In the latest book to be summarized by Soundview Executive Book Summaries, author and Web entrepreneur Jeremy Gutsche supports the theory that the instability of today’s economy is the perfect place for the next great business to find its footing. At the outset of Exploiting Chaos: 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change, Gutsche lists several companies that began life during periods of economic recession. The Soundview summary of Exploiting Chaos highlights one of the more interesting cases. It seems impossible to believe but the early period of the Great Depression was the genesis point for FORTUNE magazine. While other authors would take the FORTUNE story and use it as the basis for simple cheerleading, Gutsche distinguishes himself by examining what made FORTUNE a success.
Gutsche’s dynamic writing will keep executives returning to Exploiting Chaos for a blend of motivation and insight. Each premise introduced by Gutsche is backed with a memorable anecdote or case study. Executives will find applicable principles in Exploiting Chaos regardless of a company’s size or current standing in the marketplace. Gutsche believes in the power of innovation, whether as a rejuvenation method for aging corporate giants or as a means to make a breakthrough for fledgling companies.
There is considerable page space devoted to being obsessed with one’s customers. This, above all else, may be the greatest contribution Gutsche makes to the career of anyone who reads his book. He helps readers find their audience but, more importantly, he refuses to let a company treat this group with anything less than utter devotion. Exploiting Chaos is a powder keg of ideas in the dark basement of today’s economy. Picking it up is the same as striking a match: an explosion is sure to result.
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Any businessperson who has his or her own Web site probably fields a number of interesting questions from people who take the time to e-mail them. At Soundview Executive Book Summaries, we get asked a variety of questions about business books, business book authors and, of course, technical questions about viewing our content on various digital devices.
The other day I was forwarded a question from someone who wrote in to Summary.com. The person simply wrote, “Why does the picture of Exploiting Chaoson your site say bonus across it? Why is it a bonus?”
Part of me wanted to reply, “It’s a bonus because Exploiting Chaos (by author and founder of TrendHunter.com Jeremy Gutsche) is just that good!” However, I took the time to answer the reader’s question. In case the rest of you were wondering why there are some summaries on Summary.com tagged with “Bonus,” here’s the answer:
If you subscribe to Soundview Executive Book Summaries, you automatically receive summaries of the 30 best business books of the year. Of course, 30 books divided by 12 months leaves us with something less than a whole number. While Soundview is firm in its commitment to bringing subscribers the 30 best business books, we also feature six additional summaries throughout the year. These “Bonus” summaries are titles that may have been released prior to the current year and (for a multitude of reasons) were previously not summarized. Sometimes you folks out there can be quite vocal about books you’d like to see summarized. In other cases, our editorial team learns through conversations with authors, publishers and business executives about a book that is making waves in every place but the best-seller list. Sometimes these “hidden gems” prove to be among our most frequently downloaded titles.
I feel as though it’s been awhile since I’ve written this phrase but … as you know, the Soundview Executive Book Summaries Editor’s blog is a place where politics are not discussed. If we refer to anything of a political nature, it is because it must in some way apply to business books. Now, with that li’l disclaimer out of the way to satisfy the folks in legal …
If you watched the State of the Union address last night, I’m sure there were moments that caused you to react (whether positively or negatively). One such moment that I found inspiring is a quote that is devoid of political rhetoric. Here is the quote from President Barack Obama:
“In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It is how we make our living.”
It reminded me of a book by author Adam Richardson called Innovation X: Why a Company’s Toughest Problems Are It’s Greates Advantage. One of the central principles of this book is Richardson’s argument that innovation is a term that’s widely used but frequently misunderstood. He also points out that attempts to create a formal process for innovation have been unsuccessful. Innovation is a mysterious entity but, as both Richardson and President Obama indicate, one that is essential to the economic future of the United States and the globe.
Richardson delves into a set of issues known as X Problems, a new variety of challenges that are proving problematic not only to business but to the ability of companies to innovate. Innovation X is one of the better books on innovation to be released in recent years. Richardson explores areas of thought that are essential to any company looking to gain a stronger foothold on the shifting sands of today’s economy.
In one respect, the book accomplishes the task of delivering the finer points of presenting a culmination of Tracy’s and Thompson’s research and experience. However, it does so by stripping business down to its simplest truths. These are the principles that are frequently forgotten or buried beneath rhetoric and trends. The authors pinpoint time and again that despite piles of books devoted to re-imagining the path to success, businesses that do succeed continue to model basic ideas.
Tracy himself described the book in this manner: “We needed a prescriptive book, a book that says, ‘Here are the specific steps you take to build a great business.’ These are the specific steps that every single person who’s ever built a great business has done. We’ve taken my work with 1,000 companies in 55 countries and put it into practical steps that a person can follow.”
Executives who have tried a variety of solutions to improve their business and have met with more disappointment than success will want to give Tracy and Thompson’s book a careful read.
You can get your copy of the Soundview Executive Book Summary of Now, Build a Great Businessby clicking here. For more great business book summaries, visit Soundview’s home on the Web: Summary.com
I had the opportunity to take a peek at the question queue, and it revealed some interesting trends. There were three questions that (in one wording or another) were asked more than any other. I thought I would share them with you because, just as Connors demonstrated with the polling questions during the course of the Soundview Live event, they provide insights about companies that you might not get if you asked someone verbally.
The top item on many audience members’ list of issues is what to do when one member of a team is resistant to a culture change effort. The terms “Mr. Negative” and “naysayer” were thrown out in more than one instance when referring to this person. It seems as though many companies experience the stumbling block of getting complete buy-in on the part of an entire team.
The second major issue that cropped up tells us a lot about the state of the modern workplace. Several people asked about creating culture change when the organization is spread across several continents or, in an ever-increasing number of cases, where teams do more of their collaborative work in a virtual realm.
The final question that was repeatedly asked seemed the most natural: what’s the first step to creating culture change?