Sunday, November 2, 2014

BUSINESS WITHOUT THE BULLSH*T: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. Geoffrey James. Business Plus.

My first reaction to the book when I saw the "49 secrets and shortcuts" was oh no not another "to do or not to do" book.  But, to be honest, I was not even through the Introduction when I saw this book to be very practical and a simple book with a concept that can be employed right now!  Right away my intrigue began with the thought that today we are all freelancers, we are our own bosses, we have to sell ourselves, clarity creates power, people trump technology, courage is critical, belief drives results, and business is simple.  All straightforward points that are very actionable.  After reading the Introduction, I was already convinced after my 50 years in the business world myself, that Geoffrey was right on target!
I found Part I on "How to Manage Your Boss" (Secrets 1-7) to be very interesting.  It is a great reminder to both boss and associate that relationships are symbiotic and that to achieve any kind of success both need the other.  I found the 12 types of bosses both humorous but also very accurately describing what I have seen myself in the business world.  James talks about 7 things you can do to keep your boss happy and I found them all to be very true.  Most of us desire to advance and move up.  "Getting your boss working for you" certainly shares ideas that will go a long, long way towards success.  It is an absolute truth that not many of us like performance reviews, both boss and associate, but Secret 4 goes a long way in making the process of performance appraisal productive.  Secret 6 on "handling unreasonable requests" is super!  If in fact the boss and associate relationship is symbiotic then honesty is a must.
Part II "How to Manage Your Co-Workers" (Secrets 8-14) is timely because working with your peers and your boss is critical to success.  I found all 7 Secrets to be right on target for anyone's personal success.  We all need to earn respect, play clean office politics, recruit a mentor, deal with annoying co-workers, and yes we have to deal with those pesky organizational; lawyers, make effective use of social media and last but not least shine in meetings.
In Part III (Secrets 15-21) we see how James defines what really great leaders do to manage their people.  I found Secret 15 to be very intriguing.  James says that good leaders do not view businesses as battlefields and they do not make the competition the enemy.  They take on their competitors through diversity, building great teams, and forming partnerships.  Secret 16 reminds leaders of a very important point, we manage people not numbers.  Secret 17 offers some great insights on how to make criticism effective and not defective. 
Part IV (Secret 22-28) shares some great thoughts on managing ones self.  I found Secret 23 to be very helpful.  All of us look to create more time.  We are busy and time is a valuable asset.  James offers some great ideas on how to create time. Read Part IV!
Part V (Secrets 29-35) is very important because it shares some ideas on how to better communicate.  I found James "5 Rules for Business Communications" in Secret 29 to be right on target and very helpful.  Secret 33 is another nugget.  All leaders speak to audiences and James speaks to how "to work the room" to be a more effective communicator.
Part VI (Secret 36-42) shares some very important ideas if you find yourself trying to manage an emergency.
Finally, in Part VII (Secret 43-49) we are exposed to "How to Cope with Evils."  This is a MUST READ and covers everything from dealing with dirty office politics, coping with management fads, spotting lies, identifying bogus statistics, when its OK to lie to your boss and how to safely be a whistle blower.  Secret 44 and the part on management by consensus really got my attention.  After my 50 years in the business world, most leading large organizations,  I would say from experience that managing by consensus is a huge mistake.  Too often I found that management by consensus meant management by everyone and that never worked for me!  At some point on some things, someone has to decide.  As James tells us, consensus normally does not deal with tough issues so we wind up on soft issues and usually remaining at status quo.  Secret 48 "The 7 Times It Is OK to Lie to Your Boss" is quite humorous.  I would have said it is NEVER OK to lie to your boss but James offers some very interesting insights.  But when all is said and done, I am only partially convinced.
In conclusion, this is a very good and interesting book.  It grabs your attention and holds it.  There are many great insights!  But I would never have call these 49 Secrets.  To me they are more management TIPS that are seldom and often poorly used. Doug Newberry Antioch, Tn.

