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Executive Coaching

"I have to admit, there are days when I think ‘I just can't do this!’—but after every meeting with Gary I come away with ideas that inspire me to avoid procrastination and move forward. I would recommend him and CO2 to anyone seeking an executive coach."

Alicia Carr
Chairman & CEO, Kelco Supply Co.

Executive Coaching Books

Welcome to the Executive Coaching Book Shelf. Below is a collection of some of the books that our business coaching partners are currently reading or have read. These are great resources and come highly recommended by not only us but business leaders from a myriad of industries. Each one will have a unique impact on how you perceive the environment around you or how you do business in the future. All of our books are available through Amazon so if you have not read one just follow the link on the image and order your copy today. You do not want to be left behind!

   

"Just Ask Leadership" by Gary B. Cohen

 
       
 

John T. Chain, Jr., rose from a second lieutenant to four-star general, and led our national missile defense program.

Mike Harper led ConAgra Foods from $636 million to $20 billion in 20 years and increased its stocks value 150 times over.

Ask Gary Cohen what these remarkable leaders have in common and his answer will be straightforward: They use questions to generate fresh ideas, inspire committed action, and build an army of forward-thinking leaders.

In Just Ask Leadership, Cohen steers you away from the all-too-common idea that if you don't assert yourself with strong statements, you will not be respected. On the contrary, statistics prove that 95 percent of employees prefer to be asked questions rather than be told what to do. Involving employees and colleagues in decision-making processes builds an environment rich with energy, excitement, and innovative problem solving.

Just Ask Leadership outlines not only specific questions to ask in certain contexts, but also how to implement question-based leadership as a whole. Learn how to:

  • Spend more time on long-term goals - and less on short-term crises
  • Build a culture of accountability
  • Create unity and trust throughout your workforce
  • Steer decision-making to the most appropriate parties
  • Develop rapport while instilling respect.

When you ask questions, you show respect - and you are respected in turn. It is that simple.

A combination of Cohen's proven expertise and interviews with nearly 100 highly effective leaders, Just Ask Leadership explains how to harness the power of questions to make your organization more competitive, more profitable, and a better place to work.

Gary Cohen, president and cofounder of ACI Telecentrics, Inc., expanded the company from two people to 2,200 employees, took the company public, and reached $32 million in revenues at the company's peak. ACI grew at an average compounded rate of over 50 percent for almost 13 years. Currently, he is partner and founder of CO2 Partners, LLC, in Minneapolis, where he works as an executive coach and consultant.

Eric Vrooman is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis. He has taught creative writing at Tulane University and Gustavus Adolphus College.

 
       
       
       
       
   

"Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell

 
       
 

Malcolm Gladwell knows how to tell a good story, but his books (Blink, The Tipping Point, and Outliers) make me a bit impatient. "Get to the point," I want to tell him.

In Outliers, Gladwell's point is this: Those on far edges of the bell curve-either the far right (totally at the top end of their profession, like Bill Gates and the Beatles) or the far left (totally at the tragic end of the curve like Korean Airlines, who own one of the worst crash records)-are largely the product of their cultures, advantages, and opportunities. Skill and intelligence, in other words, may not be the primary drivers of success.

Gladwell notes that Bill Gates grew up in an upper-class community, and his school was one of the few to have a computer terminal. Gates and others who, at that age and time, had similar access to computers dominate the technology industry today. With the Beatles, it's more of a case that practice makes perfect. They had an opportunity to play as a group together more than 1100 times in public before becoming famous-far more audience exposure than most entertainers get in an entire career.

Being the right age as the world is entering a new phase of development can be your lottery ticket to huge success, according to Gladwell. You have to be old enough to take advantage of the innovation and not so old that the risk of jumping-in seems perilous.

In The Black Swan: the Impact of the Highly Improbable, Nassim Nicholas Taleb would have us believe that the only thing that is certain is that the unpredictable will happen, so it may be too early to say that the Green Movement will be the next success-maker, but I think it shows some promise.

