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First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process
First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process
by Robert D. Richardson
Edition: Paperback
14 used & new from CDN$ 7.08

5.0 out of 5 stars “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." Desiderius Erasmus, May 10 2016
Briefly, Desiderius Erasmus, (1469-1536) was the greatest scholar and teacher of the northern Renaissance, the first editor of the New Testament, and also an important figure in patristics and classical literature. If there were a Rushmorean monument for book lovers, he would be among the first selected, probably joined by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Both read books with great passion and appreciation long before they began to write about them and discuss their significance in lectures.

In First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process, Robert D. Richardson shares the very best of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s thoughts about the creative process in general, and about writing in particular. There is no doubt in Richardson’s mind that Emerson could have published the material but probably didn’t because he was never wholly satisfied with his own work. His standards were so high “that even the Almighty could not have met them.”

In my opinion, Richardson’s Emerson: The Mind on Fire is the finest biography of him written thus far. What we have in First We Read, Then We Write is the only assemblage I know of that focuses on Emerson as a literary exemplar, sharing his thoughts about creative reading as well as creative writing.

The primary sources include two magnificent essays, “The American Scholar” and "The Poet." Emerson thought of himself more as a poet than as an essayist, one who earned this living as a lecturer. He viewed the poet as one who is representative, who “stands among partial men for the complete man, and apprises us not of his wealth, but of the commonwealth.” Writing is a noble calling that calls for noble sacrifice.” But Emerson never wrote an essay on the subject of writing.

Here is a representative selection of brief passages that caught my eye:

o On what young writers need to keep in mind: “Meek young men grow up in libraries believing it is their duty to accept the views which Cicero, Locke, and Bacon have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote those books.”

o On having passion and courage for writing: “The way to write is to throw your body at the mark when your arrows are spent.”

o On good writing: “Good writing and brilliant conversation are perpetual allegories.”

o On self-editing: “All writing should be selection in order to drop every dead word.”

o On priorities: “There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. First we read, then we beget; first we read, then we write.”

o Finally, to the reader of his essay, Nature: “Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world, and beyond its world a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you. For you is the phenomenon perfect. What we are, that only can we see. All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do. Adam called his house, heaven and earth; Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours, a cobbler’s trade; a hundred acres of polished land; or a scholar’s garret. Yet line for line and point for point; your dominion is as great as theirs, though without fine names. Build, therefore, your own world.”

Hopefully, many of those who read this volume will be encouraged to read several of Emerson’s essays as well as Richardson’s biography. There are several excellent collections of the essays and journals. My personal favorite is a Library of America College Edition, Emerson: Essays and Lectures: Nature: Addresses and Lectures/Essays: First and Second Series/ Representative Men/English Traits/The Conduct of Life.

TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking
TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking
by Chris Anderson
Edition: MP3 CD
Price: CDN$ 26.42
9 used & new from CDN$ 17.89

5.0 out of 5 stars How to take 'something you really care about and rebuild it inside the minds' of those with whom you share it, May 9 2016
I cannot think of another person who has made more or better contributions to knowledge leadership in recent years than has Chris Anderson, a bestselling author of TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, Free: How Today's Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing, and The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Also, Anderson purchased the TED organization from Richard ('Ricky') Wurman in 2001 and now serves as its president and curator. TED is a global community ' and so is its staff. It is headquartered in New York and Vancouver, but the collaborative and global nature of its work means that TED has staffers, advisors and volunteers worldwide. Under his leadership, TED has thrived by welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. TED's leaders believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.

Perhaps you are already familiar with TED Talks. Although much of the material in Anderson''s book is based on the Official TED Guide for public speaking, it would be a mistake to assume that the value of the material ends there. Its core principles have almost unlimited applications in all manner of speeches, talks, and presentations that include (of course) a TED Talk but also a public introduction of a major new product or service, a startup proposal to obtain VC funding, a keynote or wrap-up at a conference, or the results of a team''s due diligence on an M&A candidate.

