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Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas)
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Shift: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change
Shift: Indigenous Principles for Corporate Change
Price: 0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why "now is the time for being, feeling, and living with meaning and purpose", 24 Jun 2014
As Glenn Geffcken carefully explains in this volume, there are valuable lessons to be learned from indigenous cultures, lessons that will help leaders in almost any organization (whatever its size and nature may be) to avoid or overcome resistance to change initiatives. I agree with the title of one of Marshall Goldsmith's recent books, What Got You Here Won't Get You There. Indeed, I would add that whatever got you here won't even keep you "here," whatever and wherever that may be. Organizations must not become hostage to what James O'Toole so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom."

However, that said, traditions and the wisdom on which they are based must be respected. This is what Geffcken has in mind when expressing his admiration of "cultures that are rooted in a strong connection to Mother Earth, that are tribal in nature, and that have some degree of connection to the traditions of their ancestors that stretches back for more than a thousand years."

These are among the lessons and values Geffcken discusses that are of greatest interest to me:

o Connect with the Earth: Cherish the natural world and its resources.
o Commit your life to the betterment of your family, community, and nation.
o Create a purpose that guides and informs your behavior, especially your decisions.
o This purpose must be appropriate to all human initiatives ("four directions') and all "seasons."
o Everything is connected and interdependent.
o Appreciate the wisdom of elders.
o "Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience." Ralph Waldo Emerson
o Strong vision flows from clear intention.
o To be at peace with the natural world, you must first be at peace with yourself.
o The more you realize what you don't know, the more humble you will become.
o "Your time is now" to live with meaning and purpose.

I have selected a passage in Chapter four to serve as a conclusion to this review. Why? Because Glenn Geffcken explains why he wrote this book and what he hopes his readers will "get," if nothing else: Indigenous people have struggled to adapt to the so-called "modern" world because "it is alien to them, upside down to them, which is precisely the point of this book. Adopting indigenous principles does not require that we cast aside our technology and creature comforts, don the leather and fringe, and ride a horse bareback into the sunset. It may, however, require that we make lifestyle changes, as Al Qoyawayma stated in the quote at the beginning of this chapter that 'Indian values teach the holistic approach to the use of technology for mankind's good.'"

Long ago, in one of the letters that comprise I Corinthians, St. Paul affirmed that "we are many parts, one body." I am among those who believe that is true. The challenge is to live it, every day and indeed live it every moment.


John Wayne: the Life and Legend
John Wayne: the Life and Legend
by Scott Eyman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 17.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The amazing transformation of Marion Mitchell Morrison who became John Wayne, 22 Jun 2014
If there is a more comprehensive and more reliable biography of the man who became John Wayne (1907-1979), I am not aware of it. Hundreds of others have already reviewed this book and most of them share my high regard for Scott Eyman's achievement. No one can deny that John Wayne was among the most popular actors in all the film history. On and off screen, he always seemed "larger than life" to me. Apparently, he had the same impact on those with whom he as associated. This is a massive biography. Whether or not it is the "definitive biography" is a matter to be addressed by others far better qualified than I. Suffice now for me to say that I enjoyed reading this book almost as much as I enjoy watching, again, my personal favorites among the 140 films in which he appeared.

I am very grateful to Eyman for what I learned about subjects such as these:

o Why John Wayne was loved and respected by almost everyone who knew him.
o Why he endured John Ford's constant abuse while making films together
o The films of which Wayne was most proud...and why
o The best and the worst of his three marital relationships: to Josephine ("Josie") Saenz, Esperanza ("Chata") Baur, and Pilar Pallete
o Why all three marriages ended in divorce and what Wyayne made of that
o His defining political and social views and values
o The difficulties that he encountered when attempting to finance and then complete his film about the Alamo
o Why he hated High Noon
o His closest personal friendships throughout his life and what they reveal about him as a person
o His attitude toward the Academy Awards
o What he most enjoyed about film making...and why
o What he least enjoyed...and why
o What he thought of himself as a husband and as a father...and why
o What he thought of himself as an actor...and why
o The most significant details of his losing battle with stomach cancer, especially during the last few days
o What Eyman thinks John Wayne's life and career reveal about cultural values in the United States during the 1940s through the 1980s

