Business Book Summaries

  • This work offers a summary of the book «THE LONG TAIL: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More» by Chris Anderson.

    Chris Anderson is editor-in-chief of Wired magazine. He previously worked for seven years for The Economist and six years for Nature and Science magazines.
    In The Long Tail, Anderson demonstrates that the real mother lode of commercial success for twenty-first century businesses will be in multiple-niche marketing rather than trying to score a few mass market hits.

    According to Anderson, a new business model is arising based on the economics of abundance rather than scarcity. This new model rests on the idea it will be better and more profitable to sell a few copies each into a million niche markets than it will be to try and develop one product which you sell two or three million copies. The great success stories of the future will be the companies which are aligned with the long tail of the demand curve rather than those which bring hit products to market.

    In this interesting book, Anderson manages to explain a murky trend in clear language. The Long Tail makes entrepreneurs and the rest of us think about this new business model.

  • This work offers a summary of «BECOMING A CATEGORY OF ONE: How Extraordinary Companies Transcend Commodity and Defy Comparison» by Joe Calloway.

    Joe Calloway is a business consultant specializing in branding as well as a public speaker and restaurant owner. He consults with companies in a wide range of industries ranging from newspapers in Sweden, hotels in Great Britain and computer companies in South Africa to world brands like BMW and IBM.

    In Becoming a Category of One, he argues that instead of aspiring to lead your product category, you should create a new category and be the only one in it. That's the goal of true business differentiation. The very best way to win and keep customers today is to create compelling customer experiences. If you can do that, you place your company beyond the reach of price wars and into the realm of genuine competitive advantage.

    The goal, therefore, is to become extraordinary - to become a Category-of-One company by doing what no one else does. This is the only rational way you can lift your company out of the commodity trap and into the ranks of the high achievers. Don't just try and compete in your industry - create and dominate your own unique business category.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME: How to Generate a Lifetime of Unlimited Wealth» by Robert G. Allen.

    Robert Allen teaches people how to accumulate wealth through seminars, books and audio programs. He is the author of Nothing Down and Creating Wealth, both of which were New York Times #1 bestsellers.

    In Multiple Streams of Income, Robert Allen explains how to achieve financial independence in three phases. First, learn how to control your personal cash flow and develop good habits for handling it and investing it effectively. Then, develop and grow a portfolio of income streams from varied sources. Finally, learn and then apply the strategies by which wealth can be retained and passed on as a legacy in the future.

    Allen refers to a Spanish saying to express his philosophy: «'Salud, Dinero y Amor y Tiempo para disfrutarlo' - health, money and love, and the time to enjoy them. Some of life's greatest enjoyments and most of life's greatest disappointments stem from your decisions about money.» In Multiple Streams of Income, the author gives useful tips to create income with little or no investment.

  • This ebok offers a summary of the book "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries.

    Why do so many startups fail? The business myth says: A lone entrepreneur - beavering away in a lab or a garage somewhere - through hard work, grit and sheer perseverance develops a great product which then becomes a blockbuster hit. That sounds appealing but the reality is most startups tend to burn through their resources and then disappear because they never get around to seeing what their potential customers think of what they're developing. They worry about the product first and assume customer demand will be there automatically.

    To succeed with a startup, you've got to manage it differently. Instead of developing a business plan, find ways to accelerate your learning and validate customers demand. The best way to do this is to build a prototype (with minimal features) and sell it to some early adopters. Then change the product repeatedly - daily if necessary - and keep supplying your customers with the new and improved versions. Listen to their feedback and use those ideas to make a better version and then get more feedback on that. Keep iterating until you get a fully featured product which your customers love.

    In other words, go through the Build-Measure-Learn loop as often as you can. If you make validated learning the real aim of your startup, you stand a better chance of success. Focus on what customers want, utilize an extremely fast cycle time and take a scientific approach to making decisions. That's the essence of the Lean Startup approach.

