Archive for the ‘Business’ Category

Review: The Culture of Open – Nick Berg

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016
The Culture of Open
Paperback: 148 pages
Publisher: NSB Publishing (April 2, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0692659919
ISBN-13: 978-0692659915
Order book here:


Order E-book here:

We’ve all seen the extremes that companies will go to in keeping their secrets. But many times, keeping these secrets can cost a company. In The Culture of Open, author Nick Berg details what openness is, how companies can be more transparent, and the benefits of doing so. He also covers examples of companies who adopted transparency and who didn’t, and how each was impacted.

Overall, I found this company fascinating. As a former programmer, I’ve seen what the benefits of having things like open source software can be. The book was well written, and was very informative. The real world examples are something everyone could understand. The text is written, so even if you aren’t a business professional, you can still understand it, so the author doesn’t get too technical. I find that quite a relief in this type of book. So if you’re a CEO of a large corporation, or a small business owner, and you want to give yourself that edge, than pick up The Culture of Open, I have a feeling it might help you.

About the Author

Nick Berg Executive level strategist with over 20 years of innovation and global business experience, Nick Berg advises C-level peers on the impact of particular people, processes and technology solutions for the corporation as a whole. He believes true value is the fluency in both business and technology. As a business process improvement consultant, Berg advises Fortune 500 companies on cultural and business transformation.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Author for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: The Condor Song – Darryl Nyznyk

Monday, July 1st, 2013
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: Cross Dove Publishing, LLC; 1 edition (May 28, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0965651398
ISBN-13: 978-0965651394
Order book here:


Order E-book here:


Sean Michael Donovan – A Lawyer with his career on the skids.
Richard Wolf – Corporate Attorney


Assassins, A fight for property, and an endangered species all come together in this Environmental Thriller as Sean Michael Donovan is pulled into a world where people are being killed in order to build a ski themed amusement park.


This novel is inspired by a true life fight between Walt Disney and the Sierra Club in the 60s and 70s. Disney wanted to build a $35 Million ski resort in the Mineral King Valley of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Sierra Club took them to court and eventually lost. On April 19, 1972 the U.S. Supreme Court said in Sierra Club Vs. Morton that they could not stop the U.S. Forest Service from giving Disney permission to construct their ski resort.

In The Condor Song, Darryl Nyznyk introduces us to Sean Michael Donovan, a down on his luck lawyer just waiting for a break that will restore his legal career. Throughout the novel we see what caused Sean’s fall from grace and his possible redemption.

But the main story is about greed and how far we as a civilization in our willingness to destroy our environment for the sake of money will go.

The storyline was compelling. There was constant danger, and the conflict and suspense kept me turning the pages. The characters were well developed. Sean at first is an annoying, whining, little man that I had o sympathy for, but as his character unfolded and he grew throughout the story, I began to admire his courage in standing up for his convictions.

Overall I found it a good story with a timely message. Unfortunately it seems, that message hasn’t changed in the last 40 years. Maybe we’ll get it right in the next 40.

On July 1st, 2013 any copies of this novel purchased through Amazon (books and ebooks) will result in $1 being donated to the Sierra Club for the protection of public land and wildlife. So purchase a copy, get a good story, and support a good cause all at the same time.

About the Author

Darryl Nyznyk lives in Manhattan Beach, CA with his wife, Loretta. After practicing law for 20 years, Nyznyk became a full-time writer and teacher. He is also the author of the holiday novel, Mary’s Son; A Tale of Christmas. For more information, please visit

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Elaine at prbythebook for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Sheena Iyengar – The Art of Choosing

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Publisher Twelve; 1st edition (March 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0446504106
ISBN-13: 978-0446504102
Order book here:


Order E-book here:


You are a business associate, and you need to sell your product, jam. So you set up a sample offering table on the bustling streets of New York. How many sample flavors of jam should you offer? A dozen seems like a good number: they’ll display your company’s versatility and appeal to a broad range of tastes.

According to Professor Sheena Iyengar, this line of thinking is wrong. More people will visit the table that offers a dozen flavors, but fewer will buy the product. Why? Because they’ll struggle with indecision. The table with three flavors makes the decision to purchase easier.

