Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Inside Info From Book Expo

Just wanted to put up a quick post for everyone while myself and the rest of the Soundview folks are busy at BookExpo America.

After a full day of walking the exhibition floor yesterday, I was very happy to hear positive reports from many of our associates in the publishing industry. The past two years have been difficult for every industry, and ours was no exception. However, there was optimism at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York.

There are going to be some great business titles coming from a variety of publishers over the next several months. While I can’t get into specifics, the Fall looks to be very promising. I spoke with several individuals yesterday who gave us some great insights into trends we may see in business books as 2010 rolls on and the economy continues to ebb and flow. As I reflected on recent comments I’ve received from subscribers, I think we’re looking at a great second half of 2010.

I’ve got more folks to see, so I’ll close for now. Please keep visiting us at to see what’s coming next!

How to Finish in First Over the Long Haul

Judging by all of the bleary eyes and the amount of coffee being consumed this morning, I’m guessing a few people were up last night for some sort of event. For those executives who prefer their drama in real-life doses, the stock market continues to strike tremors of fear with U.S. stock futures dropping lower.

Market turbulence always brings speculation about how to make a business endure through difficult times. The cycle used to have more predictability. What makes the current business environment difficult is the sudden surges and drop-offs. As we’ve seen in previous summaries, such as Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times, Chaotics, and Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty, companies continue to look for a way to navigate the rapid shifts and maintain a dominant position in the marketplace.

One author whose advice we found very compelling is Peter Navarro, author of Always a Winner: Finding Your Competitive Advantage in  an Up and Down Economy.

Navarro will be our next guest on Soundview Live. The event, “How to Make Your Company Recession Resistant,” will take place Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at Noon (Eastern). For more information on how you can join this interactive Webinar, visit us online at And don’t forget, subscribers attend Soundview Live for FREE.

eBooks: The Battle Rages On

I had to chuckle when I read the first line of independent publisher Jennifer Havenner’s post on Huffington Post. She mentions being unable to avoid news of the destruction of traditional publishing and the printed book by the rise of the e-book. I laughed because we posted about this very issue on Twitter earlier today.

Havenner makes an interesting argument for both the continued presence of publishing and the survival of printed material. I don’t know if I can wholeheartedly agree that works of true value will always endure in the physical (rather than digital) formats. The day that publishers collectively agree to increase the price-point of e-books to be at or near hardback books may turn out to be the true make-or-break moment.

For all of the latest news from the e-book corner of the publishing world, be sure to follow Soundview on Twitter @businessbooks.

How Unilever Pulled An Upset

The release of this month’s edition of Soundview allows me to discuss a news story that cropped up earlier this month. I read this press release from Business Wire about the annual ranking from The Hub magazine for excellence in shopper marketing. Unilever, the conglomerate that owns hundreds of product brands, topped the shopper marketing charts over long-time competitor Procter & Gamble. This is a considerable triumph for Unilever and indicates a commitment on the part of the company to the practice of shopper marketing.

It reminded me of one of the keys to this marketing segment. Markus Stahlberg, co-editor of the book Shopper Marketing: How to Increase Purchase Decisions at the Point of Sale, makes the point that many retailers and brand-holders fail to separate the shopper from the consumer. The two are not always the same person.

It took me some time to consider this concept, but I thought of an example to which many people can relate. Picture a parent walking down the cereal aisle of the grocery store without his child in tow. The parent is playing the role of the shopper. The absentee child is the consumer. If, like many parents, this Dad has trouble remembering exactly which sugar-infused cereal is currently causing his tot’s heart to palpitate, he’s left to his own decision-making abilities. While the child is normally drawn to everything from bright colors on the box to whatever giveaway is on offer, the parent locks his sights on the box that says, “A Healthier Choice for Your Child.” This is a case where the marketing is directed at the shopper, rather than the consumer.

To learn more about the principles of this rising area of marketing study, be sure to read Soundview’s summary of Shopper Marketing, available now at!

What Site Serves Billions Each Day?

