Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Are You a Mindful Leader?

At Soundview Executive Book Summaries, we spend a healthy portion of our time reading and writing about leadership books. I came across a great article from the Financial Post about the need for mindful leaders in the workplace. Ray Williams, author of the Financial Post piece, cites clinician Jon Kabat-Zinn’s definition of mindfulness. He describes it as, “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” Kabat-Zinn argues that the modern workplace screams along at such an incredible pace that leaders are often mentally and physically overtaxed. This impacts the executive’s decision-making abilities and reduces his or her effectiveness in the long-term.

What is of interest to Soundview is that Kabat-Zinn cites two books which we’ve previously recommended to leaders. The first of these books is Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman. In this book, Goleman and his co-authors describe the competencies of Emotional Intelligence that can help leaders create a more unified, productive work force. This book is a great read because it combines great advice to help a leader improve him- or herself while also giving tips to strengthen the organization as a whole.

The other book Kabat-Zinn references is Resonant Leadership. This title is written by Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, Goleman’s co-authors on Primal Leadership. As the subtitle indicates, the book helps executives renew themselves and connect with others through mindfulness, hope and compassion. While there are certainly traditional leaders who may view the subject matter as an unnecessary lesson in “soft skills,” more and more books are being written about the importance of a leader’s ability to connect and inspire his or her employees.

To get your copy of Primal Leadership or Resonant Leadership, visit Soundview online at

Book Review: Tough Calls from the Corner Office

No executive has an easy job. The person that occupies the corner office is faced with budget issues, management decisions and strategic planning. The fate of a company rests on a leader’s ability to balance and blend his or her own strengths with those of his or her team. There will be moments in an executive’s career that, in retrospect, are pivotal to his or her legacy. In Tough Calls from the Corner Office: Top Business Leaders Reveal Their Career Defining Moments, the latest business book now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary, former CEO Harlan Steinbaum gives reader’s an inside look at what shapes those pivotal moments and profiles a group of executives who reveal what led them to take action.

Steinbaum is the ideal guide for this tour of the psyche of the CEO. He is the former chairman and CEO of Medicare-Glaser, one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the United States. He also served as chairman of Express Scripts, Inc., a pharmacy benefit management company. Steinbaum tells readers about his own tough call during a time when his family decided to buy back its business from the company to whom they previously sold it.

Steinbaum has a great sense of pace and knows when to insert his or her observations amidst the profiles of more than 35 executives from a wide variety of companies. In the Soundview Executive Book Summary, executives can learn from Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group), Bill Rasmussen (ESPN) and Shelly Lazarus (Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide), and many more. The issues about which Steinbaum writes will definitely echo problems experienced by any reader who picks up this book.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of Tough Calls from the Corner Office, visit Soundview’s Web site,

How Many Phones Do You Carry?

Are you the type of business executive who fills his or her pockets with multiple devices? Do you carry one type of smartphone for work purposes and another smartphone for personal use? You might be interested in checking out this article from The Wall Street Journal. As Roger Cheng, the article’s author, writes, “For lots of workers, the company BlackBerry just doesn’t cut it anymore.” This speaks volumes about the way in which the public’s demand for the latest technology is roaring ahead of many organization’s ability to keep pace. Cheng makes a very interesting point about the fact that many successful companies are allowing their employees to use their own devices. However, such an allowance comes with a tacit understanding between employer and employee that issues of cost and accountability will be shared.

This sort of concept is further proof of the ideas suggested by authors Jon R. Katzenbach and Zia Khan in their book Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the (in)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team and Get Better Results. The idea that companies are allowing employees to use their personal mobile devices for business purposes matches Katzenbach and Khan’s suggestion that use of practices from the informal organization strengthen a company’s efforts. In the same vein, the rules established between employer and employee that Cheng discusses in his article fit with the authors’ notion that the traditional formal organization still has a place in the new landscape. The Wall Street Journal piece is an excellent indication of the way in which the two ideas blend.

In case you missed our recent Soundview Live event with Katzenbach and Khan, the archive link is now available! Click here to learn more and find out how you can listen to the event at your convenience.

And don’t forget, no matter what type of smartphone you use, Soundview Executive Book Summaries are available in a format that works with your device!

When Faced with a Tough Call, Search This Summary

As people prepare for a weekend away from the office (“away,” of course, being a relative term in the age of technology), there’s little doubt that they may find a bit of pain when they pull up to the pump. Gas prices continue to rise across the United States and it’s leading many to speculate that this is, at long last, the moment when the United States will join the rest of the world and pay a higher price for a gallon of fuel. While Americans struggle with that reality, President Barack Obama is attempting to ensure that no one is profiting from the sudden surge in fuel prices. Obama tasked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder with pulling together a team to investigate whether there is any fraud or market manipulation that is contributing to the rise in U.S. gas prices. Obama made a tough decision by opting to target traders and speculators who might gain from such market manipulation.

