Auto boutiques-francophones Simple and secure cloud storage Personal Care Kindle Cook Music Deals Store Cycling Tools
Profile for Robert Morris > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Robert Morris
Top Reviewer Ranking: 9
Helpful Votes: 2232

Guidelines: Learn more about the ins and outs of Amazon Communities.

Reviews Written by
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win
Return on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win
by Fred Kiel
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.63
25 used & new from CDN$ 23.62

5.0 out of 5 stars "Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters." Albert Einstein, April 14 2015
As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of Einstein's observation as well as one of my favorite Warren Buffett insights: "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."

It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among the most highly admired and best to work for are also among the companies annually ranked as most profitable with the greatest cap value in their competitive marketplace. Some of their leaders may lack charisma but none of their leaders lacks the character and integrity to which Einstein and Buffett refer.

Fred Kiel wrote this book because he saw a need to offer "concrete reasons for rethinking our ideas about effective leadership and to map out the direct connection between strong character, principled behavior, and sustainable business results." He would be among the first to agree that leadership without character has a very short duration. Character-driven leadership - at all levels and in all areas, especially in the so-called C-suite - is essential to the "sustainable business results" to which Kiel refers.

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

o ROC Is for Leaders -- At Any Level (Pages 8-9)
o Coming to Terms with Character (15-18)
o Profiling the CEO Character, and, Plotting the Character Curve (18-20)
o Connecting the Links in the ROC Value Chain (28-32)
o Updating to Leadership 2.0 (37-40)
o Exploring the Software at the Heart of Human Nature (42-46)
o Telling a Coherent Life Story (54-58)
o The Keystone Character Traits (63-66)
o The Worldview from the Vantage Point of Success (69-73)
o Decision Making and Character-Driven Leadership (84-92)
o Establishing Strategic Focus, and, Enforcing a Culture of Accountability (92-95)
o Leading the Way Toward Maximum ROC (99-102)
o Leading the Executive Team
o Building Workforce Engagement (118-122)
o Building on the Bedrock of Character (124-125)
o The Return on Character for Employees (135-141)
o Becoming a Virtuoso Leader: A Six-Step Process (157-189)
o Creating an Executive Team with as Shared Sense of Vision and Strategy (195-198)
o Looking for World-Class Leaders (212-215)

I agree with Kiel that almost anyone can become a Virtuoso leader by completing the process explained in Chapter 7. Long ago, I realized that all character-driven leaders have a "green thumb" for "growing" associates entrusted to their care. That is the key to establishing and then nourishing a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. Those who aspire to become a Virtuoso leader should be able to rely on the support and encouragement of a character-driven supervisor while completing the aforementioned process. If there is none, they should seriously consider joining another organization.

Fred Kiel is to be commended on the abundance of information, insights, counsel, and personal experiences that he shares in this book. He makes brilliant use of several reader-friendly devices, notably an "ROC Takeaways" section at the conclusion of each chapter. This is an especially effective way to review key points and will also facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of relevant material later.

Hopefully, many of those who read this brief commentary will read and then re-read the book. Not everyone who does so will become - or even aspire to become- a C-level executive but all of them will, I hope, make and sustain a heartfelt commitment to character-driven leadership, both at work and everywhere else available to them. Meanwhile, I ask them to keep in mind this 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."

Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas
Better and Faster: The Proven Path to Unstoppable Ideas
by Jeremy Gutsche
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.45
45 used & new from CDN$ 10.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to convert almost any workplace into a “hunting ground” for breakthrough ideas, April 13 2015
In his latest book, Hunting in a Farmer's World: Celebrating the Mind of an Entrepreneur, John Dini makes brilliant use of the two core metaphors, the hunter and the farmer, when sharing his thoughts about two quite different mindsets. The business world needs hunters but at also needs farmers. In fact, Dini suggests -- and I agree -- that, during the last four centuries and especially during the last two, the business world has been a farmer's world. That is to say, executives tend to be managers rather than entrepreneurs, focused primarily on increasing the efficiency and profitability of the status quo.

As Jeremy Gutsche suggests in Better and Faster, hunters need to complete three steps to formulate disruptive ideas: understand the essential conflict between hunters and farmers, explore six patterns of opportunity (i.e. convergence, redirection, reduction, acceleration, cyclicality, and divergence), and then "capture" the idea that can lead to eventual success. He explains how and why farmers can be trapped by complacency, defending the status quo while hostage to what Jim O'Toole aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." They are vulnerable to hunters who are insatiable, curious, and willing to destroy.

