The book I read to research this post was Putting The One Minute Manager To Work by Kenneth Blanchard et al which is an excellent book that I bought from a local bookstore, a long time ago. This is one of the sequels to the One Minute Manager. Like that book it is quite short only around 95 pages and uses a story to get its points across. These books are great for anyone who maybe intimidated by business in general and are easy to understand. This book looks at applying the principles of the other book and was published in 1984. It uses what are called A,B,C’s which stand for activators, behaviours and consequencies. Activators are what a manager has to do before a junior employee can carry out a task. Behaviors are what the does to carry out the task. Finally consequencies are what happens when the results are either achieved or not achieved. One important point is when he is learning a job he is encouraged and not given a reprimand just because he made a mistake. A reprimand which focuses on the action not the individual is given when he has consciously not done something. A reprimand always with something positive like this isn’t like you, you are normally a good employee. This encourages the employee to focus on the action and not how you responded to it. There is another acronym KISS which is keep it short and simple. Hence the idea of one minute reprimands, appraisals and goal setting. By one minute it is an approximation of how long it takes. You should also when you give someone in doing a task involve them in what activators need to be carried before they can carry it out. Many companies spend less than 1% of there budget on training and human development which obviously they should spend a lot more. I really enjoyed this book. I may very well try and get the other one minute manager books and review them quite soon.

The book I read to research this post was The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard et al which is an excellent book that I bought from a local bookshop a long time ago. This book was first published in 1982 and is very much a business classic from that period. It is probably a little dated now but was very successful as well as creating quite a few sequels. It is only a short book around 130 pages and teaches you by telling you the story of an eager manager and his efforts to become successful. The essence of the book is there is one minute goal setting, one minute appraisals & one minute reprimands. One minute goal setting is writing down in less than 250 words what your goal in doing a task is and how you are going to achieve it. Employees are left to decide for themselves how to carry out a task with help as and when needed. They keep records of what they do but the aim is to catch them doing something right and praise them when they do. Reprimands criticize the behaviour not the person and the matter is dropped after the person is told off. This is a really enjoyable read.  It blends psychology with things like time management and personnel management. I think a lot of present day managers could do with reading this book.

I am reviewing the live album Rattle and Hum by U2 which is an excellent album. This album had a bit of a mixed reception from critics who objected to Bono’s so called preaching, U2 numerous references to other artists and there not being more new material. What is on the album is pretty good nonetheless. It was meant to be an exploration by U2 into American music especially Blues. Featuring Helter Skelter by the Beatles seems a bit pointless but is a good version. The album features people like BB King & Bob Dylan but you can’t help but thing they could have been put to better use. It was recorded at a stadium in Arizona after a proposed tour of South America where it was going to be recorded was cancelled. There was a feature film made as a companion piece. I think they would have been better off doing a straight forward U2 concert. I do agree with what he says about things like apartheid but I think a lot of people feel Bono is too political in what he says at concerts. I think I am undecided on that subject because at the end of the day if he can encourage people to campaign on them kind of issues it may be a good thing. The album was hugely successful selling 5,000,000 in the USA alone. I think U2 where at their peak when this came out. The title came from a lyric in the track Bullet the Blue Sky. Johnathan Demme & Martin Scorcese considered and were shortlisted to direct the feature film. It is one of the best live albums I have heard. Finally the crowd noise was sampled by The KLF for their singles.

I am reviewing the alternative music album A Northern Soul by The Verve which is an excellent album. This is the Verve’s 2nd album and their previous album had been a rock album. It was the first to feature their distinctive layering in the tracks. The group was formed at a Sixth Form College in Wigan, Lancashire in 1990. Magazines like Q & NME regularly feature this album on their Best Album Charts. The Verve did go on to do an even better album, Urban hymns which resulted in this album re entering the album chart in the UK. Richard Ashcroft also had a successful solo career. The Verve did had problems getting on with each other which were probably fuelled by drug taking and have seen the group form and split up 3 times. One of the group smashed up a hotel room whilst on drugs in Kansas during a tour and got arrested. It’s a shame because they are very gifted musicians. They did win 2 Brit Awards when Urban Hymns was released including Best Group. Noel Gallagher from Oasis & Richard Ashcroft did dedicate a song to each other’s musical ability. This album’s songs were very much influenced by a troublesome break up with a girlfriend Richard had at the time. The title A Northern Soul came from the Northern Soul music which was popular in Britain in the late 70’s and early 80’s and this album had similar lyrical themes to the subjects these songs used to be about. Musically of course the album is very different. I would definitely recommend this album.