Now, I really enjoyed this book.  Even though the title starts off with the word "Business" most of the content could apply to personal life, not just professionally.  This book is something I would definitely share with my 2 young adult children as they are relatively new in the business world & hopefully would welcome the advice it contains.  The author made it easy to read, yet didn't dumb it down. Terri Bryant, Davie

I'm a business book junkie and I believe they all have good and effective strategies to use in order to succeed in business.  But this one, "Business without the Bullsh*t" is a treasure trove of "how to" address everyday challenges in the workplace.  The "secrets" are presented in a very simple and easily understood manner.  As a result, the reader can apply them right away in their work environment confident that he/she will succeed. I especially enjoyed the section on "The Twelve Types of Bosses". I constantly found myself identifying with one of the types of bosses that the author mentioned and wishing I had had this book to refer to. This is definitely a book you want to keep at arms length and make a point of reviewing every week if your goal is to genuinely succeed in business. Alex R. Camacho, Miami

Business without the bullshit. Does that exist?  And can one get ahead in today’s work world without both perpetrating and learning to accept a healthy dose of bullshit?  It’s a great name for a book and immediately sparked my interest. Finally, a guy that tells it like it is, no holds barred. 
I tend to skip the introduction in most books. I usually find that the author talks a lot but doesn’t really say anything of value.  This time, I did read the introduction and I’m glad I did, because I actually found it to contain the most insightful statements of the book.  The premises of Everyone Is a Freelancer, You Are Your Boss and You Must Sell Yourself, pretty much encapsulate the thinking you must have and the actions you need to take in order to get ahead in today’s work climate. James nails it right from the beginning when he says you have to realize that the days of Company loyalty in return for all your hard work and an expectation of job security are long gone. We are all really just commodities now.  If a Company can find someone to do it cheaper, that’s probably the way they are going to go, even if the quality of the work is lower. 
According to James, the only way to make it through is to always consider yourself as a freelancer and to act accordingly.  You have to constantly be selling and reselling yourself and your services to Management in order to reinforce your value in hopes of being deemed irreplaceable.  At the same time, you need to always be on the lookout for new and better opportunities, keeping your options open and your resume updated so that you are ready to go at a moment’s notice.  Much in the same way Management would drop you without a moment’s hesitation.  He also says you must re-think how you see your boss.  Don’t think of your boss as managing you.  You need wake up and do your own managing.  You have to be managing yourself, your boss, your coworkers and the direction of your own career all at the same time.  You really are your own boss and there is not a moment to rest.  You must be constantly taking action that will “serve your greater purpose”.
I think that pretty much sums up a lot of the book.  Throughout the chapters, James presents scenarios, ideas, tips and tricks.  To be honest, I found much of what he said to be common sense and it wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before. It was easy enough reading and amiable in its way.  But it also got me thinking something else. Isn’t putting forth whole sets of ideas that most people would just consider the common sense thing to do and a re-hashing of all the same things you’ve read and heard before over and over again its own form of bullshit?  I think so. And that realization turned me off from the book for a bit.
That being said, I did find some of the ideas in the section about managing your boss area to be valuable. James got me thinking about a boss and the relationship to the employee in a much different way than I had before. He says that instead of thinking of the person in that role as a Boss, think of him as someone who is providing you with a service. Some examples he gives are that your Boss gets you resources you need to get the job done, help to solve interdepartmental issues and works to secure money to get you a raise.  That makes me think of a boss in much more user friendly terms. It’s also nice to think of my boss as servicing me instead of my being the one to provide all the services while he reaps all the benefits. 
James talks about the twelve types of bosses which are differentiated by the boss’s motivations in his own career.  By correctly identifying your boss’s type and shaping your approach to him accordingly, you will make your relationship a much more effective and less contentious one.  By helping your boss get to where he wants to go, you are paving the road that will help you get you where you want to go.
He also talks thinking about the Boss not only as someone who has the power to influence what happens to you but as a regular person who, like most people, cares about the opinions of others.  He says that you should actively cultivate your boss’s peers into your own social network. These are the people who your boss listens to and whose opinions he values. Those are the people who affect his own opinions and ultimately, his opinion of you.  If those people like you and see your value and want you around, that message will make its way back to your boss and he will be influenced to like and want you around too.
So, do I recommend the book?  There were only a couple of sections that I thought were really great.  But when I think about it, both of those areas were strong enough and insightful and valuable enough to cause me to re-shape my thinking. That in itself is the highest level of praise. Rivka Kaminetzky