With regard to my personal favorites among John Wayne's films, they include these, listed in the order in which they were released:

Stagecoach (1939)
They Were Expendable (1945)
Fort Apache (1948)
The Searchers (1956)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
True Grit (1969)

There are dozens of memorable moments in dozens of his other films but I have selected these because of what I view as the sustained quality of his acting within the given role as opposed to being himself in a fictional context. One man's opinions.


Marketing: The Brian Tracy Success Library
Marketing: The Brian Tracy Success Library
by Brian Tracy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 6.57

5.0 out of 5 stars The essentials of how to create or increase demand for what you offer, 20 Jun 2014
This is one of the volumes in the The Brian Tracy Success Library, all published by AMACOM. Tracy has already written one or more books of greater length and depth that examine these and other major business subjects. What he has now done with each of the volumes in the series is to condense with consummate skill the most valuable information, insights, and counsel within a 100-page format, in this instance the most valuable lessons he has learned about marketing.

Briefly but substantially, Tracy covers essentials of that include how to build a customer base, differentiate you and what you offer from competitors, answer the three essential questions about a new product or service that you offer (please see Pages 12-15), leverage market research in order focus on target prospects, make better decisions about how to create or increase demand for what you offer, fulfill customers' emotional needs, and derive maximum benefit from your distribution channels. . He selected 21 specific subjects or themes and devotes a separate chapter to each. Briefly but substantially, Tracy covers these and other essentials of marketing.

I agree with Brian Tracy's concluding observations: "Whatever "marketing strategy is working for you today, no matter how successful it is, will soon be obsolete and will have to be replaced by a new or different marketing strategy...and your competition has never been determined and more aggressive than it is today. Your job is to be better, faster, and more creative than your competitors, continually leapfrogging them in the marketplace to attain market leadership. Fortunately, there are no limits on what you can accomplish, except for the limits that you place on yourself."

Achieving and then sustaining business success (however defined) depends almost entirely on nailing the fundamentals every day at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. In this book, Tracy focuses on the fundamentals in marketing. Mastering them and then applying them with high-impact is the challenge you now face. I urge you to embrace it with passionate tenacity and rigorous self-discipline.

* * *

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. His goal is to help as many people as possible to achieve their personal and business goals faster and easier than they ever imagined.


Building Your Business the Right-brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur
Building Your Business the Right-brain Way: Sustainable Success for the Creative Entrepreneur
by Jennifer Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: 18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars This is a WORK book for those who are willing and able to nourish and make effective use of their right brain., 19 Jun 2014
Although Jennifer Lee says she wrote this book for "right-brain entrepreneurs around the world who courageously take inspired actions and make their big visions real, step by small step," the fact remains that the information, insights, and counsel she provides can be of substantial value to almost anyone, include school students, who may lack confidence in how "creative" they are but, nonetheless, are determined to accelerate their personal growth and, once embarked on a career after formal education, their professional development. The entrepreneurial mindset is not limited to those involved with start-ups or companies with less than a dozen employees. This mindset can be developed by almost anyone, whatever the given business may be. Lee wrote this book for a wider audience than her dedication suggests.

I urge everyone to complete the "Sustain Success Survey" (Pages 7-11), then after reading the first two Parts of the book, review responses and make whatever revisions may be necessary, given what has been learned thus far. Then repeat the process after reading Parts III and IV. Keep in mind that Lee concludes with additional resources (Pages 213-217). As is also true of sources that offer a wealth of learning and -- yes - unlearning/re-learning opportunities, the ROI of this book will depend almost entirely on how much time, energy, attention, and reflection are invested while reading it.