Outliers and The Black Swan-like Freakonomics and Made to Stick-rely on systems thinking (without calling it that), cognitive bias, and empirical skepticism to draw conclusions about why things are not as they may first appear.

If you like good storytelling, you will definitely enjoy Outliers, but if you're looking for more take-away points per page, you may wind up skimming some of it.

 
       
       
       
       
   

"How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work" by Robert Kegan & Lisa Laskow Lahey

 
       
 

One of the chief obstacles we face as executive coaches is the apparent inability and/or unwillingness of our clients to complete the changes to which they have given what appears to be whole-hearted endorsement and commitment. Without these fundamental changes taking place, the enterprise is often stuck in a rut of repetition and entropy.

In this well-written and well-thought-out book, the authors present a new way of getting through any necessary change, by introducing the "Seven Languages of Transformation". We learn how the resistance to change is really a fundamental process of our personal "immune" system, and changes in individual behaviors are necessary to overcome this obstacle. The book is laid out in a step-by-step method to achieve these behavioral changes through seven new "languages" that we must learn to speak to ourselves and those we lead and coach.

For example, the first new "language" they discuss is learning to take a "complaint" about something going wrong as actually a reflection of a "commitment" to a better way. The person making the complaint is asked to restate the complaint in the terms of the positive commitment that is implied. A negative situation is thus turned into a positive, transformational one that gets things going in the right direction for a change. The positive movement achieved by the application of each new "language" leads to the next mental hurdle, for which the authors provide another new "language" to handle. The book includes many step-by-step worksheets for the reader to use individually or with a partner, to apply the principles to a real-life problem they may be working through.

The authors are developmental psychologists working chiefly in academia, so their examples are a little top-heavy with educational situations. The examples are universal and transferable to the business world, however, so this is a minor complaint. The book as a whole is quite free of psycho-babble and mumbo-jumbo, and can bring the reader to an exciting and novel way of changing the way we do business, and changing something fundamental in ourselves. I recommend it most highly.

       
       
       
       
   

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

 
       
 

In his review of The Black Swan for Amazon.com, Chris Anderson (editor-in-chief of Wired) writes:

Four hundred years ago, Francis Bacon warned that our minds are wired to deceive us. "Beware the fallacies into which undisciplined thinkers most easily fall-they are the real distorting prisms of human nature." Chief among them: "Assuming more order than exists in chaotic nature." Our brains are wired for narrative, not statistical uncertainty. And so we tell ourselves simple stories to explain complex thing we don't-and, most importantly, can't-know. The truth is that we have no idea why stock markets go up or down on any given day, and whatever reason we give is sure to be grossly simplified, if not flat out wrong.

As Anderson suggests, humans like to predict the future, using a combination of narrative and historical precedent. They do so because it's comforting-especially in the wake of a traumatic event. We want to believe nature is orderly and that we can control our destiny. But these are fallacies. According to Taleb, the major events of our personal and collective lives are largely unpredictable-what he calls "Black Swans" (regardless of whether the consequences are positive or negative)-and unlikely to repeat.

With a background in financial trading, Taleb offers advice for how to benefit from Black Swans, rather than use them to reaffirm what we already know. In the process, he dismisses the work of some distinguished scholars, including Nobel Prize winners. He provides great analogies and supporting evidence, but the book doesn't feel like an overly academic treatise.

"The best moments in reading are when you come across something-a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things-that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours." That's a line from The History Boys, a play and screenplay written by Alan Bennett, and it sums up how I felt when reading Taleb's book. It validated some of my own theories and made my mental model so much clearer. This is one of my top book choices.

 
       
       
       
       
   

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard

 
       
 

A client urged me to read Mastery immediately, and I urge you to do the same. A long-term practitioner of the marshal art Aikido, Leonard unveils the five keys to mastery of any skill or subject:

Key 1: Instruction
Key 2: Practice
Key 3: Surrender
Key 4: Intentionality
Key 5: The Edge

In this quick read, the author helps readers apply Aikido concepts to their everyday lives. He offers advice on how to handle change and homeostasis without resistance, and he provides suggestions for how to produce more energy. He also alerts the reader to pitfalls along the path to mastery.

