Many years ago, I read Donald Trump‘s The Art of the Deal (New York: Random House, 1987)
The book is often-cited as one of the best-selling business books ever written. Others use the content of the book to register complaints about his Presidency, claiming that what Trump wrote is inconsistent with what he now says and does.
But, the larger question is, “does The Art of the Deal even qualify as a business book?” And, exactly how big of a best-seller is it? As of this writing, the book is in the top 100 of three Amazon.com best-seller sub-categories.
I found some information about these questions; click here to read these questions.
“It’s difficult to weigh Trump’s opus against other “business books” for two reasons.
Nearly 120 gathered this morning for the January, 2011 First Friday Book Synopsis. Karl Krayer and I have been presenting these synopses/briefings on best-selling business books every month since April, 1998. This morning, Karl presented Buy-in by John Kotter, and I presented Power by Jeffrey Pfeffer. They were both practical, useful, important books. (Note: Karl’s handout had a terrific, valuable breakdown of the major objections, and solutions to meet these objections, for those seeking to get their ideas across).
You will be able to purchase our synopses, with audio + handout, in a couple of weeks on our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com. (Many other book presentations are available on the site).
For next month, Friday, February 4, Karl will present a synopsis of The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton. (Free Press. 2010). You can read Bob Morris’ review of this book on our blog by clicking here.
I will present a synopsis of All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera. (Portfolio Hardcover. 2010). This book is currently #1 on the New York Times Hardcover Business Best-Sellers list, and is considered by many to be the top book regarding the financial crisis of 2008. (Note: one of the other top best sellers regarding this crisis is The Big Short by Michael Lewis. You can also purchase my synopsis of this book at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com).
The First Friday Book Synopsis provides a great breakfast, in a spectacular setting (the Park City Club), with great networking, and substantive, useful content – all in a fast-paced gathering. If you will be in the DFW area on February 4, come join us. Registration will be open soon – in a day, or two, just click the Register Now! sunburst on our home page.
The design thinker, in the words of novelist Saul Bellow, is “a first-class noticer.”
(from The Design of Business by Roger Martin).
Here’s a quote from Jeffrey Pfeffer’s Power – Why Some People Have it and Others Don’t:
Watch those around you who are succeeding, those who are failing, and those who are just treading water. Figure out what’s different about them and what they are doing differently. That’s a great way to build your diagnostic skill – something useful in becoming an organizational survivor.
Pay attention. Keep paying attention. Those who pay careful attention really do have the advantage over those who go through life in some kind of oblivious fog.
I will be presenting my synopsis of Power at the January First Friday book Synopsis.
Last Friday, we ended 2010 at the First Friday Book Synopsis with synopses of Doing Both by Inder Sidhu and Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. Attendance was terrific. And special thanks to Cathy Groos for filling in for Karl Krayer. (Cathy presented the synopsis of Doing Both).
As we near the completion of twelve complete years of the First Friday Book Synopsis, we begin 2011 with our January 7 meeting.
Karl Krayer will present the synopsis of buy*in — saving your good idea from getting shot down by John P. Kotter.
I (Randy Mayeux) will present the synopsis of Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t by Jeffrey Pfeffer.
If you are near the DFW area on January 7, come join us!
First, a comment about “politics.” I really do try to keep politics out of my blog posts, for a lot of reasons. The main reason is that so many are so strongly aligned with one side or the other that to even broach a political example runs the risk of turning off/offending/angering half of the readership of this blog. But, there are times when the arena of politics provides just the right fodder for lessons regarding business success or failure. So, at the risk of offending some, here goes…
Recently, two critics of President Obama took to the op-ed pages of the Washington Post to recommend that President Obama announce, now, that he will not seek a second term. This morning Stanford Professor and author Jeffery Pfeffer wrote quite an interesting column about why that would be a very bad idea: Why President Obama should run again in 2012 – a management perspective. Here are key excerpts:
It was a cautionary tale: A longtime partner at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm decided she would step down from her leadership role, and in an attempt to make life easier for her colleagues, she gave plenty of advance notice of her departure.
Bad idea. As soon as her end date at the company was well known, she later told me, her role at the firm changed. People stopped consulting her on hiring or investment decisions. She wasn’t invited to key meetings. Essentially, most people started freezing her out, treating her as if she’d already left.
And in a sense, she had. Her co-workers correctly anticipated that she soon would have no power to help or hurt them, so she became effectively irrelevant to their working lives.
