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1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies
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2. The Toyota Way: 14 Management
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3. Built from Scratch : How a Couple
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5. Built for Growth: Expanding Your
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6. Think Big, Act Small : How America's
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7. More Than a Pink Cadillac : Mary
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8. The Art of Innovation : Lessons
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1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't
by Jim Collins
list price: $27.50
our price: $19.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0066620996
Catlog: Book (2001-10)
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Sales Rank: 52
Average Customer Review: 4.47 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com's Best of 2001

Five years ago, Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?" In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last, concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11--including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come. --Harry C. Edwards ... Read more

Reviews (298)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jim Collins: REQUIRED READING (See why.)
With an overall keen focus on discipline and accountability, Jim Collins was assisted by a large team of gifted, discerning graduate students. Hence, "Good to Great" is a most welcome piece of major solid research in our current time when "business spin" has contributed to the failure of corporations, market values, employee careers, etc. Unfortunately, similar books over the past few decades have relied more on "impressionism" from the author(s), including the now famous "In Search of Excellence" which has since been exposed as not fully grounded in the true facts of the time. While Warren Buffet is not identified as a "Level 5" leader in "Good to Great," this is a volume which could surely bear the imprimatur from that "Sage of Omaha." This book could even assist GE's Jack Welch "grow" into a more effective individual. [Prepare yourself for a surprise-jolt: based on Jim Collins' penetrating analyses across 11 major organizations, Mr. Welch would probably be considered as a "Level 4" leader.]

This book is of significant value to anyone wanting to move from "good to great" no matter if it is within a profit, not-for-profit, or even in a home-family setting. Great, easy reading and, most importantly, an excellent, life-long reference manual to help you remain "tuned-up." Notably, this book should be a required supplemental text for all general management courses (undergraduate or graduate).

5-0 out of 5 stars Achieving and continuing spectacular business success
In 1994, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras wrote one of the most successful management books of the last decade: Built to Last. Collins and Porras had studied 18 visionairy companies, many of which had existed for 60 years or more. These companies had a strong focus on values and people and great ability to to learn and exchange knowledge. They gave less priority to maximalizing shareholder value but paradoxically outperformed the market enormously. In a conversation with Jim Collins, McKinsey director Bill Meehan said he, too, loved the book, but added: "Unfortunately, it's useless". He explained why. The companies featured in Built to Last had always been great companies. But because most companies are just good (not great) they are not interested in a book which shows how to stay great (Built to Last) but in a book that shows how to become great. The matter inspired Collins. He built a research team of 15 people and started a 5 year study.

The team tried to identify companies that had jumped from good to great and had managed to continue their great growth for at least 15 years. They found 11 of these (Abbott, Circuit City, Fannie Mae, Gilette, Kimberly-Clark, Kroger, Nucor, Philip Morris, Pitney Bowes, Walgreens, Wells Fargo). These good-to-great companies (GTG's) outperformed the market by a factor 6.9 in the 15 year period of the analysis! (General Electric outperformed the market 'only' by a factor 2.8 between 1985 and 2000).

The study focused on the question: what did the GTG's have in common that distinguished them from comparable companies in comparable circumstances? The GTG's were compared with two sets of other companies: 1) the direct-comparisons: companies within the same sector and in comparable circumstances, 2) the unsustained comparisons: companies that had had a breakthrough but that had not been able to continue their success. Collins intended to, from the ground up, build a theory which could explain the successful transformation of the GTG's.

As it turned out, all of the GTG's had a period of build up, preparation (often lasting many years) before the breakthrough moment. Three phases could be identified:

PHASE 1: DISCIPLINED PEOPLE
1. LEVEL 5 LEADERSHIP: contrary to the expectation, leaders of the GTG's turned out to be quiet, self effacing and even shy. At the same time, however, they were very determined. Mostly, they were leaders that came from within the company and that have remained unknown to the greater public.

2. FIRST WHO...THEN WHAT: also contrary to what you might expect was that GTG's first got the right people on the bus and the wrong people off and only then focused on strategic direction and vision.

PHASE 2: DISCIPLINED THOUGHT
3. CONFRONT THE BRUTAL FACTS (..BUT NEVER LOSE HOPE). Characteristic was a combination of realism and hope.
4. THE HEDGEHOG CONCEPT (SIMPLICITY IN THREE CIRCLES): just like a hedgehog, the GTG's seemed to have a very simple but effective success formula: all of the activities of the company had to lie within the intersection of the following three circles: 1) what can we become best in the world at? 2) what are we passionate about? 3) what can we make money with?

PHASE 3: DISCIPLINED ACTION
5. CULTURE OF DISCIPLINE: the GTG's turned out to have a culture of discipline that made hierarchy and bureaucracy largely superfluous.
6. TECHNOLOGY ACCELERATORS: none of the GTG's had technology as a cause of the success, but technology did play the role of accelerator of the success.

Collins rather convincingly demonstrates the validity of this model. All of the GTG's showed these practices throughout the 15 year period, while none of the direct comparisons did. The unsustained comparisons showed some of these practises often right until the moment of their decline.

Looking at the share price development of the GTG's, you might expect that there has been a clear marking point of the transformation because their share price stays rather flat at first (for many years) and then just suddenly takes off and keeps on going up. An important finding of the team was, however, that there were nó special change programs, and nó breakthrough decisions or products. On the contrary, the process evolved very fluently. To eplain, Collins uses the metaphor of the flying wheel. When you start to turn this wheel it goes heavily and moves slowly. But by continuously keeping on turning the wheel, it starts to build momentum and then, just suddenly, a point is reached at which the wheel turns at great speed without you having to turn it any harder than at first. Is this the practice of many companies? Not at all! The reality of many companies is nót consistently following a chosen path but rather swinging from one hype to another.

I think this research evokes one principal issue. That the concept 'great' is operationalized in a financial way is easily understood from a practical standpoint. This criterion is clear and rather easily obtained and makes it easy to compare the companies scientifically. But is 'great' the best word to describe spectacular financial success? Does their financial success necessarily make GTG's 'great'? Wouldn't that be like saying that Bill Gates en Silvio Berlusconi are great people while implying Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa are not?

But, having said that, demonstrating how companies achieve and continue spectacular financial success, in itself, is extremely interesting and valuable. This is a terrific book that, I think, has the quality to equal or perhaps even surpass the success of Built to Last. Unlike most management books (which contain creative but highly speculative ideas), the message of this book is based on well-designed research and mindful interpretation of results that is explained and justified terrifically. Despite this thoroughness, the book remains a pleasant read. A pity that the book does not offer some more practical suggestions to help readers get started. I think that would have made it even better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Study on Critical Factors for Organisational Greatness
Collins' curiosity and clear study brings to light some of those factors that contribute to greatness. These findings are grounded within individual, teachable 'points of view' which are easily applied to large organisations and applicable to small busness as well.
Collins puts his findings in clear accessable language. Including the finding that is responsible for the title... That good is the enemy of great.
I highly recommend this book/CD to leaders that are enaged with designing futures and those that work with them. It is core reading for key teams. It has made a significant difference in being able to articulate powerful conversations with teams about that which is tacit and critical to success. Giving common language and principles to engage with. A great study book for learning teams.

3-0 out of 5 stars But, what about........?

Read it - but maybe buy it used

This books does however ask some good questions about how to go from being good to GREAT such as:

1. What am I(or what is the company) intrinsically passionate about?
2. What is the company\I good at? and does this "thing" come naturally?
3. Finally does this area that was chosen have "GREAT" potential?

On the other hand, here are some questions that I felt were left unanswered:

Can't you be GREAT at two things at the same time?

According to Jack Welch's book, you should strive to be #1 OR #2.
btw: Aren't there three medals awarded in the Olympics?

What about sales? The Mary Kay Company motto is "Nothing happens until somebody sells something." (from her book)

What about creating barriers to entry for competitors? (to protect market share like Carnegie or Rockefeller did)

Why didn't you include MORE on the failures of the Good to Great companies? Not just the failures of the competition. Guys like Edison, Lincoln had many defeats before they found ultimate success.
Doesn't bouncing back from failures have something to do with going from Good to Great?

The author mentions getting the right people in the right seats on the bus and the wrong people off. I believe this is an oversimplification. Age, salary, tenure, unions, hierarchy etc make this a very difficult task to accomplish!!

Yes this book took 5 years to write and was supported by 21 staff researchers BUT I am not totally convinced of the results. (and I liked the first book - Built to Last)
That's why I gave it only 3 stars

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read for any executive, manager, or entrepreneur
This book was number one on the Wall Street Journal's list for a long time for good reason. It is a very pleasurable and easy read that will certainly set off light bulbs in your head. The coverage of the iterative process of buildup and breakthrough is outstanding. If you are an executive, manager, or entrepreneur, make sure you grab this book and take it to the beach or knock it out over a weekend. It certainly belongs in your library. ... Read more


2. The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles From The World's Greatest Manufacturer
by JeffreyLiker
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071392319
Catlog: Book (2003-12-17)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 1711
Average Customer Review: 4.27 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

How to speed up business processes, improve quality, and cut costs in any industry

In factories around the world, Toyota consistently makes the highest-quality cars with the fewest defects of any competing manufacturer, while using fewer man-hours, less on-hand inventory, and half the floor space of its competitors. The Toyota Way is the first book for a general audience that explains the management principles and business philosophy behind Toyota's worldwide reputation for quality and reliability.

Complete with profiles of organizations that have successfully adopted Toyota's principles, this book shows managers in every industry how to improve business processes by:

  • Eliminating wasted time and resources
  • Building quality into workplace systems
  • Finding low-cost but reliable alternatives to expensive new technology
  • Producing in small quantities
  • Turning every employee into a qualitycontrol inspector
... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Jeff Liker does it again!
Jeff Liker does it again. For those who have read and enjoyed his previous book, Becoming Lean: Experiences of U.S. Manufactures, (1998 Shingo Prize) it gives practical insight into the transformation process from those who lead the process. The Toyota Way gives insight into how business philosophy must change and evolve in order to support a true transformation. At the core of a true business change is not the techniques, tools, or methods, but an attitude toward the business and a "way of life".

