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1. The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola,
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2. Mean Markets and Lizard Brains:
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3. The Strategy-Focused Organization:
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4. Forecasting : Methods and Applications
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5. Beyond the Core: Expand Your Market
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6. Project Management for Dummies
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7. Seeing What's Next: Using Theories
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8. Principles of Forecasting
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9. Beating the Business Cycle
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10. The Successful Business Plan:
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11. Sales Forecasting: A New Approach
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12. The Innovator's Solution: Creating
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14. Writing a Convincing Business
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15. The Future of Competition: Co-Creating
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16. Predictable Surprises: The Disasters
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17. J. K. Lasser Pro Advising Mature
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18. The Basics of FMEA
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19. Market Operations in Electric
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20. Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible

1. The Six Sigma Way: How GE, Motorola, and Other Top Companies are Honing Their Performance
by Peter S. Pande et al, Robert P. Neuman, Roland R. Cavanagh
list price: $32.95
our price: $21.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071358064
Catlog: Book (2000-04-27)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 5868
Average Customer Review: 4.57 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful!
Continual improvement is the key to survival in today's business climate, and as companies like GE and Motorola have proven, Six Sigma is a useful tool for ingraining the quest for perfection in an organization. After reading The Six Sigma Way, you'll probably be ready to jump out of your chair and immediately follow in these companies' footsteps by launching a Six Sigma initiative of your own. The authors, three consultants who teach firms to implement Six Sigma efforts, convincingly extol the money-saving and efficiency-enhancing virtues of the holistic approach. This book offers a lot of jargon and complex concepts, but the material is presented in easily understood charts and lists, and there are plenty of concrete examples. We [...] recommend The Six Sigma Way to managers who have heard wondrous tales of Six Sigma, but would like a more down-to-earth explanation of how it can be used and the benefits it offers.

5-0 out of 5 stars How to Achieve "Practically-Perfect Quality of Performance"
Over the years, I have worked with dozens of small-to-midsize companies, all of which were in dire need of improving one or more of the following: cost reduction, culture change, customer retention, cycle-time reduction, defect reduction, market-share growth, productivity improvement, and product-service development. You can thus understand why I was curious to know to what extent (if any) Six Sigma could be helpful to small-to-midsize companies.

By now we have become well aware of the success of Six Sigma initiatives at major international corporations such as ABB, Allied Signal/Honeywell, Black & Decker, Dow Chemical, Dupont, Federal Express, General Electric, Johnson and Johnson, Kodak, Motorola, SONY, and Toshiba. Once having read this book, I am convinced that -- with certain modifications -- Six Sigma could perhaps be even more valuable to small-to-midsize companies which, obviously, have fewer resources. What exactly is Six Sigma? The authors provide this definition: "A comprehensive and flexible system for achieving, sustaining, and maximizing business success. Six Sigma is uniquely driven by close understanding of consumer needs, disciplined use of facts, data, and statistical analysis, and diligent attention to managing, improving, and reinventing business processes."

The authors identify what they call "hidden truths" about Six Sigma:

1. You can apply Six Sigma to many different business activities and challenges -- from strategic planning to operations to customer service -- and maximize the impact of your efforts.

2. The benefits of Six Sigma will be accessible whether you lead an entire organization or a department. Moreover, you'll be able to scale your efforts, from tackling specific problems to renewing the entire business.

3. You'll be prepared to achieve breakthroughs in these untapped gold mines of opportunity -- and to broaden Six Sigma beyond the realm of the engineering community.

4. You'll gain insights into how to strike the balance between push and pull -- accommodating people and demanding performance. That balance is where real sustained improvement is found. On either side -- being "too nice" or forcing people beyond their understanding and readiness -- lie merely short-term goals or no results at all.

5. The good news is, Six Sigma is a lot more fun than root canal. Seriously, the significant financial gains from Six Sigma may be exceeded in value by the intangible benefits. In fact, the changes in attitude and enthusiasm that come from improved processes and better-informed people are often easier to observe, and more emotionally rewarding than dollar savings.

The authors organize their material as follows: Part One: An Executive Summary of Six Sigma; Part Two: Gearing Up and Adapting Six Sigma to Your Organization; Part Three: Implementing Six Sigma -- The Roadmap and Tools; and finally, The Appendices: Practical Support. According to Jack Welch, "The best Six Sigma projects begin not inside the business but outside it, focused on answering the question -- how can we make the customer more competitive? What is critical to the customer's success?...One thing we have discovered with certainty is that anything we do that makes the customer more successful inevitably results in a financial return for us."

If anything, it is even more important for small-to-midsize companies (than it is for the GEs of the world) to answer these two questions correctly and then track and compare their performance in terms of what their customers require. The well-publicized objective of Six Sigma is to achieve practically-perfect quality of performance (ie 3.4 defects for every million activities or "opportunities") and this is indeed an ambitious objective. Collins and Porras, authors of Built to Last, would probably view it as the biggest of Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). In that book, they assert that the most successful and admired companies have the ability -- and willingness -- to simultaneously adopt two seemingly contrary objectives at the same time. Stability and renewal, Big Picture and minute detail, creativity and rational analysis -- these forces, working together,, make organizations great. This "we can do it all" approach they call the "Genius of the And."

Pande, Neuman, and Cavanagh suggest that all manner of specific benefits can result from following "the Six Sigma way." For example, Six Sigma generates sustained success, sets a performance goal for everyone, enhances value to customers, accelerates the rate of improvement, promotes learning and "cross-pollination", and executes strategic change. All organizations (regardless of their size or nature) need to avoid or escape what the authors refer to as the "Tyranny of Or." Here in a single volume is about all they need to seek "practically-perfect quality of performance." Whether or not they ultimately reach that destination, their journey en route is certain to achieve improvement which would otherwise not be possible.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Breakthrough in "Boundaryless Thinking"
From livejournal notrealnews

Jack Welch, the retired CEO of General Electric, has hailed his recent affair with Harvard Business Review reporter Suzy Wetlaufer as a breakthrough in the business concept of "Boundaryless Thinking". "I could have easily spent the rest of my life trapped in the narrow view that my marriage meant lifelong monogamy," said Welch, a smug look on his face, "but with boundaryless thinking, I was able to take the concept of marriage in a whole new direction. Just like the things I did at GE."

Boundaryless thinking was one of the tenants that allowed Welch to get GE out of the failing appliances business and into the credit business, which now comprises more than half of GE's corporate makeup. It was a concept Welch highly stressed and touted in his autobiography "Jack: Straight from the Gut." He intends to follow it up with a new book, "Cheating on your wife the Six Sigma Way: How CEO's of GE, Motorola, and Other Top Companies are Honing Their Extramarital Performance".

1-0 out of 5 stars What a load of c***!
I never read the book, but the CD is such a masterfully "abridged" version of the book that it manages to tell you for hour HOW WONDERFUL six sigma is, while totally neglecting to tell you WHAT SIX SIGMA ACTUALLY IS, or HOW IT IS IMPLEMENTED. In short, the CD contains nothing but self-marketing bull. If you have money to waste, go buy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Six Sigma Way
The book was very easy to follow. I found it especially helpful that the Six Sigma Way gave tips as to which chapters should be read for each level of Six Sigma implementation. Since my company already had it implemented and I was only reading the book for an understanding of what my company was doing, I was able to skip the unneeded portions about implementation. This was a big time saver. ... Read more


2. Mean Markets and Lizard Brains: How to Profit from the New Science of Irrationality
by TerryBurnham
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471602450
Catlog: Book (2005-01-28)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 736206
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Book Description

From the New Yorker to USA Today, everyone from journalists to market pros are turning to behavioral finance to explain, analyze, and predict market direction. In contrast to old-school assumptions of cool-headed rationality, the new behavioral school embraces hot-blooded human irrationality as a core feature of both individuals and financial markets. The 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to scholars of this new scientific approach to irrationality.

In Mean Markets and Lizard Brains, Terry Burnham–an economist who has a proven ability to translate complex topics into everyday language–reveals the biological causes of irrationality. The human brain contains ancient structures that exert powerful and often unconscious influences on behavior. This "lizard brain" may have helped our ancestors eat and reproduce, but it wreaks havoc with our finances. Going far beyond cataloguing our financial foibles, Dr. Burnham applies this novel approach to all of today’s most important financial topics– the stock market, the economy, real estate, bonds, mortgages, inflation, and savings.

This broad and scholarly investigation provides an in-depth look at why manias, panics, and crashes happen, why people are built to want to buy at irrationally high prices and sell at irrationally low prices. Most importantly, by incorporating the new science of irrationality, readers can position themselves to profit from financial markets that often seem downright mean. Mean Markets and Lizard Brains skillfully identifies the craziness that is part of human nature, helps us see it in ourselves, and then shows us how to profit from a world that doesn’t always make sense.

