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Monday, January 31, 2011

 

Artistry Unleashed by Hilary Austen - Book review



Artistry Unleashed

A Guide to Pursuing Great Performance in Work and Life


By: Hilary Austen

Published: October 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 232 pages
ISBN-10: 1442641304
ISBN-13: 978-1442641303
Publisher: University of Toronto Press (Rotman/UTP)





"Even as we develop ever more powerful analytical tools, even as our deductive capacities increase, still the smartest among us crash headlong into new and recurring problems that we haven't yet learned to solve", writes adjunct professor and member of the dean’s advisory board of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Hilary Austen, in her revolutionary and landmark book Artistry Unleashed: A Guide to Pursuing Great Performance in Work and Life. The author describes how discovering solutions to the most pressing business and societal problems doesn't lie in using new analytical tools, but in a profoundly different approach to problem solving.

Hilary Austen challenges people to step outside of their established realms to seek guides and solutions in other fields and endeavors. The author presents the alternative concept, that the best guides to solving a problem in any given area, are often found in a seemingly unrelated field. This counter-intuitive line of thinking compels the individual to move well beyond the safety of what is known, and into the world of the unknown. This movement beyond the boundary of comfort and familiarity forces a fresh understanding of the problem at hand. With this transition from examining a problem through the familiar lens, and toward a outside view, new ideas can appear as a result of thid disruption of conventional thought.



Hilary Austen (photo left) suggests the radical approach of looking to artists as guides for solution seeking business executives. This bold reasoning is based on pushing the business person beyond the edge of the comfort zone. The concept is also logical in that the conventional problem solving tools and techniques have failed the executive. Traditional tools may even be able to solve part of the problem. They are limited in their ability to find solutions to the entire problem. This is the gray area where the need to make the transformation from conventional tools and strategies becomes clear. Instead of a proposed solution being exclusively this or that option, the moving past the edge of comfort approach provides for fusion of ideas. It also allows for surprise and fresh insights through deliberate ambiguity. The artistry method breaks down the societal and internal human barriers that prevent creative thinking, even if unconsciously. The removal of these barriers frees the individual to consider what may have been considered unthinkable in the past.

For me, the power of the book is how Hilary Austen presents both a theoretical basis for achieving excellence and solving problems without sacrificing creativity. At the same time, the author shares actionable techniques and strategies for utilizing the arts as a guide for creative thinking. The concept of moving well past a person's own self imposed barriers, and entering into the often frightening but always enlightening area of the unknown, is offered as a key to opening the mind. Free from the artificial walls created by society, or one's own brain wiring, the power of the inner artist can be brought to the surface. Combined with guides from the artistic community, the scope for dynamic new thought is enlarged exponentially.

Hilary Austen employs the example of standardized testing, and the false trail of finding the one right answer, as being stifling to creative thinking. The conventional wisdom, often seen in workplaces as low wages and enforced best practices, is failing in innovation and creative thought. Attempts to simplify major problems doesn't make them easier to solve. Indeed, this false trail makes the solution more elusive than ever. The executive, enclosed in the conventional box, is faced with limited and ineffective options. Hilary Austen recognizes that the conventional approach is a dead end, and offers the radical artistic idea as a superior and more fruitful alternative. She makes her case well, and bolsters it with real world examples of success rooted in a wide range of unexpected and often unlikely fields. The very critical elements of surprise, removal of barriers, and open thinking are the key to solving the most intractable of problems.

I highly recommend the brilliant and seminal book Artistry Unleashed: A Guide to Pursuing Great Performance in Work and Life by Hilary Austen, to anyone serious about solving problems in new and exciting ways. The author shares a very different, and highly effective process for going beyond the edges of the known world, and discovering real solutions to overcoming even the most difficult obstacles.

Read the destined to become classic book Artistry Unleashed: A Guide to Pursuing Great Performance in Work and Life by Hilary Austen, and change your mode of thinking from the mainstream to the arts dream. The book is highly original, and the concepts presented are very unorthodox. That unfamiliarity is why the ideas work so well.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

 

Innovation Gains Momentum as a Guiding Principle

Innovation and America ’s need to "win the future" were major themes of President Obama’s State of The Union address this past Thursday. President Obama suggested that America could “out-innovate” the rest of the world by increasing U.S. investment in research and development. But, what exactly does that mean? How far along are Americans in the “ideas race” already, and how much further does the United States need to go?

In response to the State of the Union address, Ideas Economy, as part of the prestigious The Economist has created a unique and quirky video that combines charts and graphs to add important context to President Obama's speech.

You can view the video at the site



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Saturday, January 29, 2011

 

The 1% Solution by Tom Connellan - Book review


The 1% Solution for Work and Life

How to Make Your Next 30 Days the Best Ever


By: Tom Connellan

Published: December 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 138 pages
ISBN-10: 0976950626
ISBN-13: 978-0976950622
Publisher: Peak Performance Press








"When you average it out,the difference between exceptional and exceptionally exceptional is one percent", writes keynote speaker Tom Connellan in his enjoyable and inspirational book The 1% Solution for Work and Life: How to Make Your Next 30 Days the Best Ever. The author presents an engaging business parable that describes how the greatest performers in any field are only 1% better than the rest.

Tom Connellan shares the often forgotten wisdom that becoming the truly elite participant in any endeavor doesn't require a person to be many times more effective than their competition. That 1% improvement in performance doesn't require a doubling of effort, but simply becoming 1% better at many different aspects of your life and work. As an example, Tom Connellan points out that the difference in performance between winning an Olympic gold medal, and receiving no medal at all, is that 1% difference. To achieve that 1% boost in performance, that sets the top performers apart from the field, the author recommends doing things better today than they were done yesterday. Instead of spending time with getting motivated, Tom Connellan offers the timeless concept of just doing something, which generates its own motivation to do even more.



Tom Connellan (photo left) understands that the most critical aspect of achieving peak performance is to always take some form of action. Even small amounts of action, that may even appear insignificant, can leverage themselves into very large accomplishments. The well known 80/20 rule works in favor of the person who does something, instead of making the choice to do nothing. Tom Connellan recommends the principle of deliberate practice. By practicing in this manner, everyone will become much better at what they do and achieve. The key is to practice, assess the the performance, and get feedback on the level of performance. The author reminds people to only compare their performance to their own level, and to seek to always reach a new personal best. Instead of going full out, which Tom Connellan considers to be counterproductive, he suggests working in bursts punctuated with rest periods. He suggests that everyone discover their own natural rhythm to achieve even greater productivity.

