An easy-to-follow introduction to motivating employees and maximizing performance.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A professional educator and mentor offers advice on keeping employees engaged in the workplace.

In this business book, Couillard uses a stool as a metaphor for the elements of worker engagement that employers should understand and strive to improve. The stool’s three legs are control, competence, and connection while its base represents the uniting force of purpose. In the author’s formulation, frustration is the main hurdle workers face, leading to disengagement and low performance, so managers can achieve success through developing a shared sense of purpose and keeping employees motivated. The guide often relies on extended metaphors, like a World War II battleship (staffed by a crew united by a common goal) and the first man labeled “Public Enemy Number One” (less notorious than Al Capone or Bonnie and Clyde but extremely dangerous), that vividly depict common workplace problems and solutions. In addition, Couillard’s taste for dramatic language (“That is the first sign of engagement, the first spark from the fire that burns beneath the surface”) keeps the text from becoming a dry read as it delves into the facets of employee performance. The manual delivers both specific action items, such as surveying workers to find out what they think the organization’s purpose is, as well as more general platitudes on leadership and management. Quotes from several of the author’s corporate clients provide real-world context for many of the concepts presented in the volume. The text is concise and well organized, making it easy to digest in a single sitting or to focus on a discrete section. While many of the notions will be familiar to frequent readers of books on management, less advanced bibliophiles will find plenty in the guide to learn from and implement in their own workplaces. The information is presented effectively and with clarity, and Couillard writes with the tone of an enthusiastic mentor. Additional materials are available on the author’s website (, as he reminds readers throughout the manual.

An easy-to-follow introduction to motivating employees and maximizing performance.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5255-5520-6

Page Count: 105

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

Close Quickview