current and next generation of leaders at Harvard Business School. You can just imagine Wademan talking with these professors, soaking in their every word as they talk about what is important to them, what they make sure every student hears of them. And a relief: when exposed to these professors, the money-greedy stereotype of the the MBA goes out the window.

A perfect book for anyone thinking about their career, in school or in transition, or those looking to be better leaders in whatever they do.

4-0 out of 5 stars Defining Moments of Harvard Business School Professors
This book was inspired by the Harvard Business School tradition of sharing life lessons with students in the final class. Ms. Daisy Wademan, a recent graduate in 2002, collected a number of these stories as shared in final classes and in many cases rewrote them to fit into this wise volume. In other cases, the professors wrote and polished the stories themselves.

At its best, the essays in this book are among the most compelling that I have ever read. At its weakest, Remember Who You Are's essays remind me of the most boring moments I have spent in a classroom. With stronger editing, this could have been a knock-out of a book. As it is, the book is very valuable . . . and will be a five-star offering for any Harvard Business School graduate who wants a quick course in key life lessons. I graded the book down one star as being less relevant for those who did not attend Harvard Business School. To have met that standard, the book's stories would have had to have been geared for those involved in less exalted roles than Harvard Business School professors and alumni. As a side note, I took two courses there in marketing while studying law at Harvard Law School so I have a foot inside the camp as well as one outside of it.

Each essay describes a defining moment in a professor's life, and the epiphany that resulted from that defining moment. Unfortunately, the defining moments sometimes had a little too much to do with being a good student . . . and becoming a good professor rather than focusing on how to become an effective person in a business career.

The most universal business story in the book is "A Bad Meal, and the Truth" by Stephen P. Kaufman a professor since 2001 who is the former long-time CEO of Arrow Electronics. He describes the way that organizations form around their leaders to shelter the leaders from difficulties and bad news (or even the truth). He provides excellent advice on how to overcome those tendencies. This idea and its development are worth being the subject of a whole book.

There are two stories that are so compelling that I defy anyone to forget them. The first, "A Fall before Rising," opens the book and recounts a life-threatening fall during a climb in the Himalayas by the late professor Ramchandran "Jai" Jaikumar. He has a beautiful reaction in terms of the karmic debt involved in all of our lives which should echo forward into future generations. Ms. Wademan has given us a great gift by capturing this story.

The second remarkably compelling story is "The Mount Rushmore Question" by Thomas J. DeLong. On a motorcycle journey to Mount Rushmore with his young daughter, she asks him if he makes a difference in people's lives. The essay goes on to encourage you to ask two questions for becoming more effective in these dimensions. One, "how do people experience you?" Two, "how do people experience themselves with they are with you?" I thought that those three questions are among the most perceptive ones that I have ever run into. I wish I had heard them many years ago. Please pass them along.

One of the most intriguing sections is "The Oath" by Nitin Nohria in which he expresses the moral and ethical responsibilities of the manager. This essay should receive much wider dissemination as well. I am always struck by how many people see business leadership as solely a personal opportunity rather than as a social responsibility to create positive results for all stakeholders. The management oath in the essay is a good step in the right direction of redressing this fault. Peter Drucker has often said to me that management has few problems that becoming like a profession wouldn't solve. He points out the many differences between how physicians advance medicine and medical practices versus how business managers perform. I hope that this thought process will receive more attention in the future.

Many of the other essays reminded me of those dreams we all have about impossible tests that we cannot complete. Some of the more memorable ones include "The Stuffed Bird" by Jeffrey F. Rayport, "Katharine Hepburn and Me" by Rosabeth Moss Kanter and "The Race" by Henry B. Reiling.

With due nostalgia for my two courses at Harvard Business School, I remembered that two of my biggest career lessons came from brief moments in class that were not the final class. In one, Professor Marty Marshall told us about friends of his who ran a small video company in New Hampshire that had a great life style . . . while providing New York quality work at New York prices. In another, I heard a McKinsey partner describe a consulting assignment in which he solved the problem by moving beyond the charter the client had given him. I have drawn on both stories successfully many times in my career to become the head of my own strategy and financial consulting firm in suburban Boston.

The lesson that I learned from this book is that it would be a good idea to ask people who have more experience than you what the defining moments in their lives have been . . . and what they learned from those experiences. I hope that Ms. Wademan will consider writing other books using this format that focus on thoughtful, ethical business leaders.

Nice job!

5-0 out of 5 stars Genius!
This book is a must read for those interested in the power of thought and introspection. It is an important tome that inspires us to think about what we want in life and how we are all going to get "there." Kudos to Ms. Wademan, she is clearly a star in the making, a most impressive debut.

5-0 out of 5 stars Food For The Soul
This superb collection of inspiring stories is a must-have addition to any collection. You will find yourself going back and rereading many of these tales time and again.

This book has quickly become one of my favourite gifts to give to friends. The stories are not only inspirational, but make you want to take a closer look at your own path in life.

I keep a copy of this book in my spare bedroom (it's the perfect size, if you only have time to read a few short tales at a time), and find that guests who pick this book, end up chatting about the stories throughout the day.

Well Done!

