The Success Essentials by Daniel R. Murphy

Book Review

Title and Author:  The Success Essentials by Daniel R. Murphy

Synopsis of Content:

The central message of this book is that success can be learned. We can read about the success of others and observe what they do in daily life and from their successes and failures we can learn what to do and what not to do.

No matter what we set out to do this book teaches the fundamental skills and disciplines that have allowed so many successful people to excel and achieve what they set out to achieve.

The book discusses the importance of attitude and our mental state to success. It teaches how to determine our chief aim or goal in life and how to focus on that. It tells us why that is so critical to success.

You then learn about the power of dedication and persistence, the price one must pay for genuine success, the importance of planning and setting goals, and the importance of executing on those plans. Finally there is a lot of discussion about self-discipline in a number of areas to enable us to succeed.

What I found useful about this book:

This book is based on proven techniques for success. There are no secrets to success and no magic involved. It is about proper focus, planning, execution and persistent dedication. It is about developing and maintaining the proper disciplines to achieve.

Readability/Writing Quality:  
The book is aimed at a general audience. It is well organized and easy to read.

Notes on Author:
The author has spent the last three decades studying success. He put what he learned into practice to go from poverty to become a successful public servant and rise to the top of his organization. He writes and blogs on success, leadership, wealth building, and personal development.

Other Books by This Author:
Your Financial Success
Effective Time Management

Related Website:

http://www.thesuccessessentials.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Success begins in the mind. We must determine what we want to achieve and develop commitment and dedication to that aim. We must believe we will achieve what we set out to do.
  2. Proper planning is essential to success. We must set goals properly and then execute on them daily to succeed.
  3. Success in any endeavor requires a high level of commitment, dogged persistence and the cultivation of proven self-discipline. Focus and hard work are essential to success.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: The Success Essentials by Daniel R. Murphy

Copyright holder: 2011 and 2013 by Daniel R. Murphy

Publisher: Albany Publishing Company

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

The 5 Essential People Skills – Dale Carnegie Training

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  The 5 Essential People Skills – Dale Carnegie Training

Synopsis of Content:

This book got is start as training material for a Dale Carnegie course and has since been made available to all of us. The book focuses on basic interpersonal skills needed in all areas of life and especially to be successful in business. The five essential skills covered include rapport building, curiosity, communication, ambition, and conflict resolution.

These fundamental skills are discussed in terms of assertiveness, rapport building, curiosity and understanding in business, persuading others, asking questions skillfully, assertive skills for listening, and speaking and ambition. All of the skills mentioned are framed within the context of the proper level of assertiveness needed to be effective. There is also an excellent chapter on business etiquette.

The book addresses many aspects of how each specific skill should be used. It focuses on Carnegie’s teaching that we can be most effective by being indirect and helpful rather than insulting others.

This book is dense. It contains a mountain of information that a casual read-through may not catch. It is a book that should be studied, not just read.

What I found useful about this book:

The book is easy to follow and full of detail about all aspects of each skill discussed. Real life applications and examples are provided.

What I did not like about this book:

I do not have much to criticize here. The book is instructional in nature so can be a bit dry at times.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book reads rather like an instructive textbook but is well written, clear and well organized. Skill development is broken down into steps for the reader to follow whether one is in need of the most basic development or more advanced skill building.

Notes on Author:

Much but not all of the content was written by Dale Carnegie. Some portions refer to Carnegie and quote him thus written by someone else. The book was used as an instructional text by Dale Carnegie and Associates, Inc. and adapted for publication to the general public.

Dale Carnegie was a giant in the self-improvement industry during the 20thcentury. He became a household name with the publication of his best known work, How to Win Friends and Influence People published in 1936. He launched  career as a writer and trainer and in the 1950s his Dale Carnegie Training programs spread throughout the nation. Though Carnegie died in 1955 his programs have continued and grown significantly to the present time.

