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Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life
Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life
by Ron Clark
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 19.30
32 used & new from CDN$ 8.26

5.0 out of 5 stars How to accelerate "the relentless pursuit of excellence" and do so with people power, March 1 2016
Ron Clark's use of an extended metaphor (i.e. a bus) may result in some of the same confusion as did Jim Collins' use of the same metaphor in Good to Great (2001). Both discuss passengers but classify them differently. Collins urges companies to get 'the right people' on the bus and get 'the wrong people' off whereas Clark differentiates people as follows:

o Former Runners are burned out and coasting.
o Walkers want to run but are exhausted.
o Potential Runners have a career that is blocked by an unappreciative boss who prefers to walk.
o Riders want to be better but have no idea how to begin to walk, much less run.
o Runners look around and realize that there is a new generation of Runners 'who seem to be accelerating with turbo boosters that make [their] run look like a trot
o Others have had all manner of serious pro0fessioinal and personal problems and feel that they now lack the will and energy to run.
o Still others 'may even feel that [they] have fallen off the bus and have been run over by it.

These comprise the 'cast of characters' in Clark's parable: Rufus the Runner, Joan the Jogger, Wanda the Walker, Ridley the Rider, and Drew the Driver. It is important to keep in mind that the term 'bus' could refer to all of an organization and even a country or federation of countries (e.g. United Nations); to a part of an organization such as a division, department, committee, o0r even a brand; and also to a movement to make a vision a reality (e.g. securing independence for India within the United Kingdom).

As Clark explains, 'Remember, the bus represents your goals and achievements as an organization, which could be anything from your business to your family unit to the committee you chair for your neighborhood association. And don't forget that the bus has no gas tank and is therefore not self-propelled ' you're going to pull it along solely with people power.'

Although the primary purpose of much of the information, insights, and counsel in this book is to help his readers accelerate 'the relentless pursuit of excellence' and do so with people power, he also observes in the Epilogue: 'With all the talk of making the bus run, I felt the need to mention that sometimes it's necessary to stop the bus completely, for the right reason.' (This is what happens in Toyota's factories whenever someone detects a flaw or problem of some kind. They can stop the production line by pushing a big red button.) All organizations have Runners, Joggers, Walkers, Riders, and Drivers. Many of them also have one or more Saboteurs.

As I worked my way through this book, I was again reminded of two quotations that seem especially relevant to Ron Clark's compelling vision of what can be accomplished. First, an African proverb: "If you want to go fast...go alone. If you want to go far...go together." Also 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."

Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World
Big Data, Little Data, No Data: Scholarship in the Networked World
by Christine L. Borgman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 40.16
27 used & new from CDN$ 25.24

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why 'the value of data lies in their use., Feb. 24 2016
The best business books such as this one are driven by scholarship, a process during which information about a given subject is accumulated and evaluated, then shared with others. Christine Borgman is among the most highly-regarded knowledge leaders in the burgeoning field of data scholarship. It came as no surprise to me that she needed 91 pages to cite the scope and depth of her own research for this book.

Those who have read any of her previously published works ' notably Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet (2007) and From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in the Networked World (2000), both also published by MIT Press ' already know that she thinks with exceptional rigor and writes with uncommon eloquence. Non-scholars such as I also appreciate her ability to explain complicated relationships (e.g. disciplinary knowledge infrastructures) without dumbing down their unique significance. Here's a brief sample of her style and grace in the first paragraph of her preface:

'Big data begets big attention these days, but little data are equally essential to scholarly inquiry. As the absolute volume of data increases, the ability to inspect individual observation decreases. The observer must step ever further away from the phenomena of interest. New tools and new perspectives are required. However, big data is not necessarily better data. The father the observer is from the point of origin, the more difficult it can be to determine what those observations mean ' how they were collected; how they were handled, reduced, and transformed; and with what assumptions and purposes in mind. Scholars often prefer smaller amounts of data that they can inspect closely. When data are undiscovered or undiscoverable, scholars may have no data.' See what I mean?

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

o Data management (Pages xviii-xix)
o Data definition (4-5 and 18-29)
o Provocations (13-15)
o Digital data collections (21-26)
o Knowledge infrastructures (32-35)
o Open access to research (39-42)
o Open technologies (45-47)
o Metadata (65-70 and 79-80)
o Common resources in astronomy (71-76)
o Ethics (77-79)
o Research Methods and data practices, and, Sensor-networked science and technology (84-85 and 106-113)
o Knowledge infrastructures (94-100)
o COMPLETE survey (102-106)
o Internet surveys (128-143)
o Internet survey (128-143)
o Twitter (130-133, 138-141, and 157-158(
o Pisa Clark/CLAROS project (179-185)
o Collecting Data, Analyzing Data, and Publishing Findings (181-184)
o Buddhist studies 186-200)
o Data citation (241-268)
o Negotiating authorship credit (253-256)
o Personal names (258-261)
o Citation metrics (266-209)
o Access to data (279-283)

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that Borgmnan provides but I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of her and this work.