For me, the power of the book is in its simplicity. Tom Connellan provides his timeless wisdom through a pleasant business fable, where the reader can identify with the characters. As the story unfolds, the principle of small constant change and improvement is made clear to the reader. The idea that tiny incremental increases in performance add up to peak performance in the field becomes an all encompassing theme of the story. The reader follows the narrative, and learns how to find that 1% solution along with the protagonist. The overall blending of ideas into a business fable is a very effective vehicle for sharing the author's premises about enhancing performance levels.

The chapters are laid out in a logical format, and the fable follows each concept through an entire chapter. Along the way, the author inserts practical and actionable techniques for leveraging small improvements in performance. At the same time, Tom Connellan describes the principle of deliberate practice in an easy to understand way. With the story line to illustrate the concept, the reader becomes aware of the value of deliberate practice, and of the techniques required to use it effectively. At the same time, Tom Connellan recognizes that all people are individuals, with their own personal goals and requirements. As a result, the readers are encouraged to establish their own personal times of activity and of rest. The end result is that crucial 1% boost in performance that makes a world of difference.

I highly recommend the delightful and idea packed book The 1% Solution for Work and Life: How to Make Your Next 30 Days the Best Ever by Tom Connellan, to anyone who is serious about boosting their personal level of performance. The fun and brisk storyline provides an excellent backdrop for the compelling and performance boosting ideas.

Read the delightful and wisdom filled book The 1% Solution for Work and Life: How to Make Your Next 30 Days the Best Ever by Tom Connellan, and put small improvements in your performance to work for you. That 1% increase in productivity can mean the difference between the gold medal in your field, and being just another also ran.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

 

Marketing by the Numbers by Leland Harden & Bob Heyman - Book review


Marketing by the Numbers

How to Measure and Improve the ROI of Any Campaign


By: Leland Harden, Bob Heyman

Published: January 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN: 9780814416204
Publisher: AMACOM







"Computers have made practically everything measurable. Yet, their ubiquity is quite likely to make a marketing manager quite miserable", write Vice President of Global Marketing for Usee, Inc., Leland Harden, and Senior Partner at Digital Automat, Bob Heyman, in their practical and results oriented book Marketing by the Numbers: How to Measure and Improve the ROI of Any Campaign. The authors describe advanced techniques and tools to measure the return on investment of any online and multiple media marketing campaign.



Leland Harden (photo left) and Bob Heyman understand that using the right analytical metrics to forecast the success of any marketing campaign presents a real challenge for any marketing manager. Faced with having to justify a marketing budget, for both online and offline expenditures, the need for the right measuring tools and methods has never been more critical. Gone are the days when spending on internet marketing could be accepted without the numbers to back up the spending. Simple and crude measurements like clicks and page hits are no longer sufficient in a more cost conscious world. While the internet may be driving traditional media, the need for useful and reliable metrics has become paramount for online business success. The authors point to the best practices and measurement tools that are essential for establishing budgets within the organization, and for remaining competitive in an increasingly difficult and crowded marketplace.



Bob Heyman (photo left) and Leland Harden recognize that in finance, ROI is utilized as a predictive tool. While traditional ROI for traditional media has long held a predictive role, the return on investment for internet expenditures has received attention only recently. Web advertising, as well as the company website, are very often seen as lead generation vehicles. As a result, they must produce quantifiable results. The authors provide the tools to measure the effectiveness of a website at achieving its goals. Even more important, the book contains the best metrics for drilling deeply into the numbers. Measuring the audience in an online world is as crucial as in traditional media. The authors share the methods and tools for calculating the net benefit of internet based marketing, ranging from the main company website to the use of social media. Overall, the authors provide a complete system for uncovering the right metrics, and for applying those results most effectively.

For me, the power of the book is how Leland Harden and Bob Heyman demonstrate not only the means of measuring marketing ROI, but how to utilize the numbers in the most profitable way. The authors combine the theory of return on marketing investment with the practical tools and methodology needed to calculate its effectiveness. The holistic approach taken in the book transforms the topic, from one of being simply a theoretical discussion of ROI, to a useful manual for any marketing manager. the practical side of the book is bolstered by the theory to help guide the marketing manager as to why the numbers are vital to success. The authors provide a framework for not only integrating online and offline marketing efforts, but also for aligning them with the overall company goals and business plan.

The authors recognize that today's marketing managers are very often inundated with a deluge of numbers, ranging from the valuable to the superfluous. This book helps the marketer to sort the useful data into meaningful forecasts of business potential and profitability. Along with the techniques for discovering the best and most useful metrics, the authors share their ideas for transforming the measurements into actionable recommendations for current and future marketing expenditures. The ability to integrate both online and offline marketing programs, and to measure their effectiveness is a key takeaway from the book. At the same time, the ability to communicate the data to C-level executives becomes both easier and more likely to be positive, with the data information gleaned through the book's recommendations. Overall, this is a very valuable guide for any marketing manager.

I highly recommend the very useful and essential book Marketing by the Numbers: How to Measure and Improve the ROI of Any Campaign by Leland Harden and Bob Heyman, to any marketing managers who are serious about determining the return on investment from their marketing and advertising expenditures. The techniques, checklists, and case study illustrations make this a book a must have road map for assessing ROI in marketing.

Read the very accessible and problem solving book Marketing by the Numbers: How to Measure and Improve the ROI of Any Campaign by Bob Heyman and Leland Harden, and remove the mystery from your calculations of your marketing return on investment. Instead of guesswork, and sorting through stacks of irrelevant information, this book will steer your efforts toward the right metrics that predict your real marketing ROI.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

 

Stefan Swanepoel: Surviving Your Serengeti - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Successful business person, widely traveled public speaker, visionary real estate trend watcher, and author of the fascinating and perceptive business parable Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life, Stefan Swanepoel, describes the unique and effective survival strategies used by the animals on Africa's harsh Serengeti. The one thousand mile wildebeest migration provides a powerful metaphor for survival in the corporate world. Each of the species utilizes a highly specialized, and very effective survival strategy. Stefan identifies seven unique techniques, and the wildlife species that use them well, Failure on the Serengeti means starvation or death. The skills learned from the animals can be transferred directly, based on human business personalities, into the twenty-first century business environment. Learn how to master these widely diverse strategies in your own life.

