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Worth the Read

Buy•ology14 Jan

Buy •ology – Truth and Lies About Why We Buy; Martin Lindstrom;  www.martinlindstrom.com

Summary – Martin presents the findings from his groundbreaking, three-year, seven-million-dollar neuromarketing study, a cutting-edge experiment that peered inside the brains of two thousand volunteers from all around the world as they encountered various ads, logos, commercials, brands, and products. His startling results shatter much of what we have long believed about what drives us to buy and ultimately creates brand loyalty. 

Comment – I found Martin’s study of the impact of product placement fascinating. Do meticulously planned, shrewdly placed products really penetrate our long-term memory and leave a lasting impression? Yes, but only if the product plays a fundamental part of the story line and makes sense within the show’s narrative.  I can’t help thinking that this commonsense approach is also applicable to sponsorship decisions and results.  Certainly consumers are more likely to see and register a connection when a program is sponsored by an organization with complementary objectives, i.e., a healthcare company sponsoring wellness programs, versus little or no alignment in objectives, i.e., healthcare company sponsoring a professional sports team.

The chapter on subliminal messaging …. Call JDS Connects, NOW! Call JDS Connects, NOW! … was eye-opening, as was Martin’s study comparing brand loyalty to spirituality and religion.  


I highly recommend this book, which is a fun and lively read, to anyone working in the consumer advertising/marketing arena. Doing so will challenge you to rethink your beliefs about why your customers buy, and how to keep them buying in the future.




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Worth the Read

Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense14 Jan

Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense – Profiting from Evidence-Based Management; Jeffrey Pfeffer & Robert I. Sutton    www.evidence-basedmanagement.com

Summary – The candid book challenges leaders to commit to evidence-based management as a way of organizational life. And it shows executives how to turn this commonsense approach into common practice.

Comment – This book was presented to me as research that would challenge my argument for corporate cultural changes and investing in employee engagement. True you could pull out “sound bites” from this book, such as “We became fascinated with certain half-truths that we kept hearing again and again, ideas and principles that are partly right at times, but are flawed and misleading often enough to get organizations into serious trouble; beliefs like ‘the best organizations have the best people’,” and argue for a smaller recruitment or training budget. Needless to say, that is not the message of this book, but it did make for some lively conversation!

As the book states, there is danger in half-hearted approaches to implementing “new and improved” management philosophies, employing quick fixes, and bantering about buzz words, etc. without making a true investment in understanding what needs to be fixed, needs to be measured, and needs to be communicated.

The book’s exploration of “work is fundamentally different from the rest of life and should be” challenged some of my long-held and apparently narrow beliefs. The question is whether such segmentation really makes sense as a model for thinking about, managing, and living inside an organization.  But is it even possible to separate the domains in a world where technology blurs and destroys the boundaries?  Possible? Yes. Beneficial? Maybe.

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Worth the Read

The Enthusiastic Employee14 Jan

The Enthusiastic Employee – How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want; David Sirota, Louis A. Mischkind; Michael Irwin Meltzer  www.enthusiasticemployee.com

Summary – The Enthusiastic Employee draws on 30 years of research and experience to show you exactly what managers do wrong and what they should do instead. Drawing on detailed case studies and employee attitude surveys in hundreds of companies, the authors offer research-proven solutions – not fads, nostrums, or phony shortcuts. Along the way, you’ll identify the dollars-and cents business case for high employee morale, learn exactly what employee moral means, and discover the specific managements practices that offer the greatest positive performance impact.

Comments – This is one of my favorite reference books on employee engagement, as evidenced by the numerous post-it notes sticking out of it. The book reveals that there are just three primary goals for people – from assembly-line workers to research scientists, from first time employees to those ready to retire, from North America or Europe. Regardless of position, age, or location, employees want to be proud of the work they do (achievement); they want to paid a fair wage (equity); and they want cooperation and congeniality among their co-workers (camaraderie).  This book pairs well with Gallup’s Q12 tool  www.gallup.com/consulting/52/Employee-Engagement.aspx

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Worth the Read

The Gift of Fear14 Jan

The Gift of Fear; Gavin DeBecker; www.gavindebecker.com

Summary – In The Gift of Fear, de Becker draws on his extensive expertise to explode the myth that most violent acts are random and unpredictable and shows that they usually have discernible motives and are preceded by clear warning signs. Through dozens of compelling stories from his own career and life, he unravels the complexities of violent behavior and details the pre-incident indicators (PINs) that can determine if someone poses a danger to us

Comment – My current United Way project required that I read this book, and I’m grateful that I did. Although I prefer to look for the good in everyone, the book taught me how to spot danger signals and how to get out of potentially dangerous situations. Note to self – It’s ok to be rude to strangers. This is an excellent book to give to a college-bound woman.

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Worth the Read

Million Dollar Consulting14 Jan

Million Dollar Consulting; Alan Weiss; www.summitconsulting.com

Summary – This consulting classic remains the definitive work on dramatically growing a consulting business. For the single practitioner, small firm principal, or aspiring consultant.

Comments – It’s good to have goals … and one million seems like a good place to start! I love this book – full of practical, implemental advice and recommended by one of my new favorite people (thanks, Lee!) The “how to write a proposal that closes business” section is alone worth the price of the book.

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Jane Stegers Front of Buisness Card