5-0 out of 5 stars A compilation of simple inspirational messages
Great short and simple book. Read the messages which every HBS professor transmits to their students during the last day of class. From real life stories, to amazing metaphors, to inspirational messages, I am happy see a fellow grad had the initiative to put in writing some of those messages with which our professors leave us year in and year out. Inspirational messages don't get any simpler than this - you will truly spend a couple of hours of magnificent inspirational reading from some of the top thinkers in the business world. ... Read more


34. Leading Quietly
by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578514878
Catlog: Book (2002-02-11)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 86720
Average Customer Review: 3.61 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Most of us think of leaders as courageous risk takers, orchestrators of major events-in a word, heroes. Yet while such figures are inspiring and admirable, Harvard Business School Professor Joseph Badaracco argues that their larger-than-life accomplishments are simply not what makes the world work. What does, he says, is the sum of millions of small yet consequential decisions that men and women working far from the limelight make every day: how a line worker for a pharmaceutical company responds when he discovers a defect in a product's safety seal; how a manager deals with a valued employee suspected of stealing; how a trader handles a transaction error that will cost a client money.

Badaracco calls them "quiet leaders"-people who choose responsible, behind-the-scenes action over public heroism to resolve tough leadership challenges. These individuals don't fit the stereotype of the bold and gutsy leader, and they don't want to. What they want is to do the "right thing" for their organizations, their coworkers, and themselves-but inconspicuously and without casualties. They do so by being baldly realistic about the complexities of their own motives and those of the dilemmas they face. In today's fast and fluid business world, nothing is as it seems. And they know it.

Drawing from a four-year study of quiet leadership, Badaracco presents eight practical and counterintuitive guidelines for confronting situations in which right and wrong seem like moving targets. Grounding each strategy in an engaging story, he shows how these "non-heroes" succeed by managing their political capital, buying themselves time, bending the rules, and more.

From leaders in the executive suite to aspiring leaders in the office cubicle, Leading Quietly compellingly shows how patient, everyday efforts can add up to a better company and even a better world.

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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good combination of business and ethics
The result of a four-year study, Leading Quietly is based on anecdotal case scenarios compiled by the author. Badaracco (Harvard Business School) dispels the myth that today's most effective leaders are charismatic, larger-than-life individuals whose high-profile risk taking results in significant organizational achievement and personal rewards. Instead, the author maintains that effective organizational leadership and subsequent achievement are attributable to the day-to-day decisions and contributions made by numerous managers and associates. Badaracco introduces the concept of quiet leadership by discussing and providing examples of four fundamental guiding principles and how these principles demonstrate the complexity, uncertainty, and challenges of today's business environment. Chapters that follow provide principles, examples, and resources--a tool kit or user's manual in the words of the author--to demonstrate how quiet leaders positively impact their organizations and the people around them through strength of character and personal humility. The concluding chapter advises would-be quiet leaders that the presented principles, if misused, can serve as an excuse not to act in a responsible and responsive manner, or if employed appropriately, can result in significant organizational outcomes. Faculty and graduate students will find this book an excellent adjunct to business ethics, leadership, and human resource management courses, and practitioners will benefit from its insightful advice.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not a Leadership Book, But Still Insightful
Instead of Leading Quietly, this book should have been titled "Manuevering Quietly." It discusses the nuts and bolts of approaching problems without falling on your sword, but I failed to find real leadership principles applied.

For one thing, leaders have followers and many of the case studies involved (roughly half) depicted people who had to solve an ethical problem, yet they did not have anyone following them. The protagonists navigated their way through murky waters, but there weren't taking anyone anywhere. That's why I think "Manuevering Quietly" would have been more appropriate.

And yet, it's an intriguing concept. Who has not stood up for an ethical principle and been punched in the nose, ultimately thwarting any potential influence to be applied down the line? Like Jim Collins and Jerry Porras' Built To Last, Badaracco advises us to not always think in black and white, right and wrong terms, that the sooner we realize every situation has infinite shades of gray, the better off we are to handle the conplexities of our problems.

Many critique this book because they feel it reduced ethics to a worldview of pragmatism, but I think Badaracco emphasizes the importance of character and caring enough to where he's not preaching a nihilistic approach to problem solving. The bottom line is if you're often in a rock and a hard place and the most likely thing to get smushed is you, Leading Quietly can help you get out of the way without compromising your principles. And that's applaudable.

4-0 out of 5 stars Restraint, Modesty, and Tenacity
I was told that leading quietly is an unorthodox guide to doing the right thing; and indeed there is much grist for the leadership mill buried in this excellent book. There are many memorable points of view, but perhaps the one that sticks most in my mind is that quiet leaders possess three very unglamorous virtues: restraint, modesty, and tenacity. "Each of these is a habit of mind and action, and each helps men and women use the tools and tactics of quiet leadership in responsible, effective ways."

But what is quiet leadership and who are the quiet leaders? Quiet leadership is dealing with the messy, everyday challenges, and the quiet leaders are those who labor endlessly to meet those challenges and keep things moving in our corporations. They are NOT the "flashy, public hero" kinds of leaders. They simply get the work done and make the hard decisions.
Badaracco convinces me more than ever that it is imperative that we define our corporate moral values and clearly articulate the ethics process we use to choose between competing moral and/or economic values. The reason is that the hard choices are embedded in our everyday corporate life. In these situations, individuals rarely take bold or courageous steps. Rather they step back, study, analyze, worry, and finally, make the best decision they can make - then stand behind it and move on.

Quiet leaders possess a positive attitude, but they are also very realistic, not cynical, in evaluating the situation. These leaders work with four basic principles: 1-You don't know everything; 2-You WILL be surprised; 3-Keep and eye on the insiders, and 4-Trust, but cut the cards! They learn to trust mixed motives rather than trying to define their actions in purist terms. In other words, they accept that the right solution can also include positive results for themselves as well as the company, employee, and/or customer.

This well written and well organized book is definitely worth the time and should be in any management library.

