Soundview Executive Book Summaries


Book Review: The Zappos Experience

by Joseph Michelli

When business book authors seek companies that exemplify superior abilities in areas such as innovation, product development and talent development, a small list of names rapidly fills the pool. If asked, readers could name the top five with little effort: Apple, Google, Amazon.com, Facebook, and Procter & Gamble. In fact, the first three, respectively, are the top three companies named on FORTUNE magazine’s 2012 list of the 50 most admired companies. When the discussion turns to customer service, a new name joins the list: Zappos.com. In The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage and WOW best-selling author Joseph Michelli explores the wildly different way of thinking that powers one of the strongest customer service engines in today’s global marketplace. The Zappos Experience is now available in multiple digital formats as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Michelli’s familiarity with corporate giants is second to none. His previous books have profiled Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton Hotels, and Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market. If there is a single quality that distinguishes Michelli from his contemporaries, it’s his ability to blend elements of a company’s history with critical insight into how the company’s finer points can be replicated in the reader’s organization. Other authors get distracted by providing more biography than takeaways. Michelli’s five principles connect Zappos’ outstanding philosophy of building a great culture to a reader’s attempts to increase employee engagement, connect with customers and provide a truly exceptional service experience.

Zappos’ abilities as a service provider were a key factor in the company’s 2009 acquisition by Amazon.com. Readers will be fascinated by what Michelli discovered about the acquisition and the linchpin that helped Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh confirm the deal. Needless to say, Amazon.com’s third-place finish on FORTUNE’s most-admired list in 2012 is tied to some extent to Zappos’ service culture.

To download your copy of The Zappos Experience, visit Soundview’s Web site Summary.com.

Special Note to Soundview Subscribers! Don’t forget to listen to Soundview’s Author Insight Series featuring Joseph Michelli. He provides some additional insights about Zappos that you won’t hear anywhere else. Log in to your Soundview online library and check it out!

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Book Review: One Piece of Paper

What are the guiding principles of your management philosophy? If you were to make a list of the people, texts and experiences that molded you into the leader you are today, who and what would appear on the list? The majority of executives could fill a 32 GB hard drive with inspirational presentations, quotes and passages from books, and journal entries of their own successes and failures. Author, consultant and U.S. Army veteran Mike Figliuolo believes that while we are the sum of our experiences, the process of attempting to summarize what we’ve learned (and subsequently communicating those lessons to others) has become clouded. In One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership, Figliuolo teaches readers the process of concentrating their personal leadership philosophies into a set of maxims that fit on the titular 8.5″ x 11″ sheet. Figliuolo’s book is now available in multiple digital formats as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

One Piece of Paper offers a considerable challenge to any executive that attempts Figliuolo’s method. While the process of creating one’s list of leadership maxims seems simple, Figliuolo spends a significant amount of time explaining the complexities of why the maxims govern your ability to lead yourself, individuals and teams. One of the book’s greatest strengths is Figliuolo’s willingness to share his personal experiences. His biographical anecdotes serve not only as a demonstration of the Maxims Approach, but they also solve one of the most common questions for readers of any business book: Does the author practice what he or she preaches? In Figliuolo’s case, he provides one example after another that answers a reader’s question in the affirmative.

To get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of One Piece of Paper in any of Soundview’s digital formats, visit Soundview’s Web site, Summary.com.



The Search for Personal Power

From time to time I like to point out a trend we’re noticing in the business books that come across our desks at Soundview, like innovation or leadership. But there are also trends in book titles. Book titles are what sell a book, and so they reveal what authors and publishers think are the greatest needs of their audience – the hot-button issues.

Most recently we’ve seen quite a few books that include “power” in the title. Here are a few examples:

Power is defined as the ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something; strength; might; force, the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy.

I’m no psychologist, but it would seem that in a period of economic instability, high unemployment, and rapid change, business people may be looking for a way to have some control over the world around them. Gaining power in business situations is one answer.

Power Listening helps you to shape (control) any conversation. Power Questions help you influence others. Power Habits can transform you to succeed. A Power Reputation can make your career. And the Power of Presence can unlock your potential to influence and engage others.

Do you see the common thread? The authors writing these books believe that we want to be in control of our situation and that they have the answers. They may be right if book sales are any measure. The Power of Habit is #7 on Amazon today. And a quick search of our archives brought up over 37 additional titles about power.

Are you looking for power and control in your current situation? Then you might want to check out these titles. And if you find that books like these provide what they promise, let me know.



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.



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.