This was an enjoyable book and an easy read.  Geoffrey James lists 49 of what he calls ‘secrets and shortcuts’ you need to know in business,  many of which are just plain common sense.  The format makes it easy for you to search for an topic that might be troubling you, and at the end of each section he recaps his ideas, driving home the important points.
I particularly liked the section of how to communicate and more particularly ‘how to write a compelling email’.  That little secret alone should be mandatory for all incoming employees.  It’s almost like teaching a student how to write a thesis.  In this day of instant communication an effective email is a must. 
For anyone looking for a job, a must read is the section on not only how to get the job interview, but how to ace it. 
All in all, these concise little common sense tips should make life a little bit easier in the world of business if not in your private life as well. Emily Gilday

This is a book I really enjoyed. It cuts to the chase in many areas that are useful for business and for human interactions in general. Dealing with your boss may not be very different than dealing with your wife, after all.
Another good thing about the book is that you can read every paragraph from the perspective of being a boss or being an employee and you extract slightly different perspectives, both useful. At the end of each chapter there is a bulleted key points list that is not very useful if you don't read the chapter first, but very much if you have done so.
I'd like to point out a couple of chapters that stand on their own for brevity and clarity: Chapter 34, how to negotiate an agreement, is a 5 page excellent summary on the topic, and if you don't have time to read entire books dedicated to the topic (getting to yes probably the best one) this little gem will start you on the right track. How to have enough time, (Ch. 23) is also very useful for its simplicity and content.
In summary, many good lines of solid advice can be found in this book. Entertaining, to the point and highly recommendable. No BS here. Miguel Cobas, Miami

 What a fun, entertaining romp about the truth and lies about business as usual.
This little book had many pearls and pointers that should guide any office worker from the neophyte to the senior management.
Mandatory reading for new hires and survivalists in any office environment. Marv Stein, Coral Springs

I think the subtitle (49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know) says it all, and I only wish I had this book, or a good mentor, many years ago.  As it is, I’ll definitely pass this copy on to family and friends, so maybe they’ll have less trials and tribulations at work.
The book is separated into 7 “parts” – how to manage your boss, your coworkers, your employees, and yourself; and how to  communicate, handle emergencies, and cope with evil.  (What?? EVIL in the office?? Boy, was I naïve back then…) The “secrets” are short, and are summarized at the end of the topic.  Most of all, this is a commonsense book for surviving not only in the workplace, but in life. Betty G Hubschman, Whitsett, North Carolina

I like that this book is written in seven parts and is designed to jump in right wherever you need advice most.
The parts are:
1) How to manage your boss
2) How to manage your coworkers
3) How to manage your employees
4) How to manage yourself
5) How to communicate
6) How to handle emergencies
7) How to cope with evil
In each section, James identifies secrets and shortcuts you may use to get ahead of whoever your competition happens to be or if you want to help others make it in the world of work.
I liked the twelve management styles in the first section and I think it set the tone for the easy read of the rest of the book.
I read each section as they were presented and found that I really did not need to.  Did not have to remember what the previous sections stated before reading any of the other sections.  I did keep in mind the first two parts on Managing your boss and coworkers though.  This to me is a big part of who I deal with on a daily basis.  I can keep the customer happy just by answering their questions, but, if I am not careful with my co-workers, my work life could be difficult.
The  “Five Rules for Business Communication” part I liked.  We are told why it is important to be clear about the specific reason for communication. Mr. James states it’s critical to know the preferred medium of the person to whom the communication is directed, whether that’s face-to-face, phone, or email. Messages must to be short and to the point, while being absent of buzzwords and jargon.  How true!!
The entire work covers many points one can put to use on the spot: job interviews; office politics; layoffs; stress; rejection; failure; and what to do if you screw up are only a few.
This is a "Perfect" read for someone just out of college and perhaps should be a daily or weekly reader. Forrest Carper

