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The CEO Refresher Reviewers

Best Books



The Best Business Books
of All Time!


The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs

The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success
reviewed by Avil Beckford
Carmine Gallo has identified seven principles to guide innovation based on what he has learned from studying Steve Jobs, the Co-founder and CEO of Apple. Though the book presents a lot of information on the way Steve Jobs approaches innovation, there are many examples of others who are innovating in similar ways and achieving success. It's an excellent read!

Raising Eyebrows
“Tweezerman” Inspires Other Plucky Entrepreneurs
by Patricia Gale

Raising Eyebrows is a great American business story that offers insight into what it takes to build a strong and ethical company — whether it’s a one-person operation or a global company. It’s a good message for today’s unemployed and underemployed workers who have a modest entrepreneurial dream and the strong desire to make working for themselves a reality.
The Earth's Best Story
Can Baby Food Change the World? A Review and Entrepreneurial Tips from The Earth’s Best Story
reviewed by Gail Bradney
When twin brother entrepreneurs Ron and Arnie Koss set out to create the first organic baby food company, they planned on changing the world. With little business experience, no money, and a big dream, they launched Earth’s Best Baby Food, which revolutionized and empowered the organic foods movement and benefited hundreds of farmers and millions of babies.
No, by Jim Camp
Refresher Review by Gail Bradney

Did you know that showing up for a negotiation with a pen that’s out of ink can give you a subtle advantage? So can coming to a meeting without a creative power point presentation. And if you want to achieve the best possible outcome in a negotiation, invite the other side to say “no” to your proposal. These are some of the counterintuitive ideas found in the newest book by world-renowned negotiation pro Jim Camp.
The Hamster Revolution for Meetings
The Hamster Revolution for Meetings
Refresher Review by Gail Bradney
Through engaging, lively, and witty dialogue featuring the harried “businesshamster” Iris and a productivity coach she meets on a delayed flight, this fast-paced book packs tips, tools, and tricks into a 90-minute read that’s guaranteed to give readers a new outlook on time—and help them stop spinning their wheels in meetings.
Young Guns
Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneurs Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out On Your Own
by Robert Tuchman
In my recently published book, Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneurs Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out On Your Own I want to provides insight into the entrepreneurial process and environment.  Here is an outline of the sixteen chapters of the book to help guide you through your journey into starting one’s own business.
The Lazy Way to Success
The Lazy Way to Success - by Fred Gratzon
reviewed by Alexander Kjerulf
Fred Gratzon’s book The Lazy Way to Success is a joyous, thoughtful and provocative celebration of the notion that work should, above all, not feel like work. The book itself is absolutely beautiful with very funny illustrations throughout by Lawrence Sheaff. The tone is informal and irreverent but the book does not shy away from a few deep, complicated topics. I never rate the books I review, because I only review books I really, really like. The Lazy Way to Success gets my very highest non-rating :o)
Integrity: Do You Have It by Dennis Aubuchon
reviewed by Steven G. Lauck
Dennis Aubuchon has written a book that sets the definition standard for integrity: Integrity, Do You Have It? The book not only provides a definition of Integrity and how to spot it or the lack of it, it provides a guide to live with more Integrity. I highly recommend this book and I see it as a start to the real-world understanding of Integrity. It is up to those who choose to digest this book to go forth and apply the standard.
Better Ethics Now
Better Ethics NOW: Avoid The Ethics Disaster You Never Saw Coming (Second Edition) by Christopher Bauer, Ph.D.
reviewed by Steven G. Lauck
Better Ethics NOW is intended as a brief introductory book aimed at the multitude of readers who really need to know about ethics but want a brief and practical business book rather than a long-winded, theoretical, or philosophical one. To accomplish this, it takes a conversational tone and maintains a primary focus on essential and easily applied ideas and tools that the reader can put to use immediately. It uniquely addresses what we can all do as individuals to reduce our risk for ethics problems, no matter how unintentional those problems might be.
A Leader's Legacy
A Leader's Legacy by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner
reviewed by Ian Cook
Have you ever tried to define "art" or sum up what comprises it? Well, it's the same way with "leadership." Forests have fallen in aid of books written on the subject...and we still haven't captured it fully. A Leader's Legacy takes a good run at it. The authors have developed a highly credible level of expertise and research since the 1980's. Anything they write is worth picking up and absorbing. If you feel a hankering to do a little reassessing of your own approach to leadership but you are not ready to go through a 360° feedback process or attend an in-depth leadership retreat, this book is for you.
60-Minute Strategic Plan
60-Minute Strategic Plan by John E. Johnson and Anne Marie Smith
reviewed by Steven G. Lauck, PMP
60 Minute Strategic Plan is a great business book! As the back cover states "…. an innovative planning and problem solving system." It is 147 pages that engage both the logical left-brain and the creative right brain to develop and implement a workable strategic plan.
I can see the flexibility of using this workbook to tackle most, if not all, business issues in any department of any size company.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
by Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell's Blink is a fascinating exploration of rapid cognition, the "thinking" that takes place within the "blink of an eye." In the author's words "It's thinking - it's just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with "thinking." This is serious brain food!
The World is Flat
The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
reviewed by Steven Bryce
This is a very thought provoking book. It brings with it the excitement of being part of some of the greatest changes across the broadest sweep of its population that this world has ever been through. Friedman sets the stage with the "10 flatteners;" then discusses the implications of " triple convergence," and finally presents the "new rules" - "the small shall act big", "the big shall act small" and several more. The World is Flat - a must read!
Your Leadership Legacy
Your Leadership Legacy, Why Looking Toward the Future Will Make You a Better Leader Today
by Robert M. Galford and Regina Fazio Maruca
reviewed by Steven G. Lauck

