Tag Archives: #businessbooks

Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by Scott Galloway – Here are my five lessons and takeaways

Post Corona• I view things through the lens of business. That’s the core of this book—how the pandemic will reshape the business environment. …I examine how the pandemic has favored big companies, and big tech most of all.
• I begin with two theses. First, the pandemic’s most enduring impact will be as an accelerant. While it will initiate some changes and alter the direction of some trends, the pandemic’s primary effect has been to accelerate dynamics already present in society. Second, in any crisis there is opportunity; the greater and more disruptive the crisis, the greater the opportunities.
• There is a saying attributed to Lenin: “Nothing can happen for decades, and then decades can happen in weeks.” It wasn’t Lenin, but Scottish MP George Galloway (great name). 
• Whether the U.S. is headed for a Hunger Games future or something brighter depends on which path we choose post corona.
Scott Galloway, Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity 

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We are not at the end. We are not near the end. But, maybe, hopefully, we can see the end.

I’m talking about the pandemic.  The numbers are still so high. So, so many have caught the disease. So many have died from the disease. So many more will die.

But, the vaccine looks like it will work.  And, as Melinda Gates described in her book The Moment of Lift, once technology brings us the solution (the vaccines), now the challenge is the delivery challenge. And we are in the midst of that imposing challenge.

So, it is not too early to think about life after the pandemic.  I have now presented three books that can help us do that.  One of them, written before the pandemic, is Digital Transformation by Thomas Siebel.  This book explained that the world is becoming more and more digital; a becoming that has truly accelerated during the pandemic.Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World

The second book is the new one by Fareed Zakaria, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World.  This is a terrific book, and I have now presented my synopsis of this book to quite a few groups.  It is quite a big-picture book.

The third one is the just-published Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by Scott Galloway.  I presented my synopsis of this book at the January First Friday Book Synopsis.  It is a good book, dealing more with specifics of business realities post-corona.

In my synopsis, I always ask What is the point?  Here is what I wrote is the point of this book:
• Things were already changing. The global pandemic accelerated the change(s). Dramatically. What will the business world look like when we come out on the other end. There will be:  big winners; and digital everything. 

And I ask Why is this book worth our time?  Here are my three reasons for this book:

#1 – This book is quite an overview history of the rise of big tech; and why big tech will keep rising.
#2 – This book provides some frightening warnings about the challenges – the survival challenges – for many companies and brands.
#3 – This book provides an example of, and a call to, a true big picture/big context look at the world in pandemic, and post pandemic.

I always include Quotes and Excerpts from the book – the “best of” my highlighted Passages. Here are quite a few of the ones I included from this book in my synopsis:

• For decades, companies invested millions of dollars in equipment for virtual meetings, hoping to diminish distance. And for decades, not much happened. Multimillion-dollar video conference systems didn’t work, and faculty resisted any tech more complex than Dry Erase or PowerPoint. Then, in weeks, our lives moved online and business went remote.
• Opportunities are not guarantees. 
• OVERCORRECT For those with a path to the post-corona future, however narrow, the watchword for how to respond in a crisis is overcorrect.  Was the poisoning J&J’s fault? No. Did the company overreact? Yes. Did it assure the health of the public and restore the credibility of the company? Yes and yes. 
• …severance. You can’t protect jobs, but you can protect people.  You have to be fairly Darwinian and harsh around job cuts, but then do everything you can to provide good severance.
• For every business, this is a good time to forget what you’ve learned and make the hard changes necessary to position yourself for a post-corona world.
• The gig economy is attractive for the same reasons that it’s exploitative. …Is this a failure of character and code on the part of Uber management and their board, or an indictment on our society, which has allowed these cohorts of vulnerability to form in the millions? The answer is yes. 
• Apple made a phone that was so much better than everyone else’s, they spent the next decade suing the competition for blatantly ripping it off.  …and Facebook made social media into a social network. • All of these companies saw daylight and dashed ahead before anyone else.
• Amazon was a bookstore, just online. …Except it wasn’t, not at all. Amazon was, is, and always will be a technology company.  What Jeff Bezos knew all along was that very soon, technology companies would no longer merely make technology infrastructure for other firms. Instead, technology companies would be in those businesses themselves.
• Mr. Bezos increased his wealth by approximately $35 billion in 30 days.
Leadership is the ability to convince people to work together in pursuit of a common goal. 
• A firm’s ability to control the end-to-end customer experience by controlling as much of the value chain as possible. … Take Apple. By controlling the App Store and the iPhone, the firm takes a cut of every dime spent on third-party apps. 
• Our declining life expectancy is mostly due to deaths of despair (drugs, alcohol, suicide).
• Nobody wants to die in a hotel fire, but after a long day of meetings, we aren’t going to inspect the sprinkler system before checking in.

