Features the standard litany of leadership platitudes, but readers looking for a fast take on management skills may find...

THE CIVILIAN GUIDE TO LEADING YOUR TROOPS

Ciarella’s how-to on leadership blends American military and business strategies.

This cleverly titled book suggests some connection between military leadership and business leadership. The author, who has almost 30 years of sales and sales leadership experience, uses his brief stint as an Army officer as a platform to discuss the characteristics of good leaders and good followers. Ciarella frequently references the military angle; however, most of the guide is essentially grounded in standard management practices that have repeatedly been covered elsewhere. On the positive side, Ciarella summarizes many business basics in a tidy little book that is both mildly informative and easy to read. He also includes the requisite specific examples to support the generalizations. In addition to offering an overview of the qualities supervisors and support staff need, the author includes chapters on choosing directors and team players, assessing performance, and understanding the benefits and rewards of good guidance. In one of the more intriguing chapters, the author suggests, “Good leaders use data to support their positions, never to be the position itself.” Ciarella includes some suggestions for making the best use of facts and figures in decision-making, and many of these are worthy of note. For example, “Use only as much detail as necessary”; “Spread around the burden of data-gathering and analysis”; and “Have a good understanding of the true costs of data-gathering.” These tips become all the more important when viewed in the context of the author’s statement that leaders would do well to “avoid over-studying a decision point.” This chapter, at least, presents a fresh view of the potential danger of data dependence. But for the leader-to-be who’s seeking substantive guidance, this book marches down a too-well-trodden path.

Features the standard litany of leadership platitudes, but readers looking for a fast take on management skills may find what they need.

Pub Date: May 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-1469935546

Page Count: 98

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 29, 2012

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A vigorous and highly readable plan for building the finances of a new business.

PROFIT FIRST FOR MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISES

TRANSFORM YOUR MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISE FROM A CASH-EATING MONSTER TO A MONEY-MAKING MACHINE

A program of cash-management techniques for aspiring entrepreneurs, aimed at a minority readership.

At the beginning of this business book, Mariga reflects on the birth of her daughter, Florence, and on the depressing prospect of returning to her corporate job and missing some of her baby’s early moments. She realized that she “wanted to show Florence…that I could, that she could, that anyone could be anything they wanted to be in this world.” To that end, she wanted to start her own business, and she “wanted to help entrepreneurs build successful businesses that provide opportunities for others.” In a sentiment reflected by others she’s interviewed, she says that she wanted to strengthen her family legacy, so she founded her own accounting firm. She paints a vivid picture of the hardscrabble early days of other minority business owners like herself, the child of an African American mother and a Chinese father who also had a family accounting business. She and others were “all hustling to acquire clients and build our businesses…and most of us had absolutely nothing to show for it.” She was inspired by Mike Michalowicz’s Profit First money management system, and the bulk of her book is devoted to an explanation of how to make this system work for minority business enterprises. (Michalowicz provides a foreword to the book.) One of the primary goals of Profit First is to build “a self-sustaining, debt-free company,” so a large part of Mariga’s work deals with the details of managing finances, building and abiding by budgets, and handling the swings of emotion that occur every step of the way. As sharply focused as these insights are, the author’s recollections of her own experiences are more rewarding, as when she tells readers of her brief time as a cut-rate accountant and learning that it was a mistake to try to compete on price. These stories, as well as financing specifics and clear encouragements (“Small changes and adjustments accumulate. Over time, they will lead you to your goal”), will make this book invaluable to entrepreneurs of all kinds.

A vigorous and highly readable plan for building the finances of a new business.

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7357759-0-6

Page Count: 230

Publisher: The Avant-Garde Project, LLC

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

ECONOMIC DIGNITY

Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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