Make no mistake you are leaving a legacy. It may be what you want to be leaving; it may not. If you are serious about leaving a positive legacy and having an impact on the legacies of those you manage, then use this book as a textbook. Do the exercises, write your legacy statement, and live your statement daily.
Beyond Code
Beyond Code: Learn to Distinquish Yourself in 9 Simple Steps - by Rajesh Setty
reviewed by Michael A. Lally
If you are looking to throw off the shackles of your current position and break free from the confines of your cubicle and begin a difficult yet ultimately, rewarding path of self discovery and career ownership, you should use Beyond Code as your starting point. De-commoditize yourself today! This book will start you down the path and you will return to it again and again throughout your journey.
Fire in the Corporate Belly
Fire in the Corporate Belly: Renewing the Company - Body, Soul & Bottom Line - by Tom FitzGerald
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz

Fire in the Corporate Belly is an insightful outline of the Preemptive Turnaround process. It describes the almost magical adventure of re-igniting the spirit of an enterprise to unleash creativity and talent, and achieve unprecedented levels of performance. See Tom FitzGerald's excellent articles in The CEO Refresher Archives here. (ed.)
Jack Welch and the 4E's of Leadership
Jack Welch and the 4 E's of Leadership:
How to Put GE's Leadership Formula to Work in Your Organization
by Jeffrey A. Krames

reviewed by Steven Bryce
The 4 E model is gaining fame in the business press. Whether you want to become such a leader yourself, and / or create a company of such people as your legacy, this is a very good primer on the leadership methods applied so capably at one of the world's great leadership factories.
3D Negotiation
3-D Negotiation by David A. Lax and James K. Sebenius
reviewed by Michael A. Lally

3-D Negotiation goes well beyond simply waiting for the other side to talk first once you are all sitting together at a table. Negotiation takes work. It takes planning. It takes analysis and research. And most of all you have to listen. If you are serious about learning the craft of deal design that creates lasting value, Lax and Sebenius are here to help.
Secrets of Special Ops Leadership
Secrets of Special Ops Leadership by William A. Cohen
reviewed by Michael A. Lally

From Leonidas leading the Spartans against Xerxes at Thermopylae in 484 B.C. to international special operations groups in Iraq and Afghanistan today, Dr. Cohen has analyzed commando teams throughout history. He finds the common ground among all commando teams, synthesizes their techniques and operating standards, and applies them to modern day business situations.
The Pebble and the Avalanche
The Pebble and the Avalanche: How Taking Things Apart Creates Revolutions by Moshe Yudkowsky
reviewed by Bryan Watson