1-0 out of 5 stars I guess if you're from Harvard you can write whatever...
This is not a book for leaders. I'm not sure who this book is for. Mr. Badaracco seems to find many of the ordinary human aspects of business startlingly unique, and is pleased to guide us through these unique and unusual places. The problem is, anyone with half an ounce of common sense had Mr Badaracco's epiphany when they were 23. This is old hat. It's common sense.

My new goal in life is to somehow get associated with Harvard so I can churn out books stating the obvious and enjoy an avalanche of cash.

This book is silly. I'm so disappointed.

For an excellent book on leadership and management, check out "First Break all the Rules" by the Gallop people. Or connect the unconnectable and read "If you Want to Write" by Brenda Ueland. Either will get you much further along than "Leading Quietly."

2-0 out of 5 stars Leading Quietly
It intially grabs you and provides great insight but I found that as the book went along it lost it's nuggets.If you're looking at this book to provide the core skills in leadership then I would recommend searching further. ... Read more


35. The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578518520
Catlog: Book (2003-09)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 1473
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Growth Paradox

At best one company in ten is able to sustain profitable growth. Yet capital markets demand that all companies seek it relentlessly and mercilessly punish those who fail. Why is consistent, persistent growth so difficult to achieve? Surprisingly, it’s not for lack of great ideas or capable managers, nor is it because customers are too fickle or innovation too unpredictable. Innovation fails, say Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor, because organizations unwittingly strip the disruptive potential from new ideas before they ever see the light of day.

In his worldwide bestseller The Innovator’s Dilemma, Christensen explained how industry leaders get blindsided by disruptive innovations precisely because they focus too closely on their most profitable customers and businesses. The Innovator’s Solution shows how companies get to the other side of this dilemma, creating disruptions rather than being destroyed by them.

Drawing on years of in-depth research and illustrated by company examples across many industries, Christensen and Raynor argue that innovation can be a predictable process that delivers sustainable, profitable growth. They identify the forces that cause managers to make bad decisions as they package and shape new ideas—and offer new frameworks to help managers create the right conditions, at the right time, for a disruption to succeed. The Innovator’s Solution addresses a wide range of issues, including:

• How can we tell if an idea has disruptive potential?
• Which competitive situations favor incumbents, and which favor entrants?
• Which customer segments are primed to embrace a new offering?
• Which activities should we outsource, and which should we keep in-house?
• How should we structure and fund a new venture?
• How do we choose the right managers to lead it?
• How can we position ourselves where profits will be made in the future?

Revealing counterintuitive insights that will change your perspective on innovation forever, this landmark book shows how to create a disruptive growth engine that fuels ongoing success. ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Another win and the other shoe of the dillemma
The innovator's solution helps answer all of the questions raised in Christensen's first book: the innovator's dilemma. The book is well researched -- to be expected. However, what is different is that the explanations are clearer and more business focused. I can apply these concepts and through processes to my work, which is the best thing, one can say about a business book.

The chapters on growth and avoiding commoditization are particularly important in today's environment.

To be sure that some of the concepts are proposed in an academic way and it takes a while to understand what the "more than good enough" and "less than good enough" concepts. Nevertheless, it works and is worth the time to reflect on what these concepts mean to your business and your future.

Disruption is one of the forces in our society and business. It is one that this book explains very well. You do not have to read the first book "dilemma" to understand and get value out of this book, but once you read the "solution", you can gain a greater appreciation of Christensen's earlier works.

3-0 out of 5 stars Understands the problem but not the solution. Impractical.
This book makes a prescription. It's a pretty simple one. Make sure innovation happens. Hire people to cannibalize the business you are in. Back those people. I will say flatly it is simple-minded.

Another strategy is for a company to get in on disruptive technologies by participating in a venture capital pool in their sector. That's an insurance policy, and a win-win all the way around. They can get a look at what is coming at them and so they can make plans for what the future life of their current line is likely to be - invaluable business intelligence. If the competition is really a disrupter, they get the big payoff from their venture capital investment. Heads they win, tails they win.

This book has a good description of how things work, but the prescription isn't terribly useful. It indicates just how lacking in real world experience Mr. Raynor is.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good explanation of the solution
This is easier to read than the Innovators Dilemma. There is a more varied range of Product and Industry case studies, which helps to show how broadly this theory can be applied.

What I did like is how he covers the footnotes at the end of each Chapter - so if they don't interest you, you can skip over them, but if they do interest you, then you don't have to struggle to the back of the book. I wish more authors & publishers would use that technique.

One quibble - given his Economics background, he suggests that having competing phone standards is not wasteful. Only an Economist would say that. A Consumer finds it frustrating. He has the good grace to suggest in a footnote that some readers might take issue with him, and I am one. He belittles the benefit of schoolgirls from Sweden using their phone on vacation in Spain, but I can vouch that being able to readily check on the safety of my teenage daughters when they're in foreign Countries for over 10% of the year is a definite benefit!

Given his Economics background - of course there are plenty of graphs, and 99% of them are straight lines - there are no time dependent variances in his world. Also some silly proof-reading slips, such as a "semi-log" graph being described as "semi- long".

Probably still worth reading the Innovators Dilemma before reading this one, just to get the theory.

4-0 out of 5 stars not very bad
sorry for my poor english but i am a student in kyoto university in japan and i really enjoyed this book. i have read many reviews on this website and it make me understand that many people will focus on marketing side of the analysis inside this book. but this is not true. the book has many good idea about overall business management. some people will say that these idea are not new. so what? good idea is good idea and i surely enjoy reading the wonderful thought in this book. i would recommendation you read it for youself. i hope my reader review is useful to you. thank you.

