Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Operating with High-Trust in a Low-Trust World

In January of 2012, Stephen M.R. Covey will publish a follow-up to his best-seller The Speed of Trust. This is his introduction to the book:

“Following one of our presentations on The Speed of Trust, a man made his way backstage to ask a question that was obviously troubling him deeply. “Are you really serious about this?” he asked incredulously. “Are there really more than just a few people out there who operate with the kind of trust you’re talking about?” This man lived and worked in a country that was ripe with corruption, deception, and massive distrust. He was clearly feeling deeply torn. He sincerely wanted to believe what we’d said but was finding it almost impossible in the context of his environment.”

I don’t think you need to leave the U.S. to find similar concerns and doubts about trusting others in the workplace. We see evidence of business people who can’t be trusted ever day in the news.

So how do we take advantage of the “speed of trust” that Covey introduced in his earlier book? Covey and his partner at Covey-Link, Greg Link, propose a “smart trust” that can work even in the midst of our low-trust environment. They describe the five actions trust companies have in common, that allow them to exercise smart trust:

  1. Choose to believe in trust.
  2. Start with self.
  3. Declare your intent . . . and assume positive intents in others.
  4. Do what you say you’re going to do.
  5. Lead out in extending trust to others.

Perhaps you have similar questions and doubts about trust in your company and business field. If so then you’ll want to join us on January 5th to hear Covey explain the details of this concept and take questions from participants. The Five Key Actions to Creating Smart Trust webinar is free for Soundview subscribers, and is Covey’s first engagement around the publication of the book.

Finding Your Balance
December 23, 2011, 11:00 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized

During this holiday season, it’s especially tough to balance all of the voices clamoring for your attention. On the top of the regular responsibilities for work and family, we’re weighed down with end of the year reporting, planning goals and budgets for 2012, shopping for gifts, office parties, and additional chores around the house as we prepare for guests.

In the latest issue of our Executive Edge newsletter, we developed a list of key principles for creating balance in work and life which can be especially helpful at this time of year, and move you in the right direction for your future. We looked at 5 principles drawn from business books, interviews and other sources. Glance through them and you’re sure to find something that will answer one of your own challenges.

Center Your Life – In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey recommends having a clear goal in mind for your life, a destination for which you are aiming. He recommends writing a mission statement for your life. With this in hand, you can then weigh all decisions and plans as they line up, or not, with that goal.

  1. Feed Your Mojo – Marshall Goldsmith advocates for two simple goals: loving what you do and showing it – which is your mojo. In his book Mojo, he lists four vital ingredients to maintaining your mojo: identity, achievement, reputation and acceptance.
  2. Balance Your Work – In One Piece of Paper, Mike Figliuolo recommends 3 maxims for leading a balanced life: How will you define your boundaries?, How will you keep things in perspective?, and What are you passionate about?.
  3. Know Who You Are – Robert Holden states that the better you know yourself, the more effectively you will live, work and relate to others. In Success Intelligence he defines self-knowledge as knowing what you value, what inspires you and what you are made of.
  4. Build Strong Character – John Maxwell believes that people cannot climb beyond the limitations of their character which, in Talent is Never Enough, he breaks into four elements: self-discipline, core values, a sense of identity and integrity.

If this list piques your interest in studying further on work/life balance issues, I encourage you to subscribe to our Executive Edge newsletter, an inexpensive source of business skills for busy executives.

The World’s Top 50 Thinkers

You may or may not have run across the Thinkers50 website. Every two years the site names the world’s 50 top business thinkers.

The ranking is based on voting at the Thinkers50 website and input from a team of advisers led by Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove. The Thinkers50 has ten established criteria by which thinkers are evaluated — originality of ideas; practicality of ideas; presentation style; written communication; loyalty of followers; business sense; international outlook; rigor of research; impact of ideas and the elusive guru factor.

