Books Bullish on Books


  Wednesday, 30 Jul 2008 | 4:13 PM ET

Unlocking The Secrets Of Us

We are a narcissistic lot – aren’t we? I mean we are so fascinated/obsessed with ourselves – our jobs, our habits, our future – our past.

We humans have spent eons evolving into what we are only to spend even more time digging up our pasts to see who or what we were.

There are several new books out dedicated to decoding what makes us tick … unlocking the secret codes of our brains and behavior.

Four books that have caught my attention and can provide readers - even those who just skim them - with fascinating tidbits and insights are:

“HUMAN: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique” by Michael S. Gazzaniga.

The author is considered the father of cognitive neuroscience and is considered quite the brain when it comes to studying and understanding all that gray matter between our ears. In this book, Gazzaniga uses science AND some truly engaging, witty writing to explain us to us. OK, true confession time – I’m not a scientist and there are trained scientists who have written their own reviews challenging some of Gazzaniga’s theories – but I’m not a total Neanderthal. I do like to read books that challenge my long-held beliefs and give me groovy little tidbits that I can recite and impress my friends and colleagues. And if as Gazzaniga explains it, we are indeed on the brink of human discovery – and science can finally tell us why we are the way we are – then this is a good read for those marketers, managers and moms who search daily for ways to engage, empower and influence those they lead and nurture.

»Read more
  Friday, 25 Jul 2008 | 11:36 AM ET

Stephen King Story Comes To Life: How's Your Attention Span?

Stephen King's "N" video capture
Stephen King's "N" video capture

I remember when it used to be a bad thing to have a short attention span. Basically you had two choices; go into TV or go into radio.

But now we all know those with short attention spans are today’s economic and decision drivers of everything from fashion to politics (Rudy, Rudy who?).

Today in San Diego at Comic-Con THE convention for those with short attention spans, it’s going to be announced that a previously unpublished story by Stephen King has been brought to life and turned into an animated video series by Marvel Comics. It’s all part of a bold promotion plan by publisher Scribner--an imprint of CBS Corp.’sSimon & Schuster in collaboration with Marvel Entertainment, Inc.

Beginning Monday the first of the 25 original videos will start rolling out on the web and on various mobile channels as a lead up to the November release of King’s newest short story collection, “Just After Sunset.” The videos will be released daily five times a week through the end of August.

For those with a really short attention span beginning on Monday you can buy all 25 of the two-minute episodes for $3.99 oniTunes or Certain subscribers of various cell phone services and on the web can get the episodes for free; check out for details.

And for those with really, really short attention spans here’s your special series preview of “N.” Enjoy!

Questions, comments?

»Read more
  Thursday, 24 Jul 2008 | 1:17 PM ET

E*Reading Is Easy


One of life’s greatest little mysteries is why digital books haven’t taken off. I don’t get it. I own the Sony Reader and I love it--especially when I travel.

Gone are the days of carrying suitcases full of books--now I can carry dozens of books all on one thin, lightweight digital book.

I’m sick of the critics who bash digital books. If it had been left up to them, we’d still be carrying around our portable record players looking for extension cords when we wanted to hear some music on the patio. Why can’t these “publishing purists” see that these digital readers can do for books what the Ipod did for music?

Digital readers are the future and today the future just got brighter.

Sonyannounced a new software update that will allow Reader owners to buy electronic books from stores other than Sony’s.

Some may see this as Sony letting go of its e-book business model – but I say they are actually opening up and making themselves even more appealing to consumers. Sony’s bookstore has about 45,000 books compared to Amazon’sKindlestore that offers about 140,000.

Today’s announcement could help boost the interest in e-book industry – an industry that is small but slowly growing.

In its story on this announcement today the AP reports that the main e-book publishing trade group The International Digital Publishing Forum, said last year’s e-book sales for about a dozen US publishers were nearly $32 million dollars and those were the wholesale numbers.

Questions, comments?

»Read more
  Monday, 21 Jul 2008 | 1:50 PM ET

Jim Cramer Cries Uncle (Frank)!

The Little Book That Saves Your Assets - by David Darst
The Little Book That Saves Your Assets - by David Darst

C’mon, what would you do if you opened up a book and the first thing you read is a foreword written by CNBC’s own Jim Cramer stating in classic Crameresque fashion, “I would tell you that David Darst is one of the best investors out there, but that doesn’t do him justice. The man is a financial visionary, an incredible teacher, and knowledgeable beyond belief.” WOW!

