Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Would You Switch If You Could?

Interesting news for all of you iPhone fans today. I read this article from The Wall Street Journal that reports on AT&T’s preparation to strengthen its network. While not clearly stated, the implication is that the wireless carrier’s efforts are due to a potential revamped iPhone release that would allow the enormously popular device to use rival Verizon’s network. As the article indicates, the new Verizon-friendly iPhone model may not debut by the end of 2010, but the potential shake-up in the wireless carrier community is enough to get AT&T working now.

The companies have been engaged in a clever marketing war for the past several months. Verizon’s “red and blue map” commercials dominate much of prime time television’s ad space. For its part, AT&T has responded with a comparable campaign. The ads feature actor Luke Wilson refuting Verizon’s claims as well as showing the strength of AT&T’s ability to run multiple applications at the same time.The contrasting ads offer a great study for marketing executives looking for positive ways of answering the criticism of a competitor.

Whether or not the release of the new iPhone model will cause thousands of subscribers to switch networks will be an interesting situation to observe. In the meantime, current iPhone users can check out Soundview’s iPhone applications by clicking this link. We’re offering some great collections of “can’t miss” summaries!



Have Kids? You Have Management Experience

I recently invited Eric Bloom, author of Manager Mechanics: Tips and Advice for First-Time Managers to join us as a guest blogger for today’s post. Here’s what he’d like to share with everyone:

Have kids? You have management experience.

Believe it or not, caring for your children is good management training. As a parent, you learn to praise and discipline your children, as well as providing guidance, direction, leadership and a pleasant living environment. You teach your children new skills and provide them with additional training via teachers and trainers. You provide them with the supplies needed to perform various tasks, like crayons, scissors and paper. You teach them to minimize unneeded risks, like running with scissors and looking both ways before crossing the street. You learn that each child is an individual with his/her own personalities, likes, dislikes, motivations, skills and abilities. Lastly, you realize the need to treat each child as an individual and the importance of being part of a family and the responsibility that being part of a family brings.

Another thing that a parent quickly realizes (or at least I did) is that you don’t have all the answers. As a parent, you find that you must learn new specific skills, like changing diapers, food preparation and family budgeting. You also learn the importance of decision-making. Questions such as, “What to make for dinner?”, “Does the child need to see the doctor?”, “What school is best?”, “Should a child be punished?”, “Is it ok for my child to go to a party if the parents are not home?” have to be answered. You also have to learn how to properly react when your children whine, yell in restaurants, throw their food and/or complain about their siblings.

Now let’s talk about being a manager. As a manager, you have to lead and motivate your staff, administer praise and discipline, provide guidance, provide work direction and facilitate employee growth through on-the-job training and formalized instruction. Being a good manager also requires good judgment, fairness and the ability to foster teamwork among your employees. Get the message?

Eric P. Bloom is the President of the management training firm Manager Mechanics, LLC which can be found on the web at www.ManagerMechanics.com

For another great management read, check out Soundview’s summary Managing by Henry Mintzberg.



Don’t Forget: Soundview Live Today!

Just wanted to put up a quick reminder to everyone that Soundview Live begins today at Noon (Eastern).

Today’s guest is Roger Connors, co-author of The Oz Principle, Journey to the Emerald City and the book that is today’s Soundview Live topic How Did That Happen? Holding People Accountable for Results the Positive Principled Way.

Visit us at Summary.com to find out how you can be a part of today’s webinar. It should be a great conversation, so please join us!



Are You Guilty of the Blame Game?

No one enjoys having to go through the process of debriefing a project that failed to meet a deadline or achieve the intended goal. When things go wrong in the workplace, how we handle it can mean the difference between learning from our mistakes and falling into a cycle of disappointment.

For executives the challenge is exploring the issues that caused the project to fail. Managers need to execute the right strategy when it comes to accountability. The danger is to fall victim to the blame game. This occurs when managers hold meetings with employees in the hopes of finding a scapegoat for the project’s problems. The situation can rapidly turn toxic if employees deflect the issues onto one another or back at the manager.

What’s needed in this situation is an environment in which both manager and employee feel comfortable speaking truthfully. Authors Roger Connors and Tom Smith help executives achieve a more positive, principled accountability process in their book How Did That Happen?