    ERIC RIES is an entrepreneur and blog author. He is a cofounder and chief technology officer of IMVU, a virtual community developer. He is also a frequent keynote speaker and is currently entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School. The Lean Startup methodology has been written about in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Harvard Business Review and the Huffington Post.

  • This ebook offers a summary of «FIRST, BREAK ALL THE RULES», by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

    Managing employees productively is exceptionally hard to achieve. It takes a deft touch to be able to balance all the competing interests: the company's, the customer's, the employee's and the manager's own interests to name just a few. Yet some managers consistently do just that, while others flounder and fail.

    Over a 25-year period, the Gallup Organization surveyed employees and managers to try and identify the patterns of success great managers' use. In fact, there emerged four keys that great managers use to draw exceptional performance from those they are responsible for. If these keys to unlocking world-class performance work for the great managers, it makes sense for everyone interested in producing similar results to study these keys and implement them in the context of their own business requirements.

  • A wonderful summary of the rags to riches story by Richard Tedlow. The book describes Andy Grove's early childhood in war-torn Hungary, and how his departure along with thousands of other refugees landed him in America. From his humble beginnings his career led him to a central position in silicon valley working at Intel. From a young age Andy understood the value of getting an education and was determined to get one even if he could not afford the fees of more prominent institutions. «In 1998, Andy Grove said that 'a lot of what is good in America I learned at City College. They accepted me with respect, without condescension. They gave me a start, and they gave it in a classy way. It's an institution that is crucial to the working of America, and America should be proud of it. I am.'» We learn about the challenges Andy faced during his time at Intel, and the incredible decisions he made with his colleagues when faced with major competitors like IBM. The summary ends with a few key principles that Grove presented to the board of directors at Intel. They in themselves summarize his winning business strategy, making this an interesting read for directors, managers and technology fans.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «AOL.COM: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads and Made Millions in the War for the Web» by Kara Swisher.

    This summary starts with the story of Bill Von Meister, a telecommunications entrepreneur. In his early days von Meister's career looked somewhat like an exercise in trial and error. He spotted opportunities to develop useful telecoms business models but had a series of failures before finally joining up with right man, Steve Case, and landing on the right path.

    The company we now call AOL was built on the shaky foundations of a declining gaming industry. In its early days it worked fiercely against all odds, faced with harsh competition from Microsoft, and frequent technical slip ups which put them out of favor. But there was one thing they did exceedingly well, thanks to the guidance of their marketing executive Steve Case. AOL focused on communications, community and clarity - three areas which would enhance their users' online environments and their interaction with each other. They also launched an extensive marketing program in 1993 which received a phenomenal response and sent their stock price soaring. The summary concludes with a useful list of the factors that led to AOL's success, as well as giving some insight into the challenges which face it in the current market.

  • This ebook offers a summary of "Bad Boy Ballmer : The man who rules Microsoft" by Frederic Maxwell.

    Bill Gates is a name inextricably linked to Microsoft, and it always will be. What many people don't realize is that Steve Ballmer works so closely alongside him that they almost act as a single unit. «Gates is the techie, the strategist, the commander-in-chief, whilst Ballmer is the business guy, the tactician, the field marshal.» Although neither of his parents had the privilege of attending college, Steve Ballmer's parents always assumed he would. Fredric Maxwell describes Steve as «the brightest of the bright. Everybody, after a few minutes, would now his amazing intelligence.» He was smart, loud, and hard to miss. He started at Harvard in the summer of 1973 where he met Bill Gates. There different personalities drew them together and they became close friends. Gates was anti-social, entrepreneurial, rich and highly opinionated while Ballmer was very sociable, thrifty and outgoing.