But wait, there’s more from the Mr. Mad Money. Jim goes on to say, “This book should be required reading for every nonprofessional investor, not to mention many of the pros who still don’t get it”.

The book Jim is raving about is“THE LITTLE BOOK THAT SAVES YOUR ASSETS: What The Rich Do to Stay Wealthy in Up and Down Markets” written by David M. Darst. Darst is a living legend on Wall Street and Cramer says Darst taught him everything he knows about smart asset allocation.

One of the lessons Darst shared with Cramer and is now sharing with his readers is you can’t do it alone – you need Uncle Frank. What? You don’t have an Uncle Frank – sure you do – you just don’t know it yet.

Your Uncle Frank may or may not be named Frank, heck – he may even be a she.

Darst writes, “Uncle Frank is the single most valuable resource you will have as you set up your asset allocation plan and begin the journey to make your dreams come true”.

Heck even the world’s greatest investor Warren Buffett has an Uncle Frank – well, actually he’s had 2 but you know, he’s really really rich.

Warren Buffett’s Uncle Franks were Ben Graham and then Charlie Munger.

Your Uncle Frank is the person who helps guide you – the person who truly knows you and your goals, who wants only the best for you, who can look you in the eye and tell you what you need to be told – the person who’s got your back – and your trust.

In writing “The Little Book That Saves Your Assets ”, Darst proves he’s uncle-worthy by reminding you of the basics and unveiling new secrets that can help set a course to achieve your financial dreams.

Read an excerpt here from “The Little Book That Saves Your Assets.”

Questions, comments?

»Read more
  Thursday, 17 Jul 2008 | 1:05 PM ET

Can't Get No (Customer) Satisfaction? Try "Satisfied Customers"


We’re in uncharted territories! Everything we once thought we knew about the customer \(big and small\) must now be, rethought.

Today’s customers are empowered by the web – no longer shackled by geography or loyalty.

The web has leveled the field giving the “mom-preneur”, the tweens, the corporate giants and Madison Avenue equal voice and power.

Today everyone with a computer has a say and an opinion – and now more than ever those opinions are influencing millions of people around the world.

This can be both terrifying and thrilling for companies who are smart enough to know we’re in a consumer-driven world.

Pete Blackshaw , a new media pioneer who founded the Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association and is now the Executive VP of Strategic Services at Nielsen Online has just written the roadmap for this new frontier in “SATISFIED CUSTOMERS TELL THREE FRIENDS ANGRY CUSTOMERS TELL 3,000.” (Doubleday Business)

Blackshaw lays out how companies need to be prepared for and to anticipate the explosion of Consumer Generated Media: the social networks, video sharing sites and blogs that can grow or destroy your business.

“SATISFIED CUSTOMERS” is a great guide for business leaders and marketing officers who want to build a trusting, authentic and lasting relationship with today’s vocal consumer.


Questions, comments?

»Read more
  Monday, 14 Jul 2008 | 2:21 PM ET

Dirty Tricks And The Suite Life

C’mon you and I both know those guys who have the huge titles, huge offices and those huge paychecks – and yet they’re really not that special – I mean we’re as smart as them, right? So why then, do their careers blast off and the rest of us are still on hold saying, “Houston we’ve got a problem”?

I’ll tell you why – they know how to work it – really work it. They have the art of sucking up, down. They know how to go beyond meeting expectations at the meetings. And they know that you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.

»Read more
  Friday, 11 Jul 2008 | 12:27 PM ET

Jack Welch & The New 10 Commandments

Winning The Answers - by Jack and Suzy Welch
Winning The Answers - by Jack and Suzy Welch

I got an email from Suzy Welch who is spending the summer writing her upcoming book, “10-10-10: Transform Your Life with Clear, Considered, Stress-Free Choices.” The book is being published by Scribner \(an imprint of Simon & Schuster\) and will be ready next spring.

Suzy is already a best selling author. She and her husband Jack wrote two huge best sellers “Winning” and its follow up, “Winning: The Answers.” You know Jack - he’s “THAT” Jack - the “Manager of the Century”, the one who used to sign my paychecks - ok, not him personally but someone who worked for him – THE Jack Welch, the former Chairman and CEO of GE.