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

o Awakening Your Inner Hunter (Pages 14-16)
o Hidden Secrets, Starting Fresh, and a Billionaire Author (40-43)
o Choice, Challenge, and the Underdog (46-49)
o An All-Conscious Search (52-54)
o Chaos Creates Opportunity (64-67)
o The Shotgun Approach (73-76)
o Convergence: At Trend Setter, and, Sub -Patterns (80-84)
o Divergence (85-87)
o Lawsuits, Rumors, and Jet Racing (93-98)
o Beautiful People Only (98-102)
o Sub-Patterns of Divergence (105-108)
o From "Bling Bling" to Boring (117-120)
o Getting Nasty (120-123
o Sub-Patterns of Cyclicality (127-129)
o Manufacturing Desire (138-142)
o Sub-Patterns of Redirection (142-145)
o The Power of a Niche (153-155)
o Sub-Patterns of Reduction (160-162)
o Acceleration: Three Rounds (174-179)
o Let's Create a Business (190-196)

What Gutsche offers is a cohesive, comprehensive, cost-effective system by which to generate, evaluate, reject or refine, and then implement what can prove to be breakthrough ideas. The business world needs both farmers and hunters. Members of each group can make unique and substantial contributions to the success of the given enterprise. Farmers must avoid the traps of complacency, repetitiousness, and protectionism and hunters must avoid the traps of excessive satiability, curiosity, and destruction. The challenge for business leaders is two-fold: to get the best out of each group, and, to sustain an appropriate balance in their collaboration.

Just as there are several different "roads to Rome," it is also true that there are several different patterns or approaches to opportunities for success. Gutsche focuses on six (previously identified), any one of which can be very effective. Extending the metaphor a bit, let's view a farm as a company, as indeed all of them are: it needs what most of its workers produce to be profitable and remain in operation. However, it also needs other workers who constantly hunt for other acreage to acquire, and, for better ways -- methods as well as equipment -- to treat soil, plan crops, protect them, harvest them, and then go to market with them. Whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need to continuously generate lots of ideas at all levels and in all areas of operation.

A few years ago, I was retained by a Fortune 50 company to design what would become a "suggestion box" on its intranet. Initially, all employees were invited to post their suggestions: "How can we get more done in less time, do it better, and save money?" Later, the invitation was extended to customers and suppliers: "What can we can we do that would make it easier for you to do business with us?" Soon, on average, more than 500 suggestions were submitted each week and the total reached about one thousand until interest slowly evaporated. Several dozen suggestions led to substantial improvements and were generously rewarded. Of much greater importance, the workplace became what Gutsche characterizes as a "hunting ground." Whereas better thinking was previously conducted outside the suggestion box, over time the workplace replaced that box.

Good ideas can be found almost everywhere but, with rare exception, great ideas are the result of a collaborative process, a modern day equivalent of the alchemy that was so widespread during the Middle Ages. I commend Jeremy Gutsche on the wealth of in formation, insights, and counsel he provides. Just about all business leaders need to convert their workplace into a "hunting ground" can be found in his book. Bravo!

Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others
Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others
Price: CDN$ 15.16

5.0 out of 5 stars "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing." Helen Keller, April 9 2015
In Jason Jennings' latest book, The High-Speed Company, he draws upon 11,000 interviews of leaders in all manner of organizations. He responds to a critically important question: "How to create a sense of urgency among the workforce while achieving and then sustaining profitable growth?" The pace of this book's narrative correctly suggests the velocity at which changes occur in which has become a global marketplace, and, the velocity at which leaders must respond effectively to those changes. According to Jennings, the people who lead the fastest and best-performing companies don't see the world's problems, opportunities, rewards, and costs through the lens of what they mean to them. "They understand that true happiness and satisfaction come when we focus on others. They are, at heart, caregivers who see their purposes as being the best stewards of the resources, both tangible and intangible, that have been entrusted to them and making sure that all assets are used efficiently, effectively, and profitably."

And now his most important insight: "The single shared trait that I'd been looking for was [begin italics] stewardship [end italics]. It was also the essential last piece of the puzzle for creating urgency and growth in a nanosecond culture." Great leaders dare to serve rather than aspire to gain and retain power. This is precisely what Cheryl Bachelder has in mind when describing the leaders she admires most. They were great to work for but also led their teams to remarkable results. "Their motives go beyond self-interest. They challenge you to pursue daring, bold aspirations that create an exciting place to work. They shun the spotlight in favor of serving a higher purpose. They evidence principles in their daily decisions. You not only love these leaders but also perform your very best work for them."

Her comments remind me of my favorite passage in Lao-tse's Tao Te Ching:

"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."

