Soundview Executive Book Summaries

The Sun, The Law and a Great Summary

As the summer sun rages in the sky above the offices of Soundview Executive Book Summaries (and most of the United States), lawmakers in the nation’s capital are debating whether or not to bring the industry devoted to harnessing solar power to its knees. The U.S. House of Representatives has its sights set on reducing or cutting federal grant and guaranteed loan programs for the development of solar power. While it’s not the purpose of this blog to offer political comment on any decision by the federal government, the notion of cutting funding for the solar power industry has a more critical effect on business that is worth mentioning.

The potential interruption of funding opportunities could have a wide-reaching impact. In an article in USA Today, Roger Efird, managing director of Suntech America (a part of Suntech Power, the world’s largest producer of solar panels), said, “Is the solar industry going to die if we lose these programs? No, but we’re going to stall.”

His quote led me to reflect on a recent summary published by Soundview Executive Book Summaries. In Flash Foresight, author Daniel Burrus reveals that plotting your business’s course for the future is dependent on your ability to analyze hard and soft trends. I had the opportunity to interview Burrus about his book, and when we discussed hard and soft trends, he said the following:

When the government passes a law, it actually creates a series of hard trends and you can profit from those. You have to pay attention to what’s happening.

Applying that to the news today about the potential cut for the solar power industry, one imagines that there are companies currently working on other alternative sources of energy that could potentially benefit in the future. If you read the summary of Flash Foresight, you’ll gain a better understanding of Burrus’ methods to see the trends and capitalize.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book  Summary of Flash Foresight, visit Soundview online at

Can Soundview Live Help You End Workplace Drama?

On Thursday, July 7, 2011, the next installment of our exclusive Soundview Live Webinar series takes to the digital airwaves in an attempt to help you conquer one of the greatest foes to productivity: workplace drama. Is there anything more frustrating than seeing your workplace teams dissolve into infighting and petty politics? These are highly competent, seasoned professionals that, for a number of reasons, are unable to overcome the common pitfalls that cause drama to occur. Consultant, trainer and speaker Marlene Chism has spent years researching and identifying the gaps that create drama. Chism will be our special guest on this edition of Soundview Live, and she will introduce listeners to the Stop Your Drama methodology, an eight-part process for smashing the barriers created by workplace drama.

One of the most interesting aspects of Chism’s analysis of workplace drama is the role fear plays in both its creation and continuation. People have the curious ability to both despise the workplace conditions under which drama occurs yet be afraid to make any changes to the situation. This is due to a psychological gap, according to Chism, and there is an effective method for leaders to counter the problem and help employees see that there is a safe way forward, one which she’ll discuss during the event.

Don’t forget that what separates Soundview Live from virtually every other Webinar online is that YOU get the opportunity to send in your questions to be answered by Chism during the broadcast. In light of the sensitive nature of the subject matter, we will be certain to keep all submissions anonymous. Chism will no doubt have some unique insights and may be able to help you solve a situation that you’re experiencing.

Stay tuned to for more information about how you can sign up for the next Soundview Live.

Soundview Leadership Alert and the New Golden Rule

One segment of that always receives a high level of traffic is the page devoted to FREE business book reviews. There are several hundred reviews of new and classic business books. Before you decide whether or not to devote your time to checking out a book, stop by and read a review first.

Of course, the business book reviews aren’t the only free content that’s available at Have you checked out the FREE e-newsletter Soundview’s Leadership Alert? Each month you’ll receive unique perspectives on various areas of leadership from best-selling business authors and experts in the field. It’s a great, compact way to receive a powerful bit of leadership information delivered directly to your in-box.

In the latest edition of Soundview Leadership Alert, you’ll learn about a better method for predicting the future of your business (and the economy in which it operates) from Daniel Burrus, author of Flash Foresight. Burrus discusses the danger involved in ignoring hard trends and how this will impact business and society over the next 20 years. However, one of the most interesting anecdotes in this edition is his discussion of a prediction made by The New York Times. In an article from the mid-1990s, the Times predicted the fall of a company that was experiencing trouble and a lack of direction. The identity of the company will surprise you, and Burrus explains why the Times should have considered other factors before miscalculating the mystery company’s downfall, one which never occurred. In fact, the targeted business not only triumphed, they became the model of what Burrus describes in the issue as the New Golden Rule of Business.

To begin receiving your FREE e-newsletter Soundview’s Leadership Alert, visit and sign up.