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data ' so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. I agree with Christine Borgman: 'The challenge is to make data discoverable, usable, assessable, intelligible, and interpretable, and do so for extended periods of time'To restate the premise of this book, the value of data lies in their use. Unless stakeholders can agree on what to keep and why, and invest in the invisible work necessary to sustain knowledge infrastructures, big data and little data alike will become no data.' That is the peril and, yes, the opportunity that await in months and years to come.

The Storyteller's Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don't
The Storyteller's Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don't
by Carmine Gallo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 27.74
29 used & new from CDN$ 21.40

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How and why 'storytelling is not something we do. Storytelling is who we are.' Carmine Gallo, Feb. 23 2016
Carmine Gallo is uniquely well qualified to explain why some ideas catch on and others don't. Being able to communicate effectively in a one-on-one informal conversation can be at least as important as making a formal presentation to a large audience. I agree with Gallo: 'Storytelling is the act of framing an idea as a narrative to inform, illuminate, and inspire.' He then explains that The Storyteller's Secret 'is about the stories you tell to advance your career, build a company, pitch an idea, and to take your dreams from imagination to reality'In these pages I will introduce you to some of the greatest brand storytellers of our time: Richard Branson, Howard Schultz, Sheryl Sandberg, Joel Osteen, Herb Kelleher, Gary Vaynerchuk, Mark Burnett, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Steve Wynn, and Steve Jobs'Many of the people in this book have given TED talks that have gone viral, not because of the data they presented, but because of the stories they told. Ideas that catch on are wrapped in story'Storytelling is not something we do. Storytelling is who we are.'

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Gallo's coverage in Parts I and II:

o The Amygdala: A Storyteller's Best Friend (Pages 5-6)
o We're All Storytellers (6-7)
o The Story You Choose to Tell Yourself (28-29)
o The Gift of Your Past Creates a Vision for Your Future (32-34)
o The Dramatic Arc (37-39)
o Authentic Stories Connect People in a Deep, Meaningful Way (49-50)
o Mission as a Competitive Edge (53-54)
o Analogy: The storyteller's secret weapon (77-78)
o Personal Stories Grab Attention (78-82)
o SAP Unleashes the Power of 65,000 Storytellers (90-91)
o The Serious Reasons to Use Humor (96-97)
o Know Your Stuff, but Be True to Your Brand (100-102)
o The Mind Is Wired for Stories, Not Abstractions (106-107)

This book's title refers to one 'secret' but in fact Gallo identifies 21 from dozens of storytellers and concludes each of the 37 chapters with a secret to accompany the 'Storyteller's Tools' on which he focuses in the chapter. Think of the material as the contents of an operations manual in which Gallo provides an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that will help each reader to master storytelling skills and then apply them effectively in ways and to an extent appropriate to the given situation.

More specifically, Gallo explains HOW you can

o Become inspired and share your passion
o Reframe the story you tell yourself before telling your story to others
o Introduce a reliable 'hero' or 'heroine' who overcomes hardship and learns a valuable lesson
o Build story in three steps (Please see pages 56-59)
o See and articulate the Big Picture before providing details
o Stick to the Rule of Three (Aristotle's three keys of persuasion: pathos, logos, and ethos)
o Use video, 'a storyteller's best friend"
o Use pictures to trump words
o Make your story not only readable but compelling and memorable
o Share stories that can strengthen a culture
o Use words that have longer lasting impact
o Use analogies and metaphors that 'work like magic'

This book should be required reading for school, college, and university students who need to improve their communication skills, especially those preparing for a career in business. It will also be invaluable to those entrusted with the privilege of teaching them. Few will ever give a TED Talk and fewer yet will ever make what Steve Jobs once characterized as an 'insanely great presentation.' That is not why Carmine Gallo wrote this book. He remains determined (obsessed?) to help as many people as he can to communicate as well as they can. The Storyteller's Secret should also be "must reading" for all executives, especially those who are leaders or aspire to become leaders. Without communication in any organization, there can be no cooperation and certainly no collaboration. There is no better way to explain, describe, or convince than by telling a story. For me, that is the single most important '"secret" in this brilliant book.

Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age
Light: A Radiant History from Creation to the Quantum Age
by Bruce Watson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.05
35 used & new from CDN$ 23.27

5.0 out of 5 stars For the rest of my life, I will reflect on what light is.' Albert Einstein, Feb. 22 2016
As Bruce Watson explains, 'The truth is that, despite three millennia of investigation by humanity's most brilliant detectives, light refuses to surrender all its secrets. As familiar as our own faces, light is the first thing we see at birth, the last before dying. Some, having seen a warm glow as they flirted with death, swear that light will welcome us to another life. 'Painting is light,' the Italian master Caravaggio noted, and each day light paints a mural that sweeps around the globe, propelling into the morning. Ever since the Big Bang, light has been stealing the show. And for countless scientists, philosophers, poets, painters, mystics, and anyone who ever stood in awe of a sunrise, light [begin italics] is [end italics] the show.'

