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Throughout our lives, we encounter fraught decisions around love and money: whether to take a better job across the country when our partner wants to stay put; when and whether to marry, buy a house, have a child; if we should work full time with children in the picture. Money and love “are profoundly intertwined, and both are fundamental to living a life of purpose and meaning, health, and well-being,” write Myra Strober and Abby Davisson, co-authors of Money and Love: An Intelligent Roadmap for Life’s Biggest Decisions.

Strober, who was the first female faculty member at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, created a groundbreaking class on work and family and has led thousands of students through it over the years. As a business school student, Davisson took Strober’s class with her then-boyfriend, and for their final paper, the couple chose the topic of living together before marriage. (Now married, the two have returned to the class as guest speakers for a decade.) Money and Love is informed by this popular class.

Organized around issues such as dating, marriage, deciding where to live and dividing household chores, the book’s chapters offer anecdotes, background research and thoughtful commentary, as well as questions and exercises. The authors call their decision-making framework the 5Cs: clarify (define your deep-down preferences), communicate, choices (generate a broad range of choices), check in (consult with friends, family, research) and consequences (categorize possible outcomes over time). This framework may sound simplistic, but the authors emphasize the complexity of each step toward making life decisions. Good communication, for instance, “isn’t always polite and calm. Sometimes it’s incredibly awkward and uncomfortable. Sometimes it involves raised voices and, later, apologies for what was said in the heat of the moment.”

Money and Love offers a readable approach with nuggets of wisdom throughout. “Remember that each new agreement is essentially temporary, changing as different parts of life ebb and flow,” Strober and Davisson note in the chapter on sorting out housework and caregiving. The authors supplement anecdotes from former students and colleagues with their own, and Strober’s stories about the end of her first marriage and her second husband’s Parkinson’s disease, and Davisson’s story of her mother’s devastating brain injury at 68, add depth to the book. Money and Love is a useful guide, particularly for young couples on the verge of big decisions.

Organized around issues such as dating, marriage and deciding where to live, Money and Love is a useful, logical guide for couples on the verge of big life decisions.
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Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway call their deeply researched new book, The Big Myth, “the true history of a false idea.” The false idea in question is not really a single idea but rather many connected assertions, promoted throughout the 20th century, that have gelled into the “quasi-religious belief that the best way to address our needs—whether economic or otherwise—is to let markets do their thing, and not rely on government.”

Both Oreskes and Conway are highly praised historians of science and technology. Their blockbuster 2010 book, Merchants of Doubt, examined the effort by a small number of scientists to undermine the evidence of climate change. One common denominator they found among these scientists was a distrust of government. The scientists’ ideological and economic biases led them to oppose anything that would admit a need for governmental action. In the introduction to their new book, Oreskes and Conway say that this discovery was what led them to do a deep dive into the ideology of neoliberal, free-market, anti-government thought, which has persuaded many Americans that unregulated markets are inseparable from democracy and freedom.

But are those things really inseparable, the authors wonder. In an early chapter, Oreskes and Conway point out that Adam Smith, a seminal theorist of capitalism, believed that government regulations were in fact needed to preserve a competitive playing field. Another chapter examines the moment in American history when power companies decided it was just too expensive to bring electricity to rural farming communities. They believed the market was too small, but at the same time, they resisted community alternatives. In the end, it was the government, not business, that literally brought power to the people. This leads the authors to wonder, how do markets alone supposedly make people free? In later chapters, they examine the economic, political and public relations efforts that have fostered our belief in this pervasive myth that government is the problem and markets are the solution.

The Big Myth is deeply detailed in its argument. Readers will be intellectually enlivened by chapters such as “No More Grapes of Wrath,” which looks at the ideological shift in the movie industry, and the revelatory chapter “The American Road to Serfdom,” which explores the popular rise of economist Milton Friedman and the “Chicago school,” which deftly promoted the libertarian argument against government involvement in markets. The way the book challenges each component of market mythology is hugely impressive—but the book is sometimes so detailed in its pursuit of the truth that some readers will surely become intellectually exhausted.

Still The Big Myth’s arguments do add up. “Markets are good for many things,” the authors write, “but they are not magic.” In a world facing existential threats like climate change, markets alone do not suffice, they argue. Governments must act.

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway boldly challenge the American myth that unregulated markets are inseparable from democracy and freedom.

“The making of many books is without limit,” says the book of Ecclesiastes, and that weary reaction seems appropriate when considering yet another offering on personal finance. But Paco de Leon’s Finance for the People: Getting a Grip on Your Finances is a refreshingly original contribution to this crowded field, and one her fellow millennials will find especially valuable as they contemplate the decades of decisions that will shape their financial futures.

Founder of the Hell Yeah Group, a financial firm that emphasizes service to creatives, de Leon touches all the traditional bases, from how to handle debt to saving and investing for retirement. Much of this advice (e.g., automate savings and max out contributions to a retirement account when there’s an employer match) doesn’t stray far from conventional paths. But as she leads readers on the perilous ascent of what she calls the “Pyramid of Financial Awesomeness,” several aspects of her approach stand out.

Acknowledging that we are all “weird about money,” de Leon offers an empathetic yet concrete perspective on overcoming the psychological barriers that prevent many people from dealing effectively with financial decision-making. And while she’s not averse to discipline, she disdains some of the popular emphasis on austerity (think David Bach’s The Latte Factor). Rejecting a worldview that chooses “scarcity over abundance,” she’s intent on “helping people connect to their financial power,” encouraging them to think at least as hard about generating more income as they do about saving in order to balance what she calls the “personal finance equation.”

