Smarter, Faster, Cheaper

February 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Smarter, Faster, Cheaper by David Siteman Garland

Image by stevegarfield via Flickr

If you’re looking for a kick in the pants to get your New Year going — take a look at Smarter, Faster, Cheaper by David Garland.

The first book by this entrepreneur/mediapreneur basically calls out the question; what are you waiting for?

David uses interviews from business leaders like Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, Lewis Howes and Tony Hsieh to solidify his theory that it’s easy to get ideas going and take hold of your business no matter how big or small.

Standout themes for me:

  • Get going now to build a community
  • Be your niche markets DJ (my current twitter strategy)
  • Be the go to person
  • Formula for success: share quality content, interact/help the right people
  • Educate, entertain and inspire

In close,

  • This book is a great resource for launching new ideas
  • Hockey references always help!
  • Follow: @therisetothetop

Making Ideas Happen

January 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

The headline inside the cover jacket sums it best: Ideas Are Worthless If You Can’t Make Them Happen. Founder and CEO of BehanceScott Belsky created a very useful review that provides methods for managing goals and seeing ideas through from start to finish.

Like recently read Delivering HappinessMaking Ideas Happen is also broken out into three sections:

  1. Organization & Execution
  2. The Forces Of Community
  3. Leadership Capability

Part 1.  Organization & Execution

For me, the first section amplified tools I already use to keep on track and stay organized. Focusing on Action Methods was also supported by another recently finished book; Linchpin by Seth Godin.  Both books focus on the importance of shipping ideas with rock solid deadlines.

Part 2.  The Forces Of Community

The second section starts by harnessing forces around you to develop projects and capitalize on feedback that strengthen goals.

Key points for me when pushing ideas to your community:

  • If nobody knows what you are doing and what you need to succeed, then you’ll fail to engage anyone
  • Showcase your strengths
  • Fight the desire to wait for instructions

Part 3.  Leadership Capability

This section dives into chemistry of creative teams, creative team management and examples on effective leadership.  I enjoyed this section of Scott’s book the most, thinking back to my own experiences — combined with growing new management traits for self-leadership.

In close,

  • I strongly recommend this book for designers, freelancers or if starting a new business
  • Techniques highlighted are easy to adapt, you will start using them right away
  • Follow: @scottbelsky@behance@the99percent

Books next on my list:

  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
  • Made To Stick by The Heath Brothers (reading this one before their new book)

Open Leadership

November 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Charlene Li

If you work as a digital consultant or handle social media projects for a large company, then Charlene Li’s Open Leadership is a must read.  Like Seth Godin says:

“Buy two copies of Charlene’s new book, one for your boss and one for you.”

While reading this I often flashed back to past co-workers or bosses who would truly benefit from the many tips featured by Charlene.  Not to mention the case studies that can easily be applied in the sports and event marketing industry.

Section I

The first section of this book is a great resource for building strategies on how best to use Facebook, Twitter, your blog or any other social media platform — and most importantly, how to measure results to know if your program is working.

The cost saving benefits provided by social media stands out especially.  Great diagrams are shown in areas such as market research, being ahead on customer service or how – implemented correctly – social technology can save you big time on your bottom line.

Section II

The second part ties in strategy learnings and benefits of being open with a structure to follow that helps get your company on side.  The social media guideline check list alone is a tool that should be referred to regularly.

Section III

This section was my favourite as Charlene investigates who makes strong open leaders, why and how to become a good open leader yourself. Many social technology experiences are described from a variety of business leaders including Brian Dunn, CEO at BestBuy, Michael Dell founder of Dell and Howard Schultz from Starbucks.

In close,

  • Favourite line: Be open, Be transparent, Be authentic
  • Key message: Leadership is about relationships, and because social technology is changing relationships, leadership has to change.
  • Follow: @charleneli

Related Articles:

The Book of Awesome

July 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

Recently I completed The Book of Awesome. A book comprised of short stories/observations taken from a web site that author Neil Pasricha created — 1000awesomethings.com.