Stefan Swanepoel is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, January 27, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Successful business person, widely traveled public speaker, visionary real estate trend watcher, and author of the fascinating and perceptive business parable Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life, Stefan Swanepoel, describes the unique and effective survival strategies used by the animals on Africa's harsh Serengeti. You will learn:

* The seven survival strategies used by animals on the Serengeti

* Why these survival skills are important for business people to understand

* How to discover your own parallel skill to a Serengeti animal

* How to overcome obstacles in business and your personal life



Stefan Swanepoel's (photo left) life has been a “Serengeti journey”—from his birth in Kenya to schooling in Hong Kong and South Africa eventually, running a New York-based global franchise network with 25,000 sales associates in 30 countries. In all he has served as president of seven companies and two non-profit organizations.

Now for the first time he has combined his love of wildlife and nature, his ability to captivate audiences, and his comprehensive life experience into a captivating message in a major trade book. In Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life, he vividly portrays how this larger-than-life metaphor can provide guidance and inspiration for individuals and companies in today’s fast, busy and complex world.

Stefan has authored 19 books and reports on business trends, real estate and social media. He lives with his wife and two sons in California.

My book review of Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life by Stefan Swanepoel.

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with successful business person, widely traveled public speaker, visionary real estate trend watcher, and author of the fascinating and perceptive business parable Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life, Stefan Swanepoel, as he describes the unique and effective survival strategies used by the animals on Africa's harsh Serengeti. The one thousand mile wildebeest migration provides a powerful metaphor for survival in the corporate world. Each of the species utilizes a highly specialized, and very effective survival strategy. Stefan identifies seven unique techniques, and the wildlife species that use them well, Failure on the Serengeti means starvation or death. The skills learned from the animals can be transferred directly, based on human business personalities, into the twenty-first century business environment. Learn how to master these widely diverse strategies in your own life on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

 

Surviving Your Serengeti by Stefan Swanepoel - Book review




Surviving Your Serengeti

7 Skills to Master Business and Life


By: Stefan Swanepoel

Published: March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 192 pages
ISBN-10: 0470947802
ISBN-13: 978-0470947807
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons












"The obstacles that those who live and die on the Serengeti face are, in many ways, no different than the challenges we face at the office or at home every day", writes successful business person, widely traveled public speaker, and visionary real estate trend watcher Stefan Swanepoel, in his fascinating and perceptive business parable Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life. The author shares the personal journey toward self discovery of corporate executive Sean Spencer, as he embarks upon a three day safari in Africa's Serengeti plain.

Stefan Swanepoel describes how Sean Spencer, cut off from the usual trappings and intense communications that characterize twenty-first century business, begins to examine the world in entirely new ways. Far from the day to day worries of the office, and the concerns of his life back home, Sean becomes engrossed in the lives of the amazing animals who call the Serengeti their home. The author shows us how Sean begins to recognize the different traits and strategies employed by each animal, as they live their lives in a constant struggle to survive. Told with all of the harshness and the life and death challenges of the thousand mile wildebeest migration intact, the author presents the animals in their daily lives of predator and prey. The insights gleaned by Sean Spencer, in his African sojourn, provide him with a more clear understanding of the skills necessary for finding business success, and for achieving a richer personal life.



Stefan Swanepoel (photo left) has lived among the animals of Africa, and has returned to the vast and harsh Serengeti, and recognizes the strategies utilized by each species to survive in that unforgiving land. The author shares these concepts through the experiences of the corporate executive, as he becomes more aware of the world around him, and that within himself. The insights gleaned by Sean Spencer, in his African sojourn, provide him with a more clear understanding of the skills necessary for finding business success, and for achieving a richer personal life. The various animal survival strategies include:

* The strategic Lion
* The enterprising Crocodile
* The efficient Cheetah
* The enduring Wildebeest
* The risk taking Mongoose
* The communicating Elephant
* The graceful Giraffe

These survival traits are proven and effective in one of the harshest of environments on Earth. The author provides them as models for achieving more success and fulfillment in business and in life.

For me, the power of the book is how Stefan Swanepoel puts his wide knowledge of the animals of the Serengeti to good use as models of various survival strategies. Each species of animal has different characteristics, they also utilize different means of overcoming the life and death challenges of their inhospitable land. Each strategy is different, but is highly effective for survival. Their different techniques of hunting or of avoiding becoming prey form a powerful metaphor for life in the modern world. Just as their is a wide variety of animals in Africa, so too is there a range of personalities in the world of business. Each individual must discover the strategy that works best for survival and success in the corporate Serengeti. The same tactics that work for the strategic lion are not well suited to the graceful giraffe. Different people require their own personal strategies as well.

Stefan Swanepoel's concept of describing the Serengeti survival strategies in the form of a business parable gives the book an immediacy and an instant connection with the reader. The animals of Africa, and their lives in very difficult conditions, might not be the most obvious parallel to the twenty-first century business environment. As a result, the business fable approach transforms the animals into potent and effective metaphors for business strategies. The eye opening experiences of protagonist Sean Spencer, and his journey of self discovery, reflects the need of everyone to uncover their own personal journey. With the various wildlife strategies in place, the reader is able to discern their own personal tactics for their own wildebeest migratory trek.

I highly recommend the unique and inspirational book Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life by Stefan Swanepoel, to anyone seeking a profound and enjoyable guide to overcoming both business and personal obstacles. While the corporate world may not contain literal lions, cheetahs, elephants, or crocodiles, their human counterparts are very much a part of that business landscape.

Read the enjoyable and intriguing book Surviving Your Serengeti: 7 Skills to Master Business and Life by Stefan Swanepoel, and discover your own inner animal traits and strategies. While you might not ever live out the survival drama of the |Serengeti, the concepts in this book will hone your survival skills for the challenges of the corporate jungle or the voyage of your personal. This book is a certain to be a classic, and read for a very long time.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

 

Rebooting the American Dream by Thom Hartmann - Book review



Rebooting the American Dream

11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country


By: Thom Hartmann

Published: October 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 200 pages
ISBN-10: 1605097063
ISBN-13: 978-1605097060
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers









"When Washington became President in 1789, most of America's personal and industrial products of any significance were manufactured in England or its colonies. Washington asked his Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, what could be done about that, and Hamilton came up with an 11-point plan to foster American manufacturing, which he presented to Congress in 1791. By 1793, most of his points had either been made into law by Congress or formulated into policy by either President Washington or the various states, which put the country on a path of developing its industrial base and generating the largest source of federal revenue for more than a hundred years", writes serial entrepreneur, and America's leading progressive talk radio host, Thom Hartmann, in his visionary and provocative book Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country. Drawing on the ideas and achievements of Alexander Hamilton, the author describes his own eleven proven ways to rebuild the American economy, and to rebuild and strengthen the nation's middle class.

