Presumably, anyone can be a manager - or at least own the title.
But being called a manager doesn't make you one.
Those of us fortunate enough to have jobs these days must work
harder and smarter.
"I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works" by Nick
Bilton; Crown Business, 304 pages ($25)
Some people are naturally charming and persuasive. Others are
clearly not, though they may try to motivate you with their logic,
reason and sound arguments. Unfortunately for them, humans are not
logical creatures, and they are rarely rational.
Maybe you're old enough to remember when most retail stores
closed on Sunday or shuttered their doors at 5 or 6 p.m. during the
week. Now, to stay competitive, all but a few remain open every
night and every day.
So we have 168 hours every week. How do we spend it? Let's see:
Going to and from work and work itself for my "real" job takes 55
hours; I sleep about 50 hours or so, so that leaves about another
60 to be with my family, shop, cook, eat and read and review at
least a book a week. I don't wat…
Word nerds (like me) usually look askance at most tomes on
writing and language.
I was blown away by Dan Pink's 2005 book, "A Whole New Mind,"
his incisive look at the ways work can evolve into something much
more than just labor.
"What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures" by Malcolm Gladwell;
Little, Brown & Co., 410 pages ($27.99).
"Money Talks, Bull**** Walks: Inside the Contrarian Mind of
Billionaire Mogul Sam Zell" by Ben Johnson. Portfolio. 246
When advertiser-supported media - print, broadcast, online,
whatever - cease to exist as audiences shrink below the critical
mass needed by businesses to justify placing advertising there,
it's what Advertising Age columnist and NPR host Bob Garfield calls
"The Chaos Scenario."
"No Size Fits All: From Mass Marketing to Mass Handselling" by
Tom Hayes and Michael S. Malone; Portfolio, 288 pages ($25.95).
Most of new media clusters were illogical amalgamations to begin
with. And clumsy execution guaranteed their failure, even with the
best of intentions. Inevitably, the value of the properties quickly
bled out. For example, the following passage, although a bit
clunky, thoroughly describes th…
The effects of layoffs on individuals have been well documented.
The trauma of being forcefully separated from job, friends,
co-workers and company leaves painful, lingering scars. But the
aftereffects of a layoff, or multiple layoffs, also have widespread
and lasting implications and manife…
If advertising is becoming less and less effective, and
marketing has to go into stealth mode to have any effect, how the
heck do you promote your business?
The paucity of leadership is all around us. In government and
business, we see people who are unable to genuinely lead and
inspire others to do their best for themselves and their
Alan Deutschman's short and readable book looks at a number of
people and the failure and success they achieved for themselves and
their organizations based on whether or not their actions aligned
with their words.
I currently have no plans to retire. As long as I still have
most of my marbles, I'll just keep working, though I may eventually
be forced to stop. This is highly unlikely (yeah right), but to be
prudent I ought to prepare for the possibility that my earning days
could end. I'll need to look…
As President John F. Kennedy said, "Victory has a thousand
fathers, but defeat is an orphan." When good things happen, there's
usually no problem identifying the responsible party.
Take a break from business nonfiction to check out these summer
"Free: The Future of a Radical Price" by Chris Anderson;
Hyperion. 288 pages.
Crisis? It would seem so. Despite spikes and blips, the Great
Recession continues. Unemployment spirals, manufacturing craters,
malevolent banksters still game the system and sundry companies
seek new ways to squeeze blood from stones.
High unemployment continues. I suspect, in fact, that it's far
worse than official statistics indicate.
These two fascinating books spell out the ways our lives will
change as the prices of oil, gasoline and petrochemicals continue
The term elegance is popularly misunderstood. It's not about
luxury, avarice or Fred Astaire. It's simplicity itself.
Maybe I'm taking a cheap shot here, though I don't mean to. But
a book titled "Rethink" invites every wise-guy and a
well-intentioned reviewer to apply the implied invitation to this
endeavor as well.
"Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take
it Back" by Douglas Rushkoff. Random House. 304 pages.