    After college Steve got a job at Proctor and Gamble, after which he applied to Stanford Business School. At the time when he was applying for his summer internship he was approached by his old friend Bill Gates who offered him a job at his newly founded company, Microsoft. After some hesitation, Ballmer accepted the job of 'assistant to the president', making him the 28th employee of Microsoft (which, at the time, was essentially a group of programmers). From managing the firm's recruitment, to fending off competitors, and eventually becoming the company's CEO, this summary tells the amazing story of a highly intelligent, focused and inspiring individual.

  • This ebook offers a summary : "Bargaining with the devil: When to Negociate, When to Fight" by Robert Mnookin.

    In the business world, people and companies are often faced with conflict, and the emotions that surround these can make it hard to stand back and assess the best course of action. When should one just accept and move on, and when should one negotiate or go straight to warfare? With the cool-minded rationale of a lawyer, Robert Mnookin creates a decision-making framework to assist in such situations. He first lays out three challenges which you must overcome before making a decision on when to negotiate:

    Untangle your emotions from the situation Analyse costs and benefits of negotiating versus other viable alternatives Address the moral and ethical issues involved in deciding whether to negotiate with an enemy This summary makes me think back to the late 19th century when American artist James Whistler sued John Ruskin for libelous comments against him. Despite winning the lawsuit, Whistler came out the other end with hurt pride and an empty bank account. His winnings amounted to only one farthing, which naturally did not cover the lawyer's costs. With this logical summary of Mnookin's book, you will be able to avoid falling into such traps and can enter negotiations with confidence that you have enough backing to support your decision.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «BEHIND THE CLOUD: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company - and Revolutionized an Industry» by Marc Benioff.

    Marc Benioff founded Salesforce.com in 1999 and currently serves as chairman and CEO of that company. Salesforce.com is a leader in enterprise cloud computing and has received a Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award.
    In Behind The Cloud, Marc Benioff explains how he grew his own billion-dollar company.

    «The future wasn't about simply improving on what was already done; it was about being bold enough to make big, sweeping, dramatic changes. With those ideas in mind, I started Salesforce.com with a mission to do enterprise software differently. We wanted to take advantage of a new platform - the Internet - to deliver business applications cheaply through a Web site that was as easy to use as Amazon.com.» «Now, ten years later, our small company is a big one. The few initial employees who gave Salesforce.com everything have grown into a few thousand employees. Revenue has escalated to more than $1 billion a year.» In Behind The Cloud, Marc Benioff demonstrates how you can successfully develop your company to becoming a billion-dollar company.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «BEN & JERRY'S: THE INSIDE SCOOP, How Two Real Guys Built a Business with a Social Conscience and a Sense of Humor» by Fred «Chico» Lager.

    Fred «Chico» Lager is a former CEO of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream company. He joined the company in 1982, and together with Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, he built this successful company.

    In Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop, Fred «Chico» Lager tells his own experiences creating this brilliant business. Indeed, in less than 15 years, Ben & Jerry's grew from an ice cream parlor in an abandoned gas station in Burlington, Vermont, to a publicly traded corporation with annual sales of over $100 million.

    But what characterizes Ben & Jerry's is that this company made it to the top while remaining one of the most innovative, progressive and socially responsible businesses in the world. They stayed true to their vision, fought for what they believed was right, and were generously rewarded.

    Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop is an inspirational business book for entrepreneurs struggling with their own young business as well as a great read for ice cream lovers.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «BEST PRACTICES: Building Your Business With Customer-Focused Solutions» by Robert Hiebeler, Thomas Kelly & Charles Ketteman.

    Robert Hiebeler is the Managing Director of KnowledgeSpace, an Arthur Andersen project dedicated to the productive leverage of knowledge. Thomas Kelly is the Managing Partner of Arthur Andersen Knowledge Enterprises, a business focused on e-commerce and Internet based businesses. Charles Ketteman is the Managing Partner of Arthur Andersen's Business Consulting Practice.

    Arthur Andersen conducted a $30 million research project to identify specifically what world-class companies do better than anyone else. Six business processes were identified and labeled ''best practices'' because they represent the optimum way for companies to achieve extraordinary results.