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

o Where Did I Get This Idea for Writing the Book? (Page 6)
o Loving Those You Lead (23-26)
o The Difficulty of Serving, and, What's In It for You? (26-29)
o What Mindsets Lie Ahead for Dare-to-Serve Leaders? (29-32)
o Focus on the Vital Few (41-43)
o Bring Out the Best in People (48-54)
o The Courage to Measure Progress (54-57)
o Why Does Meaning Matter? (63-64)
o Journey to Personal Purpose (67-73)
o The Impact of Personal Purpose (73-75)
o Sharing Personal Purpose, and, Acting on Personal Purpose (75-77)
o The Six Popeyes Principles (82-96)
o Study of Leadership (106-108)
o Reflections on Reality (108-113)
o Leaders Are Bold (116-119)
o The Point of Purpose (136-139)
o Human Dignity (142-144)
o Personal Responsibility (144-147)
o Humility (148-150)
o The Stewardship of Leadership (153-156)

The key to organizational success often depends on the nature and extent of a special kind of leadership to which Jennings referred: stewardship. That is, leadership by women and men who go through life feeling "it's mostly about others." Robert Greenleaf characterizes them as servant leaders. Dan Goleman would say they have highly developed emotional intelligence. Jim O'Toole would say that their values and behavior are guided by a moral compass. Bill George suggests that the great leaders are authentic and follow what he characterizes as their True North: an internal compass that guides them as a human being at their deepest level. "It is your orienting point - your fixed point in a spinning world - that helps you stay on track as a leader. Your True North is based on what is most important to you, your most cherished values, your passions and motivations, the sources of satisfaction in your life. Just as a compass points toward a magnetic field, your True North pulls you toward the purpose of your leadership."

I commend Cheryl Bachelder on the abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel she provides, based on her wide and deep experience with major corporations that include Yum Brands!, Domino's Pizza, RJR Nabisco, the Gillete Company, Procter & Gamble, and currently Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, Inc. at which she serves as CEO.

Whatever its size and nature may be, however, every organization needs Dare-to-Serve leaders at all levels and in all areas. How to develop them? Read the book. It not only explains the "how" of that process, it also explains the "why": to drive superior results by serving others.

Coined: The Rich Life of Money and How Its History Has Shaped Us
Coined: The Rich Life of Money and How Its History Has Shaped Us
by Kabir Sehgal
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 30.64
36 used & new from CDN$ 8.61

5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant survey of the neuroscience of financial transactions throughout history, April 8 2015
Kabir Sehgal is not a neuroscientist nor am I and countless others who read this book. Its subtitle refers to the rich history of "money" but I think a more appropriate word is "currency," often -- but not always -- in the form of coins. Consider the ancient aphorism that, "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king." Sight (albeit limited sight) is the coin of that realm. You get the idea.

Sehgal strategically inserts dozens of relevant quotations throughout his lively and eloquent narrative, including this gem from Voltaire: "It is more easy to write on money than obtain it; and those who gain it, jest much at those who only know how to write about it." I have no ideas whether or not Sehgal has gained affluence but he can certainly write well when sharing his thoughts about "an ancient topic in new ways" while "hearing the different frequencies of money."

He succeeds in achieving his stated objective: to present "a multidimensional and interdisciplinary portrait of currency through the ages. It seeks to deepen your understanding of the history of money, and to show how it continues to shape our future in often imperceptible ways. I hope this book wsill explode your perception of money, and help you coin new ways to think about it." He certain gives his reader "new ways to think about it. These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Sehgal's coverage:

o The Currency of Nature (Pages 21-24)
o The Human Connection (24-29)
o Symbolically Thinking (34-37)
o Let's Get Rational (42-47)
o Brain Man: Brian Knutson (55-63)
o In Brains We Trust (63-65)
o The Gift (75-83)
o Sinister Bonds (89-92)
o Silver Civilization (103-106)
o A Democracy of Owls (111-117)
o Dragon Money (133-139)
o All About the Benjamins (144-148)
o Getting Softer: The Civil War (148-150)
o Getting Softer: The Great Depression (151-153)
o To Invisible and Beyond 160-161)
o The Bear Cause (166-180)
o The Bull Case (180-189)
o No Two Masters (203-213)
o A Test of Man 216-220)
o Symbolic Attachment 225-226)

Readers will appreciate the abundance of information, insights, and counsel provided in this volume. Those who share my high regard for Coined are urged to check out two books by Peter Bernstein: Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk and The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession, in a second edition, both published by John Wiley & Sons (2012). Our ability to navigate an always-uncertain future depends almost entirely on how well we understand the nature and extent of forces that will guide and inform it, and once again shape us.

These are among Kabir Sehgal's concluding remarks: "Regardless of how we look at money, it stares back at us. But it isn't waiting. It's always moving, shifting, and encroaching on various parts of our lives, and we often don't realize it. Only with deliberate reflection can we see how its history has shaped us, from helping to control or democratize a society, to obtaining the resources necessary to live. This symbol of value activates our minds, steers our bodies, and helps determine the fate of our souls."

