Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rain: What A Paperboy Learned About Business - by Jeffrey J. Fox

This book begins with a business parable that tells the story of Rain, an energetic paperboy who wins customers, influences people, and builds a business with pluck and determination.  The author explains key business concepts and principles, in an enjoyable story about a young entrepreneur.  In the second part, the author revisits each phase of Rain's adventure with exercises that expand upon topics like ethics, customer service, innovation, and respect.  In summary, this book illustrates a set of easily digestible "rainmaker" business lessons that apply to anyone in business, not just paperboys.

Although, these days, the paperboy (or papergirl) is somewhat of an outdated work experience, I am lucky to be old enough to actually have a little experience in this field.  While I was much less successful and entrepreneurial than Rain, I can attest to learning some valuable lessons about hard work, commitment, and business.  This book suggests that just about everything you need to know about building career success you could learn as a paperboy or papergirl.  It justifies this claim somewhat with an impressive list of some of the world's most successful people who delivered papers in their youth: Tom Brokaw, Warren Buffett, Sean "Diddy" Combs, Walt Disney, Naomi Watts, Jack Welch, and Jerry Seinfeld, among others.

I enjoyed this book and appreciated the practicality of the author's approach.  I could easily relate to Rain and his experiences.  The reader learns important lessons relating to topics such as interview skills, customer service, innovation, and negotiation, all within the context of a young paperboy, learning and successfully applying some fundamental business practices with a fresh outlook and spirited determination.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Play Dead - by Harlan Coben

This book begins with Celtic superstar David Baskin and supermodel turned business magnate Laura Ayers honeymooning on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, where David tragically drowns unexpectedly.  I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that, although Laura believes that her new husband is dead, he actually faked his death.  The real plot twists revolve around why.  In doing so, the reader is introduced to both Laura's and David's families and the deceptive secrets of their past.

This is Harlan Coben's first novel.  It may not be everyone's cup of tea.  The complicated plot has seemingly unending twists and turns that are hard to believe at times.  Some may find it hard to endure the story-line to its ending.  I, however, somewhat enjoyed reading this book.  I have read some of Coben's other books and, knowing that this was his first novel, saw some similarities.