The book, The Toyota Way, is worth reading from cover-to-cover and should also be re-referenced as one tries to guide their business, themselves, and others through the deep changes that must occur to truly transform to a lean enterprise. Dr. Liker reveals how the fourteen principles have been applied at Toyota using practical examples from new car development programs, daily functions, and major international business decisions. The Toyota Way applies to all levels of activities and people. But the only way for others to accomplish their own Toyota Way is to read this book and start to apply its lessons directly - by learning by doing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Toyota DNA
Even though no other company will have the exact Toyota DNA, the principles in this book should be like the 14 commandments for all companies. There is something that wows me just about in every page I read.

I'm only through half of the book, but if I had the money I would send it to many of my manufacturing friends. But that is much rather like pushing it, and I am not sure they would read it, even as a freebie.

I have read many of the "Lean books", Womack, etc. and liked them too. But "The Toyota Way" has been the best. There are many automotive Japanese companies, but Toyota is very special. No wonder everybody is trying to copy the tools used there. But what everybody misses is the basic philosophy and the 14 principles around Challenge, Kaizen, Respect, Teamwork and Genchi Genbutsu, or the 4 Ps of Liker.

Liker does an excellent work in explaining them.

a manufacturing engineering manager

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear and informative for any business
What a clear explanation of management principles. Anyone who runs any sort of company, or even a single household, can profit by reading this book. The many graphs are clear, clever, and illuminating. The book goes so much beyond the more simple "lean" theory I had read about before.

5-0 out of 5 stars Explainning Toyota's DNA
I think this book is the first one for a general audience that explains the management principles and business philosophy behind Toyota's worldwide reputation for quality and reliability.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book ever in recent years on Toyota DNA
There are very few books or papers available to give details on Toyota DNA in a plain english and that too with examples.

Thank you Dr.Liker for doing excellent job and looking forward to see your next book.

I completely agree with what Dr. Liker described in Principles 8 and 11, as I was fortunate to experience "Toyota Way" as a supplier. ... Read more


3. Built from Scratch : How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion
by BERNIE MARCUS, ARTHUR BLANK, BOB ANDELMAN
list price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812930584
Catlog: Book (1999-04-27)
Publisher: Crown Business
Sales Rank: 39262
Average Customer Review: 3.92 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Built from Scratch is about two businessmen who achieve the American Dream by fundamentally changing the realm of home-improvement retailing. Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, cofounders of the Home Depot, explain how they established the first national chain in the industry by concentrating on low prices, customer service, and strong leadership values.

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

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

Reviews (25)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


4. Built to Last : Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials)
by Jim Collins, Jerry I. Porras
list price: $17.95
our price: $12.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060516402
Catlog: Book (2002-08)
Publisher: HarperBusiness
Sales Rank: 668
Average Customer Review: 4.63 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day -- as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: "What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies and what were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?"

Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels, Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the 21st century and beyond.

... Read more

Reviews (101)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Business Student's Perspective
Having spent the last four years of our lives being taught to think about every business problem in a particular way, it was great to read a business book that encourages you to "think outside of the box." We have read many textbooks in our time at University, and it was refreshing to read a book that expressed clear and simple ideas that we will remember after we graduate. "Built To Last" started off strong by 'shattering' the 12 well-known "myths" that they teach us in school. The book then continued with the author's model that is based around the premise of preserving the core ideology, and stimulating progress within the organization; it uses simple points that build on one another to create a first-rate framework. The authors make their points at the beginning of each chapter and then build on them with numerous examples of 'visionary' companies...Some of our favorite points were:
- The true definition of a core ideology; including the distinction between a core purpose and core values;
- Encourage trying lots of stuff and keeping what works;
- And, "The Genius of the And"...it is possible to have two things at once.
Although, this book was primarily targeted towards entrepreneurs and CEO's, we found that we could use this book for our future career search and within our daily lives. For example, the chapter titled Cults and Cultures outlined the extraordinary commitment employees have to their particular organization; Personally, we don't think we have what it takes to be a true "Nordie," but it gave us insight into what characteristics and traits to be looking for in an organization we would like to work for.
Some of the inferior traits of the book are that there were some parts in the novel where the authors seem to stretch their examples to fit within their framework, and they came across as being slightly bias to their own theories. We also found that they never mention the same company in every chapter, which made it harder to follow and also harder to believe that every visionary company fit all aspects of their model. However, overall, this book is an easy read, with a simple model that makes sense. It uses interesting companies and is backed up by 6 years of intense research. We recommend this book to any student who is looking to think on different terms than what we are being taught in school.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unprecedented, Compelling, Well-Researched
"Built to Last" is one of those rare non-fiction books you just can't put down. Unequivocally the best "business" book I have ever read, "Built to Last" by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras is a compelling, thorough, well-written, unprecedented look at what it takes to "create and achieve long-lasting greatness as a visionary corporation." Unlike many current "trendy" management and "business success" books out on the market, Collins and Porras differentiate "Built to Last" by using their own six-year comprehensive, well-documented research study as the basis for further analysis.

What separates "Built to Last" is that each visionary company (3M, HP, Procter & Gamble, Wal-Mart...) is contrasted with a comparison company founded in the same time, in the same industry, with similar founding products and markets (Norton, TI, Colgate, Ames...). Perhaps what I found most intriguing were some of the twelve "shattered myths" they go on to counter throughout the book:

1. It takes a great idea to start a great company
2. Visionary companies require great and charismatic visionary leaders
3. Visionary companies share a common subset of "correct" core values
4. Highly successful companies make their best moves by brilliant and complex strategic planning
5. The most successful companies focus primarily on beating the competition

As a current business student with a summer internship in a "visionary company," I was amazed as their careful analysis rang true. This is one book I can highly recommend to any student, professional, or business educator looking for those not-so-subtle traits that characterize a truly visionary company.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Business Book - A Must Read
The next time you see a book that casts a business leader as a mythical or heroic figure, go back to this book and see if the leader passes the 'Level 5 Leader' tests. Sandy Weill, for example, fails that test miserably, since he cares nothing for his company or its employees, and only about feeding his insatiable appetite for personal profit, self-aggrandizement, and great food, in that order. Weill is an example of the so-called celebrity leaders who are very reluctant to groom and name their successors, since they care far more about holding onto their power than for the longer-term welfare of the company and its employees. The last thing you'd see these quasi-leaders do is sacrifice their power or money for longer benefit of the company. Eisner is another perfect example of Emperor-CEO who got paid obscene amount of money and drove out top talents from Disney, while its business and stock prices languished badly.

A perfect business book - erudite, entertaining, and relevant - and a must-read for anyone who ever dreamed of becoming (or simply working for) the true business leader.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy to read & Shattered Myths
Overall, this is an excellent book about how to build a company that will stand the test of time. The authors present the information in a format that is easy to read for the senior executive or someone with no business experience. While the authors present detailed and informative examples of actions that businesses have taken to be successful, the number of examples can become cumbersome. If someone is looking for a quick reference of strategies to improve a company, this is probably not the book for them, but if an individual is looking for an in depth report on techniques used by companies, it would be a useful tool. This book's intent is to show you the cogs that matter and give you some framework by which to align them to drive a company constantly/relentlessly forward. Often managers get lost in the P&L of the day. While that is important, it may not be enough to keep the fiber of the organization together. This book can serve as a reminder to us all of what is important to maintain a business that is financially successful but more importantly keeps its employees and customers happy. This book's simple goal is to shatter two myths that many believe a visionary company is founded upon, the incredibly innovative product and the charismatic leader.

4-0 out of 5 stars The genius of the "AND" -- use his book AND his web site
I listened to the audio version on my way to work. The bonus author interview at the end was the best part. It included a pitch for one of his other books "Good to Great". Jim Collins also has a web site, of the same name, that has an additional 10 non business books that he recommends. These additional resources have provided two of the next books I plan on reading.
As far as Built to Last goes, the following are some of his key concepts from this book.
1. Be a "Clock builder" instead of a "teller of time"
2. BHAGS (def in the book)
3. The "and" instead of the "or"
4. Preserve the core
5. Cult like corporate cultures
6. Stimulating progress
7. Alignment
8. All leaders die
Two other tid bits that caught my attention: The fact about how at the 18 visionary companies only 4 CEO's have ever been selected to the top spot in these organizations from outside the company. And finally the 3M example of how to effectively facilitate interaction between internal departments, by inventing a Technology Sharing Award and Technical Honor Society.
If you are a business type climbing the corporate ladder, it is worth a read. 3.5 to 4 stars ... Read more


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

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

Reviews (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


6. Think Big, Act Small : How America's Best Performing Companies Keep the Start-up Spirit Alive
by JasonJennings
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591840767
Catlog: Book (2005-05-05)
Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover
Sales Rank: 3611
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Is it possible for a company to grow its revenues and profits by 10percent ormore for atleast ten consecutive years, not counting acquisitions? That’s an incrediblyhigh bar forgrowth and profitability, one that 99.99 percent of American companies can’tmeet— including the famous ones that routinely land on magazine covers.

Management expert Jason Jennings screened 100,000 companies to identify ninelittle- known firms that have delivered stellar performance for a full decade or more,despite theups and downs of the economy. And, as he reveals in his new book, thesesuperstars havea lot in common despite their wide range of industries, which includes software,foodservices, medical supplies, and sporting goods.

It turns out that the best long-term performers all combine the strengths of abigorganization with the hunger of a start-up. They build excellent relationshipswith theircustomers, suppliers, workers, and shareholders. They groom future leaders atall levels.They balance their short-term goals with their long-term visions. And they teachtheirmanagers to get their hands dirty.

Jennings did extensive interviews at his nine featured companies to find outexactly howthey consistently increase revenue and profits without using manipulation orgimmickry.He reveals their unique approach to leadership and shows how any company, nomatterwhat size or industry, can benefit from following their examples.

Think Big, Act Small may be the most powerful management book sinceGood to Great and Execution. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Business Novel--Read for Pleasure, Read for Profit
Telling the stories of nine companies, in a manner both fascinating and insightful, Jennings's has created a true business novel.You'll want to take this book on vacation for pleasure and then bring it home for profit.

