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Leaper Causal Style Lightweight Canvas Cute Backpacks School Backpack (Medium, Water Blue+Flower)
Leaper Causal Style Lightweight Canvas Cute Backpacks School Backpack (Medium, Water Blue+Flower)
Offered by FifthSeason
Price: CDN$ 33.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A 'totally excellent' back pack., Oct. 21 2015
I have no need of this product but I do have ten grandchildren and one of them was in great need of a back pack such as this when she returned to school (6th grade) last month. Other reviewers have made most of the same points I make now.

o It is quite lovely in appearance
o Very sturdy
o Well-designed in terms of what can be put where
o The zippers don't snag
o So far, no problems.

Her rating is 'totally excellent' and I'll take her word for it.

Color: Water Blue + Deer

* * *

Disclaimer: I was offered this product at no cost in exchange for an 'honest' review. I assume full responsibility for all my reviews, including this one.

Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention
Captivology: The Science of Capturing People's Attention
by Ben Parr
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.97
27 used & new from CDN$ 12.10

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why captivation 'triggers' affect our attention and awareness every day, often without our being aware of it, Oct. 20 2015
There really is a science that reveals how to capture another person's attention. In 2001, Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck published The Attention Economy. Theirs is a fascinating subject: ADD in the business world. Almost everyone continues to experience information overload and it's far worse now than it was 14 years ago. Some who have studied this phenomenon invoke metaphors such as a "blizzard" or 'tsunami' of data. Each day, information providers find it increasingly more difficult to reach those who are most important to them. How to attract their attention? Then, how to retain that attention with what has been described as "stickiness" by the brothers Heath? After conducting an extensive research project, Davenport and Beck conclude that attention is "the new currency of business." Perhaps Michael Wolf agrees, having published a brilliant book about "the entertainment economy" in 1999; perhaps B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore agree, having published (also in 1999) a book about "the experience economy."

Ben Parr shares his own thoughts about this science in Captivology whose somewhat hokey title suggests that capturing attention is far more important than merely attracting it, especially these days when the human attention span resembles a strobe light blink. Of course, as is usually the situation, there's both good news and bad news: getting someone's attention is good only if (HUGE if) they appreciate it rather than resent it. There are no second chances if curiosity is corrupted by deceit.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Parr's coverage in the first five chapters:

o The Three Stages of Attention (Pages 13-23)
o The Automaticity Trigger (28-32)
o Why Did a Symbol Make Us Care About Heartbleed? (43-46)
o Why Can We Hear Our Names in a Crowded Room? (49-52)
o Moving Beyond Immediate Attention (55-56)
o The Framing Trigger (59-62)
o The Inertia of Ideas (62-65)
o How Do Politicians Set the Agenda? (71-75)
o The Final Word on Frames of Reference (81-82)
o The Disruption Trigger (84-87)
o Statistics + Finger Paints = A Surprising Lesson (88-92)
o Keeping Things Significant (97-99)
o Simplicity, Surprise, and Significance in Context (102-103)
o The Reward Mechanism (106-110)
o How to Deliver Extrinsic Rewards (113-116)
o How to Deliver Intrinsic Rewards (121-122)
o How to Get People to Walk Through Your Doors (126-128)
o Balancing Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Rewards (129-131)

Parr provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel based on more than 500 scientific studies of attention within the disciplines of psychology and neurology. He also conducted about 50 interviews of various thought leaders and drew upon relevant case studies. This is indeed an evidence-driven rather than theory-driven book.

I was especially interested in his discussion of what he characterizes as seven 'captivation triggers'; that is, psychological and scientific phenomena that evoke responses in the mind. They are:

1. Automaticity: Initiate appealing sensory stimulation
2. Framing: Relocate expectations to a different context
3. Disruption: Eliminate expectations to create cognitive "room" for something else
4. Reward: Leverage (exploiting) people's reward preferences
5. Reputation: Obtain trust with credentials, track record, and reputation
6. Mystery: Use mystery, uncertainty, and ambiguity to create intrigue that sustains interest
7. Acknowledgement: Use humility to gain credibility with self-deprecating deference

Readers will appreciate Parr's inclusion of dozens of stories that anchor his insights within a real-world context and frame of reference. In fact, as master manipulators such as Steve Jobs demonstrate, audiences love to be entertained but also delighted by surprise. Consider this example of an effective "plot twist" as a mystery trigger:

"At the end of Apple's big presentations and project launches, when it seemed like Jobs had finished his presentation, he would come back with three little words: 'One more thing...' When he said those words, the crowd would go wild and Jobs would unveil one more surprise product."

The plot twist without a spoiler is only one of dozens of means by with to capture and then maintain control of attention, be it one person or a several thousand. My own take is that the credibility of those who are masters of that process is essential to their effectiveness. Self-serving tricks and gimmicks are self-defeating. More to the point, they betray the trust that people invest with their attention. By all means use various triggers to attract attention to what you offer but make certain that what you offer is worthy of attention. Ben Parr brilliantly explains "why some ideas and ideologies are so compelling and why other ideas don't capture your attention, even if you know they should." Attention resembles trust in that both must be earned and can so quickly be lost. Yes, Steve Jobs was a master of all seven triggers but he only used them in good faith. So must anyone else and that, for me, is the most important point for aspiring captivologists to keep in mind.

