The Science of the Deal

The Science of the Deal ISBN: 9781946633781 ForbesBooks copyright and written by Shravan Parsi.

The book opens with the usual praise for the author’s credits and ability by several CEO’s and others of note; a Forward; A Word from the Author; eight chapters; About the Author; Our Services, which describe those offered by American Ventures LLC; 32 End Notes; About the Book, which again emphasizes “Learn a systematic approach to investing in commercial real estate and multifamily housing.” Chapter 1, describes his move “From Sideshow to Main Show”, from part-time investing to establishing a commercial real estate firm specializing in multifamily workforce housing; 2. Discusses the necessity of knowing your industry and how to use key performance indicators; 3.Assembling your team and talent while also building important qualities in yourself; 4. How to employ time and leverage to seize opportunity; 5. The potential offered by downsides (the things to look for and evaluate in a city/neighborhood); 6. Describes the need to ask ‘really good’ questions and delegate to experts; 7. The necessity for networking and ‘giving back’: creating a center of influence; 8. Up and Out: Stretching limits.

Discussion: Most chapter headings, as listed, are self-explanatory and describe and discuss the material listed. For the most part, they follow a relatively regular pathway to developing a thriving business in a sector of real estate not often discussed. Chapter 8 perhaps is of particular interest because of its concentration on technology and trends. The author evaluates technology and globalization and how it’s constantly changing aspects affect the United States, its inhabitants and its businesses. He further directs the discussion to the primary theme of this book and takes it from its simplest form (Craig’s List) to more advanced ({?} e.g. Airbnb, HomeAway that disrupted the short term rental industry, to investing (e.g. Crowdfunding, restrictions limiting banks, etc.) Much of the discussion is about how the author’s American Venture’s performed in extensive and highly profitable performances, their intent (and how) to extend globally and into strategic markets, and the need to follow demographic trends to diversity. Also discussed are trends in single-family homes, populations – Baby Boomers, Millennials, human longevity – and even real estate in space.

Summary: Overall look at a section of real estate seemingly seldom addressed. It is presented in a manner interesting to an outsider whose interests are eclectic and although heavily autobiographical, assumingly helpful for the targeted audience.

5* Appealing thoughts for newbies; assumed helpful for knowledgeable.

Radical Value

Radical Value ISBN: 9781733996303, Goodrich Publishing, copyright and written by Mark Boundy.

Sub-titled Elevate your company – and career – by unleashing the power within customer centricity, the author explains that “any company exists to generate higher value than it costs to deliver it.” Thus, “Customer satisfaction is a powerful, highly relevant metric. It’s just not a great in-game compass. Customer’s value is the important criteria.” He then proceeds with his 5 part evaluation. Part 1 contains 2 chapters where he initiates his proposal that the purpose of business is the creation of value and explains “what is value”. Part 2 follows explaining why value culture works with chapters 3 and 4 providing radically focused company basics and the critical aspects of focused customer conversations. Part 3 offers “to know your customer’s business, ye must know business” and proceeds in the next 3 chapters to describe the need to become an expert in your customer’s business, financial acumen for the “No-mathelte”, and how one must look for value through the customer’s eyes. Part 4 concentrates on practical ‘value-mining’ tools for customer-facing roles in chapter 8 by “finding value from your differentiation out” and 9 explaining that “probability happens at the top line”. Part 5 “Are you ready to be radical?” terminates the presentation with Chapters 10, 11 and 12 explaining how sellers are enabled to focus on value; “a day in the life” examining “what’s different about a radically focused organization”; and how this ‘different’ focus changes your customer relationships.