4-0 out of 5 stars A dilemma with a solution?
I expected Innovator's Solution to provide a resolution to the Innovator's Dilemma-until I realized dilemmas have no satisfactory solution. Innovator's Solution provides common-sense strategies for companies to follow in order to avoid getting blindsided by disruptive innovations--innovate and cannibalize your businesses-but lacks advice on how to avoid being out innovated.

Christensen outlines the Dilemma again in this book, presenting the concepts of disruptive and sustaining innovation, and why large companies consistently struggle with disruptive innovation. He does present some tactics for large companies, such as investing in a venture capital fund. This provides companies with invaluable information about the future in their market and provides an opportunity to identify disruptive technologies early on.

Like many technology books, Innovator's Solution, stretches to make its argument without the aid of quantitative research. Nevertheless, this book is well suited for managers wanting to understand the Dilemma and began putting the theory into practice.

I gave this book 4-stars because it is insightful and very well written. While no golden solution is presented, Christensen outlines several strategies and tactics for addressing the dilemma. Certainly many books will follow by other authors. ... Read more


36. Beyond the Core: Expand Your Market Without Abandoning Your Roots
by Chris Zook
list price: $29.95
our price: $20.37
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Asin: 1578519519
Catlog: Book (2004-01-02)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 13270
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

All companies must grow to survive-but only one in five growth strategies succeeds. In Profit from the Core, strategy expert Chris Zook revealed how to grow profitably by focusing on and achieving full potential in the core business. But what happens when your core business provides insufficient new growth, or even hits the wall?

In Beyond the Core, Zook outlines an expansion strategy based on putting together combinations of adjacency moves into areas away from, but related to, the core business, such as new product lines or new channels of distribution. These sequences of moves carry less risk than diversification, yet they can create enormous competitive advantage, because they stem directly from what the company already knows and does best.

Based on extensive research on the growth patterns of thousands of companies worldwide, including CEO interviews with twenty-five top performers in adjacency growth, Beyond the Core (1) identifies the adjacency pattern that most dramatically increases the odds of success: "relentless repeatability;" (2) offers a systematic approach for choosing among a range of possible adjacency moves; and 3) shows how to time adjacency moves during a variety of typical business situations.

Beyond the Core shows how to find and leverage the best avenues for growth-without damaging the heart of the firm.

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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Standing Tall
Standing Tall among Business Books, Chris Zook has indepth research examples of Companies portraying picture of today's business times. Numerous CEO reports, charts and graphs with real practical illustrations are varied. Outside a core business, the expansion is detailed in this book - on how to go ahead framing and practically applying the ways and means so as not to harness the existence levels. The books offers nurturing roots of business, examples on adjacency expansions with pros and cons of success and failure measures. The name itself speaks big 'Expand market without abandoning Roots' and the rule of the game lies in effective management. The author pin points steps to leverage best avenues and the possible adjacent moves so as to reach competitive edge and pooling profit without harnessing the roots of main frame business. In today's time, with diversifications, 'Beyond the Core'- the book serves a Good Reference and as I read on Chris zook's comments, I feel this is a 'Grab Pick' and Must for all Big Company Executives.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not All Adjacencies Are Appropriate
Perhaps you have already read Profit From the Core: Growth Strategy in the Age of Turbulence which Zook co-authored with James Allen. It was based on rigorous research which revealed the key strategic decisions that most often determine growth or stagnation in business. They note: "Central to our findings are three ideas: the concept of the core business and its boundaries; the idea that every business has a level of full-potential performance that usually exceeds what the company imagines; and the idea that performance-yield loss occurs at many levels, from strategy to leadership to organizational capabilities to execution." In the five chapters which follow, Zook (with Allen) examines "the types of strategic business decisions that most often seem to tilt the odds of future success or failure." Zook correctly suggests in this book that many organizations cannot resist the appeal ("the siren's song") of "miracle cures" of their problems. Zook focuses entirely on what has been verified in real-world experience, on what is practical, and on what will reliably achieve the desired results of sound strategic decisions.

In the first chapter of this book, Zook discusses what he calls "the growth crisis" which many (most?) organizations encounter. He observes, "Finding or maintaining a source of sustained and profitable growth has become the number one concern of most CEOs. And moves that push out the boundaries of their core business into 'adjacencies' are where they are most often look these days." I agree with Zook that these strategies have three distinctive features: "First, they are of significant size, or they can lead to a sequence of related adjacency moves that generate substantial growth. Second. they build on., indeed are bolted on, a strong core business. Thus the adjacent area draws from the strength of the core and at the same time may serve to reinforce or defend that core. Third, adjacency strategies are a journey into the unknown, a true extension of the core, a pushing out of the boundaries, a step-up in risk from typical forms of organic growth." Much of the material in this brilliant book is guided and informed by what Zook claims is "the new math of profitable growth." Specifics are best provided by Zook himself.

Zook presumes that those who read this book already know what a core business is, and more specifically, what the core business is of their respective organizations. Given his objectives, that assumption is probably necessary so that he can explore the opportunities which (key word) appropriate adjencies offer. Fair enough. However, my own experience suggests that companies frequently extend the boundaries of a core business without fully understanding what that core business is. Railroads probably offer the best example. Only much too late (if then) did senior-level executives at major railroads realize that their core business was transporting people and cargo, NOT "railroading." Obviously, trains are confined to the tracks as are ships to the water and trucks to the roadways over which they proceed. Early on, what if owners of railroads and their associates had addressed questions such as those Zook poses in his Preface (Page ix)? Had they done so, presumably they would have recognized appropriate adjacencies which include taxi cabs, Super Shuttle, local delivery services, and "overnight" delivery services (e.g. DHL, FedEx, and UPS). While they're at it, why not own or forge strategic partnerships with over-the-road trucking companies and cargo airlines? Given the central locations of railroad stations in major metropolitan areas, it would have been easy enough to combine a full-range of travel services within an upscale retail mall.

