Tag Archives: Stephen Covey

Trump’s Art of the Deal May Not be a Big Deal

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  Art of the Deal Covercontent 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.

“One, best-seller lists are almost always periodical. Amazon tallies sales by the hour, while the New York Times’ lists are by week or by month. Greg Cowles, who writes for the New York Times “Inside the List” column, says the paper doesn’t track all-time sales.
“Second, the genre called “business books” is nebulous and can range from memoirs and essays to financial tips and management strategies. Trump’s book can certainly be shelved in the business section, as it’s both a memoir by a business executive and offers business advice. But experts say it can hardly count as influential in the subcategories or important in the broader genre.
“Trump is full of B.S.,” said Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of business management at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. “The best selling/most important business books would have to be In Search of Excellence by (Thomas) Peters and (Robert) Waterman that started the genre, Built to Last by Jim Collins, The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.”

My Best of 2011

Here you go – this is my list of the Best of 2011 in a number of categories.

Best Business BookThe 3rd Alternative by Stephen Covey (New York:  Free Press) – this book explains and promotes a tired “win-win” philosophy in a fresh way, opening up applications in multiple contexts for many people who give lip service to the concept likely have never thought of before.  It didn’t stay on the best-seller lists long enough.

Best Non-Fiction BookThe Greater Journey:  Americans in Paris by David McCullough (New York: Simon & Schuster) – I didn’t think he could ever top the biography he wrote called Truman, but this is a highly readable, novel-like approach of an important segment of American history, as played out overseas.

A close second:  Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews (New York:  Simon & Schuster) – I’ve read a lot of books about JFK, and many a lot longer than this one, but I have never learned so much as I did with this account.  Lots of inside information from an outside perspective by this MSNBC giant.

Best Fiction Book11-22-63 by Stephen King (New York: Scribner) – A fantasy about a high school teacher who travels back in time, attempting to change history, with the first stop in 1958.  Quite a story!  The picture of the author on the inside cover makes him look so intense!

Best MovieShame starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. directed by Steve McQueen (Fox Searchlight films) – this is not entertaining, and a very difficult movie to watch, but it demonstrates the challenges that 3-5 million Americans with sex addictions face better than any documentary ever has or could.

Best Sporting NewsPaterno and Penn State Fall – this is not a happy story, but time unravels strange tales, and a giant in a successful program faces the music, and we cannot ignore it; at the Ticket City Bowl on Monday, I saw two t-shirts:  one said, “Joe Knows Football,” and another, “What Does Joe Know?”  Unfortunately, with his diminishing physical condition, we may never find out.

Best EntertainerTaylor Swift – a 22-year old captivates audiences and the music world with original songs from the heart, and she bonds with her listeners of all ages at concerts in ways that we have not seen since the Beatles; the song Story of Us will resonate with many people who have had heartbreaking relationships

Best Television Program:  Friday Night Lights – when its final episode aired this spring, I realized how good it was, and how much I will miss it; if you never saw it, purchase the series on DVD’s.

Best News Story:  Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami in May – riveting images of horror and sorrow followed by amazing stories of international and personal help and relief show the greatest contrast in bad and good that you could ask to see, and there still remains a lot of work to do.

What do you think?  Let’s talk about it.





The Endgame – the Ultimate Test for a Successful Presentation

“In order to improve your game, you must study the endgame before everything else, for whereas the endings can be studied and mastered by themselves, the middle game and the opening must be studied in relation to the endgame.”  Jose Raul Capablanca, Cuban Chess player who was world champion from 1921 to 1927, one of the greatest players of all time).  (p. ix).
Quoted by John Mauldin in EndgameThe End of the Debt Supercycle and How it Changes Everything


So, if you have to prepare a presentation, here’s how to think about it.

How do you want it to end? — or — What do you want/intend your audience to do?

What do you want your audience to think, feel, or do, as they leave your presentation?  (to “Do” is the ultimate consideration). — This is what you ask as you plan the ending of your presentation.

Then, what is the content that will lead them to that point? — This is what you ask, and answer, as you develop the middle of your presentation.

Then, how do you get them to listen and engage with your message?  How do you set up the problem/situation/challenge? — This is what you ask to plan your beginning.

Or, to put it in simple terms:  “Begin with the end in mind.”  (Stephen Covey — Habit #2)

Still Looking for a Booming Future?

I am amazed how fascinated we are with the future.  Years ago, Stephen Covey told us that the best way to predict the future was to create it.