    Taken together, these six business processes combine in a total commitment to and focus on the customer. Best-practice companies vigorously attempt to understand markets, form close associations with customers, design, market and deliver products that customers want. In the process, best-practice companies provide unequaled levels of service to their customers. When everything in the company is focused on learning and responding to what the customer wants, world-class performance can be achieved.

    Best Practices is the book you need if you wish to learn from the best companies.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «AUTOMATIC WEALTH FOR GRADS... and Anyone Else Just Starting Out» by Michael Masterson.

    After finishing university, most students dream of becoming financially independent by finding a good job. Masterson, a highly published author and well-seasoned business entrepreneur, has a substantially more ambitious vision of financial independence than more students even aspire to. He believes that people should earn ten times what they need to live on each year in order to live off interest generated by investments. After much experience in the matter, Masterson has proposed a fail-safe principle - you should commit to saving 15% of everything you earn and spread it across five important areas which will increase your wealth.

    This succinct summary includes key quotes from Masterson's book, including one where he defends his focus on 'becoming rich'. He says that it is not the be all and end all of life, but it certainly makes life more enjoyable and can be achieved more easily than you think once you set the wheels in motion. It is simply about learning how to save and invest the right proportion of your income to see long-term rewards! This is a really helpful and practical read for college students or recent graduates.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «B2B: How To Build a Profitable E-Commerce Strategy» by Michael Cunningham.

    As the founder and CEO of an international technology consulting firm, Michael Cunningham is well placed to be giving advice about e-commerce. There are huge advantages in B2B e-commerce that have come about thanks to the dynamic marketplace at our fingertips. The trick is, not to hang around. Now is the time to act and get involved, becoming a leader and pioneer rather than a second rate follower. Amongst the many advantages to B2B e-commerce, Cunningham lists the speed and quality of communication between firms, the reduction of transactional expenses, and the increased buying power of the two firms.

    /> This summary helps you take immediate action by outlining the steps you need to take. B2B is a really indispensible guide to incorporating B2B e-commerce into your company's strategy. Cunningham tells you how to go about things the right way and fast, including advice about how to train your staff, and how to ensure you have a fully integrated plan that is sustainable and effective in the long term.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «BEATING THE BUSINESS CYCLE: How to Predict and Profit from Turning Points in the Economy» by Lakshman Achuthan and Anirvan Banerji.

    Lakshman Achuthan is managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute, a private research group which analyzes business cycles and sells its research to Fortune 500 companies, major fund managers and government agencies. Anirvan Banerji is director of research at the Economic Cycle Research Institute.

    Many people now assume the business cycle has been mastered, and there is no need to worry about economic recessions or recoveries any more. This point-of-view, however, might be overly optimistic. The economy will continue to rise and fall in the future, and those who accurately forecast these future turning points will have the greatest opportunity to position themselves advantageously.

    In Beating The Business Cycle, Achuthan and Banerji give concrete advice on how to use the ebbs and flows of the general business cycle advantageously. It will help you break from the pattern of basing economic decisions on the recent past, and will show you how to use a decision-making framework that can see through the delusions of the crowd, and anticipate the next turn in the economy.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «BEATING THE MARKET, 3 MONTHS AT A TIME: A Proven Investing Plan Everyone Can Use» by Gerald Appel and Marvin Appel.

    Gerald Appel is publisher of Systems and Forecasts, an investment newsletter. He is also founder of Signalert, an investment advisory firm with more than $300 million in client assets under active management.

    Marvin Appel is CEO of Appel Asset Management Corporation and Vice President of Signalert. Dr. Appel currently serves as the editor of Systems and Forecasts.

    In Beating the Market, 3 Months at a Time, they argue that savvy, active investing works. Instead of handing all your money over to a financial planner or investing everything in a mutual fund and hoping for the best, you should become a self-sufficient investor.
    The key to making it happen is actually quite simple: they advise you to follow 5 steps in order to manage your investments so well that you end up beating the market.

