Karl Krayer and I have just completed our 12th year of monthly presentations of business books at the First Friday Book Synopsis.
Our webmaster (thanks, Dana!) has just uploaded a number of these on our companion website, 15minutebusinessbooks.com. When you purchase one of our presentations, you receive the handout, which includes representative key quotes from the book, and an outline of the content of the book. In addition, you receive the audio of our synopsis in an MP3 format, which you can listen to on your computer, load into your iPhone/iPod, of use in any other way you would like.
The way to take maximum advantage of this is obvious – listen to the recording while following along with the handout. This is what the participants at our live monthly event do each month. But you can get plenty of information by listening alone while you work-out or drive, or just by reading the handout alone.
Here’s a testimonial from the CEO of a mid-sized, growing company. He knew that a client was a fan of one the books we had presented, and wanted to discuss the book’s implications for his business. The CEO purchased our synopsis from our site, read over the handout (he did not have time to listen to the audio), and then met with his client. The client had read the book – the CEO had not. As they discussed the book, it was clear that our handout had provided enough of the important content that the CEO actually had a better grasp of the key content and transferable principles of the book than the other person had, who had actually read the book.
If you have never ordered from us, you might want to read the FAQ’s to understand where these presentations and recordings were made, and learn a little more about what we offer. Some of these were presented by my colleague Karl Krayer, and the others were presentations I made.
Here is a partial list of the new titles now available on our site. And more are coming each month.
Book author(s) Richard Wiseman
Presented at FFBS in 2010 March
|The Design of Business
Book author(s) Roger Martin
Presented at FFBS in 2010 February
Book author(s) Susan Scott
Presented at FFBS in TYBTL
|The Healing of America
Book author(s) TR Reid
Presented at the Urban Engagement Book Club
Book author(s) Robert Bloom with Dave Conti
|Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
Book author(s) Verne Harnish
Book author(s) Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Presented at FFBS in 2010 February
Book author(s) Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
Presented at FFBS in 2009 December
Book author(s) Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Presented at FFBS in 2010 March
Book author(s) Kevin Maney
Presented at FFBS in 2010 January
Book author(s) Seth Godin
Presented at FFBS in 2009 January
|Tyranny of Email
Book author(s) John Freeman
Presented at FFBS in 2010 January
News item : coming soon to a theater near you, a 3-D version of Star Wars.
Innovation. It drives the economy, it changes our world, it is unstoppable. And when a paradigm changes, everything changes, and everyone gets on board. If they don’t, they are left in the dust.
Avatar has gone over $1.1 billion in ticket sales, and is now the second highest grossing movie ever world-wide. (Yes, James Cameron is now #1 and #2). The book Trade-off by Kevin Maney begins with a story of the author’s interview with the man who developed the 3-D technology for the film. And seeing Avatar in a theater is an example of a genuine high-fidelity experience.
Well, the news of the 3-D craze is building. There are already steps being taken to turn some earlier action films into 3-D. Here are excerpts from the article Avatar sparks 3-D makeover for action classics from the Timesonline (UK):
Hollywood is preparing to re-release some past hits, including Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, in 3-D following the record-breaking success of Avatar.
Studio executives are drawing up schedules of popular films that will be “retro-fitted” with 3-D technology after the science fiction blockbuster, directed by James Cameron, last week became the second highest grossing movie of all time.
Retro-fitting a screen classic with 3-D imagery could take as little as four months, using software to manipulate a digital copy of the film.
Peter Jackson, director of The Lord of the Rings, said last spring that he wanted to reissue the trilogy in 3-D if Avatar persuaded enough cinemas to put in new 3-D projectors. Last week technicians at Weta, the production company that had worked on the trilogy, said they had experimented with 3-D battle scenes and proclaimed them to be “gob-smacking”.
The Lord of the Rings is expected to be re-released after Jackson has finished producing the two-part version of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit over the next two years. This would mean that a 3-D version of The Fellowship of the Ring, the first part of the trilogy, could be in cinemas by Christmas 2012.
The “Avatar effect” means that conventional 2-D films commissioned last year are already being updated. Sir Ridley Scott has asked for a further $8m from his backer, Universal Films, to add an extra dimension to his untitled Robin Hood venture starring Russell Crowe in the lead role and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian. Two versions of the film will be released in May.
Imagine Top Gun, The Matrix, and many other movies reissued with the new 3-D technology. And for those of us who love Star Wars, here is the news:
(The Lord of the Rings) may be beaten to the screen by a revamped version of Star Wars. George Lucas, the director, spent $13m filming the original in 1976, added special effects in 1997 and 2004, and will now spend another $10m to change it into a 3-D spectacular.