Discussion: The author states in several ways that “Customers don’t buy products or services, they buy the outcome they anticipate those products and/or services deliver. And, he has set forth his advice, as synopsized above, the manner in which this feature translates into the customer’s value and how to interpret and utilize it in what he describes as a radically different approach. From accompanying statements of praise for the author’s approach by individuals highly positioned in successful businesses, the author has been eminently successful in providing a ‘radical’ guide to focus on expectations of their customers. Or to rephrase, to re-align a business and all workers in each department to realize the basic need for every selling business to understand they are in business specifically to satisfy the values their customers possess. This reader concurs with their conclusions. However and apparently unfortunately, from my perspective as an individual not engaged in ‘business per se’ but rather one whose interests range eclectically, a certain personal disappointment results. If this basic message already exists, why does the author need to provide such lengthy description for justification of its use? And why is the material he has provided so radical? The material is interesting and seemingly delivers exactly what is needed, and assumingly considered radical, from the perspective of individuals who may be in the same old daily routine where poor habits develop unnoticed and the company’s main thrust ‘becomes somewhat frayed around the edges’. But from a total ‘outsider’s perspective, the message hardly seems ‘radical’ and especially if it is so essential. Thus, my apologies to the author and others closely involved in the activities described. My comments arise from the perspective of a reader whose wide range of interests include knowledge of ‘business’ and its various aspects, BUT from a complete unfamiliarity with the daily ‘grind’ it entails which seems, in turn, to lead to numerous ‘glitches’.

3* 5*material; -2 with apologies to author/others involved from an interested ‘outsider’.

LEAP

LEAP ISBN: 9781946623651 ForbesBooks, copyright and written by Dr. Marta Wilson.

Sub-titled Master your Superpowers, Soar to the Leading Edge, this book’s author, an Industrial Organizational Psychologist, opens with a Preface providing information that her consulting firm (TSI – Transformation Systems, Inc.) has taught federal agencies and Fortune 500 companies and their members to “uncover the hidden gifts of executives, managers and employees to build morale, increase collaboration and enhance success”. “…includes achieving transformation goals such as cutting costs, increasing efficiency, and energizing the work-force” or in other words, “all of the message and work of TSI already shared with thousands of others.” She explains further that becoming Masterful in 4 areas tend to make the achiever become a ‘Super Hero’. These four are Personal, Interpersonal. Organizational and Motivational Mastery. Moreover, these 4 make up the LEAP title of the book and stand for Leadership Effectiveness and Potential. The profile is described in detail in Chapter 3 and an app is available at theLEAPapp.com that provides a fast-paced crash course in proven principles of individual effectiveness and guidance from science and industry to build these attributes. In the book she also includes inspirational examples of great leaders; i.e. Mastery in Action, along with experiences of some of her past and present clients plus her own story. The ensuing nine chapters provide individual information and recommendations on imagining yourself soaring; discovering your Masteries; your Superpowers; expanding your Personal Mastery; ways to amplify this personal attribute; boost your Organizational Mastery; raise your Motivational Mastery; Create your Own Opportunities; unleash your Inner Superhero and Soar. Each Chapter concludes with a list of pertinent questions for the reader.

Discussion: The author has set forth another in the burgeoning number of books with the intent of helping to further the growth of various established and new entrepreneurial businesses. She offers suggestions on how to overcome fear of public speaking, of failure, of engaging in change. The need not only to listen to people but to actually HEAR what they are saying, to empathize with them, to connect and have them engage, elevate and energize each other and how you can best accomplish this if you have learned to master yourself and teach by leading as a positive person who can innovate, create, interrelate and inspire, manage stress time and data. As with most books of this nature, there is much redundancy typically displayed as a result of a desire to emphasize facts delivered by lecturers repeatedly speaking to multiple audiences.

5* Excellent suggestions; some redundancy not unusual with lecturers use for emphasis.

BOOK the BUSINESS

BOOK the BUSINESS ISBN: 9781599324074 Advantage Media Group, copyright and written by Adam Witty and Dan Kennedy.