Terry Burnham, PhD (Cambridge, MA), is an economist at the Harvard Business School. He has been an active and extremely successful participant in the financial markets for over 20 years. Dr. Burnham has a PhD in business economics from Harvard University, a masters in finance from MIT, an MS in computer science from San Diego State University, and a BS in biophysics from the University of Michigan. Before becoming an economics professor at Harvard, he worked on Wall Street, and was the President and CFO of a successful start-up biotechnology firm. He is the author of the bestselling book Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food, Taming Our Primal Instincts. ... Read more


3. The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment
by Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 1578512506
Catlog: Book (2000-09)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 5661
Average Customer Review: 4.42 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In their previous book, The Balanced Scorecard, Robert Kaplan and David Norton unveiled an innovative "performance management system" that any company could use to focus and align their executive teams, business units, human resources, information technology, and financial resources on a unified overall strategy--much as businesses have traditionally employed financial management systems to track and guide their general fiscal direction. In The Strategy-Focused Organization, Kaplan and Norton explain how companies like Mobil, CIGNA, and Chemical Retail Bank have effectively used this approach for nearly a decade, and in the process present a step-by-step implementation outline that other organizations could use to attain similar results. Their book is divided into five sections that guide readers through development of a completely individualized plan that is created with "strategy maps" (graphical representations designed to clearly communicate desired outcomes and how they are to be achieved), then infused throughout the enterprise and made an integral part of its future. In several chapters devoted to the latter, for example, the authors show how their models have linked long-term strategy with day-to-day operational and budgetary management, and detail the "double loop" process for doing so, monitoring progress, and initiating corrective actions if necessary. --Howard Rothman ... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Perilous "Journey" to Breakthrough Performance
If you have not already read Kaplan and Norton's The Balanced Scoreboard, I presume to suggest that you do so prior to reading this book. However, this sequel is so thoughtful and well-written that it can certainly be of substantial value to decision-makers in any organization (regardless of size or nature) which is determined to "thrive in the new business environment." Research data suggest that only 5% of the workforce understand their company's strategy, that only 25% of managers have incentives linked to strategy, that 60% of organizations don't link budgets to strategy, and 85% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy. These and other research findings help to explain why Kaplan and Norton believe so strongly in the power of the Balanced Scorecard. As they suggest, it provides "the central organizing framework for important managerial processes such as individual and team goal setting, compensation, resource allocation, budgeting and planning, and strategic feedback and learning." After rigorous and extensive research of their own, obtained while working closely with several dozen different organizations, Kaplan and Norton observed five common principles of a Strategy-Focused Organization:

1. Translate the strategy to operational terms

2. Align the organization to the strategy

3. Make strategy everyone's job

4. Make strategy a continual process

5. Mobilize change through executive leadership

The first four principles focus on the the Balanced Scorecard tool, framework, and supporting resources; the importance of the fifth principle is self-evident. "With a Balanced Scorecard that tells the story of the strategy, we now have a reliable foundation for the design of a management system to create Strategy-Focused Organizations."

After two introductory chapters, the material is carefully organized and developed within five Parts, each of which examines in detail one of the aforementioned "common principles": Translating the Strategy to Operational Terms, Aligning the Organization to Create Synergies, Making Strategy Everyone's Job, Making Strategy a Continual Process, and finally, Mobilizing Change Through Executive Leadership. Kaplan and Norton then provide a "Frequently Asked Questions" section which some readers may wish to consult first.

There are many pitfalls to be avoided when designing, launching, and implementing the program which Kaplan and Norton present. These pitfalls include lack of senior management commitment, too few individuals involved [or including inappropriate individuals at the outset], keeping the scoreboard at the top, too long a development process (when, in fact, the Balanced Scorecard is a one-time measurement process), treating the Balanced Scorecard as an [isolated] systems project, hiring consultants lacking sufficient experience with a Balanced Scorecard, and introducing the Balanced Scorecard only for compensation. When organizations experience one or more of these pitfalls, their key executives can soon become impatient, confused, frustrated, and ultimately, opposed to Balanced Scorecard initiatives. It is imperative to understand both what the Balanced Scorecard must be (e.g. cohesive and comprehensive) and what it must not be (e.g. fragmented and episodic). Kaplan and Norton correctly note that the journey they propose "is not easy or short. It requires commitment and perseverance. It requires teamwork and integration across traditional organizational boundaries and roles. The message must be reinforced often and in many ways." Those who are determined to achieve organization-wide breakthrough performance are fortunate to have Kaplan and Norton as companions every step of the way during what is indeed a perilous "journey."

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely detailed, highly informative, dryly written
The Strategy-Focused Organization

Building on their Balanced Scorecard approach, Kaplan and Norton have developed an impressive framework in The Strategy-Focused Organization for the implementation of strategy. They have found that 90% of strategic initiatives fail due not to formulation but to implementation difficulties. Successful implementation of strategy requires all parts of an organizations to be aligned and linked to the strategy, while strategy itself must become a continual process in which everyone is involved. The Balanced Scorecard, originally seen by the authors as a measurement tool, is now presented as a means for implementing strategy by creating alignment and focus.

Financial measures report on lagging financial indicators. The Balanced Scorecard aims to report on the drivers of future value creation. The book shows in detail how this is done from four perspectives: Financial, customer, internal business perspective, and learning and growth (these are outlined on p.77). These four perspectives produce a highly detailed framework when combined with the five principles of a strategy-focused organization: 1: Translate the strategy to operational terms. 2: Align the organization to the strategy. 3: Make strategy everyone's everyday job. 4: Make strategy a continual process. 5: Mobilize change through executive leadership.

Absorbing every detail of this book will require many hours. The sheer detail of this complex system requires considerable attention, perhaps more than some readers can muster, but clearly distinguishes this work from many books full of business fluff. The style tends to be turgid and pedantic while being admirably complete. Readers can grasp the essence of the book's central points by reading only Chapter 1 (Creating the Strategy-Focused Organization), Chapter 3 (Building Strategy Maps), and Chapter 8 (Creating Strategic Awareness). Skip quickly through the chapters in Part Two: Aligning the Organization to Create Synergies. This section is the least engaging of the five. The balanced scorecard approach to strategy will appeal to those with a systematizing frame of mind. The book is filled with complex diagrams of corporate processes consisting of interrelated boxes and forces.

This approach is extremely detailed and complex. It requires a major commitment and effort. Though the authors claim it can be implemented by smaller organizations, this will be more challenging than for large companies who can commit a team full time to working out the details.

Much of the value of the approach may lie not so much in following through on completely working out the balanced scorecard but on absorbing the lessons regarding organizational integration across silos and the importance of clarity about mission, strategy, and goals. The balanced scorecard is one way to achieve and implement this clarity but not the only way. Another would be continual reiteration of these (as in Confessions of An Extraordinary Executive). Some companies may benefit from strict use of this system, including finding units of measurement for its implementation. Others will gain much from applying the insights without such a formal and complete implementation.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "Must Read" for Executives!
If you are an executive don't fail to read this. Kaplan and Norton's Balanced Scorecard approach has had a tremendous impact on thinking in the executive suite. Buy and read a copy today. I have bought copies for all of my clients.

Michael Beitler
Author of "Strategic Organizational Change"

2-0 out of 5 stars Overblown and impractical
Having used the BSc a few times in my work, I expected this to be a hepful addition to my knowledge base in the area. I found that it added little to the author's other published tomes and to his articles in journals like HBR. Although the basic concept is sound, the implementation challenges are dealt with as you'd expect from an ivory tower-based profesoor and are several steps removed from the challenges that most of my real-world, and smaller company clients, need to address. I truly felt as though I didn't get my money's worth with this purchase and I should have stuck with the materials I already had by the author that was available in other forms. I would have saved time, money and a degree of frustration.

4-0 out of 5 stars A must have tool for business improvement
If you're attempting to improve the way you do business, this book is a must have. It is a little dry so you have to be committed to using the concepts presented. If you can manage to stick with it, you will reap the benefits of the BSC. Good Luck! ... Read more


4. Forecasting : Methods and Applications
by Spyros G. Makridakis, Steven C. Wheelwright, Rob J Hyndman
list price: $107.95
our price: $107.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471532339
Catlog: Book (1997-12)
Publisher: Wiley
Average Customer Review: 3.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Can You Predict the Future by Looking at the Past? Since accurate forecasting requires more than just inserting historical data into a model, Forecasting: Methods and Applications, 3/e, adopts a managerial, business orientation. Integrated throughout this text is the innovative idea that explaining the past is not adequate for predicting the future. Inside, you will find the latest techniques used by managers in business today, discover the importance of forecasting and learn how it's accomplished. And you'll develop the necessary skills to meet the increased demand for thoughtful and realistic forecasts. New features in the third edition include:
* An emphasis placed on the practical uses of forecasting.
* All data sets used in this book are available on the Internet.
* Comprehensive coverage provided on both quantitative and qualitative forecasting techniques.
* Includes many new developments in forecasting methodology and practice.
... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars This book has the formulas.
Chapters 3 and 4, and on covered the vital information that is useful for inventory system forecasting at the SKU level, and for measuring the accuracy of the forecasts. This book was extremely helpful in that regard. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Down to earth, practical guide on forecasting.
The book provides coverage of three important areas:

- Basic forecasting tools and methods - summarizing data, statistical tools, regression, as well as some material on more advanced forecasting methods
- Data preparation - time series decomposition, smoothing methods
- A discussion of the issues involved in forecasting - long term versus short term forecasting, accuracy of forecasts, the importance and limitations of judgmental forecasts and combining these with statistical forecasts

I was fortunate enough to stumble across this book in a colleagues office and believe this book should belong in every market research professional's shelf.