De Leon delivers her message in a breezy, conversational style, emphasizing key points with an assortment of clever cartoons. At the same time, she is eminently practical, insisting on the need to set aside 30 to 60 minutes of “weekly finance time” as a first step toward systematically establishing sound money habits. Most notably, de Leon includes some tips—including journaling as a means of “unearthing your beliefs about money” and using mindfulness meditation to develop the muscle of delayed gratification—not likely to be found in other books of this genre. Above all, she’s an engagingly self-deprecating storyteller, illustrating her advice with tales of some of her own money missteps and their hard-earned lessons.

Dealing with money is one of life’s inescapable realities, and for most people there will always be some amount of pain associated with it. Having a friendly guide like Finance for the People can help the journey become both more bearable and more profitable.

Paco de Leon’s Finance for the People is a refreshingly original contribution to this crowded field of personal finance books.
Review by

For market watchers, these are uncertain times. The market boom, so spectacular in its sunrise, has faded to pale twilight. Reassessment is the watchword at many major American companies as terms like e-commerce, e-venture and Internet-driven fade from glory. Surely those concepts will re-emerge in a short time, dusted, retooled and remodeled. In the meantime, a period of corporate reflection settles over American business. This month we look at three books and an audiotape whose ideas seem relevant for this reflective era. Beginning with a book about the Federal Reserve and how it drives the markets to an exploration of new research on customer value and marketing, each title reflects new ideas American businesses must consider as the post-New Economy world reconsiders itself.

The Fed: The Inside Story of How the World’s Most Powerful Financial Institution Drives the Markets by Martin Mayer is a powerful book written with rare insight and aptitude by a longtime business journalist. Much has been made of Alan Greenspan, and much has been attributed to his acumen as the chief of the Federal Reserve. Mayer expands that view, giving us a historical account of the Fed’s role, from the 1920s through the1970s banking regulation to the 1987 crash and into the present century. Well-cited and carefully researched, Mayer’s book warns that while Fed policy has supported the past weight and inequities of the U.

S. banking system, like Atlas holding the earth, it "may not support tomorrow’s" problems. He calls for the Fed to bring the hidden maneuverings and derivatives dealings of the markets into public view, but says, "the Fed has never believed in sunshine as a disinfectant." Historically significant and timely, The Fed is an eye-opening reminder that the future of the markets is not always in our hands.

Game, Set, Match: Winning the Negotiations Game by Henry S. Kramer describes the "game we all play." Whether we’re talking about haggling over the price of a car, the outcome of a job raise or the sale of one corporate entity to another, negotiation is a prime activity for anyone entering the marketplace. Why is it important to plan a strategy for successful negotiation? What are the legal and ethical pitfalls of managing a negotiation? Kramer, an attorney and professor of negotiations simulation classes, argues you will not "end up where you want to be" if you do not prepare to ask for and creatively negotiate for the things you want. In an uncertain era, Kramer says "commercial and labor relations transactions involve fairly large sums of money, in which even the terms won by a good negotiator in a single negotiation may well reach six or seven figures . . . A good negotiator can be a real contributor to the bottom line." Clearly written with helpful tips, Game, Set, Match defines a new watchword as businesses look at new ways to reduce costs.

ValueSpace: Winning the Battle for Market Leadership by Banwari Mittal and Jagdish N. Sheth argues that a new paradigm is emerging in marketing. While most marketing programs rely on price points in the marketplace, Mittal and Sheth show real-market examples where the 3 Ps of marketing (price, performance and personalization) combine to create what they call ValueSpace.

ValueSpace, simply put, is a whole package of values customers want when they shop among major brands, services or products. Currently, many marketing managers focus on offering the lowest price for their product to win market share. Mittal and Sheth say successful brands offer more than low prices, they also offer great performance (think of the constant Palm Pilot innovations) and great "personalization" (Microsoft Outlook is appealing because it works easily with other computer programs). At core, the authors say, ValueSpace energizes quality and innovation practices within a corporation. From Xerox to Hilton to 3M, the authors document ValueSpace initiatives at many major American companies, highlighting innovation and quality control as key company components. For innovative companies, these ideas are nothing new; for everyone else, they will be keys to the future.

Free Agent Nation by Daniel H. Pink has just been released on audiotape. Pink’s fast-forward approach to the changing nature of employment is de rigeur listening. Termed "dis-organization" men and women, the ranks of 21st century employees may well include a mom-preneur, a consultant with flexible work hours or a freelance technology guru. Talented workers don’t need company loyalty, don’t expect it and are having a great time fending for themselves in the great wide world. Read by the author, a 30-something willing to challenge the status quo, Pink describes the coming work generation to a frightened corporate hierarchy and hopes Free Agent Nation will shake up corporate America.

Briefly Noted: The Customer Revolution by Patricia Seybold highlights another future trend a return to valuing the customer. Seybold delivers a straightforward message: your current customers are the backbone of your business; get to know them and why they are important to your business. Seybold shows how to create a great customer experience, drawing examples from hundreds of innovative and customer-motivated corporations. No marketing manager should miss this book.
The Future of Leadership edited by Warren Bennis, Gretchen M. Spreitzer and Thomas G. Cummings could be just another book on leadership principles, but it isn’t. Instead, the 18 essays reflect on the role of leadership in years to come. How will our concepts of leadership change? Particularly insightful are chapters on the promise of today’s youth as leaders and an essay on why we tolerate bad leaders. Required bedside reading for future CEOs.