5-0 out of 5 stars Prudent Business Advice for any Business
I can't remember the last time I've considered a business non-fiction book a "page turner", but Jason Jennings has accomplished what very few writers in this genre do. His wit, combined with articulate facts, make "Think Big, Act Small" a much better read than similar books. However, what really encapsulated me were candid, yet invigorating details about what differentiates so-so businesses from the shockingly sparse few companies who actually maintain steady, consecutive growth along with increased profits year after year. Free from scandal, quiet, humble, down-to-earth CEO leadership appears to be one pervasive factor for a success formula. Incredibly, Jennings and his staff conduct face-to-face interviews with these precious leaders of the featured corporations more as if it were a coffee clutch than a business profile. Casual, laid-back and approachable, the words they speak aren't about themselves at all. Rather, their sage advice regarding the prosperity of their respective companies proves "big" dreams are still attainable while "acting small" as they genuinely focus on what's best for all.
As the owner of a successful computer company, one other surprise were the parallels seen within our own business. Namely, of the successful companies featured in the book, more than half are some of our BEST customers. This may be a perfect fit for any proactive sales organization. You'll be hooked from the start so this is just bonus material well worth the price of admission itself.
This book is a must read for anybody even slightly interested in learning about what makes today's best businesses tick.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jennings' Most Important Book...Thus Far
Jennings' highly innovative, at times refreshingly unorthodox thinking was evident in his previously published books,It's Not the Big That Eat the Small...It's the Fast That Eat the Slow (co-authored with Laurence Haughton) and then Less Is More: How Great Companies Use Productivity As a Competitive Tool in Business.

As I read this volume, I was reminded of at least some of the material in Sun Tzu's The Art of War and, especially, the strategies recommended in a section called "Estimates" in Samuel B. Griffith's superb translation. For example: "All warfare is based on deception. Therefore, when capable, feign incapacity; when active, inactivity. When near, make it appear that you are far away; when far away, that you are near. Offer the enemy a bait to lure him; feign disorder and strike him. When he concentrates, prepare against him; where he is strong, avoid him. Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance. When he is united, divide him. Attack when he is unprepared; sally out when he does not expect you." You get the idea.

Jennings is a staunch and eloquent advocate of this principle: Do much more and do it much better, faster, and do it with less. OK, but how? The answer to that question was revealed by rigorous and extensive research which he and his two associates (Brian Solon and Greg Powell) conducted. They began with 70,000 companies as candidates for designation as the best performing companies in the U.S. Among all of them, which have increased their revenue and profits by at least 10% for ten years or longer? Only nine qualified: Cabela's, Dot Foods, Koch Industries, Medline Industries, O'Reilly Automotive, PETCO Animal Supplies, SAS Institute, Sonic Drive-in, and Strayer Education.

Back to "How?" Jennings identifies ten "Building Blocks" which, in combination, explain why each of those in an obviously mixed bag of companies has been and continues to be a best performer (i.e. among the top one-hundredth of 1% of all U.S. companies). It would be a disservice to both Jennings and to those who read this brief commentary to list them and then comment on each out of the context within which Jennings so skillfully presents them. Suffice to say that all organizations (regardless of their size or nature) need to have all ten Building Blocks as a core foundation on which to increase their revenue and profits by at least 10% and then continue to do so year after year after year.

How revealing that the CEOs whom Jennings and his research associates interviewed indicate little (if any) interest in any of Sun Tzu's deception strategies...nor in what their competitors are up to, for that matter. They seem wholly preoccupied with sticking to their own "knitting," focusing on what their companies can do best, how to do it even better, and thereby deliver even greater value to their customers. Also, each seems determined to nourish and enhance the quality of life as well as standard of living of everyone involved in the enterprise. This is precisely what Jennings means when referring to building communities, Building Block #9. Employees, customers, and allies should be viewed as "partners" and treated as such.

Ultimately, one of the most formidable challenges for those in any organization is to achieve and then maintain an appropriate balance of "thinking BIG" while "acting small." Hence the importance of Section Three, "The Quad: A Self-Evaluation and Ranking," in which Jennings "breaks down the title of the book into four scenarios, each represented by a quadrant":

TSAS Think Small, Act Small
TSAB Think Small, Act Big
TBAB Think Big, Act Big
TBAS Think Big, Act Small

He applies this template to each of the ten Building Blocks. It remains for each reader to complete the self-evaluation, one which helps to measure her or his own organization's current situation. The details of this exercise are best revealed within the text, pages 189-201.

I highly recommend this book for reasons previously indicated but also because I cannot recall a prior time since the Great Depression when it was more difficult for companies to increase their revenue and profits by at least 10% for ten years or longer. Consider these statistics which Michael Gerber shares in his recently published E-Myth Mastery: "Of the 1 million U.S. small businesses started this year [2005], more than 80% of them will be out of business within 5 years and 96% will have closed their doors before their 10th birthday." Chilling statistics indeed. Here in a single volume is a rigorous analysis of how nine quite different companies have achieved and then sustained their "full economic and human potential."

How important and potentially valuable is this book? Please re-read the statistics provided by Gerber. ... Read more


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

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

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

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

... Read more

Reviews (8)

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

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

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

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

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


8. The Art of Innovation : Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America's Leading Design Firm
by Tom Kelley, Tom Peters, Tom Peters
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385499841
Catlog: Book (2001-01-16)
Publisher: Currency
Sales Rank: 7846
Average Customer Review: 3.98 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

IDEO, the world's leading design firm, is the brain trust that's behindsome of the more brilliant innovations of the past 20 years--from the Applemouse, the Polaroid i-Zone instant camera, and the Palm V to the "fat" toothbrushfor kids and a self-sealing water bottle for dirt bikers. Not surprisingly,companies all over the world have long wondered what they could learn from IDEO,to come up with better ideas for their own products, services, and operations.In this terrific book from IDEO general manager Tom Kelley (brother of founderDavid Kelley), IDEO finally delivers--but thankfully not in the step-by-step,flow-chart-filled "process speak" of most how-you-can-do-what-we-do businessbooks. Sure, there are some good bulleted lists to be found here--such as thesecrets of successful brainstorming, the qualities of "hot teams," and, towardthe end, 10 key ingredients for "How to Create Great Products and Services,"including "One Click Is Better Than Two" (the simpler, the better) and "GoofProof" (no bugs).

But The Art of Innovation really teaches indirectly (not to mentionenlightens and entertains) by telling great stories--mainly, of how the bestideas for creating or improving products or processes come not from laboriouslyorganized focus groups, but from keen observations of how regular people workand play on a daily basis. On nearly every page, we learn the backstories ofsome now-well-established consumer goods, from recent inventions like the PalmPilot and the in-car beverage holder to things we nearly take for granted--likeIvory soap (created when a P&G worker went to lunch without turning off hissoap mixer, and returned to discover his batch overwhipped into 99.44 percentbuoyancy) and Kleenex, which transcended its original purpose as a cosmeticsremover when people started using the soft paper to wipe and blow their noses.Best of all, Kelley opens wide the doors to IDEO's vibrant, sometimes wackyoffice environment, and takes us on a vivid tour of how staffers tackle a designchallenge: they start not with their ideas of what a new product should offer,but with the existing gaps of need, convenience, and pleasure with which peoplelive on a daily basis, and that IDEO should fill. (Hence, a one-piece children'sfishing rod that spares fathers the embarrassment of not knowing how to teachtheir kids to fish, or Crest toothpaste tubes that don't "gunk up" at themouth.)

Granted, some of their ideas--like the crucial process of "prototyping," orincorporating dummy drafts of the actual product into the planning, to work outbugs as you go--lend themselves more easily to the making of actual things thanto the more common organizational challenge of streamlining services oroperations. But, if this big book of bright ideas doesn't get you thinking ofhow to build a better mousetrap for everything from your whole business processto your personal filing system, you probably deserve to be stuck with themousetrap you already have. --Timothy Murphy ... Read more

Reviews (49)

3-0 out of 5 stars Less than expected
The Art of Innovation is the story of the famous Palo Alto based design firm, IDEO. The book is easy to read and moves quickly. The author, Tom Kelley, is the brother of founder David Kelley. Tom is the General Manager and is an ex-management consultant. This is important because the book really devolves into a light treatise on business management practices. This makes sense since given Tom Kelley's responsibilities at IDEO and his background. It also explains the Tom Peter's Foreword. If you like Tom Peter's books, you will enjoy this book.

If you are looking for real insights into the IDEO design process you will be disappointed. Most of the insights are of a personnel management nature, and even those are at a relatively high level. Mr. Kelley pokes more than a few veiled barbs at the slow industrial giants who simply cannot compete with the brain power and management prowess at IDEO. That may sound sarcastic, but Mr. Kelley's pride in his company often crosses that fine line into arrogance.

There are a few actual projects described to point out how valuable a certain IDEO practice is. There are repeated references to IDEO's contribution to the invention of the Apple mouse and follow-up work on the Microsoft Mouse. Also, a great deal of time is spent talking about the redesign of the common shopping cart that was done in one week for a segment on Nightline. I know that IDEO has had many important clients and recent important projects. Perhaps they can't talk about them because of non-disclosure agreements. There are color pictures of some products at the beginning of each of 15 chapters but often there is no mention of those products in the text. Some black & white photographs of products and the IDEO workspaces also accompany the text. There are no diagrams or illustrations.

A great deal of the book outlines the emphasis that IDEO puts on the treatment of their employees and their penchant for quick and frequent prototyping as a key to success. All projects start by assigning a "hot" team and letting them brainstorm and prototype their way into some great ideas. No details are given on how the teams are formed or managed.

This book is for you if you are looking for a light management practices book and just a little insight into a premier design firm. You will probably be disappointed if you want to find out how products are designed or what specific processes are used to manage the design process. You also will not get a great deal of competitive information about IDEO. The book assumes that you have at least a general idea of what Industrial Design is about.

Tom Kelley admits that workshops about the "IDEO way" have been turned into a profit center. They give seminars on how to organize product development at client companies. I could see IDEO including this book with their seminar, or perhaps they could give it to a prospective client to whet their appetite. It definitely leaves you wanting more information. I am left wondering, "How much is that seminar, and will they let me in?"

5-0 out of 5 stars Innovation for Fun as Well as Profit
There are dozens of excellent books which discuss innovation. This is one of the best but don't be misled by the title, "Lessons in creativity from IDEO, America's leading design firm." Unlike almost all other authors of worthy books on the same subject, Kelley does NOT organize his material in terms of a sequence of specific "lessons"...nor does he inundate his reader with checklists, "executive summaries", bullet points, do's and don'ts, "key points", etc. Rather, he shares what I guess you could characterize as "stories" based on real-world situations in which he and his IDEO associates solved various problems when completing industrial design assignments for their clients. "We've linked those organizational achievements to specific methodologies and tools you can use to build innovation into your own organization...[However, IDEO's] 'secret formula' is actually not very formulaic. It's a blend of of methodologies, work practices, culture, and infrastructure. Methodology alone is not enough." One of the greatest benefits of the book is derived from direct access to that "blend" when activated.

