New and notable business books

Here’s a smattering of business books recently added to the library’s collection. Have you read any great business books lately? Please share them in the comments!

All Business is Local: why place matters more than ever in a global, virtual world by John Quelch and Katherine Jocz. “According to the authors, when marketers try to expand brands to achieve a leading global share, they run the risk of being upstaged by local competitors and upstart entrepreneurs. The solution, they suggest, is to strategically use the concept of place, which determines how consumers interact with a product and influences their choice of brands…Full of wise counsel on how to approach brand extension from the perspective of place, the advice will be invaluable for marketers devising future strategies.” -Publishers Weekly

Just run it!: running an exceptional business is easier than you think by Dick Cross. “Cross shares lessons learned from his 25-plus years’ experience transforming underperforming companies into industry powerhouses…His practical advice covers how to use simple analytical tools and business metrics to understand the business, how to align all the company’s efforts through his “Vision-Strategy-Execution” structure, and how to review operations continually to take advantage of opportunities and changes in the environment. Cross’s relatively short guide focuses on pragmatic, realistic suggestions any entrepreneur or CEO can easily adapt to his or her own environment. Recommended for readers interested in starting or running a small business.” -Library Journal

Uncommon Service: how to win by putting customers at the core of your business by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss. “The customer-at-the-heart-of-service philosophy started with The Service Profit Chain (1997), by Jim Heskett (and coauthors), and has continued to be discussed in the pages of Harvard Business Review and several other books addressing the topic. Yet here a Harvard professor and a consultant shatter the myths behind the philosophy and say, You can’t be good at everything. Heresy? Hardly. Frei and Morriss prove their theory again and again as they first review well-known (and not so) companies that have prospered in this arena, from Commerce Bank and Ochsner Health System to Magazine Luiza (Brazil) and LSQ Funding Group. In addition to the key premise, they unfold three more truths: someone has to pay for the service; it’s not employees’ fault; and you must manage your customers. Plus, they’ve already anticipated the question, How do we do this? Each chapter includes not only case histories and sidebars but also clear, step-by-step implementation usually within three or four phases.” – Booklist

The Art of the Sale: learning from the masters about the business of life by Philip Delves Broughton. “This exploration of the nature of salesmanship begins in Morocco, where Delves Broughton meets Majid, a world-renowned antiques dealer, who suggests that the art of the sale lies in patience and the ability to instantly read people. For infomercial-king Tony Sullivan, the art lies in the ability to tell an irresistible story, while Japan’s top life insurance salesperson, Mrs. Shibata, credits her conviction that she’s performing a valuable service. Like Malcolm Gladwell, Delves Broughton is drawn to success stories where natural talent takes second place to hard work, but he’s also willing to explore the manipulative, deceptive aspects of the task, as well as the endless rejection salespeople must face. His enthusiasm and admiration for skilled practitioners of the art is contagious.” – Publishers Weekly

$100 Startup: reinvent the way you make a living, doing what you love, and creating a new future by Chris Guillebeau. “Here, finally, distilled into one easy-to-use guide, are the most valuable lessons from those who’ve learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment. It’s all about finding the intersection between your “expertise” – even if you don’t consider it such — and what other people will pay for. You don’t need an MBA, a business plan or even employees. All you need is a product or service that springs from what you love to do anyway, people willing to pay, and a way to get paid. Not content to talk in generalities, Chris tells you exactly how many dollars his group of unexpected entrepreneurs required to get their projects up and running; what these individuals did in the first weeks and months to generate significant cash; some of the key mistakes they made along the way, and the crucial insights that made the business stick. Among Chris’s key principles: if you’re good at one thing, you’re probably good at something else; never teach a man to fish – sell him the fish instead; and in the battle between planning and action, action wins.” – Amazon

Insanely Simple: the obsession that drives Apple’s success by Ken Segall. “As the man who came up with the iconic iMac name, which launched one of the most successful product lines in history, Segall played a pivotal role in reviving Apple from near death. His close working relationship with Jobs allows him to provide insight into how Jobs’ obsession with simplicity became the driving force that informs every decision the company makes to this day, from product design to advertising, even down to the packing boxes. Segall contrasts this Apple mind-set with those of companies like Dell, Intel, and Microsoft, where complexity and a dizzying array of product choices only serve to confuse and distract customers. His recounting of high-level meetings, ad campaigns, and product-naming sessions reveals much about how Jobs’ unyielding, brutally honest approach pushed aside rivals, teams of lawyers, and everyone else who said it couldn’t be done to remake Apple into one of the most admired and valuable companies in the world.” – Booklist

Mad Women: the other side of life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and beyond by Jane Maas. “Often asked if the popular show accurately depicts women’s second-class standing (and the copious amounts of office sex and drinking) in the 1960s, Maas (Adventures of an Advertising Woman) says yes and no. Hired as a copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather in 1964, she rose to creative director before leaving in 1976, later working at some of Manhattan’s top ad agencies. Maas takes readers through a typical office day before addressing questions of sex (yes, ad execs slept around, she realizes now), alcohol (it was customary to have a drink before, during, and after lunch), and thornier issues of balancing career demands with motherhood in a time when being a housewife was still the norm…Maas mixes personal stories with advertising history, making this a compelling read.” – Publishers Weekly

The Real Mad Men: the renegades of Madison Avenue and the golden age of advertising by Andrew Cracknell. “Written by a former copywriter working during the Creative Revolution of the 1960s, Cracknell’s account of the heyday of advertising-currently being explored on AMC’s hit show Mad Men-is a terrific supplement to the show, as well as a primer on the evolution of the industry…From flagrant sexual harassment on account of the prevalent boys’ club atmosphere to a violent fight just before a Christmas party resulting in a bloodied office, there was plenty of drama to go around, though the offices weren’t as liquored up as Mad Men may lead one to believe…Advertising geeks will gobble this up, but even those completely unaware of Don Draper and Sterling Cooper will appreciate this lively and spirited account.” – Publishers Weekly

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One Response to New and notable business books

  1. Audrey Geddes says:

    All of these titles are excellent – thanks for sharing these. I have read The $100 Startup, which is very good, and just started two other books, Bottom-up and Top-Down Innovation: Innovate Your Way to Success! Create an Innovative Company! by Joseph N. Stein. These books take into account the real-life situations that occur within companies with easy to follow action plans. You can learn more about them here: http://www.simplyinnovate.net/

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