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Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas)

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HBRs 10 Must Reads on Managing Across Cultures (HBR's 10 Must Reads)
HBRs 10 Must Reads on Managing Across Cultures (HBR's 10 Must Reads)
by Harvard Business Review
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

5.0 out of 5 stars How to end miscommunication and inefficiency throughout your enterprise by tapping into the strengths of your diverse workforce, 20 May 2016
This is one in a series of volumes that anthologizes what the editors of the Harvard Business Review consider to be “must reads” in a given business subject area, in this instance cultural intelligence. I have no quarrel with any of their selections, each of which is eminently deserving of inclusion. Were all of these ten articles purchased separately as reprints, the total cost would be at least $60 and the practical value of any one of them exceeds that.

Given the fact that Amazon US now sells this one for only $16.14, that’s quite a bargain. The same is true of volumes in other series such as “HBR Guide to…”, “Harvard Business Review on…”, and “Harvard Business Essentials." I also think there is great benefit derived from the convenience of having a variety of perspectives and insights gathered in a single volume.

In all of the volumes in the “HBR 10 Must Reads” series that I have read thus far, the authors and their HBR editors make skillful use of several reader-friendly devices that include “Idea in Brief” and “Idea in Action” sections, checklists with or without bullet points, boxed mini-commentaries (some of which are “guest” contributions from other sources), and graphic charts and diagrams that consolidate especially valuable information. These and other devices facilitate, indeed accelerate frequent review later of key points later.

Those who read this volume will gain valuable information, insights, and counsel that will help them to develop their cultural intelligence (please see the assessment, “Diagnosing Your Cultural Intelligence” on pages 8-9); overcome conflict on a team where cultural norms differ; adopt a common language for more efficient communication; use the diverse perspectives of their employees to locate new business opportunities; take varying cultural practices into assort when resolving ethical issues; and accommodate and plan for their expatriate employees.

I cannot recall a prior time when the global marketplace was more volatile, uncertain, complex, and more ambiguous than it is today and therefore [begin italics] any [end italics] business initiatives across borders must take into full account the meaning, significance, and relevance of Peter Drucker’s observation that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

The term “cultural intelligence” is relatively recent and David Livermore is generally credited with the recognition of its importance to cultural integration when M&As and strategic alliances are involved. Of course, what are often called “generational differences” are often cultural in nature.

In the lead article, “Cultural Intelligence” (CQ), in which P. Christopher Earley and Elaine Mosakowski share the results of surveys of 2,000 managers in 60 countries, they observe: “The people who are socially successful among their peers often have the greatest difficulty making sense of, and then being accepted by, cultural strangers. Those who fully embody the habits and norms of their native culture may be the most alien when they enter a culture not their own. Sometimes, people who are somewhat detached from their own culture can more easily adopt the mores and even the body language of an unfamiliar host. They’re used to being observers and making a conscious effort to fit in.”

In other words, CQ is the ability to make sense of unfamiliar contexts and then blend in. Earley and Mosakowski suggest that CQ has three components: the cognitive, the physical, and the emotional/motivational. While it shares many of the properties of emotional intelligence, “CQ goes one step further by equipping a person to distinguish the behaviors produced by the culture in question from behaviors and those found in all human beings.”

This first HBR article serves as an excellent introduction to the nine that follow. In fact, it creates a context – a frame-of-reference – for the information, insights, and counsel that the other articles provide. More specifically:

“Managing Multicultural Teams”
"L’Oreal Masters Multiculturalism
“ Making Differences Matter: A New Paradigm for Managing Diversity”
“Navigating the Cultural Minefield”
“Values in Tension”
“Global Business Speaks English”
“10 Rules for Managing Global Innovation”
“Lost in Translation”
“The Right Way to Manage Expats”

It is instructive to keep in mind that the term “barbarian” was devised in ancient Athens and its original meaning is “non-Greek.” In today’s so-called VUCA world and its global marketplace, developing cultural intelligence is especially important to the success of cross-border initiatives but it is also essential to current efforts that expedite and enrich diversity. In this context, I am again reminded of a suggestion by Margaret Mead: "Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”

Breaking Through: Stories and Best Practices From Companies That Help Women Succeed by Martine Liautaud (2016-04-18)
Breaking Through: Stories and Best Practices From Companies That Help Women Succeed by Martine Liautaud (2016-04-18)

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why mentoring and sponsorship programs can help to accelerate the professional development of high-potential women, 18 May 2016
So, what needs to be broken through? Barriers based on race and gender that have absolutely nothing to do with merit.

It is no coincidence that the healthiest organizations have a workplace environment within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive for females as well as males.

