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Monday, April 30, 2012

 

Mark Mueller-Eberstein: No Fear Business Leadership - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



CEO of Adgetec Corporation, Professor at Rutgers University, and co-author of the thought provoking and transformational book No Fear: Business Leadership in the Age of the Digital Cowboys, Mark Mueller-Eberstein, describes the challenges presented to leaders in the new globalized and digital economy. Mark points out that fear of this new business landscape is paralyzing many formerly highly successful leaders. Mark provides evidence that not only is the marketplace evolving rapidly, but a new young generation of highly motivated, community oriented, and increasingly international employees expects innovative and responsive leadership,. Mark offers advice for leaders to make the transition from the previous economic model to the new digital and global age, where failure to adapt means failure as a leader.

Mark Mueller-Eberstein is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Tuesday, May 1, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

CEO of Adgetec Corporation, Professor at Rutgers University, and co-author of the thought provoking and transformational book No Fear: Business Leadership in the Age of the Digital Cowboys, Mark Mueller-Eberstein, describes the challenges presented to leaders in the new globalized and digital economy. You will learn:

* What No Fear leadership means and why it is critical to understand

* How the increasingly digital and globalized economy are transforming leadership

* Why the young under thirty Playstation Generation is leading the change

* How to become a No Fear leader to stay ahead of the competition



Mark Mueller-Eberstein (photo left) is founder and CEO of Adgetec Corporation, whose mission is to help organizations and their leaders realize value globally.

Mueller-Eberstein is a recognized thought leader, speaker, mentor, and coach for topics as:

- Leveraging IT for business success
- Global consumerization of IT
- Connecting people
- Reducing ambiguity
- Organizational culture for next gen
- Organizational leadership values

In addition to blogs, whitepapers and research papers, Mark Mueller-Eberstein is the author of Agility - Competing and Winning in the Tech Savvy Marketplace and No Fear: Business Leadership in the Age of the Digital Cowboys. Mueller-Eberstein's books are written based on his over fifteen years of global experience in the IT industry, working with companies and governments to choose, adopt, roll out, and measure the impact of new technologies.

My book review of No Fear: Business Leadership in the Age of the Digital Cowboys by Pekka A. Viljakainen and Mark Mueller-Eberstein.

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.

Add to iTunes

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

Let's talk with CEO of Adgetec Corporation, Professor at Rutgers University, and co-author of the thought provoking and transformational book No Fear: Business Leadership for the Digital Age, Mark Mueller-Eberstein, describes the challenges presented to leaders in the new globalized and digital economy. Mark points out that fear of this new business landscape is paralyzing many formerly highly successful leaders. Mark provides evidence that not only is the marketplace evolving rapidly, but a new young generation of highly motivated, community oriented, and increasingly international employees expects innovative and responsive leadership,. Mark offers advice for leaders to make the transition from the previous economic model to the new digital and global age, where failure to adapt means failure as a leader on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

 

No Fear by Pekka A. Viljakainen & Mark Mueller-Eberstein - Book review



No Fear

Business Leadership in the Age of the Digital Cowboys


By: Pekka A. Viljakainen, Mark Mueller-Eberstein

Published: September 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover: 256 pages
ISBN-10: 9814346667
ISBN-13: 978-9814346665
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb














"Many good organizations come to a point where protecting the status quo for the leading individuals becomes the main motivation and reward", write former president of Tieto International, Pekka Viljakainen; and founder and CEO of Adgetec Corporation, Mark Mueller-Eberstein, in their thought provoking and transformational book No Fear: Business Leadership in the Age of the Digital Cowboys. The authors describe how organizations that can take calculated risk, add new territory, and discover and utilize new opportunities will move ahead of their status quo seeking competitors.



Pekka Viljakainen (photo left) and Mark Mueller-Eberstein understand that fear of failure is a limiting force that works against change and enhanced competitiveness. The authors realize that fear is a powerful emotion, and that it is part of everyone's character. To counter this sense of fear, the authors present their concept of No Fear, where the emotion is processed, understood for what it is, and works toward creating solutions to the fear inducing challenges.

For the authors, dealing with and controlling that fear, and developing innovative solutions to problems, is essential for leaders. For the authors, fear equals failure, and the leader who succumbs to that fear does a real disservice to the entire organization, its employees, and its customers.



Mark Mueller-Eberstein (photo left) and Pekka A. Viljakainen describe a world of change, and that leaders must be prepared to adapt to that transition in the global community, or fall by the wayside. Not only has the global landscape changed, but the authors point out that the people have different goals and aspirations as well.

The new young entrants into the workforce and the global economy are young, innovative, and are very comfortable with using technology and social media. The authors refer to their version of the youthful Millennial Generation as the Playstation Generation, who are the Digital Cowboys who are the first adopters of new technology and innovations.

Pekka Viljakainen and Mark Mueller-Eberstein present what they call six planets of change in the global economy. Those six changes that a No Fear leader must recognize and practice to gain the support of the Digital Cowboys are as follows:

* Maintaining productivity when it becomes stalled
* Understanding the globalization impact on competitiveness and leadership
* Capital flows travel in many directions with stiff competition for access
* Consumers are changing in tastes, attitudes, and behaviors
* Online and networked economies are mainstream and accessible everywhere
* Innovation is moving at a faster rate than ever before

For me, the power of the book is how Pekka Viljakainen and Mark Mueller-Eberstein combine their analysis of the limiting and disempowering emotion of fear, with an understanding of the new global economy and the rising influence of the young Digital Cowboys. The authors offer a compelling case that failure to overcome the fear of this new market reality represents a failure of leadership. Instead of succumbing to this fear, the authors along with a distinguished group of guest contributors, provide an alternative path forward for leaders who display the No Fear qualities of leadership.

The book contains a comprehensive discussion and plan of action for achieving the No Fear type of community leadership, that is and will remain critical for success and even survival, in the new digital and globalized economy. Any leader who fails to understand and act upon this manifesto for change will fall behind the competition.