The book I read to research this post was Teach Yourself Public Speaking by Dennis Castle et al which is a very good book that I bought from a secondhand bookstore. This book was published in 1980 so must be long out of print and even a website like Amazon wouldn’t have it for sale secondhand. I think if like me you see it for sale somewhere cheap it is a great buy. It is well written and covers the subject well. To reach the very top of business and management you need to master public speaking and what you say is probably less important than saying it in a charismatic way. You nonetheless do need to master the subject you talk about and a lot of getting good at it is practice. You may get worried about getting anxious about giving a speech but in moderate amounts that is actually a good thing and helps you perform well. There are groups regardless what subject you want to speak about who are interested in you giving a talk to their members it is only a matter of finding. I think there is a group called Toastmasters where members can give a talk on any subject and the aim is to get members confident enough to give a speech. One of the important things is at least limiting the use of words like errr and you know. In a stressful situation most people use these at least a little. Another thing is making yourself understand and if you have a strong accent you may have to watch how you pronounce words. To a certain degree though an unusual accent can be quite charming. If you are introducing someone else you have to watch you use the correct protocols, many people have certain titles you must use. At appropriate times a funny story or anecdote can work wonders. Even an unusual story can often break the ice. One thing I was advised before going on a radio interview is focus on the interviewer and try and forget you are on radio. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it and it is around 160 pages so is a reasonable length.

The book I read to research this book was Management For Dummies by Richard Pettinger which is a very good book that I bought from kindle. This book looks at the different aspects of being a manager and running a department or company. A lot of modern management thinking is allowing employees to resolve problems themselves rather than managers stepping in constantly. This has been found to make an employee’s job much more meaningful as well as freeing managers up to do other things. It is important to delegate as much as possible and where this has happened it has often been found employees doing a surprisingly good job. Obviously some things like deciding future strategy for the campany can’t be delegated but employees can still contribute in a meaningful. This book does look at many key aspects of managing like firing employees in the right way to avoid litigation, risk management and the right components to make a company successful. There is an institute Of Risk Management at http://theirm.org. Learning management is constantly evolving process where you can never know everything about it and must continually update your skills. This was a very long book certainly several hundred pages and I really enjoyed reading it. You shouldn’t let the needs to define strategy make your company inactive and indecisive but you should have it clearly defined where your company or department is going and know what steps you need to take to make it happen. Goals should be attainable. You obviously have to know what they are and when you’ve achieved them. I would recommend this book as a good starting point in learning management. Something people often get wrong is that while managers have to get results they don’t have to shout at employees and threaten them with the sack to get results. They need to get to know employees and if they have any problems preventing them from doing a task it needs to get resolved. Some employees do only respond to things like being shouted at and maybe you need to adapt your management style to different members of your company. Many employees get demoralized if they have a boss threatening them with the sack etc.

The book I read to research this post was Emerging Business Opportunities In Africa by Christopher Gekonge which is an excellent book that I read at http://safaribooksonline.com. This book is about the potential of African nations as business opportunites and a lot of the book is about the individual health done on a region by region basis. The wealthiest nation here is probably South Africa and it might surprise you that many of the other nations have a lot of potential especially in terms of resources. There has been a lot of corruption in Africa since the 60’s which has seen it drop further back in keeping up with the Asian economies. Alot of the countries in Africa have a fairly low population with the continent as a whole having 15% of the world’s population and being the second biggest continent by land mass. One thing that has helped stabilize the continent is there is an award they give to the best countrie’s performing president where they are paid a one off $5 million and then $200,000 annually. This has been quite a big incentive to many to do a good job. Much of Africa’s economies are mining and agriculture and much trade is done between countries that share borders. Since 1981 the number of Africans living below the $2 a day threshhold has almost doubled. The Chinese to help their own economy have invested much in African countries and sent many Chinese workers to work here and has upset the local population in places because there has been competition for employment. There is an OAU or Organisation For African Unity which is a bit like the European Union where they encourage co-operation between member states and remove trade tariffs. In Mozambique an Aluminium Smelting Plant was built that immediately doubled that countries exports and added 15% to that countrie’s GDP. This was a very enjoyable book about something I didn’t know much about but was very interesting. It’s well researched and is a great read.