However different the nature and extent of presentations may be, Anderson asserts: 'Your number-one mission as a speaker is to take something that matters deeply to you and rebuild it inside the minds of your listeners.' He suggests five specific components on which to focus. For example,

"Frame Your Story: 'When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle ' people see the world differently afterward. If you frame the talk as a journey, the biggest decisions are figuring out where to start and where to end. To find the right place to start, consider what people in your audience already know about your subject ' and how much they care about it'The most engaging speakers do a superb job of very quickly introducing the topic, explaining why they care so deeply about it, and convincing the audience members that they should, too.'" He also explains how to Develop Stage Presence, Plan the Multimedia, and Putting It All Together.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Anderson's coverage:

o Connections with audience (Pages x-xi, 48-49, 53-59, 227-233, and 242-245)
o Chris Anderson (6-8, 37-39, 231-233)
o Body language (19-20, 48-50, and 206-207)
o Throughlines (33-35, 39-41, 42-43, and 78-79)
o Elizabeth Gilbert (42-43, 88-89, and 143-144)
o Vulnerability (50-53 and 186-187)
o Humor (53-57)
o Effective narration (59-60, 65-66, and 68-70)
o Ken Robinson (69-70 and 145-146)
o Persuasion (86-89)
o Naturalness and authenticity (130-131 and 136-139)
o Closing (168-171 and 174-175)

As I worked my way through Anderson's thoughtful and thought-provoking material, I was again reminded of the research on peak performance that Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University continue to conduct. Regrettably, careless reading of his key insights has resulted in substantial misunderstanding of what continues to be referred to as '"The 10-000 Hour Rule."' With regard to TED, the misunderstanding would suggest that (on average) 10,000 hours must be committed to preparing an outstanding TED Talk. Anderson leaves no doubt that the best TED Talks, those that have been the most popular 'such as Ken Robinson''s "'Do schools kill creativity?"' and Amy Cuddy''s '"Your body language shapes who you are'" 'required rigorous development and refinement. There can be no question about that.

However, presumably Anderson agrees with Ericsson: "'Not all practice makes perfect. You need a particular kind of practice ' deliberate practice ' to develop expertise. When most people practice, they focus on the things they already know how to do. Deliberate practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can't do well ' or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you can't do that you turn into the expert you want to become.'" It is also imperative to conduct deliberate practice under expert supervision. Hence the importance of the information, insights, and counsel that Chris Anderson provides.

Here are his concluding thoughts: "'In the end, it's quite simple. We are physically connected to each other like never before. Which means that our ability to share our best ideas with each other matters more than it ever has. The single greatest lesson I have learned from listening to TED Talks is this: '[begin italics] The future is not yet written. We are all collectively, in the process of writing it. [end italics] There''s an open page, 'and an empty page, waiting for your contribution.'

The Industries of the Future
The Industries of the Future
by Alec Ross
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.84
34 used & new from CDN$ 21.86

5.0 out of 5 stars A rigorous and revealing exploration of the industries that will drive the next 20 years of change to our economies and societie, May 8 2016
As I read the Introduction to Alec Ross’s thoughtful and thought-provoking book, I was again reminded of an observation by Alvin Toffler in his classic work, The Third Wave: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” I don’t know about Ross but my own crystal ball imploded years ago. Moreover, in business, for example, I cannot recall a prior time when the global marketplace was more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous than it is today. That said, it seems safe to assume that much of what we think we know today will have little (if any) relevance or at least practical value in the future.

Ross is well-aware of all this, of course, and shares in this book an abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that he hopes will help his reader gain a better understanding of what the Internet and digitization are likely to do to the world. He explores the industries that will drive the next 20 years of change to our economies and societies. The book’s chapters “are built around key industries of the future — robotics, advanced life sciences, the code-ification of money, cybersecurity, and big data — as well as the geopolitical, cultural, and generational contexts out of which they are emerging. I choose these industries not only because they are important in their own right but because they are also symbolic of larger global trends and symbiotic among them.”

The key issues that Ross explores include the impact of curbing-edge advances in robotics and life sciences on how we live and work; how the increasing application of computer code to new areas of the economy in the virtual and physical worlds will transform what had previously been state monopolies, money and force; and finally, both the expansiveness that big data will allow and the constraints that geopolitics will place within the global marketplace. Obviously there will be much to “learn, unlearn, and relearn” in months and years to come.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Ross’s coverage in Chapters One to Five:

o The Industries of the Future: A Briefing (Pages 12-14
o The Geo-Robotic Landscape (19-22)
o Humanizing Robots (22-28)
o The Machine of Me (32-35)
o Robots and Jobs (35-43)
o Genomics: Melting Cancer Away (47-52)
o Unintended Consequences (56-61)
o Keeping Up with the Genomic Joneses (64-69)
o Everything We Know About the Life Sciences Is Going to Change (74-75)
o Coded Money, Squared (78-81)
o The Sharing Economy: Coded Markets of Trust (90-97)
o The Blockchain and the Environment (111-115)
o The future of Coded Trust (117-120)
o Types of Cyberattacks (124-127)
o Cyberattacking Everything (132-135)
o Cold War to Code War (141-146)
o The Cyber-Industrial Complex: The Weaponization of Code as an Industry of the Future (146-151)
o Nine Billion People Will Need to Eat (161-166)
o All-Seeing Stones (172-174)
o Our Quantified Selves (179-182)