»Read more
  Thursday, 10 Jul 2008 | 1:50 PM ET

James Patterson & The Google Gurus


Little, Brown and Company’s fall catalog just came in and among its offerings is a first for the writing machine otherwise known as James Patterson. This industry – oops, I mean author, has sold more than 150 million books to the tune of more than $1.5 billion. NOW – he’s written his first NON-fiction story, “Against Medical Advice.”

His success is (sorry) no mystery. The man who created Alex Cross has created an unbelievable business model:

The official Patterson website boasts of holding the New York Times bestsellers list of records with 39 titles and that in 2007 he was responsible for one out of every 15 hardcover novels.

His entertainment empire, James Patterson Entertainment includes books, movies, a TV series and videogames.

The former head of J. Walter Thompson is such a trailblazer they even did a case study of him at the Harvard Business School.

Forbes Magazine ranks him as #58 in its latest “100 Most Powerful Celebrities” issue reporting his 2007 earnings at $50 Million.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Patterson’s first “true story” plays with his fans – but even more interesting to watch how he grows his company.

Little, Brown and Company is part of the French conglomerate Lagardere SCA (LGDDF:OTC)

»Read more
  Tuesday, 8 Jul 2008 | 1:55 PM ET

What We're Reading At CNBC

I’ve got all these grand plans for this summer: clean the kids’ playroom, clear out their closets, organize my emails, go on a biking trip, lose weight, discover a new drink and read like a dozen new books – you know, the same stuff I was going to do last summer, and the summer before that and the summer before that!

Summer is all about making big plans: for our careers, our family, our love lives, our political parties and our dreams. And our plans always include reading something truly special.

I don’t know what it is, but it’s a fact: summer and reading go together like gin and tonic – two classics that just can’t be ignored when the weather heats up.

Ever since grade school we’ve known that summer is a time for reading – real reading, the kind of reading you do for your soul – the best kind of reading.

So I set out do to do a little soul searching to see what some of my colleagues here at CNBC are reading this summer and so far I’ve found out that:

»Read more
  Wednesday, 2 Jul 2008 | 11:50 AM ET

"Becoming A Resonant Leader" And Thoughts On Leadership

Becoming a Resonant Leader
Becoming a Resonant Leader

I love the 4th of July! I think it’s my favorite holiday because it’s full of such hope: hope for good weather, hope for a great sale and hope for the country. Think about it, this is the time of year when the whole world wishes they too could be a Yank. We’ve got the bar b q, beers, baseball, bikinis, Hollywood blockbusters, cosmos and fireworks!

This is the time of year when we celebrate in great fanfare: us! Those great leaders of the past who shaped us and those waiting in the wings who offer us the promise of what we still can be.

Leadership is THE theme of all things now: the election, the economy, global warming, food shortages, etc. And good leaders are in short supply.

A new book "Becoming A Resonant Leader " seems to have come at just the right time. The book is published by Harvard Business School Press and was written by Annie McKee, Richard Boyatzis and Frances Johnston.

BusinessWeek has called McKee “The High Priestess of Executive Coaching ” and she has earned her stripes (and her salary) as an executive coach for Fortune 500 leaders. McKee, the Founder and Managing Director of Teleos Leadership Institute helps them reclaim or find their inner leader.

I asked Ms. McKee to share some of her thoughts about leadership and to tell me why in her opinion there seems to be a dearth of good leadership. She says in part it’s because most people are selected to lead for the wrong reasons:

  • It’s what you don’t ask: What makes the difference between great and average leaders are qualities that get short shrift in the selection process: self-awareness, the ability to manage one’s emotions, accurately reading people, groups, cultures
  • It’s not just the IQ: To be a great leader you need emotional intelligence, which is too often ignored, undervalued, even disdained.
  • It’s what you don’t see: Rarely if ever do we systematically explore the skills related to self-awareness, mindfulness, emotional self-management, empathy and the like.

McKee also warns: No leader can take the kind of stress that today’s world throws at us forever. The myth of the all-powerful bionic man/woman is actually at the heart of why so many good leaders go bad. Working as hard as we must, taking no time for systematic renewal, we end up victims of power stress, suffering physically, emotionally and mentally. We put blinders on, head down, simply trying to survive. And of course, we lose our self-awareness and empathy along the way. At best, we become “managers”, simply getting stuff done as opposed to reaching energetically toward the future and inspiring people to come with us. At worst, we become depressed and depressing, unpredictable tyrants, or simply toxic human beings.

So how do you avoid being that toxic thing in the corner office? Click here to read an excerpt from "Becoming A Resonant Leader"

»Read more