There are three hardcover business books that debuted on today’s Wall Street Journal best-selling list (May 28-29, p. C 16).
# 4 – NEVER SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE by Christopher Voss (Harper Business)
# 5 – YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A SHARK by Robert Herjavec (St. Martin’s Press)
#10 – MAKERS AND TAKERS by Rana Foroohar (Crown Business)
We will watch to see which of these, if any, make the New York Times business best-seller list. That is our primary source for selecting books for the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas. Click here for information about our monthly event.
Of interest, our August selection at the FFBS, The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass) climbed from # 7 to # 3 this week. The Chris Anderson book, TED: A Guide to Public Speaking (Houghton-Mifflin) dropped from # 3 to # 9 this week.
It always interests me how best-selling books make an initial splash on the best-seller list, then just dry up, and disappear in a week.
These books debuted on the Wall Street Journal hardcover best-seller list on Saturday-Sunday, May 14-15. None of them still appeared on the list published on Saturday-Sunday, May 21-22. We do not have any of them scheduled for presentation at the First Friday Book Synopsis.
We’re less than a month away from the release of Jack and Suzy Welch‘s newest work, The Real Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career (Harper Business, 2015). It is a certain best-seller, and pre-orders for the book are rocking the online outlets. Considering their personal backgrounds, perhaps you join me in being perplexed that even before its release, the book ranks #11 in the Amazon.com best-selling list in Business Ethics.
“Say what?” If you don’t know the story, here is a brief account. Suffice it to say that much more detail is available to you through the Internet. Jack’s second wife, Jane Beasley, found out about an affair between Suzy Wetlaufer and Welch. At the time, Suzy was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review. Beasley delivered this information to the publication, and Wetlaufer was forced to resign in early 2002 after admitting to having been involved in an affair with Welch while preparing an interview with him for HBR. Personal and professional ethics? This did not turn out too badly for Beasley. While Welch had crafted a prenupital agreement, she had insisted on a ten-year time limit for its enforceability, and therefore, left the marriage with around $180 million of Welch’s money. That interview was never published. Suzy and Jack married in 2004.
This is not their first co-authored book. Randy Mayeux presented their first one, Winning (Harper Business, 2005) at the First Friday Book Synopsis. It reached # 1 on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal business best-selling lists. We did not present their next co-authored work, Winning: The Answers: Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business Today (Harper Business, 2006).
They both have another single-authored book. Randy presented a synopsis of Jack: Straight from the Gut (Business Plus, 2003). In 2010, Suzy wrote 10-10-10: A Fast and Powerful Way to Get Unstuck in Love, at Work, and with Your Family (Scribner). Randy gave that synopsis to several of our Creative Communication Network clients. I remember that audiences we delivered that synopsis to were not exactly thrilled at the quality of information transferred. In fact, at the Fort Worth Club, our event planner remarked that she wished she would have selected another book. Maybe her reputation backfired on that one. Of course, she didn’t write that one way to get unstuck is to have an affair with a famous married man. It certainly worked for her.
Note that both of these authors are very competent and successful. History will likely write Jack as the most successful CEO in American history. His style and substance led General Electric to a fast and furious climb to the top of elite and powerful businesses. All the labels, such as “Neutron Jack,” are applicable. His decisions were profound and effective. And, he believed in lifelong learning and professional development, even teaching courses on-site at the GE Learning Center. Many CEO’s don’t even know their company has a learning center, let alone take the time to go teach in it. Suzy’s role at one of the most prestigious business publications gave her strong credibility, as did her work experience at Bain.
Considering their reputation, most likely, this one will also fly to the top. It is not out of the question that you might hear a synopsis of this at our event. In fact, many of our regular attendees may push us very hard to present it. It will be exciting to see what the sub-topics will be from the Table of Contents. Only time will tell whether this one is heavier on style than substance. The title alone is appealing.
But, ethics? Is this really the best resource?
I am frequently asked what has been the best book, the most influential book, and the most enjoyable book that I have read for the First Friday Book Synopsis over the 17 years we have been conducting the program. I entertained that question as recently as last night, as I distributed fliers for our August 1 program in Dallas.
The best book was Good to Great by Jim Collins.(New York: Harper Business, 2001). The most influential book was Winning the Global Game by Jeffrey Rosensweig (New York: Free Press, 1998). But, those explanations are for other posts.
In today’s post, I will cover the most enjoyable book.
Novel-like in its presentation, this book took you inside the operations of the company as well as inside the brain of its author. The book makes you feel as if you were celebrating with the author in good times, and struggling with him to feel the anger and pain in hard times.
In every event covered in the book, you not only read the facts, but also, the attitude and feelings that accompany them. Most striking was the story of a leaked e-Mail that found its way to the Internet, jeopardizing the future of the company. Another was the anger that Schultz expressed when he wanted his shops to smell like coffee, not burnt cheese, causing him to ask if they were going to start serving hash browns.
The story of VIA was captivating, as were the issues of expanding the business internationally.
Starbucks has been the subject of many books, articles, and posts over the years. The company’s success speaks for itself. But you will find nothing that takes you inside nearly as much as this book.
I sometimes wish that Schultz would keep his mouth shut. When he speaks out about politics, education, and other social issues, I visualize boycotts, picket lines, and lost customers. But, he can’t do it. He is outspoken and opinionated. And, he has enough money to cut his losses. There is no question that this book would not have been my choice for the most entertaining work had Schultz been modest and laid-back. That is simply not him.
It is dated now. Starbucks has moved on. Schultz and the company have solved many of the problems you read in this book, and they have been replaced by new challenges.
However, history is history. And this one is fun. Perhaps that is because I am a customer and have experienced in the stores much of what I read here. But, what makes it fun is going inside the boardroom, operations, and brain of its author.
For a period of time, this book was # 1 on the best-seller lists, such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
You can read a review of this book written by Bob Morris on our blog by clicking here.
I will explain why I selected the best book and most influential book in future posts.