Related Website:

www.dalecarnegie.com

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Influencing others is accomplished through building rapport with them.
  1. Assertive curiosity is crucial to finding opportunities and being creative.
  1. Using proper business etiquette helps you be more effective with other people promotes a cooperative and friendly work environment.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: The 5 Essential People Skills – Dale Carnegie Training

Copyright holder: Original Edition ©2004 by Nightingale-Conant. Text edition ©2009 by Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc.

Publisher: Simon and Schuster (Fireside)

Get the Book:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Reinvention by Brian Tracy

A Books2Wealth Book of the Month Review

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy (Nov 2014)

Title and Author:  Reinvention by Brian Tracy 

Synopsis of Content:

In Reinvention Tracy asks us to reevaluate ourselves, where we are and where we are going. His premise is that the world is changing rapidly and our ability to change and adapt to that changing world is key to success.

He invites us to examine who we are and what we want. He asks us to evaluate what we are worth in the marketplace. He follows this with a chapter on how to get a job which is actually a repeat of some of his previous work.

He wraps up with tips on how to get ahead, how to get the most out of yourself and some steps on how to reinvent yourself.

This book is very change-oriented. Much of what is written is covered in many of Tracy’s previous books so you will not find a lot of new material here. What makes this book different is the focus – it is focused on making changes in yourself to achieve what you want to achieve.

What I found useful about this book:

It is the future oriented and self-directed nature of the book that is most attractive and makes it motivational. If you need a kick in the pants to start making positive changes in your life and move from where you are to where you want to be this book provides some good insight and motivation.

What I did not like about this book:

I wish there was more new material in the book. Most of its content is repeated from past books by Tracy. There is nothing fundamentally new here and if you have read most of his other books you will find that disappointing. If you have not read his past work it will be fresh and inspiring.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

As with all his books Tracy writes well here. It is clear and well organized though the chapter on getting a job seems out of place.

Notes on Author:

Brian Tracy is a renowned personal improvement author and trainer. He is prolific having authored dozens of books and many audio and video programs.

Related Website:

http://www.briantracy.com

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. To reinvent yourself you must take a careful inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, determine where you want to go and what you want to achieve, and then take action to achieve it.
  1. A major characteristic of successful people is that they are very future oriented. They spend a lot more time thinking about the future than the past.
  1. How successful you are is determined mostly by how you think. Thinking positively and in a future oriented manner leads to greater success.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Reinvention by Brian Tracy

Copyright holder: 2009 Brian Tracy

Publisher: American Management Association

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Top Performance by Zig Ziglar

A Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Top Performance by Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar was the bestselling author of a number of great books on success and sales. He has been featured on numerous TV shows and was a gifted public speaker. He was both informative and inspirational.

In Top Performance, published in1986, Ziglar combines the things he had learned in decades of work in the business world to provide a blueprint for just what the title suggests – top performance. It is about getting the most out of yourself and others in your organization. It is about optimum performance.

The book is divided into three parts: The Art of Top Performance, The Science of Top Performance and Motivating Top Performance.

The entire book is largely based on Ziglar’s key axiom, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”. This approach began as his sales theory. Selling things to people is difficult at best. But helping people is much easier and they are much more receptive to being helped. In fact they will more often willingly pay for being helped.

The first part of the book concentrates on the focus of emotional thoughts to enable one to perform at one’s best. It is about your personal choice to be a top performer, causing others to want your leadership, expecting the best and thereby inspiring the best, looking for the good and finding it, etc.

The second part is about the importance of effective communications, how to build genuine morale and positive contributions, rewarding and motivating others, and other management gems.

The third section concentrates on Ziglar’s unique approach to motivating people through education and the key to action as the source of performance measurement.

For each section he develops a simple formula that is easy to remember and keys one in to the more detailed information set out in each chapter. At the end of the chapters he wraps up with a list of key principles which summarize what you should learn from the chapter.

This approach is easy to read, easy to understand and remember. It is a great study aid. For those of you who are wise enough to return to good books and study them further than the first read, this books I organized in a way that promotes that kind of study.