It is extremely difficult to overcome what James O'Toole characterizes, in Leading Change, as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." He and Kelley seem to be kindred spirits: Both fully understand how and why truly innovative thinking encounters so much resistance within organizations. Whereas O'Toole suggests all manner of strategies to overcome that resistance, Kelley concentrates on the combination ("blend") of ingredients which, when integrated and then applied with both rigor and passion, may (just may) produce what Jobs once referred to as "insanely great." What both O'Toole and Kelley have in mind is creating and sustaining an innovative culture, one from within which "insanely great" ideas can result in breakthrough products and (yes) services.

"Loosely described", Kelley shares IDEO's five-step methodology: Understand the market, the client, the technology, and the perceived constraints on the given problem; observe real people in real-life situations; literally visualize new-to-the-world concepts AND the customers who will use them; evaluate and refine the prototypes in a series of quick iterations; and finally, implement the new concept for commercialization. With regard to the last "step", as Bennis explains in Organizing Genius, Apple executives immediately recognized the commercial opportunities for PARC's technology. Larry Tesler (who later left PARC for Apple) noted that Jobs and companions "wanted to get it out to the world." But first, obviously, create that "it."

Kelley and his associates at IDEO have won numerous awards for designing all manner of innovative products such as the Apple mouse, the Palm Pilot, a one-piece fishing mechanism for children, the in-vehicle beverage holder, toothpaste tubes that don't "gunk up" in the cap area, "mud-free" water bottles for mountain bikers, a small digital camera for the handspring Visor, and the Sun Tracker Beach Chair.

With all due respect to products such as these, what interested me most was the material in the book which focuses on (a) the physical environment in which those at IDEO interact and (b) the nature and extent of that interaction, principally the brainstorm sessions. In the Foreword, Tom Peters has this in mind when explaining why Kelley's is a marvelous book: "It carefully walks us through each stage of the IDEO innovation process -- from creating hot teams (IDEO is perpetually on 'boil') to learning to see through the customer's eyes (forget focus groups!) and brainstorming (trust me, nobody but nobody does it better) to rapid prototyping (and nobody, but nobody does it better...)." Whatever your current situation, whatever the size and nature of your organization, surely you and it need to avoid or escape from "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." Granted, you may never be involved in the creation of an "insanely great" product but Kelley can at least help you to gain "the true spirit of innovation" in your life. I join him in wishing you "some serious fun."

5-0 out of 5 stars This is the way I would run my company
This should be the first book you read when you get out of college. Much of what Tom Kelley says would probably make your boss turn away, going against many theorems taught in management classes.

But just maybe he is re-defining the perfect environments for the the ideas that change the way we interface.

5-0 out of 5 stars a handbook of innovation
It is a handbook for innovation, the book share the experience of IDEO, the methods and the work practice to generate new ideas and the process of turning ideas to product. The first one is observation, people many ignore this point or pay little attention on that point. Tom mentioned a point that, we should user-oriented. Observed people how actually use a product instead of only interview them. Because some of customers are lacking product knowledge they cannot express the difficulty of using the product, even they do not fully utilize the product, so you may only get limited insight from interviewing them only.
I know that many people know the term of Brainstorming, which is a method of ideas generation. However, how to have a good brainstorming is a difficult task.

The third process is making prototype. It helps to solve the problem in 3-D, and let you know the problem or mistake in early stage of the process.

The last insight is about the quality of the team members. They should broad in their skills and interests, deep in their knowledge and experience in one or more disciplines. All these could enhance the cross-pollination. All they should accept the divest within the team.

1-0 out of 5 stars Waste of time.
Reading this book is a waste of time. I know, It is tough to explain how someone can do innovating thinking etc. But this book does not help any. Read books on mindmapping instead. ... Read more


9. The Art of M&A: A Merger Acquisition Buyout Guide
by Stanley FosterReed, Stanley Foster Reed, Alexandra Reed Lajoux
list price: $125.00
our price: $78.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0070526605
Catlog: Book (1998-12-31)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 18373
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Art of M&A, Third Edition, is the leading answer book in today's fast-changing, enormously complex merger world. Written in a handy, easy-reference Q&A format, this no-nonsense handbook covers everything from the early stages of locating a suitable target--or finding that you are a target--through the postmerger trials of turning multiple companies into one.

Synopses of nearly three dozen landmark cases give real life insights into legal rulings from previous high profile mergers. Over the past decade, The Art of M&A has helped thousands of executives make sound decisions. Now, let it provide all the information you will need to buy or sell companies, whether public or private, domestic or foreign. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Reference Book
This is a fantastic reference tome for anyone involved with M&A. As a private equity Associate, I have found this book to be invaluable on multiple levels as both a reference guide for securities law, as well as for procedural issues such as sample formats for term sheets, DD check lists, etc.

Also, while it is a dense read, I think this would be invaluable for people just entering either Investment Banking or Private Equity to read as an introduction to the rules, regulations and procedures surrounding mergers/acquisitions.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Definitive Manual for M&A Transactions
If you only were allowed to have one book on this subject in your library, this is the one that you want. It gives good coverage to all of the important topics needed to evaluate, price and execute a transaction. The footnotes at the end of each chapter are an excellent reference. It also benefits from a very detailed index. The Q&A format of the text is a bit unusual for a work of this type, but is actually quite useful when browsing or quickly finding the key theme of each paragraph or section. It also contains a good selection of sample documents and checklists. Overall, it delivers a lot of high quality information the investment banking professional can really use.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes, this is a very focused topic, but it is a great book!
The very size of this book on such a specialized topic may seem daunting. However, the writing is so lively and the organization by question and answer is so easy to use that you will find this a very useful and comprehensive handbook.

It is NOT a theory laden textbook. Rather, it is a very useful and practical guide to the field and will help the careful reader avoid many pitfalls. There are many ways to make mistakes in buying companies and this book can open your eyes to quite of few of them. In fact, if you are the target of a buyout, this book can be of special importance and interest.

I admit to being fascinated by this topic so take that into consideration when evaluating what I say about this book. But even so, mergers and acquistions are so much in the news (for good and ill) that it can only help to get more background on what is really going on and how these deals are (or at least should be) put together.

The book reads MUCH shorter than its size and is fairly comprehensive on the subject - from the methods in selecting candidates for acquisition to what to do when you are a target of an acquisition to some very specialized topics. It also deals with M&A issues with both public, private, and even family firms.

Honestly, I am surprised at how glad I am that I bought this book. It is terrific.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Practical
I have been an M&A practitioner for twenty years and rarely have I found a book that is as readable and useable as this one. The author is able to synthesize difficult concepts and communicate them in a highly user friendly way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very thorough
Very detailed source for information on mergers, acquisitions and buyouts. The question and answer format is a great way to identify the information that you need. This book really is a handbook; I wouldn't encourage reading it cover to cover, but to use it as more of a reference book. The footnotes at the end of each chapter are useful to finding more in depth information, and the book gives a generous number of websites which you can consult. ... Read more


10. Shift : Inside Nissan's Historic Revival
by CARLOS GHOSN
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385512902
Catlog: Book (2004-12-28)
Publisher: Currency
Sales Rank: 10141
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Nissan's turnaround is very compelling story; this book isnt
Carlos Ghosn is the pragmatic global citizen who rose through the ranks at Michelin and Renault before taking on the enormous challenge of turning around Nissan Motors. The performance he engineered with his teams has been extraordinary, and is certainly a story worth telling. Unfortunately, this book doesn't do the job. Instead, read "Turnaround : How Carlos Ghosn Rescued Nissan" by David Magee.

I purchased "Shift" because it was billed as having "insight into the Japanese way of doing business." Unfortunately, it fell short of that, and most anything else.This slim (200p.) whisp of work reads like a magazine article whipped up after one or two interviews; not the product of the person who catalyzed the turnaround.

Pros: Ghosn starts the book by introducing us to his beginnings, his family, and business experiences. His global worldview and background certainly served him well when he moved to Japan to take on this enormous challenge. His Lebanese, Brazilian, French, Brazilian, American, and French experiences certainly set him up to assimilate/communicate well in Japan.

Cons: Where's the beef?The book includes no relating about what it took to make things happen, how he communicated and transformed the culture of this moribund giant.

Overall, reads more like a mag article by a third party than a business memoir.

3-0 out of 5 stars This book is not about Nissan's new products.
This is more of a story of how a guy from Lebanon, raised in Brazil and educated in France became a CEO.I was expecting more about how Nissan came up with the fantastic designs for the G35, the new Z and other cars.Ghosn does mention that he pulled the design team out from the control of the engineers, but that's it.

This is a must read for folks thinking of running a multinational company.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rags to riches
A must read for all CEOs.As the world gets smaller and smaller through globalization, internet and superfast communications, every manufacturer from your local shop to General Motors needs to serve the 6 billion customers.Carlos Ghosn did it with passion, integrity and style.The fact that he can change the mindset of the Japanese management is truly remarkable.He is a hero in Nissan, Japan and a true role model for all CEOs. The book will be better if he can include more about the future US expansion plan. Rick Wagoner, watch out, he is after your job!

... Read more


11. Pour Your Heart into It : How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time
by Howard Schultz
list price: $15.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786883561
Catlog: Book (1999-01-13)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 3372
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The success of Starbucks Coffee Company is one of the mostremarkable business stories in decades, growing from a single retailstore on Seattle's waterfront to a company with more than one thousandstores nationwide and a new one opening every business day. Starbucks haseffected a fundamental change in American life, turning coffee into anational obsession and establishing the coffee bar as a new fixture ofMain Street - a home away from home for millions of Americans. In PourYour Heart Into It, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, shares thepassion, values, and inspiration that drive the success of thisfascinating company. Schultz gives credit for the growth of Starbucks toa foundation of values seldom found in corporate America - values thatplace as much importance on the company's employees as they do onprofits, as much attention to creativity as to growth. Schultz tells thestory of Starbucks in chapters that illustrate the principles which havemade the company enduring, such as "Don't be threatened by people smarterthan you," "Compromise anything but your core values," "Seek to renewyourself even when you are hitting home runs," and, most simply,"Everything matters." For entrepreneurs, marketers, managers, andStarbucks' loyal customers, Pour Your Heart Into It gets to the heartof a company that, according to Fortune magazine, "has changedeverything...from our tastes to our language to the face of Main Street." ... Read more

Reviews (81)

4-0 out of 5 stars An insightful read - much better than the typical CEO tract
I was pleasantly surprised as that number of insights I picked up in Howard Schultz' tale. He and Dori Jones Yang really appeared to have connected in the writing of this book. There's an effortless flow in the telling that gives you a 'fly on the wall' insider's feel without getting bogged down in coffee arcania or management dribble.

