A paradigm-busting plan for success built on an oft-forgotten idea: People are more important than widgets.



In his debut business book, Self argues that the future will belong to companies that focus on customer success, not simply product sales.

There is a revolution under way in the business world, says customer research expert Self. A growing number of companies realize that the customer, not goods or services, is the reason for their existence. By placing customers at the center of every activity, these organizations achieve high levels of satisfaction and loyalty. Self says it is no coincidence these organizations are also known for innovation. Their customer service is “abundant,” aimed at trying to discover, design and deliver ideas that add value to customers’ lives. Self compares these “3D companies” with the outdated command-and-control model still pervasive today. These “1D companies” are self-limiting because they operate from a philosophy of scarcity; their profitability and procedures must be guarded from competitors and customers alike. “Customers don’t accept this approach anymore, though,” Self writes. “They see it as deficient—as a system that no longer delivers trust to customers in the way it once did.” Self uses actual companies to support his theory, ranging from Amazon.com to the award-winning National Museum of Play. He carefully lays out a holistic system that addresses corporate culture, strategy, branding and employee empowerment, and he isn’t afraid to point out shortcomings in Six Sigma and other now-standard business theories. Self’s methodology may seem like just another cure-all, but astute readers will recognize bits from noted thinkers woven into the book’s DNA, including ideas from Peter Drucker and Edward de Bono. Organizations that spend significant amounts of time tracking rivals may be reluctant to shift so much attention to the customer, but Self insists that in a marketplace where products are easily copied and consumers are becoming more educated, the best way to stay competitive is to make better outcomes for the customer. The spirit of the book challenges the status quo—a key step in preventing obsolescence.

A paradigm-busting plan for success built on an oft-forgotten idea: People are more important than widgets.

Pub Date: June 15, 2012


Page Count: 219

Publisher: CustomerEDU, LLC

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2012

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.



In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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