Here are some of the points and insights I gained from this book:

  • The great acceleration:
  • Ecommerce began taking root in 2000. Since then, ecommerce’s share of retail has grown approximately 1% every year. At the beginning of 2020, approximately 16% of retail was transacted via digital channels. Eight weeks after the pandemic reached the U.S. (March to mid-April), that number leapt to 27% . . . and it’s not going back. We registered a decade of ecommerce growth in eight weeks.
  • Negative trends may have accelerated at a greater rate.
  • The forced embrace of telemedicine promises an explosion in innovation.
  • The great, and growing, gap…
  • Households with income below $40,000 were hit hardest…
  • It took the last 10 years to create 20 million jobs and 10 weeks to destroy 40 million.
  • Sixty percent of jobs that pay over $100,000 can be done from home, compared to only 10% of those that pay under $40,000. — Post corona, the benefits of increased flexibility that come with remote work alternatives will flow to the already well off. 
  • Things will be changing…
  • We’ll be dumping business travel, business dinners, and business golf (thank god) in favor of more efficient email, phone, and video communication, and what we all need more of—dinner at home and time to unwind.
  • And a thought about regulation:
  • Government’s charge is to stop GM from pouring toxic waste into the river. Indeed, by outlawing the wanton disposal of toxic waste, we allow GM to process waste in a more enlightened fashion, because we remove the threat that its competitor will take the cheaper route. 
  • Disruption is here, is coming, and will increase and accelerate
  • health care will be different – distance medicine; and so much more…
  • higher education will be different – “distance learning” 
  • A call to care about us all; the commonwealth….
  • (During World War II); At every level, and in every field, voices were raised in support of the commonwealth, rather than in defense of personal property and a perverted sense of freedom. Where is that shared purpose  today. We are fighting an enemy three times as lethal to our population as the Axis powers, yet today Americans don’t want to wear masks and expect the government to send them more money. Resistance to sacrifice and dismissal of community is framed as “liberty.”
  • Our commonwealth didn’t just happen, it was shaped.

And here are my five lessons and takeaways:

#1 – This pandemic has changed things; and will continue to change things.
#2 – One message is clear:  the move to digital is ongoing, and accelerating.  If turning all or part of a business to digital is possible, it will be done.
#3 – The better the remote platforms get at emulating in-person interactions, the more that such remote platforms will replace in-person interactions.
#4 – The big (the strong) will keep getting bigger (stronger).  The inequality gap will very likely keep getting greater.
#5 – Concern for and commitment to the Commonwealth may increase, and make things better. From the environment, to health care, to…

This is a good book. But my suggestion is this:  don’t read just this book:  put it together with the Zakaria book mentioned above, (and maybe, books soon to arrive).

And this is the worst thing I have to say in this post, and I do not like it  Here is my assumption; something close to a prediction; we had better get ready for the next pandemic.

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My synopses for all three of the books I mentioned, and many, many more, are available to purchase (this one will be available soon).  Each synopsis comes with the audio recording of my presentation, plus my comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout. Click on the “buy synopses” tab at the top of this page to search by title.  And click here for our newest additions.

Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Rebecca Henderson; and How I Built This by Guy Raz – Coming for the February 5 First Friday Book Synopsis (On Zoom)

Feb, 2021 FFBSFirst Friday Book Synopsis, Friday, February 5, 2020 — on Zoom
Time: 7:30 am (Central Time)

1) Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Rebecca Henderson. PublicAffairs. (April 28, 2020)

2) How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy Raz. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. (September 15, 2020)

Zoom link below
Please invite one and all to participate in this session.

During Pandemic Season, we have continued to average well over 100 people gathering each month on Zoom for the First Friday Book Synopsis..

On February 5, I will present my synopses of two very good books.  One of them, Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Rebecca Henderson, is a big, big-picture work by a renowned Harvard professor.

The other, How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs by Guy Raz, is chock-full of insights and counsel from the best entrepreneurs of a generation.

If you are like many, you do not have time to read all of the books you would like to read.  The First Friday Book Synopsis is designed for you.

Of course, it would be better if you read the books on your own. But, my synopses are comprehensive, surprisingly thorough, and they will give you plenty of the key content.  You will learn, and be able to ponder the ideas in a useful way.  And, if you have read the book, my synopsis will help you remember more of what you read.

Come join us.

Mark the date, Feb. 5, in your calendar, and save the Zoom info.

——————

Here’s that Zoom info:

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Feb. 5, 2021 – First Friday Book Synopsis
Time: Feb 5, 2021 07:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

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Here is the New York Times list of Best-Selling Business Books for January, 2021 – Atomic Habits by James Clear again/still at Number One

The New York Times has published its list of best-selling business books for January, 2021.Atomic Habits

And, yet again, during this great pandemic, Atomic Habits is at the #1 spot.  This book has been on the top spot for many of the months of the pandemic.

Of the ten books on this month’s list, I have presented synopses of six of them at our monthly event in Dallas, the First Friday Book Synopsis.  And, my former colleague, Karl Krayer, presented one other.  So, we have featured seven of the ten books on this month’s list.

Of the ten books, there is only one written by a woman author; Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead.  It is common for women authors to be underrepresented on this list, but only one woman-authored book for the month is quite a low point.

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic WorldOf the seven we have presented, I presented my synopses of:  #1, Atomic Habits; #3, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World; #4, Dare to Lead; #6, Extreme Ownership; #8, Post Corona; and #9, Range.  I chose Range as my selection for the best business book of the year in 2019.  Please read my blog post: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein is my Business Book of the Year for 2019 – (Loonshots by Safi Bahcall is runner-up).

In addition, my former colleague Karl Krayer presented his synopsis of Thinking, Fast and Slow quite a few years ago.

Worth noting:  plenty of the books on this month’s list have been around quite a while. But both the Zakaria book and the Galloway book, dealing with the pandemic, are quite new.  I presented my synopsis of each of them pretty much right after they were published.

Here is the list of the ten best-selling business books on the New York Times list for January, 2021.  Click over to their site for links to NY Times’ reviews of three of the books.

#1 – Atomic Habits by James Clear
#2 – Pappyland by Wright Thompson
#3 – Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria
#4 – Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
#5 – Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
#6 – Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
#7 – Edison by Edmund Morris
#8 – Post Corona by Scott Galloway
#9 – Range by David Epstein
#10 – I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Second Edition by Ramit Sethi

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We make our synopses available to purchase.  Each synopsis comes with the audio recording of our presentation, plus the comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout.  Click on the buy synopses tab to search by title.  And click here for our newest additions.  (My synopsis of Post Corona will be uploaded in the site in a couple of week).

Download the two Synopses Handouts for tomorrow’s First Friday Book Synopsis, January 8, 2021 – Post Corona and The Obstacle is the Way

You are invited
First Friday Book Synopsis
Friday, January 8, 2021, 7:30 am (Central Time), 
on Zoom
I hope you can join us.

 

NOTE: ZOOM NOW REQUIRES A PASSCODE. 