For reasons indicated, I think Coined is a brilliant achievement. Bravo!

Leading with GRIT: Inspiring Action and Accountability with Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth
Leading with GRIT: Inspiring Action and Accountability with Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth
by Laurie Sudbrink
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.16
30 used & new from CDN$ 28.15

5.0 out of 5 stars "Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's really quite simple. Double your rate of failure." Thomas Watson, April 7 2015
Until reading this book, all I knew about "leading with grit" was learned from the results of research conducted by Angela Lee Duckworth and her associates at The Duckworth Lab, University of Pennsylvania. As she explains, "Our lab focuses on two traits that predict achievement: grit and self-control. Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. Self-control is the voluntary regulation of behavioral, emotional, and attentional impulses in the presence of momentarily gratifying temptations or diversions. On average, individuals who are gritty are more self-controlled, but the correlation between these two traits is not perfect: Some individuals are paragons of grit but not self-control, and some exceptionally well-regulated individuals are not especially gritty."

As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of Henry Ford's observation long ago that "Whenever you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right." Laurie Sudbrink wrote this book to help as many people as she can to "navigate through the tough times and free themselves from the chokehold of negativity." However, the wealth of information, insights, and counsel she provides will be of little (if any) value to you unless and until you believe -- REALLY believe -- that you can achieve success, however you define it. Sudbrink introduces an acronym, GRIT®, that refers to four principles: Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth. Applying these principles will help you create personal accountability, inspire yourself and others to make a best effort, enhance team performance, and develop authentic leadership. All four are important because they are interdependent.

Readers will appreciate Sudbrink's skillful use of an end-of-chapter, step-by-step device she calls SHIFT:

1. First, scan each chapter before reading it;
2. Next, hone in on one or two areas of greatest need and value to you;
3. Then envision the potential impact of success;
4. And begin to formulate a specific plan to achieve it;
5. Finally, DO IT.

My own opinion is that the first steps should be to scan the table of contents and read the Introduction and/or Preface before proceeding to the first chapter. Reader's choice.

Also long ago, Thomas Edison observed, "Vision without execution is hallucination." Fortunately, Sudbrink accompanies you through each of the five stages of SHIFT. These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Sudbrink's coverage:

o The Choice Is Yours (Pages 2-11)
o GRIT® Self-Awareness Test (11-13)
o There Are Many Paths to Find Your Truth, and, Look Objectively (26-30)
o Change Your Story (32-33)
o The Impact of Truth (37-39)
o Accountability Is an Act of Integrity (55-58)
o Why Do People Lie (61-64)
o Be Selfish, and, Consider Others (68-72)
o Accept It and Let It Go (81-84)
o Let It Flow (98-100)
o Finding Purpose (104-108)
o The Five Steps of Change(tm) (116-129)
o Barriers to Listening (135-138)
o Understand the Why (139-141)
o Communicate with Confidence, and Inspire with Your Message (157-159)
o Structure Your Message (164-166)
o Empower Team Communication (178-181)
o Just Ask (184-186)
o The Value of Connecting (196-200)
o Attitude Is Everything (206-208)
o Leaders Set the Direction, and Know the Where and the Why (218-223)
o Creating a Culture of Feedback and Recognition (225-230)

I agree with Laurie Sudbrink: "With GRIT®, we don't need to be a hero. The reward of the life we now have is enough. We wake up in the morning eager to start our day, knowing we will enjoy it, and excited to make a difference in other people's lives -- and our own."

The challenge, obviously, is to master the skills required by the success we seek. We need what Carol Dweck characterizes as a "growth mindset," one that allows us to people believe that our most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work--brains and talent are just the starting point. This attitude develops a love of learning and a resilience that are essential to any major accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities. So can you.

The Head Game: A Spy's Guide To High-stakes Risk Management And Decision-making
The Head Game: A Spy's Guide To High-stakes Risk Management And Decision-making
by Philip Mudd
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 23.25
37 used & new from CDN$ 23.05

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aristotle observed, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”, April 7 2015
Given his background as director of the CIA Counterterrorist Center and FBI National Security Branch, Philip Mudd seems to be uniquely well-qualified to explain “high-efficiency analytic decision-making [i.e. HEAD] and the art of solving complex problems more quickly.” The strategies and tactics he discusses can help leaders in almost any organization – whatever its size and nature may be -- to consider questions such as these that are, obviously, far easier to ask than to answer:

“What is the question that must be answered”?
“What is the problem that must be solved?”
“What do we want this answer or solution to achieve?”
“What are the drivers of this process?”
“How will progress be measured?”
“What do we need to know?”
“Most reliable sources of information?”
“Verification of data?”
“Traps to avoid?”