Who doesn’t enjoy the occasional meander through YouTube? The video hosting site recently celebrated its fifth anniversary and continues to expand its influence in the world of rich media. According to this piece from, YouTube supports more than 2 billion views each day, the equivalent of one out of every three people on Earth. I checked out some of the content available as part of the celebration and enjoyed hearing the about the site’s origins, a topic that’s covered quite a bit in the business books we review at Soundview.

YouTube, purchased by Google in 2006, continues to explore display advertising. As the eWeek article notes, the company has yet to reach the level of dominance enjoyed by Google in keyword search  However, the site has ingrained itself into modern life. The site believes that the average user spends 15 minutes each day on YouTube. Research also indicates that in one minute an average of 24 hours of content is uploaded to the site.

These staggering figures are indicative of the type of growth described by Adam Penenberg in his book Viral Loop, a book recently summarized by Soundview. Penenberg cited YouTube as an example of a Web site that was able to piggyback its growth on the viral loop of another Web site. In the case of YouTube, it became the de facto  video host for users of MySpace. This interesting pairing of sites became a natural fit and launched YouTube into the viral growth Penenberg describes in his book. Five years on, YouTube continues to grow and explore new areas of content.

And you thought it was all just videos your co-workers send in forwarded e-mails.

Have You Read These Top Titles?

Soundview’s June edition is now online and ready for download! This is one of the most diverse months we’ve had so far in 2010 in terms of the subject matter of our featured summaries. Don’t miss out on these three new releases:

Our June edition kicks off with Common Purpose by Joel Kurtzmann. This is an excellent book for leaders looking to take their companies to new plateaus of achievement. Kurtzmann provides some new insights into the process of unifying an organization and creating the drive necessary to exceed a company’s goals.

We continue with Soundview’s summary of Shopper Marketing: How to Increase Purchase Decisions at the Point of Sale. This book contains essays a variety of retail marketing topics from experts in North America and Europe. The book is edited by Markus Stahlberg and Ville Maila. Marketers, particularly those tied to retail, will not want to miss this summary! Also, for those of you who subscribe to Soundview, Markus Stahlberg is the guest for our Author Insight Series MP3 this month. Don’t forget to download and listen to his conversation with Soundview Senior Editor Andrew Clancy. Markus called us all the way from Finland to provide some additional insights into the minds of today’s shoppers.

Finally, we conclude our June edition with Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. If you’ve never taken the time to read one of her books, this summary is a great place to start. This book teaches executives how to take their conversations to the next level and create change through normal interactions.

Before you pick up your stack of beach reads, make sure you’re up-to-date with the latest business books. To stay on top, come visit us at!

Is Your Online Privacy a Concern?

Every person who writes a blog shares a common understanding. Our audience is likely stopping by for a short time between visits to Facebook. The social media giant’s dominance in the lives of individuals of all ages has generated a seemingly endless stream of articles and commentary. One of the most common topics to arise about the site is the way Facebook (and social media in general) have eroded the standards of privacy. While often ascribed to the youngest group of users, the inability to fully comprehend the very public nature of social media continues to plague users at all levels. The fear-mongering elements of traditional media attempt to play up this misunderstanding with stories of robberies that occurred because thieves used Facebook to determine when homeowners were away.

I read a great Epicenter blog post (provided by our friends at WIRED magazine) about the privacy issues currently faced by Facebook. Ryan Singel, author of the post, makes some interesting arguments about the need to replace the social media powerhouse with something more open and distributed. He focuses on the desire for users to be able to exercise greater control of their privacy settings. He even goes so far as to point out companies that ran afoul of Facebook when they attempted to modify the user’s ability to control his or her privacy.

After reading the Epicenter blog, I was reminded of something Adam L. Penenberg mentioned in his book Viral Loop, a title that Soundview recently summarized. Penenberg noted that companies who experience the incredible burst of growth provided by viral loops have unique growing pains not experienced in traditional industries. The privacy problems that are currently rumbling beneath the surface among a select group of Facebook users are an excellent example of how viral growth creates its own issues.