Here are the top 15:

Clayton ChristensenThe Innovator’s DNA, The Innovators Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution, etc…

W. Chan Kim & Renee MauborgneBlue Ocean Strategy

Vijay GovindarajanTen Rules of Strategic Innovators, The Other Side of Innovation, The Quest for Global Dominance

Jim CollinsGood to Great, Built to Last, How the Mighty Fall, Great by Choice

Michael PorterCompetitive Advantage, Competitive Strategy, Competitive Advantage of Nations

Roger MartinThe Opposable Mind, The Design of Business, Fixing the Game, The Responsibility Virus

Marshall GoldsmithWhat Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Mojo

Marcus BuckinghamFirst Break All the Rules, Now Discover Your Strengths, StandOut

Don TapscottThe Digital Economy, Wikinomics, Macrowikinomics

Malcolm GladwellThe Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers

Sylvia Ann HewlettOff-Ramps and On-Ramps, Top Talent, Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets

Lynda GrattonLiving Strategy, The Democratic Enterprise, Hot Spots, Glow, The Shift

Nitin NohriaIn Their Time, Paths to Power, Driven, The Arc of Ambition, What Really Works

Robert Kaplan & David NortonThe Balanced Scorecard, The Strategy-Focused Organization, Execution Premium

Gary HamelCompeting for the Future, Leading the Revolution, The Future of Management

What do these great business thinkers have in common? As you can see from the list – they have all published business books. The publishing of a book is still the best way to disseminate the latest in business thinking. We may be consuming this information in different formats, but we still need the book to begin with.

Something else this list of business thinkers has in common is that 12 of the 15 have had at least one Soundview Executive Book Summary published from their works. That means that these titles were among the top 30 books of the year in which they were published. You can find the summaries by going to the Soundview website and searching an authors name.

A Holiday Gift: Three Great Business Book Summaries

As we approach the last leg of the mad dash toward the holiday season, many people are looking forward to a few well-earned days away from the office. Please notice I didn’t write “days off” because today’s marketplace forces executives to stay plugged-in even when their office lights are off. Time away from the office is a great time to catch up on the latest insights from today’s best business authors. To that end, Soundview Executive Book Summaries has three new releases that should help executives prepare for a prosperous new year.

by Laurie Bassi, et. al.

Good Company by Laurie Bassi, Ed Frauenheim and Dan McMurrer with Larry Costello. Laurie Bassi and her co-authors show that despite the dispiriting headlines, we are entering what they coin the “Worthiness Era.” And in it, the good guys are poised to win. Across the globe, people are choosing the companies in their lives in the same way they choose the guests they invite into their homes. They are demanding that companies be “good company.” The authors created the Good Company Index to look at Fortune 100 companies’ records as employers, sellers and stewards of society and the planet. The results are clear: worthiness pays off.



by Marcus Buckingham

StandOut by Marcus Buckingham. StandOut introduces the next-generation strengths assessment from Marcus Buckingham, co-author of Now, Discover Your Strengths. The StandOut assessment unveils your two key strength roles and shows you how to find your edge and win at work. Whether you’re an individual who wants to find your edge, a manager trying to fully understand the strengths of your team, or a leader in an organization looking to stay on the cutting edge of the strengths movement, you need StandOut.




by Craig Wasserman and Doug Katz

The Invisible Spotlight by Craig Wasserman and Doug Katz. Based on four decades of experience as management consultants, Wasserman and Katz make a compelling argument that all managers work in the heat of an invisible spotlight where their every word and deed are scrutinized by employees. Remarkably, most executives are unaware of this reality. The authors tell illuminating stories from the trenches about management successes and misadventures that offer a fresh, practical perspective on building sound management relationships.




In addition to this trio of titles, Soundview is providing a fantastic holiday offer. For a limited time, if you purchase one gift subscription to Soundview Executive Book Summaries, you will receive a second gift subscription FREE! Take advantage of this limited-time offer to reward a great client or show your appreciation for a helpful colleague. Click here to get your gift subscriptions while the offer lasts and to see full offer details!

For more information on the latest business books, visit Soundview’s Web site,

What Are Your Favorite Resources?

In a given month I look at a lot of resources to improve the way I do my job, and to provide content for our various social media outlets. Here’s a partial list:

My #1 resource is of course Soundview’s stable of content: business book summaries, author webinars and interviews, Executive Insights videos, and our Executive Edge newsletter. I realize I’m biased but I don’t know how busy executives get by without this resource.

