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Review: Two Great Books for Business

By CO Staff @canadaone |

Chances are good you made a number of New Years resolutions. If that's true, the chance is even better that after an initial effort, your enthusiasm will wane and you will return to older, bad habits. Here are two books that can help you keep on track.

Conversational Capital: How to Create Stuff People Love to Talk About

Author: Bertrand Cesvet

Title:    Conversational Capital: How to Create Stuff People Love to Talk About
Author:     Bertrand Cesvet
Publisher:    FT Press
ISBN:    0-13-714550-0

Any business would love to have the brand capital of a company like Apple, whos customers are enthusiastic fans. Wanting and getting have been separated by a large chasm, that is until the book Conversational Capital was printed.

This book reveals why people talk about a brand to their family, friends and co-workers. Once you understand why, you are equipped to tackle the how of making this opportunity work for your own business.

One of the things I like best about the book was the sense of irreverence and authenticity. After reviewing numerous marketing books where the author pretends to hold some "secret" that others have missed, it was refreshing to have the authors boldly state that they have not invented anything new and that they are merely giving a name to something that has been happening for years.

Conversational Capital is an engaging book. It is clear, easy to follow. It uses real examples, asks you to think about the ideas that are raised and then provides a blueprint for generating conversational capital in your own business. We would definitely recommended it for marketers, business owners and managers.

Work the System

Author: Sam Carpenter

Book Details:
Title:    Work the System
Author:     Sam Carpenter
Publisher:    North Sister Publishing
ISBN:    978-0-9801127-0-2

Work the System is written for business owners and managers who are tired of working long hours yet barely surviving in business. The premise of the book is simple: the natural world is a series of systems and sub-systems that work together. Putting similar systems in place in a business will reduce the number of hours you need to work while increasing the effectiveness and profitability of the company.

The premise of Work the System is sound. In fact, it is quite similar to the ideas Gerber presents in his best selling book The E-Myth Revisited. One key difference between Gerber's book and Work the System is that Carpenter outlines a very clear way to implement systems in any company.

Carpenter uses the example of his own telecommunications company to explain how he came to realize the importance of systems and to demonstrate how he implemented systems within his own business. Life was not always good for the author. In fact, at one point he found himself working 100 hour weeks, living in his office with his two teenage children. On the face of bankruptcy, Carpenter realized he need to reinvent the way he ran his business, which led him to develop a systems perspective.

This turned out to be the turning point for both his company and his personal life. Today Carpenter's business employs 30 people, brings in over $2 million in revenues a year and the author earns more money, while spending much less time in the office.

While I liked the ideas in this book, there were a few drawbacks. The author managed to alienate me is in the introduction when he said that those born after 1970 were gripped by the lure of instant gratification. He goes on to make many references to experiences he had in his own drug-filled, free lovin' hippie days and laments the mistakes of his generation.

Reading the book felt like he was speaking to his peers from the 60's, when the message of the book applies to all readers. I would also have like the author to have been more direct. I found myself skimming through personal anecdotes and repetative content to reach the core ideas that were interesting.

Nonetheless, systems are the foundation for excellence, if properly implemented. This book is a worthwhile investment for any business owner in a chaotic struggle to keep his or her company alive.

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