 

For market watchers, these are uncertain times. The market boom, so spectacular in its sunrise, has faded to pale twilight. Reassessment is the watchword at many major American companies as terms like e-commerce, e-venture and Internet-driven fade from glory. Surely those concepts will re-emerge in a short time, dusted, retooled and remodeled. In the meantime, […]
Review by

For market watchers, these are uncertain times. The market boom, so spectacular in its sunrise, has faded to pale twilight. Reassessment is the watchword at many major American companies as terms like e-commerce, e-venture and Internet-driven fade from glory. Surely those concepts will re-emerge in a short time, dusted, retooled and remodeled. In the meantime, a period of corporate reflection settles over American business. This month we look at three books and an audiotape whose ideas seem relevant for this reflective era. Beginning with a book about the Federal Reserve and how it drives the markets to an exploration of new research on customer value and marketing, each title reflects new ideas American businesses must consider as the post-New Economy world reconsiders itself.

The Fed: The Inside Story of How the World’s Most Powerful Financial Institution Drives the Markets by Martin Mayer is a powerful book written with rare insight and aptitude by a longtime business journalist. Much has been made of Alan Greenspan, and much has been attributed to his acumen as the chief of the Federal Reserve. Mayer expands that view, giving us a historical account of the Fed’s role, from the 1920s through the1970s banking regulation to the 1987 crash and into the present century. Well-cited and carefully researched, Mayer’s book warns that while Fed policy has supported the past weight and inequities of the U.S. banking system, like Atlas holding the earth, it "may not support tomorrow’s" problems. He calls for the Fed to bring the hidden maneuverings and derivatives dealings of the markets into public view, but says, "the Fed has never believed in sunshine as a disinfectant." Historically significant and timely, The Fed is an eye-opening reminder that the future of the markets is not always in our hands.

Game, Set, Match: Winning the Negotiations Game by Henry S. Kramer describes the "game we all play." Whether we’re talking about haggling over the price of a car, the outcome of a job raise or the sale of one corporate entity to another, negotiation is a prime activity for anyone entering the marketplace. Why is it important to plan a strategy for successful negotiation? What are the legal and ethical pitfalls of managing a negotiation? Kramer, an attorney and professor of negotiations simulation classes, argues you will not "end up where you want to be" if you do not prepare to ask for and creatively negotiate for the things you want. In an uncertain era, Kramer says "commercial and labor relations transactions involve fairly large sums of money, in which even the terms won by a good negotiator in a single negotiation may well reach six or seven figures . . . A good negotiator can be a real contributor to the bottom line." Clearly written with helpful tips, Game, Set, Match defines a new watchword as businesses look at new ways to reduce costs.

ValueSpace: Winning the Battle for Market Leadership by Banwari Mittal and Jagdish N. Sheth argues that a new paradigm is emerging in marketing. While most marketing programs rely on price points in the marketplace, Mittal and Sheth show real-market examples where the 3 Ps of marketing (price, performance and personalization) combine to create what they call ValueSpace.

ValueSpace, simply put, is a whole package of values customers want when they shop among major brands, services or products. Currently, many marketing managers focus on offering the lowest price for their product to win market share. Mittal and Sheth say successful brands offer more than low prices, they also offer great performance (think of the constant Palm Pilot innovations) and great "personalization" (Microsoft Outlook is appealing because it works easily with other computer programs). At core, the authors say, ValueSpace energizes quality and innovation practices within a corporation. From Xerox to Hilton to 3M, the authors document ValueSpace initiatives at many major American companies, highlighting innovation and quality control as key company components. For innovative companies, these ideas are nothing new; for everyone else, they will be keys to the future.

Free Agent Nation by Daniel H. Pink has just been released on audiotape. Pink’s fast-forward approach to the changing nature of employment is de rigeur listening. Termed "dis-organization" men and women, the ranks of 21st century employees may well include a mom-preneur, a consultant with flexible work hours or a freelance technology guru. Talented workers don’t need company loyalty, don’t expect it and are having a great time fending for themselves in the great wide world. Read by the author, a 30-something willing to challenge the status quo, Pink describes the coming work generation to a frightened corporate hierarchy and hopes Free Agent Nation will shake up corporate America.

Briefly Noted: The Customer Revolution by Patricia Seybold highlights another future trend a return to valuing the customer. Seybold delivers a straightforward message: your current customers are the backbone of your business; get to know them and why they are important to your business. Seybold shows how to create a great customer experience, drawing examples from hundreds of innovative and customer-motivated corporations. No marketing manager should miss this book.

The Future of Leadership edited by Warren Bennis, Gretchen M. Spreitzer and Thomas G. Cummings could be just another book on leadership principles, but it isn’t. Instead, the 18 essays reflect on the role of leadership in years to come. How will our concepts of leadership change? Particularly insightful are chapters on the promise of today’s youth as leaders and an essay on why we tolerate bad leaders. Required bedside reading for future CEOs.

For market watchers, these are uncertain times. The market boom, so spectacular in its sunrise, has faded to pale twilight. Reassessment is the watchword at many major American companies as terms like e-commerce, e-venture and Internet-driven fade from glory. Surely those concepts will re-emerge in a short time, dusted, retooled and remodeled. In the meantime, […]
Review by

t steps on the career path “Not making a decision IS a decision,” says a friend. He should know. After graduating from a fine law school he lounged for two months on a sofa in his parents’ basement watching Oprah, Ricki Lake and all forms of daytime TV in his bathrobe. Was he afraid of work? No, he was avoiding the inevitable decision of what to do with his law degree. Not making a decision about a job meant he didn’t have to face the fact that he didn’t want to work for the traditional large law firm.