The Leadership Capital Index: Realizing the Market Value of Leadership
The Leadership Capital Index: Realizing the Market Value of Leadership
Price: CDN$ 15.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a means by which to determine the bottom-line impact and value of individual and organizational leadership, Oct. 19 2015
I have read and reviewed all of Dave Ulrich’s previously published books and consider him to be among the most valuable contemporary business thinkers in terms of how to accelerate personal growth and professional development within a workplace culture. In the Foreword to this, his latest work, Mark Mobius suggests that Ulrich offers “a systematic and logical way to measure the elusive variable of company leadership that plays such a key role in determining company success and market value. Dave Ulrich has found a way to measure this variable, so critical to investment success."

Obviously, all organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. How to determine the market value of this leadership? As Ulrich acknowledges, people often make this demand: "Show me the measures on the existing balance sheet and income statement...The value of this book is that it provides you with the right questions to ask and the right indicators to track."

In an article that appeared in the April (2015) issue of Harvard Business Review, Allan Freed and Dave Ulrich observe, “What we need is a leadership capital index, similar to a financial confidence index (such as Moody’s or Standard & Poor’s). It would move beyond casual and piecemeal observations of leaders to more thorough assessment of leadership.” They then explain how they and their colleagues at the RBL Group created a leadership capital index by interviewing and surveying investors and by synthesizing at dozens of studies of the impact of leadership. “In general, these studies offered deep insights on one piece of an overall leadership puzzle. Some focused on personal leadership style of the CEO, others on compensation or training practices, and still others on organization governance and design. Few attempted to prepare a comprehensive approach to leadership as a whole that could be accessed by investors.”

As is often the case with an HBR article, “Calculating the Market Value of Leadership” led to this book in which Ulrich develops in much greater detail what does indeed offer “a comprehensive approach to leadership as a whole that could be accessed by investors.”

These are among the subjects of greatest interest and value to me in Chapters 1-5, also listed to suggest the scope of Ulrich's coverage:

o Examples of Studies on Individual Leader Competencies and Financial Results
o Individual Leader Proficiencies: Personal, Strategic, Execution, People, and Leadership Brand
o Examples of Studies on Organizational Capabilities/Human Capital and Financial Results
o High-Level Overview of Leadership Capital Index
o Thought Leader Assessments of Leadership Capital Index Factors
o Types of Risk (Based on the COSO Framework)
o Framework for Assessing Leaders' Personal Proficiency
o Indicators for Personal Proficiency
o Framework for Assessing Leaders' Strategic Proficiency
o Approaches to Strategy (Key Dimensions of Strategic Proficiency That Create Overall Strategic Approach)
o Environmental Trends and Redefinition of Industry
o Indicators for Strategic Proficiency
o Framework for Assessing Leaders' Execution Proficiency
o Exemplary Thought Leaders on Execution and Change Processes
o Decision-Making Governance Grid

It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among those that are most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value. However different these companies may be in many (if not most) respects, all of them have this in common: effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. Until now, with all due respect to ratings, it has been difficult (if not impossible) to calculate the value of an organization’s leadership.

As Ulrich explains, the leadership capital index has two dimensions, or domains: individual and organizational. “Individual refers to the personal qualities (competencies, traits, characteristics) of both the top leader and the key leadership team in the organization. Organizational refers to the systems these leaders create to manage leadership throughout the organization and the application of organization systems to specific business conditions. Using these two domains, previous leadership and human capital work may be synthesized into a leadership capital index that investors can use to inform their valuation decisions.”

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the abundance of information, insights, and counsel that Dave Ulrich provides when helping his reader to understand WHY it is imperative to realize the market value of leadership and HOW to do that by putting the Leadership Capital Index into practice. I am among the readers of this book who are convinced that studying leadership through investor expectations is a very good and breakthrough idea. Just about everything an executive needs to know about that idea is in this book. It is a stunning achievement. Bravo!

The Brand Flip: Why customers now run companies and how to profit from it
The Brand Flip: Why customers now run companies and how to profit from it
by Marty Neumeier
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 23.04
31 used & new from CDN$ 16.52

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The choice: companies “can leap into the future and possibly land on their feet” or wait to be run over by the competition, Oct. 13 2015
I have read and reviewed all of Marty Neumeier's previously published books and thus was eager to read his latest in which he explains how and why "customers now run companies -- and how to profit from it." We all realize that, in recent years, there has been a major paradigm shift that transferred majority control of the purchase process from seller to buyer. I cannot recall a prior time when buyers were better informed, less patient, and more demanding than they are now.

This is what Neumeier has in mind when observing, "The best customers are no longer consumers or market segments or tiny blips in big data. They're individuals with hopes, dreams, needs, and emotions. They exercise judgment, indulge in whims, express personal views, and write their own life stories. They're proactive, skeptical, and creative. They've reached the top of Maslow's Pyramid, where the goals are autonomy, growth, and fulfillment. They don't 'consume.' HAVING more runs a distant second to BEING more." The implications of this "flip" are numerous and of immense significance. The new caution is "caveat vendit" (seller beware) and while it may be implicit, it is certainly emphatic.

To what does the title refer? The aforementioned transition is part of the answer but there are other issues as well. In each of the 18 chapters, Neumeier examines an individual flip -- "an accepted business truth upended by technological change. These individual flips add up to the overall flip." He hastens to add, "Yet this book is not just a description of change, but a prescription for it." If I understand Neumeier on this point (and I may not), marketing must become so customer-centric that a buyer and the given brand are indistinguishable.