The Power of Executive Education

Earlier this month, I read an interesting column from Bloomberg BusinessWeek about the best ways to maximize returns on Executive Education. In the piece, the author mentions the critical importance of an executive’s knowledge of the specific issues relating to his or her business that he or she wishes to address during the education process. This is an excellent point because one of the first factors we consider when examining any piece of content at Concentrated Knowledge Corporation and Soundview Executive Book Summaries is whether or not it provides applicable takeaways for businesspeople. For more than 30 years, this has been one of the guiding principles of every title selected to be a Soundview Executive Book Summary. This notion has also helped us to expand our focus into skill-based resources, such as our CKC’s Executive Edge publication, as well as field-tested advice in the form of our CKC’s Executive Insights video series. If you’ve ever attended one of our Soundview Live Webinars, you’ll recall that the latter portion of each program is solely devoted to audience questions, enabling business professionals to, as the Bloomberg columnist suggests, address their companies’ specific issues.

One place where you can tap into the power of each of these resources is Here you’ll have the opportunity to find out about the Corporate Solutions Program, a comprehensive suite of business content that provides you and your staff with skill-specific knowledge. The Corporate Solutions Program is fully mobile and its materials are offered in a variety of formats that work with whatever device your staff prefers.

To learn more, visit

Book Review: What’s Holding You Back?

Sometimes criticism can be a tough thing to take. Despite countless examples from top CEOs of the role that failure played in their ultimate success, hearing about one’s issues can cause many professionals to buckle under the strain. There are those who believe that the source of the criticism can either increase or decrease the likelihood that the recipient will seriously consider what is offered. Robert J. Herbold held high-ranking executive positions at Microsoft and Procter & Gamble. The advice he offers in the latest book to be summarized by Soundview Executive Book Summaries What’s Holding You Back? 10 Bold Steps that Define Gutsy Leaders is more than enough to get even the most jaded professional to sit up and take notice.

Herbold contends that one of the main problems that stops an executive from achieving his or her full potential is the inability to make the tough decisions. This can be derived from a number of root causes, but the effect is always the same: it jeopardizes the company’s goals, irritates the leader’s direct reports and draws the ire of other executives. One of the strengths of Herbold’s book is that it offers 10 steps to enable any leader to strengthen his or her decision-making abilities. An executive’s entire career is built on his or her ability to make the tough calls. Any leader can float along when the times are good, but, as Herbold demonstrates through a number of memorable examples, the best leaders have what it takes to swim when the seas are at their roughest.

To learn more about What’s Holding You Back and the other new summaries now available from Soundview, visit

Will The Orange Code Be Amended?

Time magazine ran a blog post today speculating on the potential impact that customers of ING Direct will experience now that the online bank has been purchased by banking giant Capitol One(purveyors of the clever “What’s In Your Wallet” credit card ads). ING Direct’s reputation for being a customer-friendly outfit in an industry that tends to keep the customer beneath its heel is one of the biggest factors for the company’s success. In fact, as noted in the Time post, ING Direct’s customers “Have long gotten a kick out of the way the company’s marketing mocks other banks for being fee crazy and nickel and diming customers.”

The company’s founding and its radical approach to the personal savings model are a great story, one with which Soundview and its subscribers are quite familiar. We chronicled the history of ING Direct when we summarized The Orange Code: How ING Direct Succeeded by Becoming a Rebel With a Cause. The book was written by the company’s founder Arkadi Kuhlmann and Bruce Philp, the branding consultant who brought the company’s message to the masses. The summary provides a revealing look at what it takes to demonstrate transparency to your customers and maintain competitive advantage in an industry where price can sway a customer’s mind.

In addition, Soundview also had the good fortune to provide our subscribers with an exclusive 60-minute Soundview Live Webinar featuring Arkadi Kuhlmann discussing the power of having an unrelenting focus on one’s customers. Fortunately, if you missed the event the first time it aired, there is an archive link available. Click here to learn more.

For more information and for more books on notable companies, visit Soundview’s Web site,


Best-selling Author to Chat with YOU, Today at Noon

Don’t miss your opportunity to learn about the way to live your personal values at work with today’s installment of Soundview Live featuring Stan Slap, the author of Bury My Heart at Conference Room B: The Unbeatable Impact of Truly Committed Managers. This is a great Webinar to attend if your organization is attempting to solve the puzzle of how to increase commitment from its staff. The secret is to start with your managers.

Unfortunately, many companies approach this process by attempting to pass off their corporate values as personal. A few months ago, I spoke with Stan Slap about this idea. Here’s what he had to say:

The key neurobiological source of emotional commitment in a human being, and this is not me telling people, this is their brains telling them this, comes from the ability to live your own deepest values in any relationship or environment you’re involved in. For a manager that would be the relationship with his or her company and his or her environment at work. Anything less than that, any other values, do not, in a neurobiological sense, signal the brain that it’s a healthy and safe choice to commit to that relationship or environment. It’s great to work in an environment of corporate values, which is most often strategies being sold as values, but still, for an organization that legitimately has values, that’s a beautiful thing. It’s just not the same thing as managers being able to fulfill their own deepest values, and that is the source of emotional commitment.