No time is more uncertain for college or professional school graduates than the summer they’re about to enter. Fortunately, recent career books offer valuable advice for making a smooth transition from school to work. Most experts recognize that step one in getting a job is defining what you really want to do with your career.

What’s Your Type of Career? Unlock the Secrets of Your Personality to Find Your Perfect Career Path by Donna Dunning utilizes a personality approach to finding the perfect career for you. Worksheets help you determine your personality type (analyzer? visionary? explorer?), then Dunning guides the novice through the options for each type. Don’t be embarrassed if you’re an introvert. Dunning highlights the usefulness of that personality type in the healing arts (not to mention writing) and outlines why some outgoing people may be drawn to certain careers. No Parachute Required: Translating Your Passion into a Paycheck and a Career by Jeff Gunhus is a soup-to-nuts career book with a twist. Hip and aware, Gunhus offers the traditional “How to Prepare for Your Job Search” stuff, but also starts and ends his book with the unconventional caveat that “it makes sense to do your soul-searching now, at the beginning of your career, and start on the right path the first time out of the gate.” A chapter on your inevitable and upcoming “Prelife Crisis” is priceless. Gunhus, 28, has experienced these feelings of angst and doubt up-close and personally, not to mention, recently. I loved his exercises to help weed parental expectations from your garden of experience (“My Tommy has always wanted to be a Doctor!”) and wish I had read this book before I filled my college course load with chemistry classes.

Rick Nelles, author of Proof of Performance: How to Build a Career Portfolio to Land a Great New Job, is a professional recruiter with 20 years of experience, but his book is about the times, right after college, when he made all his mistakes. Looking back, he says he waited until the last quarter of college to job search, winged it going into interviews (“thinking they would hire me on my good looks and great personality”) and didn’t even know what he wanted to do. In this book, he shows recent grads how to land a job by documenting their job skills and showing proof of their performance. Build Your Own Life Brand! (Free Press, $25, ISBN ) by Stedman Graham is an atypical career book. The long-time companion of Oprah Winfrey, Graham owns a successful management and marketing consulting company. He shares his philosophy that “each of us has a unique blend of talents, knowledge and other personal assets” called a Life Brand. Borrowing from marketing strategy, Graham says “you create a method for sharing your gifts and putting them to their highest use” when you build the brand that is You. Above all, Graham advises, remember that transforming your talents, values and passions into your career will help to ensure that your work will be meaningful.

So how did my friend fare? He finally got off the couch and became a public defender. Later he took a job as the child advocate for a five-county court system. Recently, after soul-searching, he moved to a small law firm he loves. Life Brand, perfect personality matching, whatever you call it, with careful planning the right career choice lies just ahead.

t steps on the career path “Not making a decision IS a decision,” says a friend. He should know. After graduating from a fine law school he lounged for two months on a sofa in his parents’ basement watching Oprah, Ricki Lake and all forms of daytime TV in his bathrobe. Was he afraid of […]
Review by

"Not making a decision IS a decision," says a friend. He should know. After graduating from a fine law school he lounged for two months on a sofa in his parents’ basement watching Oprah, Ricki Lake and all forms of daytime TV in his bathrobe. Was he afraid of work? No, he was avoiding the inevitable decision of what to do with his law degree. Not making a decision about a job meant he didn’t have to face the fact that he didn’t want to work for the traditional large law firm.

No time is more uncertain for college or professional school graduates than the summer they’re about to enter. Fortunately, recent career books offer valuable advice for making a smooth transition from school to work. Most experts recognize that step one in getting a job is defining what you really want to do with your career.

What’s Your Type of Career? Unlock the Secrets of Your Personality to Find Your Perfect Career Path by Donna Dunning utilizes a personality approach to finding the perfect career for you. Worksheets help you determine your personality type (analyzer? visionary? explorer?), then Dunning guides the novice through the options for each type. Don’t be embarrassed if you’re an introvert. Dunning highlights the usefulness of that personality type in the healing arts (not to mention writing) and outlines why some outgoing people may be drawn to certain careers. No Parachute Required: Translating Your Passion into a Paycheck and a Career by Jeff Gunhus is a soup-to-nuts career book with a twist. Hip and aware, Gunhus offers the traditional "How to Prepare for Your Job Search" stuff, but also starts and ends his book with the unconventional caveat that "it makes sense to do your soul-searching now, at the beginning of your career, and start on the right path the first time out of the gate." A chapter on your inevitable and upcoming "Prelife Crisis" is priceless. Gunhus, 28, has experienced these feelings of angst and doubt up-close and personally, not to mention, recently. I loved his exercises to help weed parental expectations from your garden of experience ("My Tommy has always wanted to be a Doctor!") and wish I had read this book before I filled my college course load with chemistry classes.

Rick Nelles, author of  Proof of Performance: How to Build a Career Portfolio to Land a Great New Job, is a professional recruiter with 20 years of experience, but his book is about the times, right after college, when he made all his mistakes. Looking back, he says he waited until the last quarter of college to job search, winged it going into interviews ("thinking they would hire me on my good looks and great personality") and didn’t even know what he wanted to do. In this book, he shows recent grads how to land a job by documenting their job skills and showing proof of their performance. Build Your Own Life Brand! by Stedman Graham is an atypical career book. The long-time companion of Oprah Winfrey, Graham owns a successful management and marketing consulting company. He shares his philosophy that "each of us has a unique blend of talents, knowledge and other personal assets" called a Life Brand. Borrowing from marketing strategy, Graham says "you create a method for sharing your gifts and putting them to their highest use" when you build the brand that is You. Above all, Graham advises, remember that transforming your talents, values and passions into your career will help to ensure that your work will be meaningful.