While I might call bullsh*t on Geoffrey James designating the tactics and techniques in this book "secrets", Business Without the Bullsh*t is a practical business read full of useful thinking points for both managers and employees.
The seven parts of the book are divided into helpful categories that allow either a quick read cover to cover, or an engaging reference for particular circumstances.  I actually printed the "How to Keep Your Boss Happy" Secret and gave it to two young employees to show them that what I kept telling them about how to advance their careers and keep me from going off the deep end was not complete balderdash.  This information is, at times, full of buzzwords and banality.  Regardless, as a manager, it is important to reflect on the topics presented on a constant basis, to ensure the business is running effectively, efficiently, and effortlessly.  Clichés are clichés for a reason.
Whether it be handling an emergency, considering the next hire, or communicating with the younger generation of workers, the fact that Business Without the Bullsh*t made me think, gave me ideas, and assisted with potential solutions makes it a book that will stay on my shelf. Scott Rembold, Coral Gables

Business Without the Bullshit is simplistic approach to business with not much substance and relevance to today's approach to business. Low rating at best. Ron Groce

This is a wonderfully titled book of simple and mostly obvious concepts, some of which bear reminding. However this book is flawed. The good news is however you can search for what is relevant to you in a clear table of contents and read those portions and get something out of this book.
The book is organized in an efficient manner and chapters are called “secrets” and they are short. They are so short one has to wonder why a shortcut appears at the end of every secret because at a certain point I found myself just reading the shortcuts. And I can tell you exactly at what point in the book that happened.
Secret 12 is titled how to handle corporate lawyers and this is where I began to lose interest in the message and had to wonder exactly what provoked such a biased almost irrational diatribe from the author. The author clearly believes attorneys are deal breakers and it is almost always best to leave lawyers out of the process and if you must use an attorney then you must also minimize their “legal gibberish”. And you are warned to never rush an attorney’s work or you will be punished. I believe conversely a good lawyer can be a deal maker and add value as a creative and effective problem solver. That has been my experience.
The author became less credible to me as a source of helpful information. I may not have agreed with every point prior however I did think most of the secrets had merit and were worthy reminders to focus, prioritize, communicate effectively, do what you say you will do, be respectful and so on. However I discovered the simple approach is too simple and leaves out too much.
The author makes a point of the importance of making decisions and moving on. But nowhere does he share the insight that when you’ve made a mistake with a decision, own it and fix it. That has been my experience.
With regard to meetings the author suggests they are generally a waste of time and writes if you don't want to attend a meeting "create an excuse that's plausible but not insulting." I find meetings to be important as they provide the benefit of collaborating face to face with others to share, create, prioritize and improve upon singular ideas. That has been my experience.
Above are a few examples of what I did not like in this book. I did like the organization and some of the tactics and techniques presented. My favorite shortcut is “expect something wonderful to happen every day.” This book is full of some good secrets but in my opinion important secrets are missing, the shortcuts should be at the end as a recap and some secrets are simply flawed. Lynn Wiener
The book is full of great advice, here are some of my favorites :
You can catch stress from others! Called mirror neurons, so stay away from stressed people, who seem to be every where in today's business world.
Common Boss lies " We are one big happy family".
The book also offers some great tips, I found this one" the most difficult part of time management is not changing the things you do, it is having the courage and discipline to track what you are actually doing", knowledge is power.
Your resume according to the book is useful for 2 things, positioning for a new job or strengthening your ability to do your current job.
You must create yourself as a brand in today's world. Your photo is your brand logo, brand image is your literacy and your social networking is your media.
I found this to be a great book for all business levels from interns to CEO's and I recommend it for any one in business, no matter what type.
Get the job done and cut out the BS!
Thumbs up on this one! Cynergy Egbert
What an eye opening read…
The book title and tag line led me to believe the book would focus on building a business.  What I found inside was a well written guide to surviving the evolving changes in today's workplace.
Over the past 20-30 years business has changed.  The employee/employer relationship is not expected to last for a decade, let alone a career.  Continuous change is the norm.  How has corporate management and the workforce adjusted?  If  you don't understand this, either as a manager or employee, you may become extinct.
In this book, author Geoffrey James guides you through today's changing workplace.  Each chapter includes the key take always at the end to use as reference when needed.
Business without the bullshit is your guide to managing and surviving today's workplace environment.  From intern to seasoned manager, everyone will find insights to building better interactions in their workplace.
I strongly recommend this book for  anyone looking to elevate their careers. John Phillips

