October 3, 2005

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects: Corporate Canaries

By: Jack @ 8:34 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Corporate Canaries: Avoid Business Disasters with a Coalminer's Secrets
by Gary Sutton, Nelson Business, 160 Pages, $19.99, October 2005, ISBN 078521299X
Until now, I had never seen a business book offer a guarantee; Corporate Canaries was the first business book I have seen do so. By offering a guarantee, author Gary Sutton demonstrates complete faith in his message. Here is Sutton's guarantee:

This book will help managers detect a serious business problem, either in your company or in a competitor's, within a year of reading. If not, I will return your money plus a dollar.

Wow. Sutton offers a guarantee and an extra dollar? I was hooked; I wanted my dollar. I read the book and after reading it, the thought of returning it did not even cross my mind. Corporate Canaries is an innovative concoction of storytelling, real-life examples and practical business advice. The book is worth much more than $19.99 plus $1. Now, let's get into the book.
Allow me to start by introducing you to the main character, Grandpa Sutton--Irishman, former coalminer, and the author's grandfather. Each new lesson is narrated through Grandpa Sutton's coalmining stories.
During the coalmining days, canaries were placed in the mines to alert workers of dangerous gases. Sutton uses his lessons as corporate canaries to help warn you of poisons within your company. These lessons are backed up by real life examples of well-known companies such as Mercedes, Time Warner and Merrill Lynch. They are further enhanced by the author's verbal equations that will help measure your company's success.
The best part: Sutton literally gives you symptoms and cures for business problems. It's as if Sutton is the "business doctor" for corporations. Here's a summary of the corporate illnesses for which Sutton provides prescriptions:
  1. You can't outgrow losses.

  2. Debt's a killer.

  3. Fools fly blind.

  4. Any decision beats no decision.

  5. Markets grow and markets die.

If you read this book (and I suggest you do), you will enjoy receiving business advice from an intelligent, Irish grandfather. Look at it this way, even if you gain nothing from the book, you can return it and earn a dollar. What do you have to lose?
If you would like to receive the monthly Jack Covert Selects Newsletter, please visit the Newsletters area of our website. Then, sign in and check the boxes of the newsletters that interest you.