2-0 out of 5 stars More of a reference text
I used this text for an undergraduate course in Industrial Forecasting. Unfortunately, the text is not very good if you actually want to learn new material from it. It is better suited as a reference text for you to look up equations and concepts after you have already learned them.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Examples and Practical Approach
This book was not only recommended, but given to me as a MUST READ at work. Excellent practical approach to the theory with a minimum of formulation. Good practical examples and demos. I recommend it as a training manual for new analysts on the job.

1-0 out of 5 stars forecasting
forecasting, economics, business cycles, economic activity, business environment ... Read more


5. Beyond the Core: Expand Your Market Without Abandoning Your Roots
by Chris Zook
list price: $29.95
our price: $20.37
(price subject to change: see help)
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.

... Read more

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


6. Project Management for Dummies
by Stanley E. Portny
list price: $21.99
our price: $14.95
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Asin: 076455283X
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: For Dummies
Sales Rank: 18541
Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Projects have been around since ancient times. Noah built the ark, Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa, Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine – all projects. Why then, is the topic of project management suddenly of such great interest today? The answer is simple. The audience has changed and the stakes are higher.

Successful businesses and organizations create projects that produce desired results in established timeframes with assigned resources. As a result, businesses are increasingly driven to find individuals who can excel in this project-oriented environment. And that's where this guide comes into play.

Reading Project Management For Dummies could help a diverse group of people, some of which include the following:

  • Senior managers and junior assistants (the senior managers of tomorrow)
  • Experienced project managers and people who've never been on a project team
  • People who've had significant project management training and people who've had none
  • People who've had years of real-world business and government experience and people who've just entered the workforce

By reading this guide, you'll gain insight into beginning a project, supporting it throughout its life, and bringing it to a successful closure. You'll discover how to manage the uncertainties surrounding a project, and uncover the definitions to the most common project management terms. And you'll figure out how to handle some of the more common project management situations you'll encounter, from dealing with the people involved to organizing the mountains of paperwork.

While most businesses are looking for ways to get a better handle on their projects, what no one is saying is that the majority of people who become project managers aren't doing so by choice. Instead, project management is often an unexpected but required progression in their chosen career paths. Think of this guide as a friend or comfortable resource that has more to share each time you crack it open as you experience new situations in which you can apply the knowledge. ... Read more

Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Covers the basics
This book covers the basics of project management but does not include the "how to" tools to be "the reference guide" for project managers. Perhaps to be a project manager you can't be a dummy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to project management
A solid book that introduces many tools and techniques central to project management. If you have to manage projects in addition to doing your "real work" this book is for you. If you're a project manager by profession, you should be past this book by now.

2-0 out of 5 stars Too Basic
Individuals with any experience in running a project, whether it is a small focused job or a large-scale product development effort, will find subject treatises too fundamental. The chapters lack the in-depth coverage and focus as the apparent goal is to present a broad-based overview of basic concepts in the field of project management.

Here is a guideline to use in deciding whether or not to purchase this book:
How comfortable are you with using the Microsoft Project software?
If you are very comfortable with MS Project, I recommend that you try "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge" instead.
If you have never used MS Project and/or have no idea what it does, then you should probably buy this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Manage your projects wisely
The author details all of the processes, reporting requirements, and pitfalls that go into managing projects intelligently. A great primer on the subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars Useful and Enjoyable
Stan is an excellent trainer (I have attended 2 of his courses), and it turns out he is a good writer, too! He presents PM concepts and tools in an easy-to-understand way with great real-life examples. As a new PM, I have found this book to be a great reference as well as good "flip-through" reading. ... Read more


7. Seeing What's Next: Using Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change
by Clayton M. Christensen, Erik A. Roth, Scott D. Anthony
list price: $29.95
our price: $17.97
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Asin: 1591391857
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 2106
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Book Description

A Framework for Predicting Industry Winners and Losers

Every day, individuals take action based on how they believe innovation will change industries. Yet these beliefs are largely based on guesswork and incomplete data, and lead to costly errors in judgment.

Now, internationally renowned innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen and his research partners Scott D. Anthony and Erik A. Roth present a groundbreaking framework for predicting outcomes in the evolution of any industry. Based on proven theories outlined in Christensen's landmark books The Innovator's Dilemma and The Innovator's Solution, Seeing What's Next offers a practical, three-part model that helps decision-makers spot the signals of industry change, determine the outcome of competitive battles, and assess whether a firm's actions will ensure or threaten future success. Through in-depth case studies of industries from aviation to health care, the authors illustrate the predictive power of innovation theory in action.

A unique, "outside-in" perspective on industry change, Seeing What's Next will help executives, analysts, and investors develop invaluable intuition into the future that matters to them. ... Read more


8. Principles of Forecasting
by J. Scott Armstrong
list price: $95.00
our price: $95.00
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Asin: 0792374010
Catlog: Book (2001-04)
Publisher: Springer
Sales Rank: 218984
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Principles of Forecasting: A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners summarizes knowledge from experts and from empirical studies. It provides guidelines that can be applied in fields such as economics, sociology, and psychology. It applies to problems such as those in finance (how much is this company worth?), marketing (will a new product be successful?), personnel (how can we identify the best job candidates?), and production (what level of inventories should be kept?). The book is edited by Professor J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Contributions were written by 40 leading experts in forecasting, and the 30 chapters cover all types of forecasting methods. There are judgmental methods such as Delphi, role-playing, and intentions studies. Quantitative methods include econometric methods, expert systems, and extrapolation. Some methods, such as conjoint analysis, analogies, and rule-based forecasting, integrate quantitative and judgmental procedures. In each area, the authors identify what is known in the form of "if-then principles", and they summarize evidence on these principles. The project, developed over a four-year period, represents the first book to summarize all that is known about forecasting and to present it so that it can be used by researchers and practitioners. To ensure that the principles are correct, the authors reviewed one another's papers. In addition, external reviews were provided by more than 120 experts, some of whom reviewed many of the papers. The book includes the first comprehensive forecasting dictionary. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't let a bad forecast ruin your whole decision
The subtitle of this book, A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners, too narrowly defines the audience for Armstrong's new reference. Principles of Forecasting is, in fact, an indispensable resource for managers and professionals of every ilk. Forecasting is an integral part of decisions that we make and that are made for us. To be good decision makers and citizens we owe it to ourselves and others both to make our forecasts explicit and to examine the quality of those forecasts. This book gives the guidance to ensure that best practices are followed and to judge forecast quality after the fact

Principles of Forecasting is not a book that you will find in airport bookstores. It is not a popular management title that dishes-up the latest buzzwords. On the contrary, this book will give you knowledge to examine critically the fashions and fads, as well as the received wisdom, of management. And yet, despite being a serious work, the book is a joy to read at length, or to browse. I suspect many decision makers will tend to do the latter.

The Forecasting Dictionary is part of Principles of Forecasting and is a good place to start some directed browsing. For example, experienced decision makers will often rely on their intuition, even for important decisions. Is that a good idea? The Forecasting Dictionary has an entry for "intuition" that tells us, "... it is difficult to find published studies in which intuition is superior to structured judgment". Highlighted terms, such as "structured judgment" in the preceding passage, indicate that there is a separate Dictionary entry for the term. By following the highlighted terms and the references to the body of the book which are included in Dictionary entries, one can quickly pick up a useful understanding of a topic. Some entries are very detailed.

Following the intuition entry to the entry on structured judgement, one finds "role playing" as an approach to imposing structure on a forecasting problem. Role-play forecasting for conflict situations happens to be an interest of mine. There is a chapter on role-playing in Principles of Forecasting that provides evidence that the outcomes of role-plays by students, and other non- representative role-players,provide accurate forecasts of decisions in real conflicts. This is counter-intuitive given that the conflicts examined involved generals, chief executives, directors, and union leaders among others. Moreover, unaided judgment tends to do poorly by comparison. This has important implications for strategy development - after all, what use is a strategy that fails to forecast accurately how other parties will behave?

