Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Book: The Power of Self-Confidence

Author:  Brian Tracy

Published: 2012

Pages: 156

Why Read

This book is pretty self-confident! The introduction alone promises to teach readers how to “develop confidence, courage, and unshakable determination.” Unshakeable is pretty powerful stuff. It all starts with one question: What one great thing would you dare to dream, if you knew you couldn’t fail?

More the-glass-is-half-full than not, the good news according to Tracy is that everyone has a certain amount of self-confidence, more in some areas and less in others, and he shows how you can build on what you have in order to master the areas that are most important to you.

This great quote sums it all up: Courtesy of Thomas Edison, “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”


Chapter one opens with the importance of clear values. The second chapter takes off on assigning goals for every part of your life and making sure your goals and values work with them. Chapter three is about commitment to reaching mastery. Midway through the book, chapter four covers mental fitness techniques like positive self talk and practicing positive expectations. Later chapters show you how to capitalize on your strengths and triumphing over adversity, which mentions another book summary we did on Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

Some highlights:

  • What you think and feel about yourself and what you can and cannot do are the sum total results of lifetime of experience and  conditioning–not a true reflection of what you can do.
  • To enjoy self-confidence on the outside, start with inner self-confidence.
  • During ups and downs, it’s important that you remain true to yourself and stick to your values. (Stat: Companies that have very clear written values to which everyone ascribed earned an average of 700 percent greater profit over 25 years than others.)
  • Most companies select integrity as they highest value, but it’s more than that– it is the one quality of mind that assures or guarantees all the other values that you select.
  • Living in truth means you don’t have to pretend or practice self-delusion.
  • 4Cs of inner confidence:

Clarity: What do you want to become, what kind of person do you want to be?

Conviction: Unshakable belief in yourself.

Commitment: Do whatever is necessary for success.

Consistency: Work on goals every day.

  • What holds you back? Fear is the greatest enemy of self-confidence.
  • The greatest enemy of human achievement is the comfort zone.
  • Steps to Imagining (no limitations allowed):

1. Make a dream list.

2. Tap into your mental and emotional powers.

3. Commit them to paper.

4. Prioritize goals.

5. Put deadlines on them.

6. Make detailed lists of everything you will have to do to achieve each goal.

7. Organize each list by time and priority.

The final chapter is all about actions, even closing with a short list of seven action exercises. We’ll leave you with number seven, followed by a nice little wrap-up thought and fun fact:

Resolve today that you will never give up, that you will persist over all obstacles until you succeed in creating the wonderful life that is possible for you.

“In every study of success and self-confidence, in every situation in which a person enjoys high levels of self-esteem, self-respect, and personal pride, one thing is found to be in common: Each high-achieving man or woman is in the right place, at the right time, doing exactly the work that he or she is uniquely qualified to do. “

Fun Fact: It wasn’t until the age of 66 that Colonel Sanders found success with Kentucky Fried Chicken.

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Book: Rebuilding The Brand – How Harley-Davidson Became King of the Road

Author:  Clyde Fessler

Published: 2013

Pages: 104

Why Read

This short and sweet read aligns marketing 101 lessons with the H-D evolution. Written from the perspective of “Clyde the Glide,” H-D’s marketing guru, it tells the story of the brand’s “phoenix-like rise from the ashes” of near bankruptcy in 1985.

The book is about branding, more specifically on how the marketing team took a brand with a big image problem and not only changed it, but built it into the iconic brand it is today. The team? A group of employees, dealers, and customers who came together for a common good: to preserve H-D legacy.

After all, to a true Hog, it is never about the destination–it is forever about the journey.

A fun highlight? “If you want to talk to bikers you better look like a biker and be a biker. Problems are in the office, solutions are in the field.”


The author explains brand experience as a part of brand design and its identity (packaging, communications, environments). To produce a good experience, you must have brand personality, which must be closely aligned with your customers’ personality. To this end, he offers four steps to add personality.

From a production standpoint, H-D was competing with the Japanese who were making more bikes cheaper and better, through centralized decision-making, just-in-time inventory management, and inspection as-you-go quality control. In summary, they showed that Harley was flawed in the area of basic production. To improve, H-D had to have the productivity triad:

EI = Employee Involvement (empowerment)

JIT = Just-in-time inventory

SOC = Statistical operator control (measure production quality and track variances)

They also had to be honest with customers, turning negatives into positives (a HOG for example), and then move on.

