NEXT BOOKS: Planet Entrepreneur AND Unlimited Sales Success

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Two books to read and review this time! If you're interested, click the link to sign up on the upper left of this page.

First up is Planet Entrepreneur: The World Entrepreneurship Forum's Guide to Business Success Around the World by Steven D. Strauss, USA Today’s small business columnist and more.

Here’s what he says about the book: “I wrote it with several co-authors from the World Entrepreneurship Forum. I am more excited about this book than almost any other I have written in a while, for a few reasons:

First, I think (hope!) it is very interesting. It looks at the explosive growth of entrepreneurship around the globe ('regular' entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, green entrepreneurs, etc.), and how they are changing the world, right now, radically, and for the better.
Second, at a time when the world is so divided, it is nice to share a book that is positive, hopeful, and looks at ways and ideas that link us together.
We are living in a world of incredible challenge and changes, and for both the entrepreneur and potential entrepreneur alike, this also means it is a world of ample opportunities. From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the rise of e-commerce and social media, there are now, today, more markets, tools, and opportunities for entrepreneurs than ever before. Even better: we are now also living in a world more predisposed to entrepreneurial solutions than ever, and we need those solutions—not just to create the Next Big Thing, but to solve the Next Big Problem. Every issue that individuals, communities, and nations face offers the entrepreneur the chance to make a difference. For anyone ready to embark on a mission to solve problems, create communities, build businesses, tap technology, and think entrepreneurially, this new world is teeming with opportunities for success.”

You can read an excerpt and find out more about the book here.

Next is Unlimited Sales Success by Brian Tracy. Tracy is a longtime sales trainer and guru, and this is a very solid primer on sales basics and more.
Here’s a brief description:

“If there were a single great "secret" to being an elite sales professional, surely one of the millions of attendees of Brian Tracy's sales seminars would have spilled the beans by now. There isn't a secret. But there is a set of consistently successful selling techniques that most companies don't teach their salespeople, and which most entrepreneurs and independent sales pros think they don't have time to learn. Based on more than 40 years of selling experience - in virtually all product categories and market conditions, Unlimited Sales Success shows that these proven sales skills are learnable - by anyone. Highlighting practical, time-tested principles including: the psychology of selling: your own mindset is just as important as your customer's; personal sales planning and time management: whether you work for yourself or someone else, great planning equals great success; prospecting power: get more and better appointments; consultative and relationship selling: position yourself as a partner with the account; identifying needs accurately: you'll know how to arouse their interest and overcome objections; influencing customer behavior: learn what triggers quick buying decisions; closing the sale: the five best methods ever discovered; and more. Unlimited Sales Success is loaded with eye-opening facts and exercises, peppered with stories of great selling techniques in action, and organized into a use-it-now approach that will help you become a top sales professional-starting today.”

You can read more about it here.

You can review both books or choose one. The deadline will be generous, so no worries.



Thursday, September 26, 2013

 Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It. Mitch Joel. Business Plus. 288 pages.

Mitch Joel makes a clear case for what he calls the seismic shift in the way we do business.  I liked the book because he not only drives home the point that we must make this change, or get left behind, but he then goes on to tell us in an upbeat manor how to make these changes not only in our business, but in our whole way of thinking. Emily Gilday, Miami
The world is changing and at a more rapid pace than ever before.  What I read was eye opening, scary and invigorating all at once.  However, the area that stuck out the most was the rapid proliferation of data driven mobile devices.  With 2.1 Billion data devices purchased and over 2 million iPhone's sold in 24 hours, the access to information is truly at everyone's fingertips.  Add in the love affair we have with these devices and a cultural phenomenon is not in the near future, it's happening now.  In my business, we have created opportunities to be where are consumers are and the mobile device is a key component.  Now, the question becomes how to monetize it.  We haven't mastered that aspect of the business plan nor have our competitors.  But our usage on the mobile device was 6% three years ago compared to 94% via the desktop.  Now, it's 57% mobile and 43% desktop.
Switching gears, one area Mitch focused on was the new office. I found that interesting especially where he mentioned a company that doesn't have specific office space for their employees.  Everyday, you can sit where you want. It made me think about how it eliminates the class system. By doing so, would it create more collaboration or would people start creating their own space and then protecting it.  I think in a smaller work environment, it would be a great test to determine the impact.  I am honestly to scared to do a similar tact with 36 sellers.  However, one take away was developing a creative space for people to collaborate, think or work in a more free flowing environment.  
Overall, I recommend this book because it provides useful insight on how the business environment is truly changing. Mitch provides useful links, mentions several books or provides some great websites.
Thanks for the opportunity, I really enjoyed this book based primarily on the takeaways I received. Greg Alexander Plymouth, MN

Joel serves up a thorough evaluation of the new landscape of marketing, and takes a solid stab at where we’re heading. He stresses the importance of building and nurturing direct relationships with consumers through social media and beyond. He makes a case for delivering real value by making your business and marketing truly useful to your customers.
The main goal of the book seems to be to shake up the reader to let go of old models of marketing and customer relationships. In this respect, it succeeds. I found myself questioning and reevaluating my own strategies. Real answers, though, are hard to come by.
As a business owner, I tried to extract lessons that I can apply to my own company, but I’m not convinced that smaller businesses will gain as much as larger consumer brands will from Ctrl Alt Delete.
The writing style is so rambling and awkward that I really didn’t enjoy reading this book. Here’s a typical sentence:
“In my first book, Six Pixels of Separation, I engaged in the argument that it’s not about how many people your brand connects to (which is the main metric that traditional advertising looks at), it’s that now we can better understand who these people are and what they’re really about (wants, desires, level of care).”
Seriously, how many sets of parentheses can one sentence handle? This seemingly lazy writing is found from beginning to end, complete with questionable grammar, and far too many references to the author himself.
I will keep Joel’s lessons in mind as I move my business forward, but I wish he could have presented them in a more digestible form. He needs a good editor to make this material truly engaging. Robert Kirkpatrick, Miami Beach

I'll start of my review by saying, I certainly recommend this book to anyone in business.  Mitch touches on many current and interesting topics in the fast changing data and advertising industries that are truly impacting all businesses.  I appreciate how he first gives the reader the business implications and then uses the second half of the book to tie that back to how the reader should embrace these changes from a personal and professional perspective.  I found myself highlighting many lines in this book, which only means it was packed with good material. David Mesas, Miami

This was painful.  I tried my best but couldn't get through more than
half.  I get that lots of people are going to lose their jobs, but
repeating words like "purgatory" and giving Gary Vaynerchuk style
advice ("post on blogs!") actually isn't that useful.
A book on the same topic which is actually both interesting and useful
is James Altucher's "Choose Yourself." Scott Wilson (Tampa?)