I agree with Neumeier that the term "brand" remains the essence of Peter Drucker's assessment that (a) business has only one valid purpose: to create a customer; and if so, (b) business has only two basic function s: innovation to produce better products and marketing to tell the stories that sell them." In fact, Drucker's vision was for marketing to make selling "superfluous."

Neumeier lists "10 New Realities" (Pages 8-17) and then shifts his attention to the aforementioned individual flips in sequence. Each suggests one of probably several dozen disruptions of the traditional seller-buyer relationship. He also provides a list of "25 Intangibles That Add Value." I urge marketers who read this book to use this list to conduct a candid assessment of their own brand whatever it may be...and do so within the framework of the new realities.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Neumeier’s coverage:

o 10 New Realities (Pages 8-17)
o 25 Intangibles That Add Value (26)
o The Power of Loyalty (31)
o Anatomy of a Mom Blogger (46)
o Customers: Identity, Aims, and Mores (49)
o The Authenticity Scorecard (55)
o Onlyness Is the Secret of Positioning (60)
o Ritz-Carlton Service Values (67)
o Touchpoint Menu (72)
o Brand Experience Map 78)
o What Can You Fix? (82)
o The Seven Enemies of Simplicity (102)
o Purchase Funnel (121)
o Brand Commitment Scale (125)
o Brand Commitment Survey (126)
o Take-Home Lessons (131-133)

Who will derive the greatest benefit from this book? Although the target market may seem to be marketers, that would be an incorrect assumption. I propose three working assumptions. First, that all organizations need effective leadership at all levels and all areas of the given enterprise. Next, that the healthiest organizations have a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. Finally, that as Peter Drucker suggests, the most successful organizations will produce better products and/or services [begin italics] perceived by their customers [end italics] to offer the greatest value in combination with a purchase experience that is [begin italics] perceived by their customers [end italics] to be most convenient and most pleasant.

Those who will derive the greatest value from this book will probably be in one of two groups: those in companies annually ranked among the most highly regarded and best to work for as well as most profitable with the greatest cap value in their industry, and, those who aspire to be associated with a such company.

The stakes are high, as Neumeier indicates:

o The most loyal 50 percent of customers would pay a 25 percent premium before switching brands.
o Loyal customers spend 33 percent more than new customers.
o The probability of selling to a new customer is only 5-20 percent, whereas the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent.
o Customers that have an emotional connection to a company are 4 times as likely to do business with it.
o In many categories, the most loyal 10 percent of customers generates 50 percent of the revenue.
o In some sectors, a 2 percent increase in loyalty is equivalent to a 10 percent cost reduction.
o A 5 percent increase in customer retention can mean a 30 percent increase in profits.
o A 5 percent increase in loyalty can mean a 95 percent increase in profits over a customer’s lifetime.

I think this is Marty Neumeier's most valuable book...thus far. His insights and counsel will have wider and deeper impact because they have wider and deeper relevance to any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. THE BRAND FLIP is a brilliant achievement. Bravo!
The Brand Flip: Why Customers Now Run Companies and How to Profit from it (Voices That Matter)
by Marty Neumeier
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.19

5.0 out of 5 stars The choice: companies “can leap into the future and possibly land on their feet” or wait to be run over by the competition, 13 Oct. 2015
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This review is from: The Brand Flip: Why Customers Now Run Companies and How to Profit from it (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
The choice: companies “can leap into the future and possibly land on their feet” or wait to be run over by the competition

This review is from: The Brand Flip: Why customers now run companies and how to profit from it (Voices That Matter) (Paperback)
I have read and reviewed all of Marty Neumeier's previously published books and thus was eager to read his latest in which he explains how and why "customers now run companies -- and how to profit from it." We all realize that, in recent years, there has been a major paradigm shift that transferred majority control of the purchase process from seller to buyer. I cannot recall a prior time when buyers were better informed, less patient, and more demanding than they are now.

This is what Neumeier has in mind when observing, "The best customers are no longer consumers or market segments or tiny blips in big data. They're individuals with hopes, dreams, needs, and emotions. They exercise judgment, indulge in whims, express personal views, and write their own life stories. They're proactive, skeptical, and creative. They've reached the top of Maslow's Pyramid, where the goals are autonomy, growth, and fulfillment. They don't 'consume.' HAVING more runs a distant second to BEING more." The implications of this "flip" are numerous and of immense significance. The new caution is "caveat vendit" (seller beware) and while it may be implicit, it is certainly emphatic.

To what does the title refer? The aforementioned transition is part of the answer but there are other issues as well. In each of the 18 chapters, Neumeier examines an individual flip -- "an accepted business truth upended by technological change. These individual flips add up to the overall flip." He hastens to add, "Yet this book is not just a description of change, but a prescription for it." If I understand Neumeier on this point (and I may not), marketing must become so customer-centric that a buyer and the given brand are indistinguishable.

I agree with Neumeier that the term "brand" remains the essence of Peter Drucker's assessment that (a) business has only one valid purpose: to create a customer; and if so, (b) business has only two basic function s: innovation to produce better products and marketing to tell the stories that sell them." In fact, Drucker's vision was for marketing to make selling "superfluous."