Thom Hartmann points out that American has entered a decline phase since 1980, and its once vaunted manufacturing sector has been decimated. Along with the loss of manufacturing, the American middle class has begun to shrink in size. With that decline in the middle class, the author writes that the United States is now a much less egalitarian society. He also notes that with the real decline in middle class wages, America has a weakened economy and the lowest level of social mobility in the industrialized world. With these sobering concepts in mind, Thom Hartmann offers what he considers to be reasonable and proven economic and political policies to revive the American economy. With that economic renewal, the middle class will increase in numbers and return to its position of the backbone of the American economy. Thom Hartmann's vision is one of a strong American economy, based on manufacturing and small business, that benefits all members of society.



Thom Hartmann (photo left) takes a careful examination of the economic history of the United States. Following the lead of Alexander Hamilton, the author proposes rebuilding the nation's industrial and manufacturing base through the introduction of tariffs. While controversial, and even anathema to free traders, the author describes their effectiveness in China and other countries where they have been adopted as policy. In effect, writes the author, China has adopted Alexander Hamilton's economic program. The eleven points recommended by Thom Hartmann run counter to the now conventional wisdom that took root in the Ronald Reagan Administration. The author describes those policies as not only destructive to the middle class and the economy, but are leading directly to the decline of the United States overall. The policies presented in the book, ranging from higher tax rates, to rebuilding small communities, to less reliance on imported oil, to enhancing affordable public education, to extending Medicare to everyone, to forcing members of Congress to display their funding sources, to ending illegal immigration, and ending the concept of corporate personhood. The end result of the adoption of the program, writes Thom Hartmann, is a stronger economy and less stratified society.

For me, the power of the book is how Thom Hartmann makes a bold and impassioned case for rebuilding the American economy. The eleven point program recommended by Thom Hartmann is a non-partisan plan. The ideas presented in the book have all been suggested by both Democrats and Republicans at one time or another. Where the author diverges from mainstream political platforms is his holistic approach to revitalizing the American economy. By creating an overall economic blueprint, in the same manner as Alexander Hamilton, Thom Hartmann goes beyond the typical political rhetoric, and the often much more specialized approach taken by mainstream economists. While the overall message of the book is progressive in nature, the policy proposals are backed by the real world experience of American history.

Thom Hartmann writes that his economic points have worked well in the past, and he believes firmly that they will work again. To achieve consensus acceptance and application of the eleven points, however, the author points out that Americans must get past the failed policies of the last three decades. Thom Hartmann considers Reaganomics and supply side theory to be a dismal failure. He points to the obvious dismantling of the American manufacturing base, as well as the shrinking of the middle class, as evidence. He goes much farther than most prescriptions, and proposes far reaching legislative, legal, and fiscal policy change. The author even suggests the co-operative business model, along with a revival of small independent business, as additional boosts to the overall economy. Whether a person agrees with Thom Hartmann's policy proposals or not, this book is without a doubt worth reading. It is one of those rare books that can even change a person's mind on various economic and legislative policy positions.

I highly recommend the important and very iconoclastic book Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country by Thom Hartmann, to anyone serious about rebuilding the American economy and strengthening and returning the middle class to its position of prominence in the United States. Regardless of a person's political or economic beliefs, this book is a must read, and will be an eye opening experience for the vast majority of Americans.

Read the impassioned and certain to be controversial book Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country by Thom Hartmann, and reconsider the proven policies and economy building concepts first proposed by Alexander Hamilton over two hundred years ago. These ideas built the United States into the most powerful country the world has ever known. Those same policies, writes Thom Hartmann, can provide the same spectacular economic growth again, if given the opportunity. This book is a call to action for all Americans.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

 

Josh Kaufman: The Personal MBA - Master the Art Of Business - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Independent business educator, and author of the valuable and information packed book The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, Josh Kaufman, describes why the conventional MBA degree is a waste of time and money. Josh Kaufman points out that MBA students are taught outdated ideas with out-moded methods, and then graduated into the real world of business where those concepts do not apply. Instead of relying on business schools, Josh demonstrates that true leaders make themselves through lifelong learning and experience. In place of MBA programs, Josh Kaufman teaches the essential skills that work in the real world of business.

Josh Kaufman is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, January 20, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Independent business educator, and author of the valuable and information packed book The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, Josh Kaufman, describes why the conventional MBA degree is a waste of time and money. You will learn:

* Why the traditional MBA degree may be a waste of time and money

* What the business schools don't teach about the way business really works

* How to get the essential knowledge to become a good business leader

* Why great leaders make themselves, and are not a byproduct of a business degree



Josh Kaufman (photo left) is an independent business professor, education activist, and author of The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business.

Josh’s unique, multidisciplinary approach to business education has helped hundreds of thousands of readers around the world master foundational business concepts on their own terms, and his work has been featured in BusinessWeek and Fast Company, as well as by influential websites like Lifehacker, HarvardBusiness.org, Cool Tools, and Seth Godin’s Blog.

Since creating the Personal MBA business self-education program in 2005, Josh has:

* Read thousands of books related to business, economics, psychology, communication, mathematics, science, and systems theory.
* Synthesized the essentials of sound business practice into a comprehensive, world-class program, which is available to students, entrepreneurs, and business professionals all over the world.
* Created the Personal MBA recommended reading list, which features the 99 best business books available to the DIY business student. The Personal MBA reading list and manifesto has been viewed by hundreds of thousands of readers from around the world.
* Saved prospective MBA students millions of dollars in tuition, fees, and interest by providing an effective and affordable means of learning fundamental business principles without mortgaging their future earnings.
* Helped hundreds of first-time entrepreneurs, CEOs, research scientists, programmers, and non-profit founders improve their business knowledge and skills via innovative online courses and 1-on-1 coaching.
* Inspired an active community of self-motivated business learners around the world.