Ctrl Alt Del is a wakeup call for older entrepreneurs and business men on how to rethink revitalize and reinvent their traditional brands using the technology and social interaction of the 21 century.  Mitch joel stresses creativity, communication, the personal touch that has been lost in our fast paced world.
While he appears overly enamored or awed by technology, he makes a good case on how to effectively use mobility, openness, and social networking for marketing, sales, support, and just idea gathering and promotion. The old adage of reinventing oneself by examining one's own processes rings true just as teaching an old dog of a business owner  new tricks to survive.
I loved his concrete examples and "rules" that even work for the young adventurer or the old business salt. Marvin Stein, Coral Springs

I would definitely recommend this book.  It is concise, precise and right on the mark when it comes to showing how to outline the basics for technology's sake.  It is written in a step by step format that even the less than savvy computer users, like myself, can grasp.  Two thumbs up. Terri Bryant, Davie

I received CtrlAltDelete on 15 Aug 13 and have read it twice.  I have been reading well over a hundred books a year for at least the past 35 years, and I must honestly say this in one of the few books I could just not put down.  Having spent 50 years in the business world, after twice reading Joel's book I have said to myself more than once where was Joel when I really needed him.  I have now retired for the third time and have no plans for active employment again but I could have used much of Joel's insight over the years of my career.  When I retired the first time at the end of Sep 2001, after a 38 year career, I was second in command (COO) of a 14,000 member organization scattered all over the world.  I would have been both a better professional and leader had I had the opportunity to seize on Joel's insights those many years ago.
But I am where I am and as I read, twice, I could not put my notepad and pen down.  I wrote lots of notes to share with friends and younger professionals that I have the honor of mentoring.  There is so much I want to share so let me just lung right in.
For those who do not acquire this book and read it, shame on you, you have lost a very helpful book and lots of valuable insights that can be put to use immediately.
I found it quite interesting and right on point that Joel refers to the time in which we are living as PURGATORY.  I think he is right on target!  He says if you go to a conference, look around you because 1/3 of those you see will not be around in 5 years.  This is a time of great upheaval in business and Joel says the DNA of business has changed forevermore.  Consumers are smart and getting smarter.  Consumers are ahead of their brands that serve them.  The business challenge of how to adapt technology has put business in what Joel calls "a rapid state of genetic mutation" and we are in the middle of this evaluation.  Joel calls this moment PURGATORY because many businesses are scared and don't know what to do.  A tweaking of the organization will not do.  Businesses have to understand this state of purgatory or the business dies and jobs disappear.  We find ourselves in a world described by co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs,  as "If you don't cannabalize yourself, someone else will."  CtrlAltDelete is all about rebooting your business and yourself.

Now for me at least, I share a few of Joel's more salient points:

  • . Many things we see are changing the way business is done.
  •  -Digital only brands
  •  -Cradle to grave business models like Apple
  •  -Manufacturers who have direct relationships with consumers
  •  -Everything is customer focused; business must look at things like customers
  •  -Businesses asking customers to LIKE them on Facebook
  •  -Customers are not linear, they are what Joel calls squiggly.  They are connected to each other  but also to the world
  •  -To be successful businesses must have a positive relationship with their customers
  •  -Relationships are at the core of every successful business
  •  -As Apple co-founder Jobs said, "It is not the customers job to figure out what they want," that is what successful businesses do
Joel is right when he says business must: (1) deliver value first, (2) be open, (3) be clear and consistent, (4) create a mutually beneficial world, and (5) build true fans.
Well I could go on writing and writing but let me stop here.  To Richard's readers DO NO MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY TO read Joels CtrlAltDelete. Doug Newberry, Antioch, Tn.

 WOW! What a book! This is a must read book for the entrepreneur and would be entrepreneur called Ctrl Alt Delete by Mitch Joel. Be sure to get a copy of it. It is fascinating and provides an insight into how companies should be doing business and how you relate to it. anyone who is thinking about starting a business, or anyone who has a business and needs to kick start it, will not put this down until they devour every page of it. It is the holy grail for businesses and would be businesses. Not only does it provide insight into what is going on now in the world of marketing, it provides a step by step blueprint of how you can adopt to it. This is the bible for learning what is wrong with your business, how you can fix it and what you can do as an individual to find your passion and become an entrepreneur yourself. Barry Epstein, Boca Raton

A couple of specific ideas discussed really struck me. First is the notion of the "one screen world", meaning that businesses need to change their thinking from research and marketing to sales and service with regard to how resources will be budgeted and consumed as we move to the "mobile" screen replacing desktops, and even brick and mortar! Another idea Joel discusses is the coming evolution of DNA marketing. Scary realistic idea that we are being watched and tested for what we may be willing to buy in the future! John Moorehead, Weston

I really enjoyed Joel’s book.  He stressed how important technology is in all areas of business (as seller, marketer, consumer), and in personal life.  We can’t ignore how quickly technology is changing the ways we interface.  He also stresses the importance of building direct relationships, and the “touchy-feely” part of me really identified with this!  His five lessons about building direct relationships  stress the necessity of delivering something of real value and using technology to build upon relationships and something that is mutually beneficial.  Hmmm.  That works for personal relationships as well as business relationships, doesn’t it?
And finally, with so many people losing their jobs, his chapter on Startup Mode was beneficial…  well worth anyone who is disgruntled at all with his/her present work to align with the right people, embrace mistakes, and move ahead.
His motto of “embrace the squiggle” repeats Apple’s “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” advertising, ending with “… the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” Betty G Hubschman, Whitsett, North Carolina

What an energizing book!
I love marketing and it has been my life since high school.
I am amazed at the changes and what lies ahead.
This book opens your eyes to the many opportunities and also their side effects.
Do you want to give up all your privacy to take a chance on making money through a Facebook site for your company and is that the media platform for your business analytics?
All these questions and more are discussed by the author Mitch Joel.
I am looking for the sequel as I have so many questions from reading this book!
I also like his references, it is like a social media course in college.
In today's world everyday is a new technology, a new market tool and you must study what fits in your field.
Mine is Real Estate and which app, twitter or Facebook do I spend my time with to capture the next listing or buyer, besides combing the MLS?
Possibly in the future a listing on the MLS will automatically generate a tweet, show up on Facebook and generate a sale from China!
The possibilities are yet to be explored and this book opens your world to look for new marketing tools every second.
Of course, it also points out you need a life and when do you separate from your Iphone? Last kiss at night and first in the morning!
Excellent book I highly recommend for all professionals to read. Cynergy

The author is very current on the most popular app and provides examples for the digital strategies in marketing a business.  The writing is broken into small sections mostly not more than one page which makes the book difficult to follow.   The  content has good examples of new technology but the writing can have more explanations.  The book has an index and is divided into two.  The first half is on the company and the second half on the individual marketing.  The orange cover makes it a light and amusing read. William Murtada, Miami

In CONTROL ALT DELETE , Mitch Joel states from the time he wrote his book to it's actual publication, the contents may be outdated.
However, he covers so much useful material while sighting many creative methods, ideas and examples of both successful and unsuccessful endeavors, the outdated suggestion is highly unlikely.
His book points out the importance of the digital world of the internet and it's components in every aspect
of life in today's ever changing world of technology.
He points out the importance of the social media (Face Book etc.), the mobile devices and active and passive media. The internet is an amazing source of information! Even clean bathrooms,"sit or squat" can be found there.
Not only can various kinds of information be found but purchases can be made as well.
I have recently discovered that a book published in the UK can be purchased before it is made available in the U.S. That is helpful if you don't want to wait for it to arrive here.
In order to keep up with world of almost daily changes, businesses as well as their employees need to
"reboot" in order to remain a part of it. To be indispensible is to do something others can not do.
Trying to be like everyone else is risky business in the forseeable future. An entrepeneur needs to have
the desire to create the future.
Joel also points out there may be consequences for using the i-phone and other devices as a companion
rather than another human being. It is important to ask yourself if what is happening on your i-phone or other devices is more important than the here and now. Remember that thought when you are with your children or
other people and don't forget to set your priorities.
If longevity is your goal in business and relationships with others, Mitch Joel's book should be made an
important part of your life. It's a necessary read! Margot Byrnes, Miami