I highly recommend the insightful and must read book No Fear: Business Leadership in the Age of the Digital Cowboys by Pekka Viljakainen and Mark Mueller-Eberstein, to any business leaders, regardless of country or industry, who are serious about understanding the rapidly evolving dynamics of the new digital global economy, and of the employees who will dominate its future. This book will change the way you think about and approach leadership in the new age of the Digital Cowboys.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

 

The Twelve Absolutes Of Leadership by Gary Burnison - Book review



The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership

By: Gary Burnison

Published: March 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
ISBN-10: 0071787127
ISBN-13: 978-0071787123
Publisher: McGraw-Hill









"Leadership is the eighth wonder of the world - better seen and felt than defined and said", writes CEO of Korn>Ferry International, Gary Burnison, in his his insightful and real world experience based book The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership. The author describes the complexity of understanding the real meaning of leadership, and shares his thoughts and ideas on how to understand the guiding principles of leadership through an organized framework model.

Gary Burnison understands the challenges posed by the responsibility and commitment to leadership for engaging and inspiring others to greatness. The author points out that simply getting a sense of the true nature of leadership is a daunting task. Leadership may be partly strategy, according to Gary Burnison, but it is mainly about proper judgement. For the author, grace, confidence, and touch form the core values of leadership. A leader must also be able to understand the past, the present, and the future; using today as the starting point to achieve the leader's vision. To reach that desired future, a leader must incorporate a strategy to get to that next level, despite the fact that many followers may not have envisioned that same future.



Gary Burnison (photo left) recognizes that to get from where the organization is today, and where the there will be in the future, requires extraordinary leadership. To bridge this gap, the author provides his Absolutes of Leadership Framework as the guiding blueprint. Each part of the framework link to the others, and indeed blend seamlessly into one another in an overall leadership building process. The connections include a combination of core competencies and activities that every leader must possess.

The author points out that these twelve key principles apply to all leaders, regardless of their leadership style. The absolutes include:

* Lead
* Purpose
* Strategy
* People
* Measure
* Empower
* Reward
* Anticipate
* Navigate
* Communicate
* Listen
* Learn

For me, the power of the book is how Gary Burnison presents the Twelve Absolutes of Leadership model in an engaging and understandable format. The author shares his experience, and that of others, in the conveying of the layers of meaning behind each of the twelve absolutes that every leader must understand and practice. Gary Burnison offers the important wisdom that leadership is all about people. As a result, the author provides guidance in what he considers the art of leadership. Despite the various leadership systems and concepts, in the end, leadership is indeed much more art than it is a science.

Gary Burnison presents another critical observation that the leader must practice self-mastery, and understand themselves first. At the same time, however, the self aware leader also realizes that as leader, they are not the most important purpose despite the demands and focus of the position. Leadership is a calling, and as a result, it is all about guiding others to achieving their best results, and for building a brighter future for the organization as a whole.

I highly recommend the groundbreaking an leadership transforming book The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership by Gary Burnison, to any leaders or aspiring leaders who are seeking a concise and proven model for building their leadership skills and for strengthening their entire organization. This book will give you the tools and insights to become a more effective and engaging leader in any type or size of organization.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

 

Freedom Is Blogging In Your Underwear by Hugh MacLeod - Book review




Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear

By: Hugh MacLeod

Published: April 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover: 128 pages
ISBN-10: 1591844851
ISBN-13: 978-1591844853
Publisher: Portfolio/Penguin













"Having a blog, a voice, having my own media, utterly changed my life", writes cartoonist and blogger Hugh MacLeod, in his very witty and wisdom filled book Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear. Through a collection of his most profound cartoons, the author expresses his love for blogging, and his deep commitment to the very fundamental concept of freedom.

Hugh MacLeod shares his insights and perceptions of the very basic idea of what it means to be free. For the author, that journey toward a deeper understanding of freedom was traveled through the medium of a blog. Posting his multi-layered cartoons on his blog, enabled Hugh MacLeod to bypass what he calls the gatekeepers, who include editors, publishers, and executives. Instead of requiring the approval of the official guardians of the media, the author reached out directly to his audience. At the same time, since blogging is at core a conversation, Hugh MacLeod's audience was able to reach out to him as well. For the author, the very act of blogging is an empowering act that seizes bac personal freedom of expression from the gatekeepers.



Hugh MacLeod (photo left) recognizes that freedom afforded by the blog built a career for him through direct contact with his audience. At the same time, the act of blogging created a strong sense of purpose that fueled bis passion for sharing his comics with others. The author views blogging as a personal journey offers insights into that voyage of self discovery with the reader. Hugh MacLeod describes his blog as being a literally life altering experience. Through connections made with his blog, the author obtained all of his clients and business partners. He even met his girlfriend as a result of his blogging activities.

Along the way through this inner travel, the author provides his thoughts and understanding of the various social media options, how they relate to blogging, and more importantly, how they have an impact on personal freedom. That freedom is the direct result of what Hugh MacLeod calls the permanent force of Cheap. Easy. Global. Media. For the author, that empowering principle arrived in the form of a blog. The book is the author's testimonial to the world changing potential contained in the simple blogging platform.

For me, the power of the book is how Hugh MacLeod combines his philosophical examination of the principle of freedom with a manifesto in support of blogging. The author also provides a unique blend of prose and expressive cartoon art as the carrier for his wisdom and ideas. Hugh MacLeod offers a prophecy of how the internet has changed the world in ways that are only now being vaguely understood. For the authors, bloggers are on the vanguard of this deep change in society, where individuals are empowered and no longer requiring the approval of the official gatekeepers.

With this awakening of the blogging public, the potential for fresh ideas and thinking will become a permanent feature of society. The transformation from an individual requiring gatekeeper permission to be heard, to a world where anyone can be a publisher through blogging, represents a sea change in personal freedom. For Hugh MacLeod, the power of the blogging platform doesn't even require the traditional trappings of power or even respectability. A blogger can change the world clad in only their underwear.

I highly recommend the empowering and transformational book Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear by Hugh MacLeod, to anyone seeking a highly original approach to the basic tenets of freedom and what it means to be free in an internet connected world. This book, with its profound cartoons and thought provoking insights will change forever the way you think about the interrelationship between blogging and personal freedom.