IT IS BELOW, WITH THE LINK!

——————————————————————————————

Post Corona, cover

Click on image to download synopses handouts for Jan. 8

A very appreciative thank you to all who participate financially in this event. 

The cost of this remote meeting is “free.”

But, if you would like to contribute to participate, Randy would welcome you to send $12.00 directly to him through PayPal. Click here for a direct link to “donate” through PayPal.

 

 

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Well over 100 people have been joining us on our “Remote” First Friday Book Synopsis gatherings. We have had participants from all over the country. Please share this word far and wide — all are welcome!

Friday, January 8, 2021 – Zoom – (the second Friday of January)
Two Book Synopses: 
1) Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by Scott Galloway. (2020)
2) The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday (2014).
Where: on ZOOM
When: This Friday, January 8, 7:30 am (Central Time)
The presentation will conclude shortly after 8:30 am
Speaker: Randy Mayeux will deliver both synopsis presentations.

Click here to join in on Zoom:

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Meeting ID: 838 3344 5781
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————————

We are all set for Friday’s Remote First Friday Book Synopsis.

#1 — Download, and print both synopses handouts by clicking here. If you have ever attended our event, you know that I am handout intensive. You really will be able to follow along better with physical copies of the handouts in front of you. So, if you have a printer, please print the handouts.

#2 — Come on in for conversation whenever you can. I have enabled the “enable join before host” button. You will arrive in the waiting room, and be let in quickly. So, you can come in, and talk to folks. I will plan to join the meeting around 7:00, and we will begin the program at 7:30. And, I will not “end the meeting” for a while after, if you want to continue conversations with others after we officially conclude.

#3 — Here is the info, with the link to join the gathering:

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Jan. 8, 2021 First Friday Book Synopsis
Time: Jan 8, 2021 07:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 838 3344 5781

Passcode: 833454

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Dial by your location
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Meeting ID: 838 3344 5781

Passcode: 833454

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kb1gny5lFK

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Reminder: The cost of this remote meeting is “free.”

But, if you would like to contribute to participate, Randy would welcome you to send $12.00 directly to him through PayPal. Click here for a direct link to “donate” through PayPal.

(Note: you can also send money through Zelle, at Randy’s e-mail address).
(Randy’s e-mail address for PayPal, and Zelle, is ).

Please help spread the word far and wide; help make this a success.

——————–

You might want to read this post. It has a printable one-sheet reminder on how to make the most of your remote learning experience.
Remote Learning 101 – Read this before attending your learning session.

The Essential Baker’s Dozen – 12 (OK – 13) Books to Read to set yourself up for more success in business and in life, in 2021; and beyond

Man's Search for MeaningI am frequently asked: “what is the best book you have ever read?”  After I make a silly joke about “The Illustrated History of Professional Wrestling,” I usually answer with either The Grapes of Wrath, or Man’’s Search for Meaning.

And, sometimes, the question is:  “what is the best business book you’ve ever read?”  And my answer to that is one reason for writing this post.  My answer goes something like this:

There is no one best business book.  I need a category:  the best book on management, or the best book on time management, or the best book on…  I can give some answers to some of those questions.

But, even for a couple of categories, I cannot give “one” answer.  For example, what is the best book I have ever read on leadership?  Impossible to answer!  There are many; and the books reinforce, and build upon, each other.

But, let’s say you asked: Randy, could you give me a reading list, to help set me up for more success in my business and in my life, in 2021, and beyond?  I think I might be able to help.

So, here is my essential baker’s dozen.  Thirteen books that might make a positive difference.

And, yes, I realize that 13 books is a bunch of books for some; especially for non-book readers.  So, set an easy pace.  Just over one book a month.  Think about it:  about a book a month for a year.  And then, at the end of the year, you will know more, and likely accomplish more.

This post will come close to just listing the books, with only a comment or two.  But, I have written blog posts on most of these, and presented synopses of each of them  So, at the bottom of the post, I will provide ways for you to access those more comprehensive posts on each book, and a way to purchase my even more thorough synopses.