So how did my friend fare? He finally got off the couch and became a public defender. Later he took a job as the child advocate for a five-county court system. Recently, after soul-searching, he moved to a small law firm he loves. Life Brand, perfect personality matching, whatever you call it, with careful planning the right career choice lies just ahead.

 

"Not making a decision IS a decision," says a friend. He should know. After graduating from a fine law school he lounged for two months on a sofa in his parents’ basement watching Oprah, Ricki Lake and all forms of daytime TV in his bathrobe. Was he afraid of work? No, he was avoiding the […]
Review by

irst steps on the career path “Not making a decision IS a decision,” says a friend. He should know. After graduating from a fine law school he lounged for two months on a sofa in his parents’ basement watching Oprah, Ricki Lake and all forms of daytime TV in his bathrobe. Was he afraid of work? No, he was avoiding the inevitable decision of what to do with his law degree. Not making a decision about a job meant he didn’t have to face the fact that he didn’t want to work for the traditional large law firm.

No time is more uncertain for college or professional school graduates than the summer they’re about to enter. Fortunately, recent career books offer valuable advice for making a smooth transition from school to work. Most experts recognize that step one in getting a job is defining what you really want to do with your career.

What’s Your Type of Career? Unlock the Secrets of Your Personality to Find Your Perfect Career Path by Donna Dunning utilizes a personality approach to finding the perfect career for you. Worksheets help you determine your personality type (analyzer? visionary? explorer?), then Dunning guides the novice through the options for each type. Don’t be embarrassed if you’re an introvert. Dunning highlights the usefulness of that personality type in the healing arts (not to mention writing) and outlines why some outgoing people may be drawn to certain careers. No Parachute Required: Translating Your Passion into a Paycheck and a Career by Jeff Gunhus is a soup-to-nuts career book with a twist. Hip and aware, Gunhus offers the traditional “How to Prepare for Your Job Search” stuff, but also starts and ends his book with the unconventional caveat that “it makes sense to do your soul-searching now, at the beginning of your career, and start on the right path the first time out of the gate.” A chapter on your inevitable and upcoming “Prelife Crisis” is priceless. Gunhus, 28, has experienced these feelings of angst and doubt up-close and personally, not to mention, recently. I loved his exercises to help weed parental expectations from your garden of experience (“My Tommy has always wanted to be a Doctor!”) and wish I had read this book before I filled my college course load with chemistry classes.

Rick Nelles, author of Proof of Performance: How to Build a Career Portfolio to Land a Great New Job, is a professional recruiter with 20 years of experience, but his book is about the times, right after college, when he made all his mistakes. Looking back, he says he waited until the last quarter of college to job search, winged it going into interviews (“thinking they would hire me on my good looks and great personality”) and didn’t even know what he wanted to do. In this book, he shows recent grads how to land a job by documenting their job skills and showing proof of their performance. Build Your Own Life Brand! by Stedman Graham is an atypical career book. The long-time companion of Oprah Winfrey, Graham owns a successful management and marketing consulting company. He shares his philosophy that “each of us has a unique blend of talents, knowledge and other personal assets” called a Life Brand. Borrowing from marketing strategy, Graham says “you create a method for sharing your gifts and putting them to their highest use” when you build the brand that is You. Above all, Graham advises, remember that transforming your talents, values and passions into your career will help to ensure that your work will be meaningful.

So how did my friend fare? He finally got off the couch and became a public defender. Later he took a job as the child advocate for a five-county court system. Recently, after soul-searching, he moved to a small law firm he loves. Life Brand, perfect personality matching, whatever you call it, with careful planning the right career choice lies just ahead.

irst steps on the career path “Not making a decision IS a decision,” says a friend. He should know. After graduating from a fine law school he lounged for two months on a sofa in his parents’ basement watching Oprah, Ricki Lake and all forms of daytime TV in his bathrobe. Was he afraid of […]
Review by

t steps on the career path “Not making a decision IS a decision,” says a friend. He should know. After graduating from a fine law school he lounged for two months on a sofa in his parents’ basement watching Oprah, Ricki Lake and all forms of daytime TV in his bathrobe. Was he afraid of work? No, he was avoiding the inevitable decision of what to do with his law degree. Not making a decision about a job meant he didn’t have to face the fact that he didn’t want to work for the traditional large law firm.

No time is more uncertain for college or professional school graduates than the summer they’re about to enter. Fortunately, recent career books offer valuable advice for making a smooth transition from school to work. Most experts recognize that step one in getting a job is defining what you really want to do with your career.

What’s Your Type of Career? Unlock the Secrets of Your Personality to Find Your Perfect Career Path by Donna Dunning utilizes a personality approach to finding the perfect career for you. Worksheets help you determine your personality type (analyzer? visionary? explorer?), then Dunning guides the novice through the options for each type. Don’t be embarrassed if you’re an introvert. Dunning highlights the usefulness of that personality type in the healing arts (not to mention writing) and outlines why some outgoing people may be drawn to certain careers. No Parachute Required: Translating Your Passion into a Paycheck and a Career by Jeff Gunhus is a soup-to-nuts career book with a twist. Hip and aware, Gunhus offers the traditional “How to Prepare for Your Job Search” stuff, but also starts and ends his book with the unconventional caveat that “it makes sense to do your soul-searching now, at the beginning of your career, and start on the right path the first time out of the gate.” A chapter on your inevitable and upcoming “Prelife Crisis” is priceless. Gunhus, 28, has experienced these feelings of angst and doubt up-close and personally, not to mention, recently. I loved his exercises to help weed parental expectations from your garden of experience (“My Tommy has always wanted to be a Doctor!”) and wish I had read this book before I filled my college course load with chemistry classes.