Getting things done, whether in the private sector or in government, requires power, and having power means retaining the capacity to affect what happens to others, ensuring that those whose support you remain dependent on you. As former secretary of state and Stanford University provost Condoleezza Rice told one protege, “People may oppose you, but when they realize you can hurt them, they’ll join your side.
…you have power to the extent that others are going to depend on you in the future
Leaders need power, as well as a reputation for being powerful. Announcing that you will be out of the arena soon seems like a particularly ineffective strategy to get things done.
A while back, Bob Morris, my blogging colleague posted his review of Pfeffer’s book on our blog: Jeffrey Pfeffer’s Power: Why Some People Have It – and Others Don’t – A Book Review by Bob MorrisHere’s a key paragraph from his review:
Pfeffer insists that the world is neither just nor unjust: it is. He also challenges “leadership literature” (including his contributions to it) because celebrity CEOs who tout their own careers as models tend to “gloss over power plays they actually used to get to the top” whereas authors such as Pfeffer offer “prescriptions about how people wish the world and the powerful behaved.” Pfeffer also suggests that those aspiring to power “are often their own worst enemy, and not just in the arena of building power” because of self-handicapping, a reluctance (perhaps even a refusal) to take initiatives that may fail and thereby diminish one’s self-image. “I have come to believe that the biggest single effect I can have is to get people to try to become powerful.” Pfeffer wrote this book as an operations manual for the acquisition and retention of power. Of even greater importance, in my opinion, he reveals the ultimate realities of what power is…and isn’t…and thereby eliminates the shadows of illusion and self-deception that most people now observe in the “caves” of their own current circumstances.
I think Pfeffer’s premise is correct. It may not be the way the world should work, but it certainly is true about the way the world does work. If you are perceived as powerless, than people do not treat you as though you had power. If you are perceived as someone with power, then your input, your influence, is great indeed. The more power you have, the more you can get things done.
I have really been struck with the lessons that I learned — or maybe, the truths that were reinforced – in Switch. In fact, to borrow a phrase from Susan Scott’s Fierce Leadership, nearly everything that I learn, from anywhere/everywhere, really is simply a matter of the “fricking obvious.”
What the Heath brothers tell us is that habit/automatic pilot is “easy.” It’s going off of automatic pilot that is very, very difficult. Here’s a quote from the book:
Self-control is an exhaustible resource… Much of our daily behavior is more automatic than supervised, and that’s a good thing because the supervised behavior is the hard stuff. It’s draining.
We burn up self-control in a wide variety of situations: managing the impression we’re making on others; coping with fears; controlling our spending; and many, many others.
When people try to change things, they’re tinkering with behaviors that have become automatic, and changing those behaviors requires careful supervision by the Rider. The bigger the change you’re suggesting, the more it will sap people’s self-control.
Change is hard because people wear themselves out… What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.
And they also say, in their imagery of the Rider (who thinks rationally – “If I understand this intellectually, I will change”) and the Elephant (who thinks “emotionally” – “I have to feel like changing”), that “knowledge does not change behavior.” This is truly “fricking obvious.” Everyone knows that we should floss our teeth every day. Every supervisor knows that he/she should catch an employee doing something right, reinforce positive behavior more than criticize what needs to be changed; every smoker knows that smoking is bad for their health. The “knowing” is already a done deal. But the change, the switch itself, the doing, the actual changing, is so very, very difficult.
It is such a universal reality that there is a name for this problem: the “knowing-doing” gap. Check out this article from Fast Company in 2000, Why Can’t We Get Anything Done? by Alan M. Webber. It refers substantially to the book The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action by Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton. (Here is Bob Morris’ review of this book). And here is the first of sixteen rules from the article:
Rule #1. Doing something actually requires … doing something!
The Heath brothers say that to succeed at the doing – in other words, to actually make the switch/embrace and implement the change — you have to stack the deck in favor of change.
Make small steps. Overload “convenience.” In the book, they recommend that you actually put 1% milk in your refrigerator, and never put whole milk in your refrigerator. We drink what is conveniently available. Again from the book:
How do you get Americans to start drinking low-fat milk? You make sure it shows up in their refrigerators… People will drink whatever is around the house… you don’t need to change drinking behavior. You need to change purchasing behavior.
So, if you don’t floss your teeth, buy a small convenience store supply of floss. Put some by your bed, some in your bathroom, some atop your coffee maker, some by your computer, some in your car. Let floss stare at you every where you turn, and then actually floss. Make it convenient — take a small step until it becomes automatic. When it becomes automatic, you have then actually changed; you have arrived at switch.
Find and use such convenience triggers with everything you are trying to change — at work, at home, everywhere.
Knowing is relatively easy. It is the doing that is so tough.