A “fractional CFO” offers useful snippets of financial advice to small business owners. Homza, who works on a contract basis as a “fractional” (part-time) CFO for small businesses, debuts with a book that acts as a kind of armchair adviser. More an assemblage of bite-sized essays than logically organized chapters, the book is an easy but potentially enlightening read for the busy business owner. The author touches on a smattering of both financial and organizational topics and issues, including financial statements, financial plans, key indicators, receivables, payables, working with a banker, effective management teams, setting strategy, problem-solving, and more. Homza writes with a strong, authoritative voice in a no-nonsense style, dishing out counsel clearly borne of professional experience. “Get the entire organization focused on a few key numbers so that everyone has an appreciation for the results of the organization,” he says. When businesses are “languishing,” Homza observes, “I see that the problem with many is that they have no Push. No one is setting the tone or holding people within the organization accountable for goals and objectives.” The author draws a distinction between working in a business and on a business: “Too many small business owners find themselves working in the business. This means they are working on day-to-day operational issues,” he says. “Ask yourself: what you are doing today which will alter the course of your business over the next three to five years?” And as for those office plants, “one of the first things that I look for when I walk into an office is whether anyone waters the plants…what I am really looking for is whether anyone goes above and beyond to take care of little things that are usually not in anyone’s job description.” Some readers may think these pithy observations are tossed out casually and lack substance, but most small-business owners should be able to find ample wisdom in these pages. A business how-to for some and a collection of helpful reminders for others; makes for an engaging light read.
Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.
Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").
Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)