A number of years ago, Dr. Mel Levine (author of many best selling books, including All Kinds of Minds) spoke with me about the value of becoming an expert. When you become an expert in any subject, he said, you know what it takes to become an expert in another subject. Mastery is built on a similar premise. People of all ages (including kids) reap tremendous value from dedicating themselves to a particular subject or skill. Once mastery occurs, self-confidence soars.

Mastery is a journey that only begins and never ends.

 
       
       
       
       
   

An innovative view at marketing and building products

 
       
 

Marketing in today's world is much like the cows in the field. Cows in the field are interesting, but after you see these a number of times they become less interesting and then eventually you really do not notice them anymore. As a matter of fact they all just look the same. Traditional marketing methods are like the cows in the field, they just are not sufficient to get your product noticed. The Purple Cow, and its concepts, serves as a great way to re-energize the process of remarkable marketing.

The purple cow concepts engage you in taking your product, service or company from ordinary to remarkable in the consumer's eye. It is not a marketing initiative that you insert into the company, but rather it is a concept that becomes inherently built into the product. The goal is to create something remarkable by putting a purple cow into everything that you do. Understanding the reason companies do things out of Fear or Safety really allows new incite into strategies that target customers. Do you have the email address for 20% of your best customers? What could you with this list to show these customers that you truly are something amazing? This book is full of examples of this kind of purple cow thinking.

The Purple Cow is a great read, easy and fun. It is full of stories that ring true and really get you thinking about how much control and flexibility today's entrepreneur has to compete against the big guy in an amazing way.

Review by John LeTourneau, CO2 Partners 2/08

 
       
       
       
       
    Topgrading  
       
 

Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People, Revised and Updated Edition (Hardcover)

I discovered this book on my wife's night stand one Saturday morning, at a period when our organization was in the midst of another growth spurt. I literally spent the rest of the day reading it. It was undeniably a page turner. If you or your organization have consistent issues involving hiring, selecting, retaining, or performance then this book is one of, if not the definitive book, on human resources in action. Author Brad Smart provides you with a step-by-step guide on how to build a team of "A" players and helps you define what an "A" player is for your unique organization. If you are ready for instructions on how to select your "A" player and establish approaches for maintaining their performance then this book is a must read.

 
       
       
       
       
    Persuasion versus Alignment  
 

Traditional advertising and public relations are based on the art of persuasion. 

While persuasion certainly has its place in marketing, long-term relationships are built on a shared values. In his new book Balanced Brand, John Foley has developed an innovative new model for helping companies align their corporate values with key stakeholder values. 

This groundbreaking work is a must read for any senior manager who has the responsibility of long-term relationships, brands and reputations.  

 
       
       
       
    A General Theory of Love  
 

This is a great book if you are interested in the development of human intimacy—be it raising children, finding the love of your life, or connecting with people in the workplace. As a leader, you will learn valuable information about how to anticipate and handle emotional responses (both yours and team members’) when complicated situations arise.

The book reveals how we communicate and how we develop silent rhythms with other people. After reading it, you will be far more attuned to patterns of intimacy. You’ll also be more apt to recognize when intimacy is absent.

“A General Theory of Love” is a short read, but thick with content. It is not one of those books that after the first three chapters, you know all there is to know about the subject. Every chapter is fresh and builds on the previous ones, so you will really want to read to the end.

 
   

 

 
       
       
    Good To Great and the Social Sector  
       
 

Book Description
Jim Collins Answers the Social Sector with a Monograph to Accompany Good to Great. 30-50% of those who bought Good to Great work in the Social Sector.

 

  • This monograph is a response to questions raised by readers in the social sector. It is not a new book.
  • Jim Collins wants to avoid any confusion about the monograph being a book by limiting its distribution to online retailers.
  • Based on interviews and workshops with over 100 social sector leaders.
  • The difference between successful organizations is not between the business and the social sector, the difference is between good organizations and great ones.
 