Watson provides an eloquent and enlightening account of illumination from a solstice sunrise ('the dawn of humanity') until laser beams in our own time. He helps his reader to understand why Einstein and countless others have struggled ' and failed ' to grasp the full meaning and significance of what Loren Eiseley once characterized as 'the magician of the cosmos.' But what indeed is light? 'What meaning have our brilliant detectives found in it? Is it God? Truth? Mere energy? Since the dawn of curiosity, these questions have been at the core of human existence. The struggle for answers has given light a history of its own.'

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

o Buddha and Buddhism (Pages 10-11, and 32-33)
o Aristotle (14-15 and 18-19)
o Christianity (30-31, 34-37, and 40-41)
o Roger Bacon (57-58)
o Light in painting (64-78)
o Codex Urbinas (67-69)
o Astronomy (79-80 and 111-112)
o Christian Huygens (102-104 and 141-143)
o Wave theory of light (103-104 and 133-144)
o Francois Arago (138-144 and 152-153)
o Electromagnetic energy (164-169)
o Artificial light (169-174)
o Nicolo Tesla and alternating current (173-174)
o Albert Einstein (175-176 and 181-192)
o Aether (178-181)
o Quantum theory (183-192)
o Theory of special relativity (185-186)
o Theory of general relativity (187-192)
o Hans Bethe (193-194 and 202-203)
o College of Optical Sciences (215-217)
o Light in death (223-226)

This is a 'radiant history,' not of light but of man''s struggles throughout three millennia to understand what light is and isn't'what it does and doesn't do. I agree with Alan Lightman (that really is his last name) who observes in his review off the book for the Washington Post, 'If the book has a climax, it is in one of the final chapters, titled 'Einstein and the Quanta, Particle, and Wave,' where Watson celebrates the ultimate enigma of light ' that it acts both like waves, simultaneously spread over an extended region of space, and particles, each located at only one point of space at a time. Such seemingly mutually exclusive descriptions violate our human experience with the world. That enigma reaches far beyond light. It applies to all of reality at the tiny scale of the atom. Above all else, modern physics has shown us that what we humans perceive with our limited bodies, and all of our notions based on those perceptions, are an illusion, an approximation of a strange cosmos we can touch only with our instruments and equations.'

It seems likely that definitions of 'light' as well as interpretations of its significance will continue to differ. Even when scientists get it right with regard to issues concerning, for example, explanations of the photoelectric effect, black body radiation, and James Clark Maxwell's work predicting electromagnetic waves, there will still be lively arguments about other topics such as near-death experience (NDE). As Bruce Watson suggests, 'In its fourth millennium, just as in its first, the Light Euphoric still beckons.' For many of us, its appeal is irresistible.

The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley
The Geography of Genius: A Search for the World's Most Creative Places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley
by Eric Weiner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 30.57
32 used & new from CDN$ 23.91

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why 'certain places, at certain times, produce a bumper crop of brilliant minds and good ideas. The question is why., Feb. 20 2016
e continents and centuries, I vow to keep this important truth in mind.”

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

o Genius and Geniuses (Pages 2-3, 8-9, 17-18, 68-69, 84-85, 126-127, 148-149, and 287-288)
o Florence (7-9, 97-109, 112-139, 295-296, 318-319, and 323-325)
o Creativity (7-11, 103-104, 113-114, 161-168, 274-278, and 323-326)
o Greece (13-18, 40-41, 43-52, and 54-63)
o Athens (15-17, 19-34, 43-63, 86-87, 116-117, 156-157, 318-319, and 323-326)
o Socrates (19-20, 31-34, 36-38, 61-62, 48-49, and 324-325)
o Scotland (42-43, 142-153, 153-159, 165-169, and 171-183)
o Hangzhou (65-75, 87-89, and 318-319)
o China (68-75, 77-80, 82-95, 288-289, and 317-318)
o Great Britain (75-79 82-83, and 253-254)
o Florence and the Arts (97-100, 102-104, 118-121, 123-125, 129-130, and 133-138)
o Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance (111-114 and 125-126)
o Edinburgh (141-144, 146-170, 172-174, 178-182, 193-194, and 318-319)
o Calcutta (185-195, 201-205, and 210-215)
o India (186-195 and 201-207)
o Culture (196-197 and 246-248)
o Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (221-229 and 236-240)
o Vienna (226-239, 251-267, and 276-285)
o Environment (229-230, 236-238, and 280-281)
o Ludwig von Beethoven (234-239 and 241-246)
o Sigmund Freud (239-278)
o Ethnic diversity and creativity (256-257)
o Silicon Valley (288-319)

Weiner observes, “For me, cafés are a kind of second home, a prime example of what sociologist Ray Oldenburg calls a ‘great good place.’ The food and rink are nearly irrelevant, or nearly so. What matters is the atmosphere — not the table cloths or the furniture but a more tangible ambience, once that encourages guilt-free lingering and strikes just the right balance of background din and contemplative silence.” Obviously, he could not return in time and roam such long-ago gathering places in six of the locations but he could — and did — gain a clearer sense of what could roughly be characterized as “the soul” of each. In Athens, for example, the “great good place” he found is The Bridge. “An appropriate name, I decide, since I’m attempting the quixotic task of bridging the centuries.” He eventually found the answer to what he characterizes as “the Great Greek Mystery”: What made this place shine? In fact, there are different answers in the other locations but they also share much in common. What? Read the book. Details are best revealed within the narrative, in context.