And it is also no coincidence that the healthiest organizations are annually ranked among those that are most highly admired and best to work for; and they are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their industry.

You find no barriers based on race or gender (or any other irrelevant, in my opinion toxic criterion) in the healthiest organizations. Compensation and opportunities are based on merit. There are structured programs in these organizations that provide all manner of support resources at all levels and in all areas, including mentoring and sponsoring. There are no gender inequalities because they are wasteful and, more to the point, they are unethical.

Martine Liautaud is the founder of the Women Business Mentoring Initiative, an organization driven by successful women entrepreneurs. She wrote this book to explain how and why mentoring and sponsorship programs can help to accelerate the professional development of high-potential women. But make no mistake about it, as countless others have: The initiatives that Liautaud recommends can be of substantial benefit to both females and males. Those who aspire to become C-level executives should not be denied or accepted because of their gender. Moreover, there should be institutional support of their aspirations.

Some of the best insights in the book are provided in the interviews of pairs of mentors and mentees – in the same organization -- who enrich the narrative with their personal experiences and observations from different perspectives. For example, at Publicis Groupe, Mentor Michele Gilbert on her relationship with Charlotte Guillabert: “I think that talking to someone [over a period of six months] who can see the bigger picture relieves the anxiety and stress that you might feel when you begin to question yourself. And sharing experiences was a good way to help Charlotte find her way through difficult situations.” (Page 143)

I also appreciate the key points in gray boxes. For example: “In the evolution of today’s organizations, we rarely fight the battle of access. What we are fighting now is the unintended consequences of good intentions. To do so requires discipline, vigilance, and leveraging our support networks.” (Page 42)

One final point about healthy organizations: They expect mentees to be come mentors who can help others who then in turn….you get the idea. If your organization is exhibiting flu-like symptoms, enlist Martine Liautaud as your mentor. There’s important work to be done and she will help prepare you to be equal to the challenges that await.

Cross Border Mergers & Acquisitions (Wiley Finance)
Cross Border Mergers & Acquisitions (Wiley Finance)
by Scott C. Whitaker
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £45.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” Peter Drucker, 17 May 2016
I cannot recall a prior time when the global marketplace was more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than it is today. This is especially true of cross-border mergers and acquisitions. Drucker’s comment reminds us of an under-appreciated skill that is even more important when several different languages are involved.

Four years ago, I read and reviewed Scott Whitaker’s classic, Mergers & Acquisitions Integration Handbook: Helping Companies Realize The Full Value of Acquisitions, also published by John Wiley & Sons. Now we have a companion volume in which he and ten eminent contributors have, in my opinion, created another classic work, perhaps (at least for now) a definitive primary source.

The best business books offer information, insights, and counsel that are driven by real-world experience and that is certainly true of the material in this volume. Each of the seventeen chapters focuses on key issues that are involved when planning for and then completing cross-border mergers and acquisitions. As Jim O’Toole notes in Leading Change, the strongest resistance to change is cultural in nature, the result of what he so aptly characterizes as “the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom.” This resistance is even stronger when it is multi-national in nature and extent. It is noteworthy that Whitaker’s collaborators are from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Israel, Japan (2), Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Only Stefan Hofmayer and Whitaker are from the United States. All have wide and deep experience with multi-national integration initiatives.

With regard to the material, it is carefully organized within seventeen chapters, with a focus on the most significant dos and don’ts.

Part One (Chapters 1-5): Insights into the overall dynamics of the global M&A environment, including perspectives on region- and country-specific trends and nuances

Part Two (Chapters 6-8): A rigorous examination of how leadership and culture influence (for better or worse) cross border M&A

Part Three (Chapters 9-16): The reader is provided with an abundance of detail with regard to the more tactical, day-to-day elements of cross-border integration, accompanied by analysis of country-specific nuances that can (and usually) have impact on planning and execution details

Part Four (Chapter17 & 18): Here is a wealth of insights into several unique transaction scenarios, illusions, delusions, and situations

Long ago during dinner with a prominent expert in M&A, I asked him about a major acquisition he was then supervising. “How’s it going?” I asked. Long, thoughtful pause. “It’s like being blindfolded, walking through a minefield juggling hand grenades, during an especially violent electrical storm.”

Disclaimer: I have never been directly involved in M&As but his vivid description gave me at least a sense of why most M&As either fail or fall far short of original (probably overcooked) expectations.

It is noteworthy that most of the information, insights, and counsel that Scott C. Whitaker and his colleagues provide — after appropriate but probably minor modification — can be of substantial value to business leaders in companies that may not be actively involved in cross-border mergers and acquisitions but are actively involved in cross-border partnerships and strategic alliances. I commend the collaborators on what I consider to be a brilliant achievement. Bravo!

Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist
Fascinate, Revised and Updated: How to Make Your Brand Impossible to Resist
by Sally Hogshead
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How creating a brand with seven advantages can help to create or increase and then sustain demand for it, 17 May 2016
Brands date back at least to the ancient markets in ancient, Greece, and Rome. So, what is a brand? Heidi Cohen assembled 30 responses to that question from a variety of sources. Here are three:

o The American Marketing Association defines a brand as “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers. The legal term for brand is trademark. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller. If used for the firm as a whole, the preferred term is trade name.”

o Brand is a known identity of a company in terms of what products and services they offer but also the essence of what the company stands for in terms of service and other emotional, non tangible consumer concerns. To brand something is when a company or person makes descriptive and evocative communications, subtle and overt statements that describe what the company stands for. For example, is the brand the most economical, does it stands for superior service, is it an environmental responsible provider of x,y,z service or product. Each communication is deliberate in evoking emotion in the receiver to leave him/her with an essence of what the company or person stands for. Donna Antonucci

o Branding is the art of aligning what you want people to think about your company with what people actually do think about your company. And vice-versa. Jay Baer. Author with Amber Naslund of The Now Revolution

All of this is true…but insufficient. Now let‘s focus on a revised and updated edition of Fascinate, a book first published years ago. Why a new edition? Sally Hogshead is convinced — and I agree — that most marketers need to revise and update their perspectives on brands and branding. With all dues respect to signage such as swooshes and golden arches, brands must evoke expectations that are fulfilled, if not exceeded, by the customer experience.

Hogshead explains: “My first book Fascinate was published in 2010, and in that book I explored how our brains become captivated by certain people and ideas. I outlined the seven ways in which brands fascinate us. I gave the [begin italics] why [end italics] but not the [begin italics] how [end italics]. The truth is, I didn’t yet know all the steps…This is not a small revision; as my editors can attest, it’s a major overhaul. More major, in fact, than I think any of us realized. We ripped the entire book apart and rebuilt it to be a fascinatingly practical guide.” She added new stories and action steps, a “Brand Fascination Profile,” and “TurboBranding,” a step-by-step process in Parts III and IV, which gives you a blazingly fast way to create brand messages in about an hour.”

As I worked my way through her Introduction to the new edition, I was again reminded of a situation many years ago when a Princeton colleague of Albert Einstein gently chided him for asking the same questions every year on his final examination. “Quite true. Guilty as charged. Each year, the answers are different.”

I think that is also true of many of the questions that are asked about marketing, especially today in a global marketplace that is more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than at any prior time that I can remember. Few (if any) of the correct answers in 2010 are probably true in 2016.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Hogshead’s coverage in Parts I and II:

o Kelton Study of fascination (Pages 6-7 and 273-281)
o The Seven Languages of Fascination (10)
o Marketing dimensions (15-17, 42-43, 45-46, and 62-63)
o Jägermeister (18-19 and 47-50)
o Differentiation (23-25, 47-50, and 61-64)
o The Modern Marketing Maze (39-40)
o Fascinate the Goldfish (40-42)
o The Three Deadly Threats to Communication (42-44)
o Dinosaur food (71-72)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Innovation Brand (74)
o How Brands Use Innovation in Their Marketing (75-80)
o The Language of Creativity: Innovation at a Glance (81)
o Adjectives to Differentiate Your Passion Brand (86)
o Four marketing pillars of passion brands (87-93)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Power Brand (98)
o How Brands Use Power in Their Marketing (99-105)
o The Language of Confidence: Power at a Glance (107-120)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Prestige Brand (111)
o Trust as advantage (121-133, 219-220, and 284-285)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Trust Brand (124)
o How Br ands Use Trust in Their Marketing (125-132)
o Predictability and trust (127-128, 129-130, and 131-132)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Mystique Brand (138)
o How Brands Use Mystique in Their Marketing (139-149)
o Five Adjectives to Differentiate Your Alert Brand (154)
o How Brands Use Alert in Their Marketing (156-163)
o Understanding the Seven Advantages (165)

Briefly, here is how Hogshead organizes her material:

Part I: How and why a brain becomes fascinated
Part II: How each of the seven Advantages can create a state of intense focus
Part III: How the aforementioned “practical system” can be modified to accommodate almost any strategy and tactic(s) for almost any message
Part IV: How to get started with the five-step action plan

Sally Hogshead offers a methodology that is cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective, one that -- if applied with rigor and passion as well as with patience and persistence -- really can help to make almost any brand impossible to resist. The greater challenge, obviously, is to sustain that appeal. Perhaps she will address that challenge in her next book.