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar explains the psychology of choice by exploring it from a range of perspectives: instinct and survival; cultural norms; individualism; advertising and consumerism; and autonomy. Contemporaries like Barry Schwartz have taken a firm stance and argued that people face far too much choice. But Iyengar is more nuanced in her analysis. In her chapter on advertising, for instance, she argues that a little media manipulation is to be expected, but she expresses concern that such manipulation could infect the democratic system. She points to the fact that where a candidate’s name appears on a ballot can have a profound impact on his chance of being elected. The same is true of the voting locations: research shows that people are more likely to vote for education policies if the voting booths are in a school.

Iyengar is not an attack on choice, but a restrained analysis of choice and its problems. She demonstrates how choice itself is culturally contingent, and she makes a compelling case for thinking about it as a biological necessity—a universal language that connects people across cultures. Her book is challenging but deeply rewarding, and I’d recommend it to anyone who has an interest in choice, decision making, psychology, and even business.

Angie Picardo is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance site that’s committed to helping people make better financial decisions, whether it’s choosing the right investments or selecting long-term care insurance.

About the Author

Sheena Iyengar is the S. T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia University and a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award. She holds an undergraduate degree from Wharton School of Business and a doctorate in social psychology from Stanford University. Her innovative research on choice has been funded by the Institute for Advanced Studies, the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Her work is regularly cited in periodicals such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and TIME magazines, and in books such as Blink and The Paradox of Choice.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: All Marketers Are Liars – Seth Godin

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Portfolio Trade; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1591845335
ISBN-13: 978-1591845331
Order book here:


Order E-book here:


Seth Godin, marketing guru and successful author of several books, has an approach that you either like or don’t like. Still, most of us can’t argue with his logic. If you are tired of the same old boring marketing advice, then Mr. Godin might serve as a breath of fresh air. I have been a fan of Godin for a while, so it’s only natural that I would jump at the chance to read All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low Trust World. I expected typical Godin style writing in this book as well with its in-your-face approach, punchy headlines, and deep insight packed into concise content. (Godin’s books are usually around 200 pages or less.) That is exactly what I got with this book. What I did not expect was the way Godin would approach the subject of marketing. By titling the book with an oxymoron (not to mention paradoxical statement), I wasn’t sure how Godin would approach the concept of marketing. How do you promote a book on marketing when your first four lines are “All Marketers Are Liars?”

It turns out that readers won’t have to wait long to find the answer. In this book, Godin tackles the whole concept of marketing in fewer than 200 pages. He begins by redefining the concept of marketing in the first place. Marketing, Godin says, is not something that only businesses do to get customers, followers, or media attention. It is something we all do and we need to be good at it. Whether it’s for a job, to win an argument, get donations, or just an extra piece of cake, we all use information that we need to convey and persuade to others to get what we want. That insight was not new to me and to fellow fans of marketing books.

What is different is Godin’s next argument. To get what we want, Godin says, we have to sell people a story, not the product itself. In saying this, Godin doesn’t intend for marketers (which now happens to be all of us) to remove all references to the products we are promoting. Instead, he is saying that the story (which he cleverly calls a “lie”) is more important than the product itself from a consumer viewpoint. In other words, you don’t need those fancy sneakers that have night vision and rocket boosters. You just need a shoe. Marketers should tell you a good enough story that you want that particular shoe and tell others to buy that shoe as well. That is the way Godin sees that businesses will survive in the future. The rest of the book explains how and why Godin might be right.

OK, a potential reader might say, I can understand Godin’s argument, but why read the book? That starts when you get to Godin’s answer to creating the story that will lead to marketers getting results. Godin doesn’t just suggest that you lie. He suggests that you create an “authentic” lie. It sounds paradoxical, I know, but Godin suggests that your potential audience doesn’t just want to hear any story. They want to hear a story that is true for what they need or want. This is where the book is the most interesting and the most insightful. Godin convincingly argues that we are not in the same old age of marketing that we were once in (a common theme of this book), but in a new era. That new era requires new rules and new action. The first step is a new mind-set with this book.

