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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

HOMEFRONT COOKING – BOOK REVIEW

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 5, 2018

BRYCE ON BOOKS

– A culinary delight for our men and women in uniform.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

During my lifetime, I have read a considerable number of books pertaining to history, including the military, but I recently came across something for veterans and those currently serving in uniform, a combination cookbook and memoir dedicated to our men and women in the service. It is 240 pages of recipes and interesting military tales from our veterans. Titled “Homefront Cooking,” it is written as a labor of love by authors Tracey Enerson Wood, Carol Van Drie, Mary Elizabeth Riffle, as well as over 50 contributors (including yours truly).

The authors solicited favorite recipes and stories from our vets. Some of the recipes are elaborate, some simple, yet all are delicious. In my case, I described my father’s military career during World War II where he had the unusual distinction of serving in both the Army and the Navy at the same time. I included one of his favorite dishes, lovingly called “Slop,” based on the fare he had while undergoing flight training in Laredo, Texas. The recipe was rather simple and economical, yet something we relished as a quick family meal.

The book contains recipes for everything from breakfast to dinner and dessert. The photos included make all the entrees look simply scrumptious. The stories accompanying the recipes are both humorous and heart-warming. The authors have done an outstanding job assembling a publication that would be cherished by anyone in uniform. Their goal is to honor veterans, while preserving moments of personal history before they are forgotten. It is worth noting, all of the authors’ profits will be donated to military service organizations. This specifically includes The Robert Irvine Foundation. Chef Irvine is perhaps best known for his highly rated TV show, “Restaurant: Impossible” on the Food Network and actively supports the troops.

The book comes in two forms: Hardbound for $24.83, and in eBook form (NOOK Book and Kindle; prices vary).

Here are the details:
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (May 8, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1510728708
ISBN-13: 978-1510728707
For info, see their Twitter account: @HomeFrontCkBk
Or on Facebook

The book is available from:
Skyhorse Publishing
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

For questions or to organize a book signing, contact the authors at: homefrontcooking4vets@gmail.com

This is a great gift idea for anyone who has served in the military, both in terms of the recipes and the stories.

Thank you ladies for your hard work in putting this altogether, and thanks for the memories.

Keep the Faith!

P.S., Be sure to see my video, “The PRIDE Renewal Tour,” on YouTube.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2018 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube. Click for TIM’S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

 

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Posted in Books, Food, Military | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

TRUMP’S “CRIPPLED AMERICA” GIVES INSIGHT INTO HOW HE THINKS

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 17, 2016

BRYCE ON POLITICS

– A book review of Mr. Trump’s latest work.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

On the cover of his new book, “Crippled America” Donald Trump wears a scowl on his face. Over the protests of his family to use a more positive photo featuring him smiling, Trump selected “the scowl” as he contends there is not much to smile about in the United States today, that we are crippled and need to get serious about fixing our problems. The theme of his book, therefore, is based on the old adage, “You cannot help a patient if he doesn’t know he is sick,” and Trump goes to great length to enumerate the problems facing the country.

I read the book rather quickly as it was just 208 pages and well organized. It was not the most eloquent writing, yet each chapter reads like a Trump speech. Writing a candidate book is an important part of any campaign strategy, but this one gives you a glimpse into the mind of a businessman, not a candidate. This is an important distinction as it becomes obvious he is more concerned with finding pragmatic solutions to our problems rather than following the political ideologues of the left or the right. He writes more like a businessman, and is more interested in common sense than being politically correct.

On page six, he writes, “I’m not a diplomat who wants everybody to be happy. I’m a practical businessman who has learned that when you believe in something, you never stop, you never quit, and if you get knocked down, you climb right back up and keep fighting until you win. That’s been my strategy all my life, and I’ve been very successful following it.”

This is the same attitude he wants America to embrace. He continues by stating, “The fact is I give people what they need and deserve to hear – exactly what they don’t get from politicians – and that is The Truth. Our country is a mess right now and we don’t have time to pretend otherwise. We don’t have time to waste on being politically correct.” (page 8)

It is this no-nonsense, politically neutral approach which has made him a populist, yet has drawn the ire of the press and his political opponents. Because of his wealth, which is itemized in the Appendix, Trump makes it clear he is someone who cannot be bought and manipulated by the media or special interests.