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

 

Jill Flynn: Break Your Own Rules - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Business strategist and founding partner at Flynn Heath Holt Leadership (FHHL), and co-author of straight talking and empowering book Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking that Block Women's Paths to Power, Jill Flynn, describes why there are so few women in C-level positions. Despite great strides made in diversity, women are underrepresented in the executive suite, Jill Flynn points out that women run companies are more profitable meaning that businesses are missing out on great leadership. Jill shares the six faulty assumptions, often mistakenly considered rules, followed by women that stand in their way. Jill provides advice and strategies for changing those assumptions to new ways of acting that will help more women achieve C-level positions. Jill Flynn is firm in her conviction that by changing the old rules to new ones will place women in 30 percent of leadership roles within a decade.

Jill Flynn is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, April 26, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Business strategist and founding partner at Flynn Heath Holt Leadership, and co-author of straight talking and empowering book Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking that Block Women's Paths to Power, Jill Flynn, describes why there are so few women in C-level positions. You will learn:

* Why there are so few women in top leadership positions in the corporate world

* The myths and behaviors that hold women back from achieving career success

* How women can change their behavior to reach the top in any company

* What are the new rules of business and behavior for women



Jill Flynn, M. Ed. (photo left) is founding partner at Flynn Heath Holt Leadership (FHHL) whose goal is to move women and organizations forward, faster. She specializes in creating and implementing company-specific pipelines for high-potential women. Jill’s primary focus is to ensure that every client benefits from new and practical solutions to their leadership problems – and gets measurable results.

Prior to co-founding FHHL, Jill was Senior Vice President at the nation’s fourth largest bank, First Union (now Wells Fargo), where she established their leadership development, diversity, organizational consulting, and employee satisfaction initiatives. The corporation grew exponentially during her tenure, with more than 100 mergers. Jill and her team prepared a cadre of more than 100 high potential leaders to assume senior positions; within a three-year timeframe, the number of women in these roles increased from 9% to 26%.

Jill received her B.A. from Salem College and M.Ed. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Like her partners, she serves on a number of corporate and non-profit boards. Jill is based in Charlotte, NC.

For more, follow her on Twitter @FlynnHeathHolt.

My book review of Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking that Block Women's Paths to Power by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt.

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 business strategist and founding partner at Flynn Heath Holt Leadership (FHHL), and co-author of straight talking and empowering book Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking that Block Women's Paths to Power, Jill Flynn, as she describes why there are so few women in C-level positions. Despite great strides made in diversity, women are underrepresented in the executive suite, Jill Flynn points out that women run companies are more profitable meaning that businesses are missing out on great leadership. Jill shares the six faulty assumptions, often mistakenly considered rules, followed by women that stand in their way. Jill provides advice and strategies for changing those assumptions to new ways of acting that will help more women achieve C-level positions. Jill Flynn is firm in her conviction that by changing the old rules to new ones will place women in 30 percent of leadership roles within a decade on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

 

The Hidden Agenda by Kevin Allen - Book review





The Hidden Agenda

A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following


By: Kevin Allen

Published: April 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1937134040
ISBN-13: 978-1937134044
Publisher: Bibliomotion











"Behind every decision to buy - whether the item is a service or a product, an argument or an idea - is an unspoken emotional motivation. This is the hidden agenda", writes business development expert and long time advertising professional, Kevin Allen, in his insightful and idea packed book The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following. The author describes how important it is for companies and brands to make a connection with their followers through discovering and understanding the hidden agenda of their customers.

Kevin Allen understands that people buy from companies, hire others, or promote brands or individuals because those companies and individuals understand their values, wants, and needs. This deep understanding is what the author considers the buyer's hidden agenda. To create a powerful and lasting connection, it's essential to discover the bond that will resonate with that hidden agenda. When those deepest values, wants, and needs are uncovered and engaged, the person will become a true and lasting follower of the company, brand, or leader. Kevin Allen provides the background to discovering the buyer's hidden agenda, creating a trusting connection, and providing a resonating and engaging bond that lasts over the long term.



Kevin Allen (photo left) recognizes that any sort of sales presentation requires connecting with the other person's hidden agenda to be successful. The author points out that the deeper underlying motivation may not even be understood clearly by the buyer. To locate and respond effectively to collaborate with the buyer requires empathy, the ability to ask the right questions, and the listening skills to hear the real message being shared by the customer. The customer will follow the company and brand that listens to their deepest hidden agenda, and works hard to resolve that innermost need and desire. People don't follow products, services, and brands because they are persuaded to purchase them.

The following of the brand is a result of believing in the seller and the products that resonate with the buyer's hidden agenda. To achieve the resonance that creates a following, Kevin Allen provides the concepts in his Allen Key system. The principles of the system include:

* Identifying the conceptual target to hear what they really are thinking
* Tuning into the hidden agenda through listening and empathy
* Taking inventory of your core and connecting with the customer
* Communicating your credo and set of values and belief system

For me, the power of the book is how Kevin Allen develops the connection between probing the depth of the real hidden agenda, with the practical tools to facilitate that discovery process. The author presents a fresh way of thinking and considering the deepest motivations of customers. In place of the previous paradigm of persuasion as the means to gain customers, Kevin Allen proposes a richer understanding of the deeper motivations of the buyer. The result is not only a follower of the product, service, and brand, but also a collaborator in the entire marketing process.

Kevin Allen offers ideas for discovering who is the real intended audience, for listening to uncover what elements can form a connection, for how to ultimately make that long term connection as the basis for a long lasting relationship. The author provides many stories of the hidden agenda principles in action, in real world settings, to further illustrate the concepts in action. Kevin Allen shares wisdom gleaned from years of experience, and transforms the entire sales process to one focused entirely on the buyer and their most intimate needs and desires, and away from the older product push centric model.

I highly recommend the transformational and collaborative approach based book The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following by Kevin Allen, to any marketers, business leaders, sales representatives, and anyone in any walk of life who makes presentations to others, who is seeking a fresh and cooperative way of helping solve the buyer's most important and deepest needs. When you find and satisfy the customer's real hidden agenda, then you have gained a follower and built a relationship that can last a lifetime.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

 

Lorne Rubis: The Character Triangle - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Educator, Chief People Officer for ATB Financial, and author of the inspirational and wisdom filled book The Character Triangle: Build Character, Have an Impact, and Inspire Others, Lorne Rubis, describes how people can succeed despite events taking place around them over which they have no control. Lorne Rubis says that we may not be able to control events, but we can most certainly control our character. Lorne describes how a person of good character can become an effective leader and team member. A person of good character will also inspire and be a positive influence on other people.