We also seem to love to read about it.   Here is one more new book that tells us what the United States will look like in 2025.  The book is called The Next Boom by Jack Plunkett (BizExecs Press, 2010).

In the book, Plunkett predicts that we will add 40 million people to the United States population in the next 15 years.  He predicts a greater presence of engineers and scientists in countries such as China, India, and Brazil.  And, he believes we will see a rise in the production of goods and services from markets in Southeast Asia and Africa.

I remember how much I loved to present synopses in 1999-2000 of The Long Boom by Peter Schwartz, Peter Leyden, and Joel Hyatt (Perseus Books, 1999).  I have to admit that it really feels good to read about a prosperous future.

But what a crash when that future is not fulfilled!  The “long boom” wasn’t very long.  The “next boom” may never bloom, or boom. 

Speaking only for myself, I am not willing to take the risk.  Needless to say, I won’t be reading this one or presenting it at our synopsis.  I’ve crashed once too often about unfulfilled futures.

But that is just me.  What about you?  Do you like reading about the future? 

Let’s talk about it!

Habit #4: Think Win-Win

Think Win-Win.

I don’t know any advice any better than this.  This, of course, is one of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People — #4 to be precise.

And if you think about “think win-win,” it reinforces a lot of “advice and counsel” from books we read nearly every day.  For example, today I presented my synopsis of the terrific book, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  These quotes jumped out at me, and reminded me of Covey’s “think win-win” counsel:

Success in any field, but especially in business, is about working with people, not against them.
I learned that real networking was about finding ways to make other people more successful.
A network functions precisely because there’s recognition of mutual need…  first you have to stop keeping score.

Or, consider the concept of “generalized reciprocity” from the modern classic, Bowling Alone:  The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam.  In it, he writes about the appeal of generalized reciprocity:  “I’ll do this for you without expecting anything specific back from you, in the confident expectation that someone else will do something for me down the road.”

I think we need to trumpet this concept loudly and clearly in these tense days.  There seems to be such fierce competition with others; so many people who are so quick to find fault, to even question the motives of others.  It is as though there are people out there rooting for the failure of others.

And we forget that any one failure spells trouble for others – maybe for all.

I was recently re-reading part of Collapse:  How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond.  (One of those, “I really encourage you to read this book” books).  Here are a couple of quotes from near the end of the book:

Our own society opted long ago to become interlocked with the rest of the world…
In the Netherlands, we have another expression, ‘You have to be able to get along with your enemy, because he may be the person operating the neighboring pump in your polder.’

In one sense, there is no such thing as an enemy, but only fellow planet users.  If your economy is weak, my economy is threatened.  If your city is polluted, my clean air is at risk.  “If the dikes and pumps fail, we’ll all drown together.’’ (Diamond).

Let’s put it another way:  to think and act “win-lose” is really to think and act “lose-lose.”  We really are in this together, and “win-win” may be the only path to “win” at all.

7 Habits – 2 Habits – Automatic Habits – I’m Thinking about Habits

Last week, Karl Krayer and I spoke at a book synopsis gathering at the La Cima Club.  The moderator asked us at each table to reflect on the best “self-help” books we have ever read.  Karl chose Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Just to remind you, here are Covey’s seven habits (from the Wikipedia article):

▪                Habit 1: Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Choice
▪                Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Vision
▪                Habit 3: Put First Things First: Principles of Integrity & Execution

Independence to Interdependence
▪                Habit 4: Think Win/Win: Principles of Mutual Benefit
▪                Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Principles of Mutual Understanding
▪                Habit 6: Synergize: Principles of Creative Cooperation

Continual Improvement
▪                Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal of body

On Friday, I presented the synopsis of Switch, the new book by the Heath brothers, and read and spoke about the power of “automatic habits.”  Change is hard because what we do “habitually” is done “automatically,” without extra effort…  So the goal is to develop the right life and work practices, and make sure they are in automatic mode in your own life.  In other words, turn the things you need to do every day into habits that you do “automatically.”

And then I read the article about Twyla Tharp, and her new book The Collaborative Habit.  I of course thought back to her terrific book The Creative Habit.  (I blogged about this here over the weekend).

All of this has led me to reflect pretty deeply about the power of habits.

It seems that people with the best good habits get more accomplished, live saner lives, and basically live lives that we all wish we could live.

People with bad habits have less productive lives, and we seldom envy them.

The question is:  what are your habits?  Are they good or bad?  Which habits do you need to jettison, and which do you need to develop?

Which habits do you practice that make you a highly effective person?