In Book Review, Management on May 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm
How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything…in Business (and in Life)
by Dov Seidman
The book is about ethics and reputation, value-based cultures vs. rule-based cultures, and as the author likes to say, “getting your hows right.” There are some valuable messages in the book.
For example, the University of Michigan Hospital and Health System experienced a 50% reduction in malpractice lawsuits after encouraging doctors to apologize to patients and admit when mistakes are made. The author also cites an academic study which found “the least trusted buyer incurred procurement costs six times higher than the most trusted.” These examples are powerful evidence that behaving responsibly is good for the bottom line.
This book would have much more impact if it was distilled to half its length. An important message is buried by painfully verbose writing. I read the first edition, published in 2007. There’s a newer 384-page “Expanded Edition” published in 2011. I am reminded of the expression, “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have time.”
In Book Review, General on May 14, 2013 at 10:57 am
The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need
by Daniel. H. Pink
The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is a short graphic novel about a young accountant who hates his job. In the story, a supernatural career advisor presents six guiding principles:
- There is no plan.
- Think strengths, not weaknesses.
- It’s not about you.
- Persistence trumps talent.
- Make excellent mistakes.
- Leave an imprint.
“The key to success is to steer around your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. Successful people don’t try too hard to improve what they’re bad at. They capitalize on what they’re good at.”
“It’s about your customer. It’s about your client. Use your strengths, yes. But remember… you’re here to serve–not to self-actualize… The most successful people improve their own lives by improving others’ lives. They help their customer solve its problem. They give their client something it didn’t know it was missing. That’s where they focus their energy, talent, and brainpower… The most valuable people in any job bring out the best in others. They make their boss look good. They help their teammates succeed.”
An excellent mistake is defined as one in which the benefits of what you’ve learned exceed the costs of the screw-up.
This is excellent advice for people starting their careers, but the subtitle is overstated.
In Book Review, General on May 10, 2013 at 8:03 am
The ACME Catalog
by Charles Carney. Illustrations by Scott Grass
As seen on TV! ACME has been the preferred vendor of your favorite Looney Tunes characters for over 60 years.
This catalog is loaded with 94 pages of classic ACME products like the ever-popular Invisible Paint. “Clean the garage, get rid of a sink full of dishes, even hide your house from door-to-door salespeople.” Best of all, it works in just one coat!
Trying to catch an elusive roadrunner? ACME’s Iron Bird Seed and Giant Magnet are all you need. Or try the ACME Boomerang—“a guaranteed return on your investment.”
Do you enjoy the thrill of extreme sports? ACME Rocket Skates are “capable of going from zero to sixty in 2.1 seconds.”
Other best-selling ACME products include the 3000 lb. Anvil, TNT Plunger, and Instant Tunnel Paint.
ACME is a name you can trust. As one customer testimonial on the inside front cover puts it, “ACME stands by its products—usually at a safe enough distance not to get hurt.”
So don’t delay… order your ACME catalog today!