Here they are: The Essential Baker’s Dozen of books to read.

Category:  Life!

#1 – Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
Viktor Frankl survived the death camps, and wrote this masterpiece in short order.  Countless numbers of people call this the best, most important book they have ever read.
I read this as a college student, but re-read it carefully just a few years ago, and presented my synopsis of the book.  It is truly a masterpiece.  Read this book first.

Atomic HabitsCategory:  Personal Productivity

#2 – Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear.
There is ancient wisdom that says that you build a successful life one habit at a time.  Who am I to argue against ancient wisdom?  This book has been an especially popular best-seller during the pandemic.  It is practical, and will help you build good, effective, productive habits (and, get rid of a few bad ones).  Worth reading!

#3 – Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen.  This is the bible of time management.  When I follow its teachings, I do in fact get more done.  Much more.  I actually re-read my synopsis handout for this book at the beginning of each year, because… I need to.

Category:  Leadership; and Management.

This is a tough category.  There are so many really good books. But, if you read these that I have listed, it will help you build a solid foundation of leadership understanding and leadership skills.  Remember:  a leader’s job is to help get the very best out of the men and women he or she leads.

#4 — Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin.
These former SEALs have become well known, and sought after, for their leadership principles.  This is their first book, and it is still a best-seller.  The massage is simple:  the leader owns the outcome.  Extreme Ownership; that’s the idea.

#5 — The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhuo.
This is the practical book on managing others.  It says: do this, and then do this, to get the best out of the people you manage.  It is worth reading especially carefully, so that you get the instructions down well.

Radical Candor#6 — Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott.
This is one of the many “don’t beat around the bush, have those essential, to-the-point conversations” books.  I think it is a really, really good book.  Her formula is:  “Care Personally, then Challenge Directly.”  It is a compliment to those books like: Crucial Conversations, and Fierce Leadership, and Fierce Conversations, and others.  Radical Candor is an essential leadership book for this era.

#7 – Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown.
Brené Brown is something of a force of nature.  This book shows the critical need for leaders with exceptional soft skills.  And, it demonstrates that soft skills are not all that soft.

Category:  Get Your Business Done

There are a few books I could recommend, but the one I will suggest here is:

#8 — Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr.
“OKRs: Objectives, Key Results.”  People have to know what they are expected to get accomplished.  The more people are clear about this, the more they will get accomplished.  This is another one to read carefully; so that you can learn the steps to follow and implement.

Category:  Get Ready for the Coming Future 

The world IS changing. Even more rapidly during the pandemic.  So, we need to think about how to get ready for the next changes, and then the next.  Here are two of many good books that can help you.

#9 — Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman.
Mr. Friedman is especially famous for his book The World is Flat, but he has continued to write important books.  This is his latest, and very much worth reading.

#10 — Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction by Thomas M. Siebel.
Mr. Siebel, of Siebel Systems, has provided a clear description of why everything that possibly can be digital will be digital.  An essential book!

Category:  Be EthicalWillful Blindness

#11 — Willful Blindness:  Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril by Margaret Heffernan.
There is a long list of companies that have allowed their ethics, if they had any, to be cast aside.  Shame on such companies!  This book is a very thorough warning to all. It is a warning worth reading, and heeding.

Category:  Prepare for the Next Crisis, In Advance

#12 — Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath.
This is the book we should have read, and heeded, before March of 2020.  Actually, well before March of 2020. This book tells us simply:  the next crisis is coming.  Identify it early; prepare for it early; and solve it early.

Category: Success Overview

Since this is a baker’s dozen list of books, I throw in this 13th selection. It is kind of a “big picture, do all this” book.

#13 — Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.  This remarkable book, by the very good writer Charles Duhigg, will introduce you to psychological safety, successful team practices, and plenty of other concepts worth learning and putting into practice.

