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Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently
Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently
by Caroline L. Arnold
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 20.65
44 used & new from CDN$ 6.93

5.0 étoiles sur 5 "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Aristotle, Jan. 22 2015
I selected the observation by Aristotle to serve as the title of my review because I learned long ago, after spending still another January helping to pave the road to hell, that my habits had again defeated my New Year's resolutions. Caroline Arnold wrote this book in response to a question many people continue to ask: "Why is it so difficult keep commitments, to follow through on resolutions, to make the changes that we know will achieve our personal growth and professional development?"

Years ago, after numerous struggles and frustrations, Arnold tried something different: "I assigned myself a small but meaningful behavioral change - a [begin italics] microresolution [end italics] - and I succeeded in changing myself immediately. Yet it was only after succeeding at several microresolutions modeled on the first that I realized I had stumbled onto a method for making targeted mini-commitments that succeeded virtually every time." She had established a new pattern of behavior, a habit.

As I began to work my way through Arnold's brilliant book, I was reminded of another, The small BIG, in which Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein, and Robert Cialdini explain how and why small changes can spark big influence" in relationships with others. As they explain, their goal "has been to provide a collection of small BIGs that you could add to your persuasion toolkit. Small changes, informed by recent persuasion science that anyone...can employ to make a big difference when persuading and communicating with others." One key point is that small BIGs must be used strategically. My way of describing is that a sniper's mindset is needed rather than a carpet bomber's approach.

So, we ask, why do resolutions fail? Arnold suggests five reasons, none of which is a head-snapper:

1. We make the wrong resolutions whereas microresolutions focus on doing, not being. Being different follows, rather than precedes, deliberate action.

2. We depend solely on willpower to succeed whereas a microresolution is designed to reform a precise autopilot activity and requires little willpower to succeed.

3. We're too impatient whereas, when completing microresolutions, the key to lasting transformation is not speed or force but nurture.

4. We underestimate our mental and emotional resistance to change whereas microresolutions foster self-awareness and expose the hidden attitudes that thwart success.

5. We expect to fail whereas microresolutions are easy to keep.

Just as it is so easy to make a list of resolutions, it is just as easy to make a list of reasons and key points. It is important to note that, in her Introduction and first few chapters, Arnold identifies the WHAT and then devotes most of the material that follows to explaining HOW to use microresolutions to transform a life permanently.

Obviously, no brief commentary such as this can do full justice to the scope and depth of information, insights, and counsel that Caroline Arnold provides. However, I hope I have indicated why I think so highly of her book. Ultimately, its value to those who read it will depend almost entirely on the nature and extent of each reader's commitment to making and then keeping a sequence of microresolutions that achieve and then sustain habitual success.

Mindfulness at Work: How to Avoid Stress, Achieve More and Enjoy Life!
Mindfulness at Work: How to Avoid Stress, Achieve More and Enjoy Life!
by Stephen McKenzie
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from CDN$ 3.17

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why awareness and acceptance are essential to personal growth and professional development, Jan. 22 2015
What is mindfulness? Opinions vary. Here is one that is generally accepted: It is "the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment", which can be trained by meditational practices derived from Buddhist anapanasati. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. It also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them--without believing, for instance, that there's a "right" or "wrong" way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.

I share all this by way of an introduction to Stephen McKenzie's latest book in which he provides a wealth of information, insights, and counsel with regard to how to avoid stress, achieve more, and meanwhile enjoy life. As he explains, "Practicing mindfulness actually often involves, especially at first, simply being more frequently mindful of our mindlessness, more aware of our lack of awareness, and more accepting of our non-acceptance, and less frequently judging our judging. If we can even occasionally be conscious of our unconsciousness, then we are making huge progress on our journey to greater happiness and usefulness."

Oscar Wilde once advised, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." To a significant extent, the goal of mindfulness is to accept who you are -- warts and all -- so that you can be more accepting of others. Greater appreciation of who and others are is a direct benefit of an acceptance of who we and they aren't. With all due respect to Wilde's insight, McKenzie would hasten to add, Acceptance of who we are now does not preclude becoming a happier, healthier, more fully developed person. Awareness and acceptance of one's imperfections by no means condones them but there can be no improvement without them. That is why mindfulness is essential to that immensely difficult process.