I did not enjoy this book as I did the others.  Iwould get to a part that started off interesting but by the time I got to the end of the section or example I had to reread the beginning of that part to remember the subject.
There were some parts I liked, e.g. the squiggly - the idea not his examples.  The five dynamics were good, I do not think he brought the idea home for the rebooting your personal life though.
To me this was a very confusing book which did not hold my attention.  I may read it again, but after I read the previous three books I reviewed first. Forrest Carper

Mitch Joel writes a useful book on how businesses must adapt to the virtual digital world in which we now operate.  As a small business owner, I daily wrestle with the shifting tides of marketing in the twitter/Facebook/website environment.  My business does not naturally lend itself to any form of traditional marketing.  This continues to be true as a digital presence becomes "traditional."  Personally, I am afflicted with the need to constantly check my twitter feed, so I understand the necessity to adapt to the "One-Screen World."  While Joel's suggestions on meeting goals for delivering appropriate content to millions of potential clients don't always align with what my business can or should be doing, it provides a fresh view to the reality of the need for a digital presence.
I found it interesting that Joel readily cites other authors and thinkers, and recommends numerous books, blogs and websites when explaining a premise or position.  For what its worth, that gave me a positive feeling about the ideas and the author, and also led to additional "research" and other great business ideas.
Overall, the content was sharp and thought-provoking, and the presentation in multi-heading "bites" made it an easy read.  I felt like I could always pick it up even if I could only read four or five pages during a brief sitting.  This kept me coming back for more, and led me beyond the pages to bonus ideas. S D Rembold

It's hard to keep the subject of how technology influences your marketing, your relationships and your life fresh, and this book is no breakthrough.
Divided in two sections, the first dealing in how rebooting can impact your business and the second about rebooting your life, the book, like every marketing book in this day and age, showcases many successful enterprises and the strategy they used to get there. It's a tried and true strategy, and judging by the amount of similar books proliferating, a winning one.
The problem with this particular one is  that a found limited applicability to the advice doled out. Perhaps because I'm not in the service community trying to reach thousands of distant eyes, but even when the book turns to "personal life" advice I found its logic unnecessarily stretched just to prove a point, and even then I didn't find it that useful. Maybe I need rebooting, but this book never pushed the right keystrokes in my brain. 5 out of 10. Miguel Cobas, MD

 Every time I opened "Ctrl Alt Delete" to read a few more pages, I hoped it would get better. It never did. With so much energy and enthusiasm about the opportunities presented by the Internet, Mitch Joel seems perfectly positioned to make sense of it all. Instead, he delivers a shabby quilt of ill-stitched memes, reverent of the entrepreneurial spirit and fail-fast startup culture that has so radically transformed business since the Internet's inception.
The book's string of bite-sized sections, each carrying a short but catchy subhead, is enjoyable at first. But while the style gives author Mitch Joel a chance to punctuate his transitions with wit, the transitions eventually fall flat. The quick-pivots between case studies, admonitions, and advice intended to help the reader understand how to keep pace with modern consumers quickly turn into little speed-bumps in overly-long stories that should have been trimmed by a good editor.
Remarkably, this book does deliver a little value along the way. For the unaware, it creates a clear and compelling view of the convergence of media platforms that Joel casts as "The One-Screen World." It points to the wholly under-appreciated imperative of building direct connections with customers in a world where social media is taking on added importance to marketers every day. And for people who missed out on the revolutionary Tom Peter's book, "The Brand You 50," it makes clear the many reasons for resetting one's priorities in a business world that has so firmly placed us at the helm of our own careers. Michael Fitzhugh

Everyone knows we are in the “Information Age,” but Mitch Joel warns that only few today are poised to succeed as the digitization of our interactions continues at warp speed.  Great discussion of how digitalization of consumer interaction, through smart phone, tablet and/or wearable computer technologies, is drastically re-shaping our business and personal lives.  Adapt and embrace the new realities of communication, and everyman smart-technology, or be left behind.  Clever and worthwhile reading. Doramary

This book goes into detail about how our world is changing at a phenomenal pace.  In order to be successful, it is important to be like one of the customers, walk in their shoes and step outside the box, get away from sitting behind the desk.  In order to gain a customers attention, one needs to be up to date in all areas of technology and digital media in regards to advertising and marketing.  It may seem fairly basic, but today’s fast paced world waits for no one.  We cannot sit idly by as the competitors are always a step ahead to get the business.  This book embraces today’s technological world in an easy to follow format. Trisha Molina, Miami Springs

 A very thought-provoking book is this Control, Alt, Delete.  As the title implies this is an information-age book that addresses the dilemma of computer improvements, applications to personal devices and their impacts on business.  It goes without saying that since days of Marshal McLuhan the impact of technology has radically altered the economics and decision making processes of business.  And in the current economic sphere that writer Mitch Joel addresses, where sole practitioners take on the corporate giants, the challenge becomes how to re-invent ourselves and our businesses to address the influences of 24x7 access, big data’s impact on consumers, and the associated real problems of finding a job via cyber mode, where we can apply our unique talents.
    When so much of the employment picture is run digitally, our digital presence has to resist becoming digitally stereotyped, such that individual expression is limited by your tech presence for good or bad.  As one makes your digital self known, it might be said that you survive only by what you write, and the digital impact you make for your product saves your identity and defines your worth.
    Besides mastering the technological innovations and hardware the Futurists dilemma (and sometimes the consumer person’s nightmare) becomes; Do we function well by allowing the media mode of social network and web presence, to be the place where we strive to retain our unique identity?  Or sorry to say, do we just let media filtering translate our message in bulk with an archetypal message?
    Seth Godin might say “Weird” is alright, “just be you”; but this book goes to the next level and favors a new approach to media presence where people market themselves by striving to get to app status, so to speak.  This book says there might be some new thinking required too, about how we create our private space and then take it to big data to draw attention to ourselves and thereby justify other people’s time for a message.
    But McLuhan’s message and admonition are still valid here.   Your message depends somewhat on the media transmission method.
             Yes, we’re all going to be increasingly connected to the technology to connect to our customers.  But the valuable message to new workers, from the characteristics Control Alt, Delete supports, is worth reading.  Be careful of throwing out the baby (our special message) with the bath of continual static virtual evaluation.  A New You might encounter a Reality Check when the final impression gets transmitted..   Is there a danger of being co-opted? Jim Swaner

Mitch Joel makes a clear case for what he calls the seismic shift in the way we do business.  I liked the book because he not only drives home the point that we must make this change, or get left behind, but he then goes on to tell us in an upbeat manor how to make these changes not only in our business, but in our whole way of thinking. Emily Gilday, Miami

I did not enjoy this book as I did the others.  Iwould get to a part that started off interesting but by the time I got to the end of the section or example I had to reread the beginning of that part to remember the subject.
There were some parts I liked, e.g. the squiggly - the idea not his examples.  The five dynamics were good, I do not think he brought the idea home for the rebooting your personal life though.
To me this was a very confusing book which did not hold my attention.  I may read it again, but after I read the previous three books I reviewed first. Forrest Carper



Saturday, July 20, 2013

 Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It. Mitch Joel. Business Plus. 288 pages.

From the Publisher

The DNA of business has changed. Forever. You can blame technology, smartphones, social media, online shopping and everything else, but nothing changes this reality: we are in a moment of business purgatory.

So, what are you going to do about it?