Prior to developing the Personal MBA full-time, Josh worked as an Assistant Brand Manager in Procter & Gamble’s Home Care division, where he was responsible for projects that encompassed P&G’s entire value chain, from new product development to delivering in-store marketing campaigns for key customers like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco. Before leaving P&G, Josh spearheaded the development of P&G’s global online marketing measurement strategy.

Josh received his BBA from the University of Cincinnati Lindner School of Business in 2005, where he studied Business Information Systems, Real Estate, and Aristotelian/Stoic Philosophy. He is 28 years old, an Eagle Scout (Boy Scouts of America), an active entrepreneur, and a pro-am photographer. The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business is his first book.

My book review of The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman.

Listen live on Thursday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

Add to iTunes

To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with independent business educator, and author of the valuable and information packed book The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, Josh Kaufman, as he describes why the conventional MBA degree is a waste of time and money. Josh Kaufman points out that MBA students are taught outdated ideas with out-moded methods, and then graduated into the real world of business where those concepts do not apply. Instead of relying on business schools, Josh demonstrates that true leaders make themselves through lifelong learning and experience. In place of MBA programs, Josh Kaufman teaches the essential skills that work in the real world of business on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

 

The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman - Book review



The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business


By: Josh Kaufman

Published: December 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
ISBN-10: 1591843529
ISBN-13: 978-1591843528
Publisher: Portfolio/Penguin













"One of the beautiful things about learning any subject is the fact that you don't need to know everything - you only need to understand a few critically important concepts that provide most of the value", writes independent business educator Josh Kaufman, in his valuable and information packed book The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business. The author describes how to focus on learning and understanding the information that is most important for operating a business, without spending large amounts of time and money on an MBA degree.

Josh Kaufman recognizes that a business person doesn't have to be knowledgeable in every aspect of business theory. Instead, he provides an outline of business as practiced in the real world. For the author, the traditional MBA program offers an outdated curriculum that doesn't teach the students how business really works. Josh Kaufman maintains that true business leadership is not created in business schools. Instead, leaders make themselves through a combination of skills, knowledge, and on the job experience. At the same time, Josh Kaufman offers more than simply the standard business school education as a gateway into corporate middle management. The author also shares his knowledge and experience in entrepreneurship, start-ups, and the area of sales that is so often overlooked in academia



Josh Kaufman (photo left) understands that business school credentials will provide access to recruiters from major corporations. For Josh Kaufman, the cost of an MBA degree is more of an expensive and time consuming ticket to a job interview, than real business knowledge. The author points to the over use of case studies, where their sanitized situations and solutions, bear little resemblance to problems confronting managers and entrepreneurs in the real world of business. Instead of what Josh Kaufman considers an assembly line style of learning, he shares useful and practical knowledge and ideas that solve real problems. The author doesn't teach the widely taught Quantitative Analysis, Financial Analysis, and Accounting. Instead, he focuses on how businesses work and how to run them. For more detail and study on the standard business school subjects, Josh Kaufman suggests some books, should the need for such specialized knowledge arise.

For me, the power of the book is how Josh Kaufman distills the essentials of business knowledge into one book. By placing his emphasis on how business works, how people work, and how systems work, the author guides the reader toward what is really important in owning or managing a successful company. One of the real values of the book is how Josh Kaufman provides key sections of the book on psychology, and how people think and work. This human side of business is not always given much attention in business school courses, but is a crucial aspect of becoming an effective manager. The author also shares the principle that leaders make themselves, and that leadership is not an automatic byproduct of a business school education.

Josh Kaufman presents his information in an easy to understand, and well organized format. That ability to organize material, and to separate the critical elements from what is not so important, demonstrate that the author's ideas are sound and reliable. To further illustrate the well organized manner in which the information is presented, Josh Kaufman uses the business concept of mental models. These ideas provide a framework for solid and reliable decision making. As with the entire book, the mental model technique is rooted in the real world of business. The author provides a rare blend of strategies and tactics that work well in one person entrepreneur ventures, or in the very largest global corporations. By thinking in terms of how business really works, Josh Kaufman gives the reader what really matters, and what is really needed in the way of knowledge, to be a successful business leader.

I highly recommend the very practical and knowledge filled book The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh kaufman, to anyone seeking to acquire the essential knowledge for managing a successful company, without spending a small fortune on an MBA degree. This book is one that will stay on an manager's book shelf, and be read over and over again when the need for useful information arises.

Read the better than business school book The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman, and discover how business really works, and learn what a manager and business leader really needs to know and understand. This is a very valuable book that you will want to read and refer to, over and over again.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

 

Dan Gardner: Future Babble - Why Expert Predictions Fail - Blog Business Success radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Award winning investigative journalist with the Ottawa Citizen, and author of the well researched and insightful book Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway, Dan Gardner, describes how so many predictions made by experts are often so wrong. The forecasts are not only wrong, but also very wildly incorrect. Despite that dismal track record, people still turn to experts for predictions about the future. Dan Gardner attributes this dependence on experts as one of seeking the feeling of security. Even though expert opinions are less reliable than flipping a coin, the most famous experts are usually the least accurate and reliable. Dan Gardner explains why the future is always uncertain, but fortunately, the end is not near.

Dan Gardner is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Tuesday, January 18, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Award winning investigative journalist with the Ottawa Citizen, and author of the well researched and insightful book Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway, Dan Gardner, describes how so many predictions made by experts are often so wrong. Youwill learn:

* Why the well known experts are so often very wrong in their forecasts

* Why people feel the need to listen to and believe the experts

* How to tell whether an expert's prediction has any basis in fact

* How to do a better job of forecasting the future than the leading experts



Dan Gardner (photo left) is a journalist, author, and lecturer who enjoys nothing so much as writing about himself in the third person.

Trained in law (LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School, Class of '92) and history (M.A., York University, '95), Dan first worked as a political staffer to a prominent politician. In 1997, he joined the editorial board of the Ottawa Citizen. His writing has won or been nominated for most major prizes in Canadian journalism, including the National Newspaper Award, the Michener Award, the Canadian Association of Journalists award, the Amnesty International Canada Media Award for reporting on human rights, and a long list of other awards, particularly in the field of criminal justice and law. Today, he is an opinion columnist who refuses to be pigeonholed as a liberal or a conservative and is positively allergic to all varieties of dogma. If you must label him -- and he'd rather you didn't -- please call him a "skeptic."