Lorne Rubis points out that character can be learned and developed through his Character Triangle concept. The Character Triangle focuses on the three essential elements of Accountability, Respect, and Abundance. Lorne Rubis describes how to incorporate these core values into your own character until they become habits of thought and action. With the Character Triangle principles in place, you ready to achieve success, and influence success in others as well.

Lorne Rubis is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Tuesday, April 24, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Educator, President and CEO of Ryzex, and author of the inspirational and wisdom filled book The Character Triangle: Build Character, Have an Impact, and Inspire Others, Lorne Rubis, describes how people can succeed despite events taking place around them over which they have no control. You will learn:

* Why even in times when you can't control events you can control your character

* Why character is important to success and inspiring others

* How the values of the Character Triangle work to build character

* How to learn the Character Triangle principles so they become habits



Lorne Rubis (photo left) has one constant in Lorne’s diverse career, and that is his ability to successfully lead organizations through significant change. At US West, where he served as a Vice President / Company Officer, Lorne was one of only seven direct reports to the Chairman, responsible for the strategic planning process, governance and the company’s worldwide total quality initiative.

After a brief but eventful stint at the LA Kings Hockey Club (where, as VP of Business Operations, he improved operations and oversaw the development of Staples Center and its innovative premium seating strategy) he became VP of Sales then Chief Operating Officer at Multiple Zones (now Zones.com). There, he led the transformation of the company from a business-to-consumer to a business-to-business enterprise, realizing dramatic growth in revenue and e-Commerce.

As CEO of Stellar One, he successfully took a privately held Internet protocol TV software company to market.

Lorne is currently the President and CEO of Ryzex, a mobile technology services company, with team members and customers throughout North American and Europe. Lorne has been in this role since 2004 and once again, is involved in actively leading a company through significant change. He has been married for 38 years, has three children and one grandchild and spreads his time between Mercer Island and Bellingham, Washington.

My book review of The Character Triangle: Build Character, Have an Impact, and Inspire Others by Lorne Rubis.

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.

Add to iTunes

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

Let's talk with educator, President and CEO of Ryzex, and author of the inspirational and wisdom filled book The Character Triangle: Build Character, Have an Impact, and Inspire Others, Lorne Rubis, as he describes how people can succeed despite events taking place around them over which they have no control. Lorne Rubis says that we may not be able to control events, but we can most certainly control our character. Lorne describes how a person of good character can become an effective leader and team member. A person of good character will also inspire and be a positive influence on other people.

Lorne Rubis points out that character can be learned and developed through his Character Triangle concept. The Character Triangle focuses on the three essential elements of Accountability, Respect, and Abundance. Lorne Rubis describes how to incorporate these core values into your own character until they become habits of thought and action. With the Character Triangle principles in place, you ready to achieve success, and influence success in others as well on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

 

The Character Triangle by Lorne Rubis - Book review



The Character Triangle

Build Character, Have an Impact, and Inspire Others


By: Lorne Rubis

Published: October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 174 pages
ISBN-10: 193678260X
ISBN-13: 978-1936782604
Publisher: Langdon Street Press







"So what is the Character Triangle? I guarantee; it's a personal game changer. Learning and applying it will help you build more character, have a greater impact, and inspire others", writes educator and Chief People Officer for ATB Financial, Lorne Rubis, in his inspirational and wisdom filled book The Character Triangle: Build Character, Have an Impact, and Inspire Others. The author describes how our character is exclusively our own, and it's defined by what we do and by the choices we make; and provides the the lessons for learning the Character Triangle as a life changing and success building habit.

Lorne Rubis recognizes the necessity of having what he calls a playbook to guide a person's work life. That playbook will also guide how the individual defines success in their career. At the same time, the author points out the importance of being purposeful at play, whether at home or on the job. Lorne Rubis shares his road map toward building the character a person needs to achieve success, and to avoid being passive and lost in both their career and personal life. The author presents his Character Triangle principles as a guide to living a life that makes a positive impact, and inspires others to success and high achievement as well.



Lorne Rubis (photo left) understands that people have little direct control over their workplace, their bosses, or the selection of their co-workers. The author also recognizes that drastic changes in the economy have caused enormous changes within many work environments. The average person has little control over those external forces of change. Despite these challenges, Lorne Rubis provides compelling evidence that regardless of changes around them, people can control their own character.

The author points out that even in less than desirable working conditions, people who lived their lives with the Character Triangle as their guiding compass would always made a positive impact on others.

Lorne Rubis offers the values that form the Character Triangle as a blueprint for both a career and for one's personal life. The three core values that form the foundation of the Character Triangle are as follows:

* Accountability
* Respect
* Abundance

For me, the power of the book is how Lorne Rubis combines the theoretical framework of the Character Triangle, with practical steps to learn and incorporate these habits of living into one's own life. The author makes clear that the principles of the Character Triangle can be learned, and that they can form the basis of a complete personal character transformation.

Lorne Rubis shares his concepts in a very engaging format, complete with intriguing stories of the principles in action. Each chapter contains valuable summaries, sidebars, and hands on exercises to help instill the Character Triangle values into a daily habit. Despite the apparent complexity of actually building and changing character, the author presents the principles in an easy to understand and apply manner. The author's experience as a teacher is evident in the the format of the book and its concepts.

I highly recommend the insightful and practical book The Character Triangle: Build Character, Have an Impact, and Inspire Othersby Lorne Rubis, to anyone in any walk of life, who is seeking an accessible guide to developing the principles and behaviors of a personal of impeccable character. People are naturally drawn to and inspired by people of character. This book will ensure that you are one of those people who make a real difference in the world and in the lives of others.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

 

The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World by Harvey Mackay - Book review




The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

By: Harvey Mackay

Published: November 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
ISBN-10: 1591843871
ISBN-13: 978-1591843870
Publisher: Portfolio/Penguin















"This book won't revolutionize what you know about salesmanship. It will revolutionize and actualize the salesperson within you", writs Hall of Fame speaker, nationally syndicated columnist, and successful entrepreneur Harvey Mackay, in his comprehensive and superior results oriented book The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World. The author describes the real skills and personal traits that create a successful salesperson who will achieve outstanding sales success in any industry, and regardless of the overall economic conditions.