I knew it would be a quick read, so I tackled it before starting my list of more business focused books. After reading it I wasn’t sure about posting a review. For me, it’s a book that I will always have around; to pick up and refer to for a smile down the road.

However when completing, I learned the sad news that someone I had worked with and admired passed away after a long battle with cancer. Right away I recalled the entry by Neil titled; Smiling and thinking of good friends who are gone. A description that for sure captures my thoughts of Mike Brown.

I had the great fortune to work with Mike over the last 5 years. The last 3 years specifically growing WG Authentic via Wayne Gretzky’s official web site; Gretzky.com. Mike was someone I always looked to for advice or bounced ideas off of in many situations.

My best memory of Mike though will be from Wayne Gretzky’s 2010 Fantasy Camp — an event Mike organized each year. I stood with Mike during one of the games as he watched his son play in the tournament.

With Mike’s health in decline, it was moving to see how much he took in that game and how he enjoyed nothing more than seeing his son skate on the ice. Something that I will always remember as I begin to watch my kids grow and participate in many different things.

Being able to work closely with Mike Brown. AWESOME!

For more on The Book of Awesome:

Delivering Happiness

July 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Delivering Happiness delivered just that to me as a reader. It allowed me to peer into someone else’s career path, one to which I could absolutely relate.

In this 1st book from the Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, he breaks things down into three sections:

1.  Profits

2.  Profits and Passion

3.  Profits, Passion and Purpose.

Part 1: Profits

“Envision, create and believe in your own universe, and the universe will form around you.”

The opening of this book tells Tony’s story and highlights the earliest thoughts of a website to market shoes. In this he threads a theme of connectedness and the importance of community development.

A sample of Tony’s tips to live by:

  • Remember it’s a long-term game
  • Stick to your principals
  • Differentiate yourself
  • Look for opportunities beyond just the game you sat down to play.
  • You never know who you’re going to meet, including new friends for life or new business contacts.

How I relate:

His early endeavours reminded me of my passion to work in sports and volunteer for any and every organization that appealed to me.

Taking risks and embarking on new ventures was also something he touched upon – like creating LinkExchange. This reminded me of when I made the call to leave my first full time job at Molson Indy to join a hot dotcom start-up — Internet Sports Network. One month Internet Sports Network was featured by The Globe and Mail as a Top 5 hottest company in Canada, and within a year, we were out of business completely.

Part 2: Profits and Passion

It is in this section that Tony really spells out the ups and downs of growing a company and tries to tell the reader what makes Zappos so special. As a style twist, this section is full of actual emails and documents provide proof of tests and successes.

The birth of the Zappos Culture Book takes a company mission statement to a entirely new level. Hsieh reveals “The ‘Culture Book” concept and in my opinion, it’s a fantastic tool for gaining valuable feedback from co-workers,  colleagues, suppliers and clients.

Key to this are the Zappos core values;

1. Deliver WOW through service

2. Embrace and drive change

3. Create fun and a little weirdness

4. Be adventurous, creative and open-minded

5. Pursue growth and learning

6. Build open and honest relationships with communications

7. Build a positive team and family spirit

8. Do more with leas

9. Be passionate and determined

10. Be humble

These will be referenced down the road.

Part 3: Profit, Passion and Purpose

It was this section that put the book on my top 10 list.

Tony asks one simple question: What is your goal in life?

Then the reader is taken on a ‘happiness’ tour, where various models are reviewed. Examples and illustrations provide the reader with the ability to dive deeper into the pursuit of happiness.

Favourite Tweet to live by:

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

– George Bernard Shaw

In close,

Hello World!

July 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here I am — excited to start documenting and writing a series of new blog entires.  This space will grow to include career learnings and business ideas as I continue to shape my sports marketing, digital media career.

To start though, I am going to use my blog for reviewing and taking notes from recent business books. Thanks to Josh’s Personal MBA, I have structured an extensive reading list including Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky and of course many readings from leaders like Seth Godin.  My summaries or personal notes from these great books to soon follow.

Please send any book recommendations you may have as well. Areas of interest — communications, productivity, decision-making, marketing, management, leadership … and great sports stories.

All the best, Craig

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Book Reviews category at Craig Johnson.