Books Bullish on Books


  Monday, 18 Aug 2008 | 3:15 PM ET

Search For China's Soul 

"OUT OF MAO’s SHADOWS: The Struggle For The Soul of a New China"
"OUT OF MAO’s SHADOWS: The Struggle For The Soul of a New China"

I wish they gave out Olympic medals for joy because I’m pretty sure my twin daughters would grab the gold after watching Michael Phelps win his 8th gold medal in these Games. His final victory sparked utter pandemonium in our house – wild cheering, flag waving, the banging of pots and – the announcement from one of my girls who said she wants to go to China because as she put it – “Mommy, China is the place where dreams come true”. Wow, not bad for a 10 year old.

Yes China is indeed making a lot of dreams come true for athletes, big businesses, entrepreneurs and Chinese leaders. And all these dreams are the rewards of a meticulous, calculated plan.

Philip P. Pan has just written "OUT OF MAO’s SHADOWS: The Struggle For The Soul of a New China" and wrote in an email to me, “China wants to use these Games to reintroduce itself to the world, to celebrate its return to the ranks of world powers and its remarkable economic success over the past three decades. But the Chinese government's primary objective is to use the Olympics to boost its popularity at home. Communism as an ideology is dead, but the ruling Communist Party wants to use these Games to help make the case to the Chinese people that the one-party political system is still justified -- that an authoritarian government can be even more effective than a democratic one, and that it can be accepted by the rest of the world.

Pan – the former Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post spent seven years in China - says there is a huge tug of war battle underway for the soul of China and says that the Olympics may bring more to China than what the Party Leaders had planned.

In the same email he wrote, “ … the Olympics might bring about changes that could make the party nervous. The international focus on China has prompted discussion across the country on a wide range of issues -- from the government's policies in Tibet and Darfur to environmental protection and human rights. There's also a national debate going on about the disclosure that the cute little girl at the center of the Opening Ceremonies was lip-syncing -- that the girl who actually sang the song so beautifully was kept off the program because she had crooked teeth and wasn't "cute" enough. So I think it's also possible that the Olympics will usher in a period of greater openness and national self-examination, and perhaps greater engagement with the rest of the world. We’ll have to wait and see”.

Pan’s book details the momentous tug-o-war battle underway now in China for the soul of the country – a battle that will decide the future of the world’s most populous and perhaps, most promising nation.

Questions, comments? bullishonbooks@cnbc.com

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  Tuesday, 12 Aug 2008 | 1:55 PM ET

My Olympic Quest - Where's The Other Michael Phelps Story?

Deborah & Michael Phelps
Source: Babble.com
Deborah & Michael Phelps

C’mon – seriously?

Looks they’re going to go ahead on publish Lynne Spears' “mom-moir” next month.

The mother of Britney and Jamie Lynn has uh, “tweaked” her story - it’ll now be less of a parenting handbook – and more of a juicy tell-all of how hard her life has been (yawn) raising the pop tart and her sister, the Disney star-unwed-teen-mother. (“not that there’s anything wrong with that”)

“Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World”, will be released September 16.

The mother I want to hear from is Deborah Phelps – mom of the water wizard, Michael.

By now most of the world knows the Cliff Notes of their story – she was a single mom raising three kids on her own and he had been diagnosed with A.D.H.D. – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. BUT – she’s got a great story to tell in detail like, how she coped when a teacher told her, “your son will never be able to focus on anything.”

I’m sure there’s a news release already in the works just waiting to be sent that will soon announce her book deal.

In the meantime – you can read Michael’s pre-Beijing autobiography, “Michael Phelps: Beneath the Surface” – it’s moving up on Amazon – now #3 in the sports category.

Questions, comments? bullishonbooks@cnbc.com

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  Thursday, 7 Aug 2008 | 12:33 PM ET

Dude Looks Like An Author - Rock Star Steven Tyler To Bare All!

Steven Tyler
Steven Tyler

Yikes this is a stretch on a business news website – but I’ve got a major league crush on him so I’m going with it!

The man who makes me “Crazy” – Steven Tyler of Aerosmith is going to write his memoir – FINALLY!!!

Ecco – an imprint of Harper Collins (part of the News Corp Empire) has just inked the deal for the world rights/writes.

Tyler, the lip-blessed, Grammy Award-winning lead singer and Rock ‘n Roll of Fame inductee is promising to bare all (YEAH!) saying in the release, … “I’ve been mythicized, Mick-icized, eulogized and fooligized, I’ve been Cole-Portered and farmer’s-daughtered, I’ve been Led Zepped and 12-stepped. I’m a rhyming fool and so cool that me, Fritz the Cat, and Mohair Sam are the baddest cats that am. I have so many outrageous stories, too many, and I’m gonna tell ’em all. All the unexpurgated, brain-jangling tales of debauchery, sex & drugs, transcendence & chemical dependence you will ever want to hear. And this is not just my take, this is the unbridled truth, the in-your-face, up-close and prodigious tale of Steven Tyler straight from the horse’s lips.”

Aerosmith has 21 Billboard Top 40 hits, including “Walk This Way,” “Angel,” “Dream On,” and “Dude (Looks Like A Lady),” – they've sold 150 million albums and they hold the record for most gold and multi-platinum albums by an American group.

Ecco says…"The memoir will trace Tyler's youth in the Bronx…his legendary partnership with Joe Perry, the meteoric rise, fall, and rise of Aerosmith …their music, his epic romantic life, his relationship with his four children (including actress Liv Tyler), life on the road and in the spotlight, the economics of the rock star business --and all the sex, drugs, and rock and roll a reader could ask for."

Publication will be in 2009 – and to blatantly steal a great line from Ecco’s publisher, Daniel Halpern … "I don’t want to miss a thing!"

Questions, comments? bullishonbooks@cnbc.com

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  Tuesday, 5 Aug 2008 | 1:32 PM ET

Dara Torres Grabs Gold (With Book Deal) 

Dara Torres
Dara Torres

She hasn’t even yet jumped into the Beijing pools and Dara Torres is already making a big splash. \(Sorry, it was just so easy\)

THE Water Queen – the woman who has become an inspiration to millions has just signed a deal to write TWO books.

The first book will be part memoir, part motivational and trust me – all inspirational.

Here she is - a woman over 40, twice divorced, mother of a toddler, bulimic survivor and now competing in her 5th Olympic Games – uh, if this doesn’t have “book” written all over it – I don’t know what does.

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  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.

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  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 Amazon.com. Certain subscribers of various cell phone services and on the web can get the episodes for free; check out CBS.com for details.

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

Questions, comments? bullishonbooks@cnbc.com

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  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? bullishonbooks@cnbc.com

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  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? bullishonbooks@cnbc.com

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  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? bullishonbooks@cnbc.com

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  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.

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  • I read recently that about 11,000 business books are published per year. That’s a lot of books! You don’t have time to read all of them, but I’m trying. Here at Bullish on Books I will be your guide to the best business books on the market today.


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