The question to ask, therefore, is not what an organization's core business is. Rather, what could AND SHOULD it be? The correct answer to that question is important, of course, because without a proper core, there can be chaos. Also, the correct answer suggests appropriate adjacencies by which to achieve and then sustain increasingly more profitable growth.

In the Afterword, Zook imagines himself engaged in what he calls the proverbial "elevator" conversation during which he reviews the "key messages" contained within his book. It serves no good purpose to list them here because each must be carefully considered within a meticulously formulated context. However, once the book has been read, I strongly recommend that all of these "key messages" be reviewed on a monthly (if not weekly) basis. For decision-makers in at least some companies, this may well prove to be the most valuable book they have read in recent years.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Growth Guide for Global Business Leaders
As a second year MBA student at the Kellogg School of Management and a future corporate strategist for a global financial services firm, I found reading Beyond the Core to be one of the best time investments that I've made over the last few years. Chris Zook seems to have a knack for writing great books that not only stand the test of time but that are also highly relevant to the current business and economic environments. Specifically, his first book, Profits from the Core, which focused on maximizing the value of the core business, was launched when businesses needed it most - during the economic downturn. Now, Beyond the Core is perfectly timed since, from what I and other MBA's are observing in the market, most businesses are remobilizing for growth.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed Beyond the Core - it's a relatively quick read that is focused, insightful and well structured. More specifically, I think there are three key things that make this book stand out in comparison to many other business books I've read: 1) it takes a global perspective 2) it is highly data driven and has great examples and 3) its very actionable and offers lots of insights on implementation.

To elaborate, the first thing I really liked about Beyond the Core is that it takes a truly global perspective with examples from Europe, Asia and Latin America. As an MBA student majoring in International Business Strategy who will be working in a global firm after graduation, it was great to read about the strategies that firms such as Li & Fung (HK), Ambev (Brazil), Lloyd's Bank and Vodephone (UK) and STMicroelectronics (Italy). Overall, I also liked that the book mixes an array of fresh case studies (Tesco, Biogen, Ambev) with more traditional ones (Dell, Nike, American Express).

Secondly, Beyond the Core is highly data driven and the recommendations are based on empirical evidence, not conjectures. As a student of business strategy, I too often come across books or theories that are supported by nothing other than a few select examples that prop up the author's hypotheses. Beyond the Core, in contrast, is supported by an enormous amount of financial, competitive and market research and by many CEO interviews and studies by Bain & Company. This is extremely insightful as it helps the reader understand the odds of success and failure across the business world and thus leads to much more informed strategies.

Finally, Mr. Zook has focused nearly a third of the book on implementation and execution strategy. This makes the book and its recommendations highly actionable instead of leaving the author asking "so what?" The book sets out a systematic and understandable road map for adjacency expansion. More importantly, it discusses issues that are critical to growth initiatives such as: organizational structure, decision making processes, staffing, accountability and reporting, etc.

In sum, I highly recommend Beyond the Core, especially to global business leaders looking for a practical guide for profitably growing their businesses. Enjoy!!

2-0 out of 5 stars Questionable Choice of Examples and Lack of Definitions!
Many people who have been burned by going into new areas will grade this as five-stars for encouraging caution in expanding a company's scope. If that's all you want from a book, this is a five-star book. If you want to learn what the exact lesson is, and why that lesson is true, you'll have to look elsewhere however. If you want to learn how to beat the odds in this area, you will also have to look elsewhere.

I found Profit from the Core to be a directionless mishmash of data without firm definitions that repeatedly espoused the idea of "stick to your knitting." As a result, I took up Beyond the Core with great trepidation. At first blush, Beyond the Core seemed to cure some of the peripheral problems of Profit from the Core . . . until I began to notice how almost all of the important examples of continuing business model innovation had been excluded that seemed to fit all of the criteria (except perhaps being willing to be interviewed by the author). Mr. Zook continues to avoid defining what "the core" is, so that basic problem continues.

The book's message is "stick to your knitting . . . unless you have not choice . . . then don't go away from your cost advantages and knowledge." If you want to know a little more about that message, you can read all of the key points in the book summarized in the Afterword on pages 189-192 in less than five minutes.

The book will mainly be helpful to those who are thinking about making unrelated acquisitions. The advice: Don't do it! The odds are way against you . . . but even the most unrelated acquisitions sometimes work (GE bought NBC and has done well with it, for example). The book lacks clear direction for how some overcome the odds.

The book was also curiously silent about how companies can use small experiments to test their way into new areas. That's the way that most firms expand beyond their core.

The methodology looks very much like those employed in Build to Last and Good to Great . . . but don't believe it. Cases were selected in part based on whether Mr. Zook could interview the companies. So it's really a subjective sample. So take the conclusions with a selective grain of salt. Here are some of the cases of those who have prospered with expanding into new areas that seem to fit the Zook criteria but don't appear in the book: Beckman Coulter; Berkshire Hathaway; Clear Channel Communications; Education Management; GE; Iron Mountain; Nucor; Paychex; Sony; Virgin Group; Xilinx; and Zebra Technologies. It's not surprising that the book fails to describe the discipline of continual business model improvement as a best practice . . . a serious omission for this subject.

Ultimately, I think the flaw behind the book is to look at moving "beyond the core" separately from looking "at the core." If the two books had been combined into one that looked at how to outperform the competition, there would have been the basis of helpful insights. Or, this book could have been scoped down into how to grow into new areas with internal development activities versus acquisitions. That would have been helpful. But with the focus of "beyond the core," you are left in a never-never land that you may not want to be in. The other interesting question that could have been addressed is how companies prospered by eliminating the old core and replacing it with a new one through acquisition as a number of companies have.