“George cannot leave it alone,” said an associate. “He is salivating at the opportunity to play with it again. This time the Death Star is really going to explode all over the audience and leave them gasping.”
So, the news is about 3-D changing the movie going experience, providing new life to film makers, movie theaters, and movie lovers.
But the underlying news is this: when an innovation hits, the right one at the right time, everything changes, and everyone has to adjust. This could be just such a time.
Yesterday, I presented my synopsis of Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t by Kevin Maney. I have thought a lot about the main idea of the book: that the best companies are either really, really good at high-fidelity (the purity/high-quality of a product or an experience) or high-convenience (the ease with which to get a product or service). A simple description of this principle: a four-star restaturant is a high-fidelity experience, McDonald’s provides a high-convenience experience.
Fidelity is the total experience of something. Convenience is how easy (or hard) it is to get what you want.
I’ve thought a lot about this trade-off. And, if you will permit me, I would like to use the Trade-off template to talk about our monthly event, the First Friday Book Synopsis. For nearly 12 years, Karl Krayer and I have presented synopses of business books. We have hit all of the big best-sellers (except for finance books – we do not choose many of those). The people who attend hear our two presentations, 15 minutes of fast-paced summary of the key elements from each of the two books for the month. (Bob Morris likes to call what we do an “executive book briefing”). The breakfast is really, really good – the Park City Club does a terrific job. And the quality of the people – movers and shakers and thought-leaders and mentors and business executives and independents and a really exceptional cross-section of woman and men – provides, I think, a genuinely superior networking experience.
In other words the First Friday Book Synopsis is a high-fidelity experience. There is no where else that I know of where you can get this mix:
good content from the best business books + really good food + great networking
all in one package.
There are other events with good food. There are other events with good content. There are other events with good networking. But this mix of these three really does make for a true high-fidelity experience.
So – if you will allow me this privilege, I commend to you the First Friday Book Synopsis. A true example of a high-fidelity experience. (Click here to sign up for our e-mail reminders).
A short note to those who do not live in the Dallas area. We can’t provide you with our experience in this high-fidelity form. But you can get our handouts, plus the audio of our presentations, (there is usually a month or two lag) from our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com. It’s high-convenience, at least regarding obtaining just the content of the presentations. I hope you will check it out.
Maybe the most-known and most influential business understanding of the last few years is Jim Collins’ “Hedgehog principle.” You know the three circles:
In the book I am presenting tomorrow morning at the First Friday Book Synopsis, Trade-Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t by Kevin Maney, Jim Collins writes the foreword and is quoted again near the end. Here is a key excerpt:
“There are two ways to get to the top. One is to climb an existing ladder, which can be a bit crowded. The other is to make your own ladder, and put yourself at the top.”
So, aim at a clear sense of what distinguishes you from those around you… This is counsel not just for a company or organization, but for an individual. In other words, work on your own personal hedgehog concept, your own hedgehog differentiation.
And, it is not just “what can you be “best in the world at,” but simply, what do you do best personally, and how can you cultivate that, nurture that, improve on that, and then leverage that to build your success? “Figure out what you can be best at, and create a category that fits.”
The book argues that you have to choose to make a key trade-of: between high-fidelity and high-convenience. Fidelity is the total experience of something. Convenience is how easy (or hard) it is to get what you want. For example, if you are not the “best” real estate agent, then make yourself readily accessible/convenient – return every call, always answer your phone, make it very, very easy to get to you – excel at convenience!
So, what is in your personal hedgehog circles? What can you do best? Figure that out, cultivate that, and build on it constantly on your own road to success.
We closed 2009 with over 90 people gathered for the December First Friday Book Synopsis. My colleague, Karl Krayer, was out of town, and guest presenter LIn O’Neill helped us get the key concepts from the book Busting Loose from the Business Game by Robert Scheinfeld. (Thanks Lin). I had a lot of fun with Superfreakonomics.
Here’s a great quote from the Busting Loose book:
The popular saying “thinking outside the box” refers to inking in creative and innovative ways. I’m fond of calling what you’re about to discover “dynamiting the box.”
Thanks to all who helped us have a “record year” in attendance and interest at the First Friday Book Synopsis.
In January, we meet on the SECOND Friday of the month, January 8 (the first Friday, January 1, might have caused a few family/parade/football conflicts).
We will present synopses of The Tyranny of E-Mail: The Four-Thousand Year Journey to Your Inbox by John Freeman, and Trade Off: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t by Kevin Mancy (foreword by Jim Collins).
We hope to see you there.