This book is not only  well written  but it is also  full of insights and  applicable suggestions. It is an excellent reference book to keep and review  periodically.  I enjoyed reading it and discussing some of the suggestions with coworkers and friends.  The only disappointment when reading the book was that I wished the author would had  included more about the actual research and interviews done  preceding the publication of the book.  As the author indicated that his book is the culmination of many years or research and interviews with “hundreds of executives”. However,  I still consider this book one of the most valuable business books written in the last 10 years. Pilar Somoza, North Bay Village

Geoffrey James authors and shares business insights through one of the most popular blogs and widely followed Twitter feeds available. Through these outlets, James offers countless suggestions and recommendations on how to become more effective, efficient and successful in the business industry. Theses publications have served as the catalyst for the development of this book. In this book James offers 49 secrets divided into 7 general subject areas. Each of the subject areas as well as the secrets may be read in any order as determined by the reader. This format makes the book useful as a reference guide for managers when faced with specific situations as well as a primer for anyone working in a business environment.
The section on How To Communicate was of exceptional value as it provided 7 secrets that could be of value to managers of any level of experience. In general, this section, as well as the entire book, encourages and identifies ways for business managers to “streamline” (minimize Bullsh*t) in all facets of work. James feels the streamlining will improve the business environment by eliminating the things that “Bog Down” the process. While I can support the need to streamline all business practices and quite frankly to eliminate the BullSh*t, the book at times is too rigid in it positions. It can not be forgotten that successful management is an art and the skillful manager will know when to dramatically streamline a process or communication and when not too. A manager with limited experience may not be able to ascertain the appropriate times it is appropriate to implement these suggestions and when not to. If a newly named manager sends a too blunt or simplistic email (i.e. We need to Hire Richard as editor.), it may not be well received by upper management. It is also important for managers to recognize the preferred skills and methods of their boss and/or organization. As James suggests in section 1, Secret number 2, How to keep your Boss Happy – Communicate Clearly. Clearly should be by the boss’s definition!
Despite these concern, I found the book to be an enjoyable and informative read and would not have any reservation recommending it to other, although I would also offer my own warning regarding the blanket use of all of its secrets without first examining the current work environment.  Andy Gillentine

This book was one of those books you pick up and before you know it it’s done!
It was a great book! It is perfect for anyone who is starting a new business, or role.
The insightful no nonsense secrets and shortcuts are easy reading and readily applicable to daily business. My favorite was #23 How to have enough time.
It seems there is no shortage of time management gurus but Mr. James does a nice job of keeping it simple and concise
A great read—Highly recommended. Chip Moody Jr.