Besides the obvious insights I mentioned above, why would a potential reader be interested? Well, if you are a Seth Godin fan that is reason enough. The book is typical Seth Godin, featuring the same insight found in Seth Godin’s other books Linchpin, Purple Cow and Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea. If you are not a fan, then this book still has merit as an idea-shifter. If you a person looking to revitalize your approach to marketing, this book is a great idea-starter. You won’t find all of the ideas and materials you need, but you will gain a new mind-set. As a precaution, you may want to check out Seth Godin’s blog first to get acquainted with how Seth Godin writes.

Angie Picardo is a writer for NerdWallet, a financial literacy website where you can find advice on understanding personal finance.

About the Author

You can discuss this here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Interview: Alicia Arnold – Author of Creatively Ever After.

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Today we are pleased to have with us Alicia Arnold author of Creatively Ever After.

Rhodes Review: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 

Alicia: I’ve enjoyed writing since I was a teenager, however, I didn’t consider becoming a writer until decades later. In 2007, I took a writing course where I was able to hone my writing skills and find my voice as an author. This course launched the concept for Creatively Ever After.

Rhodes Review: How did you start writing?

Alicia: My writing process started with identifying the problem, then creating a how-to book to answer the needs of business leaders and providing a solution to the creativity crisis.

Rhodes Review: How long does it take you to write a book? 

Alicia: Creatively Ever After took 4 years to write. I was working on a number of ideas simultaneously, but just couldn’t get the idea of writing a book on creative problem solving out of my head. 

Rhodes Review: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? 

Alicia: I work best in the morning and late at night. Writing the book consisted of waking up hours before my two boys stirred and getting a couple of pages done at a time. As ideas came to me, I kept notes on whatever scraps of paper I could find and would then spend weekends, early mornings, and nights synthesizing the ideas into the plot. My schedule became a bit frenetic with the demands of a full time job and kids on top of writing. I found it best not to add extra pressure by creating a strict writing schedule. Instead, I wrote when the mood struck me. When I hit a wall with writing, I put the manuscript aside for a little while. What I found was that I had to fall in love with writing the book over and over again. Reading and re-reading early chapters kept me going. And, soon I became curious about how the tale would end. Once I hit this point, everything fell into place.

Rhodes Review: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 

Alicia: When I hit particularly challenging points in writing the book, I would think about them just before going to bed and allow my subconscious to work out the details. This is how I wrote many of my best works while in college. Dreaming can be a wonderful tool.

Rhodes Review: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they? 

Alicia: It is important to find a topic you are passionate about. Writing can be a marathon rather than a sprint. By writing about a topic you love, you’ll improve your chances for following through. I feel the topic is more important than the mechanics of writing as there are lots and lots of great editors to help with mechanics. 

Rhodes Review: What inspired you to write Creatively Ever After?

Alicia: There were two inspirations for writing Creatively Ever After. The first inspiration was all of the dialogue about the need for creativity and innovation in business. There were many research reports and studies, including work by IBM (, citing creativity as the number one leadership competency for the future. The second inspiration was research and reports citing the decline of creativity. Newsweek’s cover article on the “creativity crisis” ( helped shine a light on this issue. Knowing there was empirical evidence supporting creativity is learnable, I set out to help answer the call for creativity in business by writing a how-to book that would teach specific creativity skills, tools and techniques.

Over 50 years of research proved that creativity can be learned. When auditing all the reading materials around the topic of creativity, two things came to light. One, most of the material was academic in nature and challenging to read. The second was the material was not always well researched. Given these two dynamics, I decided to write an educational, yet entertaining book teaching based on the well documented and proven tools and techniques of creative problem solving.

Rhodes Review: Using Jack and Jill was a very interesting way to teach the process, how did you come up with this?

Alicia: Creatively Ever After is a business fable.In designing the fable format, I recalled vivid memories of Sesame Street and how I learned the alphabet through storytelling, song, and engaging techniques that seemed too fun to be called learning. When I teach creativity, I leverage these “edutainment” tools by teaching creativity through nursery rhymes. I’ve found even the toughest c-suite executives were able to let down their guard and open their minds to creativity when using this format. So, when thinking about how to combine the potential dryness of fact with the enjoyment of fiction, I landed on the business fable. Using the fictitious storyline of Jack and Jill to demonstrate the nonfiction creative problem solving process helped illustrate how the creative process can be used to solve challenges many think are not solvable. I chose Jack and Jill because it is a highly recognizable nursery rhyme and one that we’ve been trained to believe is unsolvable. Using the steps of the creative problem solving process I walk through how Jack and Jill – Define their Goal, Gather Data, Clarify the Problem, Generate Ideas, Develop Solutions and Plan for Action. As readers go through each of the chapters, Jack and Jill’s challenge with the hill becomes a metaphor for how readers can use creative problem solving to tackle their own challenges. Each chapter ends with content rich sidebars to recap learning and pose questions to help readers work through each of the steps of creative problem solving.