Mitch Joel, one of the world's leading experts in new media, warns that the time has come to CTRL ALT DELETE. To reboot and to start re-building your business model. If you don't, Joel warns, not only will your company begin to slide backwards, but you may find yourself unemployable within five years.

That's a very strong warning, but in his new book, CTRL ALT DELETE, Joel explains the convergence of five key movements that have changed business forever. The movements have already taken place, but few businesses have acted on them. He outlines what you need to know to adapt right now. He also points to the seven triggers that will help you take advantage of these game-changing factors to keep you employable as this new world of business unfolds.

Along the way, Joel introduces his novel concept of "squiggle" which explains how you can learn to adapt your personal approach to your career, as new technology becomes the norm.

In short, this is not a book about "change management" but rather a book about "changing both you AND your business model."

Read about the book on the author's blog here.

About the Author
Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image, an award-winning Digital Marketing and Communications company.

Marketing Magazine dubbed him the "Rock Star of Digital Marketing" and called him, "one of North America's leading digital visionaries." In 2006 he was named one of the most influential authorities on Blog Marketing in the world. In 2008, Mitch was named Canada's Most Influential Male in Social Media, one of the top 100 online marketers in the world, and was awarded the highly prestigious Canada's Top 40 Under 40. Most recently, Mitch was named one of iMedia's 25 Internet Marketing Leaders and Innovators in the world.

His newspaper business column, New Business - Six Pixels of Separation, runs bi-monthly in both The Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun and he also has a regular column, Media Hacker, on The Huffington Post. His first book, Six Pixels of Separation, named after his successful blog and podcast is a business and marketing bestseller.

Oh, and I reviewed Mitch Joel's previous book,
Six Pixels of Separation right here.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. Douglas Rushkoff. 256 pages

I enjoyed reading this book.  Even at 266 pages, it was a quick & easy read. What I liked most about the book is the fact that while it related to the business world, its content can be applied to anyone in general. It shows how being multi-media savvy is the wave of the future, but it is already here now.  We have to embrace it, but still be able to relish good old fashioned face to face time. Terri Bryant, Davie

There’s no question that just about everything moves faster these days that it used to. The sheer volume of information that we have access to (and that has access to us) is not just enormous, but is growing daily. There’s also no doubt that attention spans are, in general, shorter than they used to be. It often appears that we need to be in constant contact and we must react instantly to whatever input we experience.
I think that Rushkoff has made a basically sound observation of current society: that we are beginning to experience life as one long continual moment rather than maintaining a view of life as a narrative. I think, though, that he’s expanded this idea far beyond what is really going on in the world. He has cherry-picked valid examples that do support his ideas (tv shows that break the third wall and disrupt linear storytelling, and games that exist for the moment-to-moment experience and appear to have no end), but he has a tendency to ignore the far more frequent and far more popular tv shows and games that do have a linear way of thinking.
Overall I’d say that this book does have a lot to say that is worth reading, and would recommend it, but I think that he is seeing (and trying to persuade us) of a worst case scenario. The changes that he sees and reports are there, but they are not as overwhelming as he believes. Bill Purtee, Missouri City, Texas

So.... here's the deal: this is a very interesting book but you have to get past the first chapter to believe it. It is contrived and lengthy. Once you do, the book actually flows quite well and is full of interesting insight about the plight of the modern man in the modern era where everything flies in your face at hyper speed.
As interesting as it is, I have no real use for the narrative of the book. I felt like watching a good movie that left me satisfied but will be forgotten in a couple of weeks. Nonetheless, the book brings an interesting point of view about how the future has "escaped our control" and overall I would recommended as an interesting, but not  indispensable read. It took me 10 days of night reading to finish it. Miguel Cobas, MD

When I was in high school I corresponded with pen pals all over the world. Actually, they were tape pals. Instead of exchanging letters, we would exchange 3-inch reels of audio tape which allowed us to record our messages but also to include records or radio shows we were listening to. That's how I first heard The Beatles, a full six months before they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
It took a long time for those tapes to travel though the mail system from the UK or New Zealand. I was reminded of that process recently when I heard from one of those tape pals from all those decades ago. He found my name on the Internet, sent me an e-mail, and now thanks to Skype we can carry on our conversations (complete with music) in real time.
It's technological progress like that that has brought us to where we are now…a state of Present Shock. Because of smartphones, Facebook updates, tweets, Instant Messaging and all that, information comes at us continuously and it is making us crazy! There's an app for that… I mean, a word for that: digiphrenia. It's the disordered condition of mental activity.  Are brains are always active, but are we really thinking, learning, growing?
Anyone having difficulty processing the overload ought to take some time to read this book. Not only does Rushkoff explain how we got to this point, he provides something that is lacking as we jump from e-mail to blog post to tweet: context. He helps to explain why politicians can no longer talk about, let alone solve, the major problems we are faced with and why economists totally missed the worldwide economic crisis of a few years ago.
Every time our phones beep or our laptops ping we are faced with a choice. Do we answer it, or do we continue with whatever it is we are supposed to be doing? Like having a conversation with the person who is sitting across the table from us. Rushkoff reminds us that "the first experience most of us had of this sort of forced choice was call waiting."  Yes! I can still remember the day, 25 years ago, the first time someone called me from his car on one of those newfangled cellular phones… and then put me on hold to take another call. Call waiting on a cell phone. What a stupid idea.
I hated it just like I grew to hate instant messaging and that annoying ping every time a new e-mail message arrives and those people who look at their phones while they're supposed to be listening to me. "In the digital realm we are either the programmers or the programmed — the drivers or the passengers."
Some of the most fascinating findings in the book concern the way this "always on" activity has disrupted the cycles that have governed human behavior for centuries — the seasons, the cycles of the moon, sleep patterns etc. I'm looking forward to studying more about Rushkoff's experiments in scheduling his activities to synchronize with the cycles of the moon.
As long as we are reaching for the stars, since everything is connected to everything else in this digital world, I couldn't help jotting down my horoscope for the day I finished the book. "Full throttle, and it gets chaotic. Take it slower, for a sustainable pace."
A good first step might be to shut off the smartphone, power down the computer and spend some quality time reading this book. Tom Teuber, Madison, WI

This book reminds me a lot of Toffler's Future Shock except today there is no future.  Everything is focused on the immediate. There is no thought of the future, everything is NOW! We have found ourselves moving from e mail to texting and from Blogs to Twitter. If the end of the 20th century was about "futureism," then the 21st century is about "presentism." The current generation has no memory burden because there is no past to remember. People today use institutional thinking not rational, considered thinking. Today the moment something is realized, it is over, and one moves to another NOW moment. Indeed, we have moved from Toffler's Future Shock to Rushkoff's Present Shock. We have lots the narrative, the story of how we got here.  People are only interested in the NOW! President Obama has encouraged people to be the change not to wait for it.  No more linear stories; the NOW is in! We have reality TV all focused on NOW.  The NBA is the only sport on the rise because it focuses on individual over team performance. And then there is CNN where we have instant everything. But there is a problem with the present. It disconnects us from reality. We don't get the big picture, just the NOW! And of course the internet brings everyone into the conversation.  People have grown skeptical of professional journalism. One study says, people only have a 25% confidence level. Video games have long passes other forms of entertainment. Our games focus on winners and losers and they are infinite, the just keep going. Many of our games are known as RPG (role play games) and unfortunately much is devoid of value. We live in a "better hurry" society.  We have come to let technology rule our lives and thus given up all control. We have forfeited the power of choice. With our e mail, Twitter and Smart phones, we are constantly being vibrated. We are constantly in the "on" mode. Used properly our technology can help us with lots of things. But is seems today we are doing everything humanly possible to compress time.  Everything is now; no past and no future, just this instant, NOW! And of course we have discovered that living in a global world, everything is connected.
In the final analysis, I did find the book a bit hard to read in spots and it got a bit tedious before it ended. Doug Newberry