Top Performance is full of anecdotal examples to illustrate the basic principles he introduces you to. It is full of great quotes from many famous and not so famous sources. It is full of tools, like the Seven Step Goal Setting Formula on page 154. It is full of these gems that warrant a second and third review.

Anyone serious about building a library of truly good classic books on success and personal development should have a copy of Top Performance on their shelf. You can get them in paperback and used for a very modest price.

About the Author:

Zig Ziglar, 1926-2012, was an accomplished salesman, businessman, trainer, writer and public speaker.

Rating:

Over all this is a very good book and very useful. I recommend it.

©1986 by Zig Ziglar

Berkley Publishing Group (Penguin)

This review originally published in October 2014.

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Rewire: Change Your Brain by Richard O’Connor, PhD

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author: Rewire: Change Your Brain by Richard O’Connor, PhD

Originally published: September 2014.

Synopsis of Content:

This book is an exploration of self-defeating behaviors and how to overcome them. These behaviors include procrastination, overeating, chronic disorganization, staying in bad situations, excessive worrying, risk taking, passive aggression and self-medication and many more.

The author draws on psychology and brain science to understand why we engage in self-defeating behaviors and how to overcome them through a better understanding of how our brains are “wired” and how we can “re-wire” them.  He calls our propensities to engage in these behaviors our “undertow”.

The author, a psychotherapist, describes the mind as divided between a conscious self and an automatic self. Many of our self-defeating behaviors are rooted deeply in the automatic self (subconscious). Habits are formed largely in this automatic self. Bad habits are in fact “wired” into your brain and this makes them difficult to overcome. To overcome bad habits we must learn to re-wire our brain.

Habit is reinforced by repeatedly doing them and in some instances by the pleasure principle – because some habits bring us pleasure. The brain actually rewires itself when we learn something new. “Neurons that fire together wire together” he says.

It is possible to rewire the brain by being aware of how it works and by forcing ourselves to behave differently and consistently for at least three months. In fact the re-wiring process begins immediately, as soon as we change behavior. But to attain a sufficient degree of re-wiring to truly change a habit seems to require at least three months of consistent behavior. Even then if the behavior is not continued the re-wiring can be lost.

Habits are therefore self-reinforcing. Each time we engage in a habit (good ones or bad ones) the more likely that habit will persist.

O’Connor offers hope for those who want to overcome deeply seated and long lasting bad habits. He provides exercises to help re-wire the brain.

What I found useful about this book:

This book provides an understanding on both a psychological level and a physiological level of how the brain works, how habits are formed, how they are reinforced and how they may be changed.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is well written a reasonably well organized. It is a bit dense as one might expect from the writing of an expert but the ordinary reader should not have difficulty with it.

Notes on Author:

Richard O’Connor, MSW, PhD is an author of four books and is executive director of the Northwest Center for Family Science and Mental Health in Litchfield County, Connecticut. He supervises the work of 20 mental health specialists. He is a practicing psychotherapist in Connecticut and New York.

Other Books by This Author:

Undoing Depression

Undoing Perpetual Stress

Happy at Last

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Understand that habits, both good and bad, are hardwired in our brains. The more we do them the more these physical connections are reinforced.
  1. It is possible to change this hard wiring – to rewire the brain through persistent conduct.
  1. Our beliefs and assumptions can heavily influence out thinking. It is wise to re-examine our beliefs and assumptions regularly to make sure they are not supporting bad habits.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Rewire: Change Your Brain by Richard O’Connor, PhD

Copyright holder: 2014 Richard O’Connor, PhD

Publisher: Hudson Street Press – Penguin Group

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Compelling People – The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut

A book review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  Compelling People – The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut

Originally published: Book of the Month: #18 August 2014.

Synopsis of Content:

This book is a study of how we influence others and how effective we can be in doing so. The authors cite large numbers of psychological studies to support their conclusions and add in their own experiences with people they’ve worked with.

The authors divide all of our abilities to influence others into two categories: strength and warmth. Ideally we should balance both and use both in generous amounts.