Ever since Francis Galton coined the term “nature versus nurture,” people have debated the relative merits of each. Weiner’s response? “It’s a silly argument, and unnecessary. Creativity doesn’t happen ‘in here’ or ‘out there’ but in the spaces in between. Creativity is a [begin italics] relationship [end italics], one that unfolds at the intersection of person and place. This intersection, like all such crossroads, is a dangerous, unforgiving place. You have to pay attention, slow down, and stay alert for the idiots out there. It’s worth the risk, though, for the humble intersection, be it in ancient Athens or a strip-mall Sunnyvale, is the true genius loci. The place where genius lives.”

Many years ago, one of the French Romantic poets (probably Baudelaire) was asked how to write a poem. He paused for several thoughtful moments, then replied “Draw a birdcage and leave the door open. Then wait. You may have to wait for quite a while. Be patient. Eventually, if you’re very lucky, a bird will fly in the door. Then you erase the cage.” I was reminded of that anecdote as I read Eric Weiner’s brilliant book, especially his comments about the “intersection” at which a genius and a place are combined. My own opinion is, if those whom we regard as a genius today were to be relocated to ancient Athens or Renaissance Florence, or if Pericles and Leonardo da Vinci were relocated to Silicon Valley, we would still include them among those who possess “the ability to come up with ideas that are new, surprising, and valuable.”

Cultural Transformations: Lessons of Leadership and Corporate Reinvention
Cultural Transformations: Lessons of Leadership and Corporate Reinvention
by John Mattone
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 28.34
24 used & new from CDN$ 21.60

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why organizations that thrive have launched preemptive transformation to dominate their competition, Feb. 17 2016
Most change initiatives either fail or fall far short of original (usually unrealistic) expectations. Not all of what Jim Collins characterizes as BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) are attainable. Resistance to changing the given status quo is often cultural in nature, the result of what Jim O’Toole so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” I agree. In fact, my own rather extensive experience with change initiatives suggests that the greatest resistance is by those who replaced the previous status quo and now stoutly defend what they have established in its place.

In this volume, John Mattone and Nick Vaidya suggest two other reason why few change initiatives achieve their given objectives: poor leadership and obsolete business models. As they explain, within a volatile global marketplace, “operating models are coming obsolete and the once dominant players are increasingly being overtaken by more agile, entrepreneurial companies with business models that are built on changed…The most forward-thinking companies are launching [begin italics] preemptive [end italics] transformations, retooling themselves to stay [begin italics] ahead [end italics] of their competitors.”

I agree with Mattone and Vaidya that culture and leadership are the keys to organizational transformation. (I also agree with Thomas Edison that vision without execution is “hallucination.”) They share what they have learned thus far from wide and deep experience working with all manner of organizations and their C-level executives. They also share insights and counsel obtained during attire’s interviews of 14 CEOs who have each, in their own way, exemplified the transformational leadership within their companies.

“There’s the story of Kathy Mazzarella, who started working for Graybar without a degree and rose through the ranks to become the first female CEO in the company’s history. You’ll hear from Kris Canekeratne, a Sri Lankan native who instilled a commitment to perpetual improvement into the core business culture of Virtusa from the beginning, allowing the company to survive several evolutions in the tech sector and remain one of the top companies in the world for two decades. There’s a conversation with Hap Klopp, who started his company with a group of fellow outdoor enthusiasts and, thanks to an uncompromising commitment to creating products that they love, grew The North Face into the world’s most respected outdoor equipment company. And you’ll learn how Eddie Machaalani built Bigcommerce on a foundation of hard-working family values that he learned growing up in the Lebanese immigrant community in Sydney, Australia.”