       
       
       
    Good To Great  
       
 

Amazon.com's Best of 2001
Five years ago, Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?" In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last , concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11--including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come. -- Harry C. Edwards

 

 
       
       
       
    Difficult Conversations  
       
 

Difficult Conversations is a little gem I discovered many years ago and it has since become an often referenced book in my business library. The New York Times Business Bestseller, written by a group from the Harvard Negotiation Team, helps readers understand that when confronting a difficult conversation there are actually three conversations going on at once:  the circumstances that occurred; the feelings each party is experiencing; and the perceived identities of each party.

The premise is that during a difficult conversation most people can agree on the situation at hand. However, the two underlying or unspoken exchanges create insurmountable barriers for the parties to bridge until one of these parties become extremely curious and discerning of the other parties' feelings and identities. Those identities can be roles that one plays in life, president, CEO husband, wife, or daughter and how these roles may be impacted by the conversation. Becoming curious does not mean giving up your point of view, you may remain unyielding on you position.

I remember putting this concept to work at our neighborhood board meeting regarding a 10 year old unresolved issue. Within 30 minutes the neighborhood put the conflict to rest. Since that time, I have incorporated this technique many times with equal success. I feel so strongly about this book, my business partner and I have given it to every manager. It is a fast read.

 

 
       
       
       
    Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience  
       
 

If you have ever played sports and time just stood still you have experienced FLOW. When you are at work and have the right amount of challenges and it takes a high degree of skill you have experienced FLOW. Flow is found when there is a focus on goals that are clear and compatible; when the heart, will and mind are all in alignment all the while you must also be getting immediate feedback on the actions.

Csikszentmihalyi, does a fabulous job of helping the reader understand flow but more importantly show the reader how to obtain it. There are many areas in our environment that prevent us from obtaining FLOW and Csikszentmihalyi also provides the reader an understanding of what they are and how to navigate around them.

This is a short read - pick it up in NY and have it finished by the time you hit LAX if not sooner.

 
       
       
       
       
    Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management  
 
Raytheon Chairman William H. Swanson was hailed as an inspirational figure for his book. Unfortunately, this valuable collection of insights is no longer in publication due to the scandalous accusations of it having been plagiarized. It is alleged that many of the rules were adapted from a book published in the 1940's by engineering professor, W. J. King in his book The Unwritten Laws of Engineering, and a few from Donald Rumsfeld's Rules.

Commenting on the accusations of plagiarism, William Swanson stated: "Regarding the truisms of human behavior, there are no original rules."

Regardless of their questionable origination these rules are highly valuable and worth the Google search to find a copy of the book. Good hunting!

 
       
       
       
    The World is Flat  
 
It took the Church 450 years to realize the earth was round after Copernicus discovered it was round. If your organization waits that long to discover the The World Is Flat you will probably not have a business. An industry I was once in was flattened by the phenomenon that Thomas Friedman writes about in his latest book. The theory evaluated is that the labor model has moved dramatically for those in manufacturing and service. The idea of needing a person is fading quickly as cashiers are replaced by automated check-out lanes in grocery stores and an individual in India can be hired to handle things via international telephone for a tenth of the cost of someone within the United States. Many small companies do not think this applies to them but sadly this only means that their alarm is broken, because they are dreaming. The world is flat and if you are ready to wake up to what is developing globally, in your neighborhood or with your competition this is a must read.
 
       
       
       
   

The Wisdom of Crowds

 
 

Who says the experts know it all? Business columnist Surowiecki argues that "under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them."

Impossible you may think but The Wisdom of Crowds provides a detailed analysis of this very opinion and what 4 criteria are necessary for creating a wise crowd. Amazing examples are provided and analyzed like that of how the TV studio audience of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire guesses correctly 91 percent of the time, compared to "experts" who guess correctly only 65 percent. To support this almost counterintuitive proposition, Surowiecki explores problems involving cognition, coordination, and cooperation. His scholarly approach to business is thought provoking and timely. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys an academic approach to dissecting the impact and prowess of the crowd mentality.