Neumeier lists "10 New Realities" (Pages 8-17) and then shifts his attention to the aforementioned individual flips in sequence. Each suggests one of probably several dozen disruptions of the traditional seller-buyer relationship. He also provides a list of "25 Intangibles That Add Value." I urge marketers who read this book to use this list to conduct a candid assessment of their own brand whatever it may be...and do so within the framework of the new realities.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Neumeier’s coverage:

o 10 New Realities (Pages 8-17)
o 25 Intangibles That Add Value (26)
o The Power of Loyalty (31)
o Anatomy of a Mom Blogger (46)
o Customers: Identity, Aims, and Mores (49)
o The Authenticity Scorecard (55)
o Onlyness Is the Secret of Positioning (60)
o Ritz-Carlton Service Values (67)
o Touchpoint Menu (72)
o Brand Experience Map 78)
o What Can You Fix? (82)
o The Seven Enemies of Simplicity (102)
o Purchase Funnel (121)
o Brand Commitment Scale (125)
o Brand Commitment Survey (126)
o Take-Home Lessons (131-133)

Who will derive the greatest benefit from this book? Although the target market may seem to be marketers, that would be an incorrect assumption. I propose three working assumptions. First, that all organizations need effective leadership at all levels and all areas of the given enterprise. Next, that the healthiest organizations have a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. Finally, that as Peter Drucker suggests, the most successful organizations will produce better products and/or services [begin italics] perceived by their customers [end italics] to offer the greatest value in combination with a purchase experience that is [begin italics] perceived by their customers [end italics] to be most convenient and most pleasant.

Those who will derive the greatest value from this book will probably be in one of two groups: those in companies annually ranked among the most highly regarded and best to work for as well as most profitable with the greatest cap value in their industry, and, those who aspire to be associated with a such company.

The stakes are high, as Neumeier indicates:

o The most loyal 50 percent of customers would pay a 25 percent premium before switching brands.
o Loyal customers spend 33 percent more than new customers.
o The probability of selling to a new customer is only 5-20 percent, whereas the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent.
o Customers that have an emotional connection to a company are 4 times as likely to do business with it.
o In many categories, the most loyal 10 percent of customers generates 50 percent of the revenue.
o In some sectors, a 2 percent increase in loyalty is equivalent to a 10 percent cost reduction.
o A 5 percent increase in customer retention can mean a 30 percent increase in profits.
o A 5 percent increase in loyalty can mean a 95 percent increase in profits over a customer’s lifetime.

I think this is Marty Neumeier's most valuable book...thus far. His insights and counsel will have wider and deeper impact because they have wider and deeper relevance to any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. THE BRAND FLIP is a brilliant achievement. Bravo!

Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing
Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing
by Jamie Holmes
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 25.29
32 used & new from CDN$ 20.39

5.0 out of 5 stars In an increasingly complex, unpredictable world'what matters most is how we deal with what we don't know., Oct. 13 2015
I selected the comment by Jamie Holmes to serve as the subject of this review because he cites one of the greatest challenges all of us face today. For example, one of the most important information needs is knowing what we think we know but, in fact, don't. So many times we make decisions based on assumptions or premises that are inadequate or incomplete, if not flat-out wrong. When told that he was believed to be the wisest man on earth, Socrates replied that if it were true, it was because 'The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."

Holmes cites dozens of primary and secondary sources to support his 'simple claim' that "what matters most isn't IQ, will power, or confidence in what we know. It's how we deal with what we don't understand." And I again presume to suggest that we cannot deal with something unless and until we recognize that we really do not understand it, although we may be certain that we do. Not everyone who says "Got it!" in fact gets it but may well think they do and there's the problem. In this context, I am reminded again of a Jordan Peterson comment that Holmes quotes: "The fundamental problem of life is the overwhelming complexity of being." Peterson praises the capacity of mind to eradicate vast swathes of information, albeit accurate information that is nonetheless irrelevant to and thus useless in the given circumstances. He calls this capacity of the mind "the miracle of simplification." (Albert Einstein once recommended that everything be made as simple as possible "but no simpler.") I agree with Holmes: "the only way we can manage the flood of perception is by creating and automatic ally deferring to working theories of what we are going to encounter -- beliefs about the world, in the broadest sense."

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

o Ambiguity overview (Pages 9-12)
o Arie Kruglanski (11-14, 73-75, 86-87, 88-90, and 243-244)
o Sense making (19-61)
o Dorothy Martin and alien sightings (47-56)
o Traumatic events and reappraisal (65-73)
o Urgency (65-82)
o Misreading intentions (83-110)
o Need for closure scale (86-89)
o Trisha Torrey (111--114, 117-118, and 124-129)
o Misdiagnosis (111-123)
o Medical overtesting (120-126)
o Strategy of ignorance (130-154)
o Fashion forecasting (130-134, 139-141, and 145-152)
o Ambiguity tolerance and strategy of ignorance (134-139, 143-144, and 151-152)
o Business strategies (136-139)
o Uses of uncertainty (157-178)
o Gary Pisano (159-161 and 173-175)
o Benefits of failure (159-163)
o Innovations (179-203)
o Tony McCaffrey (192-198 and 201-202)
o Bilingualism (205-223)

The challenges to which Jamie Holmes refers throughout his lively and eloquent narrative are indeed complicated and are certain to become even more so in the months and years ahead. He provides an abundance of real-world situation framed as stories, information, insights, and counsel to help his reader to understand basic principles and options such as how sense making works, including 'secrets'; why intentions are misread; when to resist momentum; how to formulate and apply a 'strategy of ignorance'; various uses of uncertainty; where to find hidden answers; and what benefits and opportunities appropriate diversity offers.