He offers and discusses in-depth seven general mindfulness working principles, each accompanied by an appropriate quotation:

1. Self-knowledge: "This above all: to thine own self be true/And it must follow, as the night the day/Thou canst not then be false to any man," Polonius in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet.

2. Utility: "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." John Donne

3. Truth: "In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same." Albert Einstein

4. Awareness: "Do not dwell on the past. Do not dream of the future. Concentrate the mind on the present moment" Gautama the Buddha

5. Service: "Would you like anything else?" The (hypothetical) General Sales Manual

Note: I found McKenzie's selection of the quotation and subsequent comments about service on Pages 29-30 (at best) mediocre.

6. Reason: "Reason is the ability to discern the transient from the eternal, the changing from the unchanging." Shankara

7. Wonder: "From wonder into wonder, existence opens." Lao Tzu

"These general mindfulness working principles can help us do everything in our lives more peacefully, happily, and productively -- even our work. If we put these principles into practical practice, then we can better understand whether our working situation is the best expression of who really are and, if it isn't, how to improve it." Or replace it.

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out these: Clayton Christensen's How Will You Measure Your Life?, Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture, Ken Robinson's The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, and Alan Watts's The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.

The Little Book of Thinking Big
The Little Book of Thinking Big
by Richard Newton
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 13.87
31 used & new from CDN$ 5.78

5.0 étoiles sur 5 This book offers a mental journey with the energy, pace, and impact of a Cirque du Soleil performance., Jan. 16 2015
As I sometimes do, I read this book in combination with another, published in 1959: David J. Schwartz's The Magic of Thinking Big: Set Your Goals High...and Then Exceed Them. There are differences between them, of course. (How could there not be?) However, both stress the great importance of personal accountability, of taking ownership of the consequences of one's decision. I agree that we cannot control everything that happens to us but we can control how we respond to whatever happens to us. Also, both David Schwartz and Newton are convinced -- as am I -- that most human limits are self-imposed. This is what Henry Ford had in mind many years ago when observing, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right."

Newton has the significant advantage of calling upon extensive research in neuroscience that was not available to Schwartz 55 years ago. (However, there have been two updated editions of the Schwartz book but the key insights and recommendations remain the same, as has human nature.) Aristotle observed long ago, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." Perhaps Newton had that thought in mind when developing these "Nine Habits of Thinking Big," accompanied by my annotations:

1. Swim Don't Float [or Sink]: Keep moving (especially in rough water) and in the right direction. Not all change is progress but no change, no movement, is stagnation. Newton also warns against being carried along by what others think and do.

2. Clear Some (Head) Space: Mental clutter accumulates fast and obstructs and/or distracts focused thinking. F. Scott Fitzgerald once suggested that "the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." That's two ideas, not several dozen. Whenever I need to clear my mind, I take a brisk walk or listen to Glenn Gould's performance Bach's Goldberg Variations.

3. Feed Your Mind: The human mind really does have a sponge-like capacity that can be increased substantially. I "feed" mine with what I learn from others' minds but, daily, I also concentrate on strengthening certain cognitive skills. Each human life is a work-in-progress, with attitudes and behavior guided by habits. Many people are mentally and/or spiritually anorexic.

4. Notice Things: We tend to see so much but notice so much less. Yogi Berra: "You can observe a lot by just watching."

5. Change Reality (...Don't Deny It): In other words, replace an unacceptable reality with one that is worthy of what you value, perhaps even cherish.

6. Have a Big Ego and a Small Ego: This is a paradox. Newton's comments remind me of Socrates' response when told that he was the wisest man in the world. "If so, it is because all I know is that I know nothing." Only someone with both a big ego and small ego could say that.

7. Know Your Weapon: The term "weapon" has several meanings. Newton's point is that we need to be able to attack but also to defend. Perhaps it is having highly developed inductive and deductive skills or it could be a refusal to remain silent during a moral crisis.

8. Travel Light: No excess mental "baggage." There is much to be said for following lean thinking principles that include constant pruning. What Ernest Hemingway once characterized as "a built-in, shock-proof crap detector" will also come in handy. You get the idea.