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

o What’s the Problem? (Pages 6-8)
o Understanding the Culture of Leadership (8-10)
o Match the Culture to there Need, and Taking Time to Reflect Is Critical (10-15)
o The Secrets to Changing Mindsets and Behavior, and, The Nuts and Bolts of Getting Your Team on Board (30-34)

Mattone’s Interviews

o Kathy Mazzarella (39-46)
o Kris Canekeratne (49-60)
o Eddie Machaalani (63-70)
o Harib Al Kitani (73-83)
o Kenneth (“Happy”) Klopp (87-97)
o Russ Klein (99-114)
o Rohit Mehrotra (119-127)
o Irv Rothman (131-145)
o Juan Carlos Archila Cabal (149-154)
o Nabil Al Alawi (158-165)
o Cathy Benko (170-179)
o Deva Bharathi (183-193)
o NV (“Tiger”) Tyagarajuan (197-205)
o Anthony Wedo (209-217)

o Appendix A: John Mattone’s 20 Laws of Intelligent Leadership (223-224)
o Appendix B: John Mattone’s Cultural Transformation Readiness Assessment-40 (227-233)

I presume to add that human beings achieve organizational transformations. Each of them must be both willing and able to transform (i.e. give new shape, substance, and priority) with regard to what they do and how they do it. New business models must guide and inform their preemptive efforts. When talking about transforming culture, Mattone and Vaidya mean “shifting the key values and principles that define corporate cultures into ones that embrace rather than resist change…By leadership we mean finding and developing the right leaders at all levels of the organization who are able to embody and instill these cultural values so they cab successfully guider their employees, teams, and organizations through the transformation process.”

Obviously, John Mattone and Nick Vaidya do not know what the nature and extent will be of the cultural transformation that each reader’s organization must initiate. However, and this is a key point, they have provided in this book just about all the information, insights, and counsel that business leaders in all organizations now need, whatever their size and circumstances may be.

Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations
Remix Strategy: The Three Laws of Business Combinations
by Benjamin Gomes-Casseres
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.04
34 used & new from CDN$ 25.86

5.0 out of 5 stars How to create organizational value with a strategy that maximizes the impact of both internal and external resource, Feb. 12 2016
As Benjamin Gomes-Casseres observes in the first chapter, “Although the remixing of businesses is not a new phenomenon, we have not previously recognized full how to use it to advance strategy. The real issue is not whether you should be looking outside your walls for resources. The question is how are these ventures going to enhance your competitive position? How will they create value? And how are you going g to capture that value? Whether you are at the top of the company driving the remix, in the middle managing an acquisition or a partnership, or among the operating ranks keeping the pieces humming, you need to know the answers such questions.”

Gomes-Casseres offers a three-law framework within which to create, strengthen, and then sustain a successful business combination: “First, it must have the potential to create an amount of joint value in that market that exceeds the total value that would degenerated by the same resources without the combination…Sec kind, the way the combination is designed and managed must enable you to actually create the joint value…Third, each party involved in the combination must earn a share of the joint value produced — a profit — that provides the incentive for the party to commit its resources to the joint effort…Furthermore, you need to remindful of the relationships between all of these laws.”

Although Gomes-Casseres calls them ”laws,” they are in fact realities, indeed necessities, that must be taken into full account. With regard to the process — identify potential joint value, govern the collaboration, and share the value created — he quickly identifies the “What,” then devotes the bulk of his attention to explaining the “How.” He also points out that it remains for each reader to determine what is most relevant in the material provided and then modify in ways and to the extent that are appropriate to the given enterprise.

Many (most?) organizations now face or will soon face a major challenge, in two parts: whether or not to combine internal and external resources; in that event, how to formulate a remix strategy to drive that combination and, meanwhile, make that strategy part of everyday business thinking and operations. It is important to keep in mind that a remix strategy will have a significant impact on decisions that must be made in five key areas: strategy, competitive advantage, governance, change and innovation, and ROI. Years ago, someone whose name is unknown to be suggested that managing computer programmers resembles “herding cats.” Based on what Gomes-Casseres shares in this book, managing those who pursue a remix strategy would probably resemble herding kangaroos on steroids.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of his coverage in Chapters 1-6:

o Why Business Combinations Are Now Vital (Pages 9-14)
o The Three Laws (14-21)
o How to Use the Three Law Model (22-23)
o The Relationship Spectrum (32-39)
o Visualizing Your Relational Footprint (48-50)
o Value Creation in Combination (56-59)
o The Five Main Sources of Joint Value (65-70)
o Divestments: The Mirror Image of Combinations (78-79
o Three Relationship Models (87-93)
o Tools for Alliance Design (107-116)
o Rivalry Remains, Despite Collaboration (118-121)
o How to Manage Co-opetition (130-136)
o An Approach to Managing Your Share of Value (144-147)
o Competition Between Bundles of Assets (154-156)
o Joint Value Potential in Constellations (158-172)
o Governance of Constellations (172-186)

Also, be sure to check out “Complete Collection of Remix Strategy Tools” (Pages 219-241). This material all by itself is worth far most than the purchase price of the book in which it appears. Of course, obviously, the value of the 20 management “Tools” will be determined almost entirely by how effectively they are used when mastered and adapted to the given situation. “In reality, every business combination involves complexities theater not covered by these tools — regulations, legal frameworks, cultural considerations, personal, cities, and the like. As you navigate these complexities, these tools will help you stay focused on the strategic goal of creating value for your business.”

I cannot think off a better way to create value for a business than to create value for the clients and customers it is privileged to serve. Many years ago, when asked to explain the extraordinary success of Southwest Airlines, its then chairman and CEO, Herb Kelleher, replied, “We take great care of our people, they take great care of our customers, and our customers take great care of our shareholders.”

