I have two books reviews for your today. Enjoy!
Starting and running a business is a lot more difficult than it sounds. It's not just about creating a product and advertising it to your clients. There are a lot of legal and financial issues that you'll have to deal with. Books on the topic abound, but they usually discuss the best practices for large business, which are different from those smaller business, with smaller budgets and smaller revenues, should implement. To help you navigate these complex issues, five American CPAs have joined forced and written Six Steps to Small Business Success: How to Start, Manage, and Sell Your Business.
It is a small guide that covers all the different stages of your business and the different challenges you will face during each of them. So, it begins by discussing everything you need to know before starting a business, how to create a financial plan and budget, how to hire, deal with, and compensate your employees, how to manage your marketing operations and customers, how to sell your business, and what to do with your life afterwards. A lot of their advice focuses on the legal requirements that must be met, the taxes that must be paid, and a thousand more things that we tend to ignore until our accountant or lawyer brings them up. This book could be useful even for those professionals, as it offers them a starting point to explain complicate issues to their clients in a way they will easily understand.
But if the style is clear and straightforward, it is often a bit dry too. Although each author has its own writing style, none of them use a colloquial one. Instead, their keep their writing professional and quite formal. In other words, they write like you'd expect CPAs to, but without all that convoluted lingo that makes it impossible for anyone to understand them. Having said that, I haven't found a book that covers so much useful information for small business owners and, as the aim of the book is to educate rather than entertain, I think this it deserves a place in your library. It will definitely make starting, running, and selling your business much easier.
Available at: Amazon
Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme. Paedophilia in the Catholic Church. The 9/11 terrorist attacks. The current economic crisis. The devastation of hurricane Katrina. How could all these horrible events be allowed to happen without anyone noticing anything and taking the appropriate precautions? Especially as all these events, as has been proved afterwards, were all predictable and could have been if not avoided, at least mitigated? We often blame the leader of an organization or a specific group of people for these disasters, accusing them of greed or selfishness. And sometimes that's true. But, as Max H. Bazerman, a Harvard Business School Professor, points out in this book we, as human beings, are programme to miss or ignore certain details, even important ones. For instance, we are less likely to discover frauds when they happen slowly overtime.
In each chapter, Bazerman discusses real life events and experiments designed in his executive MBA classes to identify the mistakes leaders made, what they failed to notice, and why. Then, he gives useful suggestions to prevent that from happening again. This last part, though, is quite short. Bazerman prefers to teach you by example through case studies and experiments than by a boring list of instructions or do's and don'ts. Some people will love this approach, while others may feel like something is missing.
Of course, this book is not just for politicians, CEOs, or leaders of an organization. We should all learn to notice what didn't happen as well as what happened, how to acknowledge self-interest, how to recognize who is really to blame for a disaster, and how our attention is easily diverted and manipulated by advertisers, politicians, and anyone who wants to convince us to follow their agenda even when it goes against our own interests. This will help us make smarter choices, such as buying from retailers that sell safer products (did you know that Blitz, the company that made gas cans that sometimes exploded, hurting or killing people, was workingon an improved design to fix the problem, but had to ax it when Walmart refused to sell it because it would slightly increase the price?), or coming up with new solutions to fix an old problem, or simply noticing what sellers aren't telling us when they're trying to get us to buy something. Just by asking why people are acting the way the do and thinking ahead to what they may do next may help us make the right decision and prevent bad things from happening.
Maybe it's because Bazerman is a professor, but the writing style, although clear and straightforward, is somewhat formal and, at times, especially when he discusses the financial aspects of frauds, a bit dry. I would have preferred a more colloquial approach, as it would have made the book flow better. Despite this small fault, though, this is a book that everyone should read. It will make you realise how much you're not noticing and teach you how to fix that so that you can make smarter choices both in your professional and personal lives.
Available at: amazon
What do you think of these books?
Disclaimer: this book was sent by PR for consideration. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.
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