And so H-D did, to build brand loyalty. In 1981, H-D was the last American manufacturer standing in America. They decided to tout that heritage—rugged, adventurous, classic, and 100 percent USA-made.

They introduced the “Super Ride,” based on the classic marketing solution of sampling, by inviting potential customers to take demo rides on the new bikes.

Brand extensions were also added, because it’s easier to pull sales from your current customer base than get new customers (clothing was number one, known as H-D MotorClothes). Clothing serves as a nice introduction to “the rider aura, the mystique,” and the logo wear (controlled by also-new licensing) identifies you as a rugged individual, the personification of the H-D brand.

Fessler says they made it easy to do business with H-D, and especially on a large-scale international level. Find people with the same values and make them partners.

He moves on to programs that build brand association (Hard Rock Cafes) and the concept of co-branding (think the film E.T. and Reese’s Pieces candies). Examples include Summerfest sponsorship (the world’s largest music fest in Milwaukee) through the H-D Roadhouse stage and the H-D racing team.

Brand consistency and welfare initiatives, a strategic growth plan, and the opening of H-D University are discussed.

At the end of the book, the author puts the take-aways out there, including hiring for passion, riding, turning negatives into positives, and more.

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Book: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Author:  Marshall Goldsmith

Published: 2007

Pages: 223

Why Read

If you’re like me and enjoyed Goldsmith’s MOJO book (also covered on this blog site, part 1 & part 2), you’ll appreciate the smart and practical wisdom behind this entry on one of the hardest things to do: Change your behavior.

In part 1 of this read, we reviewed the message of the book and introduced the 20 habits (actually 21) that hold us back from change. Here in part 2, we’ll cover t the actions to take to change for the better and wrap things up.

Ultimately the lesson you learn is that “You are Here” now, and advised not to look ahead but behind–as if you were looking back on your behavior with the benefit of wisdom that comes with old age.


With the list of 20 offenses, your approach is to whittle it down to one or two things to change. The author provides a seven-step method for changing for the better and make your colleagues notice (critical to the change process).

Goldsmith explains that most of the 20 revolve around information and emotion (either sharing or withholding), and at least half of them are rooted in “information compulsion.”

In the chapter on feedback, he explains how negative feedback shuts us down, and defines the four things asked of everyone who commits to provide feedback:

  • Let go of past
  • Tell the truth
  • Be supportive and helpful (as opposed to cynical or negative)
  • Pick something to improve yourself

A few clarifications: Change is a two-way street, that’s why he makes that last bullet point above. He notes that it’s easier to see problems in others than ourselves and our problems are very obvious to those who observe us. He points out there’s a difference between observing and observing with judgment. Finally, flaws at work do carry over to your home life!

He kicks of the “how to change” portion of the book with the magic move: Apologizing. Then comes advertising, or telling the world what you’re going to do about it.

Of course we knew that listening would come into play, but he extrapolates with three things all good listeners do: Think before they speak, listen with respect, and gauging their own responses by asking, “Is it worth it?”

Goldsmith touches on the importance of thanking and says that once apologizing, advertising, listening, and thanking are mastered, follow up needs your attention.

He introduces the concept of “feedforwarding,” a four-step process that starts with you picking one of the habits you’ve identified, describe your objective, ask someone for two suggestions on how to achieve it, listen and thank them.

The final section shows good or successful people how to apply the rules of change and what to stop doing to open the door to being great and even more successful.

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Book: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Author:  Marshall Goldsmith

Published: 2007

Pages: 223

Why Read

If you’re like me and enjoyed Goldsmith’s MOJO book (also covered on this blog site, part 1 & part 2), you’ll appreciate the smart and practical wisdom behind this entry on one of the hardest things to do: Change your behavior.

In this part, we’ll set up the message of the book and introduce the 20 habits (actually 21) that hold us back from change. In part 2, we’ll talk about the actions to take to change for the better and wrap things up.

The title is interesting because, like the “You are Here” maps at malls, this book is your map or guide. The author, an executive coach, says with his help, he can point out “you are here” and show you “you can get there,” but the catch is…

You guessed it, the title: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

Oh and if you have your own built-in GPS (you know where you are going)? This book is not for you.