Sub-titled How to make BIG MONEY without Even Selling a Book, contains 13 chapters beginning with The Big Idea of making Money with your Book, No B.S. There follow chapters describing the Best Customers; why a book is a fine marketing tool; how to use it to build an authoritative position; as the Ultimate Lead Generation Tool; to gain Speaking Engagements; to obtain Free Publicity/media coverage; in Personal Selling; as the Ultimate Referral Marketing Tool; to boost your direct mail; for Fast Product Creation and Additional Income Streams; to Get others to pay for your Marketing; Fast Action Implementation Resources; and finally the One Secret Nobody Tells You and Putting Your Plan into Action specifically contributed by Adam Witty. An Afterword by Dan Kennedy follows and Resources, and About the Authors conclude the presentation.

Discussion: This book is based upon the long accepted, and probably largely correct, assumption that writing a book elevates the author to a position of authority providing he/she has presented verifiable material. Its authors are eminently positioned to set forth suggestions that this premise positions a pertinent book’s author to employ it as a powerful marketing tool that will provide far more than any compensation he/she could gain by providing it simply as a book for sale. Adam Witty is the Founder and CEO of Advantage Media Group that publishes self-improvement and Professional Development books. Dan Kennedy is author and/or co-author of twenty books on the subject, a leader in marketing, copyrighting and business building who has established a worldwide organization to which individuals pay monthly for membership. Thus, when they explain how your authorship of a book on the subject about which you are most knowledgeable can produce what they refer to as “Invisible Income Streams”, their suggestions appear to stem from a superior understanding of the situation. Specifically, your book “provides name recognition in your chosen niche”. As presented in the pages of this book, their suggestions with respect to how your omnipresence offers ways of having others market for you, to promote you without ‘selling’, obtaining speaking engagements, media coverage and more. From this reviewer’s perspective the authors have quite thoroughly, and quite adroitly covered their subject. However, it would seem necessary to provide a small caveat so as to mitigate any confusion for a budding author with respect to writing fiction and non-fiction. Having written and successfully published (as well as taught a university level writing course) in both areas, I believe their expressed opinion that the simple difference between the two is that fiction requires talent and creativity and can be arduous whereas non-fiction is what you know and what you’re willing to research may require a few more words. Fiction does require talent and creativity and can be ’arduous’ in the amount of research required to provide credibility to your plot and the activities included (unless engaged in the fantasy genre). This is why fiction writers usually are told ‘to stick to what they know’. Non-fiction also is described correctly as a collection of what you know and what you are willing to research. However, the newbie by no means should overlook the importance of creativity and talent. They first must have the creative spark that allows them to ferret out the fact(s) that others miss AND the talent to weave them into a single unit that supplies a usable tool to supply answers to the discovered ‘niche’.

5* Highly recommended with small caveat suggested.

Aligning the Dots

Aligning the Dots ISBN: 9781734208719 Seward (?) Business Press copyright and written by Phillippe Bouissou, PhD.

Sub-titled, the new paradigm to grow any business, this book, like most in the genre, opens with “Additional praise” by prominent business leaders, list of trademarks, Photograph and Art Credits and the book’s Contents that contains a statement on “How to read this book” followed by a another “Why you should read this book”. Next listed, 9 chapters, most including detailed pertinent studies; 1. The Growth Imperative, one case study; 2. Alignment of Everything. 3. Introduction to the A4 Precision Alignment™ Paradigm, one study; 4. First Axis: Pain vs. Claim, three; 5. Second – Perception vs. Message, four; 6. Third – Purchase vs. Sale, three; 7. Fourth – Delight vs. Offering, two; 8. Building your Growth Playbook, four; 9. Internal alignment, two studies. A Summary, Index, Acknowledgements and About the Author conclude the book. The content begins simply with an explanation of “How to read this book” describing that it has been written “so that you can maximize the return on the time you invest in it. Skip around and read it in a non-linear fashion if that suits you. Or read it cover to cover.” Accompanying are suggestions for reading the material if you have 3 minutes, ten minutes, thirty or “more time or can’t fall asleep”. A more detailed explanation of “Why you should read this book” then provides an opening to the substantive material of the chapters as listed above.

