Monday, April 27, 2009

The Noticer by Andy Andrews

Do you want to be a person other people want to be around? The Noticer by Andy Andrews will help you become such a person.
This self help book reads like a novel. Jones is a person who “notices.” He notices things about people and situations that bring a new perspective to the situation, a perspective that brings the clear thinking needed to move forward. Jones gives people a view of their live that “allows them to regroup, take a breath, and begin their lives again.”
Jones helps those in a troubled marriage by explaining love languages (although Jones does not call it that). He helps a teen understand wisdom, the ability to see into the future, the consequences of decisions made now. His question to a young man: “I believe you should ask yourself every day, ‘What is it about me that other people would change if they could?’ This is incredibly important introspection.” Jones reminds him that if he wants other people to believe in him, it would be helpful if they liked him.
At the end of the book, people share stories of their encounters with Jones. It is apparent Jones showed up whenever someone special was needed.
Each of us has time on this earth to be used wisely. “Don’t squander your words or your thoughts.” Even the smallest actions have influence beyond measure.
This book is a quick read but the challenge it presents will last a lifetime. If you want to be influential, be a “noticer” and start by reading this book.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Against All Odds by Irene Hannon

While Hannon has written many romance novels (25), this is her first in the Christian market (I think). Monica's father is a diplomat in the Middle East. He is negotiating the release of hostages when the terrorists threaten to kidnap Monica (in the U.S.). The FBI is called in and despite their protection, she is abducted. The Christianity is clear and there is a vague salvation message. There was a bit too much romance for me but all in all, a good read and a good introduction for Hannon into the Christian fiction market. I look forward to reading more of the series.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Collapse of Distinction by Scott McKain

There is a Wal-Mart nearly every 26 miles. Even small communities have a Starbucks and a McDonalds. Chain stores have spread their sameness across the nation. How is a small business going to compete?
Scott McKain gives the little guy encouragement when he cites a Wall Street Journal article that says the Wal-Mart era is over. People are tired of all the stores looking alike. People want distinction. People perceive a business that stands out from others as one that offers a higher value.
McKain spends the majority of his book helping the reader set a plan for that distinction. You must have the passion to create a distinction for your business or you are doomed.
Scott goes against the established wisdom at times (he points out the errors in Good to Great). Paying attention to your competition is not the way to create distinction. You’ll will only create a business slightly different than your competition.
A business will create distinction when it has the characteristics that set one apart: unique product, best value for the price (not necessarily the lowest price), and dealing with customers in a manner unique to the industry.
Identifying these characteristics for a business require several steps. 1) Clarity. Who are you? How would you define yourself and your company? 2) Creativity. After you have clarified who you are, pick out an aspect of dealing with your customers and develop a difference. Don’t just do better what others are doing. Create something entirely new and unique. 3) Communication. Connect with your customers, exchanging information in a manner compelling and engaging. 4) Customer experience. The customer’s experience is to be the center of your work.
There is hope for the small business (or even large business) in a business flooded market. Scott McKain’s book will help a business to create that distinction that will make it stand out in a crowd and succeed.