For many executives now struggling to lead their companies through an increasingly more ambiguous as well as volatile and disruptive global marketplace, this is a 'must read.'5.0 out of 5 stars 'In an increasingly complex, unpredictable world'what matters most is how we deal with what we don't know.', 13 Oct. 2015
Edit Review
Delete Review
This review is from: Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing (Hardcover)
I selected the comment by Jamie Holmes to serve as the subject of this review because he cites one of the greatest challenges all of us face today. For example, one of the most important information needs is knowing what we think we know but, in fact, don't. So many times we make decisions based on assumptions or premises that are inadequate or incomplete, if not flat-out wrong. When told that he was believed to be the wisest man on earth, Socrates replied that if it were true, it was because 'The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."

Holmes cites dozens of primary and secondary sources to support his 'simple claim' that "what matters most isn't IQ, will power, or confidence in what we know. It's how we deal with what we don't understand." And I again presume to suggest that that cannot we cannot deal with something unless and until we recognize that we do not understand it although we think we do. Not everyone who says "Got it!" in fact gets it but may well think they do and there's the problem. In this context, I am reminded again of a Jordan Peterson comment that Holmes quotes: "The fundamental problem of life is the overwhelming complexity of being." Peterson praises the capacity of mind to eradicate vast swathes of information, albeit accurate information that is nonetheless irrelevant to and thus useless in the given circumstances. He calls this capacity of the mind "the miracle of simplification." (Albert Einstein once recommended that everything be made as simple as possible "but no simpler.") I agree with Holmes: "the only way we can manage the flood of perception is by creating and automatic ally deferring to working theories of what we are going to encounter -- beliefs about the world, in the broadest sense."

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

o Ambiguity overview (Pages 9-12)
o Arie Kruglanski (11-14, 73-75, 86-87, 88-90, and 243-244)
o Sense making (19-61)
o Dorothy Martin and alien sightings (47-56)
o Traumatic events and reappraisal (65-73)
o Urgency (65-82)
o Misreading intentions (83-110)
o Need for closure scale (86-89)
o Trisha Torrey (111--114, 117-118, and 124-129)
o Misdiagnosis (111-123)
o Medical overtesting (120-126)
o Strategy of ignorance (130-154)
o Fashion forecasting (130-134, 139-141, and 145-152)
o Ambiguity tolerance and strategy of ignorance (134-139, 143-144, and 151-152)
o Business strategies (136-139)
o Uses of uncertainty (157-178)
o Gary Pisano (159-161 and 173-175)
o Benefits of failure (159-163)
o Innovations (179-203)
o Tony McCaffrey (192-198 and 201-202)
o Bilingualism (205-223)

The challenges to which James Holmes refers throughout his lively and eloquent narrative are indeed complicated and are certain to become even more so in the months and years ahead. He provides an abundance of real-world situation framed as stories, information, insights, and counsel to help his reader to understand basic principles and options such as how sense making works, including 'secrets'; why intentions are misread; when to resist momentum; how to formulate and apply a 'strategy of ignorance'; various uses of uncertainty; where to find hidden answers; and what benefits and opportunities appropriate diversity offers.

For many executives now struggling to lead their companies through an increasingly more ambiguous as well as volatile and disruptive global marketplace, this is a 'must read.'

Leading Across New Borders: How to Succeed as the Center Shifts
Leading Across New Borders: How to Succeed as the Center Shifts
by Ernest Gundling
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 31.59
26 used & new from CDN$ 16.78

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant analysis of the skills, values, and competencies needed to achieve success in the global marketplace, Oct. 9 2015
I agree with Ernest Gundling, Christie Caldwell, and Karen Cvitkovich: 'Many organizations have realized that if they still hope to be relevant in the near future, they need to radically adjust their thinking about where they are located, how they do business, what they produce, and who will lead them. While the need for change is glaringly apparent, the path to success in this new global playing field is obtain elusive. The transformation top a global talent management model is a high- stakes endeavor fraught with difficulties and well-intentioned strategies gone awry. As the world shifts, some approaches to talent will produce far greater success than others.'

In marketing, this is what Marty Neumeier has in mind ' in his recent book, THE BRAND FLIP ' when suggesting that a 'an explosion of connectivity, and the power it gives customers, is turning companies upside down. The question isn't [begin italics] whether [end italics] your industry will be disrupted, but [begin italics] when [end italics].' Thomas Kuhn would call this a paradigm shift and the co-authors of Leaders Across New Borders would call this simply a shift to what has become a global marketplace.

Gundling, Caldwell, and Cvitkovich provide a wealth of info0rmation, insights, and counsel to help the executives who read this book to become much better prepared to lead their companies when struggling to meet the various challenges of global disruption. These are among the subjects of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of their book's coverage.

o What is changing and why it matters
o Who "global talent" is, what people want, and what they need to learn
o When cultural awareness is not enough
o Why matrix teams fail and how to get better results
o How to create inclusive leadership for competitive advantage
o How to focus on the real work needed to bring people together and make any deal worthwhile
o Developing the agility to innovate on a global scale
o Making conscious choices to ensure a sustainable future
o Integrating your own heritage, present awareness, and a vision for the future

I commend Gundling, Caldwell, and Cvitkovich on their skillful use of various reader-friendly devices. For example, "Sidebars" that range from global team elements ranked from highest to lowest scoring to personal consequences of economic trends; boxed mini-commentaries (e.g. "Superstars versus Everyone Else"); Tables; a "What You Can Do" section at the conclusion of Chapters 2-9; and three appendices; "Team Launch: Foundations," "Assessments from Aperian Global," and "Recommended Case Studies." These devices and others help to facilitate, indeed accelerate frequent review of key material later.