  • I subscribe to a few excellent book- and publishing-related newsletters like Publisher’s Weekly, Publishing Business Today and Mediabistro’s GalleyCat.
  • I still like to get magazines and currently receive Fast Company, Inc magazine, Fortune and Wired to name a few. I learn as much from the ads as from the article as to what companies are doing and what content is important. I also refer to their corresponding websites as needed.
  • The Wall St Journal is a great resource at many levels and again I use their website when it suits my needs.
  • I watch the Tweets of over 150 business authors and publishers, although it’s difficult to keep up. You can see the complete list of who I follow @BusinessBooks. In addition I receive newsletters and emails from several of our frequently summarized authors to stay attuned to what they’re doing.
  • Because we’re on the mailing list of all major book publishers, we also see what’s coming up for new books so that we can spot trends and choose upcoming titles to consider for summarization.

I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting, but you get the idea. What do you use for resources in your position? Our readers would love to see your list and perhaps I’ll pick up a few more for myself as well.

How Is Your Company Using Social Media?
December 14, 2011, 1:46 PM
Filed under: Brands, Social Media, Technology | Tags: , , ,

Several months ago I wrote about one of the book trends we’ve seen in 2011 – social media. I referred to the work of Chris Brogan & Julien Smith with Trust Agents, and Brogan’s latest book Google+ for Business, Shel Israel and Robert Scoble with Naked Conversations, and Adam Penenberg with Viral Loop.

How is your company using social media? Do you see it as a distraction, a necessary drain of resources, or a budding source of great customer interaction and potential for leads and revenue?

At Soundview we’ve been working with social media for several years and are beginning to make some headway. Unlike a retail company, we don’t have the same customer issues to deal with, so our interaction is more informational.

Our SoundviewSummary blog, as you can see, gives readers a taste of the books we’re featuring, looks at various book topics and trends, and points to our other sources of information for business executives. We use Twitter to highlight articles and trends around upcoming books, e-book issues, book publishers, authors and sellers in the news, and from time-to-time we look at how books and life intersect.

We host a group on Linked In with book features for people to pass on and to help with those seeking to move up or find a new job. And last but not least, Facebook is for us a consolidation of the above resources, plus a few more. We highlight each book we cover, provide a feed from this blog, and include videos and other content to help our fans keep up on business content.

We’d love to hear what your company is doing. Please comment, and provide a link to your social media resources as well.

What You’ve Been Missing …

Have you heard recent editions of Soundview’s Author Insight Series? If not, you missed some great conversations with today’s best business authors. Each month, Soundview features downloadable interviews with an array of best-selling business authors. These 10-minute audio clips make a great companion to Soundview’s 30 Best Business Books summaries. If you’re a Soundview subscriber, now is a great time to catch up on what you’ve been missing. Here’s a sampling of some of the most memorable quotes from recent guests:

“Clearly you want to know what your core competencies are but if you stick solely to what those competencies are, it’s like driving by only looking in the rearview mirror.” – Stephen Wunker, author of Capturing New Markets.

“The dialogue around innovation has been way too skewed toward differentiation, as if that were the only problem to solve and the answer to all problems, which just isn’t true.” – Geoffrey A. Moore, author of Escape Velocity.

“If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.” – Jim Kouzes, co-author (with Barry Posner) of Credibility.

“Part of the curse of knowledge [carried by] senior executives is that they will be deeply familiar with ‘the numbers,’ but the numbers just won’t resonate with the rest of the organization.” – Colin Price, co-author (with Scott Keller) of Beyond Performance.

“We have it in our heads that technology distances people … I completely disagree. I think that things like e-mail and Twitter and Facebook have enabled me to have many, many more relationships all over the world.” – Guy Kawasaki, author of Enchantment.

You can hear more from the best business authors by visiting Soundview’s Web site,

Will Your Company Be Around in 20 Years?

The pace of change in business is increasing faster than ever. Consider how long an average company from the S&P 500 stays in the index. In 1955 it was estimated to be 45 years; in 1975, 26 years; and in 2009, 17 years. At this rate, half of the companies that appeared in the 2010 S&P 500 Index are likely to have left it before 2020.

How can you guarantee staying power for your company? Scott Keller and Colin Price offer the answer in their new book Beyond Performance. They argue that what really needs to be measured and developed is the health of the organization. The authors define organizational health as “its ability to align, execute and renew itself.”

Keller and Price draw their conclusions from more than a decade of research, drawing on input from more than 600,000 executives and employees from over 500 organizations across the globe, some 900 academic books and articles, and hands-on practical work with more than 100 client organizations.

From this research they developed a process to transform company health and performance, based on what they call the “5As.”