Schultz walks you through some of the thought processes and actions that led to important advancements in Starbucks' success with their customers. And, he's not afraid to point out when he's been dead wrong. He's strong enough to admit being dead set against the Frappuccino & totally missing the boat on what ended up being a blowout product for the company.

One comment - it's hard for me to reconcile Schultz' recent fixation on the Internet, going so far as ruminating about buying Williams-Sonoma for its online potential, with the clear-headed thoughts expressed in this book. [Yes, let's see...I'll have a latte and this leather couch, thanks.] Throughout the book, Schultz shows a complete understanding of a company's need to please Wall Street via growing profits, and also is quite clear of having to evaluate each decision by asking "Will it strengthen or dilute the brand?"

5-0 out of 5 stars You will never look at Starbucks the same way again
This is one of the best business biographies I have ever read. It is truly inspiring. One simple, and telling, output from reading this book on a plane was that as soon as we landed I headed to the local airport Starbucks for a latte. I rarely even drink coffee! So powerful are the imagery and the passion for coffee in his story that you can almost smell the roasted dark beans, feel them running through your fingers, hear the sounds of the espresso machine and taste the coffee itself!

Why is this imagery so important? Because behind the corporate image of a relentless pac-man like machine churning out new locations at a rate slightly above the national birth rate it seems, is a simple vision of passion for coffee combined with Italian neighborhoods and a warm and friendly place where the worlds best coffee and social friendship intermix. That is what Starbucks was all about.

The book itself is a remarkable insight into this journey. It was even more special for me, as I grew up with Starbucks - literally. When Howard talks about the vision he had to treat even his part time employees with full benefits and ownership in the company through stock, I know it was more than just a nice sounding corporate manta, it really worked. Friends I went to high school with in Bellevue in the mid to late 1980's worked at the first stores, and raved about this little coffee company and couldn't imagine working anywhere else. So, from firsthand experience I can tell you that what he says about the passion and vision coming to life in Seattle is all true

While company history is quite interesting, and the book itself just hums and glides without ever getting mundane, the real gems are in the emotional reality Howard displays. He talks about being overwhelmed to tears, about the rejection he faced while trying to get funding for his fledgling company, about the naysayers and others who nearly took it all away, and the struggle with having a hand in everything and slowly letting go. You know that you are reading about a real person, someone who came from a poor neighborhood in Brooklyn with working-class roots, not an image generated by a large corporations PR spin doctors

The value of people, so often lost in corporate bureaucracy, is evident here. Starbucks grew because it struck an emotional chord with people. He knew that in order for the company to be successful he needed people who shared the values. This is often spoken of, and rarely practiced in the corporate world where systems, forecasts, processes and other such tools become the focal point, and the simple fact that all results come through people is lost. He speaks throughout the book of people who helped him, coached him, mentored him, challenged him, and made the company what it was. One quote in particular summarizes his views: "If people relate to the company they work for, if they form an emotional tie to it and buy into its dreams, they will pour their heart into making it better." (Page 6) This theme comes through in every decision.

Overall, this is a wonderful book, and is truly inspiring. I would work for him tomorrow, if it really still is the way it's portrayed here. I encourage you to read this book and see your neighborhood Starbucks in a new light.

1-0 out of 5 stars Try Working at Starbucks
This is an interesting read if looked at as a fictional account of business. As a frustrated Starbucks employee, there are many an urban legend about how great we are supposed to be treated. Howard should go to work as a barista in one of his own stores, have customers insult him, throw drinks back at him and do all of the cleaning chores expected of the people making him his millions. As for the "One Drink at a Time", I wish that were true. We are expected to whip out drinks within mere seconds of them being ordered. Don't believe all the gospel of Howard. It ain't all that he thinks it is cracked up to be.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read
OK. I don't read a lot of books. I am an entrepreneur. This book was great. I always liked starbucks coffee but now I have an in depth understanding of how truly amazing a company Starbucks is. You will not be dissappointed!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Book to Read for those who Wish to Develop Own Business
You can see from this book how Howard Schultz upheld his belief in good coffee quality from the begining. Also, he was so committed to bring in new experience to his customers which was a very important marketing strategy nowadays. The book is easy to read and has given the reader a lot of inspirations! ... Read more


12. COMPETITIVE STRATEGY : TECHNIQUES FOR ANALYZING INDUSTRIES AND COMPETITORS
by Michael E. Porter
list price: $37.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0029253608
Catlog: Book (1980-10-01)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 95591
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now nearing its 60th printing in English and translated into nineteen languages, Michael E. Porter's Competitive Strategy has transformed the theory, practice, and teaching of business strategy throughout the world. Electrifying in its simplicity -- like all great breakthroughs -- Porter's analysis of industries captures the complexity of industry competition in five underlying forces. Porter introduces one of the most powerful competitive tools yet developed: his three generic strategies -- lowest cost, differentiation, and focus -- which bring structure to the task of strategic positioning. He shows how competitive advantage can be defined in terms of relative cost and relative prices, thus linking it directly to profitability, and presents a whole new perspective on how profit is created and divided. In the almost two decades since publication, Porter's framework for predicting competitor behavior has transformed the way in which companies look at their rivals and has given rise to the new discipline of competitor assessment.

More than a million managers in both large and small companies, investment analysts, consultants, students, and scholars throughout the world have internalized Porter's ideas and applied them to assess industries, understand competitors,, and choose competitive positions. The ideas in the book address the underlying fundamentals of competition in a way that is independent of the specifics of the ways companies go about competing.

Competitive Strategy has filled a void in management thinking. It provides an enduring foundation and grounding point on which all subsequent work can be built. By bringing a disciplined structure to the question of how firms achieve superior profitability, Porter's rich frameworks and deep insights comprise a sophisticated view of competition unsurpassed in the last quarter-century. ... Read more

Reviews (28)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best ABC book about Business Strategy
This book is a classic! It's concepts will last forever...Sun Tzu would have written a very similar book, if he would have written about businesses. If you want to introduce yourself to business strategy and understand the broad picture, this is the book you must read. The book lets you understand competitive forces within an industry and the strategic steps a company can take to enhance its competitive position. It also describes the main caractheristics of nacent, mature, and declining insutries and available strategies for each case. Although it is a easy to read (but not light) and is very well structured, you must first be familiar with some economics and business administration concepts. You CAN'T talk or even have an opinion (sounds exagerating but it's true... it's the ABC, remember?) about strategy if you have not read this book. A MUST for business analyst, strategist, managers and directors... (I think this phrase appears on the book, but it's true).

I bought the spanish version, which is not very good. For spanish speakers....buy the english version if you can.

5-0 out of 5 stars Clasic for all time
As Adam Smith is to economics and capitalism, Porter is to business strategy within this market system.

This is THE seminal book for defining how businesses compete.

As technology fads and internet business models ("New economy") come and go, every company must still address the basics of competition as outlined within this book. The frameworks within the book outline:
-How to assess the competitive structure of your industry,
-Generic competitive strategies
-Competitor Analysis

-Effects of market signals on competitive behavior
-Competitive moves in response to your strategy
-Competitve strategy in a number of different market environments
-Impact of strategies such as Vertical integration, growth through new products, scale, and M&A
-... much more

You will use this book as a reference, and find it is timeless. It is no wonder the Mr. Porter is widely regarded as the preeminent strategist.

To put this in practice I recommend books on gaming theory.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book that should be referred to over and over again.
This is one of the foundation books of the modern business education. Yes, it was written over twenty years ago and you cannot take a business course anywhere without the term "Porter's Five Forces" not at least being mentioned. But, really, this book is still completely relevant and should be on every businessperson's bookshelf, front and center.

For a concept that has so much a place in b-school discussions, you might think the book focuses on the 5-forces, but it is only a small part of the book. It outlines the Generic Competitive Strategies (again, a now well known topic), Competitor Analysis (extremely valuable), Market Signals, Competitive Moves, and so much more.

The book is in three parts, General Analytical Techniques, Generic Industry Environments, and Strategic Decisions. There is an appendix on Portfolio Techniques in Competitor Analysis, and a very useful appendix on How to Conduct an Industry Analysis.

I think a lot of times this book is not given as active a place in the pantheon as it deserves because so many books and articles are recycling a lot of what was in this book and most don't add much to the discussion. Honestly, this book is worth referring to over and over and over again. It is a tool or a weapon in your competitive war chest that needs to be kept active and in play.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have for beginners
A must have. Porter provides students with a great place to start for understanding strategy. While you must know the basics in this book to understand the foundation of strategy,it will not provide you with a dynamic and cutting edge strategic framework that many of today's industries need.

5-0 out of 5 stars the bluest of the blue
Simply put, if you haven't read Competitive Strategy yet, you are unfit to talk about business strategy.

And only after reading it, are you fit to read the sequel, Competitive Advantage, which if you haven't read till now, makes you unfit to talk about business tactics.

These two books are the Old and New Testaments of business. ... Read more


13. Brand Sense : Build Powerful Brands through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound
by Martin Lindstrom
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743267842
Catlog: Book (2005-02-10)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 639304
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14. Getting Them to Give a Damn : How to Get Your Front Line to Care about Your Bottom Line
by Eric Chester
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1419504584
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Dearborn Trade, a Kaplan Professional Company
Sales Rank: 6136
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Much-Needed Book, Right on Target
If you are a business owner employing people between the ages of 16 and 24, buy, read, absorb, and apply this book. If you are a manager or supervisor in any kind of company where you are responsible for employees between the ages of 16 and 24, buy, read, absorb, and apply this book. If you are the confused parent of one or more children between the ages of 16 and 24, buy, read, absorb, and apply this book. If you are an educator of students between the ages of 16 and 24, buy, read, absorb, and apply this book. Are we communicating here?