I commend Lee on her brilliant use of various reader-friendly devices. They include:

"Right-Brain Reflections"
Illustrated Play Sheets
Dozens of Exercises
Right-Brain Entrepreneurial Spotlights"
"Left Brain Chill Pills" and "Right-brain Boosters"
"Tips" and "Head's Ups"
"Action Accelerators"
"Left-Brain Checklists"

These devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of key material later. I strongly recommend that a lined notebook is kept near-at-hand when completing various exercises and to record notes. The Mead Wide-Ruled ("Black Marble") Composition Book is my person preference but any notebook will do. I highlight key passages with the Sharpie optic yellow (wide). Also, I extend heartiest congratulations to Kate Prentiss on the superior quality of the hundreds of illustrations she produced to complement, indeed enrich and enliven the narrative. She and Lee provide a scenic as well as an enlightening journey of discovery. Bravo!

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Lee's coverage.

o Business as Art: Trust Your Creative Process (Pages 4-7)
o Guiding Principles to Maximizing Value of This Book (15-17)
o Your Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (21-32)
o Uncover and Articulate Your Core Message (38-44)
o Content Ideas for Your Newsletter (57-60)
o Some Ways to Build Your Opt-In List (60-63)
o What Goes Into Your Offer (75-80)
o How to Create Content if You Have an Informational Product (98-100)
o Things to Consider for Your Launch of Offering (106-110)
o Launch, Then Create (122-125)
o Three Basic Paths for Making More Moola (128-133)
o The Evolution of the Multiple-Moola Making Methods Map (136-137)(
o Growing Your Team and Getting Support (155-164)
o Types of Processes to Document (183-189)
o The Temptation of Technology and Tools (189-190)
o The Importance of the Pause (193-194)
o The Five Embracing-Ease Strategies for Sustained Success (195-207)

Those who share my high regard for this brilliant book are urged to check out others: Any of Dan Roam's books, notably his most recent, Show and Tell; David and Tom Kelley's Courage of Creativity; and Sunni Brown's The Doodle Revolution. To those who read Jennifer Lee's book and will soon embark on their own journey of discovery, I wish them Bob Voyage! To other readers who now struggle to contend with what James O'Toole characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom," I urge them to keep in mind the LEGO Strategy that enabled a once great company to overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers and become even greater. How? One brick at a time.


Pivot Points: Five Decisions Every Successful Leader Must Make
Pivot Points: Five Decisions Every Successful Leader Must Make
by Julia Tang Peters
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable lessons to be learned from five male leaders, 19 Jun 2014
Julia Tang Peters focuses on five male leaders, devoting a separate chapter to each, who offer real-world perspectives on how the decision-making process is essential to achieving and then sustaining success in a global marketplace in which change happens faster and in greater number than at any prior time that I can remember.

Her key points include these:

o Her exemplary leaders hold themselves accountable for making decisions.
o They then hold themselves for the consequences of those decisions.
o There was usually a "moment of truth" while making especially difficult decisions.
o Those decisions are guided and informed by an "impassioned inner voice."
o They understand and appreciate the power of one person but also the power of collaboration.
o Work is for them a source of renewable energy (e.g. getting charged up about opportunities).

As Peters explains, "Real leaders don't have much use for job descriptions. The pivotal decisions they make shape their jobs and take them where one hasn't gone before and new lessons await. These decisions define what they want people to look to them for and not look to them for in their leadership. They choose the opportunities, threats, and headaches that they will take on as individuals and as leaders of people on a shared journey. Without making these clear decisions that set the leadership agenda, executives do the work of managing and not the work of leading."

She employs a template for her profile of each exemplar, explaining what her reader should know about him and his work, what really matters to that leader, the pivotal decisions he has made, and his legacy. What they share with her during the interviews and what she them shares in the book consists of information, insights, and counsel that every reader -- female as well as male -- would be well-advised to consider.

Peters devotes her final three chapters, respectively, to "Lessons from the Five Leaders," "Lessons from Survey Findings," and "Your Pivotal Five: A New Career Road Map." The material in the last chapter will help her reader to connect the proverbial "dots" (i.e. pivotal decisions thus far) and thereby to determine what the process of decision-making, thus far, indicates in terms of both strengths and weaknesses. However, obviously, it remains for each reader to deter mine the nature and extent of what is most relevant to their own needs, interests, circumstances, and career objectives.