Here are Alec Ross’s concluding remarks: “For most of the world’s 7.2 billion people, innovation and globalization have created opportunity the likes of which has never before existed. The number of people who have recently moved out of poverty in China alone is equal to double the population of the entire United States. The number of people living in severe poverty and able to concern themselves only with meeting the needs of food, shelter, and clothing has decreased at a rate previously unknown in human history. These changes mean new opportunities for all of us — for businesses, governments, investors, parents, students, and children. This book, I hope, will help us make the most of therm.”

It is worth adding that the Chinese character for “crisis” has two meanings: peril and opportunity. It remains to be seen which meaning defines our response.

Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions
Cross-Border Mergers and Acquisitions
by Scott C. Whitaker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 83.00
15 used & new from CDN$ 75.01

5.0 out of 5 stars The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.' Peter Drucker, May 7 2016
I cannot recall a prior time when the global marketplace was more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than it is today. This is especially true of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Drucker’s comment reminds us of an under-appreciated skill that is even more important when several different languages are involved.

Four years ago, I read and reviewed Scott Whitaker’s classic, Mergers & Acquisitions Integration Handbook: Helping Companies Realize The Full Value of Acquisitions, also published by John Wiley & Sons. Now we have a companion volume in which he and ten eminent contributors have, in my opinion, created another classic work, perhaps (at least for now) a definitive primary source.

The best business books offer information, insights, and counsel that are driven by real-world experience and that is certainly true of the material in this volume. Each of the seventeen chapters focuses on key issues that are involved when planning for and then completing cross-border mergers and acquisitions. As Jim O’Toole notes in Leading Change, the strongest resistance to change is cultural in nature, the result of what he so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” This resistance is even stronger when it is multi-national in nature and extent. It is noteworthy that Whitaker’s collaborators are from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Israel, Japan (2), Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Only Stefan Hofmayer and Whitaker are from the United States. All have wide and deep experience with multi-national integration initiatives.

With regard to the material, it is carefully organized within seventeen chapters, with a focus on the most significant dos and don’ts.

Part One (Chapters 1-5): Insights into the overall dynamics of the global M&A environment, including perspectives on region- and country-specific trends and nuances

Part Two (Chapters 6-8): A rigorous examination of how leadership and culture influence (for better or worse) cross border M&A

Part Three (Chapters 9-16): The reader is provided with an abundance of detail with regard to the more tactical, day-to-day elements of cross-border integration, accompanied by analysis of country-specific nuances that can (and usually) have impact on planning and execution details

Part Four (Chapter17 & 18): Here is a wealth of insights into several unique transaction scenarios, illusions, delusions, and situations

Long ago during dinner with a prominent expert in M&A, I asked him about a major acquisition he was then supervising. “How’s it going?” I asked. Long, thoughtful pause. “It’s like being blindfolded, walking through a minefield juggling hand grenades, during an especially violent electrical storm.”

Disclaimer: I have never been directly involved in M&As but his vivid description gave me at least a sense of why most M&As either fail or fall far short of original (probably overcooked) expectations.

It is noteworthy that most of the information, insights, and counsel that Scott C. Whitaker and his colleagues provide — after appropriate but probably minor modification — can be of substantial value to business leaders in companies that may not be actively involved in cross-border mergers and acquisitions but are actively involved in cross-border partnerships and strategic alliances. I commend the collaborators on what I consider to be a brilliant achievement. Bravo!

Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist
Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist
by Sally Hogshead
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.28
18 used & new from CDN$ 25.82

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How creating a brand with one or more of seven advantages can help to create or increase and then sustain demand for it, May 6 2016
Brands date back at least to the ancient markets in ancient, Greece, and Rome. So, what is a brand? Heidi Cohen assembled 30 responses to that question from a variety of sources. Here are three:

o The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.”

o Brand is a known identity of a company in terms of what products and services they offer but also the essence of what the company stands for in terms of service and other emotional, non tangible consumer concerns. To brand something is when a company or person makes descriptive and evocative communications, subtle and overt statements that describe what the company stands for. For example, is the brand the most economical, does it stands for superior service, is it an environmental responsible provider of x,y,z service or product. Each communication is deliberate in evoking emotion in the receiver to leave him/her with an essence of what the company or person stands for. Donna Antonucci

o Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa. Jay Baer. Author with Amber Naslund of The Now Revolution

All of this is true…but insufficient. Now let‘s focus on a revised and updated edition of Fascinate, a book first published years ago. Why a new edition? Sally Hogshead is convinced — and I agree — that most marketers need to revise and update their perspectives on brands and branding. With all dues respect to signage such as swooshes and golden arches, brands must evoke expectations that are fulfilled, if not exceeded, by the customer experience.

Hogshead explains: “My first book Fascinate was published in 2010, and in that book I explored how our brains become captivated by certain people and ideas. I outlined the seven ways in which brands fascinate us. I gave the [begin italics] why [end italics] but not the [begin italics] how [end italics]. The truth is, I didn’t yet know all the steps…This is not a small revision; as my editors can attest, it’s a major overhaul. More major, in fact, than I think any of us realized. We ripped the entire book apart and rebuilt it to be a fascinatingly practical guide.” She added new stories and action steps, a “Brand Fascination Profile,” and “TurboBranding,” a step-by-step process in Parts III and IV, which gives you a blazingly fast way to create brand messages in about an hour.”

As I worked my way through her Introduction to the new edition, I was again reminded of a situation many years ago when a Princeton colleague of Albert Einstein gently chided him for asking the same questions every year on his final examination. “Quite true. Guilty as charged. Each year, the answers are different.”

I think that is also true of many of the questions that are asked about marketing, especially today in a global marketplace that is more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than at any prior time that I can remember. Few (if any) of the correct answers in 2010 are probably true in 2016.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Hogshead’s coverage in Parts I and II:

o Kelton Study of fascination (Pages 6-7 and 273-281)
o The Seven Languages of Fascination (10)
o Marketing dimensions (15-17, 42-43, 45-46, and 62-63)
o Jägermeister (18-19 and 47-50)
o Differentiation (23-25, 47-50, and 61-64)
o The Modern Marketing Maze (39-40)
o Fascinate the Goldfish (40-42)
o The Three Deadly Threats to Communication (42-44
o Dinosaur food (71-72)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Innovation Brand (74)
o How Brands Use Innovation in Their Marketing (75-80)
o The Language of Creativity: Innovation at a Glance (81)
o Adjectives to Differentiate Your Passion Brand (86)
o Four marketing pillars of passion brands (87-93)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Power Brand (98)
o How Brands Use Power in Their Marketing (99-105)
o The Language of Confidence: Power at a Glance (107-120)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Prestige Brand (111)
o Trust as advantage (121-133, 219-220, and 284-285)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Trust Brand (124)
o How Br ands Use Trust in Their Marketing (125-132)
o Predictability and trust (127-128, 129-130, and 131-132)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Mystique Brand (138)
o How Brands Use Mystique in Their Marketing (139-149)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Alert Brand (154)
o How Brands Use Alert in Their Marketing (156-163)
o Understanding the Seven Advantages (165)

Briefly, here is how Hogshead organizes her material:

Part I: How and why a brain becomes fascinated
Part II: How each of the seven Advantages can create a state of intense focus
Part III: How the aforementioned “practical system” can be modified to accommodate
almost any strategy and tactic(s) for almost any message
Part IV: How to get started with the five-step action plan

Sally Hogshead offers a methodology that is cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective, one that -- if applied with rigor and passion as well as with patience and persistence -- really can help to make almost any brand impossible to resist. The greater challenge, obviously, is to sustain that appeal. Perhaps she will address that challenge in her next book.

Enabling Collaboration: Achieving Success Through Strategic Alliances and Partnerships
Enabling Collaboration: Achieving Success Through Strategic Alliances and Partnerships
by Martin Echavarria
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from CDN$ 20.38

5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.' African proverb, May 5 2016
I agree with Martin Echavarria: 'Clearly the age of global interdependence socially, economically, and environmental is here, and the opportunities it brings will profoundly change the way companies and organizations do their work. Because of today's global complexity, we can no longer expect to form successful organizations on the backs of individuals alone but also on group collaboration. Individual leadership alone will not get us there. We must learn to grow our collaborative leadership capability, while applying ourselves individually to contribute to its emergence. It is only then through group collaboration, that we can be successful in developing organizational partnerships and alliances to meet the challenges and opportunities of today.'