OK, your first reaction is the profanity in the book title. Live with it! You will find the word a few places in the text, but it's there to make a point. Yes, the writing is punchy, direct, and pushes the envelope of your thinking. However, so do the attitudes and behavior of your young people. We older folks (let's say that term refers to all us gray beards over 35) need to wake up and smell the differences between today's young workers and their counterparts in previous generations. They are different, and must be managed differently. Learn how and succeed. Ignore the lessons of this book and continue to pour profits down the drain by recruiting, training, recruiting, training, recruiting, training, ad nauseum.

Eric Chester is respected as the leading authority on this age group, assuming that anyone can be an expert on kidployees. As a consultant and author in the workforce field, I'm very comfortable telling you that the man is right-on in his writing as he is in his speaking. He'll grab you at the beginning of the book and hold your attention with anecdotes (some from his own life) and lessons learned. In page after page, Chester presents knowledge, insight, techniques, and advice that-if heeded-can substantially strengthen a manager's effectiveness.

In the first of five well-organized sections of the book, you'll gain valuable perspectives about the 16-24 year olds (Generation Why), noting how and why they're different...and how the difference can be a powerful asset for your company. Subsequent sections address how to attract, keep, and connect with this important employee group. The last section offers important insight into some employers who get it right...why and how. An index supplements the text, enabling you to go back to particular sections for refresher readings.

You will be amazed at how much the author has packed into this comfortably-sized book.
After you're finished with your first reading, you'll probably be inspired to buy copies for other managers in your organization. Wait. I take that back. That inspiration will come to you before you've finished with the book. It hit me somewhere about half through the pages.

Warning: if your competitor uses this book and you do not, you are in big trouble!
... Read more


15. The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design
by Marty Neumeier
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0735713308
Catlog: Book (2003-01-24)
Publisher: New Riders Press
Sales Rank: 3852
Average Customer Review: 4.52 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Not since McLuhan's THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE has a book compressed so many ideas into so few pages. Using the visual language of the boardroom, Neumeier presents the first unified theory of branding -- a set of five disciplines to help companies bridge the gap between brand strategy and brand execution. Those with a grasp of branding will be inspired by what they find here, and those who would like to understand it better will suddenly "get it." This deceptively simple book offers everyone in the company access to "the most powerful business tool since the spreadsheet."

"Finally, a book that cuts to the heart of what brand is all about -- connecting the rational and the emotional, the theoretical and the practical, the logical and the magical to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Everyone in the company should read this book, not just the three people with 'brand' in their titles." --Susan Rockrise, Worldwide Creative Director, Intel

"A pleasure to read.THE BRAND GAP consistently provides deep, practical insights in a light, visual way. Discover the power of imagery and the role of research in building a heavy-duty brand -- without the heavy-duty reading." --David Aaker, Author of "Brand Leadership" and "Building Strong Brands"

"Neumeier stands out among brand-savvy professionals. His experience as a designer, writer, and strategist lends realism to his five disciplines of brand-building. Anyone who needs a deeper understanding of the creation, management, and evolution of brands should grab this book with both hands and start reading." --Patrick Fricke, Manager of Print and New Media Design, Kodak

"This is not just another book on brand. This is the only book you'll need to read in business, engineering, and design school." --Clement Mok, Design enterprenuer/President of AIGA

"THE BRAND GAP is an original. It describes the full range of creative interdependencies that need to be managed in concert, but in a language so plain, crisp, and simple that you suddenly 'see' the concept of brand--and can act boldly on it." --Peter Van Naarden, Director of Global Brand for Hewlett-Packard Co.

"THE BRAND GAP couldn't be more timely. Just when we're at our most skeptical about corporate motives, along comes a book that shows how to evaluate and develop a brand in a straightforward and honest manner." --David Stuart, Brand Designer and Co-Founder of The Partners, London

"This is an important work, with just the right level of accessibility. Despite our overexposure to brand theory these days, THE BRAND GAP is the first book that seems fresh and relevant." --Richard Grefe, Executive Director, The American Institute of Graphic Arts

"A well-managed brand is the lifeblood of any successful company--and Neumeier shows us exactly how to do it. Read this book before your competitors do!" --Tom Kelley, General Manager of Ideo/Author of "The Art of Innovation"

... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brand Gap - A most readable short course
I am completely enamoured with the style and content of Neumeier's new book and am recommending it to all of my clients! Having worked in the flavor and fragrance industry for my entire career I find this to be the perfect vehicle to explain one of the most powerful aspects of flavor and fragrance application in consumer products, packaging, and advertising - multi-dimensional and multi-sensory brand building! Neumeier's treatise is just too short not be read and enjoyed and applied to modern consumer product development and management! Trout and Ries; and now Neumeier to add meaning to it all! YEE haw!

5-0 out of 5 stars I'll join the club! Wonderful 5-star book!
I came upon The Brand Gap in a hurry through Atlanta Hartsfield on the way to catch a plane to Houston.

I read the entire book on that flight. Virtually every point and approach are applicable to my company (a leading publisher). Most of them will wind up in how we go about branding from now on.

Not since Theodore Levitt's Marketing Imagination turned my head completely around (1983) about what marketing is and does, have I encountered such a clear exposition of what is happening and what to do about it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Killer book
A good book is one that not only provides an interesting read, but gets you off the dime to DO something. Our company is large (40,000 employees)and we had ahuge gap between business and brand. After reading this book, my team and I re-org'd our company around the "superteam" model of brand building. Now we have cross-deparmental collaboration, plus a stable of small, best of breed external firms to give us some creative horsepower. The left brain's finally connected to the right brain, to quote Neumeier's phrase. We use the book to introduce new hires to the brand concept, then follow up with training on our own brand. This is the book that got us going. I recommend it to anyone who wants to incite change in their organization.

4-0 out of 5 stars Beyond Trout and Ries
The Brand Gap picks up where Trout and Ries leave off. It gets into areas that traditional marketing and positioning books fear to tread, namely the role of aesthetics in building brands. As a 30-year veteran of Madison Avenue, I've learned the hard way that it doesn't matter how great your strategy is---it's execution PLUS strategy that moves products. Neumeier is one of the first to recognize this simple but elusive truth. It's enough to give one hope for the future of the marketing business. For that matter, for the future of business. Period.

1-0 out of 5 stars The Brand Gap
For anyone in the business of branding, marketing or advertising, don't waste your money on this one. The book is nothing more than fluff, with no substance or insight. A definite zero. ... Read more


16. Follow this Path: How the World's Greatest Organizations Drive Growth by Unleashing Human Potential
by Curt Coffman, Gabriel Gonzalez-Molina
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0446530506
Catlog: Book (2002-10-08)
Publisher: Warner Business Books
Sales Rank: 33314
Average Customer Review: 4.71 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When it comes to getting ahead in business, The Gallup Organization has led the way with two landmark books: the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers First, Break all the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths. In its latest guide the world's hottest management consulting firm reveals your company's most valuable asset-and, with groundbreaking new findings and methods, shows you how developing that asset can lead to a quantum leap in cost efficiencies and profits.

FOLLOW THIS PATH

What do the world's greatest organizations have in common? They know that their most valuable resource is human-their employees and customers. And the best companies understand two important facts: people are emotional first and rational second, and because of that, employees and customers must be emotionally engaged in order for the organization to reach its full potential. Gallup research not only bears that out, but has uncovered the secrets of creating and managing an "emotional economy" that will provide boom possibilities for your company.

FOLLOW THIS PATH shows you how the traditional ways to engage people no longer apply in today's world. Instead, it offers a system it calls The Gallup Path, based on the proven, revolutionary strategies of the most successful businesses. You'll learn the prerequisites of an effective workplace, forge unbreakable bonds between employees and customers with the book's 34 Routes to Superior Performance, know the three crucial links that drive productivity and growth, discover the best employee and customer motivators, and much more.

Ignore the emotional economy-and miss out on financial performance. Helping you build relationships one customer and one employee at a time, this important book offers a unique new path for your organization to follow. All you have to do is value and develop human relationships all around you to transform your business-starting today. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars Emotional Engagement -that's the fuel for growth!
I work in a very competitive industry, where practically everything has been maximized -but the human factor, employees and profitable relationships with customers. This book has taught me that real and sustainable growth is attainable, without the accounting or false methods that plague companies today.

Great job, Gallup!

5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo, Curt and Gabriel!
There is a shortage of good managers all over the world. This is possibly the most tragic economic reality, since managers are a company's most valuable treasure. Thanks Curt and Gabriel -and Gallup! for showing us how to unlock our managerial ability and create the conditions that make our employees blossom and our customers to come back because the way our employees make them feel. I cherish the invaluable gift of your discoveries and most definitely your individual talent to show us how our companies can grow by unleashing human potential. Hey! This is the first time I see a blockbuster book co-written by a Hispanic! This is great!

5-0 out of 5 stars Manifesto for a Revolution
Review of "Follow This Path"

The central thesis of this valuable and highly readable work can be summed up in three words: Feelings drive actions.

This book from The Gallup Organization focuses on applying that briefest but most fundamental truth to business success. The authors' conclusion can be simply stated: The feelings of your employees influence the feelings of your customers, and that drives their buying behavior and your profits.

It works like this: Understand your employees so that they are assigned to do work for which they're really best suited at the deepest personal level ('cuz they'll do that work better than any other). And treat your employees in ways that encourage them to be fully engaged in their work ('cuz that gets you more loyalty and productivity at no extra cost). And then, in turn, your employees will treat your customers in a way that makes your customers feel good about your company ('cuz that leads them to spend more with your firm for a longer time). And, voila!, your company makes more money with less effort.

At this point you might feel compelled to release a loud exclamation of, "Well, duh!"

But hold on.

The premise of "Follow This Path" seems deceptively simple for two reasons:
1) It contrasts markedly with the "rational" model that still shapes most interactions with both employees and customers in most organizations; and
2) It stands in direct opposition to the assumptions underlying most business initiatives that are supposed to improve quality, productivity, or even customer satisfaction. Most, if not all, of those projects are aimed at mechanistically tweaking operational processes. And they don't positively affect the people on either side of the transaction: employees or customers. And so they have little to no effect on fundamentally improving the business. (But they sure do suck up a lot of time, create many distractions, and generate healthy fees for consultants.)

MORE THAN A REHASH
While tempting, it is misguided to characterize this book as a mere rehash of its predecessors from the Gallup Organization, "First, Break All the Rules" and "Now, Discover Your Strengths." Candidly, when first flipping through the book, "rehash" was my impression, too.

