Predictable Revenue comes from a man who started his way bottoms up at Salesforce - and created sales prospecting pipeline that resulted in $100mm recurring revenue for Salesforce. This is the book for CEOs and VP Sales who need to ramp-up their sales teams, and build effective processes for prospecting and sales pipelines. Little in this book can be used for self-provisioning products and selling processes where no direct sales is involved. The book focuses on what Aaron Ross calls - "Cold Calling 2.0", and refers to a new enterprise sales paradigm. Buyers are sick of being sold to, and become more resistant every year to classic sales and marketing methods, such as pushy cold calls or generic marketing materials. The book gives real-world examples on prospecting, lead generation and sales best practices for the new economy.
I have to give a disclaimer first - this was the first book on parenting I read. As such I was blown away by some ideas. They are practical, simple and produced a lot of a-ha moments with me. In many ways it helped me transform the way I handle stressful situations not only with my child, but with my colleagues too! :)
Steve Blank and Bob Dorf really tried hard to write a blueprint on how to build and scale a startup.
I have big respect for Steve Blank especially after his speech on the next 50 years of business innovation. He clearly sees the big picture of entrepreneurship.
But sadly this book follows the usual pattern of new-age business books: a cool idea that could be explained in 50 pages, expanded to almost 600 by means of repetition, anecdotes and non-actionable ideas.
I felt like I read a book that tried to explain how to date in 600 pages. Use this lotion, shave the beard this much, wear this type of suit, pick this kind of restaurant, behave in this manner, tell her these lines, if that doesn't work tried those instead, and so on and on... . But dating does not work that way.
Really, you can describe a successful dating recipe in two sentences:
- Be yourself
- Try to be decent, and treat her with respect
If you were to go on a date armed with a knowledge of a book like this, the following would happen:
- You'd be nervous all the time and have hard time trying to remember everything that was taught to you
- You'd constantly fear you'll screw up something as you did not follow the instructions accurately
- As soon as she asks a question that is not covered in the book you'd be in trouble
- If your date fails, next time you'll try to "smell better" or "pick a different restaurant"
- Relax, the purpose of dating is not the dating itself, but to find a partner that one day may be the mother of your children (it is! unless you are not a grown-up yet. If you want to create startups for fun than this book might be for you) .
It feels that the true entrepreneurship works similar to these principles of dating . I think one could lay a foundation of a successful startup in two sentences as well:
- Solve an itch you are having
- Love it
The book's ultimate fail is that it is clearly biased toward creating startups that 'exit'. They portrait VCs as saviors to the business world . However most startups and also the best companies in the world were not founded on the principle of 'exiting'; they are founded on the principle of contributing something amazing to the world.
This is the best book on the topic I've read. David MacKay manages to mix popular science, common sense, common language and hard-core science to explain one of the mankind's highest priority problems. How can "new technologies" solve our CO2 problems? What does it take to eliminate our addiction to fossil fuels? MacKay tackles these issues in a very readable and entertaining style, supporting his statements with simple mathematics and provide references to everything he says
"The 80/20 manager" is a very practical book. It offers managers 10 Ways to become great at what they do, while explaining each of those ways using the Pareto's Principle, also called the 80/20 rule. Pareto's principle is based on the “vital few and trivial many” observation (the principle that 20 percent of a set is generally responsible for 80 percent of a related result). This is a very useful tool when you want to set your priorities and it can help every manager. However, Richard Koch sometimes spends too much time trying to prove that this principle exists, although he states at the beginning of the book that the 80/20 rule is just an approximation. There were times I literally had to skip the parts related to "The Principle" in order to keep reading the book. The pace of the book would be much better if 80% of content related to the 80/20 rule was never printed. I know it sounds strange, but that's the way it is. The value of this principle is to show that good management decisions can be counter-intuitive, not to give you a mathematical formula that will turn around your life. The secret of being an 80/20 manager is to realize sky-high aspirations through intelligence and acute observation instead of through toil and trouble. Like angels, we can soar and lift humanity while scarcely flapping our wings. But unless we care deeply about specific results, and unless our ambition is boundless, we will never even take off.
I bought this book as it has been written by a guy who did "Clerks", which in turn is a piece of pure brilliancy. And whoa, this was quite a journey. Obviously you expect something similar from someone as clever as Kevin Smith and he delivers. Although the book has bits you wish never end , it's only after you read the whole piece you get to start seeing it more through.
For me I like how he represents a path I've seen in my experience too. That is the path where you start with something that is a true expression of yourself, done in the best possible way (for Kevin Smith it's the "Clerks"). Then there is a (longish) period in life where not only everybody tells you what to do, but you listen. And then finally you make your way through all of that crap and come true to yourself once again.
Worth noting is that Kevin Smith considers himself fat. It is only after reading this book where he made probably more than thousand references of him being fat, that I started thinking about him in that way. I had so many words to describe him before - cool, clever, witty,. vulgar, brilliant but fat was never one of them. Because he is all these things primarily.
This book tells the Zappos.com story, through the eyes of the early investor and later its CEO. Zappos got from zero to $1 BN in annual merchandise sales in just 10 years.
One thing after reading this book is clear – Tony Hsieh ought to be a cool guy to hang out with. Not only he is smart, but his business ideas are progressive, honest and cool. Curious how he strikes me as a complete opposite of Jeff Bezos of Amazon although both are ultimately passionate about the same thing - the very best customer experience. (read my review of “The Everything Store”)
Following Tony from the earliest (childhood) days to the eventual sale of Zappos to Amazon, the book is full of inspirational stories told from the personal experience. It can hardly get any better than that.
In this period of my life I normally read books about entrepreneurship, and I must have gotten this book through a recommendation by an entrepreneur. But this book is different and it hit me like a train. Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist, who was among the lucky (and few) to survive the horror of German concentration camps during World War Two. Between 1942 and 1945, Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother and pregnant wife perished. This is a story about finding the strength to deal with the almost unreal cruelty, mental and physical torture that lasted for years. Frankl argues that although suffering cannot be avoided, one can try to cope with it by finding a meaning. I read the book in one evening, in one breath, and felt terrified at first, followed by vivid and strong emotions that followed me through the sleepless night. If you decide to read this book, be ready to be profoundly shaken.
I am pretty passionate about inbound marketing as a new age concept of marketing that is non-intrusive and relies on creativity. In my view inbound marketing is all about planting seeds. As much as I was eager to read the book, I soon became very disappointed. The book seems to be geared towards beginners and if you are at all familiar with concept of blogs and SEO, you will not find anything new or worth reading. However I think the book fails talking to newbies as well. It uses a mix of very simple language "Many web pages also include images." (I kid you not, that is the actual sentence from the book) with recommendation of complex actions like when you are done writing your blog post share it on Twitter and Digg (to whom, your zero followers?). Ultimately the book most feels like an early attempt to build more awareness about the concept, so the authors can profit from the expanding market (both commercially involved). Many references to their product throughout the book support this.
The book follows the incredible success of Amazon.com and pursuit of a one man's dream and it left me in clear admiration of Mr. Bezos - he does seem to be on a mission to leave something huge to the world. He is a without a doubt a visionary, who like many other visionaries, achieved so much because he stubbornly stuck with his vision.
And going through the book, it sometimes feels that a lot of things he accomplished were sadly at the expense of his own workforce.
In a way it almost feels like Mr. Bezos is building Amazon like a Pharaoh built Pyramids.
I have no doubt that what he created is valuable. If I take a look at Facebook and Amazon today, both similarly valued at around $170 BN, I have no doubt that I would invest my money into Amazon. It's value clearly comes from serving its users as opposed to exploiting them.