The Preface sets the stage for the book, briefly summarizing the problems of the country, which is something everyone should read to truly understand Trump. You will either agree with him or you will not. Liberals and the media will naturally hate it. Just about everyone else with an open mind will identify with the problems he discusses. In a nutshell, Mr. Trump contends the problems of America are due to a lack of common sense, incompetent self-serving politicians, and lack of leadership. It’s a compelling argument for America to consider.

In particular, Trump takes the media to task and exposes their political inclinations; “They (the American people) have finally figured out that a lot of the political media aren’t trying to give the people a fair representation of the important issues. Instead, they are trying to manipulate the people – and the election – in favor of the candidates they want to see elected. These media companies are owned by billionaires. These are smart people who know which candidates are going to be best for them, and they find a way to support the person they want.” (page 15)

In terms of leadership, he reminds us of one of his principal rules of negotiation, “The side that needs the deal the most is the one that should walk away with the least.” (page 40). He uses this to criticize President Obama’s failures in negotiating with other countries, particularly during the Iran nuclear deal.

Perhaps the most illuminating part of the book, to me, was the description of his values sprinkled throughout it. Without a doubt, he is a confirmed capitalist. One of the mottos by his father left a lasting impression on him, “You do your job, you keep your job. Do it well, get a better job.” (page 94)

He goes on to describe himself, saying, “I don’t make promises I can’t keep. I don’t make threats without following through. Don’t ever make the mistake you can bully me. My business partners and employees know that my word is as good as any contract – and that better go for the other side’s word as well.” (page 138)

His confidence and entrepreneurial spirit comes through the book vividly, something his opposition interprets as conceit. However, such values are typical for most successful businessmen such as Trump.

The chapters discuss such things as the political media, immigration, foreign policy, education, energy, health care, the economy, the 2nd amendment and gun control, our infrastructure, and our values, which I found particularly interesting. Each section reads like a Trump speech, and you get the feeling he is trying to tell the truth to the best of his ability. After listening to his arguments, I couldn’t refute them as they were expressed as common sense.

For every person who loves Mr. Trump, there is another who hates him. This is essentially no different than how the country feels about Mr. Obama. Through this book, Trump is trying to convince his opponents he is not the bogeyman he is portrayed to be by the media.

Liberals promote the stereotype of Trump supporters as racist uneducated red necks, thereby hoping people will not support him. After reading “Cripple America,” you come to understand why main street Americans are tired of the status quo, the gridlock in Washington, the incompetence of the career politicians, and our slippage as a world leader in just about every category. Trump claims it doesn’t have to be this way, that if we took more of a professional business approach we can make America great again.

After reading this book, you get the uneasy feeling that if Mr. Trump is defeated, it would be a refutation of American business in general, and that is something we cannot afford.

Also published with News Talk Florida.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHEN THE OLD SURPASSES THE NEW – What does this say about our culture?

LAST TIME:  WHAT DOES PRESIDENTS’ DAY MEAN?  – and how would our former presidents do today?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; KIT-AM (1280) in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific); and WWBA-AM (News Talk Florida 820). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Books, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

OUR DEVOTION TO LITERATURE

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 23, 2015

BRYCE ON BOOKS

– learning to appreciate reading, regardless what form it may take.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

A few nights ago, my wife and I were visiting with some friends and somehow we got on the subject of literature, specifically the books we read in High School years ago. We compiled quite a list including: “Across Five Aprils” by Irene Hunt, “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, “Madame Curie” by Eve Curie, “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville, “The Good Earth” by Pearl Buck, “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck, “The Merchant of Venice” by William Shakespeare, “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway, “The Red Badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane, “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and “The Yearling” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. I’m sure I have forgotten others mentioned that evening, but I think you get the idea.

I don’t think we could point at any of these books and say there was a personal favorite among them. As for me, I found Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” particularly interesting and devoured the book hoping to find a happy ending. I didn’t. It was all rather depressing. Even though I understood the book’s message, I stopped reading Steinbeck after that. The point is, like so many High School students, we drudged through the reading and even though we would hit a dud now and then, we were all glad to have read the books. I think this is due in part to our love of literature. When we were kids, we relished visiting the library or have our parents read to us at night. Each year our elementary school would sponsor a book fair and we would gobble up what we could. By the time we entered high school in the late 1960’s, the book bug had already bitten us.

I’ve read a lot of books since then, but I cannot say I am as voracious a reader as my wife or mother who seem to digest books on a weekly basis. I find my time is more limiting so I tend to be more careful what I read. If a book doesn’t grab my attention in the first few pages, forget it; I don’t need another “Grapes of Wrath.” When I was younger, I was more inclined to read novels, my favorite being “Shogun” by James Clavell, but as I became older my interests gravitated towards nonfiction, specifically history and biographies.