The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation
The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation
by Josh Linkner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.91

5.0 out of 5 stars If you don't constantly challenge your status quo, you can be certain that someone else will., 19 Jun 2014
In a previous book, Disciplined Dreaming, Josh Linkner offered "a proven system to drive breakthrough creativity," one that requires highly-developed mental and emotional discipline. He introduces a methodology, a five-step process, that he calls "Disciplined Dreaming." He interviewed more than 200 people whose creativity has driven their success. What he learned is shared in that book. For example:

o Define a "creativity challenge" (e.g. answering an important question, solving a serious problem or taking full advantage of a major opportunity)
o Prepare (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and environmentally) for the process by which to create or reveal a correct answer or effective solution
o Discover various "avenues" by which to reach that answer or solution
o Ignite forces (i.e. "juices") with various techniques to generate an abundance of creative ideas
o Launch the process by which to realize (literally, to make a reality of) each of the best ideas within a framework provided in Chapter Ten.

What we have in his latest book, The Road to Reinvention, is a wealth of information, insights, and counsel about how reinvention can help individuals as well as organizations to "drive disruption and accelerate transformation." That is, take what "disciplined dreaming" creates to the next stage: actualization. It is imperative to understand that reinvention is a never-ending process, not an ultimate destination. Linkner's primary objective is to help as many people as possible to master the skills needed when embarked on that challenging, sometimes perilous process.

The tools needed for transformation include these:

o Rapid Reinvention: Identify and eliminate whatever blocks or delays progress (Pages 25-26)
o What If...: Free the imagination so that it can pose possibilities, options, alternatives, etc. (48)
o Make what you now offer obsolete: Replace whatever it is with whatever is much better (69-72)
o Fire the Cannon: Select internal and external targets to attack (91)
o Creating Excellence, Step by Step: Remember, improvement is an on-going process (108-109
o Becoming a Firebrand: Market as if your "life" depended on it...because it does (129-130)
o Hot Seat: Linkner offers brilliant advice on how to obtain direct, BS-free feedback (149-150)
o Disrupting a New Customer Segment: How to prepare to compete in a new market (169-170)
o Six Habits for Reinvention: To be developed by everyone involved (193-194)
o More, Less, Stop: More of what? Less of what? and What to stop thinking and doing? (222)

In Leading Change, James O'Toole suggests that the strongest resistance to change tends to be the result of what he so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." When challenging the status quo, never underestimate the determination of those who created it and now defend it. Those who read this book will be much better prepared to avoid or overcome cultural resistance. That said, whatever status quo they then establish can best be sustained only if they are committed to on-going reinvention of what they do and how they do it. As Richard Hawkins correctly reminds us, "Yesterday's dangerous idea is today's orthodoxy and tomorrow's cliché."

Josh Linkner is a five star, world-class pragmatist with an imagination on steroids who is driven to understand what works, what doesn't, and why, then share what he has learned with as many people as he can. In my opinion, this is his best work...thus far. I am eager to see where his insatiable curiosity and disciplined dreaming take him next. Meanwhile, I highly recommend his blog at which you can sign up for a free subscription to his weekly E-letter.


Business Strategy: Plan, Execute, Win
Business Strategy: Plan, Execute, Win
by Patrick J. Stroh
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.37

5.0 out of 5 stars How to formulate and then execute strategies that will help you achieve your objectives at work and everywhere else, 18 Jun 2014
Just as in residential real estate, for every house there is a buyer, I am convinced that for every business book, there is also a buyer and I think there are many people who will benefit substantially from the approach that Patrick Stroh takes to the content he provides. The last time I checked, Amazon offers 73, 377 books that cover one or more aspects of business strategy; 16,462 of them are classified within the "Management" category. Obviously, there is no shortage of information, insights, and counsel concerning strategy, both inline and in print. Fortunately, Customer Reviews such as mine can help those who read them to decide which source(s) will most likely be most relevant to the given needs and interests.