However, "Follow This Path" is a significant contribution in its own right. It integrates and extends Gallup's two previous works. This book's insights derive from an expanded data set supplied by Gallup's massive survey-based research, and the book also (as is all the rage in business tomes these days) draws on much of the historical and current research into the origins of behavior from both psychological and biological underpinnings. A smattering of readable anecdotes from real people help to bring the principles to life. (The end notes also are worth reading as the text there is written as a narrative and adds worthwhile insights. In addition, this work contains an appendix of what likely will strike most readers as mind-numbing statistical mumbo-jumbo, aimed, no doubt, at quieting critics who question the validity of the data underpinning Gallup's claims and conclusions.)

The effect is to validate sound, albeit somewhat non-traditional, perspectives on what really lies behind the elusive, mercantile holy grail of successfully competing in today's crazy, cut-throat marketplace.

THE UPSHOT
The good news is that these principles are easy to grasp and make intuitive sense (after reconsidering traditional biases).

The bad news is that for organizations to take advantage of these simple truths, they must unlearn much of what their managers "know" about how business works. The challenge is to move managers from the realm of the rational, definable, and controllable --- the hallmark characteristic of virtually every manager in virtually every corporation (perhaps with the exception of those strange and intrepid folks populating the marketing communications department).

The new reality: To compete effectively, managers must migrate to the still largely uncharted domain of the emotional, psychological, and personal in order to affect both employees and customers. In a gross understatement, this imperative represents a frighteningly major shift and no easy undertaking.

Making such a dramatic and fundamental change in both mindset and behaviors implies considerable adaptations at two levels: In the minds and hearts of individual managers, and in the policies and systems of their employing organizations.

All exaggeration aside, we're talking social revolution here. Undoubtedly, it will keep Gallup's consulting organization, and firms such as my own, very busy for many years to come.

But what if your boss or CEO is a Neanderthal and "doesn't get it"? Press on. Start with yourself and your very own work group. As the research from Gallup and many others makes clear, that's the only level at which real change actually occurs anyway.

Get the book and read it with a scientific mind, skeptical but open. Then get busy charting your own course through the new frontier of what Gallup aptly terms The Emotional Economy.

Chances are, you'll feel better...with rising productivity and profits...because customers feel better...because your employees feel better.

5-0 out of 5 stars I agree, it's a great book
I really didn't want to like this book. It just sounded too much like some new age, pop psychology dribble on how to feel good. I couldn't have been further from the truth. Although this isn't a great book, it is a very valuable book, not only for the businessman, but for leaders of nonprofits as well.

The premise of the book is simple. In an age where prices have been cut to razor thin margins, and businesses have become commodities, the only way to profitably survive is to unleash the human potential among your employees and customers. The authors ask this simple, but profound question: Why would a customer drive past your competition and pay a higher price to purchase your product? The answer: You have an emotionally engaged customer.

The authors demonstrate the world's greatest organizations connect with their customers on an emotional level. When this happens customers return because of the way they feel- they become emotional engaged. The businesses manta for the last century has been based on reason- if you build a better mousetrap, offer it at the lowest price, people will buy. Studies have shown that people are more driven by their emotions when it comes to purchase and repurchase than they are by reason. The same holds true for employees. The Gallop organization also has shown that emotionally engaged employees produce more, stay longer, have less accidents, etc.

Any problems? Maybe one. When hiring, the authors tell us again and again to commit to talent above education, experience, willingness to work hard, and the usual resume items. Inborn talent produces engaged employees; but what they did not address was the integrity issue. Jack Welch points out that the most dangerous employee is not the rude, insensitive, actively disengaged employee; but the one with the talent who does not hold to the values of the corporation. The actively disengaged employee will hurt the company, and yes, if you have enough of them they will destroy the company, but the real danger lies with talented, engaged employees who love their work but who do not hold to the company's values. These are the ones Welch would immediately get rid of.

All in all, it's a valuable book. For a pastor of a small church, or a midlevel manager, the Q-12 (Questions developed by the Gallop organization which identify the conditions of a great work space) are invaluable. By unleashing the human potential in staff, volunteers and members the leader of a nonprofit can build a great organization.

1-0 out of 5 stars Nothing New Here
If you are a leader in a company and need and/or don't know the principles in this book it is already too late. One of the tenets in the book is to "Match the skills of the workforce to jobs in the organization that match/require those skills!" WOW! There is a novel concept. They site all kinds of evidence as to why this works better than not matching the skills of employees to the right jobs! If you need more "eurekas" like that or your name is Ernest T. Bass/Jethro Bodine/Bobby Boucher by all means buy this book. This is nothing but poorly reformatted basic team building, leadership principles in to their supposedly new "path".

I am sorry I disagree with the majority of the reviewers here. I bought this book based on those reviews. Unfortunately we have a difference of opinion on the quality and worthiness of this book. This is my first review and I only supplied it because I would feel guilty if someone else bought this book thinking it is something it is not IMHO.

Too bad I bought the tape. The book would have at least generated some heat in the winter. ... Read more


17. The McKinsey Mind: Understanding and Implementing the Problem-Solving Tools and Management Techniques of the World's Top Strategic Consulting Firm
by Ethan M. Rasiel, Paul N. Friga
list price: $27.95
our price: $18.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071374299
Catlog: Book (2001-09-26)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 27282
Average Customer Review: 2.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The groundbreaking follow-up to the international bestseller­­a hands-on guide to putting McKinsey techniques to work in your organization

McKinsey & Company is the most respected and most secretive consulting firm in the world, and business readers just can't seem to get enough of all things McKinsey. Now, hot on the heels of his acclaimed international bestseller The McKinsey Way, Ethan Rasiel brings readers a powerful new guide to putting McKinsey concepts and skills into action­­The McKinsey Mind. While the first book used case studies and anecdotes from former and current McKinseyites to describe how "the firm" solves the thorniest business problems of their A-list clients, The McKinsey Mind goes a giant step further. It explains, step-by-step, how to use McKinsey tools, techniques and strategies to solve an array of core business problems and to make any business venture more successful.

Designed to work as a stand-alone guide or together with The McKinsey Way, The McKinsey Mind follows the same critically acclaimed style and format as its predecessor. In this book authors Rasiel and Friga expand upon the lessons found in The McKinsey Way with real-world examples, parables, and easy-to-do exercises designed to get readers up and running.

... Read more

Reviews (30)

2-0 out of 5 stars More of the same!
This book is more talk and no walk. The book itself does not detail anything new and is very similar to their previous book (The McKinsey Way). Infact the authors themselves (in the introductory section of the first chapter) mention that they cannot delve into McKinsey methodologies, but have gone on to describe methodologies that are _like_ the ones used at McKinsey.

If you have read the contents page, you have read the book (this may sound harsh, but its true). Also the book is brand leveraged and does not even talk about the McKinsey ways. All the authors do, is interview some ex McKinsey consultants and get high level opinions from them. Extremely superficial read.

Do yourself a favor - go get a quantitative business analysis book like:
1. Quantitative Business Analysis: Text and Cases by Bodily, et al
2. Quantitative Analysis for Management by Bonini, et al

- and you will have learnt much more than this book can offer. You can then realize what you learnt into daily decision making.

Not recommended. Save your money.

4-0 out of 5 stars Simple, easy to read and good learning
The book is easy to read, some of the lessons learned, good tips, and concepts worth the book. I enjoyed reading the book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Simple but easily forgettable concepts!
At the very beginning, I chose Mckinsey's Mind to read through because the company - Mckinsey&Co, impressed me. I expected to see the Mckinsey's excellent and miracle techniques in solving clients' problems. However, I saw not much real case examples of Mckinsey.

After I read through the book, I found that it is valuable for me. First, although the books did not mention much of the real problem solving case of Mckinsey, however, inside the book, many successful ex-Mckinsey staff now becoming top manager or even CEO share their experiences and appreciations from Mckinsey&Co. From their sharing in the book, I gained many learning insights from them even though some of them are simple logic but I think these may be easily forgotten or missed.

Besides, the main tool that the authors want to share is the problem solving process emphasizing on analyzing, presenting and managing. I think it is a basic principle, however, with the support and illustration of the alumni of Mckinsey, it was more convincing and easy to follow. The learning insights I got from Mckinsey Mind is be structured and logical. Also, the MECE concept is an underlying principle which business people always missed. Moreover, the concept of the problem is not always the problem is really insightful to me; it can be also extended to client problem may not be a real problem.

I recommend business students to have a look in the Mckinsey Mind. Because the concepts and contents inside are simple but is easily to be remembered. And it acts as a reminder to students in logical thinking process in dealing with variety of problems.

Actually, my feeling towards the Mckinsey Mind is that the ideas inside are simple but essential. I look forward to seeing the next edition of this book with other Mckinsey alumni to share Mckinsey recently.

2-0 out of 5 stars Skip the Way, go for the Mind.
Although I'd agree that for the most part, the two books are the same, the McKinsey Mind does address one important point- that of framing a process of Hypothesis Testing & Validation (actually taking you through some of the basic steps). The approach of breaking down an issue into subissues I found rather useful as it does help in sorting ideas and in creating a structured framework from which to attack a problem. Unfortunately, THAT is one of the only things about this book that I found somewhat useful. If you really want to see it for yourself, go to the bookstore and sift through the pages on hypothesis testing. Invest your money in actual consulting case studies books, as they will be of greater help.

1-0 out of 5 stars Skip McK Mind, Go for McK Way
For MBAs or others interested in getting a peek inside McKinsey & Company, just read Rasiels previous book, the McKinsey Way. With some experience working as an Associate (consultant) in New York office, he is eloquent in pointing out the basic consulting skills and some nice-to-have insights into how McKinseyites work. Actually I would recommend Pyramid Principles by Barbara Minto for any MBA student trying to understand how McKinsey consultants think and reason (it will help you in job interviews too), though it is not very reader-friendly and may take you quite some work to understand it.

I agree with a previous reviewer that there are no additional insights on how McKinsey works. I would say Rasiel tried but failed miserably. Like a two-year GE manager trying to describe how Welsh ran GE, Rasiel bit off more than he could chew by trying fathom how McKinsey partners or senior people work and run the firm. 60% of his comments are totally wrong and the worst thing is it would be difficult for outsiders to tell which is right from wrong. Rasiel also tried to stay very high-level and common sensical which basically made most of the book useless.

