Book Reviews

When looking at what makes a business successful, observers generally check out how it got started, who played a part in making it happen, and what the business produced. These three books, all from business publisher AMACOM, thoughtfully address all of the above.

Make Your Own Rules

By Wayne Rogers with Josh Young
Hardcover, 244 pages, $23

If there was ever a book for the entrepreneur who doesn’t read “how-to” books, this is it. In Make Your Own Rules: A Renegade Guide to Unconventional Success by Wayne Rogers, the actor/entrepreneur and highly successful businessman reveals how he excelled in each of his various business ventures over the past 40 years without a “step by step” plan—and how you can, too.

Although Rogers may be best known for his role in the TV series M*A*S*H, his creative approach to business has gotten him through the challenges of starting up and turning around numerous businesses, including a convenience store chain, a vineyard, a restaurant, a number of hotels, a film distribution company and the country’s largest bridal boutique.

“I’ve found that learning to be creative, challenging convention and seizing unexpected opportunities is not only liberating,“ Rogers says, “but it can make all the difference in whether you are successful.” He also maintains, however, that his failures have been just as important as his successes. In this volume, Rogers lets his experiences speak for themselves, with the goal of provoking readers to take their own business risks, with a little bit of guidance along the way.

Each of the book’s 10 chapters, including “Do Your Homework,” “Find People You Can Work With” and “Just Ask a Customer,” is one of Rogers’ rules for unconventional business success. He also shares tips for creative financing, strategies for making the most of the banking system, and his passion for the free market, despite its flaws.

Full Engagement!

By Brian Tracy
Hardcover, 256 pages, $22

It’s tough out there. Store closings, bankruptcies and downsizing are now the norm. This can lead to workers being squeezed to produce more and with less. Enter Brian Tracy. The renowned business success expert and motivational master has the answer to business success, and he maintains it’s a lot less complicated than you think. His book Full Engagement!: Inspire, Motivate and Bring Out the Best in Your People gives managers the keys to unlocking not just the hidden drive and abilities within their employees, but also within themselves.

“The way you treat people, what you say and do that affects them emotionally, is more important in bringing out the best in people than all the education, intelligence or experience you might have at doing your job,” Tracy writes. In this book, he shows managers how to achieve financial success by focusing on getting the highest “ROE” (return on energy, physical, mental and emotional) from their employees by utilizing one simple tool: making people happy.

Grounded in extensive research in the fields of human psychology and motivational management, Full Engagement! offers a wealth of insights into why people think, feel, react and respond the way they do at work. It includes “Action Exercises” at the end of each chapter for managers to try in improving their own work environments. It also describes how to get the best from nearly every person on your team, and feel great about yourself along the way.

The AMA Handbook of Business Documents

By Kevin Wilson and Jennifer Wauson
Paperback, 224 pages, $19.95

The AMA Handbook of Business Documents: Guidelines and Sample Documents That Make Business Writing Easy is one book that should be available at every entrepreneur or manager’s fingertips. Kevin Wilson and Jennifer Wauson provide business templates for everyone—from corporate communications, marketing and public relations staffers to sales professionals and human resources administrators whose job and business depend on effective writing.

Even the best writers need the extra assistance to create a flawless document, especially when it needs to be completed quickly. That’s where The AMA Handbook of Business Documents comes in. Readers can easily find information on a particular document and quickly get back to their writing project. Readers are provided with guidelines, tips and samples of all kinds of documents including annual reports, business letters, newsletters and press releases.

Writing has the ability to strengthen a business’s competitive edge when done correctly. On the other hand, when writing is weak and sloppy, it can lead to lost opportunities or sales. Buying this book will not only improve your writing but it can, in turn, improve your business’s reputation.

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