In the healthiest organizations, whatever their size and nature, there are three drivers of workplace engagement: communication, cooperation, and most important of all, collaboration. The African proverb quoted earlier makes a very important point, as does my favorite passage in Lao-tse's Tao Te Ching which focuses on the leader as an enabler:

"Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves.'

Echavarria addresses a number of issues, subjects, and challenges of special interest to me:

o The defining characteristics of a collaborative enterprise
o The core components of the Operative Partnership Methodology (OPM)
o How to enable collaborative leadership through group coaching
o The foundations of partnership coaching
o How to frame the partnership field of relationship

o The OPM: Secret Sauce
o How to make the implicit explicit
o How to facilitate the emergence of operative partnership groups
o How to enable grow flow and reflective learning through Facilitative Leadership
o The nature and extent of five territories of alliance development

1. Align and prepare
2. Invite and commit
3. Create and consolidate
4. Negotiate and launch
5. Sustain and deepen

Leaders as enablers/facilitators must be developed at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. The nature and extent of participation in each collaborative initiative will be determined by the nature and extent of what is required to achieve it. Also, and this is a key point, in the most complicated organizations such as the Fortune 50, there will almost certainly be collaboration between and among individual groups.

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the value of the information, insights, and counsel that Martin Echavarria provides in Enabling Collaboration. It remains for each leader who reads the book to determine what is most relevant to the needs, resources, concerns, and objectives of the given organization. With all due respect to the Operative Partnership Methodology, I presume that he agrees with me that each organization must adapt it as well as adopt it when developing internal as well as external strategic alliances and partnerships.

HBR Guide to Building Your Business Case (HBR Guide Series)
HBR Guide to Building Your Business Case (HBR Guide Series)
by Raymond Sheen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 22.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Here is a five-step process to prepare and then deliver a 'killer' presentation, May 5 2016
Most of the volumes in the 'HBR Guide to' series consists of anthologies of articles previously published in Harvard Business Review in which various contributors share their insights concerning a major business subject such as Better Business Writing, Getting the Right Work Done, and Project Management.

As is also true of volumes in other such series, notably HBR Essentials, HBR Must Reads, and HBR Management Tips, HBR Guides offer substantial value in cutting-edge thinking from 25-30 sources in a single volume at a price (each at about $15-20 from Amazon in the bound version) for a fraction of what article reprints would cost.

What we have in this volume ' on sale by Amazon US for only $18.47 ' is material created by Raymond Sheen with Amy Gallo. It is also noteworthy that Chris Anderson, TED's Curator, contributed Appendix B, 'How to Create a Killer Presentation.' Nancy Duarte supplements Anderson's material with an explanation of how to 'Find the perfect mix of data and narrative,' Figure B-1.

Formulation of a business case requires effective use of the four levels of discourse that Aristotle examines in his classic work, Rhetoric: Explain with information (exposition), make vivid with compelling details (description), tell a story for explain a sequence (narration), and convince with logic and/or evidence (argumentation). According to Sheen, 'No matter where you work or what type of idea you're pitching, you should follow the same basic process for any business case you develop.'

Here is the five-step process he recommends and explains:

1. 'The story starts, as all good ones do, with a problem. This is the [begin] business need [end] you're trying to solve.' (See section 1)

2. 'Once you've pinpointed the problem or opportunity, it's time to identify your story's characters'

o Your stakeholders have the authority to approve or reject your business case.
o Beneficiaries are those who stand to gain from what you're proposing.
o You'll draw on subject-matter experts to help create the case.

3. 'Then you'll consider alternatives for meeting the business need ' different ways your story might play out.' (See section 3)

4. 'After making the best choice in light of what you know at that point, you'll create a very high-level project plan to roughly gauge the amount of time and resources you'll need and the value your solution will bring.'

5. 'Finally. it's time to tell your story. Package it in whatever format your company uses for business cases and present it to your stakeholders. If no templates exist, create your own logical format.' (See section 5)

With Gallo, Sheen explains HOW to complete each step.