They discuss the “hand we are dealt” – the actual attributes we have in warmth and strength as well as general perceptions about those qualities in people with our given traits: gender, ethnicity, age, etc.

Despite the hand we have been dealt the authors make the case for our ability to change what we know and do and to enhance our ability to influence others by strengthening our warmth and our strength and by maintaining an ideal balance.

They then apply these concepts to specific areas of human conduct: leadership, public speaking, politics, and more.

What I found useful about this book:

While this is not a scientific book there is a significant reliance on social science to bolster the authors’ conclusions. There is no discussion of the validity of the studies they cite but they are not making this stuff up as they go. The social science provides a depth of insight and some credibility.

The book is full of insights, some expected and some surprising. Anyone who wants to have any influence over others (and all but a hermit likely fall in that category) can learn a lot about what enhances influence and what does not.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

While not a scientific tract this is an academic work and can be a bit plodding. It is well written however and is an enjoyable read over all.

Notes on Authors:

John Neffinger graduated from Harvard and Columbia law school and practiced law. He served as Director of Communications for the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. As a consultant he has advised politicians and business leaders around the world.

Matthew Kohut is managing partner at KNP Communications. He has a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He advises and coaches leaders in business and government. He has been a speech writer.

Both Neffinger and Kohut write for the Huffington Post.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Both strength and warmth as perceived by an audience govern how influential a person will be. Both qualities are essential to gain a listener’s confidence and trust. Confidence and trust are essential to influence.
  1. Ideally one must master a balance with a high level of both warmth and strength to be the most influential. The most influential people have learned to blend these traits.
  1. Both warmth and strength must be genuine. People generally have a strong sense to detect phoniness and will not connect with a person or be influenced unless those qualities are perceived as genuine.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Compelling People – The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential by John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut

Copyright holder: John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut 2013

Publisher: Hudson Street Press, Penguin Group, New York

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Book of the Month – July 2014

Title and Author:  Getting Things Done by David Allen

Subtitle: The Art of Stress-Free Living

Synopsis of Content:

This book is about how to organize everything you work with: every document, email, and every other item in your home or business office and how to manage these things along with your projects and tasks in the most effective manner.

The table of contents provides an excellent overview of the book:

  • The Art of Getting Things Done
  • Getting Control of Your Life – the 5 stages of mastering workflow
  • The 5 phases of project planning
  • Practicing Stress-Free Productivity
  • Setting up the time, space and tools
  • Corralling Your Stuff
  • Processing: getting “in” to empty
  • Organizing: setting up the right buckets
  • Reviewing: keeping your system functional
  • Doing: making the best action choices
  • Getting projects under control
  • The Power of Key Principles
  • The Power of the Collection Habit
  • The Power of the Next Action Decision
  • The Power of Outcome Focusing

Allen’s system is based on some basic principles:

  1. Anything that must be done in the future clutters your mind and distracts you unless you can get it out of your mind. He maintains that as long as it is on some list your mind will dwell on it. Put it on a list and you can forget it. So he recommends putting everything – and I mean everything – on a list to be scheduled or worked on later. This applies to your next medical exam, replacing the batteries in your flashlight and the next big project at work. This will empty your mind of the “to-do” list and free it to relax and do more important work.
  1. Maintain a minimum number of lists. Too many lists and they will be unmanageable, too few and they will also be unmanageable. He provides guidelines for how many is ideal.
  1. Lists must be reviewed regularly and at least weekly. If a list is not managed it gets out of control.
  1. As you go through things on your desk or in your email in-box follow this simple rule: If it can be done in two minutes or less, do it. If it will take more than two minutes file it and either schedule it, drop it or delegate it. The goal is to maintain a clean desk and empty in box.

The mechanism you use to keep your lists and manage them is not important. Whether it is paper or electronic he urges you to use the one you are most comfortable with.

What I found useful about this book:

Allen’s book is truly one of the best time management books I’ve read. It is full of great ideas and his systems work – I know as I’ve used them. If you set up the system he advises and manage it regularly you do get control over your tasks and time. The trick is to follow the steps and manage the system regularly.