Going from good to great is challenging because good or successful people have no idea how their behavior comes across to others. Through a system of feedback, the author shows you what people really think. He then offers a compilation of the top behavioral habits that, once you ID the ones you’re afflicted with, can be broken–and ultimately how.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on defense mechanisms that we use to resist change. We think others are confused, and when we realize they are not, we go into full-blown denial and try to lash out. History, the author says, is the problem that interferes with change–remember we’re talking about successful people. He identifies these related key beliefs that work to both help us be successful, but tough for us to change:

  • I have succeeded
  • I can succeed
  • I will succeed
  • I choose to succeed

His job in guiding to change? To see your flawed logic and spark your change by showing it’s in your best interest and in terms of your own values (typically hot buttons like money, power, status, or popularity).

Next he lists and describes the 20 habits that are what he refers to as “transactional flaws against others,” and sneaks in a 21st one that is goal obsession, the root cause of many of the other offenses.

We’ll conclude part 1 with a sampling of five offenses:

  1. Winning too much: The most common transactional flaw.
  2. Adding too much value: Anecdote? Be quiet and listen, stop trying to add value to the discussion (a variation on number 1).
  3. Passing judgment: The problem is even though we can’t help passing judgment, it’s not appropriate to pass it when we specifically ask for  opinions.
  4. Making destructive comments: Different from adding too much value because all that’s added is pain.
  5. Starting with no, but, or however: Sends the message, “You are wrong.”

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Book: Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School

Author:  Richard Branson

Published: 2012

Pages: 330

Why Read

Normally it’s intimidating to open a book to the Table of Contents and see that it is four pages long! But in this case, each chapter is about a quick four-page read, too. After all, the Virgin Group is like no other company or brand (with eight different billion-dollar companies in 8 different sectors), so why would a book by its founder be like the rest of the pack? From chapter to chapter, it can appear Branson’s thoughts are all over the place, but it’s easy to pick up on reoccurring messages and themes.

At the end of the day, the unconventional Branson has been educated in the “school of hard knocks” and–quite appropriately–considers whether a proper education that taught the dos and don’ts of starting a business might have altered his life and career. Ultimately he concludes that the best education goes on forever, aka “life experiences.”

Finally, be sure to digest his tip lists dispensed throughout.


What has Branson done for us lately? For starters, Virgin has created more billion-dollar companies in more sectors than anyone else: airlines, trains, holidays, mobile phones, media, the Internet, financial services, and health care.

And what are his top five secrets to building businesses? Do what you love, be innovative, people are your product, lead by listening, be visible. These are the reoccurring themes of Branson’s book, which is a peek into his “entrepreneur life, direct from his hammock.”

Since he gives a lot of advice, it’s only fair that he shares the best piece of advice he ever got. His mom told him to never look back in regret, but to move forward on to the next thing. And so he has.

If you read this entertaining piece for one thing, read about his “people are your product” theme. Said succinctly by the author himself, ” it takes an engaged, motivated, and committed workforce to deliver a first-class product or service and build a sustainable enterprise; how you treat the customer will form the basis of your corporate culture.” So put your staff first, listen to them, follow up on their ideas and suggestions, he concludes, adding that you should catch your employees doing good, and always recognize and celebrate it.


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Disrupting the Future

Book: Disrupting the Future

Subhead: Uncommon Wisdom for Navigating Print’s Challenging Marketplace

Authors:  Joseph W. Webb, Ph.D & Richard M. Romano

Published: 2010

Why Read

What is a disruptive technology? One that stems from innovation that cannot be foreseen and often rebuked initially as a fad. The Internet is an example (so is social media, e-books, mobile tech, email, blogging–and before that, the telephone, TV, and so on).

This book doesn’t just ask the question, “What happened to the power of print?” but answers it, and challenges printers to change the way they think about serving their customers. Essentially, printers are no  longer in the printing business, but rather the communications business. This change in mindset is because print is one medium among many and dollars can be allocated in more and more directions.

Succinctly said, “the world is always changing so you can’t blame change.” Instead the authors urge printers to understand who their competitors are (and they’re not just printers) and to use new media because that’s where their customers are.

Media and marketing continues to shift from broadcasting to narrowcasting…


Printing was in itself a disruptive technology. Due to the advent of others, the authors say it is time to stop looking at the hey-days gone by and reinvent the printing business to disrupt the future. This book shows you how to “retrench, renew, and rebuild.”