I keep my copy of Principles of Forecasting handy, refer to it often, and learn something new every time I do so. How many books could one say that of? A precious few. Congratulations to the authors on a unique and valuable work well executed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Guidelines for Developers, Researchers, and Practitioners
Principles of Forecasting is not a collection of articles describing basic forecasting methods.Instead, 40 authors have used a common format of identifying if-then principles and the support for those principles.Some other common formats of the chapters are:(1) limitations (2) implications for practitioners (3) implications for researchers.

The final chapter of this book contains 139 forecasting principles...

An example of a forecasting principle is:“13.25 Use multiple measures of accuracy”.A primary use for such principles would be as checklists for software developers, researchers, and practitioners to be sure that their work is complete to this level of detail.These are important general principles.Forecasters will need to use other references for the details of forecasting methods.

The Web site for this book is a very valuable resource for forecasters.Some of the resources are:(1) forecasting dictionary [Enter a forecasting term and the Web site returns a definition.] (2) links to forecasting software sites (3) links to forecasting books and reviews (3) links to bibliographies, abstracts, and (for subscribers) full text papers (4) links to conferences on forecasting (5) links to Web sites related to forecasting.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Overview of Business Forecasting
Throughout my career, it seemed every five years or so, I briefly strayed from risk analysis into a closely related field, such as weather reporting or stock picking, just to see what others were doing.Most recently, I won a jackpot in return for the effort. I read J.Scott Armstrong's "Principles of Forecasting: A Handbook for Researchers and Practitioners."

Risk analysis has dealt more with subjects like natural and technological disasters.Business forecasting resembled risk analysis in several ways, but over the years, enterprise and capital markets accumulated much more extensive data.Social scientists studied the process of (and procedures for) forecasting with financial data intensively.Small wonder, as poor forecasting often led to costly disasters.

The authors wrote the Handbook in clear, coherent prose.It assembled 29 articles by 40 leading experts into an excellent book with 18 chapters.Armstrong, the editor (and clearly the instigator) created a hierarchical framework that described the relationships between different kinds of forecasting information, beginning with either judgmental or statistical sources."Principles of Forecasting" illustrated this framework in an often repeated diagram.

The framework contributed to a coherent structure.Each chapter described one compartment within the framework.Each had an introduction that described the limitations and uses of a source of data used by forecasters.Each article also started with an abstract.Thus, a reader could quickly survey all of forecasting by skimming through the Handbook and reading either the article abstracts or the chapter introductions.

Instead of reading the text sequentially, the framework and the Handbook's structure also allowed finding a specific article (or a topic of interest within an article) quickly, yet staying oriented to the overall subject.Thus, "Principles of Forecasting" served a handy reference text.The organization and a competent index sped this application.

Many articles were excellent.None were less than very good.The articles concentrated on principles within subdomains of forecasting, which the Handbook emphasized by setting the principles apart in bullet format and bold text.The articles had a common format, which included two useful implication sections, separately for practitioners and for researchers.The articles also had overall summaries, and references to the literature.The authors edited each other's articles, which imposed both high quality and consistency on the Handbook.In addition, an extensive group of outside experts reviewed the articles.This huge effort showed in both dense information content and readability of the articles.

Similarly, the Handbook contained a separate and marvelous "Forecasting Dictionary" toward the end, which allowed quick reference to (and understanding of) separate ideas involved in competent forecasting.In another separate section toward the end of the Handbook, a "Forecasting Standards Checklist" gathered all of the principles from the separate articles and condensed them into a very useful guide.

"Principles of Forecasting" appeared comprehensive in its coverage.The authors wrote it as an explanation of a field, instead of a group of individual articles about related subjects. An introduction and a summary at the beginning and end of the book, also helped orient me to the overall subject of forecasting and to the need for principles.I thought that the Handbook reflected the consistent objective of a group of experts to interpret and explain forecasting.So, I will recommend it as a textbook for classroom use.

"Principles of Forecasting" is not for everyone.It is an expert text.However, for persons involved in (or hoping to become involved in) forecasting or its allied and subsidiary fields, such risk analysis or econometrics, it will prove indispensable. ... Read more


9. Beating the Business Cycle
by LAKSHMAN ACHUTHAN, ANIRVAN BANERJI
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385509537
Catlog: Book (2004-05-18)
Publisher: Currency
Sales Rank: 25395
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
Having just finished Lakshman Achuthan and Anirvan Banerji's "Beating the Business Cycle" I have come away informed on what business cycles are and why they are important from both a business and personal perspective. The style of the the book was easy to read and entertaining while it demystified a subject that has been left to the experts for far too long. I feel much more secure to make any future finanicial decisions. The charts and graphs were really helpful. I appreciated the depth of "Beating the Business Cycle" and its accessibility. It is a fine art to treat simple ideas deeply and deep ideas simply which is what this book has done.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can't beat "beating the Business Cycle"
Although I have not finished the book, I am finding it informatve, entertaining and an invaluable tool for understanding the ebb and flow of the economy. Lakhman Achutan and Anirvan Banerji have writen a book that enables those of us without an MBA to gain insight with practical, usable tools. Hearing some of the advice of the so called "financial experts", and seeing how off base they were, it seems as if they could benefit from reading the book as well.

5-0 out of 5 stars It¿s About Time!
I've heard of these guys on and off over the years, and after reading their book I finally feel that I have a framework for approaching the dismal science of economics that seems so inconsistent when I listen to the experts of TV or newspapers. I commend the ECRI researchers for staying the course over decades and not selling out to mainstream economics or Wall Street. It is very important to have a "reality check" like the Weekly Leading Index, and I was pleasantly surprised by the free subscription to their weekly report that comes with the book. Even better - the latest report shows that the Leading Home Price Index is holding up!

5-0 out of 5 stars an engaging read about economic ups and downs
I'm in business, but I didn't know a great deal about cycles of growth and contraction in the economy. This short book gave me a readable overview by two economists who caught the end of the 90's boom when most thought it would go on forever.

I'd recommend it to anyone who's hoping to see the next bend in the road for our economy.

2-0 out of 5 stars Smaller Wheels, Still Turning....
It is the nature of free market economies to progress rhythmically through periods of expansion and contraction. It is one of a few interesting observations made by the authors of BEATING THE BUSINESS CYCLE that the intensity of these cycles in the U.S. has moderated over time. Booms and busts have become less common. Recessions rather than depressions, thankfully, are more likely to occur. We have a number of "automatic stabilizers" at work to absorb the shock of general and pervasive slowdowns in the economy. Those stabilizers operate through the mechanics of monetary and fiscal policy. The Federal Reserve controls the flow of money through the economy with the tourniquet of interest rates. The "misguided certainty" that leads to excessive optimism or irrational pessimism by corporations, businesses, and individuals can be tempered by prudent monetary action. At the same time social security, tax policy, unemployment insurance, and bank deposit insurance are some of the ways individuals have been protected from the potentially devastating effects of a negative turn in the economy. So there is reason to believe that the cycles have become less pronounced.

Periodically an excessive optimism leads to the illusion that the business cycle has been eliminated, that the economy can grow steadily without retrenchment, without the need to eliminate its own inefficiencies. Mark Twain knew the "gilded age", the 1920's saw a "new era" at a "plateau of prosperity", and the 1990's marveled at a "new economy" with information systems and supply management software that could control excesses (e.g. inventory) before they stalled the economy. Ultimately the business cycle is produced by an imbalance of supply and demand. But it is human psychology extrapolating from the successes or failures of recent past experience that fails to see the imbalances building in the economy before a pivotal shift undermines a previously successful investment or business strategy. Renewed caution follows optimism, risk aversion follows speculation, and the cycle repeats.

Readers will not find completely satisfying answers to "beating" (viz. profiting from) the business cycle in this short study, because its primary purpose is to introduce readers to the subscription advisory services of the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI). This explains the sometimes self-congratulatory tone of having accurately predicted recent shifts in economic activity both here and abroad. As a stand alone work of merit on the topic the authors might consider a brief glossary of key terms and concepts for a future edition. ... Read more


10. The Successful Business Plan: Secrets and Strategies
by Rhonda Abrams, Eugene Kleiner
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0966963563
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: The Planning Shop
Sales Rank: 18688
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Named by Inc. and Forbes magazines as one of the top ten essential books for small business, this fully revised and updated fourth edition of The Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies is a complete, step-by-step guide to researching and writing a fool-proof, perfectly formatted, knock-'em-dead business plan.

Required reading at America's top business schools, it's been called "the entrepreneur's bible," having helped hundreds of thousands of successful business people get the funding they need to launch their businesses.

With a foreword by legendary venture capitalist Eugene Kleiner, The Successful Business Plan is packed with insider tips and insightful advice on writing and formatting a business plan that will stand out from the crowd.