Because of my upbringing, I thought it was important to read to my children at night and took them to the library. Although they were good students, I don’t know if they were bitten by the same book bug, and I suspect a lot of people from Generations X/Y/Z followed suit. This puzzles me greatly. I just don’t see the love of reading anymore.

I believe a large part of the problem is the physical format of literature today. Whereas our generation was accustomed to hard bound or soft bound books, youth is more familiar with computer or cell phone screens today. The Internet, e-books and eZines have taken its toll on the printed word which is why paper is no longer king. It also explains why trade journals have disappeared, subscriptions to newspapers and magazines have greatly diminished, and we now see a rise in electronic book readers like the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. Do such devices truly encourage leisurely reading as paperbacks did? I doubt it. Nonetheless, it is a fact of life.

Locally, a High School in our area is conducting an experiment for the county school system whereby they are eliminating all text books and replacing them with Amazon Kindles. In theory, it represents a cost effective solution but the real question is their readability. If this experiment results in impairment of student scores and grades, look for it to be dropped like a hot potato. If it’s successful though, I’ll be curious to see how it affects the love of literature by the students. My thinking is they will be more inclined to watch the movie “The Grapes of Wrath” on their iPods as opposed to reading it on their Amazon Kindles.

Originally published: September 28, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  HOW THE PRESS CONTROLS POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS – “The judge, jury and executioner of American politics.”

LAST TIME:  SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF  – and all other Law Enforcement Officers (LEO). How can we show our appreciation?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Books, Life, Literature | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

4 NEW BOOKS FOR COMMON SENSE DURING UNCOMMON TIMES

Posted by Tim Bryce on November 18, 2014

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

TIM BRYCE – 4 NEW BOOKS FOR COMMON SENSE DURING UNCOMMON TIMES

Management, Change, Technology, Politics, and the American Scene

3cover3

PALM HARBOR, FL, USA (NOV 18, 2014) – While some authors are satisfied producing just one book, author Tim Bryce has produced four. Bryce is an essayist who has written on such things as business management, technology, politics, our changing world, and profiles of the American character. Urged on by his readers and listeners on the radio, he has produced a series of books based on his columns. Entitled, “Bryce’s Uncommon Sense Series,” it includes:

“ESSAYS ON THE AMERICAN SCENE” – Humorous descriptions of the human condition in America.
ISBN-13: 978-1503115576
ISBN-10: 1503115577
Click for FLYER

“ESSAYS ON OUR EVER CHANGING WORLD” – Describes cultural changes and why they occur, particularly due to technology.
ISBN-13: 978-1503102187
ISBN-10: 1503102181
Click for FLYER

“THE FACTS OF LIFE REGARDING MANAGEMENT” – Lessons well suited for those aspiring to become effective managers, as well as for those who require a refresher or change of focus.
ISBN-13: 978-1503127043
ISBN-10: 1503127044
Click for FLYER

“LIBERAL KRYPTONITE” – Tim’s political writings warning America about the liberal agenda.
ISBN-13: 978-1503126893
ISBN-10: 1503126897
Click for FLYER

All books are available in paper and eBook format (Kindle) and are distributed by Create Space and Amazon.

Tim’s work varies from being educational one moment, to controversial or humorous the next. He describes it as “Software for the finest computer – the Mind” as he is asking his readers to think about things they either take for granted or simply overlook. From his perspective, it is just “common sense,” to others it is cause to stop and think. According to Bryce, “If the mind really is the finest computer, then there are a lot of people out there who need to be rebooted,” and this is where his writings come to play.

Bryce argues, “Management is not really complicated, but we now have a lot of bean counters who are overlooking the most important variable in the equation, namely ‘people’. Change is all around us, but as the use of technology increases, social skills decrease. As for the American Scene, I compare and contrast the human character of yesterday to today and simply ask, Why?”

While Bryce has a number of books to his credit, “Liberal Kryptonite,” is his first specifically addressing politics. This will be controversial in that he pins the country’s decline on the liberal agenda. It it, he challenges the mores of today and how it is influenced by the media. Several sections are included on history as well.