Experiential Marketing: Secrets, Strategies, and Success Stories from the World's Greatest Brands
Experiential Marketing: Secrets, Strategies, and Success Stories from the World's Greatest Brands
by Daniel Hanover
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The psychology of customer engagement in memorable purchase experiences, 11 May 2016
Until I read Experiential Marketing: How to Get Customers to Sense, Feel, Think, Act, Relate (1999), I had not fully understood and appreciated how and why the five senses could have a significant impact on the purchase decision process.

Almost twenty years later, as Kerry Smith and Dan Hanover point out in their book with the same title, “As a marketer, the need to cut through noise has never been more important – or more difficult. In today’s tune-out culture. Where the interruptive marketing strategies of yesterday have been rendered almost useless by consumers who can now tune you out, our brands need more than a catchy jingle, an amusing TV spot, or a big budget to be noticed. Being flashy, sexy, or loud no longer equates to a return on investment. Marketers have no one to blame but themselves for their current predicament.”

They recommend a non-traditional approach to resolving that predicament by taking another path, “one that taps into the core of our human DNA and virtually forces target audiences to stop, take, notice, and participate. We call this the ‘pull’ approach, and it is the central tenet of experiential marketing, a powerful strategy used more and more by leading brands to create true customer engagement that delivers measurable results.”

I agree with them that, in its simplest form, experiential marketing is nothing more than a highly evolved form of corporate storytelling. “But while the premise appears simple — combine a brand message, elements of interactivity, a targeted audience, and deliver it in a live setting to create a defined outcome — successful experiences are both art and science. Embracing experiential marketing requires a new way of thinking about marketing, creativity, and the role of media in the overall mix.”

Experiential marketing has grown quickly in recent years and an ever-increasing number of organizations are adopting it. Why? Because Smith and Hanover have no single answer, they suggest seven: It carries the strength of many; it’s unstoppable, the first single converter, and it’s an accelerant; it drives lifetime value; and it’s an engagement multiplier as well the marketing mix’s charger. They discuss each in detail and cross-reference to them throughout their narrative.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Smith and Hanover’s coverage in Chapters One to Six:

o The Experience R/Evolution (Pages 3-7)
o Steve Heyer on seven factors that are changing the marketing paradigm (9-10)
o Seven reasons to explain experiential market’s rapid growth “almost out of nowhere” (13-14)
o The Science Behind Relationships (19-24)
o Connection with an audience (26-34)
o Engagement control (34-42)
o Experiential: The new currency of marketing (49-55)
o Creating customer conversion (55-62)
o Shareable customer experiences (67-72)
o Exempla of “relatable” (77-81)
o Exempla of (81-83)
o Exempla of connectable customer experiences (85-88)
o Exempla of flexible customer experiences (88-91)
o Engagement of target audience (91-94)
o Engagement of believable audience (95-98)
o Creating a Wired Experience (100-115)
o Creating Living Stories (118-120)
o Building an Experience (120-131)

OK, so how to convert to an Experience Brand? Kerry Smith and Dan Hanover recommend a seven-step process:

Step 1 - Identify Your Fronts: “Narrow your marketing focus around the key ‘fronts’ that you will use as platforms from which to build partnerships and programs.”

Step 2 - Find and Align Partners: Now “evaluate and select the partner properties you will work with to create and execute your experiential programs.”

Step 3 - Select the Right Agency: “Your particular circumstances will dictate which type of agency or mix of agencies0 is right for your organization, but we offer this word of caution: experiential marketing is marketing without a net.”

Step 4 - Fix Your Rep Process: “A key characteristic of an effective RFP process is the ability to best align a marketer’s needs and goals with agency capabilities.”

Step 5 - Beef Up Your Internal Teams: “It will be the responsibility of your internal champions [at other levels and in other areas of your company] to manage your external parts and enforce discipline and alignment around your experiential goals.”

Step 6 - Create Value: “Your goal should be not just to create value, but to create [begin italics] meaningful [end italics] for your company and your customers…Successful experiential marketers check themselves at every touch point to ensure that each component of a program delivers an enhanced customer experience.”

Step 7 - Improve Lower-Funnel Results: “”It’s critical that you focus on your lower-tunnel results. This is where you will link participation to business impact. It’s arguably the most important area to plan for, and the planning should begin at the outset of your campaign development.

These steps are based on lessons learned from best-practices in organizations in which their marketing mix was reshaped by execution of “the ultimate customer engagement strategy.” How to complete each step is thoroughly explained in Chapter Ten.

Obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the information. insights, and counsel that Kerry Smith and Dan Hanover provide in abundance. However, I hope that I have at least indicated why I think so highly of their book. I agree with them that experiential is not for every organization. That is for business leaders to determine. However, given the fact that competition in today’s global marketplace is more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than at any prior time that I can remember, maximizing customer engagement in the purchase decision process is imperative and experiential marketing can probably do that better than any other approach, at least that I know of.

The Purpose Effect: Building Meaning in Yourself, Your Role and Your Organization
The Purpose Effect: Building Meaning in Yourself, Your Role and Your Organization
by Dan Pontefract
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.68

5.0 out of 5 stars Faber est suae quisque fortunae, 10 May 2016
Those who have read Dan Pontefract’s previous book, Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization, already know how committed he is to helping as many leaders as he can in as many organizations as possible to establish or strengthen a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive.

All organizations are purpose-driven, for better or worse. For some, the primary (if not singular) purpose is profitability. For others, the primary purpose is values-driven social responsibility. In his latest book, Pontefract argues that these purposes are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, as enlightened leaders have known for years, they are – in fact – [begin italics] interdependent [end italics]. Hence the subtitle title of Pontefract’s new book.

As he explains, “First, you want to take aim at redefining the true purpose of an organization, redefining the meaning of work. The organization must be reset, and through the Good DEEDS model, you will learn how to make this happen. Second, you want to help develop sustainable and flourishing roles for those you are leading in the organization that employs you by redefining the definition of working. To accomplish this feat, The Purpose Path is a model that outlines the differences between a job, career, and purpose mindset."

It is no coincidence that most of the companies annually ranked among the most highly admired and best to work for are also annually ranked among those that are most profitable and have the greatest cap value in their competitive marketplace. When Southwest Airlines' then chairman and CEO, Herb Kelleher, was asked to explain its extraordinary success, he replied, "We take great care of our people, they take great care of our customers, and our customers then take great care of our shareholders."

As for the Good DEEDS model, it provides both a mindset and a methodology that helps to achieve two separate but interdependent objectives: to instill a sense of purpose that will drive personal growth and professional development, and thereby achieve and then sustain organizational health. Employment is therefore not defined in terms of having a “job”; rather, in terms of believing in the value of individual and collaborative efforts that John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, characterizes as “conscious capitalism” in his eponymous book.

There are valuable lessons to be learned from the exemplar organizations that Pontefract examines. Each of them illustrates the power of a “three-way relationship between an individual’s sense of purpose in life, the organization’s purpose, and a person’s purpose in their role at work.” For all that written about “alignment,” precious little has been said about this multi-dimensional relationship.

I selected the dictum “Faber est suae quisque fortunae” which was quoted by Sallust in his “Speech to Caesar on the State.” It means “Every man is the architect of his own fortune” and that is certainly relevant to an individual’s selection of purpose but as Pontefact explains so well, that purpose (whatever it may be) must be in harmony with purpose at work and with the given organization’s purpose. As I re-read The Purpose Effect before composing this brief commentary, it again occurred to me that almost everyone has a purpose-driven life, for better or worse. Over the years, there have been situations when personal purpose and purpose at work were in proper alignment with an organization’s purpose. The Gestapo’s administration of several concentration camps during World War Two immediately comes to mine.

Of course, Pontefract is well-aware of evil purpose in human experience. Throughout his lively and eloquent narrative, he reaffirms the necessity of doing what is right and doing it right so that human lives are nourished and enriched. The purpose he celebrates is of the same nature as the purpose discussed by Robert Greenleaf in Servant Leadership, by Randy Pausch in The Last Lecture, by Rick Warren in The Purpose Driven Life, and by Clay Christensen in How Will You Measure Your Life?

Some people who read this book will receive the assistance they need to adopt a worthy purpose in life and at work. Others will receive the assistance they need to strengthen their resolve when pursuing a worthy purpose under attack. Still others in leadership positions will receive the assistance they need to establish or strengthen a workplace culture within which personal growth and professional development (including their own) will thrive.

For many of them, The Purpose Effect will prove to be the most valuable book they have ever read. That in the proverbial nutshell is Dan Pontefract’s purpose in life.

First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process (Muse Books: The Iowa Series in Creativity and Writing)
First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process (Muse Books: The Iowa Series in Creativity and Writing)
by Robert D. Richardson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes." Desiderius Erasmus, 10 May 2016
Briefly, Desiderius Erasmus, (1469-1536) was the greatest scholar and teacher of the northern Renaissance, the first editor of the New Testament, and also an important figure in patristics and classical literature. If there were a Rushmorean monument for book lovers, he would be among the first selected, probably joined by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Both read books with great passion and appreciation long before they began to write about them and discuss their significance in lectures.