Rhodes Review: What are some of your favorite authors/books?

Alicia: My favorite books include A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Secret Garden, and Orbiting the Giant Hairball. I love the perspective of human nature of these three books provide. 

Rhodes Review: If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Alicia: I wish I could have dinner with Steve Jobs. There are lots and lots of people with great ideas. But, Steve Jobs was able to build a culture of creativity and innovation that broke through corporate culture and the barriers that stand in the way when introducing something new. Jobs’ vision and ability to execute were inspiring.

We’d like to thank Alicia once again for joining us here and taking time to answer our questions.

Review: Creatively Ever After – Alicia Arnold

Thursday, October 6th, 2011
 Paperback: 182 pages
Publisher: Alder Hill Press (August 14, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0983440514
ISBN-13: 978-0983440512
Order book here:


Order e-book here:


We all know the story, from childhood, about Jack and Jill. A brother and sister perpetually destined, like Sysyphus, to continually go up a hill to fetch a pail of water, only to come tumbling back down losing their water. But the story doesn’t end there. In fact, in Alicia Arnold’s book Creatively Ever After, the siblings set out to change their story. This is when they are introduced to The Creative Problem Solving Process, which is the main intent of the book.

Through this process, they are taught to define a problem, break it down into sections, look for new ways to approach the problem, and many other tasks.

Each chapter ends with a sidebar summary of the major points of that lesson. It’s a nice way to learn a new process, and Ms. Arnold does so in a matter that keeps the subject from getting dry. I found it quite entertaining actually to read and wonder how Jack and Jill was going to solve their problem.

If you are in management, especially in working with teams, I think this would be a beneficial book for you. For that I recommend it.

About the Author

Alicia Arnold holds a Master of Science degree in Creative Studies from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and an M.B.A in Marketing from Bentley University. Alicia is a certified facilitator of the Osborn-Parnes Creative Problem Solving process and an invited speaker at the annual Creative Problem Solving Institute. She is published on the topic of creativity with Bloomberg Businessweek, The National Association of Gifted Children, iMedia Connection and blogs about creativity and innovation.

By day, she is an award-winning, digital marketer and uses her passion for creativity and innovation to train teams on creativity techniques, develop breakthrough digital experiences and facilitate innovation workshops. Alicia is also a mom to two wonderful boys, a lifelong learner and someone who loves ideas and making them happen.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Rebecca at Cadence Marketing for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: What could happen if you do nothing? – Jane Murphy

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

Paperback: 147 pages
Publisher: Giraffe Business Publishing (June 14, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984426205
ISBN-13: 978-0984426201
Order book here:


Order E-book here:

This book presents many of the different situations that can come up when a boss has to communicate with an employee. It offers the manager an alternative way to say things, or ways to get others to open up and say things.

The author has many real world examples that is applied to discussions in order to show how the reactions can be different based on the approach. For managers who have trouble communicating with those who report to them or for new managers, I think this book could be quite an asset.

It’s a pretty thin book and can probably be read within a night or two. A Table of Contents divides the book into different categories, so you can more easily address the particular situation you need to.

I won’t give this book a rating, because it is for general purposes and not a work of fiction. But there is no objectionable content in it. Check it out and see if it helps you communicate better.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Ruby at FSB Associates for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Use What You Have – Jack Nadel

Monday, April 18th, 2011



 Perfect Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: JNJ Publisher (February 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984628207
ISBN-13: 978-0984628209
Order book here:




Jack Nadel is the founder of Jack Nadel Enterprises. His company is involved in sales promotion. In his book, Use What You Have to Get What You Want, he offers 100 tips to would be sales people in order to help them be more successful.

Some of his tips are:

If you can’t explain your product or service in 30 seconds, you probably can’t sell it.

Perceived Value is What Sells, Real Value is What Repeats.