If you need to prepare a 'killer presentation' in one form or another, here are the first two of Anderson's five recommendations:

Frame Your Story: 'When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle ' people see the world differently afterward. If you frame the talk as a journey, the biggest decisions are figuring out where to start and where to end. To find the right place to start, consider what people in your audience already know about your subject ' and how much they care about it'The most engaging speakers do a superb job of very quickly introducing the topic, explaining why they care so deeply about it, and convincing the audience members that they should, too.'

Plan Your Delivery: Once you've get the framing down, it's time to focus on your delivery. There are three main ways to deliver a talk. You can read it directly off a script or teleprompter. You can develop a set of bullet points that map out what you're going to say in each section rather than scripting the whole thing word for word. Or you can memorize your talk, which entails rehearsing ton the point where you internalize every word ' verbatim'My advice: Don't read it, and don't use a teleprompter. It's usually just too distancing ' people will know your reading [rather than personally sharing what you really care about].'

Anderson also explains how to Develop Stage Presence, Plan the Multimedia, and Putting It All Together.

* * *

Those who need to formulate a business case — such as CEO preparing a “dog and pony show” for an IPO road show, a brand manager unveiling a new product, a team seeking additional resources for a project team, or a start-up putting to VCs — will find an abundance of information, insights, and counsel in the HBR Guide to Building Your Business Case.

Be sure to keep in mind, meanwhile, that the presentation must take into full account a question that is in the mind of every member of the given audience: "Why should I care?"

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days
by Jake Knapp
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.91
31 used & new from CDN$ 23.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Here is a unique methodology 'to solve big problems, test new ideas, get more done, and do it faster, May 4 2016
With John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz, Jake Knapp explains how to solve the biggest problems, answer the most difficult questions and/or generate the best ideas with what he characterizes as a “sprint team.” Knapp invented the Google Ventures process and has run more than a hundred sprints with startups. However, the same process — with only minor modification — will work within any organization, whatever its size and nature may be,

What’s involved initially?

1. Recruit a team of seven (or fewer).

o Decider (group leader)
o Facilitator (results-driven navigator)
o Finance expert (best knows your organization’s finances)
o Marketing expert (competitive environment)
o Customer expert
o Tech/logistics expert
o Design expert

2. Identify most important problem to solve, most important question to answer, etc.
3. Identify “expert” candidates, perhaps from outside the organization to include on an as-needed basis.

Think of a sprint team as analogous to a SWAT team or SEAL Team Six. It has a tightly-structured five-day schedule to complete its assignment. The sprint process is easy to explain and Knapp has no doubt about what can be accomplished. “Sprints offer a path to solve big problems, test new ideas, get more done, do it better, and do it faster. They also allow you to have more fun along the way. In other words, you’ve absolutely got to try one for yourself. Let’s get to work.”

Yes, that’s right: Each sprint is a five-day process.

MONDAY: Create a path for the sprint week; agree on a long-term goal; create a map of the challenge; then select a target

TUESDAY: Share and evaluate possible solutions; remix and improve; then each team member will complete a sketch (See pages 103-118)

WEDNESDAY: Critique all possible solutions and select those most likely to succeed; then take the winning sketches from all the sketches and weave them into a storyboard

THURSDAY: Adopt a “fake it” philosophy to convert the storyboard into a realistic prototype

FRIDAY: Share prototype with customers and observe interactions; interview customers to obtain feedback. “This text makes the entire spring worthwhile. At the end of the day, you’ll know how you have to go, and you’ll know just what to do next.

Since 2012, Knapp and his associates have run more than one hundred sprints with startups. “That’s a big number, but it pales in comparison to the number of people who have taken the sprint process and used it on their own to solve problems, reduce risk, and make better decisions at work.” Now with the publication of this book, the number of independent “Sprinters” is certain to increase rapidly and substantially.

The book includes a checklist, accompanied by key ideas. Also, a list of “sprint supplies” and an annotated schedule template, followed by an FAQ section. I also urge you to check out all the free resources available at the website.

While working my way through the narrative I was again reminded of an observation by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." Gary Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz may have had that thought in mind when creating the material for Google Ventures and later (after extensive fine-tuning) for the manuscript of this book. They highly recommend that those who read the book follow the guidelines during their first few sprints but urge them to then make whatever modifications the members of the next sprint team deem appropriate. If your organization needs a unique methodology “to solve big problems, test new ideas, get more done, and do it faster,” look no further.