Interesting topic and an interesting book!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Although sometimes I did have a difficult time following where the author was going with his examples and did re read some of the chapters again just to ensure I caught the gist of the reading.  
The more I read the book the more I understood why people seem to have a hard time concentrating on one topic nor  have no interest in reading a newspaper. The American Public wants information now, they do not want to wait. There really is no time to soak in information and provide feedback or even contemplate a decision. We are constantly in the loop for what is going on in the world.
The Overwinding Chapter and especially the Time is Money section really brought home to me why investment ideas from the past may not hold true in the future.  
I will re-read this book and not let it sit on a shelf.  I also need to find my copy of Future Shock and read it again. Forrest Carper, Bossier City, La

Present Shock is a complex book about how the world has changed with digital technology.
It compares the past to  the new present which has become complicated and distracting with so much information coming at us at once through the new technology which can do more harm than good.
The information received sometimes discards and disregards the truth and historical reality.
The author does a substantial job of clarifying the progression of the transition from before technology, (even including the TV remote control) to the here and now of instant information along with the reasoning
behind such changes. He points out the changes and why they occur and continue to do so.
Much of the past has been lost with the new technology. Creativity seems to have disappeared from skilled craftsman to story telling to simple mathematical thinking skills.
Perhaps that is why there are reruns of old movies, books, and Broadway Shows.
No one seems to have many new ideas.
That may also be the reason that The Antique Road Show and American Pickers are so popular.
We are still seeking the quality and sentimental things that were produced by skilled craftsman and writers.
The Shock in Present Shock seems to be more for the generations of the past before digital technology than of the present. We are the ones have experienced all of the changes! Margot Byrnes, Miami

When is the last time you saw or heard the words Alvin Toffler? This well written volume will reintroduce (or introduce) you.
This book tackles head on the issue of the century in a completely transparent way that is very stimulating.  The hard hitting philosophical, economic, political, and educational issues are addressed with a totally realistic analytical framework. Oh yes, the issue of the century is the question “who’s in charge here, the people or the computers?” We need to tell “Hal” (the computer in the Sci-fi movie “2001; A Space Odyssey”) that the people will rule. The author makes a good point in saying that this should be the case without getting preachy. Even if singularity becomes a reality in the next 2 or 3 decades which the author and many scientists believe will be the case, human beings will still drive the planet. Whoops! I’m sounding preachy.
The author uses excellent elements in building a paradigm for the readers to use in reaching their own conclusions about technology and people. For example, his use of the concept of fractals (repeating patterns) will be very mind expanding. Though I first read about the concept over 20 years ago, the reader will share in the feeling that fractals have an element of newness every time you see one. Whichever side of the issue you are on, concepts like fractal will keep you in the analytical for fun and profit mode. Dr. Robert C. Preziosi, Ft. Lauderdale

Present Shock is a very detailed overview of today's ever changing world of technology.  Reading it made sense for a baby boomer progressing through the changes of today's society throughout the decades.  Rushkoff writes exactly the way today is moving; fast paced, short paragraphs, and jumping around.  I needed to focus fast to get a clear understanding of his message and felt like I was taking a college course. Trisha Molina

In his book, Present Shock, Douglas Rushkoff, successfully held my attention while making his point about our disconnect and dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies. Not only could I recognize myself, my co-workers, my friends and my family in much of his writing, I can understand and relate to the examples he uses because they come from popular tv shows, movies and novels. Present Shock is an easy and enjoyable read. Rushkoff doesn't pass judgment or criticize. He simply takes a magnifying glass to what is already evident in our text-induced, social media-enriched, tech-run, digital world. We are so engaged in "presentism" we just don't notice. Susan Taslimi Litten, Parkland 

 It was a light interesting read with a lot of anecdotes to tie the point home. The author discusses how there is a conflict between " our digital selves and our analog bodies" putting us in a state of "present shock."  The advice is nothing we have not hear before: live more in the present (i.e.: eye contact over texting, quality over speed, etc).  Recommended if you are still struggling to find that balance of technology no completely ruling your life, however, pretty common knowledge if you have already achieved this. Isadora Cipolletta, Miami

As a senior citizen struggling to not get left behind in this digital world my head was spinning in reading this book. Understanding the vocabulary with which Rushkoff describes this new millennium was enough to make me nuts.  
The book reminds me of how much I loathe the "narrative collapse", and long for eye contact and a phone call over a text.  I'm retired, so why then am I always struggling to catch up?
Perhaps Rushkoff is truly in step with the now, but this book left me behind.  And quite frankly, I don't care. Emily Gilday 

This book makes you think.  The author's thesis is that so much is happening in the present that it is shocking us. He does this with examples of the popular TV programs and small personal examples.  The cyclical nature of things is discussed but my opinion is that cycles both in the universe, the solar system and the relationship of the earth to the moon and sun is more important then this book portrays. The portrayal is like explaining what the Romans made popular in their entertainment and extrapolating what the Roman society will evolve too.  Their downfall was mostly through corruption and a slave economy!
My take is the human society and body do go through cycles. This is explained much better by the author Og Madino, particularly in his book, The Greatest Salesman on Earth.
Because there is an error in the area of my expertise, sailing, I question all the examples used to support the author's argument about present shock. This error occurs in the part  about feedback. A navigator does not read feedback on a compass but on a GPS (Global Positioning System), a recent system put in place that helps all of us to navigate more accurately with this feedback.
The issue is why everyone is concerned is the pessimism of the future not the present. This is part of the cycle.  The author did have a short blurb in the book about the philosopher and paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard describes where the human race is going in his books, much better then this book does. Gordon Ettie

The book is really outstanding at covering the way(s) our culture is changing.
Most noticeably the effects of technology on work, time, multitasking and the “NOW” effect.
It also presents some insights or reminders into digital distraction, work and life interruptions and downtime.
Lastly with all the IRS NSA and State dept scandals---the insight to conspiracy theories was timely.
Great Book! Chip Moody Jr.

