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Toxic Client


An engaging, empowering business protection guide.

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Corporate attorney and prolific author Sutton (Finance Your Own Business, 2016, etc.) discusses how to identify, sidestep, and untangle oneself from problem customers in his latest entrepreneurism manual.

The customer isn’t always right, says Sutton; in fact, he says, he or she might be a freeloader, a “feegoader” who “will use every angle to goad, or pressure you to reduce your fee,” or even mentally ill. Such “toxic” folks are everywhere, he says, and they particularly prey on business newcomers who are unwilling to turn away customers—but should. After that warning, Sutton goes on to shares his own stories (as a young lawyer, he had to defend a client who never paid his bills) and case study examples of difficult or downright disastrous customer relationships. He then offers tips on how to spot and evade bad apple clients, such as listening for clues and trusting one’s instincts on first meetings, and performing due diligence, including credit checks. He provides tactics for shaking off those who seem like trouble, such as by having clear, upfront policies on details such as retainers and return fees; by claiming an “imaginary partner” that one must consult before entering into agreements; or by saying that one is bound to a non-compete clause. The author concludes with three appendices that detail key avenues of recourse when one does get ensnared, including liens, small claims court, and collection agencies. Sutton’s book is an engrossing venting session with anecdotes that will be entertaining and relatable, especially to anyone who’s ever worked in restaurants or construction. They reinforce the idea that one shouldn’t be too nice—and, in fact, one should be wary—when dealing with people in one’s business. He also cites an array of sobering statistics to support this view, including that nearly 20 percent of American adults have a mental disorder, and that it can cost $50,000 to recoup $10,000 in unpaid fees. The book only skims the surface of legal advice that one might need for actual lawsuits, but it still offers a good kick-start to safeguard oneself against such prospects. 

An engaging, empowering business protection guide.

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944194-03-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Success DNA, INC.

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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