 
     
     
     
  Driven  
 

Harvard Business School professors Lawrence and Nohria present a sociobiological theory of motivation directed to the business environment. They claim that humans possess four basic drives to acquire, to bond, to learn, and to defend. The unique approach in their book is the manner in which they apply their theory specifically to the workplace. Historical case studies are used to show that successful organizations are those that give their employees opportunities to fulfill all four of these drives. There are of course a number of competing drive theories from Freud's sexual drive to Steven Reiss's 16-drive theory. The authors, well versed in sociobiology, openly acknowledge that the numbers and exact nature of our drives need further exploration and provide suggestions for research projects. Irregardless of how many more drives one human may or may not posses their theory is enlightening for any reader. While being academic in its approach and presentation it is written with the lay reader in mind so any undergraduate will comfortably assimilate the information provided. This is ideal for any business leader that would like to better understand what not only drives them but also those around them.

 
     
     
     
  Change Your Questions Change Your Life  
 

Amazon Book Description:

"Questioning" is a skill rarely taught in school, but doing it well - that is, asking the right questions of the right people - can radically transform attitudes, actions, and results. Change Your Questions, Change Your Life provides easy-to-learn tools that can make a significant and immediate difference in people's business and personal lives. Written as an engaging fable, it inspires readers to take charge of their thinking in order to accomplish goals, improve relationships, advance careers, investigate new territories, and in general gain greater life satisfaction. This book explains how to "be your own coach," outlines the author's Question Thinking Model, and lists the top 12 questions for change. Real-world examples provide practical models for applying the principles in a variety of situations, while a Choice Map is a useful visual tool that demonstrates that everyone has a choice in every situation, even if it is not immediately apparent.

 
     
     
     
 

Your Perfect Business Match

 
 


Consultant Jack Tesmer defines four types of market environments that he describes as Kingdoms, Battlegrounds, Jungles and Frontiers. The requirements for survival or better yet success differ from one to the next. What works in one market may lead to disaster in another. To obtain success you must know your environment. Tesmer identifies each of these diverse market environments and describes their differences. Through this in-depth analysis he provides what specific attributes an organization needs to be successful in each.

Also described in detail are what he defines as the four types of organizations: Ruler, Warrior, Hunter and Pioneer. This book helps identify an organization's current culture, analyze its current market, and develop a new and more effective alignment, either by encouraging organizational change or by promoting a shift to a different market environment.

This book is a vital resource for corporate executives and entrepreneurs. Why wander ineffectively with the wrong approach to the market in which your organization exists when you can become empowered with the knowledge that you may just be a Pioneer with new Frontiers ahead of you.

 
     
     
     
 

Stoic Warriors

 
 

Guest Review: From Scientific American
- Richard Lipkin

In this age of live combat coverage, war’s ravages are well known. Soldiers witnessing horrendous carnage often become numb and tortured souls, painfully reliving battle moments. Yet these same soldiers must move on, despite psychic trauma. In Stoic Warriors, Nancy Sherman addresses how soldiers gird themselves for combat. "This book is about ‘sucking it up,’" she notes—about the role of Stoicism in modern life. A philosopher at Georgetown University and, formerly, the U.S. Naval Academy, Sherman traces the origin of today’s military training to the Stoics, a group of philosophers who flourished in Athens and Rome more than 2,000 years ago. The Stoics’ core message was that human emotions are not passive reactions but are subject to cognitive control. Thoughts, opinions and interpretations cause, mediate and shape emotions, which the Stoics saw as "something of an act of judgment and will, and a matter of our own responsibility." But Stoicism can also become extreme, enabling individuals to detach themselves to survive or to kill, which sometimes leaves the doer with lasting trauma. Blending analysis of ancient texts with modern history, anecdotes and tales from combat survivors, Sherman delves into soldiers’ hearts and minds, revealing how Stoic thought prepared them for catastrophe, including discipline of mind and body, manners, demeanor, anger, fear, resilience and grief. This issue could not be more pressing, as Sherman writes, "given the U.S. Army’s expansion of ‘stop-loss’ orders to keep soldiers from leaving the service and the general malaise of a war in Iraq." Thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will suffer psychic trauma but feel that not toughing it out signals weakness. Others will fear the stigma of seeking help, worrying about dishonorable discharge or the shame of not bearing up. Sherman argues that toughing it out stoically is both a blessing and a curse. She cautions that in pursuing self-reliance and self-mastery, we must also be aware of the need to fortify and renew ourselves through human fellowship, empathy and respect, while striving to "cultivate humanity." This wisdom, of course, applies just as meaningfully to modern peace as it does to ancient war.