In 2005, Dan attended a lecture by renowned psychologist Paul Slovic. It was a life-changing encounter. Fascinated by Slovic's work, Dan immersed himself in the scientific literature. The result was a seminal book on risk perception, Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear. Published in 11 countries and 7 languages, Risk was a bestseller in the United Kingdom and Canada. But more gratifying to Dan was the support of leading researchers, including Slovic, who praised the book's scientific accuracy.

In his latest book, Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway, Dan delved deeper into psychology to explain why people continue to put so much stock in expert predictions despite the repeated -- and sometimes catastrophic -- failure of efforts to forecast the future. Again, Dan was delighted that his book garnered the praise of leading researchers, including Philip Tetlock of the University of California, who called it "superb scholarship," and Steven Pinker of Harvard University, who said it should be "required reading for journalists, politicians, academics, and those who listen to them."

Psychology is fundamentally about how people perceive, think, decide, and communicate -- and modern research shows that much of what people assume to be true about these basic processes is, in fact, wrong. The success of Risk led Dan to develop a series of lectures that expose and correct those assumptions, helping people think, decide, organize, and communicate better.

Dan Gardner lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with three young children and one exhausted wife.

My book review of Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway by Dan Gardner.

Listen live on Tuesday at 8:00 pm Eastern, 5:00 pm Pacific time.

BlogTalkRadio.com

If you miss this very informative show, it will be available for free download as a podcast for iPod, iTunes, and MP3 players; or play it right on your computer. To download this, or any other of my guest interviews, go to the Blog Business Success host page and click on Archived Segments. Once there, click on the podcast icon at the end of the episode description, to download the show free of charge for your listening enjoyment. You can also subscribe to the show feed.

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To call in questions for my guest, the number is: (347) 996-5832

Let's talk with award winning investigative journalist with the Ottawa Citizen, and author of the well researched and insightful book Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway, Dan Gardner, as he describes how so many predictions made by experts are often so wrong. The forecasts are not only wrong, but also very wildly incorrect. Despite that dismal track record, people still turn to experts for predictions about the future. Dan Gardner attributes this dependence on experts as one of seeking the feeling of security. Even though expert opinions are less reliable than flipping a coin, the most famous experts are usually the least accurate and reliable. Dan Gardner explains why the future is always uncertain, but fortunately, the end is not near on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Future Babble by Dan Gardner - Book review



Future Babble

Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway


By: Dan Gardner

Published: October 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7710-3519-7
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart













"The desire to know the future is universal and constant, as the profusion of soothsaying techniques in human culture - from goats' entrails to tea leaves - demonstrates so well", writes award winning columnist and investigative journalist with the Ottawa Citizen, Dan Gardner, writes in his well researched and insightful book Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway. The author describes how those trusted experts are often very wrong in their forecasts and predictions, but the general public continues to put great faith in those same experts anyway.

Dan Gardner recognizes that despite being continually and often wildly inaccurate in their forecasts, expert forecasts and predictions never lose their widespread appeal. Dan Gardner sets out to discover why experts fail to forecast the future very well. The author also seeks to explain why people listen to and believe those same failed experts despite their dismal track record. The author points to how the reliance upon experts, and the deep desire to believe them, is a very human foible. People want to know the future, good or bad, and if some expert can remove even a portion of that uncertainty, the expert's forecast will be believed and internalized. The desire to remove uncertainty causes people to act and behave irrationally, but for them, the removal of that sense of uncertainty provides a measure of control. That feeling of control over events is an illusion, for both the expert and the general public, and can result in disappointment or even disaster.



Dan Gardner (photo left) understands the paradox of wanting to understand the future and trust placed in experts, and the constant disappointment and dissatisfaction that results from a failed prediction or forecast. Dan Gardner shows the reader where and why experts go so far wrong in their predictions, and guides the average person to a deeper understanding of how to better prepare for what amounts to an unknowable future. The author draws on the research of University of California professor Philip Tetlock, who demonstrated that the more famous the pundit and expert, the less accurate the predictions made by that person. This unsettling information provides Dan Gardner with his own tests and questions to consider when a person hears a forecast from a well known expert. Armed with this skeptical, yet discerning recommendation, anyone can bypass the excuses, half truths, and rationalizations that help maintain the expert's reputation despite their very wrong predictions.

For me, the power of the book is how Dan Gardner challenges the generally held assumption that experts are more able to forecast the future than the average person. The author combines leading edge research into the nature and accuracy of expert forecasts with humorous examples of pundit predictions gone very awry. Dan Gardner points to the experts' own rationalizations as only part of the reason they continue to enthrall the public. The people listening to the predictions not only want to believe them, but need to believe them, to assuage their own fears of an uncertain future. People don't like uncertainty, and as the author writes, even entirely wrong, and supposed certainty is considered better than no certainty at all.

Dan Gardner achieves what few authors are able to do in their books. He discovers and writes something new, fresh, and enlightening. Dan Gardner demonstrates that a person need not fear the future, or listen to the most optimistic or pessimistic forecasts. Instead, the author invites and challenges his readers to test the expert's ideas with revealing and illuminating questions. Through a combination of research theory and real world results, Dan Gardner lays bare the real truth about the alleged experts. They are often very wrong, and usually no more likely to be able to predict the future than simply tossing a coin. The author teaches his readers how to identify fatal flaws in expert forecasts, and even how to recognize the different types of prognosticators as they weave their outlooks on the future. This book will guide the reader toward removing the fear of uncertainty, while avoiding the blind belief in a supposed expert, who is just as likely to be completely wrong as even remotely accurate.

I highly recommend the the must read and essential book Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway by Dan Gardner, to anyone seeking to discover the real truth behind the so-called experts and their often highly touted forecasts. Dan Gardner shows the reader how difficult forecasting the future really is, and why it's important for the average person to take a more critical view of the word of the supposed experts.