As I began to read this book, I was again reminded of Michael Porter's observation, "The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do." I agree with Porter as well as with Stroh: "Creating a strategy that you in turn drive into actionable plans and goals with associated metrics is invaluable. Execution is everything. Great executors of business strategy create conditions in which people":

o Know what to do because accountabilities are clear.
o Know how to do it because they have the right skills.
o Are motivated to do it because they see how they are adding value to the organization.
o Have defined metrics by which to measure the nature and extent of impact.

I view strategies as "hammers" that drive "nails" (tactics) to achieve the given objectives. Stroh's approach is to focus on the essentials of that process. These are among the passages that caught my eye:

o Evolution of Strategic Planning (Pages 6-13)
o Desirable skills and core competencies (37-42)
o Gordon Ramsey's Hell's Kitchen (57-62)
o Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares (62-69)
o 21 Movies: Six Lessons on Business Strategy (74-88)
o Being the Boss (93-96)
o Five Themes of Business Parables from the Bible (109-123)
o Typical Questions the Sharks Ask All Presenters (126-132)
o 13 Lucky Models and Methods (142-153)
o Potential failures to be avoided (158-160)

I presume to add that the original meaning of the word "strategia" means "generalship," hence the importance of the material provided in Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Carl von Clausewitz's On War. Hunt for Red October (1990) is one of the films on Stroh's list in Chapter 4 and it is also on my own list of war films that illustrate valuable leadership lessons. Others on that list include Fort Apache (1948), Paths of Glory and Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Tunes of Glory (1960), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and 12 O'clock High (1964).

In only 166 pages, Patrick Stroh manages to provide an abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that will probably be of greatest interest to those now preparing for a career in business or have only recently embarked on one. That said, effective leadership and management are needed at all levels and in all areas of any enterprise, whatever its size and nature may be. For that reason, I strongly recommend this little book of great substance to anyone who is determined to accelerate their personal growth and professional development.


Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success
Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success
Price: 9.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Let your light so shine before men....", 17 Jun 2014
Those who have read one or more of Sylvia Ann Hewlett's previously published books (notably When the Bough Breaks, Off-Ramps and On-Ramps, Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets, and Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor) already know that she is among the most intelligent, sensitive, intuitive, and practical business thinkers within subject areas that range from talent evaluation to organizational transformation. Her focus in her latest book, Executive Presence, is of special interest to me because, for more than 30 years, I have worked with corporate clients to help accelerate the development of talent needed at all levels and in all areas of their operations. I am already well aware of the importance of what she characterizes as the three pillars of executive presence (EP):

o How you act (gravitas)
o How you speak (communication)
o How you look (appearance)

Fair or not, more often than not, candidates for a position who have less merit but greater EP have a decisive competitive advantage over candidates with greater merit but lesser EP. "The amazing thing about EP is that it's a precondition for success whether you're a cellist, a salesperson, or a Wall Street banker." Hewlett wrote this book to help her readers "crack the EP code." Although doing so "can be onerous and sometimes eats into your soul, this work and these struggles will allow you to flower and flourish. Once you've demonstrated that you know how to stand with the crowd, you get to strut your stuff and stand apart. It turns out that becoming a leader and doing something amazing with your life hinges on what makes you different, not what makes you the same as everyone else."

I agree while presuming to add that many people (I among them) have never been comfortable with developing EP. In fact, as Hewlett explains in her exceptionally interesting Prologue, she had the same problem while attempting to gain admission to "Oxbridge" (she was accepted by Cambridge) and later when she began her first job as an assistant professor of economics at Barnard College. Over time, both she and I have learned how to present ourselves more effectively. If we can develop some EP, almost anyone else can...if doing so serves their purposes. Hermits have no need for EP.