The Pebble and the Avalanche is a good first step in the analysis of innovation via disaggregation, providing much descriptive insight. That said, there is a great deal of room in this area of the literature on innovation for further in-depth conceptual analysis.
Bull's Eye Investing by John Mauldin
Bull's Eye Investing - Targeting Real Returns in a Smoke & Mirrors Market - by John Mauldin
reviewed by Ian Bullock
What worked during the 1980s and 1990s won't work over the coming decade. An investment return relative to the market may have been satisfactory back then, but in today's market we have to focus on absolute returns, and that is the essence of Bull's Eye Investing. This is one of the most comprehensive analysis of the markets and the new bible for investors for the next decade and beyond, and one of the best business books of all time!
Citizen Brand
Citizen Brand:
10 Commandments for Transforming Brands in a Consumer Democrac
by Marc Gobe
reviewed by Andrea Dunowski
Citizen Brand is a fresh, innovative, right-brained perspective on the development of the emotional brand. It is not so much about forward thinking, but forward feeling ... It's an interesting read and an excellent resource.
The Randori Principles
The Randori Principles - The Path of Effortless Leadership - by David H. Baum and Jim Hassinger
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz
David Baum and Jim Hassinger have written a superb book applying the key principles of the martial art of aikido to business leadership. The connection between Aikido principles and business leadership flows very well from the authors' examples of specific maneuvers 'on the mat' to applications within organizations and interpersonal relations.
The Art of Profitability
The Art of Profitability - by Adrian Slywotzky
reviewed by Ian Bullock
In The Art of Profitability the author takes the subject of profitability out of the realm of strategic planning and away from the number-crunching; instead he writes about how profit happens. It reads like a play with many scenes. The Art of Profitability is a concise study of the uniqueness of many different profit models and the rigorous thought process required to get it right - and a thoughtful challenge to the reader to apply the principles to his/her own particular business situation.
The Phoenix Effect

The Phoenix Effect - 9 Revitalizing Strategies No Business Can Do Without
by Carter Pate and Harlan Platt
Written from the frontlines of restructuring large companies in crisis, restructuring specialist Carter Pate and Northeastern University professor Harlan D. Platt, gives all managers the tools to revitalize companies large and small, healthy and troubled.

Also see: A Conversation with Carter Pate .

  Freda Turner's Review:
In Egyptian mythology, the fabled phoenix was a beautiful gold-and-purple male bird that became a Greek symbol of immortality. The Phoenix Effect is about corporate renewal or continued existence. The authors, Carter Pate and Harlan Platt, share their experiences as Certified Turnaround Professionals (CTP) to illustrate strategies in restructuring organizations that are in need of a tune up or salvage a corporation in crisis. These turnaround authors suggest there are 9 strategies that can assist in deciphering corporate health. These strategies can be used by CEOs or leaders to renew corporate profitability to ensure continued existence just like the fabled phoenix. This is an excellent book and the authors provide the reader with numerous insights, examples and suggestions that have worked for other organizations to improve corporate prosperity.
Big Vision Small Business Big Vision Small Business
by Jamie S. Walters
Wow! We have a breakthrough in mindfulness and business! Big Vision, Small Business: The Four Keys to Finding Success and Satisfaction as a Lifestyle Entrepreneur, is a thought provoking new book that celebrates the art - and power - of small. It is an inspiration and ''must read' for every entrepreneur and small business owner. It is also "very large!" It provides invaluable insight for every CEO and corporate executive on the issues of personal success, satisfaction, balance, authenticity, integrity, values, business growth and what is truly meaningful and important. Congratulations Jamie Walters and Ivy Sea for your outstanding work!
Good to Great Good to Great - Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don't
reviewed by Freda Turner Ph.D.
For six years, Jim Collins and his 21-member research team studied 1,435 organizations to identify great business practices of organizations that continuously increased profitability and had global competition. His research provides several strategies that have helped organizations make the leap from good to great and will certainly be included the business courses that I teach.
Here Today Here Tomorrow Here Today, Here Tomorrow - Transforming Your Workforce from High-Turnover to High-Retention
reviewed by Freda Turner Ph.D.
Gregory P. Smith provides numerous suggestions on ways to turn an average organization into a highly productive, low-turnover environment where managers can focus on productivity - not recruiting and replacing an endless stream of workers. This book is a must read for all managers, coaches and HR personnel interested in strategic growth and higher productivity.
Toward Rational Exuberance Toward Rational Exuberance - The Evolution of the Modern Stock Market
reviewed by Ian Bullock
Mark Smith's research transforms what might otherwise appear to be a dry treatment of historical fact into a fascinating narrative replete with cameo biographies of the colorful personalities that have both brought about, or caused the stock market to evolve from being a primitive insider's game to becoming the economic force that it is at the present time affecting a large proportion of the population, both directly or indirectly.
Be The Leader Be The Leader: Make The Difference
reviewed by Ross Otto and Peter Schiller
Paul Thornton has written a very straightforward, concise and most effective guide to the "nuts and bolts" of leadership. We have received comments from our viewers and will feature them here for your review.
Filling the Glass Filling the Glass - The Skeptics Guide to Positive Thinking in Business
reviewed by Ian Bullock
Barry Maher doesn't agonize over whether the glass is half-full or half-empty, his stated mission with this book is to tell us how to fill the other half of the glass.

