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Larisa Camfferman

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Project Leadership
Project Leadership
by Wendy Briner
Edition: Paperback
Price: 22.30

5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and do it., 28 Jan 2010
This review is from: Project Leadership (Paperback)
I advise you to read this book when you are or will soon be leading a project. And simply do the exercises as written in the book.

It is so incredibly practical, you can't miss if you follow these simple guidelines. Did you ever realise your project is not just about delivering a (technical) result, but to get everyone to be satisfied with it? Politics can be so overwhelming when you're running a project. Especially when you don't have a hierarchical position over your team leaders, but they are just temporarily assigned to you, while still reporting to another boss. And the one with the money is not necessarily the one who will be using the end result of your project.

And there you have it: politics in the making. This little book helps you in simple steps to deal with it. To define your enemies and your friends, and also to define the best strategies of dealing with them.

It gives you insights in the areas on which a project leader really must focus, and gives you a personal evaluation on how you are doing in each of those areas.

Must-read for any project leader.

The Strategy Process (Pie)
The Strategy Process (Pie)
by Henry Mintzberg
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good insight in Strategy Theories, 28 Jan 2010
Don't let the number of pages of this book scare you. If you really want to learn more about strategy and marketing straties, this is the book for you. In short, four to nine page articles, you read the essence of various strategical theories. All are clustered per theme, so you can quickly find the articles applicable to your case.

The graphics used make it easy to grasp and remember the theories.

The authors have not eeked from putting controversial theories right next to each other, making it an even more interesting read. You can quickly compare various theories and their practical value. The examples from actual companies applying the methods are very good to get an idea of how it works in real life.

I bought this book for my studies and still use it frequently in my work. It's the best book on strategy that I have come across, ever.

The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business (Harperbusiness Essentials)
The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business (Harperbusiness Essentials)
by Clayton M. Christensen
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars It's not luck, it's INNOVATION!, 28 Jan 2010
Most people probably know the story of how 3M's post-its were invented by accident: a new type of glue didn't work as well as expected, but instead was used for removable notes. Now, that is a case of serendipity. It was luck, shall we say. But researchers don't just invent stuff because of luck. They have brilliant ideas of how to approach things fundamentally differently. And exactly this fundamental difference is what makes their ideas hard to sell to big companies.

This book takes you through the difficulties of selling revolutionary inventions to a big company (even if you are employed by one) and explains how managers and accountants of these companies think and decide. It also gives some compelling evidence of how the data storage industry (floppy disks, CDs, DVDs) progressed not by evolutionary, but by revolutionary thinking (or disruptive technologies). Last, but not least, it gives some practical pointers of how to start the discussion with management, and how a large company can set up a successful strategy to let disruptive technologies emerge.

While reading this book, I was reminded of many do's and don'ts from companies around the globe; such as ASML setting up a new organisation, even in a new building, to come up with a revolutionary new product; of Philips, buying up small companies who have had less problems bringing disruptive technologies to adulthood.
The only thing I missed in Christensen's book is the view on the nature of researchers: a good researcher will wither in a company that dedicates itself solely to bigger and better, instead of different.

If you are a researcher and wondering why your great ideas are not embraced, this book is really a must-read. It is easy to read, based on facts, and gives you a vital insight in research politics.

Exploring Culture: Exercises, Stories and Synthetic Cultures
Exploring Culture: Exercises, Stories and Synthetic Cultures
by Geert Hofstede
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.50

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read, easy to use, 28 Jan 2010
This is the one I've been looking for. Having read and enjoyed "Culture's Consequences", I was looking for exercises to make the subject more concrete. I am a management trainer and often work with international groups. A subject that envelopes them, yet eludes them, is how to deal with cultural differences. The book offers small warming-ups, larger instructive exercises, descriptions of easy-to-do simulations and also "where to buy" pages for more sophisiticated simulations.
One thing though: you might want to read up on Hofstede's other books to get more background in the subject. This book is really focused on training purposes. An improvement could have been to indicate times and needed material for each exercise, but the experienced trainer will have no problem envisioning the exercise.
Although the book holds Geert Hofstede's name, it appears to have been written mostly by his son Gert Jan et al. No criticism though; as said, this was really the book I was looking for.

The Beermat Entrepreneur: Turn Your Good Idea into a Great Business
The Beermat Entrepreneur: Turn Your Good Idea into a Great Business
by Mike Southon
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Get Started - NOW!, 28 Jan 2010
You're in the pub with your friends when a brilliant idea hits you. In lack of paper you use the back of a beermat to write down your ideas. The next day you come out of the hangover and, to your surprise, yesterday's brilliant idea still sounds great.

Congratulations. You've just passed the first hurdle of becoming a Beermat Entrepreneur. Now what?

The answer is in this book. It leads you step by step to a successful entrepreneurship. Apart from tips, the book also describes these aforementioned hurdles from time to time, to test if you're really serious about things. It's an inspiring book, easy to read and with a firm dose of reality ("forget your number one hobby, you won't have time for it").

Mike Southon is clearly the most important one of the two writers. He has massive experience that he shares with you: one of his beermat enterprises became a business success after five years of hard work, and he sold his share for a fair amount of money. His next enterprise was not the business success he had hoped for, but a very valuable learning experience. Since then, Mike has facilitated the start-up of seven Beermats, so he has quite some experience to draw from.

Also nice: a British book. Business culture in Europe is just not the same as it is on the other side of the ocean, from where most business books come.

Highly recommended. I say this for a reason: one of the participants in the business course I teach has used this book as a guide to start up his own business. I do believe it will be a success.

First, Break All The Rules
First, Break All The Rules
by Marcus Buckingham
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Focus on your strengths, 28 Jan 2010
I strongly believe in focusing on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Any time you spend on improving your weaknesses is wasted, because you're not spending time doing what you do best, and you can get your weakness to improve from a 5 to a 7, but it won't become a 9 ever.

Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman focus on the same. As a manager you should focus people on their strengths to get the most out of them. It means changing the way you hire them, the way you train them, the way you reward them and the way you team them up.

For me and many of my participants (I'm a management trainer), this book is a great relief. No more competence management, which tells you which gaps you still need to close to become all-round perfect. An exhausting message to hear, by the way, because you will NEVER get a natural eye for detail or be a great out of the box thinker... unless that was your given talent.

The art, so say the writers, is to create a safety net for a person's weakness, so it stops being a problem. Such as teaming them up with someone who has complementary skills, or rearranging their task to never get them to come in touch with their weakness. A leader, in short, must do anything possible to allow his or her people to focus fully on their strengths.

I find this book hugely inspirational, not just for leaders, but also for employees. It relieves you from the pressure of having to be all-round perfect. It makes a powerful step towards personal branding.

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