9. Twang: Somewhat similar to a "Eureka!" moment. Newton characterizes it as a "click." During more than 20 years of classroom teaching, I could see it in the eyes of certain students: they "got it" when others didn't.

Richard Newton provides in this "little book" an abundance of invaluable information, insights, and counsel (his and others') that can help many of those who read the book to "aim higher and go further than [they] ever thought possible." Yes, the material is remarkably informative but also very entertaining. I read it and then re-read it twice before embarking on the composition of this brief commentary. Each time I either learned something new or understood something better. Bravo!

The Magic Of Thinking Big
The Magic Of Thinking Big
by David Schwartz
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 13.71
51 used & new from CDN$ 1.00

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Attitude is altitude: How high is your limit?, Jan. 16 2015
I read this book when it was first published in 1959 and recently re-read it in combination with Richard Newton's The Little Book of Thinking Big, published 55 years later. There are differences between them, of course. (How could there not be?) However, they both stress the great importance of personal accountability, of taking ownership of the consequences of one's decision. I agree that we cannot control everything that happens to us but we can control how we respond to whatever happens to us. Also, both David Schwartz and Newton are convinced -- as am I -- that most human limits are self-imposed. This is what Henry Ford had in mind many years ago when observing, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right."

To that last point, the title of Chapter 1 in The Magic of Thinking Big is "Believe You Can Succeed and You Will." As we all know, the fact that we are certain that we will succeed does not ensure that we will. It is true, however, that we are more likely to succeed with a positive rather than with negative attitude. Schwartz urges his reader to think big and it all starts with self-image: "You're bigger than you think. So, fit your thinking to your true size."

So, how to think big? Schwartz offers five suggestions:

1. Don't sell yourself short: If you don't believe in you and what you can accomplish, why should anyone else?

2. Use the big thinker's vocabulary: It really is possible to talk yourself into or out of success. Which do you prefer, success or failure?

3. Stretch your vision: Whatever it may be, double or triple its scale. So what if your goal had been earning $10,000 a month and you're "only" earning $7,500? What if the goal had been to earn $5,000 a month?

4. Get the big view of your job: If you think small, you will be small. The same is true of jobs. Think of your current job as a bridge to a much better position. How strong is your bridge?

5. Think about trivial things: Don't let them drag you down. Focus on big objectives and take care of details that help you to achieve.

I presume to add one more: Avoid losers. You know who they are. They have more "crutches" than the International Red Cross. They see themselves as victims and refuse to assume any responsibility for their failures and inadequacies. Their negativity and self-pity can be contagious.

Although some of Schwartz's material may seem dated, even quaint, his core insights and practical advice are still relevant and can help almost anyone to avoid or overcome self-defeating attitudes and behaviors.

To repeat, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right." The choice is yours.

Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World
Strategic Connections: The New Face of Networking in a Collaborative World
Prix : CDN$ 13.98

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How to network with a new purpose, collaborate in ways you never have before, with a significant impact within your organization, Jan. 15 2015
Long ago, I concluded that strategies are “hammers” that drive “nails” (tactics). Therefore, to forge strategic alliances, you need tactics that will achieve them and one of the best is to create a network of connections with the organizations and individuals that, in mutually beneficial collaboration, can be of substantial importance to the success of the given enterprise.

The co-authors of this book -- Anne Baber, Lynn Waymon, André Alphonso, and Jim Wylde -- introduce what they characterize as "the new face of networking in a collaborative world." They explain how and why each workplace culture should be network-oriented and discuss the eight competencies that will establish, then expand and strengthen such a culture. For example, Competency #4: Develop Trusting Relationships. That is, "view relationship development in six stages and manage the trust-building process by teach character and competence." It is important to keep in mind that these competencies would be highly desirable in almost any organization, whatever its size and nature may be. Also, that the network orientation involves relationships between and among members of a workplace culture, of course, but also their relationships with others such as customers, service providers (e.g. legal and accounting) and vendors.

