September 22, 2002
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Business
Youve just gotta see this book. Perseus tells us that Business is the most comprehensive single volume ever published on the way of work. Id say. With 200 contributors; 2.5 million words of text; 700 illustrations; 150 maps; 2208 pages. Incredible! There have been a number of strong reviews regarding this tome, reaffirming what I said above: This book is big!; Its got everything!; Its not a doorstop, its a useful reference book. And all of these things are true. However, I think that the best way for you to understand just how terrific this book is is for me to walk you through it.
Scenario: Lets say you, like me, are introducing a change initiative in your company, but dont know how to start it and make it stick. So, you pull Business off your reference shelf (watch you back!) and look into the issue. The first place youll visit is the Users Guide to help you navigate through the seven sections of the book. Best Practices features practical business advice from business writers and thinkers; the Management Checklists and Actionlists provide a practical approach to your problem (Examples of the breadth of these checklists? How to Make a Website Easy to Navigate or Preparing for Retirement with Dignity); the Management Library will suggest the most relevant titles you will need to learn more about this issue; Business Thinkers and Management Giants presents biographies of the most influential people in business; the Dictionary will help you with terms and definitions; the World Business Almanac profiles the economic health of over 150 countries; and finally, (whew!), the Business Information Sources provides you with ways to continue gathering additional information, offering a listing of websites, journals and authoritative organizations.
Now that you understand the layout, you begin your research on change. The Best Practices section offers you: Getting All Your People Committed to Change and Transformation by John Smythe. In the 3 pages devoted to this topic, Smythe presents us with an Executive Summary, a discussion of the issues, a distinct guide to making it happen, as well as other info including books to read, websites to visit, and other areas within the book which address this topic. You are then led to a Checklist that offers a definition of the issue, advantages and disadvantages, an actual action checklist, dos & donts, thought starters (love these!), and more books and essays to read. You also get an Actionlist that will help you tackle change problems directly. Need More? In the Management Library, youll find a breakdown of The Change Masters by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, the authoritative work on the factors behind successful corporate change. Then, follow your nose to pages 1008-1009 in Business Thinkers for a biography and vitae of Kanter as well as summaries of all of her books on change. This may then lead you to wonder if there are any Management Giants who were really successful at implementing change and you will read about the success with which Jack Welch introduced Six Sigma to GE. If you are not sure what exactly Six Sigma is, well then, page 1337 of the Dictionary should fill in your Six Sigma gaps, as well as the entry on Change Management will be helpful to you. By now, you are only about of your way though the book, having not yet explored the informative economic data about Bangladesh (Did you know that the best buy in Bangladesh is Rural handloomed cloth?) or even each of the United States (Colorados average household income is $48,506, 9th in the US). And finally, if all of this hasnt given you a headstart on implementing change in your company, then check out pages 1923-1925: 9 suggested books to read, 8 magazines & journals to subscribe to, 3 internet sites to log onto, and an organization to contact.
And to top it all off, at the bottom of each page, is a motivational quote. Wow, Im exhausted--but exhilarated. All this, in one book. Frankly, I think they are selling this book too cheap - $59.95 for all the knowledge in the world (or at least where to find it). Makes a great birthday or holiday or graduation present, but it can also be a great investment for your business future.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.