    Beating the Market, 3 Months at a Time offers well researched strategies that are likely to increase you investment returns significantly while reducing risks associated with buying, hoping, and holding. A must read for investors (experienced or not).

  • This work offers a summary of the book «BEYOND e: 12 Ways Technology Is Transforming Sales and Marketing Strategy» by Stephen Diorio.

    Stephen Diorio is founder and president of IMT Strategies, a sales and marketing strategy firm specializing in the application of new technology to grow sales.

    In Beyond e, Diorio argues that the key marketing challenge of the present era is not simply to add an e-commerce department to the existing business. Instead, good marketers are becoming much more proactive - they are using new technology creatively to grow market share and create entirely new revenue streams.

    Technology is evolving so rapidly that very few companies actually take full advantage of all the opportunities to improve that become available to them. Smart marketers understand that, and turn technology chaos into a competitive advantage. They use technology to come up with revenue engines that are faster and more efficient, allowing them to grow faster than everyone else in their industry.

    As Diorio says, «business leaders today are looking beyond e-business hype to understand how selling technologies can actually help them grow revenues and make their customers happier».

  • This work offers a summary of the book «BILL & DAVE: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company» by Michael Malone.

    Michael Malone is a technology journalist. He is the former editor of Forbes ASAP and is currently a Web journalist for ABC. He has also written feature articles which have been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wired and Fast Company magazines.

    In Bill & Dave, Malone tells the story of how Hewlett and Packard built the world's greatest company. He starts by explaining their childhood days and their student life. He then covers how they met and started the Hewlett-Packard company in a garage in 1939 when they built their first product, an audio oscillator. It was the start not only of a legendary company but of an entire way of life in Silicon Valley and, ultimately, our modern digital age.

    The reader will come to know that many of the best practices in management common today especially in IT companies originated from HP.

    Bill & Dave is a very well written and informative book. A perfect business adventure story for anyone working in IT, as well as a compulsory read for all HP employees.

  • This work offers a summary of the book "IT´S A WIRED, WIRED WORLD: Business the AOL Way" by David Stauffer.
    David Stauffer is a business writer, with articles published in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Management Update, Across the Board and other business periodicals. Mr. Stauffer, who heads his own firm Stauffer Bury, Inc., is also the author of Nothing But Net: Business the Cisco Way.
    AOL is the world´s most successful Internet company and the most valuable brand name of the digital business era.
    In It´s A Wired, Wired World, Stauffer argues that the fact the company has been able to achieve preeminence in such a highly competitive marketplace is impressive, considering it didn´t even exist until 1985. The company´s longevity and ability to move forward in the face of intense competition is unmatched.
    Clearly, something about the AOL business model works. Exactly what the "secret sauce" is may be subject to speculation and further analysis, but Stauffer identifies 6 elements of the AOL business model.
    In short, AOL is a great template for how to succeed. Anyone who develops a similar business model, and who follows the same principles of success AOL uses, stands a better-than-even chance of enjoying comparable success.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «A GOOD HARD KICK IN THE ASS: Basic Training For Entrepreneurs» by Rob Adams.
    Rob Adams is the founder and managing director of AV Labs, an early-stage venture capital company.

    Many aspiring entrepreneurs believe that their ideas are groundbreaking, their markets are ripe and all they need is some capital and a bit of advertising and they're good to go. That's not the case and Rob Adams' book is a frank reality check about what really matters in a startup. In A Good Hard Kick In The Ass, he suggests a set of nine fundamentals to starting and growing a business. Adams also pinpoints five key milestones to reach for when getting your product to market, from validating the prospective market and designing a business model to lining up investors and proving the product can be made.