 
     
     
     
 

Authentic Happiness

 
 


Can a pessimist be taught to be an optimist?

Seligman does not just preach the merits of happiness but also presents brief exercises to help readers increase the happiness quotient in their lives. He warns that attacking one's weaknesses will not bring personal fulfillment. In contrast rather Seligman suggest incorporating strengths such as humor, originality and generosity into everyday interactions with people will help achieve true happiness. Skeptics may wonder whether this radical concept of learning happiness from a book is actually possible. Their concern may be valid, but Seligman certainly provides the practical tools with self-tests and exercises for mapping out a course to success.

 
     
     
     
 

Life Launch

 
 


If you are ready to stop being reactive and become proactive in your life then this is a must read. Life Launch is a powerful guide to creating purposeful meaningful lives. Dr. Hudson uses conceptual maps to break life transitions into comprehensible visual models. These maps increase personal awareness of our individual resources and opportunities.

Dr. Hudson characterizes life as a balance of "being" and "doing" with a progression of transitions. We have all heard of the midlife crisis but few of us truly understand the dynamics of natural life transitions. Dr. Hudson translates research in adult development into understandable layman's language and presents them as "The Grand Adventure: from 20 to 90."

This book is a valuable read for every person who wants to take their life's dreams and put them into reality. Hudson's proposition is, "If one's destiny is shaped from within, then one has to act more freely as the creator. One has to be at once the subject, author, and creator."

 
     
     
     
 

How to be Organized in spite of yourself

 
 
Amazon Book Description

Get The Guide that helps you get it together!

This is the perfect resource for the modern age of fast-paced business and lifestyles. Recognizing that just one organizational system is not for everyone, the authors have devised solutions that provide ten different systems to match ten basic personality types such as Perfectionist Plus, Hopper, Fence Sitter, Pack Rat, and Total Slob. Whatever a person's style, whatever their habits, this book contains a surefire remedy to keep them organized and coordinated.
 
     
     
     
 

Getting things Done

 
 


Ready to get organized? Then throw all those scraps of paper into a giant "in-basket" and read Getting things Done. You will learn the Two-Minute Rule and more helpful hints on how to free your mind and become more productive. The backbone of this system is captured on a straightforward, one-page flowchart that you can pin over your desk and repeatedly consult without having to refer back to the book.

Author David Allen provides commonsense advice that most have unfortunately overlooked to their own detriment. Do not be surprised when you hear yourself say, "well of course that makes sense!" This book is a great resource for everyone. Even the most organized individuals will benefit from these tips and tricks. Whether you are the least organized of CEOs or most organized of soccer Moms you will find this book helpful and insightful.

 
     
     
     
 

Leadership on the Line

 
 

It can be both lonely and difficult at the top. This book looks at the ugly side of business by dwelling on the negative aspects of leadership thus becoming an ideal resource as a troubleshooting guide. Authors Heifetz and Linsky offer useful strategies leaders can employ. You will learn how to orchestrate the inevitable conflict and force those who cause problems to actually solve the problems. We all benefit from learning by example and this book is no exception in its application of that methodology. Helpful insights include examples from the 1994 Chicago Bulls, city planning and political situations. Heifetz and Linsky also offer important and relevant tips that will help leaders not to take conflict personally. When everything seems to be going wrong in your department or organization this book will be not only be helpful to you but a comfort.
 