A good deal is only good if it is good for everybody.

Mr. Nadel follows each tip with real world examples from his own experience both in the U.S. and abroad.

The book was a very fast book to read. It was only 110 pages in length, and I finished reading it in one sitting. I think it would be a good source for beginning salesmen, or salesmen who wish to give their sales a boost.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to G at Planned TV Arts for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Everything you need to know about the security clearance process, but were afraid to ask – Diane Griffin

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010


This is a rather short, but concise guide to the procedures you need to follow to gain government security clearance. The Author writes from a very knowledgeable background. While I’ve never needed to gain this kind of access, I found it very informative to know what all was involved in obtaining it. It’s not as easy as the movies make it out to be.

Ms. Griffin goes through 3 different forms of access, and provides details on all the issues in eacvh one, as well as descriptions of a lot of the government organizations. There were a lot of acronyms involved. But not surprising, since the government loves acronyms.

I’m not sure this guide/book would be of general interest, unless your a procedfure junkie. But I think for those involved in businesses that may need a government contract at some point, possibly those writing corporate/political thrillers, that this book would be a very handy reference tool.

*Disclaimer* A thanks goes out to Brandi and Janis at DK Walker Books for an electronic copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review.

Author Bio:

My name is Diane Griffin, President / CEO of Security First & Associates, LLC. I am that friendly expert that WILL give you the inside scoop of what is relevant to your specific needs for obtaining and maintaining a security clearance today. And, no, this book won’t self destruct nor will I have to kill you for giving you the answers.

I began my career in the industry more than two decades ago working for various government contractors. While working for these companies, I was responsible for satisfying the requirements of security functions involving human resources, data management, and hardware and software security.

Then in 2002, I satisfied my entrepreneurial spirit by creating Security First & Associates, LLC consulting individuals and companies with all levels of security. As you can imagine, after 9/11 and with our country in the midst of two wars, the demands and dynamics of security clearances have changed drastically.

So whether you are a security professional, a student of criminal justice, someone interested in pursuing a government career, or a company pursuing government contracts that require a security clearance, you will have many questions regarding the process. And this book has many answers – even to those questions that you are afraid to ask.

Book: Everything You Need to Know about the Security Clearance Process

Here’s what you will learn from this book:

• insight into the process for obtaining and maintaining Security and Facility clearances

• awareness of the risks that you face for delays or possible rejection and what to do about them

• straight forward answers to the standard and not so standard questions people often ask about the security and facility clearance process

• clear definitions to the confusing industry terms, abbreviations and acronyms

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

See a guest blog from Dianne here

Traction: Get a grip on your Business – Gino Wickman

Monday, April 12th, 2010


 Picture of cover of Traction.

Hardcover: 248 pages
Publisher: eos; 1st edition (October 8, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0979799007
ISBN-13: 978-0979799006
Order from here:

Would you like to improve your business? In Traction, Author Gino Wickman gives you advice on how you can. This advice is based on what he’s created called the EOS (Entreprenaurial Operating System). Upon reading this book, the system seems to be based on a common sense approach. He breaks this approach down into 8 chapters, each focusing on one aspect, or component of the system. These are as follows:

Vision – Where do you want your business to go, what is your focus? Communicating your goal.
People – Are the people working for you, the right people, doing the right job?
Data – Using the numbers (sales, customer complaints, etc). to determine how well you are doing.
Issues – What problems are you facing. This can be broken down into high level, department, individual.
Process – What are the major areas of your business (accounting, marketing, etc) and the processes under each of those processes
Traction – Getting everything lined up (vision, people, data, etc.) in order to make things move forward.

I think for someone who is struggling in their business, that this would be a helpful book. While I’ve never ran a business, I did work in the corporate world. It seems I was always expected to strive for leadership/management type positions, where I was more comfortable in the technical side of things. Putting me in as a manager, woudl have, according to the author, been the right person/wrong seat situation. The author does a good job of describing the ideas behind each concept and how to implement that concept. He provides charts, graphs, and questionnaires along the way to help you in defining your own business, and in putting these steps in place.

This book could be read by someone of any age. However, the target demographic would probably be business students, or business owners. It didn’t help me, as I’m a non business person, but I could see the value of it if I were. So check it out if you get the chance, and see what you think.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.