Rick Nelles, author of Proof of Performance: How to Build a Career Portfolio to Land a Great New Job, is a professional recruiter with 20 years of experience, but his book is about the times, right after college, when he made all his mistakes. Looking back, he says he waited until the last quarter of college to job search, winged it going into interviews (“thinking they would hire me on my good looks and great personality”) and didn’t even know what he wanted to do. In this book, he shows recent grads how to land a job by documenting their job skills and showing proof of their performance. Build Your Own Life Brand! by Stedman Graham is an atypical career book. The long-time companion of Oprah Winfrey, Graham owns a successful management and marketing consulting company. He shares his philosophy that “each of us has a unique blend of talents, knowledge and other personal assets” called a Life Brand. Borrowing from marketing strategy, Graham says “you create a method for sharing your gifts and putting them to their highest use” when you build the brand that is You. Above all, Graham advises, remember that transforming your talents, values and passions into your career will help to ensure that your work will be meaningful.

So how did my friend fare? He finally got off the couch and became a public defender. Later he took a job as the child advocate for a five-county court system. Recently, after soul-searching, he moved to a small law firm he loves. Life Brand, perfect personality matching, whatever you call it, with careful planning the right career choice lies just ahead.

t steps on the career path “Not making a decision IS a decision,” says a friend. He should know. After graduating from a fine law school he lounged for two months on a sofa in his parents’ basement watching Oprah, Ricki Lake and all forms of daytime TV in his bathrobe. Was he afraid of […]
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  As regular readers of this column know, I like easy. Easy chairs, easy-to-read books, gadgets that make my life easier. I know Eyewitness to Wall Street: Four Hundred Years of Bulls, Bears, Busts and Booms by David Colbert doesn’t sound like an "easy" book, but this historical overview of Wall Street, from the scene in New Amsterdam in the 1600s to the confession of Ivan Boesky, gave me a vast array of Wall Street information in quick chapters and first-hand fashion. I curled up with this book on a recent flight and was transported to news headlines from the 1940s. Key areas of history I’ve always meant to study but never quite gotten to (the phenom of the Nifty Fifty, innovations at the Chicago Merc, Michael Milken) . . . well . . . thank heavens for David Colbert. He has drawn from diaries, private letters, memoirs and magazines to create a historical montage of Wall Street’s blemishes and triumphs. Chapters from major books (Liars’ Poker) and news articles about Wall Street pepper the pages. I feel as if someone did all the research I was supposed to do for a college term paper, put it all together and sent it to me, ready to present. Yup, that’s what I like, nice and easy.

 

  As regular readers of this column know, I like easy. Easy chairs, easy-to-read books, gadgets that make my life easier. I know Eyewitness to Wall Street: Four Hundred Years of Bulls, Bears, Busts and Booms by David Colbert doesn’t sound like an "easy" book, but this historical overview of Wall Street, from the scene […]
Review by

Staying ahead of the curve I love anything that makes my life easier, and Profit From the Evening News: Using Leading Economic Indicators to Make Smart Money Decisions by Marie Bussing-Burks does just that. Bussing-Burks promises that if you take a little time to learn about the leading economic indicators (which are read aloud almost every night on the national news) you can plan your money strategies months before the economy has actually entered bad times or good times. We all know about the importance of the Federal Funds Rate, but Bussing-Burks says you need to know more. By following the money supply, S&andP 500, durable goods orders and six other economic indicators, she says smart investors can see for themselves the coming changes in the stock market.

Bussing-Burks first explains the common and easy-to-find indicators, creates easy ways to track them (by creating your own spreadsheet) and explains how to predict where markets are going based on this data. I thought this would be tough, but it actually takes about three minutes a week to find these indicators on the TV or the Web. I may have missed the signs of the recent downturn, but with Bussing-Burks’ help, I’ll be way ahead on the predictors for the next upswing.

Staying ahead of the curve I love anything that makes my life easier, and Profit From the Evening News: Using Leading Economic Indicators to Make Smart Money Decisions by Marie Bussing-Burks does just that. Bussing-Burks promises that if you take a little time to learn about the leading economic indicators (which are read aloud almost […]
Review by

Travel just isn’t what it used to be. Between airport delays, traffic snarls and the hotel that forgot your wake-up call, the Road Warrior’s life is one hassle after another. It doesn’t have to be that way. This month, some on-the-road advice for business travelers. At last, someone has written a quick, sensible book of lists, reminders and advice for the occasional traveler, seasoned pro or neophyte. Organize Your Business Travel: Simple Routines for Managing Your Work When You’re Out of the Office by Ronni Eisenberg with Kate Kelly is a compact solution to many of the dilemmas, questions and organizational conundrums the confused business traveler encounters every time he steps out of the office.

Travel is a major headache for many professionals these days, but in the global corporate environment, it’s a necessary part of doing business. And for a successful trip, being organized is the best preparation. From who’s watching the kids to what kind of luggage works best for toting that new business casual wardrobe, organizing travel takes mental preparation. Organize Your Business Travel addresses an amazing number of these issues with rapid ease. It even covers car travel and how to organize your business life in an automobile.