Clearly, Hewlett agrees with Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." The self-development program she recommends in this book can help a person to reveal more effectively who they genuinely are and suggest who they can become. Authentic (key word) qualities of character connote gravitas, "that weightiness or heft that marks you as worth following into the fire. Gravitas is the very essence of FP. Without it, you simply won't be perceived as a leader, no matter what your title or level of authority, no matter how well you dress or speak. Gravitas, according to 62 percent of the leaders we [at the Center for Talent Innovation in NYC that she founded] surveyed, is what signals to the world that you're made of the right stuff and can be trusted with serious responsibility."

With all due respect to the power of charisma, some of the most evil leaders throughout history possessed it, as did some of the most highly-principled leaders. Frankly, I've always thought that charisma resembles an expensive fragrance: it smells great but don't drink it. There can be no authentic EP without gravitas but that is only one of the three "pillars." Hewlett also explains how to communicate much more effectively, to become more presentable, and in this instance I am again reminded of a Passage in Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." I'm sure that many agnostics and atheists see the need to increase their EP.

Brilliantly, Hewlett explains both how and why.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of her coverage.

o Cracking the EP Code (Pages 5-10)
o The Right Stuff (15-18)
o Speaking Truth to Power (25-27)
o How to Deepen Your Gravitas (39-44)
o Command a Room (54-60)
o How to Polish our Communication Skills (74-77)
o Enhancing Appearance: Tactics (100-105)
o Difficult Conversations -- But Extraordinarily Important (111-113)
o Tactics: How to Get the EP Feedback You Need (116-122)
o A Narrow Band of Acceptability (128-131)
o Gravitas (138-142)
o Bleached-Out Professionals (149-156)
o Tactics: Authenticity vs. Conformity (158-164)
o Understand the Diversity Dividend (165-167)

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is convinced (and I agree) that ordinary mortals can crack the EP code and master the skills that will "let their light shine before men." That light will be powered by gravitas. Also, she urges her reader to be reasonable about making whatever changes in attitude and behavior may be necessary to increase EP. Being yourself can be both good news and bad news. What's the point of continuing to be an authentic jerk? A constant whiner?

And I presume to add one more point: Developing EP is a never-ending process, not an ultimate destination. (Hewlett calls it a "journey.") Be flexible, be resilient...and above all else, be patient but committed. Bon voyage!


The 46 Rules of Genius: An Innovator's Guide to Creativity (Voices That Matter)
The 46 Rules of Genius: An Innovator's Guide to Creativity (Voices That Matter)
by Marty Neumeier
Edition: Paperback
Price: 13.59

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to become - if not a genius - at least someone who thinks more creatively and enjoys life more, indeed much more, 12 Jun 2014
I have read and reviewed all of Marty Neumeier's previously published books and consider his latest, The 46 Rules of Genius, the most important...thus far...because it will have wider and deeper impact. How so? Neumeier agrees with Tom and David Kelley (among others) that almost anyone can think more creatively if (HUGE "if") they are determined to think more creatively about how they think.

In his recent book, Metaskills, he identified and examined five talents that people need to develop in order to thrive "in an age of increasing man-machine collaboration." They are "feeling, or empathy, and intuition; seeing, or systems thinking; dreaming, or applied imagination; making, or design talent; and learning. None of these needs a high I.Q. What they need is a high regard for creativity." The 46 rules are creative rules. "They're general guidelines to help you envision, invent, contribute, and grow."

It is noteworthy that Rule 1 is "Break the Rules," hence a paradox: "Here's how to resolve the Genius Paradox:

1. React to the rules by embracing them or breaking them.
2. Observe the results.
3. Rewrite the rules from your own experience.

"You'll find there ARE rules for creativity -- YOUR rules. They may not be the ones that others follow but they'll be true and useful to you."

Neumeier carefully organizes and presents his information, insights, and counsel within four Parts, each of which poses a critically important question that many (if not most) of his readers have and to which he then responds:

1. How can I innovate?
2. How should I work?
3. How can I learn?
4. How can I matter?

He includes an observation by Arthur Schopenhauer with which I wholly agree: "Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see."