Well, that’s my baker’s dozen list.  Since it is actually 13, you’ll have to squeeze in slightly more than one book a month.  I make this promise:  if you read these thirteen books, you will know more than you did before you read them.  And, if you are diligent about putting what you learn into practice, you will be more successful, in your work life, and in your life overall.

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I’ve written posts on this blog on most of these books.  Type this in the search box on the blog: TITLE OF BOOK plus lessons and takeaways.  Usually, that will pull up my most important post on the book.

And, you can purchase my synopses of all these books.  Go to the buy synopses tab at the top of this page, and then use the search by title box to search.  Each synopsis comes with my comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout, plus the audio recording of my presentations.  These presentations are recorded at the First Friday Book Synopsis gatherings, our monthly sessions in Dallas. — Click here for our newest additions.
(Now available: In December, I presented my synopsis of Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria).

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath is my Business Book of the Year for 2020

It has been a strange, and truly challenging year.

Each year in recent years, I have made my selection for the business book of the year.

First, my constraints:  I select my book of the year from the books I have presented during the year at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas (now in our 22nd Year).  This year, I presented synopses of 22 business books. (We had a guest presenter for one book this year, and in April, our first month on Zoom, I made only one book synopsis presentation, which gave us our total of 23 book synopses presented – 2 books a month, every month, for the other months.  By the way, we are in our 23rd year of our monthly First Friday Book Synopsis gatherings.

(Scroll down to see all the books I presented in 2020).

Next, when I choose my selection for book of the year, I normally ask myself:  which book really did break new ground; ground that I do not remember being covered in earlier books?  In this great pandemic year of 2020, I think the need is slightly different.  Let’s try this: Which book do we wish we had read, and heeded, before the pandemic hit?  And for that, there is a clear choice.

A brief but connected aside:  I teach Speech, and did my graduate work in rhetoric.  There is a famous academic journal article in the field called The Rhetorical Situation by Lloyd Bitzer, written in 1968. Springboarding from that article, I created a list of six elements of a successful communication encounter (like a presentation; or a book):

The right speaker
Speaks the right message
To the right audience
In the right way
At the right time (the right circumstance)
With the right result/outcome.

This year, more than ever, the right time/right circumstance element stands out as most important.

UpstreamSo, my selection for the best business book of the year is Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath. (Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster. March 3, 2020).

This is the first book that Dan Heath has written alone. But I have presented a number of other books by him with his co-author, his brother, Chip Heath.  Those books are: Switch; Decisive; Made to Stick; The Power of Moments. 

It’s not that this book is better than the others.  It is just more timely.  It is a good book.  But it has a great message; a critically important message.

The message is this:  the next BIG problem is coming.  It is better to head it off – upstream – than wait until it overwhelms you when it is overflowing the banks downstream.

In my synopsis handout, I included these thoughts:

From the book:

Downstream actions react to problems once they’ve occurred. Upstream efforts aim to prevent those problems from happening.
That’s one of the main reasons I wrote this book. Because, while we have a wide spectrum of available options to address the world’s problems, we’ve mostly confined ourselves to one tiny stretch of the landscape: the zone of response. React, react, react.
My goal in this book is to convince you that we should shift more of our energies upstream: personally, organizationally, nationally, and globally.

What is “Upstream?”
• In this book, I’m defining upstream efforts as those intended to prevent problems before they happen or, alternatively, to systematically reduce the harm caused by those problems. — I prefer the word upstream to preventive or proactive because I like the way the stream metaphor prods us to expand our thinking about solutions.

  • The problem(s)
    • we are so very busy fixing the problems in front of us; we’re too busy to do the upstream work. 

We now know that THE story of the year, and longer, is the pandemic.  It has impacted every single element of life, including all aspects of our business life.

And we know we had warnings. From George W. Bush reading the book The Great Influenza by John Barry, and issuing orders about how to get ready, to Hans Rosling’s warning in Factfulness, to TED Talks and other communications from Bill Gates, we knew something like this pandemic was coming.  And we did not get ready. Not ready enough. We did not go upstream. In fact, we kind of took steps backwards in our preparedness. And now, downstream, it has been a true disaster..

