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These are blue-chip books on business management, says former advertising executive Ken Roman:

  1. Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? : Leading a Great Enterprise through Dramatic Change

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    "IBM was losing $16 billion a year and contemplating a breakup strategy when Lou Gerstner arrived as CEO in 1993. In "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?," he provides a blow-by-blow account of how he stabilized the company (famously, he said "the last thing IBM needs right now is a vision"), rebuilt its strategy around IT services and e-business, and rehabilitated IBM's reputation. In the process of this turnaround, Gerstner also overhauled a "hothouse" culture that cut off IBM from a quickly changing marketplace ("Culture isn't just one aspect of the game -- it is the game"). This playbook about executing a successful competitive and cultural transformation -- unlike so many others -- was actually written by the man whose name is on the cover."

  2. Confessions of an Advertising Man

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    "Advertising is but a part of this book; the real message here is management. David Ogilvy's principles apply to any creative organization and many professional-service companies. He tells us that when he worked as a sous-chef in a French kitchen, he learned "exorbitant standards of service" that he later applied to his own company. He obsesses about finding talent (people with "fire in their bellies"), winning new business ("self-advertisement," "midnight oil") -- and keeping it ("successful polygamy depends upon pretending to each spouse that she is the only pebble on your beach"). Having worked at the agency David Ogilvy founded, I was lucky enough to have seen him put these principles into practice."

  3. What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School

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    "There's no better guide to how to sell than "What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School," but the self- described "street smart" executive Mark H. McCormack also offers invaluable advice on getting ahead and managing a business. Showing how he used "applied people sense" to found the sports- management company IMG, which helped transform professional sports into big business, McCormack recommends learning how to utter three hard-to-say phrases: "I don't know," "I need help" and "I was wrong." A Drucker disciple, he seldom accepted incoming phone calls ("an interruption"), preferring to deal with phone messages in his own time, when he could focus his attention. Email was made for guys like that."

  4. Management and Machiavelli

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    "British author Antony Jay makes the case in "Management and Machiavelli" that management is but a continuation of the old art of government. He finds management principles in Renaissance Italy, Bismarck's Prussia and imperial Rome. He regards Machiavelli's "The Prince" (1513) as "bursting with urgent advice and acute observations for top management" -- e.g., strong vs. weak leaders ("the barons are strong when the king is weak"). Jay shows how the Roman Empire ran its world-wide business by putting in command men who were "trained, selected and trusted by Rome to govern the province." Ultimately, this is a portrait of leadership. Machiavelli saw success and failure for states as stemming directly from the qualities of the leader -- the prince."

  5. The Effective Executive

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    "The Effective Executive" is the quintessential guide to management principles by the acknowledged master of the subject, Peter F. Drucker. He defines effectiveness as "a habit . . . a complex of practices that can always be learned." Those practices include knowing where time goes, focusing on outcomes rather than work, building on strengths and not weaknesses, and concentrating on a few areas that will produce outstanding results. Drucker once observed that there are not 24 hours in a day but only two or three; the difference between the effective executive and everyone else, he said, is the ability to use those hours productively and "get the right things done."

  6. Source:

Ken Roman Who?

"Kenneth Roman was CEO of one of the country's largest advertising and communications companies, The Ogilvy Group, where he worked for 26 years. As an advertising man, he was trained to synthesize ideas into brief statements, ones that would sell. Also as an advertising man, Ken has gleaned experience from many companies in many industries. Both of these characteristics are valuable for board service. So it's little wonder that over the past 12 years he has served on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards. His corporate boards have included Compaq Computer, Gartner, Brunswick, IBJ Schroder Bank & Trust Company, Nelson Communications, Coty, PennCorp Financial Group and HiFusion Inc. Most recently he was appointed to the board of Adventis, a fast-growing consulting firm."


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