Two sections divide this book: Background on the printing history, then new media and cross-media. Each chapter starts with a bulleted summary and ends with a suggested to-do list. (In addition to reading this summary, the authors further suggest that if you can’t read the whole book, chapters 7 and 8 are critical.) Several helpful summary charts on that was then, this is now—like how our relationship with content (or info) has changed–are also content highlights.

At the core of its message is a social media focus, likening the new media as “the national water cooler” for people to share. This is where content is king, and you need to create compelling content and deliver it via multi-channel distribution. (As always, media are more effective when they are used in combination, aka a “marketing mix.”)

The authors remind us that the importance of social media is “the visibility that you get when participating in discussions and conversations that are relevant and valuable” to an audience involved in printing and graphics communications industries. (Said another way, social media increases your visibility as an expert in your field.)

Finally, the book offers steps to growth in print and then an application to real-life.

Another highly recommended companion read? The book Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using google, Social Media, and Blogs.

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New Sales Simplified

Book: New Sales Simplified

Author:  Mike Weinberg

Published: 2013

Pages: 213

Why Read

The subhead to this brand new title says it best: The Essential Handbook For Prospecting and New Business Development. You know it’s going to be a hard-hitting read when paragraph two of the forward makes the assertion that salespeople fail because they can’t execute the fundamentals–followed by the smart distinction that “acquiring new clients is simple, but not easy.”

The opening statements are balanced by the author’s passion, apparent in the first sentence of chapter 1: “I love sales.” Ultimately this is an action-oriented field guide confirming that, when it comes to great sales people, it takes one to know one.

The single take-away? Sales is a verb.


Armed with the perfect title, the author describes this is a how-to guide for the individual sales person that takes a fresh look at the basics. It offers assistance in  choosing the right targets, learning to build a plan, and building all the weapons in your arsenal (emphasis here is on your sales story).

At the root of the sales problem is “the inability to plan and execute an effective new business sales attack.” Weinberg lays out each chapter just as he breaks down every component of a successful attack.

Early chapters explore some truths and the most common reasons sales people fail, starting with bringing clarity to what their job is–defined as connecting with companies to see if solutions fit their needs. Further validation of the job title is that it is “incredibly important, incredibly straight-forward.”

Back to sales is a verb, he contends that the most successful sales people are the most active ones and then offers 16 reasons for failure, including neglecting the company’s responsibility for sales success (including a list of things the company must provide to or inform the sales staff about).

By Chapter 4 he is digging deep into  a framework for a sales attack, and by page 49, he pointedly explains that not closing deals boils down to just three issues or a combination of them.

Middle chapters give a roadmap and instructions for the new sales driver, with Chapter 5 being key to selecting targets and the cautionary tale that is the “dream client.”

Offered next is a discussion about top weapons, including networking, social media, email, the proactive call, voice mail, and a few more; followed by the dreaded sales call and the three magic words that should be in every sales person’s vocabulary–visit, fit, and value.

Final chapters reveal what reasons cause buyers to ‘throw up their defense shield” and how to debunk them, as well as naming time blocking as critical to proactive selling.

Ultimately this books says you have to do your homework and have a sales plan. Reading this guide is a good way to start, as it holds your hand every step of the way.

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Book: The First 90 Days

Author:  Michael Watkins

Published: 2003

Pages: 240

Why Read

If you like to save time, this book cuts to the chase about getting on top of the job. Why? Because the author contends that the actions you take in the first 90 days in your new job will (for the most part) determine whether you succeed or fail.

Each chapter represents one of the top 10 challenges faced and opens with a real-life scenario, followed by a breakdown of the challenge and how to overcome it.

And you don’t have to take notes along the way, as acceleration checklists appear at end of each chapter to crystallize key lessons and apply them to your situation. As if that weren’t enough, the conclusion chapter at the end gives a nice 3,000 foot overview of each challenge and key points.


There are plenty of reads on leadership but not many zero in on transitions, which this book does. The bulk of the pages provide a road map for creating your 90-day acceleration plan around each of the top 10 challenges. Succeed in these and you’ll have a successful transition, the author contends.

The goal of the book is to move you and your company beyond “sink or swim” approaches to managing transitions by being made aware of and providing the tools to handle the challenges.