As I worked my way through the narrative, I was again reminded of the process that resulted in the “Camp David Accords” in 1978. After twelve days of secret negotiations at Camp David, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed two framework agreements at the White House, witnessed by President Jimmy Carter. When asked how, after thousands of years of bloody warfare, the two nations could reach the historic agreements, Prime Minister Begin replied, "We did what all wise men would do. We began at the end."

Time and again, Mudd stresses that point. It is one of the core principles of the HEAD process. Moreover, he correctly advises his reader that mastering that process will take time and patience as well as persistence. "Just as the greatest pain that punishes your body comes when you first start down the road to fitness and a healthier life, the worst part of exercising your mind using this analytic process will come at the outset, and you will be tempted to get off the mental treadmill when you start reading this book, because the mental exercise hurts." With diligent exercise of the principles, however, "your mind will become more agile over time, and this process will become second nature. You may even find that you enjoy it. Just not at first."

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

o Creating Decision Advantage (Pages 1-10)
o Thinking About Bias: The Analyst and the Decision Maker (13-17)
o The Tragedy of Somalia: What Should the Question Be? (33-38)
o Avoiding the Certainty Trap: The Deceptiveness of Yes/No Questions (45-47)
o Reducing Complexity: The Advantage of Driver-Based Analysis (64-71)
o Analytic Arguments: Reducing Complexity with Drivers (72-75)
o Assessing Data: Assigning Confidence Grades to Driver Baskets (116-119)
o A Case Study in Colors: Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and the No-Fly Zones (123-128)
o How to use the red-yellow-green approach to avoid traps (136-137)
o Anomaly Analysis: How to Use Discordant Data (141-145)
o Red Team Analysis and Alternative Thinking (145-149)
o Availability Bias (178-182)
o Sampling Bias and Anecdote Bias (182-186)
o Halo Effect (188-191)
o Four Biases: Superiority, Anchoring, Variable, and Predictive (191-195)
o Three Biases: Confirmation, Reasonable-Man, and Reverting-to-the-Mean (198-205)
o (Appendix B) Summing Up: A Practitioner’s Checklist (207-214)

This is a relatively easy read because Philip Mudd has done such a brilliant job of organizing and then presenting his material. His thinking is as sharp as his writing is clear. He provides a wealth of real-world situations that illustrate various dos and don'ts when using high-efficiency analytic decision-making in order to solve complex problems more quickly. However, as indicated, mastering the principles of the HEAD process will, initially, be challenging and probably frustrating for a time. That is why I urge everyone who reads this book to read it again, then frequently review key passages that have been highlighted.

In my opinion, leaders who master the HEAD process will gain for their organization a significant, perhaps even decisive competitive advantage. They will also gain a significant competitive advantage in their professional career.

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead
by Laszlo Bock
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 24.75
34 used & new from CDN$ 24.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to build a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive., April 7 2015
I agree with Laszlo Bock that leaders "who build the right kind of environments will be magnets for the most talented people on the planet. But it's hard building such a place, because the power dynamic at the heart of management pulls against freedom...Nobody produces their best work entangled in the Gordian knot of spoken and unspoken agendas and emotions. Google's approach is to cleave the knot. We deliberately take power and authority over employees away from managers." The decisions that managers at Google cannot make unilaterally include whom to hire and fire, how a worker's performance is rated, and how much of a salary increase, bonus, or stock grant (if any) is given to someone.

This unique policy essentially frees up the managers that Google wants to develop from making certain decisions unilaterally that undermine their ability to help build a culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. As Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt explains, without being concerned about when, how, and why to use the traditional sticks and carrots, managers can focus on serving the "team." This default leadership style nourishes relationships between and among everyone involved.

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

o Sergey Brin and Larry Page (Pages 18-23 and 67-71)
o Google culture (29-53)
o Transparency (41-51)
o Values (46-48, 284-285, and 318-325)
o "Culture eats strategy for lunch" (51-52)
o Testing cognitive ability (91-93)
o Zero-compromise of hiring talent (104-113)
o Decisions based on data (127-135)
o Freedom in shaping work and company (135-146)
o Performance management (150-177 and 325-327)
o People programs (160-182)
o Interview questions (167-169)
o Two tails (178-203)
o Project Oxygen (189-196)
o Upward Feedback Survey (197-200)
o Learning Institutions (204-224)
o Accomplishments versus compensation (242-250)
o Employee Resource Groups (265-268)
o Sense of community (263-269)
o Relentless improvement (359-360)

As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of material provided by Tom Davenport in one of his most recent books, Judgment Calls. He and co-author Brooke Manville offer 'an antidote for the Great Man theory of decision making and organizational performance': [begin italics] organizational judgment [end italics]. That is, 'the collective capacity to make good calls and wise moves when the need for them exceeds the scope of any single leader's direct control." Bock explains how and why decisions concerning use of the aforementioned "sticks and carrots" can become abusive...and often does. "The irony is that the best way to arrive at the beating heart of great management is to strip away all [such] tools on which most managers rely." My own experience suggests that people who can be motivated only by sticks and carrots -- or manage others only if having them available -- probably should not have been hired in the first place.