Book features:

99 worksheets to help you get started quickly, taking you through every critical section of a successful business plan

Sample business plan offering guidance on length, style, formatting and language

The Abrams Method of Flow-Through Financials, which makes easy work of number crunching — even if you're a numbers novice

Special chapters addressing issues of concern for service, manufacturing, retail, and Internet companies

Added help for teams and students preparing business plans for classes or competitions

Nearly 200 real-life insider secrets from top venture capitalists and successful CEOs – learn what truly impresses funders

New chapter on starting a business in a challenging economy ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars The new 4th edition is outstanding.
This is simply the best business planning guide on the market. I teach entrepreneurship classes and have used prior editions in my classes, but I'm really impressed with this new edition and how it reflects the realities of business planning in the post-dot-com era. There's a new chapter on seeking funding in a recession, which is the most frequent question I'm asked by my students now.

The other thing I like about the new edition is the Excel templates for generating the business plan's financials. They work exactly like the worksheets in the book, which lessens the learning curve. BUT, you have to buy the templates separately from the publisher's website.

All in all, a great update to an already excellent book. Highly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good starting point and reference
I have probably purchased 5 business plan books over the last year. I have also purchased a couple of business plan software programs (both unsatisfactory). None can be considered a definitive "best" book or resource. Each one has strengths and weaknesses, and anyone searching for a drop-in guide should re-think their goals. Abrams book, on the whole, is certainly one of the better business plan books. The advise and focus of the content are very salient to anyone out there looking for OPM.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for someone with little accounting experience!
I was so scared of writing a business plan that I put it off for as long as I could (nearly a year!). But my potential investor made it clear that I would have to bite the bullet. I owe Abrams a huge "thank-you" for making the business plan writing process something that could be done thoroughly, efficiently, and done well--and didn't take me too long at all. But the best part is that you can download finacial spreadsheet templates from the publisher's website!!

I am the kind of person who has an idea and just wants to run with it; I have a hard time figuring out specifics and financial realities. Between the book (which explained exactly what I needed to know about target markets, competition, cost-benefit analysis and the like) and the downloadable spreadsheets (which did all of the math, and carried the numbers through to all of the projection sheets and balance sheets and income statements and such, and took care of all of the formatting--just print and go!), I was able to write a top-notch, professional-looking business plan (if I do say so myself!) to present to my potential investor, and to the bank when I go to apply for a loan! And I won't feel embarassed by my lack of experience--at least, my business plan won't convey it. Plus, it's really important to go through the process of writing a business plan (and Abrams addresses this in the book) so you can really get a good, clear, structured idea of what you're doing, how you need to do it, and why you're starting a business in the first place.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best business plan book out there
I was assigned this book for an Exec.MBA class, and it's one I'm going to keep after I sell a lot of my other books back. I've had to do business plans for the corporation I work for and for a friend's business, and I've looked at tons of books, and this is just the best one out there. If you go to the publishers website you can also get Excel templates so filling out the financial forms is straightforward and they're also best-of-breed. This is the book to use if you want to impress a boss, professor, or investor.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not as helpful as I had hoped....
I did not find this book as helpful as I was hoping. First, and most importantly, I needed more examples. There was only one and it was a service organization and I needed to see an example of a manufacturing organization where the target customer was not so geographically limited. Also, I found that the way the book is organized was difficult. I felt the book was more oriented toward helping someone sort out their thoughts and feelings about starting a business than it was focused on actually structuring and writing a business plan. What I actually need are the hard, factual mechanics of writing a business plan and I did not find it to my satisfaction in this book. ... Read more


11. Sales Forecasting: A New Approach
by Thomas F. Wallace, Robert A. Stahl
list price: $44.95
our price: $38.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0967488419
Catlog: Book (2002-01-02)
Publisher: T. F. Wallace & Company
Sales Rank: 88765
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Book Description

This book represents a new – some may say radical – approach to forecasting.The authors explain how:

Forecasting less, not more, can yield higher customer service and lower inventoriesTeamwork, good communications, and clear accountabilities are more important than complex statistical forecasting models,It’s more beneficial to pursue process improvement than to focus narrowly on forecast accuracy.

This is an exciting, new, breakthrough approach to a traditionally difficult and frustrating task. ... Read more


12. The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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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


13. Business Forecasting and Student CD Package (8th Edition)
by John E. Hanke, Dean W. Wichern
list price: $124.00
our price: $124.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0131073850
Catlog: Book (2004-01-06)
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Sales Rank: 552701
Average Customer Review: 1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Managerial decision-making in approach, this book explores the basic statistical techniques that are useful for preparing individual business forecasts and long-range plans. Incorporates instructions on using Excel spreadsheets and the statistical package MINITAB to forecast, along with their appropriate output.Organizing Data and a Review of Statistical Concepts. Exploring Data Patterns and Choosing a Forecasting Technique. Moving Averages and Smoothing Methods. Time Series Analysis. Regression Analysis. Multiple Regression. Regression with Time Series Data. The Box-Jenkins (ARIMA) Methodology. Judgmental Forecasting and Other Forecasting Methods. Managing the Forecasting Process.For business managers interested in business forecasting techniques. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

1-0 out of 5 stars This book SUCKS
This book is a complete and utter waste of paper. Don't bother trying to learn from it; its a waste of time. It will help if you have a decent teacher, but the book is so poorly outlined and structured that it may as well be written in another language.

This book SUCKS! ... Read more


14. Writing a Convincing Business Plan
by Art Dethomas, Lin Grensing-Pophal, Arthur R. Dethomas, Lin Grensing
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764113992
Catlog: Book (2001-01-01)
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series
Sales Rank: 9812
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Creating a financing proposal, describing the business's operations and goals, forecasting markets and sales, creating marketing and operating plans, obtaining financing from primary and secondary sources, and much more. This new edition also features a list of names and addresses of business and library resources, as well as web site addresses that are especially useful to small business owners. Titles in Barron's Business Library series are currently being revised and updated, and re-set in an attractive new paperback format. They are written especially for men and women starting a company or managing a small-to-medium-size business. Emphasis is on practical problem solving, and examples cited in these books are based on realistic business situations. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
As a CPA/Attorney who has both written and reviewed a lot of business plans, I have seen both some very good ones and some awful ones. Too often the preparers of the bad ones confuse a business plan with an offering circular, hoping to convince an unknown investor or venture capitalist to provide financial backing for their ideas. The resulting "Business Plan" is an incomplete, poorly researched, turgid description of their idea, with lots of spreadsheets attached (detailed monthly financial projections for the next ten years).

What is overlooked is the fact that a good business plan serves as a road map for the operators of a business. The process of systematically analyzing your business and stating your plans simply in writing will force you to think through how you are going to deal with the various problems you are going to face.

Like another reviewer of this book, after reading the descriptions of various books on the subject, I purchased three of them. This one is far and away the best of the three and of all those I've read in the past. It systematically takes you through the planning process (industry analysis, marketing and sales, the operating plan, the organization plan, and the financial plan) and provides useful and intelligent checklists at each stage.

If you follow its guidance, you will end up with a useful plan for running your business. And if you decide to seek outside investors, you will be far more likely to raise money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Buy
Very good book, has sufficient details regarding all aspects of business planning, it also provides some leads to look up secondary sources of information that will be helpful to anyone attempting to write a business plan. "High tech start up" and "Entrepreneur America" are also good buys.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well Done!!!
I purchased three books from amazon.com and this was one of them. It is very well written. The writers are short, concise and to the point. This is a step-by-step guide in helping you write out your business plan. The other two books I purchased were thrown aside, but were of use when I needed to reference something else. Before you spend your money on other books, buy this one first and if you need additional help purchase another.

5-0 out of 5 stars Buy this one first
This book should be within arm's reach the entire time you begin to think about and write your business plan. It is well organized, tightly written, and most importantly, it prompts you to analyze and to answer the critical questions. I've read at least 10 other books on business plans, but this one gets to the heart of the matter better than the others. Many of the questions and topics covered would never have occurred to me if I hadn't read this book. Buy others, but get this one first.

5-0 out of 5 stars A concise,comprehensive,detailed roadmap to writing a plan!
The book provides extraordinary insight into writing a business plan! Every detail is laid out step by step, and includes addresses and phone numbers to organizations that provide crucial research that a person will need for any business research. Every aspect of the business plan is presented concisely and is well organized, leaving nothing for the reader to question. Not one question you may have will go unanswered! Unequivocally, the best book on writing a business proposal! (And I have purchased several books!) ... Read more


15. The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers
by C. K. Prahalad, Venkat Ramaswamy
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578519535
Catlog: Book (2004-02-18)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 4605
Average Customer Review: 3.78 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars must read for 21st century human
Alvin Toffler has indicated customization is future trend. He is(was) right.