Leadership, by Rudy Giuliani
reviewed by Darlene Y. Pineda

Why read Leadership, by Rudy Giuliani? You need to read this book because it describes the values and principles that gave him the ability to be a hero.

The Only Business Book You'll Ever Need to Read: The Wisdom of Robert Townsend
by Skip Corsini
I read this book every year. Townsend's ideas live onward, among those lucky enough to have found them. In my mind no individual has contributed as much to the world of business, yet his name rarely comes up in conversation.

Micro Branding - Build a Powerful Personal Brand and Beat Your Competition - by T. Scott Gross
reviewed by Bob J. Holder
Micro Branding is a fine presentation for small and medium businesses and individuals for brand development. The author does a good job explaining and illustrating what micro branding is. He also presents good implementation ideas, strategies and tactics. The book is strong on "how-tos" and step-by-step processes for enacting the author's ideas and strategies - overall a five star work.

How to Become a Great Boss: The Rules for Getting and Keeping the Best Employees - by Jeffrey J. Fox
reviewed by Freda Turner
In a time of considerable corporate downsizing, it’s more important than ever for bosses to surround themselves with and motivate great workers. Jeffrey Fox now he turns his attention to the process of staying on top by fostering teamwork and creating a sturdy network of support.
The book provides readers many excellent tips and strategies on being a great boss - and that results in employees, the boss and the organization all emerging as winners.

E-Business Project Manager - by H. James Harrington and Tom McNellis
reviewed by Bob J. Holder

E-Business Project Manager is an exceptional text for teaching and training would be E-Business project managers and a useful publication for experienced project mangers.

When Generations Collide - by Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman
reviewed by Freda Turner
For the first time in history, we have four separate generations working side-by-side. They are the Traditionalists, Baby boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Y. While there is really no magic birth date that makes one a member of a specific generation, one's experience and sharing of history helps shape a 'generational personality' during their formative years.

Book Summary: The Rebel Rules - by Chip Conley
summarized by Regine Azurin and Yvette Pantilla
What does it take to get in touch with your inner rebel and run a business on your terms? Today's Information Age has spawned a number of rebel business leaders - people who have the passion, instinct, agility and vision to rewrite the rules of business so it is ethical, respects diversity, and means more to people than simply turning a profit.

Book Summary: Effective Networking for Professional Success
by Regine P. Azurin and Yvette Pantilla
We are all "self-employed" now. Networking is one skill you need to practice to get ahead and survive these uncertain times.

First, Break All The Rules: What The World's Greatest Managers Do Differently
reviewed by Regine P. Azurin and Yvette Pantilla
Based on a mammoth research study conducted by the Gallup Organization involving 80,000 managers across different industries, this book explores the challenge of many companies - attaining, keeping and measuring employee satisfaction.

Spiritual Intelligence - The Ultimate Intelligence by Danah Zohar & Ian Marshall
reviewed by Ian Bullock
Spiritual Intelligence, first published in 2000, is another milestone publication about how the mind works.

Survivability: Career Strategies for the New World of Work
reviewed by Joan Donogh
In this drastically altered workplace, you need strong coping skills to survive. If you are not consciously managing your life and career you are in considerable danger of being left behind.

Abolishing Performance Appraisals - Why They Backfire and What to Do Instead
reviewed by Ian Cook
Abolishing Performance Appraisals boldly presents the skeptical position of a growing number of managers, human resource professionals, consultants and researchers: PA's don't do what they are purported to do AND they cause a lot of other damage in the meantime. Coens and Jenkins may be right.

The Rules For Growing Rich - Making Money in the New Information Economy
reviewed by Ian Bullock

A useful handbook indeed for the investor prepared to systematically work at growing rich.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Revisited
reviewed by Ian Bullock
There is a timelessness to Stephen R. Covey's message that warrants a periodic re-visit.

Confessions of a Venture Capitalist - Inside the High-Stakes World of Start-up Financing
reviewed by Ian Bullock
In her career Ruthann Quindlen has shown an impressive knack for positioning herself near the center of the most powerful evolutions in technology. Confessions of a Venture Capitalist by Ruthann Quindlen will not disappoint.