Here in Dallas near the downtown area, there is a Farmer's Market at which merchants offer fresh fruit as samples of their wares. In that spirit, I now offer additional excerpts that suggest the thrust and flavor of Neumeier's thinking:

o "Caution: The 46 Rules of Genius is not for everyone, for the simple reason that not everyone can be a genius. This is not usually a failing of native intelli9gence. It is more likely a lack of (a) will, or (b) skill." From the preface, "What Is a Genius?" (Page 21)

o "The framework [of a problem] is the boundary drawn around it. the 'rope of scope' that keeps it from sprawling to infinity. It narrows the focus, suggests a direction for the work, limits the investment, and determines how success is measured. If the framework is wrong, everything else will be wrong." (23)

o "Too much freedom can lead to mediocrity. Why? Because without boundaries there's no incentive to break through them. A real genius has no difficulty redefining a brief or defying convention. It's second nature. But give a creative person too much freedom, and you'll get a final product that's over-designed, over-worked, over-budget, and under-focused. The greatest gift you can give a genius is limitation, not license." (26)

o "The 'dragon pit' is the gap between WHAT IS and WHAT COULD BE. It's a space filled with discomfort, darkness, and doubt. Most people would rather grab the first rope thrown to them -- WHAT IS -- rather than stay and fight the dragon guarding WHAT COULD BE. But WHAT COULD BE is where the ideas are. A genius is someone who can tolerate the discomfort of uncertainty, while generating as many ideas as possible." (31)

o "Learning to learn is a metaskill -- a skill applied to itself. It multiplies your knowledge and accelerates your progress. When you learn to be your own teacher, you can acquire any skill you put your mind to. You can quickly build a new skill on the roof of the last one. You can move laterally from one skill to the next by bringing deeply understood principles to related disciplines. The ability to direct your learning is personal growth squared." (79)

o "Without the skills of your craft, you might be able to come up original ideas. But you'd have difficulty making your ideas stick -- demonstrating, developing, testing, and sharing them. Skills bridge the gap between thinking and making. There are no skills without practice -- practice is the exercise gym of genius." (110)

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye throughout Marty Neumeier's thoughtful and eloquent narrative and, obviously, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope and depth of his coverage. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I think so highly of him and his work. His latest book is another brilliant achievement. Bravo!


Think Bigger: Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business
Think Bigger: Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business
by Mark Van Rijmenam
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's a multi-dimensional paradigm shift that will become a tsunami, 10 Jun 2014
Where to begin? This book covers so much and covers it so well that I find it difficult to decide how to proceed. Mark van Rijmenam's objective is provide the information, insights, and counsel that business leaders need to develop and then implement an appropriate (key word) Big Data strategy for their business. As he observes, "Big Data is changing how organizations operate and are managed. It also changes how society works and how consumers live. The impact of Big Data on society will be big, but it remains to be seen how society will impact Big Data." With regard to Big Data trends that all executives need to understand, he identifies and examines seven:

1. The Mobile Revolution: Each day, millions of new people worldwide become connected via computers and smartphones. "In addition, the rise in tablet sales is enormous. Mobile devices require a different approach when dealing with Big Data."

2. Real-time Big Data's Value to Organizations: "The ability to analyze terabytes of data from various sources is interesting and can provide lots of insights, but analyzing terabytes of data the moment they are created anywhere in the world offers even greater possibilities."

3. "The Internet of Things": This is probably the biggest trend, the most significant trend within Big Data. "When we connect the unconnected, completely new possibilities will arise that were previously never thought of. In such a misconnected world, even the smallest things will have big implications."

4. The Quantified Self: "The quantified-self movement is to consumers what Big Data is to organizations. Not only do organizations want to know what is going on, consumers also want to know what they are doing and how they can improve their behavior."

5. Big Social Data: Big social data focus "focuses on the vast amounts of data created on social networks. There are hundreds of social websites that continue to increase in membership. All those members generate massive amounts of data that can be analyzed by companies to provide additional insights."