Long ago, 3M's then chairman and CEO, William L. McKnight observed, "If you put fences around people, you get sheep. Give people the room they need." At Southwest Airlines, there is a Culture Committee whose membership consists of C-level executives and baggage handlers, mechanics and flight attendants, accountants and gatekeepers. As former CEO Herb Kelleher explains, "Before people knew how to make fire, there was a fire watcher. Cave dwellers may have found a tree hit by lightning and brought fire back to the cave. Somebody had to make sure it kept going because if it went out, everyone would be in great danger so the fire watcher was the most important person in the tribe. I said to our culture committee, `You are our fire watchers, who make sure the fire does not go out. I think you are the most important committee at Southwest Airlines.'"

I mention McKnight and Kelleher because they are among the great business leaders upon whose shoulders Google's leaders now stand. Bock acknowledges, "We don't have all the answers, but we have made some fascinating discoveries about how best to find, grow, and keep people in an environment of freedom, creativity, and play." That is the environment within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive. Moreover, it is also the environment with which others -- customers and client companies -- also want to be associated. He asserts -- and I wholly agree -- that Google's rules will work for almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be.

The abundance of information, insights, and counsel that Laszlo Bock provides can help those who read it to achieve for themselves as well as their organizations a high-freedom workplace environment. Why accept less?

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Offered by Random House Canada, Incorp.
Price: CDN$ 16.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Steve Jobs most people did not know...until now, April 6 2015
In Becoming Steve Jobs, Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli attempt to portray him as those who knew him best described him (without fully explaining him) during lengthy and rigorous interviews. The narrative is presented in first-person singular for convenience’s sake but also because Schlender had a relationship with Jobs of almost 25 years.

This book also offers an alternative to Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography and it challenges that biography on several points. The research (especially the interviews) that Schlender and Tetzeli conducted questions, for example, Isaacson’s acceptance of Jobs’s denial of shortchanging partner Steve Wozniak $2,500 on one transaction. The accusation rings true “because it fits with a few other instances in which Steve took shortcuts with people who were close to him.”

I was especially interested in what Tim Cook has to say about Steve Jobs and his relationship with him, especially just before he died when Cook offered to be a liver donor. “No! I’ll never let you do that! I’m not doing that!” He only yelled at Cook four or five times during their thirteen-year relationship “and this was one of them.” What does Cook make of this outburst?

“This picture of him isn’t understood. I thought the Isaacson book did him a tremendous disservice…Steve cared. He cared deeply about things. Yes, he was very passionate about things, and he wanted things to be perfect. And that was what was great about him…A lot of people mistook that passion for arrogance. He wasn’t a saint. I’m not saying that. None of us are. But it’s emphatically untrue that he wasn’t a great human being, and that is totally not understood.”

According to Schlender and Tetzeli, countless others who were also closely associated with Jobs and knew him best insist that he really was a great human being. They agree with Cook that very little of what has been published offers any sense of why they would have worked so long and so hard for Jobs. “Those former employees share another common thread, too: the idea that they did their very best work of their lives for Steve.” One of them, Susan once said to Schlender, “If you weren’t good at your job, he owed to the rest of the team to get rid of you. But if you were good, he owed you his loyalty.”

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

o Steve Jobs’s manipulation of his public image (Pages 2-6, 9-10, 100-103, and 383-85)
o NeXT Computer, “a tragicomedy” (2-3, 5-7, 91-92, and 180-181)
o Personal traits of Steve Jobs (21-23, 45-46, 63-64, 812-82, 104-05, and 367-72)
o Steve Wozniak (28-29, 37-42, and 48-50)
o Jobs’s business principles and characteristics (40-46 and 229-233)
o Susan Barnes (81-82, 90-91, 96-97, and 103-104)
o Public opinion of Jobs (121-122 and 227-228)
o Pixar (130-46 and 166-79)
o Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (148-58, 231-32, 403-04, and 410-112)
o Decline of Apple (189-194)
o Larry Ellison (192-193)
o Avie Tevanian (197-199, 2r43-247, and 374-375)
o Jobs’s return to Apple (200-203 and 206-214)
o Apple Turnaround (208-216, 224-26, and 239-41)
o Ron Johnson and the Apple Store (278-281)
o Jony Ive (230-1236 and 354-359)
o Ed Catmull (232-237 and 342-43)
o Laurene Jobs and the Stanford commencement address (313-16)
o Bob Iger (328-29, 338-346, and 397-399)
o Tim Cook on Jobs (390-393)
o Death of Jobs (407-412)