The future of competition shows what, why, and how ( sometimes, who) about the future of product and service. What a corporation must do in order to integrate cusomter's experience into their production process and how to organize the company in order to do it. A must read book for 21st century human, why? because any interaction is an experience and if you extend the metaphor of product, any interaction is a 'product'. If you have been of good reputation, you will 'sell' well on whaterver you say or do. Because people 'buy' it.

2-0 out of 5 stars a real disappointment
I was left with the feeling that all of this has been said before in one form or another, Where it was ' new' there are other who have already explored the space ( eg The Suport Economy by Shoshana Zuboff) There are two many big words hidding little concepts. The case studies are simplistic and look to the past rather than casting light on the future. This will be another 'fad" and like all fads find its place in the dustbins of business books

5-0 out of 5 stars A transforming and revolutionary wealth of insights
Co-written by C. K. Prahalad (Harvey C. Fruehauf Professor of Business Administration, University of Michigan Business School) and Venkat Ramaswamy (Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Fellow of Electronic Business and Professor of Marketing, University of Michigan Business School), The Future Of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value With Customers offers readers a stimulating look at a fascinating shift away from the firm-centric view of value creation, toward the possibilities opened by new technologies that allow consumers themselves to interact with and directly add value to their chosen product. Drawing upon real-life examples, and focusing on the key foundations of co-creation - dialogue, access, risk assessment, and transparency, The Future Of Competition offers a transforming and revolutionary wealth of insights into commercial and marketplace trends of the present and the near future.

2-0 out of 5 stars Content good, style weak
The content of this "text" is rich with pointers for those who will format strategic decisions in the future. However, it would seem to challenge the reader to probe the true value of the writers. As the reviewer from Dallas infers, the message is there but the packaging leaves something to be desired. As a university professor who teaches strategic thinking, I see this book as one of the reasons that executives and MBA students resist reading academic pieces: the task is greater than the payoff!!

3-0 out of 5 stars New framework, new jargon, but nothing else is new
The future is here. Competition is getting tougher and customers are more difficult to please. On the other hand everything is connected, objects are embedded with sensors and software and information flows instantly to all corners of the world , thanks to the communications revolution. This book essentially looks at a networked world where customers and companies are inseparable and are constantly in interaction. In this paradigm, the framework of DART - Dialogue, Access, Risk Assessment and Transparency is introduced and the book proceeds to explain each of these in detail.

The word Co-creation will get included in your daily vocabulary sooner than you expect. Lots of diagrams and case studies are thrown into every chapter. But frankly, there is no concept that is radically different from some of the pioneering works on similar topics already published. To list a few :

-Customer.Com by Particia Seybold
-How to Grow when Markets Don't by Adrian Slywotzky
-The Innovator's solution by Clayton Christensen
-Adapt or Die : Turning your Supply Chain into an Adaptive Business Network by Bob Betts , Claus Heinrich
-Experimentation Matters: Unlocking the Potential of New Technologies for Innovation by Stephen Thomke
-Priceless: Turning Ordinary Products into Extraordinary Experiences by Diana Lasalle, Terry A. Britton
-The Agenda: What Every Business must do to Dominate the Decade by Michael Hammer

Most of the case studies in this book are repetitions from these or are similar in concepts or processes in creating value for ( or along with) the customer. The authors have duly acknowledged and referred to an elaborate list of books and articles under "Aids to Exploration". But my point is that after going through some of the key works listed above, this book fails to impress on originality.

Towards the end of the book, Knowledge Management is brought in as one of the strategic tools that can be integrated into the co-creation framework.

It is certainly interesting to go through the book though it is a combination of old ideas in a new packaging. Young MBAs will find lots of new jargon that can be put to profitable use in job interviews. ... Read more


16. Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming, and How to Prevent Them (Leadership for the Common Good)
by Max H. Bazerman, Michael D. Watkins
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591391784
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 21813
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Book Description

You and Your Organization Are at Risk

Were the earth-shattering events of September 11, 2001, predictable, or were they a surprise? What about the collapse of Enron in bankruptcy and scandal? Max H. Bazerman and Michael D. Watkins argue that they were actually "predictable surprises"-disastrous examples of the failure to recognize potential tragedies and actively work to prevent them. Disturbingly, this dangerous phenomenon has its roots in universal human and organizational tendencies that leave no individual or company immune.

In this riveting book, Bazerman and Watkins, leading experts in managerial decision making, show that many disasters are preceded by clear warning signals that leaders either miss-or purposely ignore. They explain the cognitive, organizational, and political biases that make predictable surprises so common in business and society, and outline six danger signals that suggest a predictable surprise may be imminent. They also provide a systematic framework that leaders can use to recognize and prioritize brewing disasters and mobilize their organizations to prevent them.

Filled with vivid accounts of predictable surprises in business and society across public and private sectors, this book highlights a phenomenon that holds grave consequences-and challenges leaders to find the courage to act before it's too late.

A Leadership for the Common Good book

Published in partnership with the Center for Public Leadership

... Read more


17. J. K. Lasser Pro Advising Mature Clients: The New Science of Wealth Span Planning
by Neal E.Cutler, Neal E. Cutler
list price: $49.95
our price: $49.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471414700
Catlog: Book (2002-03-15)
Publisher: Wiley
Sales Rank: 469399
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

FINANCIAL PLANNING FOR THE CHANGING NEEDS OF AN AGING SOCIETY

"Cutler has hit a financial literacy home run. He has done an outstanding job of educating the professional working with the mature market about the psychology and complexity of the Wealth Span and about the financial issues and products that figure prominently in executing a successful strategy for older clients and families. This book is about as comprehensive as you can get for understanding the nuances of financial planning for mature consumers. It is filled with information, insight, resources, and (thankfully!) humor!"
–John N. Migliaccio, PhD, President, Maturity Mark Services Co.

"Learning across disciplines will be the way of the future. Dr. Cutler is in the unique position to authoritatively discuss advising mature clients from both the gerontological and financial planning perspectives. This latest in the Lasser Pro Series is sure to be a must for anyone who wants to do holistic financial planning for older clients."
–Kenn Beam Tacchino, JD, LLM, Professor of Taxation and Financial Planning, Widener University; Editor, Journal of Financial Service Professionals

"Dr. Cutler has written a cutting-edge guide for the myriad professionals who advise mature clients and adult children of older parents. His book is timely, much needed, and will undoubtedly become the definitive reference for practitioners and students of aging and the economics of aging."
–Lois A. Vitt, PhD, Director, Institute for Socio-Financial Studies; Editor-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Financial Gerontology

"Dr. Cutler has provided a valuable resource to those of us in the financial industry. He has provided clear, concise commentary on the issues facing our aging population with actionable suggestions for the financial advisor. I highly recommend it to my fellow professionals."
–Kelly B. Auslander, CFP, President, American Financial Advisors, Inc.

Please visit our Web site at www.jklasser.com ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for both advisors and their clients
As an attorney-at-law, I found that "Advising Mature Clients" by Dr. Neal E. Cutler has given me a new perspective on analyzing,and on advising older clients about, the increasingly complex series of decisions we all seem to face as we age.

On a personal level, I found the book to be filled with information that is easy to understand and is well-indexed for use by the advisor as well as by those whom he/she advises.Its multi-disciplinary focus gives one an easy depth of understanding of the breadth of Gernontology, and financial & social issues that need to be considered, in just a few hours of study of the clear, concise tables, facts, and figures, which are presented in logical fashion.

The chapter on costs and financial benefits of Long Term Care Insurance alone is worth the price of the book.Strategies and alternatives to pay for Long Term Care Insurance are set forth, along with the sobering financial burden long term care imposes, and the alarming rate of increase in long term care costs, compared to the more affordable insurance premiums.

This book should be kept as a desk reference and ready authoritative source of information, to share with clients who have questions or concerns on any aspect of the topics of Wealth Span Planning and Financial Gerontology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for both advisors and their clients
As an attorney-at-law, I found that "Advising Mature Clients" by Dr. Neal E. Cutler has given me a new perspective on analyzing,and on advising older clients about, the increasingly complex series of decisions we all seem to face as we age.

On a personal level, I found the book to be filled with information that is easy to understand and is well-indexed for use by the advisor as well as by those whom he/she advises.Its multi-disciplinary focus gives one an easy depth of understanding of the breadth of Gernontology, and financial & social issues that need to be considered, in just a few hours of study of the clear, concise tables, facts, and figures, which are presented in logical fashion.

The chapter on costs and financial benefits of Long Term Care Insurance alone is worth the price of the book.Strategies and alternatives to pay for Long Term Care Insurance are set forth, along with the sobering financial burden long term care imposes, and the alarming rate of increase in long term care costs, compared to the more affordable insurance premiums.