Selling Vision: The X-XY-Y Formula for Driving Results by Selling Change
Selling Vision: The X-XY-Y Formula for Driving Results by Selling Change
by Lou Schachter
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 42.92
17 used & new from CDN$ 28.71

5.0 out of 5 stars If business leaders do not complete this transformation, their organization will probably not be around when the next one occurs, May 2 2016
It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of mental pictures to peak performance. For example:

o Most hockey players see where the puck is; Wayne Gretzky saw where it would be.
o The same was true of Bill Russell and rebounds in basketball.
o In their pre-shot routine, all great golfers (e.g. Jack Nicklaus) envision the ball proceeding perfectly to its destination.
o Great sculptors (e.g. Leonardo da Vinci) “see” what is within slabs of marble.
o Grandmasters in chess “see” 4-7 moves ahead.

You get the idea and the same is true in business. The key to peak performance is to recognize imminent change or, better yet, paradigm shifts before others do. In sales, according to Lou Schachter and Rick Cheatham, it is necessary to recognize a “new way of seeing change.”

More specifically, to recognize a transition process from selling what you do now and the way you now sell it (Point X) to what you want to be selling the way you want to sell it (Point Y). There are several stages to this transition process.

Selling only X: What customers buy now.
Selling both X and Y in appropriate proportion.
Selling only Y: What customers will eventually buy.

The Traditional Approach: X > Y
The SellingVision Approach: X > XY > YX > mostly Y

“This involves a change from selling X to selling Y, but with a clearly defined period in which you are selling both X and Y.” Over time, the process involves Y and Z with (perhaps) X involved only to a very limited extent. Business leaders face several significant challenges. First, recognizing what is either imminent or now underway; then, making whatever adjustments may be necessary (especially of mindset, priorities, strategies and tactics, and allocation of resources). Finally, to the extent possible and appropriate, accelerating the process. Those in sales must be both willing and able to sell XY and then YX.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Schachter and Cheatham’s coverage in Parts 1-3 (Chapters 1-13):

o What Really Happens (Pages 16-19)
o Network Adapters (36-37)
o The Winning Mindset (51-54)
o Avoiding the Common Error: Choosing the Wrong Destination (61-65)
o Managing Buyers During X-to-Y Change (77-80)
o The Circular Buying Cycle (82-84)
o Initiatives Trigger Buying Processes (84-85)
o Caught Up in the Decision Vortex, and, Multiple-Decision Vortices (86-90)
o Multiple Strategic Initiatives (90-92)
o The Dangerous Middle (100-101)
o Beyond Solution Selling (102-104)
o The Value Gap (104-106)
o Accelerator Selling in the X-to-Y World (111-112)
o How to Use Navigation Techniques (117-122)
o How to Be an Accelerator Salesperson (127-131)
o Behaviors that Make Prospecting Successful (137-146
o Decision Vortices (149-155)
o Buyer Inaction (155-164)

Schachter and Cheatham offer an abundance of information, insights, and counsel as to HOW to adopt and then integrate the Selling Vision Approach. It is important to keep in mind that those who are peak performers in sales must think differently about their relationships with buyers. Rather than selling the functions, features, and benefits of a product or, more likely, selling the product as a solution to one or more problems, they must shift their focus from selling to buyers to serving as a navigator during each buyer’s journey in a competitive marketplace that becomes more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous each day.

In their book, Lou Schachter and Rick Cheatham provide just about everything business leaders and especially sales managers need to know about how to transform both thinking and doing insofar as selling and buying are concerned.

Here are their concluding remarks: “Five key moments determine whether a sales transformation will be successful: (1) recognizing in z timely way that a major change is needed, (2) communicating the vision for Y and XY while continuing to appreciate X, (3) recognizing early success, (4) navigating the stage when the majority of sales people are selling XY or Y, particularly the early part of that stage, and (5) recognizing the appearance [or imminent arrival] of Z, which triggers the next sales transformation.”

If business leaders do not complete this transformation, their organization will probably not be around when the next one occurs.