And the costs have been immense, in lives lost, and in economic woes across the country, and across the world.

In my seven lessons and takeaways in my synopsis, note especially these three:

#1 – There will be more problems to face; big problems.
#3 – But…if we could stop the bad from happening, we could save money, and lives. It really is a challenge to keep the bad from happening before it happens.
#7 – And, always be on the lookout for the next upstream challenge.

So, Upsteam is the book to read again and again.  Because, if we ever get past this pandemic challenge, there will be another whopper coming our way.  We really should – we really must – get ready.  We must learn to deal with these upstream, before they happen.

I consider Upstream by Dan Heath the Business Book of the Year for 2020.

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You can purchase my synopses for all of my synopsis presentations from the “buy synopses” tab at the top of this page.  Each synopsis comes with my multi-page, comprehensive handout, along with the audio recording of my presentation recorded live at the First Friday Book Synopsis event in Dallas. Click here for our newest additions.

Apology:  because we were just starting out on Zoom when I presented Upstream, somehow, due to my incompetence, I did not record the presentation of the Upstream synopsis. I am so very sorry.  But, click here to download the synopsis handout at no cost.

And, if you use the search box on this page, you can find my blog post, with my lessons and takeaways, on just about all of these books I presented in 2020, and many more from earlier years.


Note:  you will notice that there are four books dealing with race relations.  I presented these because of the needs that arose this year related to such issues.
My synopses of all of these are available to purchase.

(And, sorry about the poor alignment of this section).

January, 2020

  1. Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change– October 15, 2019 by Marc Benioff and Monica Langley. Currency (October 15, 2019).

2. Stillness Is the Key by Ryan Holiday. Portfolio (October 1, 2019).

February, 2020

      1. Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual by Jocko Willink. St. Martin’s Press (January 14, 2020).
      2. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About Itby Michael E. Gerber. Harper Business; Updated, Subsequent edition (October 14, 2004).

March, 2020

1. The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives (Exponential Technology Series) by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Simon & Schuster (January 28, 2020)

2. Comeback Careers: Rethink, Refresh, Reinvent Your Success–At 40, 50, and Beyond by Mika Brzezinski and Ginny Brzezinski Hachette Books (January 14, 2020)

April, 2020 – Note; Remote/Zoom meetings this month, and the rest of the year.

1. Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath. Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (March 3, 2020)

May, 2020 –

1. The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business one Crazy Idea at a Time by Jim McKelvey.New York: Portfolio; Penguin Publishing Group. 2020.

2. The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind by Jonah Berger. Simon & Schuster (March 10, 2020)

June, 2020

1. Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life by Ozan Varol.  PublicAffairs (April 14, 2020).

2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz. Harper Business (March 4, 2014).

July, 2020

1. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger. Random House (September 23, 2019).

2. Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (National Book Award Winner) by Ibram X. Kendi. Bold Type Books; Reprint edition (August 15, 2017).

August, 2020

      1. The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economyby Stephanie Kelton. PublicAffairs (June 9, 2020).

2. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, Foreword by Michael Eric Dyson. Beacon Press. 2018.

September, 2020

      1. Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them by Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini. Harvard Business Review Press (August 18, 2020).

2. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein.  Liveright. 2017.

October, 2020

1. Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: Using the Power of Questions to Communicate, Connect, and Persuade by Trey Gowdy. Crown Forum (August 18, 2020).

      1. How to Be an Antiracist– August 13, 2019 by Ibram X. Kendi. One World; First Edition (August 13, 2019).

November, 2020

      1. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez. Harry N. Abrams; First Printing Edition (March 12, 2019)
      2. Uncharted: How to Navigate the Futureby Margaret Heffernan. Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (September 8, 2020)

December, 2020

1. Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy by Patrick Bet-David Gallery Books (2020) – (Delivered by Karl Krayer)

    1. Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria. W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (October 6, 2020).