Tough calls are the subject of one of the newest books to be summarized by Soundview Executive Book Summaries. In Tough Calls from the Corner Office: Top Business Leaders Reveal Their Career Defining Moments, former CEO Harlan Steinbaum examines the critical thinking and decision-making processes of notable leaders. Steinbaum’s book offers insights from leaders in a variety of industries, even the U.S. military and federal government. Perhaps for his next book, Steinbaum should consider a sequel entitled Tough Calls from the Oval Office. If it were as good as his current book, every executive would have to pick it up.

To get your copy of the summary of Tough Calls from the Corner Office, visit Soundview online at

A Review for Leaders, New on

One of the best reasons to follow Soundview on Twitter is that you receive instant updates when new book reviews appear on Soundview’s Web site A recent tweet let our Twitter followers know that a FREE book review of Frances Hesselbein’s My Life in Leadership: The Journey and Lessons Learned Along the Way.

A biography of a CEO can be a hit-or-miss option for readers. When it comes to an autobiography, readers need to be even more selective. In many situations, an executive ends up reading a brief history of the CEO’s schooling, followed by a laundry list of his or her accomplishments. That’s why Hesselbein’s book earns the distinction of being reviewed by Soundview. She beautifully blends poignant stories with applicable business lessons. Hesselbein’s tenure as head of the Girl Scouts of America led to a true resurgence. She took an organization that served a small segment of the American population and expanded its ranks to be a welcome place for young women from all walks of life. My Life in Leadership is a book that deserves the praise it’s currently earning. Visit to learn more about the book.

Another great way to keep up with the latest news and business book reviews is to sign-up for Soundview’s FREE e-newsletter BizBook Review of the Week. This weekly e-newsletter arrives in your in-box packed with information about the latest business books that are making an impact. Stay ahead of other executives and keep your reading list filled with only the top titles by signing up for BizBook Review of the Week today.

Book Review: Change the Culture, Change the Game

When it comes to accountability, readers would be hard pressed to find two better authors to discuss the subject than Roger Connors and Tom Smith. Now available at Soundview’s Web site is the Soundview Executive Book Summary of the authors’ latest release Change the Culture, Change the Game: The Breakthrough Strategy for Energizing Your Organization and Creating Accountability for Results. This book serves as a natural next-step from the pair’s previous best-sellers The Oz Principle, Journey to the Emerald City and How Did That Happen.

Executives who read this book will no doubt spend a considerable amount of time reflecting on the book’s main premise: your current culture will not help you achieve your future results. Take a moment to think about this idea. While it sounds rather intuitive, Connors and Smith point out just how few organizations are able to make the connection between their organizational culture and the results that it produces. Of course, when one considers this idea, the logic of it becomes as clear as the midday sun.

The book is one of the most densely packed instructional volumes that executives will encounter. However, the results that it is certain to produce more than justify the investment of time that readers will devote to it. It’s also a book that has definite shelf-life. In today’s business book climate, that’s a rare commodity. Connors and Smith cite management legend Peter Drucker who said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” With Change the Culture, Change the Game, readers will learn exactly why this is the case.

If you’d like to hear more from Roger Connors about Change the Culture, Change the Game, check out the archived link for Soundview’s exclusive Soundview Live event. For more information, visit Soundview online at

Leadership Takes Center Stage in Three New Summaries

There are three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries now available at If you’re in a leadership position at your organization, then this is a month you cannot miss!

Here’s three new summaries every leader should read:

Change the Culture, Change the Game: The Breakthrough Strategy for Energizing Your Organization and Creating Accountability for Results by Roger Connors and Tom Smith: In this executive book summary of the newest release from the best-selling authors of The Oz Principle, you will learn how to build a culture of accountability in your organization. The authors reveal how to transform your entire organization through each level of the Results Pyramid: Experiences, Beliefs, Actions and Results.

Tough Calls from the Corner Office: Top Business Leaders Reveal Their Career-Defining Moments by Harlan Steinbaum: Steinbaum, former CEO of one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the United States, provides inspiring, thought-provoking stories from a wide variety of leaders. Steinbaum proves that in many cases, the toughest decisions an executive makes are often the ones that define his or her career. This summary will prepare any executive to handle difficult situations.