The topic and the concept is intriguing. I have often wondered what it is like living in a fishbowl (live  CNN reporting for everything) a new reality tv show, and that is what Present Shock describes.  The author is compelling and convincing and provocative.  The question seems to be will we have time to reflect on issues that surround us and allow us to think and weigh options and to reflect before succumbing to the knee jerk response that is being required of us in the future. M. Stein. Coral Springs

I found the book to be interesting, but more a lot more ‘heavy reading’ then I expected.  Timely topic, good insights on social media and its impact on our lives. Doramary Russell, Coral Springs

It takes a particular blend of interests to appreciate Douglass Rushkoff's map of the world. He dives deeply into the realms of corporatism, technological innovation, media theory, and pop culture all with equal enthusiasm and often in rapid succession. The reward for anyone sharing this mélange of interests rich. Few writers are capable of distilling developments in these areas in as organized or remarkably clear a manner as Rushkoff. His enthusiasm and talent for synthesizing connections between these fields and a litany of observations by other are clear in his latest book, "Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now."
Rushkoff's three most recent books, "Present Shock," and before it "Life Inc," "Program or Be Programmed," together build a picture of a developed world run amok, so throughly awash in material wealth and information that both have ceased to have meaning. The continuity of his arguments is remarkable, especially considering they span five years of relatively radical change. In  "Present Shock" he easily picks up the thread.
In one anecdote after another, he builds cringe-worthy pictures of people lured into parting with growing amounts of attention, wealth, and humanity by promises of ever faster and intense gratification only to be left disappointed, impoverished, and degraded.
Rushkoff surveys a world in which the traditional arcs of big stories that once sustained and transmitted culture from one generation to another fall under the weight of self-referential TV programs, stranding us with dead-end entertainments. The artificial urgency created by efforts to achieve maximum productivity pushes us into what he calls "a short forever," in which all activity is directed ultimately toward ceaseless consumption. The disorienting freedom from time created by the digital technologies enabling that consumption, for with 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. are qualitatively the same, leave us drained and disoriented.
The chaos of present shock—being trapped in an ever-lasting now—leaves us confused, he suggests. Worse, we're made susceptible to constant misinterpretation of disconnected events because of our inability to step back to take in the big picture, to "pull back to see the pattern." In the end, we long for closure, completion, for apocalypse.
Yet reading "Present Shock" is a surprising pleasure. Rushkoff is an almost unexpected optimist. His predictable turn at the end of every chapter toward positive applications for the very same technologies he disparages elsewhere offers a welcome respite from the cynicism and hopelessness the reader might otherwise endure. He rejects binary judgements in favor of more nuanced assessments of the radical changes that have brought about the shock-induced paralysis he chronicles in the book.
Rushkoff argues in the end for a mindfulness in which we "give each moment the value it deserves." That he takes the time to convey his arguments so completely at book-length, writing what he light-heartedly calls "an opera" in a literary world shifting toward shorter and more shallow cultural appraisals is evidence the author taking his own advice. After reading "Present Shock," you're likely to want to do the same. Michael Fitzhugh

Love the author's perspective on how we've gotten what we asked for-everything faster, more information, immediate results, paranoia and "digiphrenia". We can't enjoy being one place because we're busy socially networking to find a better party, better job, better life. Meanwhile we lose eye contact and other social skills because we "live" online. Sounds like a sci-fi movie script from 1980, but he makes us realize how much civilization has changed post 9/11. John Moorehead, Weston



Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now. Douglas Rushkoff. 256 pages

From The Publisher
People spent the twentieth century obsessed with the future. We created technologies that would help connect us faster, gather news, map the planet, compile knowledge, and con­nect with anyone, at anytime. We strove for an instanta­neous network where time and space could be compressed.

Well, the future's arrived. We live in a continuous now en­abled by Twitter, email, and a so-called real-time technologi­cal shift. Yet this now is an elusive goal that we can never quite reach. And the dissonance between our digital selves and our analog bodies has thrown us into a new state of anxiety: present shock.

Rushkoff weaves together seemingly disparate events and trends into a rich, nuanced portrait of how life in the eter­nal present has affected our biology, behaviour, politics, and culture. He explains how the rise of zombie apocalypse fic­tion signals our intense desire for an ending; how the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street form two sides of the same post-narrative coin; how corporate investing in the future has been replaced by futile efforts to game the stock market in real time; why social networks make people anxious and email can feel like an assault. He examines how the tragedy of 9/11 disconnected an entire generation from a sense of history, and delves into why conspiracy theories actually comfort us.

As both individuals and communities, we have a choice. We can struggle through the onslaught of information and play an eternal game of catch-up. Or we can choose to live in the present: favor eye contact over texting; quality over speed; and human quirks over digital perfection. Rushkoff offers hope for anyone seeking to transcend the false now.

Absorbing and thought-provoking, PRESENT SHOCK is a wide-ranging, deeply thought meditation on what it means to be human in real time.

Here's a recent presentation by Rushkoff on Present Shock:

Here's a link to the author's website; an interview with; an interview with VICE; and a podcast interview with author and margeting guru Mitch Joel.

Interested in reviewing this book? Please click the link on the top left side of this page.

As always, your contributions are appreciated.



Monday, April 29, 2013

Work Like a Spy: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer. J. C. Carleson. Porfolio. 208 pages.

Review by Richard Pachter

You need an angle, an opening, a hook — maybe even a gimmick — to get published and be remembered. In Work Like a Spy, author Carlson leverages the most interesting part of her resume and the result is an clever and enjoyable book.

Will you learn how to work like a spy? Yes and no.

Carlson uses her espionage background to provide various examples of scenarios from the world of cloak and dagger, then explains how an operative would proceed, and provides a parallel situation, with recommended actions in the more mundane world of business.

It's an entertaining and colorful formula, resulting in some breezy and pleasant lessons, especially the parts where Ms. Carlson shares her personal experiences (which were reviewed and approved for publication by her former employer prior to publication).

The question, of course, is whether or not the result adds up to something new and original, or at least a fresh view of the familiar from a different angle.

Not really. Most of what Carlson concludes and recommends involves common sense. If you can't figure out, for example, that you must be extremely careful not to hire a competitor's relative for an important position in your company, you're in big trouble.

And gathering competitive intelligence by listening carefully to disgruntled or harried employees, possibly while consuming an adult beverage or two, is a time-honored tradition, well known to most savvy managers.

Still, if you'd like some clues about intelligence gathering in business — and doing it legally, as Carlson repeatedly admonishes — it's here, undercover.


Club Reviews: WORK LIKE A SPY

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Work Like a Spy: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer. J. C. Carleson. Porfolio. 208 pages.

The book's title piqued my interest and gave me hope for new and exciting insights to forge ahead in the business world.  Unfortunately there was absolutely nothing new whatsoever--just a 'cloak and dagger' approach telling the reader what they already know.  Anyone who has worked in the corporate world should already be aware of the pitfalls to avoid as described in the book, as well as how to establish trust and be truly ethical and 'make it."  I was truly disappointed, as Ms. Carleson's approach was smoke and mirrors — resulting in "mission not accomplished". Tobi Dienstag; Pembroke Pines

I enjoyed reading the book. It was a quick read, too. Gave a lot of useful information in an easy to decipher format. While some of the text may have been "common knowledge", it was still useful as a refresher course. I would recommend it to others. Terri Bryant, Davie

What a great book! Really enjoyed it from beginning to end. Actually, I'm not sure if I liked it more because of the possible translation of skills form the CIA to the corporate world or simply because her writing about the CIA is so candid yet so beguiling that you wish you'd know more from the inner workings of the organization.
Written like a song, easy on your eyes and fast on your brain, I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anybody who wants to learn a little more about improving people's skills, emotional intelligence and how becoming "an intelligence officer" can help you in many walks of life. Miguel Cobas, MD; Miami

Some books you cannot put down. I had no problem putting this book down and out of its misery. No new or classified information here, just tips likely used for capricious means. I prefer teamwork instead. One good point is recognizing when you are being pumped for information. David Shapiro; Ft Lauderdale

Pretty cool premise to get "inside info" approach from mysterious source (CIA). However, fairly predictable as far as the layout and knowledge provided. I liked the third Chapter on Business Counterintelligence because the author describes both legal and illegal ways to obtain sensitive data from a competitor. This helps a business owner understand areas in which to enhance security, as well as engage in "turning the tables" on an aggressive rival. Altogether an entertaining and valuable read, thanks for the opportunity to participate! John Moorehead; Weston