Harvey Mackay is both a highly successful sales representative, but he hires and trains top producing sales people as well. For the author, the best and most effective salesperson is what he calls a "hungry fighter". That individual is driven, possesses a powerful work ethic, and a can do attitude that closes sales in any economy. Harvey Mackay demonstrates the personal attributes necessary to be a top sales representative, and for being a fine person in all aspects of one's life as well. The author presents a complete overview of the critical traits and real world skills that transforms the ordinary sales person into a sales superstar. For the author, the salesperson must be driven to succeed, and share the human touch with customers, resulting in sales mastery.



Harvey Mackay (photo left) recognizes that effective and salespeople achieve success through helping other people succeed and achieve their goals. The positive personal characteristics of the successful sales representative contribute to that overall goal. The author provides wisdom in each chapter of the book, with specific lessons, morals, and mottoes for bring forth the best salesperson within. As a master storyteller, as all great salespeople are, the author shares wisdom and ideas gleaned from sources ranging from the ancient world to modern society. Each of these pearls of wisdom offer a special piece to the overall objective of developing both a top producing sales representative, and and outstanding human being.

For me, the power of the book is how Harvey Mackay combines an in depth analysis of the personal traits necessary to succeed as a sales representative, with real world tested advice for building outstanding sales results. The author shares his proven concepts for hiring and developing top sales producers. The wisdom presented in the book, originating in sources often far removed from sales, bolsters the author's emphasis on having good character as the foundation for high sales achievement. Being a good person is essential for being a great sales representative.

Harvey Mackey provides a complete overview of each the many personal traits required for sales achievement, and shares each of them in an individual chapter. The various chapters contain engaging stories, morals, and takeaways to ensure success. Harvey Mackay reminds his readership that the book is a hands on course in professional sales. As a result, the author encourages sales manager and salesperson alike to mark up and reuse the book over and over again to absorb its overall teachings.

I highly recommend the extensive and wisdom filled book The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World by Harvey Mackay, to any sales managers, entrepreneurs, executives, business leaders, and sales representatives who are serious about increasing their overall sales success. This book will transform both the salespeople and the entire organization into one based on integrity, good character, and a drive to achieve overall success.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

 

Brandwashed by Martin Lindstrom - Book review




Brandwashed

Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy


By: Martin Lindstrom

Published: September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0385531737
ISBN-13: 978-0385531733
Publisher: Crown Business












"My goal is by understanding just how today's newest hidden persuaders are conspiring to brandwash us, we as consumers can battle back", writes marketing expert and chairman and founder of Buyology, Inc., Martin Lindstrom, in his provocative and thought provoking book Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy. the author describes how marketers have developed sophisticated new strategies, tools, and techniques to persuade consumers to purchase their goods and services, and shares ideas to better educate people on why they are buying to make more informed decisions in the marketplace.

Martin Lindstrom recognizes that people cannot simply stop buying consumer products entirely. The author tried that strategy himself, and the result was a complete failure. He takes the realistic position that people will always spend their money on various consumer products. At the same time, marketers are also well aware of this reality of modern society. Martin Lindstrom points out that marketers will use every social, psychological, sexual, and demographic information at their disposal to convince us to buy their wares. While those concepts have been around for decades, the author provides evidence that marketers are going much farther than ever before in manipulating the customer. Indeed, Martin Lindstrom alleges that marketers go much farther than ever before in seducing potential customers.



Martin Lindstrom (photo left) points out that many of the techniques used in modern marketing are what he calls devious, underhanded, and even outright rewiring the brain of the consumer. The author describes how marketers gather information on customers without their knowledge. Going far beyond collecting buying behavior, marketers utilize complete individual profiles gleaned from multiple sources, ranging from social media to invade personal and family lives. This collected and collated data is then turned around to sell people even more products and services. The methods described by the author extend to marketing to very young children, and at earlier ages than previously thought possible.

Martin Lindstrom shares a series of chapters that describe how marketers manipulate customers, and provides a series of remedies to reduce the influence of those same intrusive marketing strategies. The topics covered include:

* What age companies begin to market to consumers
* Why fear sells in marketing
* How brand and shopping addicts are created
* The role played by sex in marketing
* Hoe peer pressure is applied to consumers
* How nostalgia is used to market fond memories
* How celebrities and fame are used in marketing
* How hope and values are marketed

For me, the power of the book is how Martin Lindstrom combines a comprehensive and fundamental understanding of marketing techniques, with practical and readily applied tactics to avoid marketing manipulation. As the author states, the purpose of the book is to educate consumers to make more informed buying decisions, and how to avoid falling prey to intrusive marketing methods.

Martin Lindstrom presents his information as an antidote to what he considers underhanded marketing strategies. To be a better informed consumer, is to be a wiser and and more resistant consumer. The author shares the latest brain research used by marketers to stimulate certain areas of the brain to generate buying impulses. He also offers hands on advice to openly resist even the most subtle marketing messages. The author also shares the results of a unique marketing experiment he employed in the real world. Overall, this book is an eye opening experience for anyone.

I highly recommend the often shocking and very informative book Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy by Martin Lindstrom, to anyone who is serious about understanding the inner workings of marketing at their most basic and fundamental level. With this knowledge, combined with the techniques to counter the marketing tactics, you will be a better informed consumer.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

 

Painting With Numbers by Randall Bolten - Book review



Painting with Numbers

Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You


By: Randall Bolten

Published: April 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
ISBN-10: 1118172574
ISBN-13: 978-1118172575
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.










"In the case of financial documents, poorly understood reports could lead to mass confusion or even mistakes costing millions of dollars. But the right presentation of that same information could make an audience think aha! and motivate outstanding performance", writes long time CFO of several Silicon Valley companies, Randall Bolton, in his comprehensive and communication improving book Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You. The author describes how to present even complex mathematical information in an easy to understand manner, using the same basic idea sharing communication skills as writing with words, or for having a personal conversation.