Discussion: An interesting summary of “What we have learned” after one chapter/section’s presentation. “It’s the beginning of a quiet revolution I call The Reverse Movement, It is a profound change with lasting effects, where products and services and ease-of-transaction are delivered to the customer, not the opposite as it has been up until now.” Another highly interesting section is set forth in the fourth axis of alignment in the A4 Precision Alignment™ methodology which explains the concept presented by the somewhat perplexing title “Delight vs. Offering”; viz. “between the delight the customer is expecting after the acquisition of the product and the experience he or she receives using the product”. Further admonishment is provided to the effect that there is only one business regardless of whether it offers farm machinery, beauty products or anything in-between and that is the delivery of delight at a level the customer wants and expects. The author further reduces a company’s effectiveness to a simple formula: “Growth Contribution = Experienced Delight – Expected Delight.”  Further provided are steps required in taking what he titles the “Delightfulness Journey”. From replies to a questionnaire, numbers are gained which provide further information. Importance of asking pertinent questions, gaining necessary date, aligning them properly, gaining critical insight from them and finally applying them properly are stressed. The importance of Internal Alignment, as well as external, is critical for growth to occur. The Summary amusingly includes material “For those who want a quick reference … or are one of those readers who skip to the end.” The last 15% of the book are devoted to a most helpful Index, a sizable number of Acknowledgements and a modestly short About the Author.

5* Somewhat ‘different’ approach to initiate/continue business growth.

Leadership and Life Hacks

Leadership & Life Hacks ISBN: 9781946633835 ForbesBooks copyright and written by Alyssa Rapp.

Subtitled “Insights from a Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur & Executive”, the author offers an explanation of her personal alternative definition of ‘hack’ – “Woman friends in the same position always are seeking tangible ways to create impact and efficiency in our lives. You might call them secret sources or shortcuts to success. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s call them hacks.” She further explains there will be two sections – lead and live. She suggests the reader may proceed in any order desired – back, forward, ‘cherry pick’, or other. Further explanation is that “she will take you into the Boardroom, manage a household, strategies for answering e-mails, staying fit, and best utilization of my time.” Next, a commendatory Forward, and an Introduction explaining some of her educational and preceding entrepreneurial, as well as marriage/child bearing background, and her observance that “an industry that’s rife with regulation and inefficiency: it’s also ripe for disruption”. Also what assuming a position of CEO in another area would entail. Ultimately, the book opens with the first of ten chapters that provide material about things she did and discovered in her preceding position. The rest of the chapters discuss “Pivot versus Quit: when the going gets tough”; how to transition; hacking the health care industry; managing a board and/or other critical stakeholders; mentorship; leading a team; balancing mom, athlete, entrepreneur, executive; work hard, play hard; twenty-three mini-hacks you never knew you needed; a Conclusion to “keep swinging”; Appendix: reading list; More from Alyssa which includes a sizable number of pictures of her starting in childhood, her family and with  persons of importance in political and/or managerial positions.

Discussion: This book is another in the burgeoning number of books on entrepreneurial activity, CEO positions and management thereof as start-ups and/or changing such positions. However, it is set forth here from a less often encountered perspective, As such, it should be of particular interest to the growing number of women breaking through the ‘glass ceiling’ to take their place among the ‘elite group’ of business leaders. The relevance of certain parts of material included definitely would appear to be of greatest interest to this particular segment, but a large amount of the material presented is relevant to any reader contemplating similar activity. Instruction begins with the very first chapter when she provides a summary of the first 8 hacks and proceeds to offer more detail, following with 9-14 in chapter 2 and several more in each succeeding chapter, except for chapter 8 which details Life Hack #65. Chapter 9 concludes the total number of 77. Chapter 10 provides a few more of those that “have been most meaningful to” the author and pertain to “kids, partners, dual-career households, bodies, technology – and quinoa.”

Conclusion: A ‘different’ perspective on entrepreneurial/CEO development/management no doubt attuned to the increasing number of women advancing in this area. However, anyone interested in business affairs will discover a large number of the suggestions to be meaningful and helpful.

4* Most helpful for target audience; many suggestions valuable to all.