Heaven knows, there really are serious challenges to face and they will become even more unsettling in months and years to come. Ernest Gundling, Christie Caldwell, and Karen Cvitkovich are well-aware of the perils that await. In this volume, they have shared all that they have learned about what works, what doesn't, and why when confronting a challenge. These are their concluding thoughts about the leadership that will be urgently needed: "Leaders who are clear about their own personal core values -- knowing both what they stand for and where they are willing to be flexible -- are best suited to handle shifting economic realities and to identify and cultivate fresh talent. Taking on new responsibilities requires a leap of faith on the part of those who accept them as well. Yet leaders who have found their own center can also be trusted to shape the future."

Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time
Leadership BS: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 18.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to eliminate “too many leadership failures, too many career derailments, and too many toxic workplaces”, Oct. 4 2015
In Jeffrey Pfeffer's latest book, he shares his thoughts about how and why so much (if not most) of conventional wisdom about leadership and leadership development is out of touch with realities, a collective ignorance that helps to explain “too many leadership failures, too many career derailments, and too many toxic workplaces." He wrote this book to help those who read it to understand the root causes of such failures. He explores "the systemic processes that produce leaders who often behave differently from what most people like or expect."

As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of how important the scientific method can be when put to work too answer difficult questions or solve serious problems. Briefly, it consists of a six-step process:

1. Ask a question
2. Do thorough background research
3. Formulate a hypothesis
4. Test your hypothesis with one or more experiments
5. Rigorously analyze the data and draw a conclusion
6. Share the results so that others can conduct their own experiments

I stopped at 25 when counting the number of times Pfeffer uses the word "why." Those who master the scientific method make frequent use of the word during a process of verification of working assumptions or premises. Here's Pfeffer again: "My objective is to help you understand [begin italics] why [end italics] these leadership failures continue to occur with unacceptable frequency, to understand the systemic and psychological processes that produce what we observe every day in the world, in spire of all the leadership-development efforts, training programs, books, TED talks, and so forth."

So, what must be done? "To build a science of leadership, you need reliable data. To learn from the others' success, you need to know what those others did. The best learning, simply put, comes from accurate and comprehensive data, either qualitative or quantitative. But the leadership business is filled with fables. In autobiographical or semiautobiographical works and speeches, in the cases and authorized biographies leaders help bring into existence, and, in their prescriptions for leadership, leaders describe what they want to believe about themselves and the world and, more importantly and strategically, what they would like others to believe about them. The stories leaders tell or have others tell about themselves on their behalf are primarily designed to create an attractive legacy. Sometimes such accounts are, to put it delicately, incomplete. Because these tales are designed to build an image and a reputation, they do not constitute qualitative data from which to learn. In fact, they aren't data at all, any more than advertising is data or evidence."

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Pfeffer’s coverage in the first eight chapters:

o The Failure of the Leadership Industry (Pages 4-8)
o Workplaces Are Mostly Horrible (10-14)
o Too Few Good Leaders, Too Many Bad Ones (16-18)
o Why All This Failure? (19-26)
o Fixing These Problems (26-32)
o Myths and Fables, And Why Inaccuracy Is Inevitable (35-40)
o Three Consequences of Workplace Failures (41-50)
- Cynicism
- People Lose Their Jobs -- or Job Opportunities
- Unrealistic Expectations for Ourselves
o Inspiration Does Not Produce Change (50-54)
o Why Modesty Might Be a Useful Trait, and, Why Immodesty Might Be Better (65-71)
o Immodesty and Success (71-78)
o The Effects of Immodesty (78-82)
o The Authentic Leadership Moment (89-91)
o Why Authentic Leadership Is Not Desirable (92-95)
o Becoming Usefully Inauthentic (95-100)
o Why Authentic Leadership May Be Almost Impossible (100-103)

All great leaders throughout history have had a "green thumb" for "growing" leaders, some of which became great or at least effective. Pfeffer does not employ an extended metaphor that a workplace is a garden but he does have a great deal of value to say -- in Chapter 6 -- about inducing leaders to take care of others. I agree with him that "the field of leadership should learn something from economics and agency theory...[thereby] ensuring more psychological identification with and contact between leaders and those they lead, and using measurements and incentives to both assess and reward the desired and desirable behaviors of leaders that demonstrate actual taking care of others, are much more reliable ways to ensure that at least a few more leaders ‘eat’ last."

Pfeffer is among the most insightful business thinkers and certainly attracts attention while generating controversy. Whom does he threaten? Those who embrace the status quo with the same desperation that Linus does with his blanket. However, there are others who are open-minded to diverse points of view and they value him and his work, although they may not always agree with him. Yes, some of his influences include Machiavelli and Joseph Schumpeter but there are also kindred spirits such as Mary Parker Follett, Douglas McGregor, and Robert Greenleaf with whom he agrees about the great need for leaders who have respect, trust, and empathy for those whom they feel privileged to serve. He offers a stunning example of a thought leader who is both an idealist and a realist, one who is driven to understand what works, what doesn't, and why so that he can then share what he has learned with as many other people as possible. I am especially grateful for the fact that Jeffrey Pfeffer has what Ernest Hemingway once characterized as "a built-in, shock-proof crap detector."