I suggest that you read Becoming Steve Jobs and then decide what to make of him. Perhaps I’ll have as different opinion after I re-read Becoming Steve Jobs again but, for now, I am inclined to think that the two biographies, Isaacson’s and this one, have great value but for different reasons. I highly recommend both. As for the contradictions that Brent Schlender, Rick Tetzeli, and others cite, I cannot resolve them.

No one they spoke to had “a unified theory for the staying power of Steve’s childish behavior, not even Laurene,” his widow. In a review of the book for The New York Times, Brad Stone refers to the frustrating complexity of Jobs: “He was a control freak who seemed to care deeply for people around him, except when, suddenly, he didn’t.” So many contradictions. To paraphrase Walt Whitman, “Steve Jobs was large. He contained multitudes.

Message Not Received: Why Business Communication Is Broken and How to Fix It
Message Not Received: Why Business Communication Is Broken and How to Fix It
by Phil Simon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 31.49
26 used & new from CDN$ 23.29

5.0 out of 5 stars "If can't explain your idea to a six-year old, you really do not understand it." Albert Einstein, April 4 2015
On average, each of us receives about 8,000 "messages" from various sources [begin italics] each day [end italics]. I wish I had a dollar for every unnecessary message I have received during the last twelve months. Einstein's observation, the subject of this review, correctly expresses one of Phil Simon`s key points: Make absolutely certain that the "message" sent is worthy of the efforts made to ensure that it is received by the person to whom it is sent. More often than not, I suspect, messages that are received should not have been sent.

Phil Simon skillfully uses several reader-friendly devices that include especially relevant quotations that are inserted throughout his lively and eloquent narrative. For example:

"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do." B.F. Skinner
"The future ain't what it used to be." Yogi Berra
"The biggest single problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." George Bernard Shaw

Other reader-friendly devices include seven Tables (e.g. 1.1 "Average Interest Spans") and 18 Figures (e.g. 4.2 "Metcalfe's Law in Action"), mini-introductions to Chapters 1-8, boxed mini-commentaries, "Next" sections that offer a head's-up to material in the next chapter, "Notes at the end of chapters, and an appendix to Chapter 3. These devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later. I agree with Simon that most business communication doesn't work very well, if at all. He wrote this book to help as many people as possible master the skills needed to communicate with clarity, concision, and context-appropriateness.

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

o My Personal Communications Journey (Pages 18)
o Accelerating Technological Change, and, The Rise of the Machines (25-30)
o The Sliding Scale of Search (37-39)
o Marketing Madness (41-44)
o Information Overload: From Bad to Worse (54-55)
o From Organizations to Projects: The Evolution of Work (62-63)
o Is Being Overwhelmed Even a Choice Anymore? (64-69)
o Jargon: The Cause of So Much Noise (75-90)
o Adult ADD (91)
o A Communication Dynasty: Explain E-Mail's Impressive Reign (102-112)
o How We're Working Isn't Working (114-125)
o Why Bad Communication Is Bad Business (129-145)
o The World of Words (155-165)
o Communication Context, Awareness, and Technique (165-174)
o Shhh! Why Amazon Starts Senior Meetings with 30 Minutes of Silence (181-182)
o The Internal Social Network (204-210)
o Three Choices 216-217)

In a prior life, after earning an M.A. in comparative literature at Yale, I taught Advanced Placement English at two boarding schools in New England for thirteen years. Over time, I devised a system I called EDNA (based on Aristotle's concept of levels of discourse) that I later used when conducting workshops on high-impact communications for dozens of corporate clients. Briefly, Exposition explains with information, Description makes vivid with compelling details, Narrative tells a story or (with Exposition) explains a process or sequence, and finally, Argumentations convinces with logic and/or evidence. It also works as a mindset for oral communication, by the way.

All of the information, insights, and counsel that Phil Simon provides in this volume will strengthen and improve EDNA or any other system of discourse. More to the point, it will help each person who reads this book to think and communicate much more clearly. Better yet, it will also help those who read it to become better listeners as well as manage much more effectively the messages they receive, not only at work but everywhere else.

Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System
Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System
by Philip Kotler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 26.95
35 used & new from CDN$ 23.52

5.0 out of 5 stars “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.” Derek Bok, April 1 2015
In my opinion, Phil Kotler is the world’s preeminent authority on how to create or increase demand for whatever is offered for sale or trade. In a word, “marketing.” Therefore, it comes as no surprise that his latest book offers “real solutions for a troubled economic system” in a global marketplace. Economics (for better or worse) provide the infrastructure for commerce. Having earned a Ph.D. degree in economics (1956) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), Kotler is a results-driven empiricist who applies his pragmatic skills to a range of immensely complicated problems that include poverty, income inequality, workers under severe pressure, job creation despite growing automation, ignoring or underestimating social costs,” environmental exploitation, the dangers of narrow self-interest, the debt burden at the federal/’state/county/local levels, and politics’ subversion of economics. These are indeed very serious issues and Kotler minces no words when sharing his thoughts and feelings about how to establish and then nourish/sustain high-performance capitalism.

For example, in the first chapter, he identifies what he characterizes as “the fourteen shortcomings of capitalism.” One of his primary objectives in the book is to0 examine each of them as well as the underlying fo0rces and causes – and propose possible, plausible solutions. “This book discusses how capitalism plays out in the United States as in many other countries of the world. As more countries move to a higher level of economic development, their problems will resemble more closely the problems, and the solutions, that play out in the United States.”

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

o What Is Capitalism? (Pages 7-10)
o The Fourteen Shortcomings of Capitalism (12-15)
o The Causes of Poverty (19-23)
o Solutions to Poverty, and, Approaches to Helping the Poor (23-25 and 27)
o Thomas Piketty Arrives On the Scene (31-32)
o Dangers of the Inequality (39-42)
o Policies for Reducing the Great Differences In Incomes (42-55)
o Alternative Proposals to Help Workers Get a Living Wage, and, The Issue of Worker Dissatisfaction on the Job (72-77)
o The Impact of Technology, Fewer Jobs for More People, and, Who Will Be Affected Most? (80-86)
o Companies Avoiding Social Costs (96-99)
o The Rise of the Environmental Movement, and Companies Adopting an Ecological Consciousness (107-110)
o The Problem of the Business Cycle (116-119)
o The Sources of Turbulence (122-134)
o The Case for Individualism and Self-Reliance (136-139)
o The U.S. Great Recession: 2008-2011 (150-152)
o Solutions: Measures to Regulate the Financial System (161-165)
o Lobbying (168-176)
o Maintaining and Improving Infrastructure (184-186)
o How to Change the Culture of Consumerism (204-206)
o Two Major unresolved Issues: Jobs and Corporate Support for Sustainability (206-209)
o The Role of Materialism in Relation to Happiness and Achieving Happiness Without Materialism (217-222)

As Kotler carefully explains throughout his lively and eloquent narrative, "The fourteen shortcomings are not independent of each other. They are highly interrelated. The problem of poverty is part of the problem of income inequality, which itself is leads to low demand, which leads to too much unemployment, which leads to a clash between austerity and stimulus as two potential remedies, which is handicapped by political lobbying that gets legislators to vote for the causes that will keep them in power and therefore not vote for financial regulation and more environmental; protection, and so on.

"All this means that in working on any one problem, such as higher minim um wages, so many other issues come into play, such as some businesses possibly closing down, thus creating fewer jobs and more unemployment and incentivizing companies to import more goods from abroad, which leads to even less employment at home, and so on."

I agree with this overview. At the same time, I think it is more possible than ever before to diminish the nature and extent of some problems in one area such as unemployment that will, in turn, diminish the nature and extent of problems in other areas such as income inequality. Moreover, I think that communication, cooperation, and (most important of all) collaboration between and among federal, state, county, and local governments can increase and improve -- during the problem-solving process -- if more efficient use is made of various electronic technologies.

Philip Kotler will not -- because no single person can -- solve all the problems in our troubled economic system but he does provide in his latest book an agenda, a mindset, a rationale, and a game plan that can have significant impact if (HUGE "if") enough people become engaged in achieving goals that will accelerate personal growth and professional development throughout and beyond the United States. In this context, I am 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."

* * *

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out three others: John Bogle's The Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation, Roger Martin's Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes, and What Capitalism Can Learn from the NFL, and Robert Frank's The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good.

Philip Kotler is the S. C. Johnson Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management. He has been honored as one of the world's leading marketing thinkers. He received his M.A. degree in economics (1953) from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. degree in economics (1956) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), and has received honorary degrees from twenty-one foreign universities. He is the author of over 57 books and over one hundred and fifty articles. He has been a consultant to IBM, General Electric, Sony, AT&T, Bank of America, Merck, Motorola, Ford, and others. The Financial Times included him in its list of the top 10 business thinkers. They cited his Marketing Management book as one of the 50 best business books of all times. More is available on

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20