This book should be kept as a desk reference and ready authoritative source of information, to share with clients who have questions or concerns on any aspect of the topics of Wealth Span Planning and Financial Gerontology. ... Read more


18. The Basics of FMEA
by Robin E. McDermott, Raymond J. Mikulak, Michael R. Beauregard
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0527763209
Catlog: Book (1996)
Publisher: Quality Resources.
Sales Rank: 100154
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good intro...and value for money!
No frills, direct to the point. If you are looking for a simple to read, short, and to the point book, this is it. Priced very reasonable, it is a good buy.

The authors would have done well to include more examples, and also explain the Tops Down, and Bottoms Up approaches to doing FMEA.

I suggest you look past the few errors in the book, and learn the essence of doing FMEAs. It can get you started in a very short time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent coverage of the essentials
Great little book which I, as a Quality Engineer, found useful and which I would be happy to distribute to busy people at all levels of a company knowing there is a good chance it will be read.

This books covers the essentials required to get people started and productive on an FMEA team.

Only complaint is the cost to get it down here in Australia!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simple and easy
This book provides simple, easy to read and understand of the concept of FMEA. Although it is use to determine the possibility of a failure and the consequence but it is also useful for risk assessment.

The step-by-step examples bring the readers to the final picture on how to complete the FMEA cycle will surely benefit all of us!

5-0 out of 5 stars Most important that you need know of FMEA in your pocket
En la actualidad la industria requiere la aplicación de esta metodologia con la finalidad de planificar y programar la ejecución de servicios en función a los requerimientos del sistema, por lo cual es muy importante conocer la aplicación de esta herramienta, esto ya que el FMEA ayuda prevenir, detectar fallas, defectos en el proceso, ya que el FMEA sirve para determinar las causes de las variaciones que pueden ocurrir y lo más importante es que es una herramienta de bolsillo.

The application of this methodology is fundamental in our industries, because it's a functional tool for the services execution plain and program, this helps you for prevent, detect fails or process defects, FMEA helps you to see what would happend, too. And it's a pocket tool.

4-0 out of 5 stars Truly Basic
This book is a good primer for the application of FMEA tools. Particularly interesting are the sections on application of the FMEA process to non-manufacturing disciplines such as purchasing and human resources. However, the book is not a thorough enough treatment of the subject to enable an inexperienced person to perform an FMEA. It does serve a purpose to an experienced user, by walking you through the process and providing a structured approach to keep development of the FMEA on track. ... Read more


19. Market Operations in Electric Power Systems : Forecasting, Scheduling, and Risk Management
by M. Shahidehpour, H. Yamin, Zuyi Li
list price: $105.00
our price: $91.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471443379
Catlog: Book (2002-03-28)
Publisher: Wiley-IEEE Press
Sales Rank: 243267
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

An essential overview of post-deregulation market operations in electrical power systems

Until recently the U.S. electricity industry was dominated by vertically integrated utilities. It is now evolving into a distributive and competitive market driven by market forces and increased competition. With electricity amounting to a $200 billion per year market in the United States, the implications of this restructuring will naturally affect the rest of the world.

Why is restructuring necessary? What are the components of restructuring? How is the new structure different from the old monopoly? How are the participants strategizing their options to maximize their revenues? What are the market risks and how are they evaluated? How are interchange transactions analyzed and approved? Starting with a background sketch of the industry, this hands-on reference provides insights into the new trends in power systems operation and control, and highlights advanced issues in the field.

Written for both technical and nontechnical professionals involved in power engineering, finance, and marketing, this must-have resource discusses:

  • Market structure and operation of electric power systems
  • Load and price forecasting and arbitrage
  • Price-based unit commitment and security constrained unit commitment
  • Market power analysis and game theory applications
  • Ancillary services auction market design
  • Transmission pricing and congestion

Using real-world case studies, this timely survey offers engineers, consultants, researchers, financial managers, university professors and students, and other professionals in the industry a comprehensive review of electricity restructuring and how its radical effects will shape the market. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Decided to keep it
Somewhat similar to Wood and Wollenberg. Not nearly as detailed or rigorous as the other, but more "modern", i.e., market-oriented. 200 pages on using neural nets in price forecasting (probably useful if you believe in nets). Interesting for me were sections on ancillaries, comittment/dispatch and congestion management. For those, authors provide a good introduction: mostly narrative with some formulas to show exactly what they mean.

5-0 out of 5 stars I loved it
This was one of the best books I read on the subject of power market. ... Read more


20. Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes
by Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591391342
Catlog: Book (2004-02-02)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 1983
Average Customer Review: 3.07 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

More than a decade ago, Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton introduced the Balanced Scorecard, a revolutionary performance measurement system that allowed organizations to quantify intangible assets such as people, information, and customer relationships. Then, in The Strategy-Focused Organization, Kaplan and Norton showed how organizations achieved breakthrough performance with a management system that put the Balanced Scorecard into action.

Now, using their ongoing research with hundreds of Balanced Scorecard adopters across the globe, the authors have created a powerful new tool-the "strategy map"-that enables companies to describe the links between intangible assets and value creation with a clarity and precision never before possible.

Kaplan and Norton argue that the most critical aspect of strategy-implementing it in a way that ensures sustained value creation-depends on managing four key internal processes: operations, customer relationships, innovation, and regulatory and social processes. The authors show how companies can use strategy maps to link those processes to desired outcomes; evaluate, measure, and improve the processes most critical to success; and target investments in human, informational, and organizational capital.

Providing a visual epiphany for executives everywhere who can't figure out why their strategy isn't working, Strategy Maps is a blueprint any organization can follow to align processes, people, and information technology for superior performance.

... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Organizational Cartography of the Highest Order
Kaplan and Norton co-authored an article which was published in the Harvard Business Review (January/February 1993). In it they introduce an exciting new concept: the balanced scorecard. They have since published three books: this one, preceded by The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action (1996) and The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment (2000). Here's some background on the two books before we shift our attention to Strategy Maps.

In The Balanced Scorecard, as Kaplan and Norton explain in their Preface, "the Balanced Scorecard evolved from an improved measurement system to an improved management system." The distinction is critically important to understanding this book. Senior executives in various companies have used the Balanced Scorecard as the central organizing framework for important managerial processes such as individual and team goal setting, compensation, resource allocation, budgeting and planning, and strategic feedback and learning. When writing this book, it was the authors' hope that the observations they share would help more executives to launch and implement Balanced Scorecard programs in their organizations.

Then in The Strategy-Focused Organization, Kaplan and Norton note that, according to an abundance of research data, only 5% of the workforce understand their company's strategy, that only 25% of managers have incentives linked to strategy, that 60% of organizations don't link budgets to strategy, and 85% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy. These and other research findings help to explain why Kaplan and Norton believe so strongly in the power of the Balanced Scorecard. As they suggest, it provides "the central organizing framework for important managerial processes such as individual and team goal setting, compensation, resource allocation, budgeting and planning, and strategic feedback and learning." After rigorous and extensive research of their own, obtained while working closely with several dozen different organizations, Kaplan and Norton observed five common principles of a Strategy-Focused Organization:

1. Translate the strategy to operational terms

2. Align the organization to the strategy

3. Make strategy everyone's job

4. Make strategy a continual process

5. Mobilize change through executive leadership

The first four principles focus on the the Balanced Scorecard tool, framework, and supporting resources; the importance of the fifth principle is self-evident. "With a Balanced Scorecard that tells the story of the strategy, we now have a reliable foundation for the design of a management system to create Strategy-Focused Organizations."

Those who have not as yet read The Balanced Scorecard and/or The Strategy-Focused Organization are strong urged to do so. Brief comments about them in commentaries such as these merely indicate the nature and extent of the brilliant thinking which Kaplan and Norton provide in each.

What we have in Strategy Maps are two separate but related components: Further development and refinement of core concepts introduced in the earlier two books, and, a rigorous examination of new ideas and new applications by which to convert intangible assets into tangible outcomes. In the Introduction, Kaplan and Norton explain that their direct involvement with more than 300 organizations provided them with an extensive database of strategies, strategy maps, and balanced scorecards. This abundance of material has revealed a number of strategies and tactics by which literally any organization (regardless of size or nature) can create and then increase value. The strategies and tactics are embraced within three targeted approaches for aligning intangible assets to strategy:

"1. Strategic job families that align human capital to the strategic themes

2. The strategic IT portfolio that aligns information capital to the strategic themes

3. An organization change agenda that integrates and aligns organizational capital for continued learning and improvement in the strategic themes."

Kaplan and Norton carefully organize their material within five Parts. I presume to suggest that Part I be read and then re-read before proceeding to Value-Creating Processes, Intangible Assets, and Building Strategies and Strategy Maps. Part Five provides a number of case files generated by private-sector, public-sector, and nonprofit organizations. In fact, I strongly suggest that Chapter 2 be re-read several times because it offers an invaluable primer on strategy maps. When reading and then re-reading Chapter 2, be sure to check back on Figure 1-2 (Page 8) and Figure 1-3 (Page 11) in the Introduction.