  1. Aspire (where do we want to go?) is about setting overall performance goals and the health aspirations that will enable them to be achieved.
  2. Assess (how ready are we to make the journey?) is about determining what capabilities and shifts in underlying mindsets are needed to reach the aspirations.
  3. Architect (what do we need to do to get there?) is about developing a portfolio of initiatives to improve performance and planning how to implement them to shape the desired mindsets and behaviors.
  4. Act (how do we manage the journey?) is about adopting the right scaling-up model, using governance to ensure broad ownership, and measuring performance and health rigorously throughout.
  5. Advance (how do we keep moving forward?) is about establishing the mechanisms and building the leadership capacity to drive continuous improvement.

If you would like to learn more about how you can measure company health and guarantee the longevity of your organization, join us for our December 15th Soundview Live webinar, How to Achieve and Sustain Organizational Excellence, and bring your questions for Scott Keller.

Drilling for Business Strategy

In our December 2011 Executive Insights video, we interview Ed Breiner of Schramm, Inc. While the name might not be familiar to everyone, Schramm was very involved in the Chilean mine rescue back in October of 2010.

Breiner provides interesting details on their involvement, along with their client GeoTech. Through extensive consultation with the Chilean government, they devised the best route for bringing up the miners, including the use of sophisticated equipment which Schramm manufactured.

Along with this interesting story, Breiner also offers insights into how his company has survived and thrived in the midst of the recent economic downturn, to emerge prepared to take advantage of the recent surge in demand for commodities.

Among the strategies Schramm has implemented:

  1. They provide a strong global warranty on their equipment, ready to send their technicians anywhere in the world. Breiner tells new hires that with Schramm they can see the world without getting shot at.
  2. The company philosophy starts with making a profit. Breiner states that they don’t focus on profits but they need to be profitable to survive. After that, it’s about providing customers with something they can use. With the commodities boom this includes drilling and extraction equipment for oil and gas, geothermal, water and exploration.
  3. Transparency is integral to management’s approach with their employees. Breiner says they’re all adults and so they speak straight with their staff. When the economy began to weaken, he told employees to put away their credit cards. They did have to eventually lay off some people, but they held off from November until January for the sake of their employees. They also worked with Pennsylvania’s unemployment department to take advantage of their furlough program.
  4. Breiner likes Jim Collins’ strategy of “discovering what you’re good at and doing more of it.” They focus on their strengths as a company and shore up their weaknesses. Their quarterly strategy meetings include people from outside top management to get a broader view.

If you would like to see this interview or read our corresponding Executive Edge report How to Steer Through a Crisis, subscribe to our Premium Edition of Soundview Executive Book Summaries, which include access to all videos and reports in one self-contained Online Library, along with book summaries, author interviews and past author webinars.

Book Review: The Fifth Discipline

Business books tend to be cyclical. If you look through the hundreds of Soundview Executive Book Summaries available at, you can almost predict the year in which a book was published by looking at its subject matter. The past decade is a great example of this concept. At the outset, there were numerous books dealing with globalization, as well as “catch-up” guides for business that were late to the Internet revolution. By the end of the decade, books on surviving economic turbulence and streamlining one’s operation were dominating the virtual shelf space.

Occasionally, a game-changing book is published that defies the ability to be dated. Furthermore, it cements itself as a title that deserves a permanent place on every executive’s bookshelf. Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization is one such title. More than 20 years after its publication, the book remains one of the most influential summaries ever offered by Soundview. For a 10-year period, it topped Soundview’s sales charts every year. Prior to Soundview moving to an all-digital format, tens of thousands of executives ordered printed copies of the summary of Senge’s book.

This month, Soundview is offering a renewed opportunity for executives to delve deep into Senge’s study of learning organizations. The Fifth Discipline is now available in all of Soundview’s multiple digital formats (including iPad and mp3!). Senge will help you explore whether or not your organization suffers from a learning disability, why the Fifth Discipline is the key to fixing the problem, and what are the core disciplines of building your company into a learning organization.

It’s a transformational trip taken by thousands of companies over the past two decades. While Senge has continued to produce memorable, successful works, The Fifth Discipline altered the course of management thinking in a manner shared by only a few authors. Invest in your company’s future by taking this vital trip to the recent past.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of The Fifth Discipline, visit Soundview’s Web site