In First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process, Robert D. Richardson shares the very best of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s thoughts about the creative process in general, and about writing in particular. There is no doubt in Richardson’s mind that Emerson could have published the material but probably didn’t because he was never wholly satisfied with his own work. His standards were so high “that even the Almighty could not have met them.”

In my opinion, Richardson’s Emerson: The Mind on Fire is the finest biography of him written thus far. What we have in First We Read, Then We Write is the only assemblage I know of that focuses on Emerson as a literary exemplar, sharing his thoughts about creative reading as well as creative writing.

The primary sources include two magnificent essays, “The American Scholar” and "The Poet." Emerson thought of himself more as a poet than as an essayist, one who earned this living as a lecturer. He viewed the poet as one who is representative, who “stands among partial men for the complete man, and apprises us not of his wealth, but of the commonwealth.” Writing is a noble calling that calls for noble sacrifice.” But Emerson never wrote an essay on the subject of writing.

Here is a representative selection of brief passages that caught my eye:

o On what young writers need to keep in mind: “Meek young men grow up in libraries believing it is their duty to accept the views which Cicero, Locke, and Bacon have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote those books.”

o On having passion and courage for writing: “The way to write is to throw your body at the mark when your arrows are spent.”

o On good writing: “Good writing and brilliant conversation are perpetual allegories.”

o On self-editing: “All writing should be selection in order to drop every dead word.”

o On priorities: “There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. First we read, then we beget; first we read, then we write.”

o Finally, to the reader of his essay, Nature: “Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world, and beyond its world a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you. For you is the phenomenon perfect. What we are, that only can we see. All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do. Adam called his house, heaven and earth; Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours, a cobbler’s trade; a hundred acres of polished land; or a scholar’s garret. Yet line for line and point for point; your dominion is as great as theirs, though without fine names. Build, therefore, your own world.”

Hopefully, many of those who read this volume will be encouraged to read several of Emerson’s essays as well as Richardson’s biography. There are several excellent collections of the essays and journals. My personal favorite is a Library of America College Edition, Emerson: Essays and Lectures: Nature: Addresses and Lectures/Essays: First and Second Series/ Representative Men/English Traits/The Conduct of Life.

TED Talks: The official TED guide to public speaking
TED Talks: The official TED guide to public speaking
by Chris Anderson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to take “something you really care about and rebuild it inside the minds” of those with whom you share it, 9 May 2016
I cannot think of another person who has made more or better contributions to knowledge leadership in recent years than has Chris Anderson, a bestselling author of TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing, and The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Also, Anderson purchased the TED organization from Richard (“Ricky”) Wurman in 2001 and now serves as its president and curator.

TED is a global community and so is its staff. It is headquartered in New York and Vancouver, but the collaborative and global nature of its work means that TED has staffers, advisors and volunteers worldwide. Under his leadership, TED has thrived by welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world. TED’s leaders believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.

Perhaps you are already familiar with TED Talks. Although much of the material in Anderson's book is based on the Official TED Guide for public speaking, it would be a mistake to assume that the value of the material ends there. Its core principles have almost unlimited applications in all manner of speeches, talks, and presentations that include (of course) a TED Talk but also a public introduction of a major new product or service, a startup proposal to obtain VC funding, a keynote or wrap-up at a conference, or the results of a team's due diligence on an M&A candidate.

However different the nature and extent of presentations may be, Anderson asserts: Your number-one mission as a speaker is to take something that matters deeply to you and rebuild it inside the minds of your listeners. He suggests five specific components on which to focus. For example,

"Frame Your Story: When I think about compelling presentations, I think about taking an audience on a journey. A successful talk is a little miracle -- people see the world differently afterward. If you frame the talk as a journey, the biggest decisions are figuring out where to start and where to end. To find the right place to start, consider what people in your audience already know about your subject and how much they care about it. The most engaging speakers do a superb job of very quickly introducing the topic, explaining why they care so deeply about it, and convincing the audience members that they should, too." He also explains how to Develop Stage Presence, Plan the Multimedia, and Putting It All Together.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Anderson’s coverage:

o Connections with audience (Pages x-xi, 48-49, 53-59, 227-233, and 242-245)
o Chris Anderson (6-8, 37-39, 231-233)
o Body language (19-20, 48-50, and 206-207)
o Throughlines (33-35, 39-41, 42-43, and 78-79)
o Elizabeth Gilbert (42-43, 88-89, and 143-144)
o Vulnerability (50-53 and 186-187)
o Humor (53-57)
o Effective narration (59-60, 65-66, and 68-70)
o Ken Robinson (69-70 and 145-146)
o Persuasion (86-89)
o Naturalness and authenticity (130-131 and 136-139)
o Closing (168-171 and 174-175)

As I worked my way through Anderson’s thoughtful and thought-provoking material, I was again reminded of the research on peak performance that Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University continue to conduct. Regrettably, careless reading of his key insights has resulted in substantial misunderstanding of what continues to be referred to as "The 10-000 Hour Rule." With regard to TED, the misunderstanding would suggest that (on average) 10,000 hours must be committed to preparing an outstanding TED Talk. Anderson leaves no doubt that the best TED Talks, those that have been the most popular such as Ken Robinson's "Do schools kill creativity?" and Amy Cuddy's "Your body language shapes who you are" required rigorous development and refinement. There can be no question about that.