As I thought about why the author might have chosen this direction, I realized that it may be an unconscious use of the older ways of strategic thinking. Those analytical schemes separated thinking about existing business areas from entering new ones. For some time though, most strategic thinkers have emphasized seeing the questions as connected. You should, for example, be pursuing your best opportunities. That means comparing all choices in some manner at the same time.

The other problem with data-heavy studies like this one is that you are relying on backward impressions (with 20-20 hindsight). Studies of best practices are best done by looking at the decisions and actions when they are made . . . and then measuring the results to see what happens. Interviews taken at such times reveal much different information than the neat success stories spun after the fact. Clayton Christensen does a good job of explaining this issue in chapter one of his new book, The Innovator's Solution.

As I finished the book, I began to think about the many unsuccessful unrelated acquisitions that I have run into among companies. In almost every case, I remember reading a thick book by a name consulting firm that had explained at the time of the purchase why the acquisition could not miss. Perhaps a follow on for this book would be how to avoid bad advice in evaluating acquisitions.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great lead-on to Profit from the Core
A very well documented lead-on to Profit from the Core, with practical real life examples on adjacency expansions, including successes, failures and comparisons of companies that started with similar points of departure but went different ways. It comes as no surprise that the book was rated by The Economist among the top 5 business books of the season. The book and its thinking are highly relevant to today's business climate in Europe. ... Read more


37. Creativity Inc.: Building an Inventive Organization
by Jeff Mauzy, Richard A. Harriman
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578512077
Catlog: Book (2003-04-16)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 49010
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Fostering Companywide Creativity

Innovations, by definition, change and improve the status quo. Mostly, they do so in small ways, such as a twist on an already existing idea. But when they do so in big ways—such as a new idea altogether—innovations can catapult the inventing company years ahead of competitors.

Those kinds of innovations—from the wheel to the assembly line, from the pen to the PC—are born of creativity. And many companies are allowing this critical wellspring to run dry. In Creativity, Inc., Jeff Mauzy and Richard Harriman marshal forty years of research into how creative ideas happen and how they become innovations to reveal a set of fundamental principles for infusing creativity into every aspect of an organization.

The authors argue that sustained leadership comes from making creativity a broad, enterprise-wide capability that is "on" all the time—to fuel day-to-day innovative responses, to imagine multiple future possibilities, and to develop the foundation from which fundamental, purposeful innovations can be launched. Through vivid examples from a wide range of industries, they show how companies can rework organizational climate, structures, and procedures to build systemic creativity in individuals, in teams, and at the corporate level.

The book’s creativity framework—designed to be customized to a company’s unique needs—walks readers through four interacting dynamics that make up the creative process: motivation, curiosity and fear, the making and breaking of connections, and evaluation.

Individuals will learn how to:
• Reclaim their own creative wellspring
• Exercise creativity in all aspects of their work
• Strengthen their ideas to address corporate response

Leaders of teams and organizations will learn how to:
• Build a climate that supports constant creativity
• Fuel daily creative response and long-term vision
• Develop a ready foundation for transforming ideas into innovations

Marrying practical strategies with theoretical research, Creativity, Inc. shows how entire organizations can embody and implement creativity and innovation. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exemplary creativity
Jeff Mauzy and Richard Harriman's seminal volume on systematic creativity garnered a lasting impression largely due to his gift for making the corporate world intelligible. The book is not solely intended for the tenacious "higher-ups" that dictate the feel of the workplace, but instead tends towards the hands-on approach that is the hallmark of the individuated sucessful corporation.<br /> <br /> The main thrust of his approach is to create a kind of learning environment that allows for "growth" and "specialization" in a particular field. Mauzy's knack for egalitarian leadership is firmly based in his experience in child-rearing. Allowing a young person to mature into a specialized and highly competant individual is analogous to the process that Mauzy and Harriman espouse.<br /> <br /> I found it to be especially useful when the book described the creative process as being like the teaching of mathematics. It seems counter-intuitive to link creativity to mathematics, but in fact one can be expressive within a rigidly defined field, much like the corporate world itself. I highly recommend this book for its emphasis on the educational and mathematical aspects of corporate creativity.

4-0 out of 5 stars 40 years of creativity research delivered in a fun package
Creativity cannot be reserved for the R&D team or the marketing department. Every enterprise needs to be creative at all times, in all areas, and in all activities. This is what Jeff Mauzy and Richard Harriman call "systematic creativity". Their call for universal and constant creativity might be a slight stretch but it stretches in the right direction. The universal nature of their opening message does not carry over into some unique formula for fostering systemic creativity. Instead of one "right" way, they draw on four decades of research in the field of creativity to set out basic principles and practical techniques that have endured.

The emphasis on tested principles and practices in place of a fixed recipe is the first of six underlying central assumptions for the book. The second assumption is that creativity and innovation are two distinct concepts. The authors follow clear practice in distinguishing creativity - "the generation of novel and appropriate ideas" - from innovation - which "implements those ideas". A third central assumption is that creativity occurs in three areas: individuals, coalitions and teams, and organizations.
The remaining pillars that hold up the perspective of Creativity, Inc.: Underlying creativity are four interconnected dynamics that form the "heartbeat" of systemic creativity: motivation, curiosity and fear, the breaking and making of connections, and evaluation; Creativity depends on climate; Systematic creativity asks everyone to be a leader.