Randall Bolten understands the critical importance of understanding financial numbers to the success of any organization. The author points out, however, that there is a real disconnect between how the numbers are presented to decision makers, peers, and subordinates, and how well those numbers are understood. For many executives, describing financial statements of all types to other people, presents a real challenge. Many of the people hearing the reports as presented, either do not gain any information or insights from the numbers. All too often, the message received about the underlying figures is an incorrect one, resulting in enormous and expensive mistakes being made by the organization. Randall Bolten provides a complete blueprint for presenting financial statements in an understandable and and professional manner.



Randall Bolten (photo left) recognizes that the fundamental problem posed by presenting numbers, to an audience of any size and varying levels of mathematical and accounting knowledge, is simply one of communication. Through developing the insight that presenting numbers follows a set of rules, similar to grammar, spelling and wording, the author begins the process of demystifying financial statements. While the rules of words are taught in schools, and are well understood by most people, Randall Bolten asserts that such is not the case with number presentation. As a result, the author rectifies that shortcoming, and offers a clear and concise system and set of rules for presenting numbers and financial information in terms that are fully understood by the intended audience.

For me, the power of the book is how Randall Bolten provides a complete outline for presenting numbers and financial data to anyone at any time. The author offers an entire process for number presentation based on a series of rules, that make any sort of numbers comprehensible and readily understood, even by people with limited mathematical or financial background. The author points out that the person making the presentation is responsible for conveying the message contained in the numbers.

With this basic premise in mind, Randall Bolten offers a repeatable set of steps for transforming any number presentation into one that is both enlightening and focused on the truly important numbers and their implications. By following the procedure established by the author, anyone can be successful at sharing numbers or financial data, regardless of complexity, in an accessible and engaging manner. This book will change the way anyone thinks about numbers, data presentation, and any sort of numeric communication.

I highly recommend the very accessible and process based book Painting with Numbers: Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You by Randall Bolten, to anyone in business, public policy making, analysis, science, or any occupation or profession who works with numbers and must present that data to an audience. This book will improve your numeric and overall presentation skills, boost your career, and create a more successful business.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

 

The Panic Free Job Search by Paul Hill - Book review




The Panic Free Job Search

Unleash the Power of the Web and Social Networking to Get Hired


By: Paul Hill

Published: March 22, 2012
Format: Paperback, 256 pages
ISBN-10: 1601632037
ISBN-13: 978-1601632036
Publisher: Career Press













"No longer will you have to settle for a job that is available to you simply because you need a paycheck. Nor is it about what is hot or good, but rather about what excites you and what you can make money at, while getting a thrill. writes career transition expert, coach, speaker, and founder of ADV Advanced Technical Services Inc., Paul Hill, in his very practical and results oriented book The Panic Free Job Search: Unleash the Power of the Web and Social Networking to Get Hired. The author describes how to leverage the power of social media to uncover the hidden job market, to become more visible to employers utilizing advanced tools, and find the job that you really want.

Paul Hill recognizes that many people are frustrated with their current jobs, and yet they lack the knowledge of up to date techniques to transition to a new job. The author presents proven and up to date strategies and techniques for landing a great job even in today's down economy. Paul Hill emphasizes, however, that employment seekers must understand and utilize current job finding tactics to achieve success. The author points out that methods that were effective in the past simply do not work in the modern job market. To find a job, according to Paul Hill, job seekers must demonstrate a web knowledgeable online presence, utilize social media strategies effectively, and understand how employers use those same social media sites to find suitable employment candidates.



Paul Hill (photo left) understands that to find that tremendous job, a person must truly know what they really want, and what excites them in life. Without this basic personal understanding, an individual will not have the focus to discover the ideal job for them and their passions. Paul Hill begins the employment journey with this critical first step of recognizing one's own goals, wishes, and dreams prior to beginning any active job search campaign. This personal discovery will sharpen the focus, and increase the drive and desire to land that dream employment position.

Paul Hill guides the employment seeker through an entire hands on course in job hunting that takes into consideration the realities of the current employment marketplace. The author includes information that works, and advises against using out dated techniques that will lead only to dead ends. The author provides his proven ACT formula for finding that job that is right for the employment seeker. The three principles of the ACT concept are as follows:

* Alignment: Matching your inner person with the right job
* Confidence: Setting and visualizing your employment goals
* Tactics: From search to resume to interview

For me, the power of the book is how Paul Hill provides a comprehensive employment seeking road map, that will result in a job, that fits the inner goals and passions of the candidate. The author begins the guide with a thorough self examination exercise for the job seeker to focus on their personal goals, passions, and dreams. With this targeting in place, Paul Hill then provides a step by step search process, that is not only proven to work in the real world, but is repeatable for any type of job seeker regardless of the stage in their career.

The author offers advice for understanding how the current job market works, a thorough grounding in the essential social media tools, and a realistic assessment of how employers probe the social media landscape to find candidates. With the employer focus on candidates in mind, Paul Hill transforms the job seeker into a web and social media savvy employment candidate, who will be sought after for several highly desirable positions.

I highly recommend the employment seeking blueprint and strategy based book The Panic Free Job Search: Unleash the Power of the Web and Social Networking to Get Hired by Paul Hill, to anyone at any stage of their career, whether employed currently or not, who are seeking a guide to finding and landing that ideal job for them. This book will steer you in the right direction, provide the proven advice you need, and guide you toward your personal employment goal.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

 

Phil Gerbyshak: #TwitterWorks - Blog Business Success Radio

Listen to Wayne Hurlbert on Blog Talk Radio



Social media consultant, founder of the Make It Great! Institute, and author of the very practical and ideal filled #TwitterWorks: Restaurant 2.0 Edition: How social media built a restaurant, a pizza truck and thousands of relationships, Phil Gerbyshak describes how to use social media to grow your business. Phil demonstrates how businesses can start using social media effectively, and the right way, from the very start. He points out that not all social media platforms are right for every business and shows you how to choose what works best for your company. Phil Gerbyshak dispels many of the myths and misconceptions that have grown up around social media, and explains why these myths can harm your business. Phil provides a guideline for when to realistically expect results of any social media campaign. Learn the real world uses of social media, and how to utilize them to best result for your company,

Phil Gerbyshak is my internet radio show guest on Blog Business Success; hosted live on BlogTalkRadio.

The show airs live on Thursday, April 19, at 8:00 pm Eastern Time; 5:00 pm Pacific Time.