I really enjoyed this book and will be rereading it again to ensure I retain all the teachings.  The book certainly lives up to it's title.  Geoffey James does a great job of providing the readers with proven techniques to accelerate your business success.  He sheds light on how to best deal with bosses and manage employees while also giving you insights on how to effectively communicate ideas.  There's over 40 different secrets and techniques, it's tough to pick my favorites.  I found every chapter even more interesting than the previous one.  james' humor and writing style kept me hooked from page one.  Enjoy the read! David Mesas

I highly recommend Business Without the Bullsh*t to anyone in the working world or those that might join us one day (which means YOU unless you are one of the lucky few whose great  great grandfather invented plastic or something). It is chock full of practical tips that can assist you with dealing with real world situations at working, regardless if you are a Chief or an Indian. The best part is that he cuts out all of the fluff that other books have and gets right to the point.
While the book is laid out in a manner that allows you to jump around and read the sections that look like they apply the most to your situation, and not every topic is going to apply to you on a regular basis, since it is a quick read, I would make a point of reading it cover to cover. I realize that every topic doesn't apply everyday (#5 "How to ask for a raise") but once you finish, I'd keep it handy open it up at least once a week and randomly select one of the 49 topics and read it again. I've done this for the last couple of weeks and you'd be amazed at the fresh outlook you'll get, not only with what you are dealing with today but also what pops up three days from now.  Mike Ewart, Miami Lakes

The concepts presented in the book give the reader a better grasp of how to manage oneself and others in order to grow for the long term.  Treating your current Boss more of a “client” is more relevant today as more challenges and opportunities give people more freedom to move in the corporate world.  Constant learning and keeping your emotions in check are important as well.  I found this book a useful tool in helping people get more from their own work and time spent in reaching individual goals. Peter Kihn, Sterling Heights MI

The book states it has 49 secrets and shortcuts you need to know.  That is absolutely correct! This is a great book for high school and college students getting ready to find employment as well as any employee that wants to make a difference at their current and future job’s. The short chapters make each section easy to read and does not bullsh*t around getting right to the point without wasting any valuable time.
Geoffrey James discusses all the important areas that will help employees become successful in today’s business environment.Trisha Molina

Great concept for a book – loved the organization that allows you to zero in on various areas of specific interest!  Not really a ‘how to run a business book’, but actually a valuable reference for employees who might not have access to a mentor for guidance on office politics or issues.  Would be a nice gift for a high school or college graduate landing their first job.  Nicely done Geoffrey James! Doramary Russell, Coral Springs

The book by author Geoffrey James is a handy reference guide to various business situations relating to communications, people, execution and strategy for advancement.
The book is easy to read and contains at a glance shortcuts of the discussion for each chapter.  As with any book that attempts to provide advice on almost 50 situations some of the subjects are not very comprehensive such as dealing with a egotistical boss who believes that being a bully is an effective way to manage.  On the other hand the chapter on writing effective e-mails was well done…as we all receive hundreds of emails a day those that show some thought  in the subject line will stand out and in my experience also clarifies the content of the mail….too many people who are rushed put out stream of consciousness emails that fail to move the discussion to  a decision making point.
A number of chapters provide advice that if you do not like the job for various reasons the exit strategy should be formulated.  While this strategy works for younger employees who are in large enough cities where there are a number of job choices my experience is that people who do not work in large urban areas are often at  very good company that limits the ability to move….more detail about surviving in these environments would be helpful. 
Another helpful chapter deals with stress and there is some good advice about trying to avoid multitasking as a perpetual state of activity.  Stated another way while deadlines are important the quality of the work is also important…balancing these two are an essential part of advancing within an organization.
Priced at $27.00 this book of 49 ideas is certainly worth the investment. Walter Stanton

Now, I really enjoyed this book.  Even though the title starts off with the word "Business" most of the content could apply to personal life, not just professionally.  This book is something I would definitely share with my 2 young adult children as they are relatively new in the business world & hopefully would welcome the advice it contains.  The author made it easy to read, yet didn't dumb it down. Terri Bryant, Davie


  © Template by 2008

Back to TOP