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Book Review EXTRA



The Third Wave - An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future by Steve Case

Surfing the Next Third Wave: If the title of AOL founder Steve Case’s book, The Third Wave, sounds eerily familiar, it is no accident. Case remembers reading futurist Alvin Toffler’s book of the same name in college and wanted to be part of Toffler’s “electronic global village.” And he was. The term AOL seems very old-school today — and Case explains what happened further in the book — but there was a time when the company he founded, based on the concept of provided services via the Internet, was a pillar of the information age — or more specifically what he calls the “First Wave” of the information age.

The First Wave of the Internet, writes Case, “was about building the infrastructure and foundation for an online world.” It was led by companies such as Cisco, Sprint, HP, Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, Apple, IBM and AOL, who created the hardware, software and networks that connected people to the Internet and to each other.

Once everyone was online, the Second Wave kicked in. We are still in this Second Wave, the era of the information age, when companies, Case explains, built “on top” of the Internet. Think Google, eBay, Amazon, Twitter and even the iPhone.

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With the Apple's iPhone X Launch taking place this month it is worth reminding ourselves of the impact Steve Jobs had on the speaking industry.

According to the The New York Times, the book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, is for would-be keynote rock stars.

Steve Jobs transformed business presentations into an art form. Ask business professionals anywhere in the world to describe the “Steve Jobs style” and momostwill have an answer. It’s irresistible, entertaining, and engaging.

Today Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Marc Benioff, Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally,Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and many other leaders around the world emulate the presentation style Steve Jobs made famous, and the one Carmine Gallo popularized in his Wall Street Journal bestseller, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs - one of the most popular public-speaking books in the world and recently classified as “a business classic.”

Now you can learn the exact techniques that made Jobs the most captivating storyteller on the business stage. In The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs Carmine Gallo maps out a ready-to-use framework to help you plan, deliver and refine the best presentation of your life. One major construction company scored an $875 million contract after converting its boring old presentation into a dynamic one that copied every technique revealed in the book.

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Life’s too short to be unhappy at work

“I’m working harder than I ever have, and I don't know if it’s worth it anymore.” If you’re a manager or leader, these words have probably run through your mind. 

So many of us are feeling fed up, burned out, and unhappy at work: the constant pressure and stress, the unending changes, the politics — people feel as though they can't give much more, and performance is suffering.

But it’s work, after all, right? Should we even expect to be fulfilled and happy at work?

Yes, we should, says Annie McKee, co-author of the best-selling Primal Leadership. In her new transformative book, she makes the most compelling case yet that happiness―and the full engagement that comes with it―is more important than ever in today’s workplace, and she sheds new light on the powerful relationship of happiness to individual, team, and organizational success.

Based on extensive research and decades of experience with leaders, this book reveals that people must have three essential elements in order to be happy at work: (more…)




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The Power of Noticing - What the Best Leaders See by Max Bazerman

Take Off Those Blinders and See the Truth: In many ways, The Power of Notic­ing, the latest book from the prolific Max Bazerman, will somewhat dis­hearten his readers - if not enrage them. In sometimes horrific and often damning detail, Bazerman exposes the disastrous consequences of having leaders with blinders on who fail to notice - or pretend not to notice - what is truly happening around them.

From Cheating to Tragedies: The litany of cases described by Bazerman involves many incidents barely known by the public, such as the story of a medicine whose price grew in a few years from $50 per vial to $28,000 - yes three zeroes- per vial; the Harvard professor who was faking his data; and the egregious misdirection used by politicians and marketers (and magicians) to fool the public. There are also some well-known cases:

  • Morton Thiokol and NASA scientists failed to notice the pattern of low-temperature failures of its O-rings and, as a result, went forward with a low-temperature launch of the Shuttle Challenger. Seven astronauts lost their lives in the ensuing mid-air explosion. (more…)



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The Power of Strategic Sacrifice in a Complex World - by John Bell

Opting To Cut the Company Down To Save It: John Bell begins his book Do Less Better with the scenario of a troubled company — a regional player in 10 different categories, suffering through four consecutive years of losses, carrying higher than average payroll and inventory costs (the latter exacerbated by more than 1,000 SKUs), and starting to lose the support of impatient shareholders tired of pouring money into a losing cause.

What're the next steps for a new CEO hired to turn around this sinking ship? If you’re like most new CEOs, Bell writes, you will do exactly what your predecessors tried to do: generate more revenues and cut costs. The difference is that you will do these things better. “You are kidding yourself,” Bell writes. “Strategically, doing more of the same… better is a pathway to incremental improvement, at best. Incremental improvement is never enough to fix strategically weak companies like the one I have described.”

 The Greater Sacrifice: Instead of trying to do the same better, Bell believes a much more potent strategy is to make the tough decisions and cut the company down to a more efficient and focused size. Many companies are straining under the weight of their complexity and dispersion of resources, he writes.

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Leading with Character, Building Connections, and Engaging in Extraordinary Conversations by Gregg Thompson

Great leaders are great coaches. They understand that developing the skills, talents and mindsets of their people is a vital part of their jobs as leaders. However, the concept of coaching can also be confusing. Early in his excellent how-to book, The Master Coach: Leading with Character, Building with Connections, and Engaging in Extraordinary Conversations, executive coach and trainer Gregg Thompson explains what coaching is not.

They Don’t Need a Friend - A coach is not a friend, he writes. Although coaches can be friendly, the purpose of coaching is to challenge those they are coaching — the Talent, in Thompson’s terms — and hold them accountable. A coach is also not a therapist. AsThompson explains, “Coaching is not the antidote for deeply troubled and significantly distressed individuals.”

Thompson also differentiates between coaching and teaching. Teaching is a unilateral exercise, with the teacher imparting knowledge to the learner. In coaching relationships, both the coach and the Talent are learning together.

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The Science of Achieving Extraordinary Executive Presence

Numbers seem to be important in the leadership game—10 qualities (or is it nine?) that make a great leader, 12 things you can do, or seven steps you can take. Suzanne Bates and William Macaux have a number, too: “15 qualities of executive presence.”

But the important number is one, as in: “There’s no single formula for achieving extraordinary executive presence.”

Executive presence is the authors’ term for that indefinable leadership quality that enables talented people to become highly successful.

The good news is that Bates, author of the best-selling Speak Like a CEO, and Macaux, a management psychologist, have developed what they call a science-based approach that enables each person to locate his or her individual executive-presence identity. What’s more, they’ve arranged this volume as a guidebook for each stage of a rising executive career.

What’s more, they’ve arranged this volume as a guidebook for each stage of a rising executive career. All the Leader You Can Be is not a breezy read—at times it’s as technical as a textbook. It’s a serious book, and serious readers may well benefit.

All The Leader You Can Be By Suzanne Bates, David Casullo and William MacauxMarch; McGraw-Hill Education 

 




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