Eisenberg has thought of everything. I tucked this book under my arm on a recent trip, and from mail management to childcare, I conquered the major obstacles keeping me from getting to my plane on time. With her encouragement I took a long, hard look at my travel gear and bought a new briefcase. Even my luggage was repacked with some practical advice from Eisenberg. I reassessed my need and understanding of the Palm Pilot and learned how to use one. If I can change my ways, anyone can. Organize Your Business Travel makes a great travel companion for consultants, or anyone else who travels frequently, for business or pleasure.

Down time is a major impediment to business travel. Airport delays, layovers and unscheduled time between appointments eat up productive work time. A new audiobook, Extreme Management: What They Teach at Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program by Mark Stevens provides an excellent alternative to wasted minutes. The audio outlines the key components of Harvard Business School’s elite Advanced Management Program (AMP), a nine-week course whose alums include CEOs and CFOs of many Fortune 500 companies. At its heart, Extreme Management is about excellence in leadership, uncovering financial and strategic tactics of the world’s best companies in amusing and informative anecdotal stories and interviews with AMP alums.

Stevens, president of a global marketing firm and author of several books on financial figures of the ’80s and ’90s, identifies the lessons and insights that faculty and students of the AMP found most compelling and sets out to condense what is ordinarily a nine-week, $44,000 regimen into a crash course that can be absorbed in the space of an airplane flight. The two-tape audio provides a simplified but not bare bones outline of the book and an easy way to pass travel time. While AMP raises mid-level managers to elite status, Extreme Management prompts the average business traveler to re-evaluate the office status quo. That’s hitting two birds downtime and leadership with one stone.

Speaking of travel-friendly business reading, The Power of Six Sigma: An Inspiring Tale of How Six Sigma Is Transforming the Way We Work by Subir Chowdhury is a quick book, easily finished on one airplane flight, that explains in a fictional format the principles behind the business initiative, Six Sigma.

For the uninitiated, Six Sigma is the latest fad in management strategy. Embraced by Allied Signal, GE and other major corporations, Six Sigma is a top-down approach used to develop quality in products, empower employees and fatten the corporate bottom line. The focus, experts say, is to eliminate waste, mistakes and inevitable rework by following a scientific structure to achieve results. Following on the heels of ISO 9000 initiatives and Total Quality Management, many are skeptical of Six Sigma’s charms.

The Power of Six Sigma is an antidote to the skepticism. Chowdhury explains in simple, interesting fashion the basic principles behind the initiative. Anyone who wonders why businesses don’t seem to respond to what customers want should read this intriguing little book, and as always, anyone in business should understand the latest management initiatives. Improvement is the name of the game in any business, and Six Sigma is another way to approach the game of business and win at it.

Have time in the airport to sink your teeth into something a little meatier? e-Volve!: Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow by Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, is a witty, intelligent look at the business culture created by emerging Internet companies and the resulting changes in the playing field for traditional businesses and other digital wannabes. Smart, clever and right on target, e-Volve is a valuable look at the coming age in the workplace.

When you open this book and see the song Kanter wrote to celebrate the e-volution, you may check the book jacket (as I did) to make sure this is a Harvard Business School title. But Evolve! The Song illustrates one main corollary of this tale.

Why are you so silent, has the cat got your tongue? Tech talk is what the older folks can learn from the young.

But the Net generation must absorb from the past, enduring values of service, how to build things that last. Yes, this is a big book to carry in your briefcase, but an excellent place to visit and revisit the trends of the New Economy and the cultural changes that economy has wrought. Often a flight is the only chance to catch up on reading and thinking about new ideas and business trends. The next time your airline announces Flight 207 has been delayed for an hour while we track down our flight crew, don’t get angry . . . look at it as an opportunity to expand your horizons.

Briefly noted The Thing in the Bushes: Turning Organizational Blind Spots into Competitive Advantage by Kevin Graham Ford and James P. Osterhaus. The thing in the bushes is a metaphor for core personnel problems that undermine the strategic advantage of great companies. Ford and Osterhaus, a consultant and a psychologist respectively, develop relational principles that help firms hunt down and destroy the thing. Even if your business doesn’t have a lurking bogeyman, The Thing is an interesting study in organizational behavior and its consequences for developing strategic plans.

Seven Power Strategies for Building Customer Loyalty by Paul R. Timm, Ph.D. A lot of companies flirt but never get married to customer service, says Timm. These days one of the main thrusts of Six Sigma initiatives is to provide customer-focused improvements in quality and service. Seven Power Strategies fills in the missing blanks with a seven-step employee empowerment process that helps build customer retention. Timm provides evaluation exercises and short, pointed stories to teach customer strategy step-by-step and gives the impetus for companies to walk down that wedding aisle.

Sharon Secor is a Nashville-based business writer.

 

Travel just isn’t what it used to be. Between airport delays, traffic snarls and the hotel that forgot your wake-up call, the Road Warrior’s life is one hassle after another. It doesn’t have to be that way. This month, some on-the-road advice for business travelers. At last, someone has written a quick, sensible book of […]
Review by

n the road again Travel just isn’t what it used to be. Between airport delays, traffic snarls and the hotel that forgot your wake-up call, the Road Warrior’s life is one hassle after another. It doesn’t have to be that way. This month, some on-the-road advice for business travelers. At last, someone has written a quick, sensible book of lists, reminders and advice for the occasional traveler, seasoned pro or neophyte. Organize Your Business Travel: Simple Routines for Managing Your Work When You’re Out of the Office by Ronni Eisenberg with Kate Kelly is a compact solution to many of the dilemmas, questions and organizational conundrums the confused business traveler encounters every time he steps out of the office.