This stimulating, informative, and cleanly written book is organized in three parts. Part I, Creative Thinking, Part II, Climate, and Part III, Action. The first two parts examine a range of aspects involved in building individual and organizational creative capability, while the final part shows how to connect creativity to purposeful work. Happily, the authors understand that organizations find it easier to boost creativity temporarily; making it stick as an integral part of the organization is much tougher. They devote the final chapter to "Sustaining the Change".

If you're the kind of reader who likes to go beyond the main text and dig into the authors' sources and references, you'll be delighted to find that the compact (185 pages) of the main text is followed by copious chapter notes and references. Creativity, Inc. provides a rich set of principles and tools for steeping every aspect of your organization in creativity. Mauzy and Harriman's book on systemic creativity complements work on systematic innovation processes. Businesses that manage to get the twin engines of creativity and innovation running at full power will have the only enduring competitive advantage left.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Read!
Mauzy seems to really know what he is talking about. When he separated the concept of creativity from the innovation in the first chapter he really got my attention. Imagine creating a corporate culture that actually fosters creativity. Lots of folks talk about this but Mauzy and Harriman actually showed how to do this. And the answer isn't some defined formula so it might just work in my company. This book is full of essential ideas, and shows a wealth of experience and great writing!

4-0 out of 5 stars A unique insight
In a sea of books describing on how the PROCESS of innovation, Jeff does a good job of reminding us that without creativity, without the big idea, innovation may be possible, but it won't be very interesting. He provides a solid framework, to expalin why may organizations conforatably build systems and provide infrastructure to support innovation but do not achieve what they set out to do.. a interesting book worth a read

5-0 out of 5 stars A welcome paradox
I have been doing seminar and study on the subject of creativity and innovation as i run my webdesign company, and i found this book interesting.

Published by HBS and written in the more "formal" language, it seemed like the paradox of creativity itself, funky fancy fun theory in the heavy corporate type of text book.

Most of creativity books are fun, delicious, crunchy, and toward the right brained style of writing with pictures and funs and games etc. But this book try to formalize into a textbook format. Hench my thought of the paradox.

The writers devide the book into 3 parts: CREATIVITY THINKING, which basically tell you wht creativity is, CLIMATE, which is more like culture with some differences, and ACTION, how individual or corporation can implement the creativity.

The authors also describe 7 steps of PURPOSEFUL CREATIVITY, which i found quiet interesting, and formalize creativity into intended innovation.

All in all this is a good book which formalize creativity and make it more corporate-like. However i think it will still be a fuzzy thing if you only read this book alone and expect that you can drive your organization to become a creative organisation. This book has a good way of telling you the direction and what it is all about, with a lot of samples (mostly taken from big famous brand name company).

I surely hope there are more serious creativity book in the future..... ... Read more


38. Beyond Budgeting: How Managers Can Break Free from the Annual Performance Trap
by Jeremy Hope, Robin Fraser
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578518660
Catlog: Book (2003-04-11)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 82867
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The annual budgeting process is a trap. Pressured by fixed targets and performance incentives, managers focus on making the numbers instead of making a difference, meeting set goals instead of maximizing potential. With their compensation at stake, managers often resort to deceitful-even unethical-behavior. In the end, everybody loses-the employee, the company, and ultimately the customer.

Now, finance experts Jeremy Hope and Robin Fraser reveal the results of an intensive study aimed at fixing the broken budgeting process. They argue that companies must abandon traditional budgeting contracts in favor of a radical new model that links performance measurement to evolving competitive benchmarks-and shifts the firm's focus from controlling employee behavior to delivering customer value.

The Beyond Budgeting model is built on the best practices of companies that have successfully revised their centralized planning and budgeting processes. It combines a leadership vision that devolves more authority to operating managers and a finance vision that enables fast decision making through appropriate tools and accessible information. Through vivid examples, Hope and Fraser illustrate how companies can implement these shared visions-and the long-term benefits that accrue from embracing them.

Offering a compelling case for breaking free from the budgeting trap, this book paves the way toward making organizations better places to work for, invest in, and do business with.

... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excelent real life cases
This book does capture the findings from the work of Beyond Budgeting Roundtable in a excellent way. The cases in the book are real and are brilliant proofs of the fact that it is possible to run even a large corporation with out traditional budget models. I'm really looking forward to the follow up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book on Relatively New Topic
As a business consultant with many years experience in budgeting, I found this a very useful overview of a relatively new topic in finance. The authors clearly show the limitations of the traditional budgeting process and present a comprehensive alternative.
However, while the book brings many examples from real companies, many of the ideas still seem a little conceptual and difficult to imagine how they would actually work in practise.

This book will certainly interest anyone seriously involved in budgeting. ... Read more


39. How Industries Evolve: Principles for Achieving and Sustaining Superior Performance
by Anita M. McGahan
list price: $35.00
our price: $24.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578518407
Catlog: Book (2004-11-14)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 20104
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Book Description

An Insightful Model for Understanding Industry Change

From Xerox to K-Mart to Sotheby's, great companies have failed to translate extraordinary innovation into better profitability. Why does this happen?

Anita M. McGahan argues that great companies fail to profit from investments in innovation when they break their industries' rules for how change can take hold. In this book, she shows how to develop a strategy that is aligned with the rules of industry change. By understanding and operating within the rules, executives can better appreciate the tradeoffs that are unique to each company's evolutionary path-and consequently improve performance by making smarter, more profitable strategic bets.

How Industries Evolve is based on extensive statistical studies of 700 global industries and more than twenty-five case studies. McGahan identifies four models of industry evolution-progressive, creative, radical, and intermediating-and shows how a company can diagnose which model most closely describes the trajectory of change in its industry. The book then explains how company strategists can use their understanding of this model to carefully coordinate choices about R&D, alliances, internal venturing, leadership style, compensation, modularization, and time-to-market.