Do you care about the data that Facebook makes public? Let me know your thoughts.

Soundview Live with Daniel Goleman today!

Just wanted to send everyone a quick reminder that today is our Soundview Live event with Daniel Goleman, author of Ecological Intelligence. The event kicks off today at Noon (Eastern) and will feature a discussion about the way in which businesses can gain competitive advantage by embracing radical transparency.

Goleman and Soundview have a long relationship and we’ve covered many of the author’s works over the years. One gets the feeling that with Ecological Intelligence, Goleman is exploring a subject that is as much a matter of personal interest as it is academic fascination. This should be a great conversation today.

As Goleman noted in our summary of Ecological Intelligence, businesses that are proactive in changing the ways in which they manufacture and package their goods can gain a competitive advantage in the eco-driven marketplace of the future. It’s a reality that crawls closer toward us each day, one that we cannot afford to ignore.

Tune in today and please send me a few comments to let me know what you think! Remember, Daniel Goleman is appearing on Soundview Live today at Noon (Eastern). Click this link for more information.

Are You Ready to Reposition?

What makes a company walk away from an established brand name? Companies put years of time, money and the effort of employees into building a brand. Is there a shelf-life on even the most notable of names?

I saw this article on about the recent name change of GMAC Financial Services to Ally Financial, Inc. In the case of GMAC, the desire to abandon its established brand may be the result of poor public opinion in the wake of the company receiving three government bailouts. Changing the company’s name helps GMAC distance itself from the raw nerve that is easily struck when Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds are discussed.

In the CNNMoney report, reporter Annalyn Censky sought out the opinion of branding expert Jack Trout. In his trademark to-the-point fashion, Trout gave this assessment of GMAC’s decision:

“GMAC was always confusing. It was a good name if you’re leasing GM cars, but once you get beyond the automobile world, it’s not good,” Trout said. “If you can take advantage of what the word ‘ally’ means, you can use that word to certainly help drive a new idea in.”

In his recent book Repositioning: Marketing in an Era of Competition, Change and Crisis, Trout defines repositioning as the adjustment of perceptions, whether they are about your company or your competition. In fact, one of the strategies Trout lists as a route to successful repositioning is “Change the name.” While I can’t say for certain if the folks at GMAC read Trout’s book, it’s obvious that his strategies have real-world support behind them.

To learn the remaining four repositioning strategies, check out Soundview’s summary of Jack Trout’s Repositioning. Now available at

A Gulf Between “All Clear” and “All Safe”

The concerns related to the recent oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico aren’t limited to the immediate task of cleaning up the mess. The far-reaching ecological impact will play out over the next several years, particularly as it applies to the wildlife in the area. From a business standpoint, the commercial fishing industry in the region is bracing itself for major problems.

I was fascinated by this article in The New York Times that examines the detrimental effect of the leak on species at every spot on the food chain. While I’m sure everything will be done to return the Gulf region to “business as usual” as quickly as possible, one has to consider the repercussions for the animal that sits at the top of the food chain: the human.

One person whose insights I’d like to hear on the long-term impact of the leak is Daniel Goleman, author of Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything, a book summarized by Soundview in 2010. Goleman writes about a system for labeling products with information about the impact on the planet involved in the creation of the product. I’d like to take that concept a step farther when thinking about the situation for fisheries in the Gulf. At the point of the “all-clear,” whether it be from the EPA, FDA or other regulatory body, how quickly will consumers return to seafood products from the Gulf region? Goleman writes that consumers continue to increase their interest in a product’s background. This knowledge informs their purchasing decisions. Will the average seafood lover order a soft-shell crab if he or she is told it was recently caught along the Gulf coast?

Fortunately, I’ll have the opportunity to ask Goleman about this issue … and so will YOU! Daniel Goleman is the next guest on Soundview Live, our exclusive Webinar series. He will be presenting “Making Ecological Intelligence a Competitive Advantage” on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at Noon (Eastern). Make sure to sign up soon, and remember, subscribers attend the event FREE.