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

o The Eight Must-Have Skills for Strategic Connections
o The Nine Biggest Misconceptions About Networking (12-15)
o Put Some Purpose in Your Small Talk (33-38)
o Connect After Joining the Right Groups (43-49)
o Make the Most of Your Memberships (51-54)
o Your "Nets": Work, Organization, Professional, and Personal (63- 72)
o How to Teach People to Trust You (84-88)
o Move Through the Six Stages of Trust (88-93)
o Next Steps: Consider the Risk and Value (97-105)
o 11 Tips for Avoiding Awkward Moments (119-122)
o Talk: Get into Dialogues That Build and Sustain Relationships (135-140)
o Listen: Pay Attention to the Three Things That Are Important (145-147)
o Eight Reachback Strategies [to Reactivate Dormant Relationships] That Work (154-156)
o Why Storytelling Works (170-175)
o Clarifying Collaboration (181-183)
o Reinforce the Collaborative Culture (194-196)
o The Need for a Network-Oriented Workplace
o Foster Collaboration (221-229)

Near the conclusion of their book, the co-authors cite one of my favorite passages in Douglas McGregor's classic, The Human Side of Enterprise (1960): "Fads will come and go. The fundamental fact of man's capacity to collaborate with his fellows in the face-to-face group will survive the fads and one day be recognized. Then, and only then, will management discover how seriously it has underestimated the true potential of its human resources."

For me, the single most valuable insight in Strategic Connections is that networking in a collaborative world, especially in today's global marketplace, requires a different mindset, strategies, tactics, and resources than did networking prior to the establishment of the worldwide web less than twenty years ago (in 1993) and the subsequent emergence electronic communication devices and proliferation of social media.

Business leaders must understand that forging and then nourishing strategic connections is not a single project; it is an on-going, never-ending process. Here in a single volume, Anne Baber, Lynn Waymon, André Alphonso, and Jim Wylde provide just about everything business leaders need to know about that process. Most human limits are self-imposed. Those who read this book and then, hopefully, re-read it will be well-prepared to unleash the full potential of their organization's human resources.

Coach to Coach: Emotional Intelligence and Leadership for Winning Coaches
Coach to Coach: Emotional Intelligence and Leadership for Winning Coaches
Prix : CDN$ 9.99

5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great coaches have a "green thumb" to "grow people, Jan. 14 2015
I have known Sara Smith for several years and consider her to be among the most effective executive coaches because she has a unique and abundant combination of intelligence, integrity, street smarts, decency, real-world experience, and highly-developed emotional intelligence. She is passionately committed to helping individuals as well as teams to maximize their personal growth and professional intelligence.

What we have in this volume is a wealth of information, insights, and counsel that will be of special interest and value to those who manage business teams, and, to those who aspire to do so. Leadership must not be limited to the inhabitants of the C-suite. Healthy organizations have effective leaders at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. Knowledge transfers occur constantly because they must. Everyone knows more than any one person does.

Sharing information (e.g. dos and don'ts) is one issue. Explaining the "how" and "why" is quite another and it is then that coaching is essential. So what I am suggesting is that, yes, Coach to Coach has two very important purposes: To help coaches coach more effectively, and, while doing so, help those they coach to become more effective when sharing - and explaining -knowledge.

Sara immediately establishes a direct, personal, almost conversational rapport with her reader, then presents her material within ten brief but substantial chapters, following a clever "Pre-Game Warm Up" to prepare the reader for what awaits. The details of each chapter are best revealed within the narrative, in context, but I do wish make three points:

1. Not everyone has the temperament needed to be an effective coach either in the sports world or in business. For almost 20 years, I coached varsity football and varsity basketball at two boarding schools in New England and attended dozens of clinics at which Hall of Fame coaches such as Vince Lombardi and John Wooden referred to themselves as teachers and confided that they preferred practices to games. Peter Drucker hated the term "guru" and always referred to himself as a "student" or "observer." Great coaches love to teach...and to learn.

2. Also, all great coaches care deeply about those entrusted to their care. Like Sara, they have highly developed emotional intelligence and are happiest when helping people "get it" (whatever that may be). In our society today, there is a great deal of pleasure but much less joy. Coaches see learning opportunities as gardens and cherish opportunities to help people grow.