What I did not like about this book:

Allen short sells the discipline it takes to follow the collection habit he describes. This takes some real effort. The payoff is worth the effort. However Allen soft sells the effort required to some extent.

Also Allen fails to address a real problem some people have: some people simply have too much to do. No matter how it is organized it is simply more than one can get to. A chapter on how to deal with this problem would be helpful.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

Getting Things Done is very readable and easy to follow. It is well organized and provides clear steps to follow.

Notes on Author:

David Allen is an author, consultant, coach and keynote speaker. He advises some of the world’s largest businesses.

Other Books by This Author:

Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress Free Productivity – 2002

Getting Things Done – C Pbp – 2008

Getting Things Done – B – 2012

Related Website:

http://gettingthingsdone.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. You must get organized to be productive and reduce stress. This means getting everything organized from your desk top to your computer. It means getting all your tasks on a list so your mind is not mired in keeping track.
  1. Practice a simple formula for organizing what needs to be done: if it takes 2 minutes or less do it; if it takes more than two minutes either schedule it, dump it, file it or delegate it.
  1. Lists must be actively managed at least weekly. Develop this discipline to keep on top of things and free your mind for creative thinking and work.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Copyright holder: ©2001 David Allen

Publisher: Penguin Books

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Three Simple Steps by Trevor Blake

A Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  Three Simple Steps by Trevor Blake

Synopsis of Content:

This is a somewhat different kind of book on how to succeed written by a very unique businessman, and that is actually his point, we are all unique, we should embrace and use our individuality and avoid conformity. Although the author is a businessman he has spent a substantial amount of time as a “serial entrepreneur” and has on numerous occasions gone against the advice of others. He marches to his own drum.

Although he groups his success principles under three broad categories: Reclaiming Your Mentality, Creating Winning Ideas, and Transforming Ideas into Achievements; each main grouping contains a number of subcategories.

The gist of his thesis is that first we must assume full control of our own mental state. Having done this we act intentionally and thoughtfully, not automatically. Here he uses a Situation – Thought – Reaction paradigm which is very similar to ones discussed by Jack Canfield, Stephen R. Covey and others. This idea that we can and should choose our own reaction to outside stimuli is an old one. However Blake gives us a different perspective on this. As with much of his thinking here he is influenced by his extensive study of physics and other branches of science.  He explains how science has given us modern insight into how we think and react that is missing from other writings on this subject.

Next the author uses teachings on the power of the mind and the law of attraction that go back at least to the teaching of William James, Prentice Mulford, and James Allen. Again however his understanding and application of the law of attraction is different from what has been written before – he gives us a new way of looking at these things. He then teaches how these principles can be used to become more creative and successful.

In fact Blake provides a fresh look at ideas that have been around a very long time. He also presents new ideas to replace the old. He says that a positive mental attitude alone is not enough to be successful. Real accomplishment in the US has been by individuals who worked very hard and paved their own path.

Best of all this book makes you think. He forces us to take a critical look at a lot of success literature and reexamine it in light of both what science has discovered and what his own experience has taught him.  He gives you some simple tools, like practicing quiet time, a form of meditation, which is very useful. This is not a book to read through quickly and put away; this is a book to study carefully and return to.

Blake is a fresh voice on success. His work can be appealing to the conservative businessperson as well as the new age reader. His writing is insightful and forces the reader to think in new ways about some very old ideas. He has used these techniques to achieve success.

Blake is also bold. He does not pull punches. He criticizes those things he finds unworthy of belief or unproven. There is a refreshing genuineness to his writing.

The author is donating the profits from the book to cancer research. He says he is not a “success guru” but a successful businessman who has discovered what works in the pursuit of personal and financial success and wants to tell the world about it.

Usefulness:

This book is very useful to anyone who wants to expand their ability to think for themselves and to increase their effectiveness. It will be useful to anyone seeking genuine success.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is well written. He uses stories to illustrate his ideas. He draws heavily on his own experiences and that of his family but also on science and the experience of others. The book is well organized and easy to read.