6. Access to Public Data: "The availability of public data is a trend that cannot -- must not -- be underestimated. Governments around the world are seeing the advantages of Big Data. They are opening up databases that were funded with public money."

7. Potentialities of Gamification: These "can help organizations generate vast amounts of data in a user-friendly and engaging environment." Later, observes, "The gamification of business is not just a tool for effective marketing campaigns. Gamification will revolutionize the way organizations connect with consumers, and it will create extremely valuable Big Data that can enhance a company's database."

"Normally, trends last only a few years. While Big Data is the megatrend [or paradigm shift], these seven trends form a crucial part of how organizations should address the challenge of Big Data. They will continue to exist in the coming decade and should form n important consideration in creating any Big Data strategy."

And with regard to generic big data uses and benefits that all organizations need, he identifies eight:

1. Truly get to know your customers, all of them and in real time.
2. Co-create, improve, and innovate your products in real time.
3. Determine the nature and extent of risk that your organization faces.
4. Personalize your website and pricing in real time toward individual customers.
5. Improve your service support for customers.
Note: If you want them to become "evangelists," this is the best way to achieve that.
6. Find new markets and new business opportunities by combining your own with public data.
7. Better understand your competitors and, more importantly, stay ahead of them.
8. Organize tour company's operations much more effectively, and save money.

"Of course, these generic uses are just a small indication of the massive possibilities of Big Data, but it shows that Big Data provides endless opportunities to add business value and help you stand out from your competition. Each organization has different needs and will require a specific Big Data approach."

He includes mini-case studies of companies that illustrate Big Data applications from which valuable lessons can be learned. They include, in alpha order, Amazon, Apple, Catalyst IT, John Deere, Disney, Nike, Hertz, Morgan Stanley, TomTom, and Zynga.

This book will be of special interest and benefit to those who are eager to learn how Big Data can help their companies to create or increase demand for what they offer. More specifically, The material in Think Bigger will help them to find new markets and leads: What are people saying and looking for, what are they thinking, who are they, and how can this result in finding new markets?

o Drive repeat sales: Recommendation engines and how knowing you customer results in more personalized sales.

o Reduce prospect research time: Time is important in making a sale. Faster response times can improve your conversion rates.

o Predict future sales: Which areas are important, and, how can you combine data to predict sales?

These are among the dozens of other business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of van Rijmenam's coverage.

o The Seven Vs (Pages 5-12)
o Eight Realities of Big Data You Should Already Know (12-17)
o Four Guidelines Organizations Should Follow When Using On-the-Go Data (30-31)
o The Internet of Things (36-43)
o Gamification (53-56)
o Big Data Tools and Types of Analysis (62-69)
o Big Data Ethics (80-85)
o Key Characteristics of Information-Centric Organizations (96-98)
o Big Data Roadmap (123-127)
o Big Data by Industry: Consumer Goods: (157-161)
o Big Data by Industry: Education (161-165)
o Big Data by Industry: Financial Services (169-174)
o Big Data by Industry: Manufacturing (185-189)
o Big Data by Industry: Retail (207-211)
o Big Data by Industry: The Future of Business Analytics (227-231)

I agree with Mark van Rijmenam that the future of Big Data is unsure, as the Big Data era is unfolding. "It is clear, however, that future changes will transform organizations and societies. Hopefully, this book made clear that Big Data is here to stay, and organizations will have to adapt to the new paradigm....Therefore, start developing your Big Data strategy, as there is no time to waste if your organization also wants to provide products and services in the upcoming Big Data era. Good luck!"

I add my own good wishes to his while presuming to suggest two other points. First, everyone involved in formulating and then executing an appropriate (key word) Big Data strategy must have developed a Big Data mindset, one that can accommodate the eight realities discussed in Chapter 2. Also, leaders in companies that embark on that process must think in terms of resource investments rather than costs and those resources include hours as well as dollars. The worst Big Data mistakes tend to be going cheap and/or underutilization. In this context I am again reminded of Derek Bok's response when president of Harvard and besieged by irate parents after a tuition increase: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
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