However, presumably Anderson agrees with Ericsson: "Not all practice makes perfect. You need a particular kind of practice deliberate practice to develop expertise. When most people practice, they focus on the things they already know how to do. Deliberate practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become." It is also imperative to conduct deliberate practice under expert supervision. Hence the importance of the information, insights, and counsel that Chris Anderson provides.

Here are his concluding thoughts: "In the end, it’s quite simple. We are physically connected to each other like never before. Which means that our ability to share our best ideas with each other matters more than it ever has. The single greatest lesson I have learned from listening to TED Talks is this: [begin italics] The future is not yet written. We are all collectively, in the process of writing it. [end italics] There's an open page, and an empty page, waiting for your contribution.

The Industries of the Future
The Industries of the Future
by Alec Ross
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.60

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rigorous and revealing exploration of the industries that will drive the next 20 years of change to our economies and societie, 8 May 2016
As I read the Introduction to Alec Ross’s thoughtful and thought-provoking book, I was again reminded of an observation by Alvin Toffler in his classic work, The Third Wave: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” I don’t know about Ross but my own crystal ball imploded years ago. Moreover, in business, for example, I cannot recall a prior time when the global marketplace was more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous than it is today. That said, it seems safe to assume that much of what we think we know today will have little (if any) relevance or at least practical value in the future.

Ross is well-aware of all this, of course, and shares in this book an abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that he hopes will help his reader gain a better understanding of what the Internet and digitization are likely to do to the world. He explores the industries that will drive the next 20 years of change to our economies and societies. The book’s chapters “are built around key industries of the future — robotics, advanced life sciences, the code-ification of money, cybersecurity, and big data — as well as the geopolitical, cultural, and generational contexts out of which they are emerging. I choose these industries not only because they are important in their own right but because they are also symbolic of larger global trends and symbiotic among them.”

The key issues that Ross explores include the impact of curbing-edge advances in robotics and life sciences on how we live and work; how the increasing application of computer code to new areas of the economy in the virtual and physical worlds will transform what had previously been state monopolies, money and force; and finally, both the expansiveness that big data will allow and the constraints that geopolitics will place within the global marketplace. Obviously there will be much to “learn, unlearn, and relearn” in months and years to come.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Ross’s coverage in Chapters One to Five:

o The Industries of the Future: A Briefing (Pages 12-14
o The Geo-Robotic Landscape (19-22)
o Humanizing Robots (22-28)
o The Machine of Me (32-35)
o Robots and Jobs (35-43)
o Genomics: Melting Cancer Away (47-52)
o Unintended Consequences (56-61)
o Keeping Up with the Genomic Joneses (64-69)
o Everything We Know About the Life Sciences Is Going to Change (74-75)
o Coded Money, Squared (78-81)
o The Sharing Economy: Coded Markets of Trust (90-97)
o The Blockchain and the Environment (111-115)
o The future of Coded Trust (117-120)
o Types of Cyberattacks (124-127)
o Cyberattacking Everything (132-135)
o Cold War to Code War (141-146)
o The Cyber-Industrial Complex: The Weaponization of Code as an Industry of the Future (146-151)
o Nine Billion People Will Need to Eat (161-166)
o All-Seeing Stones (172-174)
o Our Quantified Selves (179-182)

Here are Alec Ross’s concluding remarks: “For most of the world’s 7.2 billion people, innovation and globalization have created opportunity the likes of which has never before existed. The number of people who have recently moved out of poverty in China alone is equal to double the population of the entire United States. The number of people living in severe poverty and able to concern themselves only with meeting the needs of food, shelter, and clothing has decreased at a rate previously unknown in human history. These changes mean new opportunities for all of us — for businesses, governments, investors, parents, students, and children. This book, I hope, will help us make the most of therm.”

It is worth adding that the Chinese character for “crisis” has two meanings: peril and opportunity. It remains to be seen which meaning defines our response.