I did not like the book very much.  It was not useful or inspirational.  Most of the information had to do with being a CIA officer and what she did or did not do. Finding a niche is already known in the business world.  I could continue but I would have to mention parts of the book and that is not what I am supposed to do. Patricia Garcia; Miami

This book was interesting!  It has something that those looking for work, those already in the workplace and those who are the senior leaders of business can use and/or pass on to those they mentor.
At first I was bored with the way she was writing but found she had a flow to her style that although hard to follow at times, I soon came to understand that the ideas she puts forth are very useful.  Going from the basics of networking and learning what to listen and look for from an interviewer to how to put together a team and maintain loyalty from those you meet along the way.  You may meet those people on the way down too, and it is ever so nice to have friends when you are down on your luck.
The introduction of terms such as "Strategic Elicitation" which introduce the basics of how to get information without seeming to really want it, bring the whole book together for me.
I liked the book but I did not find the book exciting.  It was not boring to me either.  I think I can put some of the ideas and exercises together for a nice how to job search lesson to some of those getting ready to leave the active duty military for the civilian sector in the next few months.  Forrest Carper; Bossier City, Louisiana

The book is interesting and easy to read, but I don't share the author's belief that the information contained in it can help the reader with such things as getting hired or promoted or closing a sale. Where I think these things have an application is in deciding whom to hire if you're a business owner or the person in charge of hiring at a corporation. Liliana Delara

The author has a creative idea to tie her CIA agent experience and how it relates to having a job in the private sector. Even going as far as explaining how some CIA principles (ie: targeting, solicitation, counterintelligence, screening), translates in the corporate world.  The author does a well translating the principles with brief examples and lighthearted approach.  Although the author doesn't reveal any new "secrets" for success in the workplace, I believe this book could aid people exiting public service or law enforcement jobs and trying to get into the private sector or vice versa.  The book can help them translate their experience into something those potential employers are looking for. Isadora Cipolletta

The principles of working like a spy do translate to the everyday workplace, such as crisis management, ethical challenges and employee investigations. Some of the tips are common sense, but I enjoyed reading her experiences and I got some good ideas for the workplace. Mary Greenwood, St. Augustine

Being involved in the Surveillance industry and helping management get a clearer vision of their OPs, this book had extraordinary appeal to my interest.
I was not disappointed!  I cannot recall nodding in agreement this many times while reading a book.
Nicely structured, J.C. Carleson pulls back the curtain and allows us to see inside the mind of an intelligence agent and then goes on with a "how to" on setting up this culture in within an organization. Well worth reading, again! This was great. Marc Cohen; Pembroke Pines

This book gives the strategies that one has to adopt to maneuver and advance in a razor edge cut throat business environment. May be a good primer for covert talent acquisitions and take-overs. Compels the reader to think at what extent does one have to reach or breach to get ahead?  Lily Orticio; Aventura

Easy to read and understand. J.C.Carleson shows us how simple paranoia, diligence, and adherence to detail can be successful in our "real world" as in her "real world".
Practical applications that are useful for sales techniques, and ways to monitor your organization from internal and external threats and challenges are suggested and can be used by any manager. Definitely recommended as a management tool. Marvin Stein, MD; Coral Springs

J. C. Carleson (yes, she’s a woman, but conveniently neglected to put that on the front flap) has written a book that is easy to read, and yet that does have some good ideas for succeeding in the business world.  She wrote about some practices of the CIA, and how they could be applied to working in your present organization.  I like the way she created a scenario of what might have happened with the CIA, and then converted some of the actions to activities that would work in any field of business.   Chapter 7, Making a Sale the CIA Way, described eight ways to attract a customer, or a new job, such as aiming high, identifying the decision maker, meeting on neutral ground, following through, and keeping it positive.    Wish I’d used more of these techniques long before I retired! Betty G Hubschman; Whitsett, North Carolina

I was prepared to hate this book. Let's just say I was prejudiced against it even before reading the flap. My first thought was, "Great, here's a person who's trading on her 'glamorous' insider job title and she'll try and impress us with all her shoptalk and war stories." I was anticipating a shallow read, long on pithy personal observations and short on substance. I've spent three out of the last five years as an analyst in an intel center. I switched to a writing position with the same organization and work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, so I thought "Work Like a Spy" would be a flimsy excuse of a book used to shine the light on the author. I expected a book of "look how clever I am" stories disguised as an advice book for worker bees. I decided to be fair and drop my preconceived notions. I opened my mind and after I read the first 25 pages, I began to see value in the book.  Author Carleson has written a thoughtful, well-documented book that would help anyone in any stage of life because it's based on psychology and proven tactics for "motivating" other people to provide you with what you want. The section on elicitation ("Strategic Elicitation" in the second chapter called "Secret Agent Boot Camp") was especially helpful. The use of a very realistic job interview as an example of how to get details about the interviewer so the interviewee could craft an effective response was realistic and informative.
Other chapters were equally helpful and practical. For example, chapter four  ("Creating Your Team") provides five strategies that the CIA uses developing individuals and teams. This section is extremely valuable and easy for the lay person to apply to personal and professional goals. I especially liked the author's example used in the fifth strategy: "Make Room for Lone Wolves." Carleson used the example of the gruff senior officer with bad interpersonal skills, but who was extremely good at his job by, "...getting taciturn, tough, and grizzled officials from target nations to spill their secrets, because he was just like them. I suspect that, on average, his conversations with this recruited assets consisted of a small fraction of the number of words used in parallel conversations between other officers and assets. Yet in his gruff, taciturn way he got the job done when no one else could."  This book is well written and practical. Readers should look past the title, the gimmicky cover art and give this book a chance. Kathy Dolbow Doran; Miami Beach

I immediately sensed upon reading the book, the refreshing and not boring, analytic, no nonsense approach of the author. It makes a lot of sense having a background in business and additionally being a CIA analyst, to genially write a business book that will help you make better business decisions. It is general enough, applicable to many circumstances, but specific in its analytic approach. Well written and understandable, one of the better and most enjoyable business books I have read. Highly recommend it. EJ "Henry" Ventura, Jr.; Coral Gables

If you've always wanted to know how you can sniff out top-secret insights in the corporate world, don't expect to find out how by reading Work Like a Spy. You'll be no closer to an answer. You will, however, be inundated with first hand accounts of J. C. Carleson's work experience at the C.I.A and various examples of how she was a pro at getting what she wanted from other people while she worked for the C.I.A. What I wanted from this book was something more than the basic common sense the author offered. Susan Taslimi Litten; Parkland

I found the premise of using CIA techniques as procedures to assist a less-intriguing business a very engrossing read.  The thought of using clandestine, covert activities to make my own business more effective and efficient has broad appeal.

Throughout the book I realized something. I don't want to work like a spy.

The use of most of the applicable or transferable suggestions is tenuous at best.  The author provides an extensive back story to make a relatively small point in the world of those of us who don't have the business model of a spy agency.  Applying the procedures Carleson outlines, I would spend all day performing counterintelligence instead of doing my job.  It just is not practicable or suitable for small business.  For Fortune 500 or 1000, companies, many of the techniques could be entirely applicable, but for me, with ten employees, it does not provide much to help me day-to-day.

Despite that, I found the section on recruitment to be the most interesting, informative, and directly usable to my business. Focusing on getting the right people for the job,not the right resume, is something to which I have to pay close attention.