     
     
     
 

Ackoff's Best

 
 
Ackoff provides a groundbreaking exploration of systems theory and its effect on business. Also included are his most lasting and thought-provoking writings on an array of topics in business, society, and human behavior. They include but are not limited to: managing teams, maximizing the effectiveness of information systems, problem solving, creativity, crime, and the role of the corporation in a democratic society. These writings are an amazing collection of insights, observations, and lessons that will help you maximize not only your personal development but also the effectiveness of your organization.

"The range, depth, and perspectives of these essays on management illustrate, once again, Russ Ackoff's unique genius."-Warren Bennis, University Professor, University of Southern California, and Co-author, Co-Leaders

 
     
     
     
 

Driven to Distraction

 
 

This valuable book dispels a variety of myths about attention deficit disorder (ADD). Since both authors have ADD themselves, and both are successful medical professionals they attack two key myths which are: (a) that ADD is an issue only for children; and (b) that ADD corresponds simply to limited intelligence or limited self-discipline. Although ADD can generate a host of well documented problems their position emphasized that there are also advantages to having it. Mozart and Einstein are cited as examples of probable ADD sufferers and prime examples that individuals with ADD are also attributed as having high energy, intuitiveness, creativity, and enthusiasm. Qualities that are completely overlooked by the 'disorder' model.

Using numerous case studies and a discussion of the way ADD intersects with other conditions like depression, substance abuse, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, they provide a more well rounded reality of the syndrome. This a great read not only for those with ADD but also their family members, thanks to its helpful lists of tips for dealing with ADD in a child, a partner, or a family member.

 
     
     
     
 

Power vs Force

 
 

Based on thousands of studies and scientific methods Dr. Hawkins explains many aspects of human experience including a Scale of Consciousness. Based on a logarithmic scale of 1 to 1000, all ideas, emotions, concepts, thoughts, works of art, literature and science, resonate at some level. Above the level of 200 these energies are considered nurturing, positive and "good" (Power). Below 200 are energies that are destructive, negative and "evil" (Force).

Dr. Hawkins explores how "attractor" energies influence art, science, medicine and sports and examines the specific mechanisms leading to health and disease. He examines the quality of our institutions and discusses the nature of Consciousness and the path to Enlightenment. This book provides a scientific analysis of the difference between Power and Force within the spirituality of these concepts. This book is an absolute must for anyone searching for a better understanding of "how reality works".

 
     
     
     
 

The E Myth

 
 
This book is a guide for small business owners on how to obtain success in their business. One of Gerber's most important observations is that most small businesses are started by "technicians", individuals that are in essence employs of their own business. They work in their business rather than on their business. Quite simply instead of owning a business, they own a job which has longer hours and less pay.

The solution, Gerber argues, is to balance being a technician as well as an entrepreneur and manager. The key for any business to grow and profit rests solely on the soldiers of the entrepreneur and if you are not one there is an 80% chance you will be out of business within 5 years. The question you must ask yourself is your goal bankruptcy or success? If you are thinking about going into business for yourself or are a small business owner whose business is out of control, stagnant, or about to flat line this book is a must read.

 
     
     
     
 

Spin Selling

 
 

Spin Selling is a great handbook for providing large-sale sales tactics. It is not about gimmicks to trick or pressure the customer into buying but rather just the opposite. Author Rackham shows how the "closing techniques" used in smaller sales not only do not work but can severely damage relations. The suggested approach provided in detail is the SPIN model which covers: Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff.

If your desire is to sell large-value goods or services to sophisticated and intelligent buyers then Spin Selling is the tactical handbook you need. The benefits of this book are not merely attributed to the stead-fast sales professional. Although many do not believe themselves to be involved in sales. Each day we may be selling anything from a product, our work or even ourselves as a person or prospective employee. In the arena of large-scale sales it is all about obtaining another person's commitment. Commitments are equally important in our personal and professional lives so these techniques are extremely useful when applied there as well.

 
     

 

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