The Disney Way:Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company, Third Edition
The Disney Way:Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company, Third Edition
by Bill Capodagli
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The “magic” of values-driven, customer-centric, high-impact management, 7 May 2016
This is the updated and expanded Third Edition of a book first published in 2007. What’s new in this edition? According to Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson, they feature organizations that are predominantly in start-up mode or have revamped their strategies to become more customer-centric. The lineup includes six entities that have recently launched their businesses or have reinvented their cultures…There are also three well-established organizations that are striving to continuously to improve…[and others] that demonstrate how [the Walt Disney Company’s] Dream, Believe, Dare, Do Principles apply in a small community business. And, finally, how Ottawa County, Michigan, one of the most progressive state administrative divisions in the United States, has used each element of the Disney Way as a starting point to create an amazing culture over a period of three years.” Chapters 12-14 are brand new.

I recently re-read Neal Gabler’s biography of Walt Disney and then as I began to read this Third Edition I was again reminded of an incident years ago when one of Albert Einstein’s Princeton colleagues gently chided him for asking the same questions every year on his final examinations. “Quite true. Guilty as charged. Every year the answers are different.” Fifty years after Walt Disney’s death, the Dream, Believe, Dare, Do Principles remain relevant and instructive to leaders in almost any company — whatever its size and nature may be. However, the nature and extent of applying those principles have changed significantly in a global marketplace that has become more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than at any prior time that I can remember.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Capodagli and Jackson’s coverage:

o Innovation (Page 6-7, 36-40, and 137-139)
o Dream Retreats: Sparking Teamwork and Creativity (20-22)
o Good versus poor service (54-58)
o “Good show”: mentality (57-58 and 109-110)
o Engagement with customers (60-61 and 218-219)
o Millennial generation (88-89)
o Oswald the Rabbit and Mickey Mouse (102-103 and 106-107)
o Tyra Banks ( 114-121)
o Rethinking Human Responses (132-134)
o Habits Required in a Customer-Centric Culture (150-153)
o Capture the Magic with Storyboards (179-181)
o Solving the Communications Dilemma (188-190)
o The Six Types of Storyboards (193-199)
o A Relentless Search for Perfection (204-206)
o Measuring for Success (208-210)
o Twenty-Seven Ways to Unleash Love in Your Organization (227-229)
o Examples of Outstanding Customer Service Award Winners (248-252)
o Customer Centric Culture: The Disney Way Experience (255-261)
o The History of Leadership at the Walt Disney Company (265-267)

For those who have not read either of the previous editions of The Disney Way, Capodagli and Jackson provide an abundance of information and insights that trace the development of a truly unique organization as well as of its visionary founder and his business philosophy whose “magic” continues because of values-driven, customer-centric, high-impact management. By now there are few (if any) “secrets” to be discovered. The challenge is to complete a reality check on your organization. For better or worse, what differentiates it from its competition? Strengths? Vulnerabilities? And what is (really is) worker morale at all levels and in all areas of its operations? Most important of all, does it have a culture within which personal growth and professional development are most likely to thrive? Are its customers evangelists?

To enrich your reality check, check out these micro-profiles of the organizations that Capodagli and Jackson feature:

o zTailors: A Dreamer Who Never Gives Up (Pages 25-27)
o ACTS Retirement Life Communities: A Culture of Loving-Kindness (46-50)
o Flanagan’s Bulk Mail Service: An Experience That Transcends Service (71-73)
o Grand Lake, Colorado: Elevate — A Team Initiative (96-98)
o TYRA Beauty: Inspired by a Legend (114-121)
o University Hospitals, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital: Breaking Through: An Innovative Work Force That Saves Lives (137-139)
o California State university Channel Islands (CI): Training for Success: A Unique University Focus (158-161)
o Joe C. Davis YMCA, Outdoor Center/Camp Widjiwagan: Planning a “Kids and Guests First” Customer-Centric Culture (173-176)
o McLean County, Illinois, Unit (School) District No. 5: A Superintendent Brings the Disney Way to Public Schools (199-200)
o Science Center of Iowa: Bringing the Visitor Experience to Life (211-214)
o A Personal Story from Bill: What He Learned About Love from His Mother (224-227)

My guess (*only a guess) is that each reader who checks out these micro profiles will gain at least 3-5 invaluable lessons (if not more) that can be applied to their organization immediately. And add to that number the valuable lessons to be found in other material throughout the lively narrative.

Presumably Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson agree with me that, if it were possible to have Walt Disney speak directly to those who read this book, he would say something like this: “Make the Disney Way [begin italics] your [end italics] way. Don’t copy what we do. Do it better! Dream BIG. If you can dream it, you can do it! Perfection really is a journey, not a destination. You bet, success depends on Dreaming, Believing, and Daring, but it also depends on Doing!”

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