Soundview Live featuring Stan Slap premiers today at Noon (Eastern). It promises to be a great event! Don’t forget, Soundview subscribers attend every Soundview Live event for FREE!

To learn more, visit Soundview online at

Book Review: Disciplined Dreaming

Creativity is often mislabeled as a mysterious force. The concept dates back to ancient history when poets and musicians were beholden to muses or gods for moments of creative brilliance. In today’s business world, the importance of generating a constant stream of new (not to mention good) ideas is too great to be left to fate. Fortunately, the creative process isn’t shrouded in mystery. According to Josh Linkner, author of Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity (now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary), executives and their teams can arrive at great ideas without resorting to incantations or ceremonies.

One key aspect of Linkner’s philosophy is that creativity should serve as a force of empowerment within an organization. This is counter to the classic concept of the “idea man” in a company. While it is understandable to assume that ideas come more naturally to some rather than others, a closer look may prove that the person rich in ideas is also diligently (if unknowingly) following many of the ideas about which Linkner writes. Executives need to understand the power that comes with making and maintaining a work environment in which people can be creative. It makes one’s office a workplace in which the next great idea can come from any direction.

Linkner also helps executives avoid the common, seductive trap of dismissing others’ ideas outright. Part of the reason employees hesitate to provide meaningful solutions is because they don’t feel as if their ideas count. Linkner provides numerous examples, including some memorable stories from his own company ePrize, that prove the old adage, “The mind, like a parachute, works better when open.”

To get your copy of the summary of Disciplined Dreaming, visit Soundview’s Web site

Summer Reading that Strengthens Your Skills

With summaries available in eight digital formats, you can gain the benefit of Soundview Executive Book Summaries wherever you travel during the summer season. Visit Soundview’s Web site to check out these three great new summaries:

Eat People by Andy Kessler. The era of easy money and easy jobs is officially over. Today, we’re all entrepreneurs, and the tides of change threaten to capsize anyone who plays it safe. Taking risks is the name of the game — but how can you tell a smart bet from a stupid gamble? In this summary, Andy Kessler explains how the world’s greatest entrepreneurs don’t just start successful companies — they overturn entire industries, and he offers twelve surprising and controversial rules for these radical entrepreneurs.

What’s Holding You Back? by Robert J. Herbold. Why do managers at all levels sacrifice corporate success by shying away from making the tough decisions? This executive book summary of What’s Holding You Back? explores exactly why managers often hesitate to confront difficult issues and reveals the ten core principles of confident leadership, outlining proven tactics by which managers can confront their inner wimp and highlight their inner courage.

Disciplined Dreaming by Josh Linkner. We live in an era when business cycles are measured in months, not years. The only way to sustain long-term innovation and growth is through creativity — at all levels of an organization. This executive book summary of Disciplined Dreaming shows you how to create profitable new ideas, empower all your employees to be creative, and sustain your competitive advantage over the long-term. Josh Linkner distills his years of experience into a 5-step process that will make creativity easy for you and your organization.

Great Summaries to Power Through Rough Economic Waters

If you scan the headlines of any online news service, it’s difficult to find bright spots on the economic horizon. However, I read an interesting piece from Newsweek on the resurgence of Chrysler. The automaker was the recipient of bailout loans from both the American government and endured a merger with Italian automaker Fiat. Under the leadership of new CEO Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler is in the process of paying off its loans ahead of schedule and redeveloping several of its models.

In reading the Newsweek piece, there are points about Marchionne’s leadership approach that remind me of a few must-read Soundview Executive Book Summaries. Newsweek pointed out that Marchionne refused to use the penthouse office reserved for the CEO and instead took a simple fourth floor office near key departments. This is in direct opposition to the picture author Tim Irwin paints of former Home Depot CEO Robert Nardelli. Check out the Soundview summary of Irwin’s book Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership.

The Newsweek article also mentions that Marchionne brought to Chrysler the management structure he innovated at Fiat, “where 25 executives report directly to the chairman.” The idea of changing the culture of accountability to create an increase in results speaks directly to the principles in Roger Connors’ and Tom Smith’s best-seller Change the Culture, Change the Game: The Breakthrough Strategy for Energizing Your Organization and Creating Accountability for Results.

Fresh perspective is a necessary ingredient in the economic recovery process. A great place to gain new insights is by visiting