Travel is a major headache for many professionals these days, but in the global corporate environment, it’s a necessary part of doing business. And for a successful trip, being organized is the best preparation. From who’s watching the kids to what kind of luggage works best for toting that new business casual wardrobe, organizing travel takes mental preparation. Organize Your Business Travel addresses an amazing number of these issues with rapid ease. It even covers car travel and how to organize your business life in an automobile.

Eisenberg has thought of everything. I tucked this book under my arm on a recent trip, and from mail management to childcare, I conquered the major obstacles keeping me from getting to my plane on time. With her encouragement I took a long, hard look at my travel gear and bought a new briefcase. Even my luggage was repacked with some practical advice from Eisenberg. I reassessed my need and understanding of the Palm Pilot and learned how to use one. If I can change my ways, anyone can. Organize Your Business Travel makes a great travel companion for consultants, or anyone else who travels frequently, for business or pleasure.

Down time is a major impediment to business travel. Airport delays, layovers and unscheduled time between appointments eat up productive work time. A new audiobook, Extreme Management: What They Teach at Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program by Mark Stevens provides an excellent alternative to wasted minutes. The audio outlines the key components of Harvard Business School’s elite Advanced Management Program (AMP), a nine-week course whose alums include CEOs and CFOs of many Fortune 500 companies. At its heart, Extreme Management is about excellence in leadership, uncovering financial and strategic tactics of the world’s best companies in amusing and informative anecdotal stories and interviews with AMP alums.

Stevens, president of a global marketing firm and author of several books on financial figures of the ’80s and ’90s, identifies the lessons and insights that faculty and students of the AMP found most compelling and sets out to condense what is ordinarily a nine-week, $44,000 regimen into a crash course that can be absorbed in the space of an airplane flight. The two-tape audio provides a simplified but not bare bones outline of the book and an easy way to pass travel time. While AMP raises mid-level managers to elite status, Extreme Management prompts the average business traveler to re-evaluate the office status quo. That’s hitting two birds downtime and leadership with one stone.

Speaking of travel-friendly business reading, The Power of Six Sigma: An Inspiring Tale of How Six Sigma Is Transforming the Way We Work by Subir Chowdhury is a quick book, easily finished on one airplane flight, that explains in a fictional format the principles behind the business initiative, Six Sigma.

For the uninitiated, Six Sigma is the latest fad in management strategy. Embraced by Allied Signal, GE and other major corporations, Six Sigma is a top-down approach used to develop quality in products, empower employees and fatten the corporate bottom line. The focus, experts say, is to eliminate waste, mistakes and inevitable rework by following a scientific structure to achieve results. Following on the heels of ISO 9000 initiatives and Total Quality Management, many are skeptical of Six Sigma’s charms.

The Power of Six Sigma is an antidote to the skepticism. Chowdhury explains in simple, interesting fashion the basic principles behind the initiative. Anyone who wonders why businesses don’t seem to respond to what customers want should read this intriguing little book, and as always, anyone in business should understand the latest management initiatives. Improvement is the name of the game in any business, and Six Sigma is another way to approach the game of business and win at it.

Have time in the airport to sink your teeth into something a little meatier? e-Volve!: Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow by Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, is a witty, intelligent look at the business culture created by emerging Internet companies and the resulting changes in the playing field for traditional businesses and other digital wannabes. Smart, clever and right on target, e-Volve is a valuable look at the coming age in the workplace.

When you open this book and see the song Kanter wrote to celebrate the e-volution, you may check the book jacket (as I did) to make sure this is a Harvard Business School title. But Evolve! The Song illustrates one main corollary of this tale.

Why are you so silent, has the cat got your tongue? Tech talk is what the older folks can learn from the young.

But the Net generation must absorb from the past, enduring values of service, how to build things that last. Yes, this is a big book to carry in your briefcase, but an excellent place to visit and revisit the trends of the New Economy and the cultural changes that economy has wrought. Often a flight is the only chance to catch up on reading and thinking about new ideas and business trends. The next time your airline announces Flight 207 has been delayed for an hour while we track down our flight crew, don’t get angry . . . look at it as an opportunity to expand your horizons.

Briefly noted The Thing in the Bushes: Turning Organizational Blind Spots into Competitive Advantage by Kevin Graham Ford and James P. Osterhaus. The thing in the bushes is a metaphor for core personnel problems that undermine the strategic advantage of great companies. Ford and Osterhaus, a consultant and a psychologist respectively, develop relational principles that help firms hunt down and destroy the thing. Even if your business doesn’t have a lurking bogeyman, The Thing is an interesting study in organizational behavior and its consequences for developing strategic plans.

Seven Power Strategies for Building Customer Loyalty by Paul R. Timm, Ph.

D. A lot of companies flirt but never get married to customer service, says Timm. These days one of the main thrusts of Six Sigma initiatives is to provide customer-focused improvements in quality and service. Seven Power Strategies fills in the missing blanks with a seven-step employee empowerment process that helps build customer retention. Timm provides evaluation exercises and short, pointed stories to teach customer strategy step-by-step and gives the impetus for companies to walk down that wedding aisle.

Sharon Secor is a Nashville-based business writer.

n the road again Travel just isn’t what it used to be. Between airport delays, traffic snarls and the hotel that forgot your wake-up call, the Road Warrior’s life is one hassle after another. It doesn’t have to be that way. This month, some on-the-road advice for business travelers. At last, someone has written a […]

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