By supporting executives' efforts to recognize and respond to shifts in industry structure, this book will ultimately help companies to achieve and sustain superior performance.

... Read more


40. Right from the Start: Taking Charge in a New Leadership Role
by Dan Ciampa, Michael Watkins
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875847501
Catlog: Book (1999-07)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 16032
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

According to Dan Ciampa and Michael Watkins, 64 percent of executives hired form the outside won't make it in their new jobs. While executives from within the ranks know the challenges, culture, and politics of a company, newcomers face a corporate minefield. Right from the Start is Ciampa and Watkins's survival manual for leaders taking starting work at a new company. "Leadership is never easy," they write. "This is never truer than when a new leader enters an organization from the outside and must change its culture in fundamental ways." Through interviews with dozens of corporate leaders who have succeeded or failed in such transitions, the authors provide a strategy for getting it right from the outset.

Ciampa, an independent consultant, and Watkins, a Harvard Business School associate professor, advise three key missions for new leaders: Create momentum; master the ability to learn, convey a vision, and build coalitions; and know and manage yourself well. A fast start is especially crucial. In fact, they say, the most important period starts with the recruitment or interview process and runs through the first six months in a new role. Right from the Start provides plenty of real-life examples of successes and failures, in everything from building coalitions to changing corporate culture. The stories tend to suffer sometimes because the executives remain anonymous. Nonetheless, the book is instructive for business people assuming new management roles. --Dan Ring ... Read more

Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars A 'must read' for any leader entering a new organization
I found Right from the Start an extremely well researched and comprehensive set of tools which will greatly benefit any senior executive entering a new organization. It is the only book I have read which so clearly outlines the management pitfalls awaiting any new leader in his first few weeks on the job. I find it hard to imagine how even the most talented and experienced manager could not benefit from such a practical and common sense approach to the challenging task of taking over the leadership reins of a new organization, regardless of its size. As a venture capitalist and LBO investor, I plan to give copies to anybody entering the executive suites of all the companies in which my money is invested.

1-0 out of 5 stars Content of the Digital Version
Thanks to the other reviews I knew I would be buying a summarized version of the book. I was hoping it would still provide the essence and condensed insights supposedly in the full version; however, I was quite disappointed.

I was a CEO of a tech company and have recently been asked by the venture capitalists to CEO a growing company in the same industry (as opposed to a turnaround effort). I was hoping to find nuggets of advice on how to effectively and sensitively assume the leadership position from the current co-founder & CEO who has done well up to this stage and is respected by his loyal staff.

Either the full version lacks the insightful information I am looking for, or the summarized version by Execubook is simply too high level. In fact, the cover page advertises: "Buy the Full Book". I guess it's purpose is pretty clear. Nevertheless, the summary makes you wonder if the full book also suffers from 'common sense' type of advice.

For example: the Table of Contents:
Introduction p.2
Four Pieces of Advice p.2
The 5 Primary Challenges p.3
Traps to Avoid p.5
Taking Action p.6

Briefly, the content of the book:
Four Pieces of Advice
1. Take advantage of the transition period into the new job
2. Don't underestimate the importance of advice and counsel
3. Show some empathy for the person you're succeeding

5 Primary Challenges
1. Acquire needed knowledge quickly
2. Establish new relationships
3. Juggle organizational and personal transition
4. Manage expectations
5. Manage personal equilibrium

Traps to Avoid
1. Falling behind the learning curve
2. Becoming isolated
. . .

Taking Action
1. Plan on taking 2-3 years to make measurable progress
2. On arrival, you should understand the organization's existing strategy, goals and challenges and shoul have formed hypotheses about operating priorities.
. . .

Each numbered item was followed by a paragraph or few lines of description, but those explanations left me saying, 'no duh.'

In fairness, it is hard to summarize without sounding too general, but there was very little in terms of new or provoking frameworks & mindsets, assumption challenges, or interesting insights.

Buy the original or look for something else altogether.

One last comment. I've now seen several unfavorable reviews on Amazon about the digital versions of what are supposed to be good books. I believe the concept of eBooks is great, but it looks like it's still in an immature, buyer-beware stage.

2-0 out of 5 stars Digital Version is NOT the same as the Hardcover
As a regular Amazon Business Books customer living in China I often want to get books quickly but don't want to pay for the shipping which often adds another 30%-50% of the book price. Therefore I prefer the eBooks.

I was shocked to find out that the electronic version is not the same as the hard copy. I am buying the book for the full content and not a 9 page summary.

I should say shame on Amazon, the Publishers and Adobe for promoting this format; however, the price is significantly less and there is fine print does tell you it's only 9 pages. But then again it's a totally different item.

2-0 out of 5 stars right from the start: taking charge in a new leadership role
I was very disappointed with the digital version of this book. It was little more than what is usually available for free browsing. I could not believe that I had paid $4.95 for 9 pages. In the future, I'll be much more careful when I purchase an edocument or book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Check out Watkins's new book, older stuff good too.
I work for a leading health care company and went through one of Watkins's transition forum programs here. If really helped me get off to a running start. We used his newer book on transitions, The First 90 Days. We also got his negotiation book, Breakthrough Business Negotiation, which also was very helpful. I've since also read his book on influencing government and business strategy, Winning the Influence Game. Definitely helpful if you are dealing with issues of regulation and reimbursement as we are. It's nice to see him getting recognition for the First 90 days, but his earlier stuff is just as good, if negotiation or influence are important to what you do. ... Read more


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