What they think of Tim’s work:

“Our listeners depend on Tim’s wit and wisdom and he always delivers from beautiful Palm Harbor Florida. Talk Radio listeners have many choices, none better than Tim Bryce.”
-John Siggins, WJTN-AM
Jamestown, NY

“Tim Bryce – rants on – and I often recoil from the tone but often there’s some uncluttered truth being written out loud.”
– Sarah Farrugia
London, UK

“He writes in a way that just inspires. He slowly takes things apart and puts them back together right before your eyes.”
– Wayne Brown
Arlington, TX

For more info on the four book series, including how to order, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/sense.htm

Published by:

MBA PRESS
(a division of M&JB Investment Company)
P.O. Box 675
Palm Harbor, FL 34682-0675
United States of America
Tel: 727-786-4567
http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/mbapress.htm
http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/

Mr. Bryce is available for radio interviews and speaking engagements.

Posted in Books | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

LESSONS OF LEADERSHIP (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by Tim Bryce on February 1, 2013

BRYCE ON BOOKS

– Two published biographies, about Churchill & Jackson, can teach us some important lessons regarding leadership.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

On a recent vacation, I read two books:

“CHURCHILL & SEA POWER” – Christopher M. Bell (2013, Oxford University Press, ISBN 987-0-19-969357-3) – Bell, is an Associate Professor of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia..

“AMERICAN LION – ANDREW JACKSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE” – Jon Meacham (2008, Random House, ISBN 978-0-8129-7346-4) – Meacham, is executive editor and executive VP at Random House. He is also a former editor-in-chief of “Newsweek.”

Both books had their own unique story to tell, but from my perspective they provided me with some interesting insight into what made Churchill and Jackson effective leaders. In Part One I discussed the Churchill book. In Part Two, herein, I will address the Jackson book and make some conclusions about both leaders.

“AMERICAN LION – ANDREW JACKSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE”

This book has been out for a few years already, but I purchased it as I see a parallel between the pre-Civil War years of the United States and today. Jackson was the most influential president of this period. Naturally, I wanted to know why. This book also received some excellent reviews. Meacham’s new book on Thomas Jefferson was recently released, which I hope to read soon.

The first half of “American Lion” reminded me of television’s “Downton Abbey” filled with gossip and faux pas of protocol. Coming from the western frontier, Jackson was initially considered a country bumpkin by the Washington elite. He surprised them by his observance of poise, etiquette, intelligence, and understanding of politics. The Washington establishment quickly learned not to underestimate him.

Jackson possessed a paternalistic quality, whereby he considered the citizens his kin. Not surprising, Jackson is regarded as the founder of the Democratic Party, “the party of the people.” He had a strong sense of family probably because he came from a broken one himself. Jackson never knew his father as he had died prior to Andrew’s birth. The three Jackson brothers, all in their teens, served in the Revolutionary War which ultimately claimed the lives of Andrew’s brothers. Young Andrew was close to his mother, Elizabeth, but alas she too perished during the war. Jackson thereby became an orphan at age 14.

Years after her death, Jackson was fond of quoting the advice his mother gave him shortly before she died:

“Andrew, if I should not see you again, I wish you to remember and treasure up some things I have already said to you: in this world you will have to make your own way. To do that you must have friends. You can make friends by being honest, and you can keep them by being steadfast. You must keep in mind that friends worth having will in the long run expect as much from you as they give to you. To forget an obligation or be ungrateful for a kindness is a base crime – not merely a fault or a sin, but an actual crime. Men guilty of it sooner or later must suffer the penalty. In personal conduct be always polite but never obsequious. None will respect you more than you respect yourself. Avoid quarrels as long as you can without yielding to imposition. But sustain your manhood always. Never bring a suit in law for assault and battery or for defamation. The law affords no remedy for such outrages that can satisfy the feelings of a true man. Never would the feelings of others. Never brook wanton outrage upon your own feelings. If you ever have to vindicate your feelings or defend your honor, do it calmly. If angry at first, wait till your wrath cools before you proceed.”

This became the law of his life and gives us great insight into his personality.

His nickname became “Old Hickory” which denoted his toughness, particularly during the War of 1812, where he earned his celebrity as general by defeating the British in New Orleans. This propelled him to a political career. Even though he was defeated in his first campaign for president, he went on to win two consecutive terms from 1829 to 1837. Although his wife, Rachel, saw him win election, she died just before Jackson was installed as president. Feeling lonely, Jackson recruited his nephew, Andrew Donelson, to become his personal secretary and by doing so the Donelson family took up quarters in the White House. Donelson’s 21 year old wife, Emily, thereby became the official hostess of the White House. This particularly agreed with Jackson as he desperately craved a family environment.