Skip this one. Dont waste your time and money. ... Read more


18. Applied Strategic Planning: How to Develop a Plan That Really Works
by LeonardGoodstein, TimothyNolan, J. William Pfeiffer
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0070240205
Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 18549
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Written by three top consultants and trainers, Applied Strategic Planning shows managers and CEOs a clear, totally effective way to identify and implement strategic objectives.

Applied Strategic Planning surpasses other strategic planning models in many key areas, including:

  • Emphasis on organizational culture
  • Integration of business and functional plans
  • Performance audits
  • Gap analysis
  • Values clarification

Goodstein, Nolan, and Pfeiffer take managers through all phases of the strategic planning process, including:

  • How to determine if an organization is ready for strategic planing
  • Effectively communicate a corporate vision
  • Recognize the role of culture in changing strategic direction
  • Understand the various roles of a consultant
  • Write effective mission statements
  • Create contingency plans

Containing charts, diagrams, and checklists along with illuminating examples from the authors, extensive consulting experience, and even cartoons that convey important points, Applied Strategic Planning lets managers at the helm navigate expertly through today's unpredictable business climate.

... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good, plus...
This is a very good book. In addition to this, I recommend "Strategic Organizational Change" by Michael Beitler.

4-0 out of 5 stars A sea of knowledge, one centimeter deep
This book widely specifies WHAT to do in strategic planning but it hardly explains HOW to do it. What I expect when reading this kind of topics is not the concept but rather the application procedures and practical techniques for implementing those concepts in an effective and innovative way. In consequence, I found this book repetitive and non productive for planning specialists. However it may serve a lot to beginners and students.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very useful and comprehensive book
I loved the organization of this book. It's like you are the CEO and are really organizing a new business from the scratch. The author uses a structured approach of applying strategic planning that makes a complex subject like this extremely simple to understand.

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative and highly useful for leaders and consultants.
Provides an understanding of effective strategic planning processes. Offers a model for planning, with chapters devoted to each phase. Topics covered include: envisioning, culture, roles of the consultant, environmental monitoring, values scan, mission formulation, strategic business modeling, performance audit, gap analysis, integrating action plans, contingency planning, and implementation. This work is informative and highly useful for leaders and consultants.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "MUST HAVE" for anyone involved in strategic planning
The introduction gives very good overall review of the content. Each chapter gives excellent details to the components of the strategic planning process. Well worth the purchase price. ... Read more


19. The Qualcomm Equation: How a Fledgling Telecom Company Forged a New Path to Big Profits and Market
by Dave Mock
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0814408184
Catlog: Book (2005-02-28)
Publisher: American Management Association
Sales Rank: 11714
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Featuring a foreword by George GilderThe Qualcomm Equation provides readers with a fascinating inside look at how a small company stormed the burgeoning wireless industry and grew into a global multibillion-dollar powerhouse in less than a decade. This book examines how Qualcomm became so successful, chronicling the early history of the company, then provides an in-depth analysis of Qualcomm's business model. Through this eye-opening, real-life case study, readers will learn:* how the company pioneered and commercialized a new technology in record time...and made it an industry standard* how Qualcomm's revolutionary business model relied on licensing this technology * key business strategies that enabled Qualcomm to leapfrog the competition* how companies can encourage and use innovation to dominate their marketsIn addition to describing the development of the wireless industry over the last few decades, The Qualcomm Equation is a riveting look at a one-of-a-kind company. ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Story of how the Telecom Industry was Revolutionized
Dave Mock did an excellent job of giving a good, accurate telling story of how a small start-up company in San Diego revolutionized the telecom industry.The book does not talk so much about the company, the technology, or the business model that made it successful, but rather describes in more narrative manner of the story behind the scenes, its history dating back from decades ago.The book describes in details the numerous technical and business challenges that Qualcomm encountered during the early stages of the endeavor and how the company managed to overcome these obstacles.

Although Qualcomm's story is about how CDMA came about, the book is suitable for both the technical and non-technical audiences as it circumspect more about the entrepreneurship side and what made it work for a group of renowned academic individuals in becoming businessmen.The book is suitable for readers in the wireless industry as well as entrepreneurs trying to look for key ingredients in starting a successful company.

4-0 out of 5 stars An important work on IS-95
In The Qualcomm Equation Dave Mock does an excellent job of reporting the company's technological and financial history. The first half of the book,"The Radical Technology Solution", interweaves different story lines as well as Brooks did when he presented AT&T's complicated history in Telephone. Mock handles well the difficult job of keeping a cogent narrative flowing while discussing different elements: the founders, their funding, the competition, and the technology itself.

As with Brooks, Mock is not an employee of the company he writes about, nor is this a corporate sponsored biography. Still, having been granted special access to Qualcomm people and papers, he seems at times too favorable to Qualcomm, jeopardizing the validity of conclusions he draws. Never-the-less, the factual reporting he presents is quite strong; there is information here on CDMA development in mobile telephony not found anywhere else.

Part Two: The Intellectual Property Business, explores how IP promotion and control helped Qualcomm become a worldwide company. It's fascinating, to a degree, but I am a technology historian, not a business manager. I feel unable to comment on Part Two's validity but it is obviously well researched.

Gripes? A bizarre Foreword from George Gilder. You'll see :-) And a one-sided approach to covering Qualcomm which is perhaps a structural problem; this book wasn't meant to be a comparative history or to tell the story of another company. Q's decision to withhold payment to Korea's ETRI, later overturned in arbitration to the cost of $80 million, for example, could be viewed as a smart decision by Q to save their stockholders money, or a robber-baron like action intent on defrauding a group that had a legitimate right tobe paid. A reader of this book can't tell because we don't have ETRI's position. Nor Qualcomm's legal department. The success of Qualcomm may indeed be based on all the positive things Mock tells us, but it also could be founded, in part, on aggressive lawyers and a bankroll big enough to buy out or shut down competition when threatened.

Positives? An excellent index. Nice, bright paper. A good bibliography and a detailed time-line. 231 pages of good information. Most important, the arrival of Dave Mock as a first class technology historian.

While the history of TDMA based GSM and IS-54/IS-136 is documented in hardcopy and on the web, CDMA based IS-95 has not been covered well until now. This book should be considered an essential title for anyone working in or investigating cellular radio.

4-0 out of 5 stars If you want to know how Qualcomm became Qualcomm, this is it
Qualcomm is the Microsoft of the telecoms industry, for better and for worse. You either love the company or you hate the company; I'm leaning toward the latter, so please keep this in mind.

First, you have to give the company credit for getting to where it is today. Dave Mock does an excellent and meticulous job of documenting Qualcomm's against-all-odds rise to the top of the telecoms industry. I did not realize the degree to which Qualcomm relied on government business in the early days and also did not realize just how close the company came to missing the cellular boat completely. Back when Europe set in place one standard and many in the US wanted to follow suit, Qualcomm stuck to its guns.

And I think that the US is better off for it.

By and large, the mixed-standards "mess" that we have in the US has turned out to be a pretty good thing. Because of competing standards, we have EV-DO, which is a much-faster technology than single-standard Europe has to offer. Competing technologies keeps everyone on their toes, and Qualcomm has certainly kept the GPRS vendors on their toes. Dave Mock does a great job of documenting this drama and making sense of the very complex technical standards and jargon.

Mock is perhaps too kind to Qualcomm, particularly in the latter years, as the vendor transforms from David to Goliath. For example, the company has been in an all-out war with Wi-Fi and WiMAX over the past three years, and it is only recently that we now see the company starting to co-opt some of the same technology underlying WiMAX. Qualcomm recently ditched its much-hyped EVDV technology when it became brutally apparent that carriers want IP and big pipes, something WiMAX was designed to address from the ground up. I find Qualcomm to be a little lost these days, as if it is searching for another big bully to take on again; the trouble is, Qualcomm is now the big bully and it's taking on the types of innovators that it once was.

That said, anyone in the telecoms industry who wants to know how Qualcomm got to be Qualcomm should read this book. ... Read more


20. Food for Thought: How the Creator of Fuddrucker's, Romano's Macroni Grill, and eatZi's Builta a $10 Billion Empire One Concept at a Time
by Phil Romano
list price: $22.00
our price: $14.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1419500082
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Dearborn Trade, a Kaplan Professional Company
Sales Rank: 43195
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Incredible Life Story of the World’s Most Successful Restaurateur Will Whet Your Appetite for Inspiration and Success

Known as “the Steven Spielberg of the restaurant industry,” Phil Romano has achieved a higher rate of success than any other restaurateur in history. During the past 40 years, he has launched more than 25 dining concepts and amassed a restaurant empire valued in excess of $10 billion.

More than 10 million customers a year in 48 states and 8 foreign countries visit a Phil Romano eatery, no doubt many back for seconds. In Food for Thought: How the Creator of Fuddrucker’s, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and eatZi’s Built a $10 Billion Empire One Concept at a Time, Romano shares his recipe for success.

From dreaming up an original concept all the way to reaping a jaw-dropping return on investment, Romano reveals the distinctive process and “operational-integrity creed” he follows to create a winning eatery, including:

•How to achieve the entrepreneurial mindset and recognize opportunity when it crosses your path •“Service is primary.Profit is secondary” •Getting out of the “dining business” and into the “eating business” •How to recognize a great idea in a world of mediocre ones •Utilizing a network approach to management; i.e. “Nobody works for me, they work with me” •“Difference and points of difference are what makes success, not just brilliance”Written with candor and spiced with humor, Food for Thought provides a fascinating look at the hits and misses of Romano’s remarkable career.Whether you’re a novice entrepreneur or seasoned pro, it’s sure to help you cook up your own ideas and strategies for success in any industry. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great story, some real inspiration & business sense
I love reading about the creativity behind the business. I admire someone who has the courage to follow through on his inspiration. Phil Romano did it over and over again. I do believe that he puts service before profit -- the proof is in the restaurants themselves. This book makes me curious about the ones I haven't tried yet, and I'm waiting for what's next.

I even culled some business tips -- some rules to live by. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for some inspiration, a good story, and some sound business moves.

5-0 out of 5 stars great business book
I just recently read WINNING by Jack Welch and I have to tell you that book is just a good. It is a real quick read and there was so much great info from front to cover.And, it is actually quite funny.

I reccommend this book as a great summer read. ... Read more


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