Facebook, Twitter and other social-networking tools have evolved
from being merely the latest annoying fads to nearly essential
tools for social and professional networking — and the blurry and
fading border between the two.
Unless you're an economics wonk, finance books can be
As much as I am obsessed with biz books, I often find business
wisdom in others that seem to have nothing to do with commerce. A
few years ago, for example, I reviewed a book about the underground
culture of pickup artists, since many of their principles and
practices were applicable to sale…
There are hunters and there are gatherers. With the advent of
online commerce, hunters are now ascendant. And why not? Thanks to
Google, anyone who can key in a name, even one spelled incorrectly,
can suddenly gather information about a product, service or
provider in detail that would have …
According to Wikipedia, "Whuffie is the ephemeral,
reputation-based currency of Cory Doctorow's science-fiction novel,
'Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.' This book describes a
post-scarcity economy: All the necessities (and most of the
luxuries) of life are free for the taking. A person's …
Hindsight isn't really 20-20.
To have a successful career, one must cultivate an individual
identity—a brand, if you will. Yet it's vitally important to build
a network of connections to make it happen. Three new books attempt
to explain how it's done.
As we had mentioned in an earlier review, one business sector is
booming. Books examining the current economy and the causes of its
precarious condition are apparently a growth industry — at least on
the production end. Previously, we looked at attempts to identify
and explicate the origins …
Unlike novels, movies or music, a non-fiction book's title is a
promise, and a description of its content and goals. Because of
this, certain expectations are set up, though the old saying "You
can't tell a book by its cover" should still be heeded.
I recently encountered a pair of current business books
employing pictograms and graphic storytelling to communicate
principles, tactics and other ideas:
Author Edwin Black is a child of Holocaust survivors. His new
"Nazi Nexus" offers a compact and highly concentrated dose of
history that powerfully demonstrates the deleterious effects of the
convergence of avarice and ideology, American-style.
Author Steven D. Strauss is a small-business maven. This USA
Today small-business columnist and author of "The Business Start-Up
Kit" and "The Big Idea" recently released a new edition of his "The
Small Business Bible." His Web site, MrAllBiz, www.mrallbiz.com, is
a one-stop resource.
This is a smart and sharp look at what mostly bigger businesses
can do to prepare for survival in the present uncertain economic
When David Ogilvy, the most famous advertising man of his era,
died, it merited front-page notice in The New York Times.
It's a strange time, uncertain and frightening. But it's a
logical outcome for an economy fueled by funky credit, inflated
real estate, cooked books, regulatory dereliction and more. Add the
Internet, the commoditization of, well, nearly everything, and
sundry international instabilities and…
Intellectual property is the gift that keeps giving — for some.
Current copyright laws, especially in the United States, tend to
favor the incumbents, which is why Disney still owns Mickey Mouse
and his posse.
Networking is confusing. Merely a few short years ago, it was
just a matter of handing out and scooping up business cards then
following up with a nice note and/or phone call.
Unless I missed an earlier one, this is the first religious
tract about Google. Jeff Jarvis, a high-profile blogger, journalism
teacher, entrepreneur and editor preaches that with few exceptions,
businesses ought to embrace and embody the qualities that he calls
(ugh!) "Googley." Essentially…
Scan the online comments accompanying most current stories about
the travails of the newspaper business and you'll invariably
encounter declarations that most problems are caused by a dearth of
I'm not sure if this book was persuasive — at least in one
A recruiter pal told me recently that despite the ongoing waves
of layoffs, some companies are still hiring, though specific skills
and other qualifications are more important than ever. That's good
news for those of us who seek new challenges — whether it's
voluntary or forced upon us.
It's a really loaded term that triggers sundry hot buttons like
outsourcing, imports, protectionism, layoffs and more. But
apparently, everything we thought we knew about globalization is
How do we get out of this mess we're in? The United States
doesn't manufacture very much anymore, nor is agriculture likely to
re-emerge as the driving force of our economy. American popular
culture is still dominant throughout the world, but many of the
movie studios and remaining record co…