Social media consultant, founder of the Make It Great! Institute, and author of the very practical and ideal filled #TwitterWorks: Restaurant 2.0 Edition: How social media built a restaurant, a pizza truck and thousands of relationships, Phil Gerbyshak describes how to use social media to grow your business. You will learn:

* How Twitter and other social media can help build your business

* What type of business lends itself especially well to social media

* How to get started with the right social media tools the right way

* What are some of the fallacies and misconceptions about social media



Phil Gerbyshak (photo left) is the chief connections officer who works with small businesses and organizations to increase employee & customer engagement by using social media to create and build relationships. He helps them understand it’s really not about the tools; it’s all about the conversations they participate in and the connections they create and cultivate.

Phil worked in IT for the past 15 years, and has focused his efforts on understanding and leveraging the social media space for over 5 years. His work building relationships using blogs was spotlighted in the 2005 book What Nobody Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting: Real Life Advice from 101 People Who Successfully Leverage the Power of the Blogosphere.

In addition to doing keynote and breakout addresses, Phil greatly enjoys coaching others in the simple strategies and tactics that make life great. His first book 10 Ways to Make It Great! was published in 2006 and inspired many to make the changes in their life to go from good…to GREAT.

His second book Help Desk Manager’s Crash Course offers managers a guidebook for hiring, firing, discipline, and more.

His latest book #TwitterWorks: Restaurant 2.0 Edition: How social media built a restaurant, a pizza truck and thousands of relationships features success stories, tips and traps about using twitter for independent restaurants and small businesses.

Phil is currently working on several projects to enable small businesses to effectively use social media in a concentrated amount of time.

In a nutshell, Phil does speaking, coaching, and training for small and medium sized organizations and entrepreneurs who want to take their life, and their business to the next level.

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.

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

Let's talk with social media consultant, founder of the Make It Great! Institute, and author of the very practical and ideal filled #TwitterWorks: Restaurant 2.0 Edition: How social media built a restaurant, a pizza truck and thousands of relationships, Phil Gerbyshak as he describes how to use social media to grow your business. Phil demonstrates how businesses can start using social media effectively, and the right way, from the very start. He points out that not all social media platforms are right for every business and shows you how to choose what works best for your company.

Phil Gerbyshak dispels many of the myths and misconceptions that have grown up around social media, and explains why these myths can harm your business. Phil provides a guideline for when to realistically expect results of any social media campaign. Learn the real world uses of social media, and how to utilize them to best result for your company on Blog Business Success Radio.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

 

Relevant Selling by Jaynie L. Smith - Book review




Relevant Selling

Research Proves Customers Value More Than Just Price


By: Jaynie L. Smith, Craig Mowrey, Mark Steisel

Published: April 1, 2012
Format: Hardcover, 270 pages
ISBN-10: 0615564038
ISBN-13: 978-0615564036
Publisher: Executive Suite Press, Inc.












"Most business simply do not align their operation with their customers' priorities - internally or externally", writes strategist and Founder and CEO of Founder and CEO of Smart Advantage, Inc., Jaynie L. Smith; Senior Partner at Founder and CEO of Smart Advantage, Inc., Craig Mowrey; and writer and editor Mark Steisel, in their research based and results oriented book Relevant Selling: Research Proves Customers Value More Than Just Price. The authors describe how their research demonstrates that companies have little internal agreement or understanding of what is really wanted by customers; and that the main customer desire not simply lower prices.

Jaynie Smith and her co-authors understand that it is critical to learn what is fundamentally most important to customers. For many business leaders, there is a complete disconnect between how customers perceive value, and how the company strategists think that customers perceive that value. Without this deeper consideration of what value really means, company decision makers will think mistakenly that value equates to pricing. When this mistaken belief about what customers want becomes the ruling paradigm in the company, the essential customer perspective is ignored and not given consideration. The authors consider this neglect of what is truly relevant to the customer a serious mistake that costs the company in lost sales and reduced profits.



Jayne L. Smith (photo left), Craig Mowrey, and Mark Steisel offer an effective alternative concept in the form of what they call relevant selling. Instead of ignoring customers, or assuming that the company decision makers know better what those customers are seeking, relevant selling emphasizes the importance of listening to and really hearing customers. This listening process will uncover what is truly important to customers, prospects, and the various target market segments. With a deeper knowledge of how customers perceive value and what is relevant to them, a more personal marketing message can be crafted and delivered to those audiences.

The authors present a complete examination of customer relevance and share the techniques and strategies for delivering a tailored message. Instead of being similar to other companies, relevant selling offers a method for being truly different from the competition. This real differentiation creates a positive and effective competitive advantage. Instead of guesswork, the authors share a quantitative research method that ranks the products being sold at present; as well as measuring the relevance and response to how those goods are being sold.

For me, the power of the book is how Jaynie Smith, Craig Mowrey, and Mark Steisel provide a comprehensive and research based strategy to understanding customers. The authors offer a concept the actually listens to customers, and values what they consider relevant. The principles of relevant selling go far beyond ideas found in the typical sales how to books. Relevant selling comprise a complete transformation of the company culture, including the firm's strategic planning, its view of customers, and what to measure for understanding the results of relevant selling.

The authors share a complete blueprint for integrating relevant selling into the new company culture. At the same time, the concept creates a measurable and repeatable process for applying relevant selling across the entire organization. The authors enhance their presentation with a group of case studies that illustrate the principles and practices of relevant selling, in action, in the real world marketplace.


I highly recommend the transformational and customer focuses book Relevant Selling: Research Proves Customers Value More Than Just Price by Jaynie L. Smith, Craig Mowrey, and Mark Steisel, to any business leaders, executives, and decision makers who are serious about truly understanding the real thinking and perspectives of their customers. This book will not only change how you think about and listen to your customers, it will create a sea change in how your company operates, as you utilize your new competitive advantage to become a market leader.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

 

Amber Hickey: A Guidebook of Alternative Nows - Author interview



Researcher and graduate student Amber Hickey was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about her upcoming, thought provoking and idea filled anthology A Guidebook of Alternative Nows.

Amber Hickey shared some of the groundbreaking essay concepts and also described her fundraising initiative for the book through the crowd funding Kickstarter platform.

Thanks to Amber for her time, and for her very thoughtful responses to the questions. They are greatly appreciated

What was the background to writing this book A Guidebook of Alternative Nows?