Read the delightful and challenging book Future Babble: Why Expert Predictions Fail - and Why We Believe Them Anyway by Dan Gardner, and learn why experts are so often wrong, and why it doesn't really matter. The future is isn't that scary that certainty is required. Let the events of the future happen, and ignore the experts. They don't know any more about what will take place than the average person on the street.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

 

Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital by John Restakis - Book review



Humanizing the Economy

Co-operatives in the Age of Capital


By: John Restakis

Published: September 1, 2010
Format: Paperback, 288 pages
ISBN: 9780865716513
Publisher: New Society Publishers








"As the global economic crisis continues to take its toll, co-operatives continue to provide livelihoods and essential services in the very places where multinationals are shedding workers and shuttering plants", writes Executive Director of the British Columbia Co-operative Association, and researcher into international cooperative economies, John Restakis, in his deeply profound and visionary book Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital. The author describes the important and necessary role the co-operative enterprises play in the democratizing of the market economy, and for restoring the social fabric that has been torn asunder through an over reliance on the corporate business model.

John Restakis recognizes the need for an alternative economic model from that of the corporate based free market economy on the one hand, and the socialist based command economy on the other. All too often, writes the author, these two alternatives are presented as mutually exclusive options. To not embrace the one economic, is by definition, to follow the other. For John Restakis, this is a false dichotomy of limited choices. The author offers a third and viable alternative, in the form of the democratically owned and managed co-operative. Unfortunately, the co-operative movement is at a crossroads. John Restakis calls upon co-operative leaders, thinkers, and practitioners to advance the concept and values of the co-operative at local, national, and global levels. For the author, this drive to democratization can and will transform economies all over the world toward a more humane and sustainable economic and social order.



John Restakis (photo left) points out that the theory and practice of the co-operative economic model is neither new, nor unproven. The author shares the long and and successful history of co-operatives, and demonstrates their democratic and social value today. He also makes clear that while major banks and corporations were requiring bailouts to prop up their failed business models, the many credit unions and co-operatives were not only surviving, but they were and continue to be thriving enterprises. John Restakis views the co-operative as one critical instrument in repairing the widening rupture between the imperatives of capitalism, and the requirement of an authentic human life. Instead of economics and the marketplace being the force behind human life, economics must be returned to its previous role as simply one extension of a humane society. with the decline of community and an atomized social fabric, the author shares the alternative of co-operatives as a means to restoring community, and for establishing a social market, where the ultimate value is placed with the people receiving the service.

For me, the power of the book is how John Restakis presents the democratic economic model of the co-operative, as a viable and proven alternative, to both the free market capitalist and socialist economic systems. The author provides the theory and history of the co-operative movement, and relates those concepts to the social and economic realities of the today. With the very fabric of society being torn asunder, and individuals unable to discover an authentic and quality life, there is a need for a solution to heal those wounds. The loss of trust and community values have ripped apart social capital, leaving the individual isolated and disengaged from the greater society. The author describes how this increasing disengagement is not only having profoundly negative effects on society, but is taking its toll on individuals as well. The basis of the co-operative is founded on trust and reciprocity. These are exactly the qualities that both individuals and societies need to repair their damaged social fabric.

John Restakis doesn't propose the imposition of co-operatives as the only solution, and as the only viable economic model. Instead, the author presents the co-op movement as a proven and effective third option, where both the individual and society benefit. Instead of destroying social capital and maximizing profits, the co-operative builds social capital and heals damaged communities. Not only do the co-operatives build and strengthen social capital, but they empower their members to take charge of their own lives and communities through greater civic participation. New leaders are discovered and nurtured, who go on to establish other co-operatives, creating jobs and enriching the community store of social capital. For the author, co-operatives are essential for creating efficiency, equity, and reciprocity. These qualities extend to include trust, democratic involvement, and a restoration of human dignity and a sense of community. The co-operative model is successful, and the author fills the book with examples of thriving examples. The author demonstrates clearly that the time for studying and advancing the co-operative model is now.

I highly recommend the important and landmark book Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital by John Restakis, to anyone seeking a viable and proven economic alternative. Whether a person is involved with co-operatives, community leadership, or social reform, this book provides the theory, history, and proven the economic logic behind the co-operative. The concept of co-operatives can also provide a non-governmental and community alternative for the delivery of social goods and services.

Read the essential and thought provoking book Humanizing the Economy: Co-operatives in the Age of Capital by John Restakis, and put the power of the co-operative ideal to work for rebuilding the social fabric of your community, while healing and empowering people and their lives. This proven and effective third option could be the alternative policy sought by community leaders everywhere.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

 

Why? Because We Still Like You by Jennifer Armstrong - Book review



Why? Because We Still Like You

An Oral History of the Mickey Mouse Club (R)


By: Jennifer Armstrong

Published: October 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
ISBN-10: 0446545953
ISBN-13: 978-0446545952
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing











"The cast of the Mouseketeers - known as 'Mice' to those on the inside - were the most popular kids in the country, the envy of every kid growing up in the mid-1950s, privileged members of the fairy-tail-perfect Walt Disney family", writes senior writer at Entertainment Weekly, Jennifer Armstrong, in her fascinating and unauthorized behind the scenes book Why? Because We Still Like You: An Oral History of the Mickey Mouse Club (R). The author presents a balanced and intriguing portrait of the teenagers and preteens who formed the wildly popular mid-1950s phenomenon of the original Mickey Mouse Club (R).

Jennifer Armstrong recognizes the appeal and importance of the groundbreaking children's television series as a cultural icon. Devised to fill a programming gap in the third rated ABC Network, the show became an instant sensation from its premiere on October 3, 1955. For an entire generation of kids and teenagers, the familiar music and features of the show, were must see TV at 5:00 pm every weekday. What created the excitement were the wildly popular Mouseketeers themselves. The visionary genius of Walt Disney created a show where seemingly ordinary kids would be the stars of a program aimed directly at the kids of America. The concept was fresh, and the resulting audience ratings were so powerful, that the rival networks simply got out of the way. The cast of the Mickey Mouse Club (R) became daily visitors in America's living rooms, and friends to millions of children across the country. The secret to the show's success were the iconic Mouseketeers themselves.