3. Finally, I commend Sara on her superb use of reader-friendly devices such as sports nomenclature (e.g. Pre-Game, Post-Game) and - in each chapter -- "Practice Drills" to apply key points covered and "journal pages" on which to record notes as well as dozens of real-world examples that illustrate major insights. I presume to suggest highlighting key passages with an optic yellow (wide) Sharpie.

As indicated earlier, I think Sara's book will prove invaluable to those who now coach. I also suggest that, after reading and then re-reading this book at least once, they include among their New Year's resolutions a commitment to helping prepare as many people as they can to become a coach.

The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington
The Georgetown Set: Friends and Rivals in Cold War Washington
by Gregg Herken
Edition: Hardcover
Prix : CDN$ 21.94
33 used & new from CDN$ 21.94

5.0 étoiles sur 5 "The hand that mixes the Georgetown martini is time and again the hand that guides the destiny of the Western world.", Jan. 14 2015
Note: The observation that serves as the subject of this review was provided by Henry Kissinger.

As I began to work my way through this book, I was reminded of two others written by Neil Sheehan: A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon (2009) and A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam (1989). Many of the same people appear again in Gregg Herken's lively account of "friends and rivals in Cold War Washington" during roughly the same period of time, from 1947 when President Truman announced a doctrine to contain Soviet expansion until -- let's say -- 1991 when the USSR was declared officially dissolved on 25 December.

Throughout those years in Georgetown, prominent leaders in and out of uniform gathered on Sunday evening and the dinner parties hosted by Joe Alsop emerged as a combination of think tank, focus group, pulpit, court, and town meeting. He seems to have been the gravitational center, the self-appointed sociopolitical ringmaster, of a raucous and sometimes rancorous convergence of power brokers. They included -- at various times -- Phil and Kay Graham, Stewart Alsop, George Kennan, Paul Nitze, Frank George Wisner, Henry Kissinger, and Charles (Chip) Bohlen. Feuds and rivalries emerged, then subsided. Meanwhile, the Alsops co-authored a syndicated column ("Matter of Fact") and were eagerly "taking on the world" (in Robert W. Merry's words") as "guardians of the American Century."

Frankly, I am unqualified to suggest to what extent (if any) Herken shapes the historical material to accommodate his assumptions and prejudices about the Alsops and the world in which they achieved and then sustained so much prominence and influence. I defer to Merry and Edwin Yoder Jr. who have written brilliant accounts of various intrigues and machinations following World War Two during the administrations of Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. In his review of The Georgetown Set for The New York Times ("Cold War Cockpit," Sunday, November 30, 2014), Jeffrey Frank observes, "Both Alsops were brave if sometimes misguided reporters (and, it must be said, occasional CIA assets), and were capable of mortal outrage, notably in 'We Accuse,' their spirited 1954 defense of J. Robert Oppenheimer in Harper's Magazine."

I found this to be an especially entertaining as well as informative read. As does Sheehan, Greg Herken makes skillful use of the basic elements of a great story: an appealing setting, colorful characters, compelling conflicts, sometimes riveting plot developments, increasing tension, a plausible (perhaps inevitable) climax, and then a satisfying conclusion As the book ends, the Alsop brothers have died, the Berlin Wall has fallen, the Soviet Union has imploded, and a treasure trove of former secrets (the CIA's so-called "Family Jewels") has been declassified, and Katharine Graham was firmly in command of the Washington Post Company (including the newspaper), sharing with her friend Polly Wisner, the sense "that we have outlived our times." Later, Joe Alsop's widow observed, "We're all so old or dead." But what interesting times they had shared for so many years....

Targeted: How Technology is Revolutionizing Advertising and the Way Companies Reach Consumers
Targeted: How Technology is Revolutionizing Advertising and the Way Companies Reach Consumers
Prix : CDN$ 15.89

5.0 étoiles sur 5 A brilliant analysis of the breakthrough technologies that have helped drive advances in digital advertising, Jan. 14 2015
Since the markets in ancient Athens and then Rome, merchants have struggled to create or establish demand for what they offer for sale or trade. That challenge hasn't changed since then but the means and resources have certainly changed and none is more significant than the Web, devised by Tim Berners-Lee in 1993. Total retail sales in the US, for example, topped $4.53 trillion in 2013, and ecommerce accounted for a significant portion of that growth, up 16.9% in 2013--or nearly $40 billion--according to new figures from eMarketer. In 2014, the total is estimated to be 4.32 trillion, with ecommerce accounting for about 14.5% of it.