For example, in Chapter 1: Promote Yourself, the failed leader was unable to leap from being a strong functional performer to taking on a cross-functional project manager role. Essentially by clinging to the past, she missed the opportunity to rise in organization. She failed to promote herself, and here are some of the key points the author offers:

  • establish a clear break point (pick a time to make the transition mentally)
  • hit the ground running (new job starts the moment you are considered for new job!
  • assess vulnerabilities
  • watch out for pitfalls associated with strengths

Other Chapters

Accelerate your learning: failure to learn and planning for learning are top reasons why new leaders derail; all about mindset: viewing it as an investment, offers a short list of the most valuable external and internal resources for information.

Match strategy to situation: Requires a complete understanding of the challenge before jumping in.

Secure early wins: By the end of your transition you want everyone to feel that something new or good is happening.

Negotiate success: Be a part of establishing how your success will be measured.

Achieve alignment, build your team, create coalitions, keep your balance, and expedite everyone are the balance of challenges addressed.


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Book: The Zen of Social Media Marketing

Author:  Shama Hyder Kabani

Published: 2012

Pages: 234

Why Read

A very straight-forward read, the book opens with the basics in Chapter one and then progresses accordingly–and definitively answering the question, “Which networking sites are MUSTS?” (The answer? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +.) The author surmises that once you understand social media, using and leveraging it is easy. She then provides all the tools and technologies you need to become “the ideal smart social marketer.”

Highlights include handy checklists at the end of many chapters and a chart that breaks down the differences between traditional and social media. Example: Traditional media shouts “me, me, me!” while social moves to “us, us, us.”


It’s helpful to understand the differences between traditional and social marketing because they don’t have the same rules, the author states. Both are due to who has ownership of the platform: Traditional is held by marketers, social by consumers. Now, traditional marketing hasn’t disappeared, it has changed though. The goal is the same (get consumers to take action) but the tools are different. That’s where social marketing comes in.

At the heart of the book is ACT, which describes the three components of successful online marketing: Attract, convert, transform. The author asserts that to be successful, you have to ensure that your online work falls into one. She then offers support by providing rules and tips under each category.

A chapter each on websites and blogging is offered, including a helpful list of the seven elements of a good website. Search engine optimization (SEO) is also broadly covered, too.

Finally, there’s a Q&A in the back of the book that offers real-world case studies. One of the great questions is on time management, to which the author answers with the solution to find two social media networks to focus on–along with the discipline of spending about a half-hour tops on each site at a time.

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100 Great Businesses

Book: 100 Great Businesses and the Minds Behind Them

Authors:  Emily Ross & Angus Holland

Published: 2006

Pages: 420

Why Read

Whether you want to read a specific success story or cover to cover, this quick and easy read is basically a compilation of single stories (though grouped together as chapters by a common theme).

Fun facts for the trivia lovers also abound, like the fact that an original Barbie is worth $5,000, the Post-It Note was invented by two scientists and was originally called “Press and Peel Notes,” or how that nasty “When are you due?” inquiry convinced the Weight Watchers founder that there had to be a better way to lose weight.

The overall lesson? While all different, all the success stories revolve around innovation–and shine a spotlight behind the scenes of how things were created–and in some cases, even when the world didn’t even know we needed them.


There is no single path to success and no single type of successful business, that’s the premise the authors build on as they zero in on the innovation behind some of the most successful businesses and their founders.

From “The Crowd Pleasers” (Pixar, Barbie, Hallmark) to “And Now for Something Completely Different” (Play-Doh, Dippin’ Dots, Super Soaker) and every chapter in between, tales of the who, what, when, and why on products and services we use every day are shared.

Did you know…

  • The very first Avon lady was introduced in 1886 and today the company has global sales of more than $7.7 billion
  • Mark Burnett, creator of Survivor reality TV, is credited for saving an entire network (CBS)
  • The founder of Amazon.com was one of the first civilians to encounter the Internet
  • Ray Kroc, “The Henry Ford” of restaurants, didn’t catch a break until age 52 with McDonald’s
  • Oprah (yes, you knew she’d be in here) debuted her AM Chicago before going national with ratings higher than TV veteran Phil Donohue after just one month on the air
  • Oh, we can thank Oprah, in great part, for Blackberry, too (on her 2003 Favorite Things special, she said it “literally changed her life”
  • Sam Walton, Wal-Mart founder, worked at JCPenney in his younger years
  • The local design student who created the Nike “swoosh” logo was originally paid $35 (and now has stock in the company)
  • FedEx has reached Kleenex-type success as customers simply say they need something “FedExed” when they want to send it overnight (just as “Kleenex” is now used interchangeably with “tissue”)

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