When concluding his book, Benjamin Gomes-Casseres reminds his reader, “What matters most, though, is what you ultimately make of the ideas in this book. Recombine these ideas with your own and with those of others [such as Kelleher]. The theme of this book applies not just to business strategy. Mixing and matching is a way of life in the arts, in invention and innovation, and in personal life. The real value of this book for you will emerge from your own remix.” There’s your challenge…and, yes, your opportunity.

Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World
Inventology: How We Dream Up Things That Change the World
by Pagan Kennedy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 33.16
26 used & new from CDN$ 20.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Mother Nature: The ultimate mentor for both invention and innovation, Feb. 10 2016
The last time I checked, Amazon US was offering 31,976 books for sale in the “creativity” category. I have read and reviewed more than one hundred of them and learned a great deal about a subject that has fascinated me since childhood. Why another? As with the residential real estate mantra that for every house there is a buyer, for every book there is a reader and I think many readers will share my high regard and deep appreciation for the wealth of valuable information, insights, and counsel that Pagan Kennedy provides.

In the Introduction, she offers working definitions of invention and innovation by Art Fry — the originator of the Post-it Note — who developed his own way of distinguishing invention from innovation, “and his definitions are so illuminating that I will borrow them and use them throughout this book. Invention, according to Fry, is what happens when you translate a thought into a thing. More specifically, Fry points out that an invention usually involves creating a prototype that lets you test your concept and demonstrate that it works. Once you’ve created that model, ’the creation becomes an invention,’ according to Fry. The process may require dreaming, drawing, observation, idea generation, discovery, tinkering, and engineering. But it should end with the proof.

“Innovation is what happens afterwards. It ‘is the act of working through all of the obstacles and problems in the path of turning a creative idea into a business,’ according to Fry. Indeed, the term [begin] innovation is often used as a catchall word to describe the challenges companies must overcome in order to mass-produce a product. — like streamlining, shaving costs, managing supply chains, and assembling teams of collaborators.”

Few people will create something entirely new but all people can — and many will — improve something. Those who do are inclined to ask questions that begin “What if…” and “Why not…” That’s what Art Fry did when he needed to keep track of selections in his hymnal when singing in his church choir. He cut and inserted slips of paper but they kept falling out. Fortunately, he knew about a glue developed by his company (3M) that “wasn’t sticky enough” but it stuck well enough to remain attached to the hymnal’s pages. Problem solved.

Kennedy shares dozens of such stories in her lively as well as eloquent and informative book. She explains how some people rely on reverse invention: they come up with an end product and then back up from it to determine how to produce it. She explains how other people converted “nothing” into something very special (e.g. penicillin). She also offers several examples of other situations in which someone asked (perhaps only to herself), “Why hasn’t anyone figured out a way to….” A tennis instructor asked that because his knees ached from constantly bending over to pick up a thousand practice balls. He devised a solution (a “ball hopper”) that someone else later modified (in the shape of a plastic tube) to pick up golf balls during practice sessions.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Kennedy's coverage in Parts I and II:

o Five Paths to Great Ideas (Pages xiv-xvi)
o Lead User Theory (5-8)
o The Bucket Brigade (10-11)
o The Dark Matter of Invention (14-22)
o Inventor as Ethnographer (29-30)
o The Pre-Mortem (34-36)
o Crowd-Whispering (37-40)
o Low-Cost Failure, Lots of Feedback (40-42)
o Super-Encounterers (47-51)
o The Art of Luck (56-58)
o Tinkering (58-62)
o Engineered Serendipity (70-73)
o Dr. Yogen Saunthazrarajah/Cleveland Clinic (76-78)
o A Fortune Built on One Piece of Paper (80-85)
o Everyday MacGyvers (85-86)
o Building 20: Tim Anderson and 'Techno Garbage' (87-92
o The Power of Nothing (92-94)

Kennedy explores 'the first steps, the embryos, origins, and private visions that give birth to new [and/or better] things.' And I repeat, almost anyone can improve something they do, often by improving how they do it. She also acknowledges the importance of environment such as a culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to flourish. 'This book is a testament to just how powerful our situations can be in shaping our ideas. To achieve the most valuable kind of breakthrough, you often need to be in the right place at the right time, performing the odd or unusual activity that allows you to open a door that is closed to everyone else'And this is why opening up the doors to a diversity of people will transform nit just the power of airy ideas, but the very way that we invent.'

Pagan Kennedy concludes with an intriguing idea that I hope she develops in much greater depth in a book yet to be written: evolving another system of invention 'that mimics the natural world, so that we become a more robust species, better able to survive and adapt. We need an R&D system like the system that protects our own bodies ' open, obstreperous, and resilient. It should gain strength from every attack on it.'

Presumably she agrees with me that before we can dream up whatever can 'change the world,' however, we must first change the way we think about change. Those who read this book will be well-prepared to embrace that challenge.

Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent
Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent
by Sydney Finkelstein
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 29.79
28 used & new from CDN$ 20.69

5.0 out of 5 stars Here in a single volume is a “master class in how each of us can make a much greater impact in what we do”, Feb. 9 2016
In a previous book, Why Smart Executives Fail: And What You Can Learn from Their Mistakes (2003), Sydney Finkelstein shares what his research reveals about how and why presumably capable business leaders fall so far and fall so fast. "My goal was not only to understand why businesses break down and fail, but to focus on the people behind these failures; not only to understand how to avoid these disasters, but to anticipate the early warning signs of failure. Ultimately, I wanted to move beyond ad hoc explanations of failure on a case-by-case basis and expose the roots of these breakdowns in a definitive way.” He explored how overconfidence, complacency, inaction, “and a lack of curiosity prevented otherwise intelligent leaders from adapting to changing business conditions.” Whereas in that book, Finkelstein and his research associates were in search of failure’s causes, the focus in his latest book is on the causes of what could be described as “super success,” revealed during research begun in 2005.

He explores “the characteristic behaviors of the world’s most effective bosses, upending conventional best practices and presenting a new, comprehensive paradigm for developing talent. This book is the first to offer a systematic, empirically based study of what [begin italics] really [end italics] motivates, inspires, and enables others to achieve their full, potential. It teaches professionals how to be better bosses so that they can unleash unprecedented creativity, engagement, and accomplishment in their teams, generating and regenerating the world’s best talent. And it shows employees in any field how to identify superposes in their industry so that they can get hired and advance their careers.”

Taking into full account more than a decade of research that preceded this book and several decades of close association with hundreds of C-level executives, Finkelstein suggests that there are three basic types of superboss: “Iconoclasts" (e.g. George Lucas, Lorne Michaels, Ralph Lauren, and Robert Noyce), “Glorious Bastards" (e.g. Larry Ellison, Michael Milken, Roger Corman, and Jay Chiat), and “Nurturers" (e.g. Bill Walsh, Norman Brinker, Mary Kay Ash, and Gregg Popovich). What motivates each type?

Briefly, Iconoclasts “care about their work…so wholly fixated on their vision that they are able to teach in an intuitive, organic way, as a natural outgrowth of their passion and in service to it, rather than consciously or methodically.” Glorious Bastards “have something about them that makes them ‘glorious’: they understand that in order to win, they need the best people and the best teams. They may be egoists, they may want fame and glory for themselves, but they perceive the success of those around them as the pathway to that glory.” As for the third type, “Nurturers are what I’d call ‘activist bosses.’ They are consistently present to guide and teach their protégés and they actively engage with employees to help them reach great heights.”

What do all three types share in common? Finkelstein suggests five attributes: All possess [begin italics] extreme confidence, even fearlessness [end italics], when it comes to furthering their agendas and ideas; all are highly competitive; they are by nature inquisitive and imaginative; all superbosses manifest impeccable integrity insofar as their “rather strict adherence to a core vision or sense of self” are concerned; and finally, all are authentic: in their daily interaction with others, “they let their personalities hang out.”

My brief comments thus far merely suggest a few of Finkelstein’s key points. When explaining how exceptional leaders master the flow of talent, he develops those and other key points in much greater depth. His approach is to compare and contrast those he characterizes as a superboss with what are generally viewed as the defining characteristics of a “good but not great” boss. He examines their impact on colleagues (especially protégés), on their company, and — in several instances — on their industry.

These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Finkelstein’s coverage in Chapters One-Eight:

o The Makings of a Superboss (Pages 15-21)
o Iconoclasts, Glorious Bastards, and Nurturers (25-29)
o Memorable Bosses: Five Common Attributes (29-33)
o That Special Something (41-44)
o The Power of Feeling Unthreatened (48-50)
o Perfect Is Good Enough (65-69)
o The Ladder of Confidence (69-71)
o It’s Hard to Go Back to Bering Ordinary, and, Inspiring People Like a Superboss (75-79)
o Protect the “Why” (and Only the “Why”) (84-88)
o Nothing s Sacred (88-92)
o The Show Must Change (94-98)
o Fostering Creativity Like a Superboss (98-101)
o Managing in the Moment (108-112)
o Teaching Like a Superboss (123-126)
o Traders in Opportunity (131-135)
o Hire [the Right] People and Get Out of the Way (135-139)
o The Big Personality Paradox (139-142)
o Crafting the Cult (152-158)
o The Cohort Effect (162-166)
o Team Building Like a Superboss (166-170)

Finkelstein observes, “Ultimately, a superboss doesn’t construct his organization around a specific framework or formula…Instead, superbosses embrace a mind-set of change, within a framework of their unyielding vision. That mind-set leads in turn to the welcoming of creative people into the company, to shared experiences that reinforce openness, to an ingrained culture of openness, and ultimately to a track record of sustained invocation and growth.”