In the end, it was a well-written, interesting book. But as for my job, I have to shelve it under fiction. Scott D. Rembold; Coral Gables

The book is interesting as it had a twist ... it was like a little about an organization CIA which has always been intriguing for many of us and then that she was able to incorporate her teachings and also some insights as to what takes to be a CIA make the book more interesting and of course the title was catching.  I think that the book could be made into a movie ... and as world is more on intellectual sphere at this time ... there are more spies in the business world than anywhere else and the stakes are high.

I definitely place it for as recommending reading for those starting a business, already owning a business which they are contemplating taking to a higher level.  And of course the Internet business of the new start … as talents is very important thing when one is starting a venture. Magda S. Saltzman

The examples provided by the author show how even the best in the business can be mislead by intelligence gathered. I found it easy to navigate and an individual's "self awareness" is a valuable tool in business or any relationship.  I recommend this book for the "spy" in all of us. Peter Kihn; Sterling Heights MI

After a slow start when reading J.C. Carleson's book, I was rewarded with worthwhile suggestions to help in various areas of business organization situations in all areas of a company.

Elicitation, screening, recruitment, and counter intelligence strategies are the important valuable strategies given. Positive values and integrity are a necessity.

It amazing how many of the CIA strategies can be used in most areas of your business and your life.

Some you may all ready be using!

The most intriguing parts of the book were the descriptive anecdotes that actually happened

in the CIA. They added that extra zing to the book! Margot Byrnes; Miami

I enjoyed this book! It was entertaining and carries a great message. Indeed, there are a lot of ways to emulate “the spy business” in the world of business. I wanted to read this book to see if I knew a lot of what it contains. I do. But I still found many nuggets worth remembering and reading. There is a lot of valuable information contained in this book, framed in a way that makes it almost irresistible! Who doesn’t want to feel like a spy as they research and prepare for a meeting? I have always looked at someone’s web site before meeting with them. Little did I know that I was engaging in leadership analysis, a CIA technique! It will make things a whole lot more fun from now on to couch them in spy terminology, but this is not a put-on. There really is a lot of relevant information to be gleaned from her words. And after all, as she says, we leave in a world where information has value. So does this book. Anne Bloom; Davie

This is not a boring, standard business book. This book starts off exciting and delivers right to the end. Carleson provides an interesting perspective on getting ahead in the business world through the eyes of a former agent. While the strategies make sense that are introduced and the stories around them are fascinating to absorb, they both tie in together making each chapter very interesting and wanting to learn more.  Trisha Molina; Miami

I loved learning how to  “Work Like A Spy.”  A practical lexicon, yet still engaging, I have been recommending this book to everyone.  And the cover art is awesome! Doramary Russell; Coral Springs

I jumped at the chance to review Work Like a Spy by J. C. Carleson because I like to see authors use analogies to relate one type of work practices to the work practices of types of work.  And when I read any business book, I look for those platinum nuggets of wisdom rather than a comprehensive unifying theory of how to run my operations.
In Work Like a Spy, there are some real stretches to equate the skills taught and used as a CIA clandestine service officer with the skills needed in today’s corporate world.  Most notably, Chapter 7, Making a Sale the CIA Way, starts with “persuading a target to conduct espionage is much like making a sale.”  While there are undeniably some similarities, the analogy was more entertaining than it was insightful.
But chapters 5 and 6 are replete with those true nuggets of wisdom that can be directly applied. Chapter 5, Staying Clean in a Dirty World, makes a wonderful case for hard and fast ethical rules that cannot be violated in either the do-or-die world of spying or in the high-stress-high-stakes world of corporate business.  Some takeaways:
·         Treat and protect your reputation and integrity as you would cold, hard cash.
·         Understand that sharks are cannibals.
·         Own the solution, not the mistake.
·         Act urgently when things are urgent.
And they don’t come off as flat platitudes. Ms. Carleson gives real-world examples from both corporate life and clandestine life that illustrate and bolster her best advice.
Chapter 6, Crisis Management Strategies from an Organization that Truly Knows the Meaning of Crisis, is the best chapter in the book.  She lists some of the “many ways that the CIA responded more effectively to a crisis than what [she] had witnessed in the corporate world,” such as:
·         Focus attention outward
·         Continue to acknowledge and reward performance
·         Make senior management more accessible than ever
·         Articulate crystal-clear directives
·         Hand out extraordinary empowerment to your employees
·         Redirect and refocus
·         Protect the employees on the ground
·         Create loyalty by inspiring it and trust by earning it
Each of these is backed up by pages and pages of explanation and examples.  This one chapter alone is reason enough to read the book in its entirety. Chris Ros

I liked the book although I am not sure about her premise that business should follow CIA standards.  It gives an interesting perspective on values and thinking of the CIA subculture.  The author seems to glorify this subculture that she once was a member portraying them as idealistic, having high standards, and representative of a higher caliber of society.  Reminds me a little of the television series MI-5. Darlene Johnson

I enjoyed the book.  While the beginning was a slow start and a bit much to get through, pressing on provided some interesting ideas on intelligence gathering.  In today's world, business leaders are inundated with a great deal of data.  Sifting through the data for useable information was what I took from this.  The analogies in the book are really the exciting part.  The drawback for the book for me was that it appeared to be more focused on larger businesses rather than small operations.  With that said, there is still ample techniques and ideas that make it worth reading and implementing some of the strategies.  This book also made me think of the book "Only the Paranoid Survive." John Lyon, Barre, Vermont


NEXT BOOK: Work Like A Spy

Friday, March 1, 2013

Work Like a Spy: Business Tips from a Former CIA Officer. J. C. Carleson. Porfolio. 208 pages.

In Work Like a Spy, author J.C. Carleson applies lessons learned from her years as an undercover CIA officer to the business world. Quite simply, the techniques used in the clandestine world are broadly applicable, universal methods for getting what you want from other people.
In the business setting, you may be seeking a new job, a promotion, a big sale, or a regulatory ruling in your company's favor. Whatever it is that you seek, someone has the power to give, and this book will teach you new strategies to get it. Broken into three parts, Work Like a Spy includes an introduction to the basic skill sets used by CIA officers, clandestine methods that can be applied at the organizational level, and techniques that can be applied to specific business situations.

When J. C. Carleson left the corporate world to join the CIA, she expected an adventure, and she found it. Her assignments included work in Iraq as part of a weapons of mass destruction search team, travels throughout Afghanistan, and clandestine encounters with foreign agents around the globe. What she didn’t expect was that the skills she acquired from the CIA would be directly applicable to the private sector.

It turns out that corporate America can learn a lot from spies—not only how to respond to crises but also how to achieve operational excellence. Carleson found that the CIA gave her an increased understanding of human nature, new techniques for eliciting informa­tion, and improved awareness of potential security problems, adding up to a powerful edge in business.

Using real examples from her experiences, Carleson explains how working like a spy can teach you the principles of:
Targeting—figuring out who you need to know and how to get to them
Elicitation—a subtle way to get the answers you need without even asking a question
Counterintelligence—how to determine if your organization is unwittingly leaking information
Screening—CIA recruiters’ methods for finding and hiring the right people

The methods developed by the CIA are all about getting what you want from other peo­ple. In a business context, these techniques apply to seeking a new job, a promotion, a big sale, an advantageous regulatory ruling, and countless other situations.

As Carleson writes, “In a world where infor­mation has a price, it pays to be vigilant.” Her book will show you how.

Here's a column Carlson wrote for CNN.

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