Notes on Author:

Trevor Blake is a serial entrepreneur and businessman. He has excelled in sales and in building businesses. He has developed new business models. He has demonstrated the courage and fortitude to go his own way despite heavy criticism. He was born in the UK but has since relocated to the US. He describes himself as not being a “self-help guru” but a pragmatic businessman.

Related Website:

http://trevorgblake.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Pause before you speak. Give yourself time to really think about your response rather than just responding with a gut response. Choose your reactions carefully. Be self-aware.
  1. Create intentions rather than goals. An intention should be in the positive, what you want to come about, but phrased in the present tense, as though it has already happened.
  1. Take quiet time each day to mediate for about 20 minutes and then to reflect on and repeat your intentions.

I highly recommend this book.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Three Simple Steps by Trevor Blake

Copyright holder: 2012 by Trevor Blake

Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.

Books2Wealth Book of the Month for August 2013

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson

A Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson

Synopsis of Content:

This is an in depth study of the life of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer and one of the most instrumental people in the development of the personal computer and other digital products.

Jobs was a genius, an artist, a successful businessman, a corporate leader, a thought leader, an innovator, a rebel and an eccentric. In the late 1970s he dropped out of Reed College in Oregon and founded Apple with his friend Steve Wozniak in 1976. He developed the concept of a fully integrated personal computer with software and hardware that Apple controlled exclusively. He was forced out of Apple in 1985 and went on to form his own company to build the NeXt computer. He then became a key player in Pixar and helped launch it as the most successful digital animation producer in the world. Apple eventually purchased Pixar.

In 1994 he returned to Apple at their invitation when the company was not doing well. What followed was one product success after another with the iMac, the iPod, iPhone, iTunes and iPad. On October 5, 2011 Jobs died of pancreatic cancer which he had struggled with for over six years. He was 56.

In addition to telling the story of Apple and Job’s influence on it and its products, the book delves into his personal life and his personality. Few punches are pulled. Jobs is depicted as narcissistic and often brutal in his relationships with colleagues, friends and family. He generally put his work before everything else. His relationships with his children were often troubled. He had little contact with his first daughter, Lisa.

In 1991he married Laurene Powell, a business student. Their marriage is described as successful though Powell had to learn to live with someone who was often difficult.

Jobs was known for being brutally honest in his work. He would declare a proposed idea or product “shit” and demean the people involved in it. He claimed his single aim was to assemble A class people to build A class products to serve the public in the best possible way. He had a unique ability to get the most performance out of people who respected him despite his often difficult inter-personal style. He also would lavish praise on people and their work when he liked it. People often found themselves liking him despite his rough edges.

He was famous for perfecting the “launch” of a new product with a carefully planned stage presentation. New products were kept secret until he unveiled them at these presentations. He was a master at public relations and marketing. He did not believe in asking the customer what they wanted. Rather, he believed it was his role to discover what the next big thing should be and then educate the public about it. He would tell them what they needed and this was almost always successful.

His artistic and design emphasis kept a focus on hardware and software that was elegantly designed. At the same time he possessed a vision of the future while paying excruciating attention to detail.

The computer industry developed along two separate tracks: the open system where software was licensed on different computers, championed by Bill Gates at Microsoft and the totally controlled and integrated model that Jobs maintained at Apple. He would rarely license any Apple software for other manufacturers. If you wanted Apple software and products you had to get them from Apple. Apple became the largest computer company and the most profitable on Job’s watch.

The book does a masterful job of showing us who Steve Jobs was as a person, a CEO, a designer, visionary and businessman. He was a complex man with a genius for knowing what the public would want before they knew what they would want.

This is an outstanding book both as a biography and a study of what makes success in business.

Usefulness:

Reading about successful people is always useful. You can learn a lot about the importance of focus, simplicity, dedication to detail and devotion to quality from this book. You will also learn some aspects of a CEO personality which probably would not be wise to emulate.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

The book is very well written. It holds your attention and is well organized. The author juggles lots of characters and time lines well. You never feel lost.