As Mike Smith explains, "My goal in this book is to explain clearly how powerfully enabling technologies such as paid-search advertising and real-time bidding work. In addition, I want you to take you behind the scenes to describe how some of the industry's most brilliant innovators developed such technologies and created the novel business models of some of the outstanding companies that serve the future of digital ad sales." That said, he adds, "the distinguishing factors in success are often management skill, flexibility, and the initiative that only leadership can elicit." And I presume to add that in the healthiest organizations, leadership thrives at all levels and in all areas within the given enterprise.

Smith provides a lively and eloquent narrative during which he examines subjects and issues such as these:

o The nature and extent of the online ecosystem
o The major dos and don'ts of search engine marketing
o The potentialities and limitations of online auctions and paid-search advertising
o Google: From David to Goliath and then....
o The relationships between display advertising and ad networks
o Real-time bidding and/or online advertising: New paradigms?
o How and why real-time bidding works
o Lessons to be learned from Right Media and the building of its ad server
o The impact (thus far) of analytics on digital advertising
o Data collection and its impact (thus far) on privacy

Smith devotes the last chapter to the significance of new technologies (e.g. mobile telephony, tablets, and the adoption of apps that make use of HTML 5, as well as addressable TV). He suggests, for example, that there are five main reasons for the surge in mobile advertising (Page 160) and discusses what he characterizes as "the tablet tsunami" (161-166) before shifting his attention to the "changing landscape" (e.g. the increasingly greater pressure that mobile devices put on "the web-browsing model that has ruled for so long"), and the apparent (probable?) future of digital TV advertising.

Who will derive the greatest benefit from this book? Obviously, those who are primarily responsible for creating or increasing demand for (i.e. marketing) products and/or services. Also, decision-makers in agencies that are retained to help achieve that strategic objective. And also, those now preparing for a career in business or who have only recently embarked on one: they need to understand where the greatest (probable) needs are -- or will be -- so that they can formulate or revise their career plans.

When concluding his book, Mike Smith observes that "it has been the development of online ad technology, with its capacity for using data for great specificity in targeting and then optimization, that started the inexorable process that is disrupting TV advertising." In fact, it is directly or indirectly disrupting every business that relies on a sufficient number of profitable customers to survive. For that reason, all business leaders need to read and then re-read this book or they will be insufficiently prepared to understand -- and then take full advantage of -- the disruptions now in progress as well as those that are certain to appear in months and years ahead.

The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Prix : CDN$ 13.99

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How and why mastery of the art and science of social media can rock the world, Jan. 13 2015
Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick have written a book in which they use and thereby demonstrate all of the "tips, tricks, and insights" that have enabled them and their clients to "rock social media." This is a knowledge transfer that can be of incalculable value to those whose objective is to use social media to achieve business objectives for themselves and/or an organization.

There are twelve chapters in which they explain HOW TO (as well as HOW NOT TO), accompanied by tips:

1 Optimize Your Profile: You have only a few seconds to make a favorable impression
2 Feed the Content Master: Figure out how to make money, whom to attract to do that, and what they want to read
3 Perfect Your Posts: Be valuable, interesting, brief, thankful, visual, and organized
4 Respond to Comments: Assume people are good until proven bad
5 Integrate Social Media: Be your curator and entice people to follow you with what they want, not with what you think they should want
6 Get More Followers: Be exquisite rather than popular, loved rather than famous, be palpable and unmistakable rather than predictable
7 Socialize Events: Integrate the hashtag into everything
8 Run Google+ Hangouts on Air: Get the right equipment (i.e. webcam, microphone and earphones, lighting and background)
9 Rock a Twitter Cat: Prepare your guests (e.g. be audience-driven, stay Q&A-centered, and draft in advance)
10 Avoid Looking Clueless: Don't ask people to reshare your posts
11 Optimize for Individual Platforms: For Facebook, grok EdgeRank, use its Page Insights, embed videos, and interact with other Facebook pages
12 Put Everything Together: Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick provide a case study using a non-fiction book launch as an example

Obviously, it would be a fool's errand for anyone who reads this book to try to apply all of the more than one hundred "tips, tricks, and insights" that are provided. The Art of Social Media can serve as both a reality check and an operations manual for those now planning to become actively involved with social media or have only recently done so. I think it can also be very helpful to those whose involvement has thus far made little (if any) progress.

