Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Book Review: The Thank You Economy

by Gary Vaynerchuk

Upon picking up the Soundview Executive Book Summary of author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk’s book The Thank You Economy, one concept should leap out at readers. Vaynerchuk wants you to provide one-on-one attention to your company’s entire customer base. This sounds like a considerable challenge to companies whose customers number in the thousands or tens of thousands. The fact that he believes social media is the tool with which to accomplish the task may do little to lighten the burden of this challenge to the reader. However, as the audiences who attend his speeches would likely report, Vaynerchuk is quite persuasive in getting his point across.

The Thank You Economy isn’t a social media primer, for those readers fearing another business book that spends half its pages going over well-tread ground. Instead, Vaynerchuk uses a fascinating array of examples from companies of all sizes to demonstrate the right (and, in some cases, wrong) way to use social media to connect with customers. He also devotes a section of the book to the importance of building a social culture within the organization, a process that begins with executives. Decision-makers quickly realize that Vaynerchuk is arguing the critical importance of connecting with customers is not a responsibility to be passed down the line.

The word to which Vaynerchuk returns time and again in his book is “opportunity.” While he may be referring to social media as the opportunity your business can’t afford to miss, there are those who would point to his book as an opportunity for advancement unto itself. For that, Vaynerchuk certainly deserves a thank-you of his own.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of The Thank You Economy visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.

Advertisements


How to Capture New Markets

What do James Watt’s steam engine and Apple’s iTunes have in common?

For both of these innovations the inventors looked beyond their competition to invent a whole new market. Watts transformed the world, as steam engines were harnessed to power new motors not conceived of before. Although iTunes was not as world-transforming, it completely changed the music industry and the way we listen to music.

But how does an individual or company be that one that captures a new market? Stephen Wunker provides the answers in his book Capturing New Markets. In a comprehensive manner, he first builds a case for the importance of new markets, then explains how to assess what doesn’t yet exist, and from there lays the foundational steps for how to capture that new market.

As Wunker states, “In business as in comedy, timing is everything.” And so he devotes a whole chapter on how to know when is the right time to enter the market. The business history books are filled with companies that did, and didn’t, get that timing right.

Perhaps you or your company is looking for that next great idea in your industry. If so then you’ll benefit from attending our Soundview Live webinar with Stephen Wunker on January 19th. Wunker will review his strategy for capturing new markets, and will be taking questions from participants along the way. Join us by registering for How to Capture New Markets, and invite your colleagues. You can fill a conference room since registration is per site.



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, Summary.com.



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, Summary.com.



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 Summary.com, 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 Summary.com.



Book Review: Escape Velocity

by Geoffrey A. Moore

If you read our recent post about Soundview’s publication of the summary of Stephen Wunker’s Capturing New Markets, you’ll recall that we discussed the difficulty of attempting to continue on a single path of success. In fact, this tendency to become ruler of a single domain can create a situation of diminishing returns. To combat this problem, Soundview has a new summary that makes an excellent companion to Wunker’s book. In Escape Velocity: Free Your Company’s Future from the Pull of the Past, author and tech industry expert Geoffrey A. Moore attempts to help executives stand up to the pressure of repeating their current success story.

One would assume that with Moore’s feet firmly planted in the tech world that his book would be the latest in the steady stream of books that heap praise on Apple and Google and instruct readers to “simply” do what they do. To his credit, Moore recognizes that, for example, an insurance company in Wisconsin can’t base its economic future on developing the insurance equivalent of an iPad. Readers who would hesitate to pick up Escape Velocity for fear that it won’t apply to their businesses should lay those doubts to rest. Moore does an excellent job of structuring his book to launch from its tech industry base into strategies that are applicable to a variety of fields.

At the heart of Moore’s strategy is, as he puts it, a “framework of frameworks.” He instructs readers on the mastery of five powers: Category, Company, Market, Offer and Execution. As with his earlier work Dealing with Darwin, Moore provides numerous tips to give your company both a path to progress and, perhaps of more importance, a way to stand out from the competition.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of Escape Velocity, visit Soundview’s Web site: Summary.com.