If you have yet to read this summary, put it on your must-read list ASAP. It’s one of the few books on accountability that attempts to make the process a positive one for all involved.

I also wanted to remind everyone that one of the book’s authors, Roger Connors, is our next guest on Soundview Live. This Thursday, March 25, at Noon (eastern), we will be sitting down with Roger to discuss accountability and how your organization can avoid spinning its wheels when a project hits the skids. We’re getting a lot of requests for information about this event, so please click the link above or visit us as Summary.com to learn how you can be a part of the program!



What’s Your Social Intelligence Quotient?

Have you ever been in a crowded conference room where several side conversations simultaneously take place? Half the room is discussing the looming deadline for a project while others discuss the results from last night’s American Idol episode. At some point, the conference room door swings open and with the entry of a single individual, a hush comes across the room. There are a variety of reasons that the man or woman entering the room creates silence. What is common in each case is that the executive entering the conference room commands respect.

Harrison Monarth, author of the book Executive Presence: The Art of Commanding Respect Like a CEO, doesn’t believe that this needs to be a result bred from a culture of fear. In fact, respect is earned through the awareness of a set of tools that fall under the banner of Social Intelligence (SI). SI is about more than having a friendly smile and the ability to make people laugh. Monarth’s book reveals the secrets of how to leverage SI to get your message across and get results.

In fact, Monarth offers a way to improve your SI in only seven days. To learn how, visit Summary.com and pick up a copy of our newest summary Executive Presence: The Art of Commanding Respect Like a CEO.



How to Use Your Ears to Increase Business

I’ve got some exciting news for many of my faithful readers who have written in over the past 12 months. From time to time I provide a post about Soundview Live, our fantastic series of Webinars. One of the questions that always seems to show up in my in-box in the days that follow such a post is, “How can I get a copy of the Webinar?” Up to this point, only our subscribers had access to our exclusive archive of conversations with some of the most important minds in business today.

Now Soundview is making available 11 previous Soundview Live events! For a drastically reduced price, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to a number of bestselling authors and management legends discuss the ways you can take your business to the next level. Where else can you get a focused, 60-minute audio session with an author discussing his area of expertise? To see the complete list, click here!

By purchasing a Soundview Live archive recording, you can hear Marshall Goldsmith discuss the ways to make your business and life burst with success. Y0u can hear Steve Forbes provide an amazing history lesson while you gain the wisdom of ancient leaders. If you’ve got health care concerns, why not listen to Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen explain The Innovator’s Prescription?

As you’ll hear in these recordings, a good portion of the content comes directly from questions provided by our listeners, executives just like you! With that in mind, you really shouldn’t miss our next installment of Soundview Live. It takes place next Thursday, March 25, at Noon eastern. We (and YOU!) will be in session with author Roger Connors. He will discuss the method to establish a positive, principled accountability practice at your company. It should be a great conversation. Don’t miss it!



Three Must-Read Titles for this Month

They’re hot off the press and ready for your waiting eyes. It’s the newest summaries from Soundview Executive Book Summaries!

Here are this month’s titles:

Executive Presence by Harrison Monarth. Image isn’t everything, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to know how to command a room upon entering it. Perception is a powerful force, and this book can help you understand both how you’re perceived and how to leverage that perception. Think of the executives that you most admire, whether globally known or within your own company. Wouldn’t you like to have a little of that “magic” that they possess? Monarth shows you how to get it.

Some executives have presence … but it doesn’t always translate to success. Our second summary of the month features several tales of tragedy by leaders who underestimated the importance of character. Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership is Tim Irwin’s ode to the destructive power of the ego. One important note for readers, this is NOT a tell-all that chronicles tales of embezzlement or fraud. It’s a study of personality and, as the author points out, is intended to cause readers to reflect on their own workplace behavior.

This month also includes a bonus summary for subscribers (but non-subscribers can still purchase a copy!). Diana McLain-Smith’s Divide or Conquer is a timeless look at the interaction of teams. McLain-Smith helps leaders understand that breaking a team down to its individual parts is a misguided management method. Her best advice is to look at a team as the sum of the relationships of its members. This is a great read for executives looking to strengthen teams that operate in multiple locations.