Amber Hickey: There's an author team I really like called J.K.Gibson-Graham (a fusion of both of their names). They write that when we criticize the current system, we are offering it more power and legitimacy. For instance, saying "we hate crony capitalism" will just make crony capitalism stronger. So rather than continuing to criticize, and expecting that will change something, we should instead strengthen the things in the world that we like and agree with. I completely connect to their argument. It feels constructive and smart.

So I decided to make this book to offer space for illuminating diverse and hopeful versions of now that most people do not know about, or think of as truly legitimate. Every evening, I switch on the news. The version of our world that I see portrayed in the media is not great, to say the least; but the incredible amount that creative thinkers and makers are producing easily sways minds in a more hopeful direction. That's why I decided to create this book - to highlight the versions of now that are more constructive and hopeful.

When you talk about alternative nows, what do you mean by that concept?

Amber Hickey: If you ask anyone what the economic system is in the West, they would probably say “capitalism.” But that is only part of the answer. There is a wide array of different economic systems in action right now, but a lot of people don't know about them - or acknowledge them as valid. I'm not talking about communism or socialism - although of course those exist as well. I'm talking about the economies that we fall back on when the capitalist market fails.

The original meaning of "economy" was "household." So for instance, the domestic economy is huge - in some western countries it's estimated that the domestic (unpaid) economy is "worth" the equivalent of more than 40% of GDP. There's also what we call the Solidarity Economy. That means everything from bartering to helping your neighbors, to sharing goods to forming cooperatives.

The idea is that by strengthening the ties between the different parts of the solidarity economy, and by acknowledging their influence and the part they play in our lives, the SE will be validated as a "proper" part of the economy and can grow even more. Our visions and experiences of the economy will therefore be more positive and holistic. So the economy is the first and most complicated element that the book addresses.
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Second is ecology. The media tells us that we've done serious damage to the environment, and that's true. The problem is that we don't often see examples of the people who are really trying to engage in actions that help rather than harm our environment. The book highlights several groups who are making the effort to work with the environment, rather than against it - for instance with permaculture and urban farming.

The third element is community. Many say that following the advent of the internet, people are becoming less social and more selfish. If you look at some of the examples in this book of communities working together to help each other, being mutually supportive, and therefore benefiting everyone, you can begin to question that perspective.



Amber Hickey (photo left)

The book is comprised of over thirty contributors. Who are some of the contributors and what ideas are they sharing?

Amber Hickey: The Urban Farmers create roof-top farms, using what's called an "aquaponic" system. That means they grow vegetables in fish-tanks. The vegetables are fertilized with the fish waste, and the users of the farm can eat the fish too. The Yes Men are contributors that probably everyone will have heard of. Their contribution addresses the overwhelming difficulty of producing change, and features practical suggestions for activists-to-be. It is comedically titled Monkey-Wrenching the Capitalist Juggernaut. Their work is often about subverting the dominant system to reveal different realities and they quite literally create "alternative nows."

The Community Economies Collective is a loosely knit group of researchers from all over the world, who are trying to increase the awareness and strength of community and solidarity based economies. They have two entries: one about taking back our food economy (having more knowledge and control over where it comes from and how it's made); the other is about the necessity of creative experimentation in coming up with new forms of security and resilience.

Jeanne van Heeswijk is a Dutch artist who works with communities to realize socially-engaged projects. Her contribution, Freehouse, is about a project she did with residents in an immigrant district in Amsterdam. The neighborhood was threatened with gentrification, but the residents worked to strengthen their infrastructure to resist and supersede the threat against their space. Those are just a few!

How were the contributors for the book decided upon to add content on the topic?

Amber Hickey: I knew a lot of the contributors before from my work as an artist and curator. I always thought more people should know about what they are doing because it is so interesting and beautiful, and makes one perceive the world differently. Whenever I invited a contributor, I asked if they knew of anyone else who was working in the field of creating alternative nows. Usually, they'd write back with one or two names. The network is already there! While I was researching for the book, looking at resources about alternatives in every field, I found out about the others. So eventually, it grew to be quite a comprehensive and diverse group of contributors.

One of the premises of the book is that ordinary people and their voices are no longer heard in the media. What do you mean by that?

Amber Hickey: I am not sure if ordinary people ever had their voices heard in the media. I meant that in general it can seem difficult to get your voice heard. It's easy to feel powerless and hopeless when there are so many of us, and the hierarchy of power and influence seems so difficult to penetrate.

How do the essays in the anthology provide some fresh ideas for building the economy and for respecting the environment?

Amber Hickey: There's a beautiful essay by the Laboratory of the Insurrectionary Imagination. They are art-activists who recently left their lives in London and bought land in France to start an autonomous permaculture community. The way they write about deeply listening to the land they live on is truly inspiring. I think we could all take a hint from them. In terms of the economy, the Community Economies Collective, Solidarity NYC and others highlight that we need to first look at and engage differently with the idea of "the economy." Then we can start to build one that we are happier with.

You elected to use the crowd funding concept of Kickstarter to help fund the book project. Why did you choose this funding avenue?

Amber Hickey: It makes sense - a book that emphasizes collectivity and cooperation should be funded by lots of people.



How can people get involved in helping to fund your book and what amounts of financial assistance can a person consider sharing with the project?

Amber Hickey: It's easy to help out with the Kickstarter campaign. Anyone can pledge any amount (from $1 and up). Every little bit counts! We need $5000 to cover the basic printing costs. $6500 would cover printing, plus other small things like shipping copies to the contributors and buying a website domain for the book. With $19,000 I could do all that, plus pay the contributors, book designer, and cover illustrator. We've all been working for free up until now -- well, I did offer to cook them all dinner at some point! But essentially, it's been a labour of love.

Here's the link to the Kickstarter campaign

What is next for Amber Hickey and A Guidebook of Alternative Nows?

Amber Hickey: I am writing my MA thesis on the same topic, but from a more research-based perspective. I'm also working on another book about what power is (or is becoming) today, with the backdrop of the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, and a general destabilization of power in its traditional form. I'm thinking of doing a Ph.D. next, or going into book publishing professionally. But I'm open...I'd also be very happy to work on a farm in the daytime and write in the evening.

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