Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Is This YOU? (Or just someone you know?)

You may or may not know, but we offer a free e-newsletter entitled Soundview Executive Book Alert. The writer of this monthly look into the hot and the hidden in the world of books is a good colleague of mine. When he reviewed Grown Up Digital, by Wikinomics author Don Tapscott, my friend wrote, “What else are you doing while reading this review?” The implication is that no one can simply sit and read anything anymore. Looking at one screen isn’t enough, so the average reader is probably texting or checking e-mail while reading any article or blog post (this one included, I’m sure).

Apparently, this prevailing trend is starting to irk more than a few people, particularly in today’s sensitive business environment. Here’s one story that gives a perspective on this new era of digital rudeness. In the first five to seven years after e-mail became the standard of communication for the modern office, we were treated to dozens of business books that included a chapter on “e-mail etiquette.” In fact, it became so prevalent that my editorial colleagues and I would groan if we saw a top-ten list that started with “Don’t use all caps. This gives the appearance of shouting.” WE KNOW!

In contrast to e-mail etiquette, the digital distraction debate brings up some questions of genuine merit. Is there such a thing as being too plugged-in? As noted in the article above, the inability to focus on one task for a concentrated period of time may lead to more careless errors. Additionally, the evaporation of our attention spans creates changes in how we present and receive content. It’s possible that we’re reaching a point where even the shortest message isn’t safe from being knocked aside by distraction. How do we differentiate in a world where everything is labeled “urgent?” How people answer this last question, combined with the evolving world of PDA etiquette will make for interesting analysis over the next few years.

If you can look away from your iPhone long enough, catch Soundview at the annual conference of the Special Libraries Association. The show takes place from Sunday, June 14 through Wednesday, June 17 in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Soundview will be located in BOOTH #1142. Stop by and inquire about our corporate site license program. We’re looking forward to seeing you!


Books That May Catch Your Eye in July

Taking a stroll through some of the lists of upcoming business titles, there are a few interesting reads on the horizon. Here’s a quick peek at a pair of titles:

Create Your Own Economy by Tyler Cowen (Slated for July 2009 hardcover release). With its subtitle promising “The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World,” this book would appear to be a how-to on entrepreneurship. Incorrect! Cowen’s look at behavioral economics actually contains an examination of the ways in which behavioral economics mirrors autistic behavior. The autistic tendency toward categorizing stimuli is something Cowen believes to be a strength in economics. It is a strange and, one might postulate, controversial central argument, but it makes this book highly anticipated amongst our editors.

The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook by Ben Mezrich (Slated for July 2009 hardcover release). A business book as a beach read? Believe it, folks. It seems like even the publisher is selling it as such. Why else would they subtitle this book “A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal”? Toss in the fact that Mezrich is the author of the best seller Bringing Down the House, later adapted into the movie 21. With this book alleged to also be receiving the Tinseltown treatment, this book should be receiving a good bit of press. What we’d like to know is whether or not Mezrich found time to include relevant take-aways for executives looking to leverage their own company via the Facebook phenomenon.

If these two titles are any indication, it should be an exciting couple of months in our editorial department. Don’t forget to visit us at to see which books are selected as one of the 30 best of 2009.

The Business of Business Books

I saw an interesting item from Publishers Weekly that I thought I’d bring to your attention. This feature deals with the impact of the economy on the business book market, and is worth a read, but in particular, I was pleased to see them mention the following:

Amacom executive editor Ellen Kadin says, ‘Most companies manage using two sets of rules: the playbook they use for better times and the one they adopt in anticipation of—or in response to—economic downturns. But Philip Kotler and John Caslione, the authors of Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence, point out that when economic turbulence hits, traditional strategy is worthless, and even skilled business leaders tend to make bad management mistakes.’ Kadin notes that not only does Chaotics have a global message but it seems to have global appeal as well: translation rights have already sold in 22 languages.”

Sound intriguing? Well, if you’re a subscriber, you’re in luck. Let’s just say there is an excellent chance that Chaotics could be featured in an upcoming edition of Soundview Executive Book Summaries. Our editorial staff also conducted an interview with co-author John A. Caslione. He gave us some great insight into the heart of the Chaotics management method. We were really impressed with Caslione’s explanation of the point that Kadin makes above. Businesses are more likely than ever before to know periods of feast and famine, and these eras will be shorter in duration yet more frequent in occurrence. With that in mind, Chaotics gives readers an excellent method to use one management style that operates under both sets of conditions. Stay tuned to this blog and I’ll let you know when and where this exclusive interview will be available.

Also, I wanted to remind our subscribers that tomorrow is the big Soundview Live Web event with Stephen M.R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust. If you’re not a subscriber, go to this link to learn how you can sign up and join us for our next FREE subscribers-only event!

Climbing the Sales Mountain

If there’s one position that’s not exactly enviable during difficult economic times, it’s that of the salesperson. Sales professionals are often the first casualties in any layoff plan, and those that are lucky enough to remain behind are given elevated sales goals (often accompanied by decreased commission rates).

Still, I’ve got a lot of admiration for anyone who makes their living by persuading others. I don’t know if I’ve got the fortitude for it, particularly depending on the industry. Take a look at what’s going on in the auto industry right now, and it’s easy to see that the sales waters have never been more choppy.

Fortunately, we’ve taken note of the struggles in sales and have put together the Art of Selling Collection. It’s currently available at Soundview’s Web site. This collection of 15 titles covers a wide range of essential topics. It’s intended to give sales professionals the boost they need to power through the current economic situation. It takes a special person to be a salesperson, and it takes an even more rare breed to deliver consistent results quarter after quarter. We’re hoping these sales summaries will help you be among the best of the best.