Review: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman

The subtitle of this book is "Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done." Although Bregman outlines an 18-minute-a-day time management plan, this book is about  much more than just getting things done.

In fact, the author detours from the usual perspective of time management books right from the beginning. He maintains that it is impossible to do everything and that a rewarding life is the result is of choosing the right things that help us achieve our goals. 

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Review: Naked Conversations – How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers

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First published August 7, 2008

Co-written by technology evangelists Robert Scoble from Microsoft and Shel Israel, a Silicon Valley tech guru, this book is a primer for those interested in understanding how blogs are changing the conversation between producers and consumers.

Fundamentally, blogging interferes with traditional corporate communications in that it is no longer possible for a company to ‘control’ their message. The book shares many examples of how this happens and presents case studies of companies who have handled the change well and those who haven’t. And then there are those who have been standing on the sidelines waiting to see if blogging just goes away.

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Review: ProBlogger – Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income

First published September 4, 2008

So, why would I recommend a blogging book targeted to those legions of budding entrepreneurs who are convinced they can turn their blog into a money machine to K-12 publishers? Quite simply, because it is one of the best books on blogging by two practitioners who have worked at it longer than almost anyone else. Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett are both rock stars in the online world. They pioneered professional blogging and now make considerable amounts of money from their blogs. However, their primary businesses are client services. Darren hails from Australia and Chris calls the U.K. home, but in the online world, it doesn't matter where they live. They have arguably had as much impact on the business of blogging as any two people in the world.

ProBlogger, the book, is an outgrowth of their writing on their blogs and both are a treasure trove of how-to information for a vast array of blogs. Although their target reader is someone on the same path they've both traveled, there is a tremendous amount of information in this book that applies to any business wanting to create a blog.

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Book Review: A Whole New Mind

245065821.jpgFirst published October 2, 2008

This insightful book by Daniel Pink should be required reading for those of us in education and business. There are a number of reasons why but most importantly because he is a big thinker. By that I mean he is one of those gifted with the ability to synthesize trends from different information streams to achieve new insights about our lives and culture.

For those in K-12 education who believe in the development of 21st century skills for our students, Pink provides the rationale. Essentially, he maintains that our culture which has been dominated by left-brain thinkers – accountants, lawyers, computer programmers, and MBAs – will now be guided and illuminated by right-brain folks who are empathetic and creative such as artists, designers, caregivers and storytellers.

"Today, the defining skills of the previous era – the "left brain" capabilities that powered the information Age – are necessary but no longer sufficient. And the capabilities of inventiveness, empathy, joyfulness, and meaning – increasingly will determine who flourishes and who flounders. For individuals, families, and organizations, professional success and personal fulfillment now require a whole new mind. "

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Review – Managing Interactive Media Projects

First published December 18, 2008

One of the foundation skills to running any kind of a successful business is the ability to manage everyone's expectations – internally and externally with clients and vendors. An extraordinary number of missteps in project execution have their foundation in this issue – who's on first? what is the task? why are we doing this? when is the deadline? how much will be done by that time?

Tim takes the reader completely through the process of managing an interactive project from initial conception through the execution and launch of the completed project. Along the way, there are literally pages and pages of step-by-step examples, cautionary tales, check lists, case studies, Q & A guidelines, templates, and helpful exercises.

In short, you could literally hand this book to a newbie tasked with this type of project and say, "start on page one and follow the steps in the book."

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Review – The Art of Possibility – Transforming Professional and Personal Life

9780142001103l.jpgFirst published February 9, 2009

The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander is a magnificent book on leadership. As a life-long musician and the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, Ben Zander has become an inspirational teacher who is now taking his leadership philosophy out into the corporate world as a motivational speaker.  Rosamund Stone Zander is a respected therapist who helps individuals and groups find their way to the “impossible.” Even if you do not consider yourself a leader or are not interested in becoming a leader, there are still many lessons to learn from the practices the Zanders recommend in this book. 

Someone sent me a YouTube video of Ben making a presentation at one of the TED conferences. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design but the TED Talks are more commonly known by their mission, “ideas worth spreading.” An extraordinary collection of innovative thought leaders make presentations at TED each year. You can view a selection of the very best at www.TED.com. I was so impressed by the video that I immediately ordered the book. The contagious passion I saw at work in the video permeated the book as well.

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Review: Collapse of Distinction

 First published June 22, 2009 

“People are craving, even coveting, distinction. Being different, standing out, getting noticed in a sea of sameness is vital to an organization’s sustained growth and profitability…businesses that stand out ‘provide a service of perceived higher value to buyers.”

This is the basic premise of Collapse of Distinction by Scott McKain. Each of us can list on one hand the times and companies that have delivered to us a customer experience that was memorable or distinctive. Why is that? The author argues that it is because businesses, for the most part, are focused on achieving their sales goals and not on creating value for the customer. “It is overwhelming how many companies focus on not losing to the competition rather than on delivering what customers really want.”

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