The Summit: The Biggest Battle of the Second World War - Fought Behind Closed Doors
The Summit: The Biggest Battle of the Second World War - Fought Behind Closed Doors
by Ed Conway
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 40.50
5 used & new from CDN$ 19.33

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant analysis of the unique significance of "the very highest point of modern international economic diplomacy", Sept. 30 2015
Here is probably the definitive account of what happened when 730 delegates from 44 allied nations gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, from July 1 until July 22 in 1944, in order to prevent "yet more bloodshed by reshaping the world's economy." Ed Conway observes, "When economic historians write about Bretton Woods today they do so as if it were hermetically sealed, a sterile Petri dish in which economists and technicians constructed the world economy of the future. In reality, the three weeks of 'considered negotiations' at the Mount Washington Hotel were tense, chaotic, and fractious. They could hardly have been otherwise given the nature of the main protagonists [Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes]: two men determined to use the conference to safeguard their own economies; a duo whose fight with each other had begun years ago, and whose determination to redraw the economic map could be traced all the way back to 1918."

I commend Conway on his brilliant skills when "setting the table" in the Prologue ("Saturday 22 July 1944) and then in Chapter 1 ("The Mount Washington"), followed by Parts I and II in which Chapters Two-Nine examine a timeframe from 1918 until June 1944. He devotes a separate chapter to each of the three weeks of "the summit" in Part III and then, in Part IV, shares his research and thoughts about what he learned with regard to "the life and death of Bretton Woods.," followed by an Epilogue. I never once felt overwhelmed by the abundance of historical information Conway provides, nor did the narrative seem to sag or splinter throughout more than four hundred pages of material. He also displays uncommon wit as indicated by several of his chapter titles such as "Snakebite Party" (Eight), "Babel on Wheels" (Nine), and "Starvation Corner" (Fourteen).

Many (if not most) of those who read this book will appreciate as much as I do Conway's provision of information and insights about individuals and events that preceded the conference in New Hampshire. As he explains, "It is the aim of this book to describe what really happened in those remarkable twenty-two days -- and, of course, the months and years surrounding the meetings and behind-the-scenes debates that are equally intriguing." Bullseye!

These are among the questions of greatest interest to which he responds with erudition as well as eloquence:

o The profound significance of certain major events that occurred from the end of World War 1 in 1918 until the Bretton Woods conference in July 1944
o Why the assembly was convened at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire
o Initially, the hopes, expectations, and concerns of the "Big Four": US, Russia (USSR), UK, and France
o The major developments that occurred during a three-week period
o The nature and extent of various "collisions of interests throughout the conference"
o The major obstacles to consummating an agreement on the governance of the world economy
o The reasons for the ongoing "row" between the US and Russia (USSR)
o The roles of the key "players" who included Henry Morgenthau and Harry Dexter White (US); John Maynard Keynes, Dennis Robinson, and Lionel Robbins (UK); Pierre Mendès France (France); and Mikhail Stepanovich and Vyacheslav Molotov (Russia/USSR)
o The impact of World War 2 developments (e.g. Normandy landings and V1 attacks) during "the summit"
o Allegations and suspicions that White was a Soviet spy
o The toll of the workload on the delegations' support staff
o How and why the International Monetary Fund and what became the World Bank were established
o The nature and extent of influence of world leaders such as FDR, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin on various negotiations

Here are Ed Conway's concluding remarks: "Life is messy -- in international economics as much as in the everyday world must of us in habit. But in this messy world, Bretton Woods has come to represent something hopeful, something closer to perfection. The most important mission facing the world's politicians and policymakers then, as now, was to repair the world's economic system and rep0lace it with something better. For a time, they succeeded."

There are important lessons to be learned from what did and didn't happen during those 22 days. It remains to be seen whether or not those lessons will guide and inform the difficult decisions that must be made in months and years to come. Meanwhile, when watching local and national news programs each evening, I am again reminded of these lines from Yeats's poem, The Second Coming:

"Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both
Friend & Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both
by Adam Galinsky
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.72
32 used & new from CDN$ 3.92

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to decide when to cooperate and when to compete...and how to become better at both, Sept. 30 2015
I agree with Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer: "The tension between competition and cooperation defines many of our interactions at home and work, and to succeed across these realms requires knowing when and how to do both. In our most important relationships, from the negotiating table in the boardroom to the breakfast table with our kids, we routinely face challenges that appear to offer two opposing solutions. Yet the question - should we cooperate or should we compete - is often the wrong one. Our most important relationships are neither cooperative nor competitive. Instead, they are both."

These comments really hit home with me, evoking memories of dozens of situations when, as a parent, I said or did something wrong for all the right reasons. I was an enabler. Comparable situations have also occurred in the workplace when praise or criticism was inappropriate and counter-productive. The specific details are unimportant. The fact is, throughout my adult life, there have been situations when I sensed but did not understand the "tension" to which Galinsky and Schweitzer refer, the tension that occurs when considering the two behaviors. Because they often occur simultaneously, "we must nimbly shift between the two." This book was written for those such as I who need to gain a better understanding of when to cooperate and when to compete...and how to become better at both