Bury My Heart at Conference Room B: The Unbeatable Impact of Truly Committed Managers by Stan Slap: Consultant and author Slap helps executives ignite the massive power of any manager’s emotional commitment to his or her company. Slap provides a remarkable process that allows you to use your own values to achieve tremendous success.

Check this blog over the next several weeks for more details about each of these three great leadership titles. For the latest news and updates from Soundview Executive Book Summaries, follow Soundview on Twitter @businessbooks.

Summaries Say Bank on a Great Leader

Scanning today’s headlines I noticed a story concerning today’s release of JPMorgan Chase’s first-quarter earnings. It seemed to be a bit of good news/bad news for the financial institution. While the company’s first-quarter earnings exceeded expectations, CEO Jamie Dimon said that the bank’s losses from mortgages are likely to continue. As USA Today notes in this article, the company will “likely pay more fees and penalties after investigations into foreclosure proceedings in all 50 states are finished.” Dimon is one of the most respected CEOs in an industry that continues to be villified for its role in the 2008 global financial crisis.

In Jeffrey Pfeffer’s book Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t, the author cites Dimon as an example of someone who overcame adversity during his early career. Pfeffer points out that Dimon left Citibank after, as the author writes, “his onetime mentor and boss, Sandy Weill, turned on him.”

Another author who speaks highly of Dimon is Keith Ferrazzi. I had the opportunity to interview Ferrazzi in 2009 around the time he was promoting Who’s Got Your Back, and he named Dimon as an example of a great leader. Here’s what Ferrazzi said:

You see how he’s weathered the financial challenges with JP Morgan, more so than most of the financial executives have done out there. If you walk into his executive committee they’re shouting and swearing at each other up and down the organization, so the level of social comfort that that requires, the level of safety that people have to have with one another to call their boss out on the carpet is incredible. Dimon demonstrates that.

To learn more about great leaders like Dimon, visit for summaries of great leadership titles.

Conquer Your Fear of the Informal

According to best-selling authors Jon R. Katzenbach and Zia Khan, organizations that are ahead of the curve experience success because they’ve mastered a very difficult art: balancing the formal with the informal. As they write in their book Leading Outside the Lines: How to Mobilize the (in)Formal Organization, Energize Your Team and Get Better Results the most successful companies, “retain the efficiency and clarity of the well-defined structures that define the formal organization while also capitalizing on the flexibility and speed of the social networks and peer interactions that connect people informally.”

It’s a daunting prospect for many organizations and one that the authors will discuss in detail with you tomorrow during their exclusive Soundview Live Webinar How to Tap the Power of the Informal. Tune in tomorrow (Tuesday, April 12, 2011) at Noon (Eastern) to learn the secrets that allow the best companies to integrate the formal and informal aspects of an organization.

One of the key takeaways I hope that you’ll gain from tomorrow’s presentation is that as a company grows, its balance between the formal and informal will change. There is a fear among executives that embracing the informal means an environment in which people spend more time on Facebook than they do on job responsibilities. The authors will demonstrate why this simply isn’t the case. What’s more interesting is the fact that the informal plays a key role in the development of a small business. As the business grows, its adoption of formal structure will be viewed through the lens of the informal. It’s a fascinating process and tomorrow’s Soundview Live will help your organization at any stage of its development.

Don’t miss Soundview Live with Jon Katzenbach and Zia Khan tomorrow at Noon (Eastern). And don’t forget to pick up your copy of the summary of Leading Outside the Lines by clicking this link or visiting Soundview online at!

A Summary Before Midnight

The ramifications of the potential federal government shutdown are causing shockwaves across the United States. As the Congressional stare-down reaches its climax, the accusations are arriving at a rate that only Twitter can keep pace. This article offers an interesting look at the state of negotiations (and fingerpointing) that’s currently taking place on Capitol Hill. While scenarios as varied as soldiers going without pay and canceled tours of the Statue of Liberty are being promoted by various media outlets, I thought I’d take a different approach.

One of the better books on conflict resolution that we’ve featured at Soundview Executive Book Summaries is Mark Goulston’s Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone. If you’ve never had the opportunity to check it out, it might make for some interesting reading while (if the reports are accurate), you wait for your tax refund to arrive.

Goulston is a psychiatrist and business coach with decades of experience in the art of breakthrough communication. One of the key lessons he reveals in Just Listen is the best method to get through to an angry person and move him or her from an irrational state to one of tolerance. When you read or watch any of the current coverage of what’s happening in Washington, it sounds like just the summary for the situation.

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone is available in eight digital formats. For more great book summaries, visit Soundview online at