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on January 31, 2002
This book was a disappointment to me. It was recommended by a friend when I expressed intrigue with books that mixed illustrations and stories to communicate management messages (a la Who Moved My Cheese).
The author is a PhD-level, highly experienced consultant . . . with a couple of cats. From her biography in the book, I'd expect something strong. I'd describe the book more as "cute" or "artsy," rather than having strong content.
Hessler-Key suggests that we can learn from cats, applying their behaviors to better manage our own. Her thirteen messages are couched in short descriptive pieces from or about her cat. The advice is succinct at the end of each of the one-page lessons. Here are the messages: Pick a business or career that lets you express your talents. Done only that and do it well. Constantly look for ways to full your customers needs. Gauge your distance, position yourself, and leap. Follow your instincts. Clean out the old and begin again. Observe your environment closely and with detachment. Meander and Explore. Catnap occasionally-dream. Walk away from opportunities that don't meet your standards. Be independent, but don't isolate yourself. Pick your priority; be relentless. Life Balance. Find your place in the sun, relax and enjoy life.
A 14-page workbook section follows, asking a number of questions around each of the thirteen themes. This feature could make the book a worthwhile tool for workshops, though my personal concern is that there is not enough meat and seriousness in the book's content to inspire effective responses without the author or a colleague serving as a facilitator.
I'm not sure that today's reader is in the same space that this book occupies. It seems to fluffy and light to be taken seriously, even though the messages are valid. It's not up to what I'd like to see from this author and not what I'm accustomed to seeing from Berrett-Kohler.
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on April 25, 2000
Sorry, but I really feel potential customers should be aware of HOW LITTLE WRITING THERE IS IN THIS BOOK. The pictures are fine (they make up over half the book) but I was really hoping for more than a short paragraph of "inspirational prose" or so per double page. The idea is that a cat unconsciously does a lot of things which the business-person would be wise to emulate eg. "groom those that groom you", "sit in the window and watch". And that's it! That's the sizzle AND the sausage. What I imagined was that that catchy feline-related idea might be fleshed out a bit - by some evidence from the real world, for example? But no - sob! It's all about cats and ... cats. I'm obviously not really the target audience for this book - and I'm sure other people will enjoy it, if they know what they're getting into. But is there really anyone immersed in business who doesn't have a grasp of the basic concepts this book brings up?
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on May 1, 2001
When an author such as entrepreneur Mary Hessler-Key shares her byline with a feline, you know what kind of book you've got. Yes, Hessler-Key has written a cute book, but it does have some sound advice, inspired - she says - by her cats. She noticed that Sheba and Jasper possessed qualities that every entrepreneur could use, and then captured their lessons, which are appealingly illustrated here. Before you write this off as a little ball of fluff, look at the thought-provoking questions that accompany her cat-inspired tips. You can read the book in no time and devote as much effort as you want to the intriguing questions, which will tell you more about yourself than you might think. We [...] categorically recommend this book to anyone - entrepreneur or not - whose life could benefit from considering a cat's worldview, including being curious, acting instinctively, grooming carefully, hunting persistently and keeping a watchful eye on both the mice and the dogs.
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on May 26, 2000
This is a series of very fun and light-hearted lessons on business and life in general. The format of "cat lessons" is an analogy for how to think more proactively about your work and personal life.
This book provides down-to-earth guidelines for thinking more like an entrepreneur. I really got a lot out of the "cats-can."
Whether you're a cat lover or not, you'll be inspired by Jazzie the cat! It's nice to read a business book that is not boring and can be read in an hour. I received this as a gift, and plan to give it to my friends and business associates.
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on May 29, 2000
Mary Hessler has done a superb job of highlighting the key fundamentals that make an entrepreneur successsful. The cat anology will delight feline lovers everywhere but the important point is that you can be of a 'Scat, Cat!' mentality and still find useful ideas in this book. So often we read about sound concepts and tune out thinking, "I know...I know...I know." The author's ingenious use of attaching the basics to an analogy with a new twist opens the imagination for more serious thinking about entrepreneurial life.
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on June 1, 2000
An innovative and fun approach to addressing issues often faced by new entrepreneurs. The challenges to "clean your litter box" and be "purrsistent" are fundamental to success. You don't get lost in buzz words and honestly using the Cats-Can workbook at the end will give you a good start on your journey.
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on November 7, 1999
Cat lover or not, you'll relate to this cute and light-hearted read about thoughts on what "to do" about your life's business. Had hoped for more explaination on subjects needing further details but, good start in the right direction for anyone needing a little "push".
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