The Tom Peters Seminar - The Race Beyond
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz
It is truly an adventure to get the full treatment and re-traceTom Peters' incredible logic and 'in-your-face' no-bull impact from at least the first seminar.

Be the Leader, Make the Difference
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz
As a leader you can "make the difference" by challenging people, building their confidence, and coaching them to succeed. An excellent work by Paul B. Thornton.

Mad-Dog Prosecutors: and Other Hazards of American Business
reviewed by Ian Bullock
Michael Zinn writes of the ways of the law, the tactics of take-over vultures, and the powers of an over-zealous prosecutor.

The Creative Executive: How Business Leaders Innovate by Stimulating Passion, Intuition and Creativity
reviewed by Joan Donogh
A refresher review of Granville N. Toogood's interesting and entertaining book.

Tom Peter's Pursuit of Wow!
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz
An exceptionally enjoyable adventure and one of the best business books of all time! A refresher review from the Archives.

Blown To Bits - How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy
reviewed by Ian Bullock
The authors have taken a complex subject, stripped it down to its bare essentials, and shown new sources of competitive advantage.

The Creative Executive: How Business Leaders Innovate by Stimulating Passion, Intuition and Creativity
reviewed by John McLain
Highlights of executive coach Granville Toogood's latest book.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Management - Tales from Parenthood & Lessons for Managers
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz
Familiar stories of the challenges of parenthood and the very relevant learning for leadership in business - by Chris and Reina Komisarjevsky.

DOW 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting from the Coming Rise in the Stock Market
reviewed by Ian Bullock
A refresher review of James K. Glassman & Kevin A. Hassett's work.

Believing Cassandra - An Optimist Looks at a Pessimist's World
reviewed by George Thabault
"Toward sustainability - a source of hope that is also a business opportunity, a hot investment that is also intensely idealistic." Sustainability is the notion that the economy must be designed not to rob future generations of the ability to satisfy their material needs and to realize people's individual human potential. A review of Alan Atkisson's new book.

How to Profit From the Y2K Recession
reviewed by Ian Bullock
A refresher review of John Mauldin's timely work.

The Loyalty Effect
reviewed by Joan Donogh
The hidden force behind growth, profits, and lasting value - how to build sustainable improvements in value creation and loyalty - a review of Frederick Reichheld's work.

Meditations on Business
reviewed by Ian Bullock
New business heroes carry the human spirit forward by providing business models that integrate and enrich on all levels - by John Dalla Costa.

The Growth Warriors
reviewed by Ian Bullock
Creating sustainable global advantage for America's technology industries - a refresher review of the work of Ron Mascitelli.

Soaring With The Phoenix
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz
Renewing the vision, reviving the spirit, and re-creating the success of your company - an intro to a new work by James Belasco and Jerre Stead.

Gung Ho!
reviewed by Joan Donogh
Instill energy and enthusiasm into every person in the workplace - by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles.

reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz
Choosing service over self interest - Peter Block has written a profound work.

The Crisis Counselor
reviewed by Ian Bullock
An excellent handbook designed to prevent, manage, and thrive on business crises - by Jeffrey R. Caponigro.

Leading Change
reviewed by Joan Donogh
Only leadership can get change to stick - the eight stage change process - by John P. Kotter.

reviewed by Joan Donogh
The future of your company depends on it - Al Ries has a compelling point of view.

Everybody Wins! A Life in Free Enterprise
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz
Gordon Cain's remarkable story renews our faith in intelligence, business enterprise and the human spirit.

Only The Paranoid Survive
reviewed by Joan Donogh
CEO's and strategic inflection points, strategic dissonance, and traversing the 'Valley of Death' by Intel's Andrew S. Grove.

Fear, Greed and the End of the Rainbow
reviewed by Ian Bullock
How do you hang on to what you've got and avoid getting clawed when the bear arrives - by Andy Sarlos.

The Invention That Changed the World
reviewed by Ian Bullock
A review of Robert Buderi's work about the numerous scientific discoveries that brought us to where we are today.

12 Views From Women's Eyes
reviewed by Rick Sidorowicz
A review of Laura Ricci's brilliant work on how to manage the (gasp) differences among men and women in the workplace.

The Pinball Effect
reviewed by Ian Bullock
A review of James Burkes' witty and engaging look at the unintended consequences from scientific discoveries.

The Warren Buffett Way
reviewed by Ian Bullock
Follow the master by doing your own thinking, use relatively simple methods, and have the courage of your convictions - a review of Robert Hagstrom's work.

Related Topics: The Best Business Books of All Time!

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