Three great titles to guide you through your next 30 days. Head over to Summary.com and check them out now!



Can You Learn from the Lessons of Lehman?

The headlines piled up on many a news Web site today about the findings of a bankruptcy court-appointed examiner in the case against Lehman Brothers Holdings. Lehman’s bankruptcy filing in September 2008 remains the largest in the history of the United States. The examiner, while not capable of filing charges, provided information about Lehman’s C-level executive team that some reports say could be incriminating.

Among those mentioned in the 2,200-page report is former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld. The man once dubbed the “Wall Street Brawler” had a career with Lehman that spanned nearly four decades. The court examiner’s report claims evidence of a breach of fiduciary duty by Fuld. He is alleged to have misled investors and permitted continued financial practices that were deemed dangerous to the organization, its shareholders and the economy.

You’ll be hearing more about Richard Fuld over the next few weeks. Soundview is now offering a summary of Tim Irwin’s book Derailed: Five Lessons Learned From Catastrophic Failures of Leadership. Fuld plays a prominent role in Irwin’s examination of six executives whose tragic character flaws led their companies jump the rails. Derailed is a must-read summary and I’m very excited to see it appear in our April 2010 edition.

Our summary of Irwin’s book provides some excellent advice to help executives steer clear of the destructive workplace behavior that left Lehman (and the economy) reeling. As Irwin indicates, his book may profile executives who exhibited bad behavior, but it’s really meant to be a cautionary tale to prevent us from going down the same path.



Scanning the Reviews

Part of our weekly routine in the Soundview editorial department is to keep an eye on business book reviews that appear in other publications. We always feel a bit gratified when we see our peers touching on the same titles that populate Soundview’s various review outlets. While our main focus is summarizing the 30 best business books that are published in a given year, we use our reviews as a way to keep subscribers (and potential subscribers) current on books we believe could prove useful to executives.

As I was scanning various publications this week, I came across a review of the book Go-Givers Sell More. Authors Bob Burg and David Mann wrote this book as a follow-up to their 2007 business parable The Go-Giver. Business books that incorporate fiction as a means of instruction tend to polarize audiences. For those that enjoy business parables or fables, The Go-Giver is one of the more memorable books to come along. With Go-Givers Sell More, Burg and Mann smartly address the question that most detractors ask upon hearing about a business parable: “How does this apply to the real world?” It’s a worthwhile read and is already proving popular with people who had a resistance to the original book. It’s important to point out that while the original book could be read in an afternoon (it’s a little less than 150 pages), knowledge of The Go-Giver isn’t a prerequisite for the sequel.

The main reason I checked out The Dallas Morning News‘s review of Go-Givers Sell More was to see how it compared to our review of the book in Soundview Executive Book Alert.

Are you receiving this FREE e-newsletter every month? It’s our look at up-coming titles as well as those gems that you might have missed. Visit our Web site at Summary.com and click on the “Free E-Newsletters” tab on our home page to sign up!



A Little Bird Told Us

I saw a great commentary on Fast Company‘s Web site written in response to an article on Breitbart. Both articles deal with the use of Twitter by White House staffers to help spread the message of the Obama administration. Government, like business, is still attempting to discern the best use of social media as a means to both communicate with the public and raise awareness of its message. The author of the Fast Company article makes an interesting case that many of the individuals who intensely follow a social media conversation during a campaign may not continue with the same fervor once that elected official is in power. As the writer put it, “People just want the powers that be to roll up their sleeves and get on with the job of improving people’s lives.”

There are definite limits to the amount of interaction an audience wants with the content source. Your audience may want to hear from you in detail when your company is approaching a product launch or has an announcement about changes to an existing product or service. They may not want to hear about the new office furniture your company just acquired. However businesses have to be cautious to not stay offline for too long. The speed of change that occurs in the world of social media means that a two-day absence is the equivalent of two weeks in the minds of your customers. Stay in touch but be certain to provide information that is compelling enough to make followers want to stay tuned in.

How does your business use Twitter? Do you have a set number of posts you try to achieve during a day? I’d be interested to hear your feedback.

For an informative read on the way to use social media, check out Soundview’s summary of Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.

And don’t forget, you can follow Soundview on Twitter by clicking on this link or looking for us at Twitter.com/businessbooks.