Warren Buffett's Ground Rules: Words of Wisdom from the Partnership Letters of the World's Greatest Investor
Warren Buffett's Ground Rules: Words of Wisdom from the Partnership Letters of the World's Greatest Investor
by Jeremy C. Miller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.27
28 used & new from CDN$ 14.66

5.0 out of 5 stars “Here’s how to invest, here’s how I did it; this is the road I took. Now, let’s see if you can follow me down the path.”, April 26 2016
In the Introduction, Miller cites seven “Common Rules” (on pages xii-. xiii) that Warren Buffett shared (in 1956) with prospective investors in his new firm, Buffett Associates, Ltd. Before agreeing to accept their checks, he asked them to meet him for dinner at the Omaha Club. Everyone went Dutch. “These ground rules are the philosophy. If you are in tune with me, then let’s go. If you aren’t, I understand.” Everyone signed on.

The annual “Partnership Letters” that Buffett shared thereafter are sometimes referred to as his “essays” and each of them is certainly well within the tradition of Montaigne’s wit and wisdom but they also have been seasoned (in my opinion) by George Orwell and E.B. White. The “words of wisdom” that Miller provides are from these remarkable letters

In one of his first annual letters, Buffett explains that members of Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholder group receive communications directly “from the fellow you are paying to run the business. Your Chairman has a firm belief that owners are entitled to hear directly from the CEO as to what is going on and how he evaluates the business, currently and prospectively. You should demand that in a private company; you should expect no less in a public company. A once-a-year report of stewardship should not be turned over to a staff specialist or public relations consultant who is unlikely to be in a position to talk frankly on a manager-to-owner basis.”

With regard to the CEOs of the operating companies within the Berkshire Hathaway portfolio, the editor of all four volumes, Lawrence A. Cunningham explains that they enjoy a unique position in corporate America. "They are given a simple set of commands: to run their business as if (1) they are its sole owner, (2) it is the only asset they hold, and (3) they can never sell or merge it for a hundred years.” With regard to investment thinking, “one must guard against what Buffett calls the ‘institutional imperative.’ It is a pervasive force in which institutional dynamics produce resistance to change, absorption of available corporate funds, and reflexive approval of suboptimal CEO strategies by subordinates. Contrary to what is often taught in business and law schools, this powerful force often interferes with rational business decision-making. The ultimate result of the institutional imperative is a follow-the-pack mentality producing industry imitators, rather than industry leaders – what Buffett calls a lemming-like approach to business.”

Those who read this book will gain a much better understanding of how, working closely with his partner and friend Charlie Munger, achieved so much for what was once a small, private investment firm. Miller correlates key business issues and themes with relevant passages in Buffett’s annual letters.

Consider, for example, compounding. As Miller explains, “Compounding’s importance is hard to overstate. It explains why Charlie Munger, Buffett’s friend in the Partnership years and current vice chairman of Berkshire, once said that Buffett viewed a $10 haircut like it was actually costing him $300,000. Turns out he was only modestly conservative; a $10 haircut skipped by Buffett in 1956 and instead invested in the Partnership would be worth more than $1 million today ($10 compounded at 22% for 58 years.) Viewed through Buffett’s compound interest lens, it’s not hard to see why he has lived such a frugal life. His haircuts really are expensive!

Here are some samples of Buffett’s wit and wisdom:

“What we learn from history is that people don’t learn from history."
“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken."
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything."
"Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”
"Rule No. 1: never lose money; rule No. 2: don’t ever forget rule No. 1.”
"I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
Channeling Ben Graham, "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”

I am deeply grateful to Jeremy Miller for the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that he has examined, evaluated, and then organized so brilliantly. Obviously, this book would not have been possible without the material Warren Buffett created but the value of that material would not have been so accessible without Miller’s presentation of it, in context, within a frame of reference. Bravo!

These are among his concluding remarks: “Buffett leaves us a road map that is invaluable for students and investors alike. It’s as if he laid down a challenge to all of us. It’s as if he has written the letters, made them public, and said, ‘ Here’s how to invest, here’s how I did it; this is the road I took. Now, let’s see if you can follow me down the path.’”

* * *

There are several other primary sources that I also recommend highly. First, Benjamin Graham’s The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel (Revised Edition). Warren Buffet was one of Graham’s students and later an associate. I have read all four volumes of Buffett’s essays (i.e. his letters to Berkshire-Hathaway shareholders), edited by Cunningham whose introductions are exceptionally informative as well as eloquent. I am grateful to Carol Loomis – a former FORTUNE magazine business editor -- for her entertaining as well as insightful book, Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2013. With regard to other sources, I also highly recommend these: Alice Schroeder’s The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, Roger Lowenstein’s Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, and Tren Griffin’s Charlie Munger: The Complete Investor.

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