One word of caution from Kaplan and Norton: "It is important (if not imperative) to describe an organization's strategy with word statements of strategic objectives in the four linked perspectives BEFORE turning to measurements. Many organizations building BSCs attempt to go directly from somewhat vague strategy statements to measures without this step, and often omit critical aspects of the strategy or else select from measures that are already available, rather than selecting measures that quantify their strategic objectives."

This is a much longer review than I usually compose because I am convinced that only what is measurable is manageable. Also because, after extensive prior experience helping corporate clients with formulating process maps of various kinds, I am convinced that organizational "journeys" to increased sales, profits, and value need maps by which to reach those destinations just as those who drive vehicles do when seeking their own destinations. One of the greatest benefits of strategy maps is that the process by which they are devised helps to ensure that the most appropriate destination is identified. Think of Kaplan and Norton as travel agents and cartographers, to be sure, but also as consultants whose services you can retain merely by purchasing their three books, then by absorbing and digesting the information and counsel those three books provide. For many decision-makers in all manner of organizations, Strategy Maps may well prove to be the most valuable business book they ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the trilogy
"Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes" by Robert S. Kaplan, David P. Norton is a great third addition to the trilogy - "The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action" and "The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment"

The book goes into extraordinary detail of how both private and public organizations have succeeded in today's competetive environment by using the Balanced Scorecard to transform into what Kaplan and Norton call "Strategy-Focused Organizatons."

I particularly like the fact that the authors do not rely on theoretical "what if" examples like many academic theorists do -Kaplan and Norton have tested their ideas with real organizations that now endorse the concenpt (indeed, they created a Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame to recognize those organizations that achieve exemplary results). The authors provide many examples of how such organizations have achieved breakthrough results through case studies.

This is a must have for all Balanced Scorecard enthusiasts and a great tool for managers to have to help think through the articulation of strategy, a pre-requisite to its actual implementation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Organizational Cartography of the Highest Order
Kaplan and Norton co-authored an article which was published in the Harvard Business Review (January/February 1993). In it they introduce an exciting new concept: the balanced scorecard. They have since published three books: this one, preceded by The Balanced Scorecard: Translating Strategy into Action (1996) and The Strategy-Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment (2000). Here's some background on the two books before we shift our attention to Strategy Maps.

In The Balanced Scorecard, as Kaplan and Norton explain in their Preface, "the Balanced Scorecard evolved from an improved measurement system to an improved management system." The distinction is critically important to understanding this book. Senior executives in various companies have used the Balanced Scorecard as the central organizing framework for important managerial processes such as individual and team goal setting, compensation, resource allocation, budgeting and planning, and strategic feedback and learning. When writing this book, it was the authors' hope that the observations they share would help more executives to launch and implement Balanced Scorecard programs in their organizations.

Then in The Strategy-Focused Organization, Kaplan and Norton note that, according to an abundance of research data, only 5% of the workforce understand their company's strategy, that only 25% of managers have incentives linked to strategy, that 60% of organizations don't link budgets to strategy, and 85% of executive teams spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy. These and other research findings help to explain why Kaplan and Norton believe so strongly in the power of the Balanced Scorecard. As they suggest, it provides "the central organizing framework for important managerial processes such as individual and team goal setting, compensation, resource allocation, budgeting and planning, and strategic feedback and learning." After rigorous and extensive research of their own, obtained while working closely with several dozen different organizations, Kaplan and Norton observed five common principles of a Strategy-Focused Organization:

1. Translate the strategy to operational terms

2. Align the organization to the strategy

3. Make strategy everyone's job

4. Make strategy a continual process

5. Mobilize change through executive leadership

The first four principles focus on the the Balanced Scorecard tool, framework, and supporting resources; the importance of the fifth principle is self-evident. "With a Balanced Scorecard that tells the story of the strategy, we now have a reliable foundation for the design of a management system to create Strategy-Focused Organizations."

Those who have not as yet read The Balanced Scorecard and/or The Strategy-Focused Organization are strong urged to do so. Brief comments about them in commentaries such as these merely indicate the nature and extent of the brilliant thinking which Kaplan and Norton provide in each.

What we have in Strategy Maps are two separate but related components: Further development and refinement of core concepts introduced in the earlier two books, and, a rigorous examination of new ideas and new applications by which to convert intangible assets into tangible outcomes. In the Introduction, Kaplan and Norton explain that their direct involvement with more than 300 organizations provided them with an extensive database of strategies, strategy maps, and balanced scorecards. This abundance of material has revealed a number of strategies and tactics by which literally any organization (regardless of size or nature) can create and then increase value. The strategies and tactics are embraced within three targeted approaches for aligning intangible assets to strategy:

"1. Strategic job families that align human capital to the strategic themes

2. The strategic IT portfolio that aligns information capital to the strategic themes

3. An organization change agenda that integrates and aligns organizational capital for continued learning and improvement in the strategic themes."

Kaplan and Norton carefully organize their material within five Parts. I presume to suggest that Part I be read and then re-read before proceeding to Value-Creating Processes, Intangible Assets, and Building Strategies and Strategy Maps. Part Five provides a number of case files generated by private-sector, public-sector, and nonprofit organizations. In fact, I strongly suggest that Chapter 2 be re-read several times because it offers an invaluable primer on strategy maps. When reading and then re-reading Chapter 2, be sure to check back on Figure 1-2 (Page 8) and Figure 1-3 (Page 11) in the Introduction.

One word of caution from Kaplan and Norton: "It is important (if not imperative) to describe an organization's strategy with word statements of strategic objectives in the four linked perspectives BEFORE turning to measurements. Many organizations building BSCs attempt to go directly from somewhat vague strategy statements to measures without this step, and often omit critical aspects of the strategy or else select from measures that are already available, rather than selecting measures that quantify their strategic objectives."

This is a much longer review than I usually compose because I am convinced that only what is measurable is manageable. Also because, after extensive prior experience helping corporate clients with formulating process maps of various kinds, I am convinced that organizational "journeys" to increased sales, profits, and value need maps by which to reach those destinations just as those who drive vehicles do when seeking their own destinations. One of the greatest benefits of strategy maps is that the process by which they are devised helps to ensure that the most appropriate destination is identified. Think of Kaplan and Norton as travel agents and cartographers, to be sure, but also as consultants whose services you can retain merely by purchasing their three books, then by absorbing and digesting the information and counsel those three books provide. For many decision-makers in all manner of organizations, Strategy Maps may well prove to be the most valuable business book they ever read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and a rehash
I was extremely disappointed by this book.

My most serious concern was the failure of the authors to cite John Thorpe's "The Information Paradox: Realizing the Business Benefits of Information Technology". Results Chains were first developed in the late 80s and early 90s by DMR Consulting and Fujitsu Consulting. Basically, Strategy Maps are simplified Result Chains with a Balance Scorecard flavor. Harvard professors MUST do a review of the literature BEFORE they publish.

This is important because a Results Chain avoids 3 problems that will bedevil Strategy Map users.
1) A Results Chain is more much explicit about the role that assumptions play in achieving business outcomes. Assumptions are either statements about uncertainty (e.g. price is an important criteria for customers) or they are things that are outside of your control (e.g. a competitor will not enter this market). Strategy Maps DO NOT talk about risks or assumptions. This is bizarre.

2) The book continually mixs up inputs, outputs (from internal processes), and outcomes. (Osborne's "Reinventing Government" has a nice appendix about the differences.) It is not clear whether the elements on the Strategy Maps are actions to be taken or the results of these actions.
The failure to understand these distinctions will cause confusion down the road.

3) Results Chains are much more explicit about the contributions that one element plays in achieving business outcomes. In contrast, all the Strategy Maps have many-to-many relationships.
What will happen if the benefits are not achieved? How are you going to do any kind of root-cause analysis with a Strategy Map?

As the other reviewers have noted, the Strategy Maps in the book are very generic. This may provide a starting point for developing your own Results Chain.

Take a look at Thorpe's book.

1-0 out of 5 stars What about IP?
I will confess -- I've only spent a few minutes with this book in a boosktore. I didn't buy it. Here's a big reason why: the index lacked entries not only for "patents" but for "intellectual property".

For lots of companies in my part of the world (Silicon Valley) patents and other intangible rights in technology are the most important kind of intangible asset. You also can't do patent strategy without having some understanding of the constraints (and opportunities) created by patent law. If the book omits those topics, then I don't see how it can do a complete job.

OTOH, if you like lots of consultant-type diagrams with platitudes about "customer value", "long-term value" "meeting customer needs" and the like, all garnished with arrows going all over heck, you might feel very comfortable with this book. ... Read more


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