These are among Sydney Finkelstein’s concluding remarks: “In the end, studying these superbosses gives us a master class in how each of us can make an impact [indeed, make a much greater impact] in what we do. Superbosses show us a markedly different and innovative path, one that unites the success of an organization with the people charged with accomplishing that success.” Few executives are both willing and able to become a superboss but all of them can accelerate their personal growth and professional development by reading this book, by completing this “master class,” and then applying effectively what they have learned.

Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap
Strategy That Works: How Winning Companies Close the Strategy-to-Execution Gap
by Paul Leinwand
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 32.09
30 used & new from CDN$ 21.31

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why getting strategy and execution in cohesive alignment is a worthwhile legacy for any leader in any enterprise, Feb. 4 2016
Those who have read Cut Costs + Grow Stronger (2009) and/or The Essential Advantage (2011) already know that Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi are among the most insightful business thinkers now publishing books and articles that provide information, insights, and counsel of incalculable value to senior-level executives as well as to those who aspire to reach that level. That said, I think Strategy That Works (written with Art Kleiner) is their most important work thus far. Why? Because I think it will have a wider and deeper impact on any organization, whatever its size and nature may be.

Just as Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton focus on the 'knowing-doing gap,' Leinwand and Mainardi focus on another, equally important gap. As they explain, 'There is a significant and unnecessary gap between strategy and execution: a lack of connection between where the enterprise aims to go and what it can accomplish. We have met many leaders who understand this problem, but very few who know how to overcome it'Some business leaders try to close the gap on the strategy side, looking for a better market position. Others double down on execution, improving their methods and practices. Despite their efforts, both groups struggle to achieve consistent success.' Alas, few companies have solved this problem. I agree with Leinwand and Mainardi that the problem cannot be solved with conventional wisdom and I agree with Albert Einstein: 'We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.' Five acts of unconventional leadership are needed:

1. Instead of focusing on growth, commit to an identity: Differentiate and grow by being clear-minded about what you can do best
2. Instead of pursuing functional excellence, translate the strategic into everyday life: Build and connect the cross-functional capabilities that deliver your strategic intent
3. Instead of reorganizing to drive change, put your culture to work: Celebrate and leverage your cultural strengths
4. Instead of going lean, cut costs to grow stronger: Prune what doesn't matter to invest more in what does
5. Instead of becoming agile and resilient, shape your future: Reimagine your capabilities, create demand, and realign your industry on your own terms

'The five acts of unconventional leadership take different forms in different companies, but there is a family resemblance across all of them. They are all critical to engendering management habits that keep strategy and execution closely integrated, so there is no gap between them. Together, they comprise a playbook for creating sustainable value.' All five are discussed in some detail (Pages 12-19).

Leinwand and Mainardi correctly stress the critical importance of organizational and operational coherence in terms of alignment among three strategic elements: 'A value proposition that distinguishes a company from other companies (we sometimes call this a 'way to play' in the market); also, a system of distinctive capabilities that reinforce each other and enable the company to deliver on this value proposition; and, a chosen portfolio of products and services that all make use of those capabilities.'

Devoting a separate chapter to each, they explain HOW TO

o Avoid or overcome the 'strategy-to-execution gap'
o Commit to an identity
o Translate the strategic to the everyday
o Put a culture to work
o Cut costs to grow stronger
o Shape the future
o Remain bold and fearless

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

o The Unanswered Question (Pages 6-10)
o Five Acts of Unconventional Leadership (10-19)
o How the Five Acts Fit Together (19-22)
o Defining Who You Are (42-51)
o The Triggers of Identity (60-65)
o Blueprinting the Capabilities System (77-85)
o Building Distinctive Capabilities (86-107)
o Scaling Up Your Capabilities System (107-117)
o Fostering a Distinctive Culture (121-125)
o Mutual Accountability (130-133)
o Deploying Your Critical Few (138-144)
o Rethinking Next Year's Budget (169-172)
o Recharge Your Capabilities System (175-178)
o Create Demand (179-184)

Readers will appreciate the provision of several mini-case studies (e.g. Amazon, CEMEX, Danaher Corporation, Frito-Lay, Haier, IKEA, Lego, Qualcomm), nine 'Tools' (e.g. 'Parking-Lot Exercise,' 'Super Competitor Workshop,' and 'Questions and Behaviors for Leaders') that are inserted throughout the narrative as well as five appendices: A History of Strategy, The Capable Company Research Project, Puritone Ways to Play, Examples of Table-Stakes Capabilities, and a Selected Bibliography. These supplementary resources all by themselves are worth far more than the cost of this book.

Joined by Art Kleiner, Paul Leinwand and Cesare Mainardi ask their reader to think of this book as a call to action ' 'an invitation to become a better leader through the alignment of strategy and execution. Coherence makes every aspect of leadership easier in the long run. It continually focuses your attention on the most important things your company does. It enables you to define a world that your company can help to create. It is a worthwhile legacy for any leader in any enterprise.' As Michelangelo is reputed to have observed centuries ago, 'The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.'

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