Notes on Author:

Walter Issacson is the CEO of the Aspen Institute. He has been chairman of CNN and managing editor at Time magazine. Issacson also wrote bestselling biographies of Benjamin Franklin, Henry Kissinger and Albert Einstein.

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. It is critical to maintain focus to be successful. It is as important to know what to say no to as to what to say yes to. Jobs always focused on perfecting a few products rather than being weighed down with too many.
  1. Attention to detail is as important as attention to the grand vision. Jobs understood this and launched a series of high quality products that generated customer loyalty and lots of revenue. He said he was not interested in making money but in changing the world. If he made money in the process that was fine.
  1. To get the most out of people you must challenge them. A high quality company needs high quality people and some ruthlessness in maintaining quality is essential to product success.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson

Copyright holder: 2011 Walter Issacson

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Book of the Month for July 2013

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Into the Storm by NT Perkins with Jillian B. Murphy

A Book Review by Daniel R. Murphy

Title and Author:  Into the Storm by Dennis N. T. Perkins with Jillian B. Murphy

Synopsis of Content:

Two books in one, Into the Storm is a thrilling account of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart yacht race and especially the challenges faced by the amateur crew of the AFR Midnight Rambler, a small 35 foot yacht that won the race. In the second part of the book the author analyzes the team dynamics of the winning boat and those that lost. From this analysis the authors provide excellent lessons on how to form a team, manage a team and the team dynamics that work best, especially when the team is faced with an extremely demanding challenge.

At its best the Sydney to Hobart race, in Open Ocean, from Sydney, Australia to Hobart, Tasmania, some 732 statutory miles, is a grueling challenge in sailing. It requires the best prepared boats and teams, the highest caliber of sailing skill and the most effective team work. At its worst this race is deadly. The 1998 race was unique in that the boats sailed into a hurricane they did not expect and faced extreme peril. Of the 115 boats participating only 44 reached the finish line. Twenty-five sailors were washed over board and seven died. Fifty-five sailors were rescued. It was the largest sea rescue in Australian history.

The crews that stayed in the race were faced with over 36 hours of bruising conditions. The waves reached 100 feet and winds exceeded 100 knots. The overall race winner, the AFR Midnight Rambler, accomplished what larger boats and professional sailors were not able to due to the remarkable team work.

In the second part of the book the authors discuss the ten prime lessons of team work that made the AFR Midnight Rambler a survivor and a winner. These lessons can be of great value to any team even those not faced with a life threatening challenge.

Usefulness:

Anyone who works with other people, anyone who is part of any kind of team and anyone who depends on a team working effectively will benefit from reading this book. While most readers will never face the challenge this race provided the lessons in team work taught will benefit every team no matter what the challenge.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

This book is very well written. The first part is a fast paced page-turner that is entertaining, educational and inspiring. The second part provides useful analysis that is easy to understand but not over simplified.

Notes on Author:

Dennis N. T. Perkins, author of Leading at The Edge, is CEO of Syncretics Group. His group serves as consultants to helping leaders succeed. He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. Jillian B. Murphy is Director of Client Services at Syncretics and works as an executive coach.

Related Website:

http://www.syncreticsgroup.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. Make the team the rock star. High profile sailors are often given special privileges on boats and they are called rock stars. Treating individual team members this way can have a negative effect on team cohesiveness and effectiveness. Making the entire team a unit and making all members equally important contributes to team success.
  1. Extreme preparation for any challenge is the first essential. When the team believes they have prepared enough they need to prepare even more. Nothing can be over looked and nothing can be assumed.
  1. Effectiveness at “the Edge” requires Relentless Learning by the entire team. It requires continuous innovation and improvement of skills and methods. In the highly competitive world where teams operate today this principle is essential.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Into the Storm by Dennis N. T. Perkins with Jillian B. Murphy

Copyright holder: 2013 by Dennis N. T. Perkins

Publisher: Amacom Books, a division of the American Management Association.

Books2Wealth Book of the Month for June 2013

Buy the book here:

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com