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Galinsky and Schweitzer's coverage:

o Similarity Matters (Pages 17-20)
o When Comparisons Go Wild (31-34)
o Finding the Right Balance: Making Comparisons Work for Us (34-37)
o It's All in Your Head (42-44)
o Powerholics: Invincibility and Invisibility (49-51)
o The King's Downfall (54-58)
o The Rise of Hierarchy (66-70)
o When Hierarchy Hurts (80-87)
o The Double Bind (100-103)
o Making Ourselves Blind to Undo the Double Bind (112-114)
o Reappropriation: Turning Your Weakness into Your Strength (128-132)
o "They Did What They Had to Do" (147-148)
o Why Happy Families Produce Terrorists (154-157)
o When Deception Builds Cooperation (173-175)
o Putting It All Together: Spotting Red Flags (179-186)
o The Apology Formula: The Key Ingredients of Successful Apologies (200-205)
o Getting Inside Their Head to Get a Better Deal (211-213)
o The Art of the Mimic (213-217)
o How to Avoid Being a Racist (225-229)
o Should You Make the First Offer (243-248)

I commend Galinsky and Schweitzer on their provision of a "Finding the Right Balance" section at the conclusion of Chapters 1-10. This material anchors the reader in a human context. For example, Finding the Right Balance: How to Make Comparisons Work for Us (Chapter 1), How to Trust but Verify (Chapter 7), and How to Make an Ambitious First Offer but Come Across as Cooperative (Chapter 10). The repetition of "How to...." Correctly suggests the practical nature of the advice, intended to help readers apply it to their own specific situations. Hence the importance, also, of dozens of real-world examples that they insert strategically throughout their book. The stories are almost as entertaining as they are informative. Good stuff.

As I worked my way through this book's lively narrative, I was again reminded of a conversation I had years ago with an aide to the British Ambassador during a reception in Georgetown. At one point I asked him what he believed to be a diplomat's ultimate objective. He replied, "Letting the other chap have it your way." Obviously, I haven't forgotten that comment and suggest that it captures the essence of the approach that Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer thoroughly explain. Both cooperation and competition involve skills that must be mastered, of course, but it is also imperative to know when and how to "shift" or modify one's persona when managing each interaction.

It is impossible to exaggerate the potential value of this book, given the fact that "what comes next will not take the shape of cooperation [begin italics] or [end italics] competition, but rather a shifting dynamic between the two. As we compete for scarce resources in our unstable world, it's not enough to be prepared to cooperate [begin italics] or [end italics] compete. We must be prepared to do both."

Creativity & Problem Solving (The Brian Tracy Success Library)
Creativity & Problem Solving (The Brian Tracy Success Library)
Price: CDN$ 5.15

5.0 out of 5 stars "With an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about it and 5 minutes thinking about solutions." Albert Einstein, Sept. 29 2015
This is one of the volumes in the Brian Tracy Success Library, all published by AMACOM. Tracy has already written one or more books of greater length and depth that examine these and other major business subjects. What he has now done with each of the volumes in the series is to condense with consummate skill the most valuable information, insights, and counsel within a 100-page format, in this instance the most valuable lessons he has learned about creative or innovative problem solving.

Briefly but substantially, Tracy covers essentials of that include The Root Sources of Creativity, Three Triggers to Creativity, Mind-Stimulating Exercises, Practice Lateral Thinking, Practice Zero-Based Thinking, The Value-Engineering Principle. He again em ploys a format that frames 21 key elements that can be involved in a process to produce creative or innovative solutions to especially serious problems or answers to especially challenging questions. Sometimes an entirely new solution or answer is needed. Other times, the best solution or answer may well be a refinement or development of a solution or answer that is no longer sufficient. More often than not, such a problem or question resembles a puzzle whose solution or answer can be revealed only by obtaining the right pieces and then assembling them in proper order.

Readers will appreciate Tracy's provision of an "Action Exercises" section at the conclusion of each chapter. I strongly recommend that a lined notebook be kept near at hand in which to record comments, questions, and page references as well as completion of the exercises. It also makes sense to highlight key passages in the book. Doing all this will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of material later.

Here in Dallas near the downtown area, we have a Farmer's Market area at which merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples of their wares. In that spirit, I now provide Peter Drucker's list of "The Seven Sources of Innovation" that racy discusses ion Chapter Eighteen:

1. The Unexpected Event "is often the breakthrough innovation that changes an entire industry."

2. Incongruity "is the reality of what is and what 'out' to be."

3. Process Need that, when developed or improved, "would allow you to serve your customers better, faster, cheaper, or more conveniently than your competitors."

4. Changes in industry structure such as "the introduction of the Apple iPhone in 2006 which purred Samsung into the market with its Android-based smartphones."

5. Demographic Changes such as "the population movement from high-tax, high-regulation states to low-tax, low-regulation states" such as Texas with no personal income tax and a business-favorable regulatory system.

6. Changes in Values and Perceptions such "a much greater emphasis on health foods and fitness today than there was in the last generation."

7. New Knowledge, "both scientific and nonscientific, creates new economic trends, opportunities, and even completely new industries."

I agree with Tracy that almost anyone can develop the skills to make decisions that are much more creative or innovation. In their classic book, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All, Tom Kelley and David Kelley observe: "As brothers who have worked together for thirty years at the forefront of innovation, we have come to see [various] misconceptions as 'the creativity myth.' It is a myth that far too many people share. This book is about the opposite of that myth. It is about what we call 'creative confidence.' And at its foundation is the belief that we are [begin italics] all [end italics] creative...Creative confidence is a way of seeing that potential and your place in the world more clearly, unclouded by anxiety and doubt. We hope you'll join us on our quest to embrace creative confidence in our lives. Together, we can all make the world a better place."

This book is Brian Tracy's substantial contribution to an operational manual that explains HOW. Also, as is true of each of the other volumes in The Brian Tracy Success Library, the price at which Amazon US now sells this volume ($9.95) is not a bargain; it's a steal.

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