The material provided was acquired through experimentation and diligence, not pontification, sophistry, and conference attendance." In other words, Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick learned by doing. That may well be the most valuable insight in their book.

Rise to the Top: How Woman Leverage Their Professional Persona to Earn More and Rise to the Top
Rise to the Top: How Woman Leverage Their Professional Persona to Earn More and Rise to the Top
by Stacey Hawley
Edition: Paperback
Prix : CDN$ 13.36
26 used & new from CDN$ 6.54

5.0 étoiles sur 5 How to manage the power of others' perceptions to achieve the given career objectives, Jan. 13 2015
Authors of books such as this one often invoke metaphoric phrases such "rising to the top," climbing a "mountain or "ladder," hitting a "jackpot" or grabbing a "brass ring." Game theory has also had an influence. I was reminded of all this as began to read Stacey Hawley's book. My rating correctly suggests what I think of its quality of content and presentation of it as well as its potential value to those who read it with appropriate care.

Hawley asserts -- and I agree -- that perceptions (whether or not they are accurate -- often become realities. Why? Because they are formulated by human beings and thus, inevitably, subjective. Hawley asserts (and I also agree) that perceptions by others of the value of a worker's performance often determine what that person's compensation will be.

Because it is so important, let's repeat that second assertion: perceptions by others of the value of a worker's performance often determine what that person's compensation will be.

Whether or not those perceptions are accurate is another issue entirely. Also I hasten to add, another reality.

Although this book's subtitle suggests that it was written to help women "leverage their professional persona to earn more," the information, insights, and counsel that Hawley provides can also be of substantial value to men, especially those who are introverted. (Susan Cain has a great deal of value to say about all this in her brilliant book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, published by Broadway Books and now available in a paperbound edition.) I also think this book can be of incalculable value to supervisors because, more often than not, their performance evaluations are based on misperceptions by default. That is, those who performance they evaluate insufficiently, if not incorrectly, have given them little (if any) reason to think otherwise.

Hawley responds to questions such as these, devoting a separate chapter to each:

o What is executive compensation and what is it not?
o What is the appropriate role of a consultant retained to assist the compensation process?
o Who are all the "players" involved in that process?
o What are the four types of a "female powerhouse"?
o How best to determine the potential of one's "powerhouse personality"?
o How best to leverage that personality?
o What is a career "blitz"? How best to prepare for and then handle one?
o When to ignore the "gender gap"? Why then? What to do instead?
o What are the most significant benefits and potential problems of "rising to the top"?

Many (if not most) people are uncomfortable when urged to promote themselves, either because they don't know how to do that effectively or, if they do know, consider it unseemly to do so. The fact remains, whether they like it or not, most workers are involved in a multi-dimensional "game" and how it is "played" varies (sometimes significantly) from one organization to the next. Those who play it well -- as in competitive professional sports such as professional football, basketball, and baseball -- are generously rewarded with both compensation as well as opportunities to accelerate personal growth and professional development to earn even more. I invoke the term "multi-dimensional" because the game to which Hawley refers involves how well one does what they are paid to do, of course, but also how well one leverages on-the-job performance to establish and nourish relationships with those on whom one's career success depends.

Perhaps women will derive greater benefit from this book than will men. However, as indicated earlier, I think most of the information, insights, and counsel that Stacey Hawley provides can help almost anyone to leverage performance to achieve greater recognition and appreciation. Perhaps this book's greatest value is that it helps to correct the misperceptions that many (most?) workers have about how others perceive them, and, about the impact those perceptions can have on their career advancement.

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