Jennifer Armstrong (photo left) shares the inside stories and behind the scenes interviews with former Mouseketeer cast members; both famous and almost forgotten. For children, tweens, and teenagers growing up on camera, the daily routine of songs, dancing, and skits was an all encompassing life. The members of the cast, according to the author, worked forty-eight hour weeks, attended an on set school, and provided the additional marketing and publicity power to drive the show's success. As expected with a group of kids, the close intimacy generated rivalries, jealousies, and lifelong friendships. Cast members who failed to make the elite "red team" - known by the familiar role call of names - were often unceremoniously fired, as the production team sought more breakout stars. The burgeoning celebrity of the iconic Annette Funicello created pressures to discover more new superstars. The "red team" featured a host of stars in their own right, including Doreen Tracey, Darlene Gillespie, Bobby Burgess, Lonnie Burr, Cubby O'Brien, Tommy Cole, Sharon Baird, and adult host Jimmie Dodd. The creative team at Disney wanted even more, especially as the show peaked and entered its decline phase.

For me, the power of the book, is how Jennifer Armstrong blends the memories of cast members, with her own impressions of the show history. The author acknowledges fully that that some of the cast memories have morphed into myth and legend, but even that aspect of the story is important. How the Mouseketeers remembered the show, related to the other cast members, and thought of the experience is central to the book. The time spent at the Mickey Mouse Club (R) was not always as idyllic as presented to the public, and Jennifer Armstrong shares the cast's insights into their personal perspectives on the show. There were obvious jealousies, on the part of some of the female Mouseketeers, toward the growing stardom of the emerging "America's Sweetheart" Annette Funicello. The male cast members were often placed in positions of rivalry for spots as well.

Jennifer Armstrong not only describes how the Mickey Mouse Club(R) was understood in its own 1950s context, but also its legacy as an American institution. The show represented, for millions of young Americans, the best side of postwar American culture. The clean cut kids, in their name embossed sweaters and trademark mouse ears, were one ideal of the 1950s youth culture. As time and tastes moved on, the show began to lose its luster and appeal, but as the author points out, the overall appeal never disappeared entirely. The show continued in various iterations in syndication, and continued to air in North America and around the world to always eager audiences.

The author also provides a discussion of the newer versions of the Mickey Mouse Club (R), and how new cast members provided different entertainment to later generational tastes. Jennifer Armstrong also follows the cast members to the present day, where some former Mouseketeers have made peace with their ear wearing youth, others have tried to distance themselves, and still others have embraced their time in television history. In the end, the lives of the Mouseketeers, their loyal and devoted fans, and the very nature of children's television were changed forever.

I highly recommend the insightful and entertaining book Why? Because We Still Like You: An Oral History of the Mickey Mouse Club (R) by Jennifer Armstrong, to anyone seeking an excellent primer on the cultural importance of the original Mickey Mouse Club (R) and the memorable and endearing Mouseketeers. The book provides a fine introduction and overview to a cultural phenomenon that swept a nation, and transformed the lives of their youthful cast members in ways they never imagined possible.

Read the delightful and revealing book Why? Because We Still Like You: An Oral History of the Mickey Mouse Club (R) by Jennifer Armstrong, and relive the glorious days of early television, when kids entertained kids for the very first time. Their influence and lasting fame are a tribute to themselves, to the vision of Walt Disney, and to their devoted fans everywhere. "M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E".

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

 

Driving Technical Change by Terrence Ryan - Book review



Driving Technical Change

Why People On Your Team Don't Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should


By: Terrence Ryan

Published: November 8, 2010
Format: Paperback, 200 pages
ISBN-10: 1934356603
ISBN-13: 978-1934356609
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf









"The goal of this book is to enable you to convince co-workers to adopt new tools and techniques", writes Worldwide Developer Evangelist for Adobe, Terrence Ryan, in his practical and no nonsense book Driving Technical Change: Why People On Your Team Don't Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should. The author describes the challenges and personality conflicts faced by managers seeking to make technological change in an organization, and how to overcome these obstacles successfully.

Terrence Ryan understands the problems that can arise in organizations when new technologies and techniques are recommended to the team. The author realizes that there is a huge disconnect between finding the right tools and technological improvements, and getting them implemented in a meaningful way. Through his experience, and that of other technology change managers, Terrence Ryan points out the patterns of resistance that arise on a regular basis. He has learned that using logic, applying politics, or showing hard evidence to convince reluctant managers adopt the change doesn't work. Through his encountering of the same types of resistance and similar character traits over time, Terrence Ryan offers a patterns approach to understanding the problem.



Terrence Ryan (photo left) organizes his book based on the patterns approach to achieving acceptance of technological change. For managers seeking to implement technical improvement, there are two patterns outlined by the author. The first pattern is that of the skeptics who resist or oppose the proposed change. The other pattern focuses on which techniques are best suited to overcoming the obstacles created by those resisting the action. Terrence Ryan breaks the skeptics into the following resistor pattern groups:

* The Uniformed
* The Herd
* The Cynic
* The Burned
* The Time Crunched
* The Boss
* The Irrational

With these patterns of opposition determined, Terrence Ryan then shares his techniques and tactic=s for overcoming the resistance.

For me, the power of the book is how Terrence Ryan takes a logical and systematic approach to overcoming the opposition to change within an organization. The book takes a patterns approach to the subject of steering technical change. The author begins by showing the change agent how to identify patterns of behavior within the team, as a means of discovering where opposition will be found. Terrence Ryan points out the various characteristics of each opponent to the proposal. With the various skeptics identified, and their motivations and objections understood, the author then presents the strategies necessary for overcoming their opposition, and for leveraging existing support.

Terrence Ryan provides the methods for driving technical change in a very easy to follow and understand format. He breaks the various concepts down into their individual components to ensure that the reader not only understands them fully, but is able to implement them in the right way to achieve the desired results. To further illustrate the techniques and strategies in action, Terrence Ryan includes some real world case studies and anecdotes, where the concepts were utilized effectively. With the opposition to technical change often very intense, the book offers the techniques needed to counter even the most strenuous and determined skeptics.

I highly recommend the handy and very useful book Driving Technical Change: Why People On Your Team Don't Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should by Terrence Ryan, to any managers, technologists, systems administrators, or engineers faced with strong opposition to any proposed technological change or enhancement. This valuable book will give you the essential tools to overcome any skeptics and their stonewalling of the proposed improvements.

Read the well organized and helpful book Driving Technical Change: Why People On Your Team Don't Act on Good Ideas, and How to Convince Them They Should by Terrence Ryan, and put the power of pattern recognition to work for you as you spearhead any technical change. The tools and strategies presented in this book are game changing, and crucial for achieving the technical advancement necessary to remain competitive in the modern business environment.

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