    This summary demonstrates the importance of shifting your emphasis from the business model to the sales model, with useful explanations of the four most common sales models used by startups. If the product sells investors will back it and your company will be a success. Anyone looking to start and grow a new business will appreciate the candid advice in this engaging summary.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «BORROWING BRILLIANCE: The Six Steps to Business Innovation By Building on the Ideas of Others» by David Kord Murray.

    David Murray is an aerospace engineer turned entrepreneur, inventor and Fortune 500 executive. He has notably served as the head of innovation for Intuit and other Fortune 500 companies and has worked as the Senior Manager for Advanced Technologies for President Reagan's Star Wars program. In Borrowing Brilliance, Murray argues that new ideas are always constructed out of existing ideas. What appear to be genuinely original ideas always combine snippets of one idea with parts of another to come up with something which has never before been combined in that way. To be specific, when you look at the creative process from a big picture perspective, you'll always find the genesis of any new idea comes through a six-step process. By working through this six-step process, you come up with something new which combines aspects or elements of old and established ideas into a different mix.

    «Brilliance is actually borrowed, easily within your reach, for, really, it's knowing where to borrow the materials from and how to put them together that determines your creative ability.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «BOTTOM-UP MARKETING: Building A Tactic Into A Powerful Strategy» by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

    Most traditional marketing is carried out top-down. That is, the senior manager decides on a strategy the company will follow and the middle managers decide on the tactics to achieve that strategy. However, in Bottom-Up Marketing, Ries and Trout argue that history's most successful companies have invariably developed strategy from the bottom-up. In this method, the company first identifies a tactic that is delivering a sustainable competitive advantage in the minds of consumers. The company then focuses its resources on exploiting that tactic to the greatest possible degree by building the tactic into the company's entire marketing strategy. Bottom-up marketing suggests that the best and most effective way to become a marketing strategist is to put your mind into your marketplace and to find inspiration where customers come into contact with your product or service. By immersing yourself in the tactics of whatever works in reality, you can develop a highly effective marketing strategy.

    Bottom-Up Marketing is a useful and powerful book which will help you carry out your marketing strategies successfully.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW IN BUSINESS I LEARNED AT MICROSOFT: Insider Strategies to Help You Succeed» by Julie Bick.

    Microsoft is one of the successful companies in the world, and is often considered to be a shining example of a business that is able to change quickly and effectively to accommodate shifts in the market. The intense, dynamic working environment is filled with highly motivated and hard-working individuals, making it a superb place to learn strong management skills.
    With her experience as a senior product manager for Microsoft, Julie Bick brings Microsoft's management strategies under the microscope to identify what works and what doesn't. She outlines all she has learnt on running a business, being a good manager, being a strong communicator and managing a career - all lessons learnt at Microsoft. Each section is broken down into simple and actionable lessons, from how to give constructive feedback to always keeping an up-to-date resume. Whilst an experienced manager might find this summary a little obvious, it is certainly a good starting point for an aspiring or less experienced manager, or someone in the early stages of their career.

  • This work offers a summary of the book «ALMOST PERFECT: How a Bunch of Regular Guys Built WordPerfect Corporation» by W. E. Pete Peterson.

    In 1977 Bruce Bastian started writing a 3-D computer software package while he was at university. Noticing his potential, his computer science Professor offered him a job to write a word processing software package. By 1980 Bastian, Ashton and Don Owens had launched their first software for general computers, and were making $400,000 in sales. By 1993 the first version of WordPerfect for Windows was launched and sales had risen to $533 million, whilst the workforce had grown to a fleet of almost 3,000.

    Written by one of the company's earliest employees, Pete Peterson, Almost Perfect tells the story of the company's rise to fame. You hear straight from the horse's mouth about the company's progress and innovation as well as its challenges and growing pains. The summary of Almost Perfect concludes with a section on what makes a successful company addressing key factors from organization structure to cash flow limitations. Working through these questions is a fantastic way to measure the success of your company, and to improve it based on Peterson's experiences and suggestions.

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