Prior to Jackson’s arrival at the Capitol, the executive branch was considered weaker than the legislative branch (Congress). This all changed under Jackson. Because of his strong personality, coupled with toughness and perseverance, Jackson expanded the role of the presidency, much to the consternation of Congress. Three points were of particular interest to him: a love of country, a commitment to the Union, and the people. These three elements were the variables Jackson considered as he conquered many difficult challenges of the day, to wit:

* He paid off the federal debt. He considered being beholden to creditors a dangerous policy to pursue (something I wish today’s government would embrace).

* He eliminated the Bank of the United States. To Jackson, the bank had become too influential and catered to the rich as opposed to the people (again, another parallel to today).

* He upheld American interests abroad when threatened. He took retribution from Sumatran pirates who attacked and plundered the American merchant ship, “Friendship.” He also stood up to France who initially refused to pay off a war debt of $5 million. Fearing Jackson would go to war with France, the French paid off their debt.

* He moved the Indians west of the Mississippi, a highly controversial move as Jackson subverted existing treaties. Nonetheless, he felt obliged to bring safety and security to the country.

* He put down an uprising in South Carolina to secede from the Union. Jackson believed in states rights, but he was deeply committed to maintaining the Union. 32 years later, South Carolina would secede thereby marking the beginning of the American Civil War.

All of these matters were difficult and needed to be addressed. As in war, Jackson rose to the occasion and he tackled them head-on. Although he could be political, Jackson would be confrontational after his mind had been made up: “Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.”

Jackson’s legacy was expansion of the power of the presidency thereby earning him the wrath of the Congress. His adversaries were primarily John C. Calhoun of South Carolina (and his first Vice President), and Henry Clay of Kentucky, both of whom characterized Jackson as tyrannical. Jackson was ultimately censured by the Congress which chaffed him greatly, causing him to spend years to expunge the decision which was done shortly before his death. Despite the Congress, the American people loved him, which baffled the congressmen of the day. His dominance as president was such that Jackson overshadowed all of his successors until Lincoln who became the first president since Jackson to be elected to consecutive terms of office. All others had been elected to just one.

Churchill and Jackson

Reading these two books, back-to-back, I marveled at the skill of Churchill and Jackson as leaders. Both were intelligent and decisive men; they abhorred indecisiveness and understood the necessity of tackling a problem immediately as opposed to waiting and allowing it to fester. They both knew how to improvise, going so far as to bend the rules as long as the means justified the end result. Both were men of integrity where their word was their bond and they assumed responsibility for their actions even in the face of disaster. And they both possessed a strong sense of family. Perhaps their most important attribute was their sense of morality; that they always tried to do what was right and honorable.

As Jackson wrote an acquaintance in 1826: “You cannot have forgotten the advice I give to all my young friends, that is to say, as they pass through life have apparent confidence in all, real confidence in none, until from actual experience it is found that the individual is worthy of it – from this rule I have never departed… When I have found men mere politicians, bending to the popular breeze and changing with it, for the self-popularity, I have ever shunned them, believing that they were unworthy of my confidence – but still treat them with hospitality and politeness.”

I only wish our political leaders of today possessed such strength of character.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP:  MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES – Some ideas on how to motivate your workers. And, No, one size does not fit all.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Books, History, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

LESSONS OF LEADERSHIP (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 30, 2013

BRYCE ON BOOKS

– Two published biographies, about Churchill & Jackson, can teach us some important lessons regarding leadership.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I took a Caribbean cruise over the Christmas holidays. Once I’m on board, I don’t disembark too often as I’ve already seen most of the sights. Instead, I prefer to catch up on my reading. While the passengers are ashore, I have the run of the ship to myself. It’s very peaceful and relaxing I might add. As I grow older, I now gravitate to biographies and history as I find it more interesting than fiction. On this particular trip, I read two books:

“CHURCHILL & SEA POWER” – Christopher M. Bell (2013, Oxford University Press, ISBN 987-0-19-969357-3) – Bell, is an Associate Professor of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia..

“AMERICAN LION – ANDREW JACKSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE” – Jon Meacham (2008, Random House, ISBN 978-0-8129-7346-4) – Meacham, is executive editor and executive VP at Random House. He is also a former editor-in-chief of “Newsweek.”

Both books had their own unique story to tell, but from my perspective they provided me with some interesting insight into what made Churchill and Jackson effective leaders. In Part One, herein, I will first discuss the Churchill book. In Part Two, I will address the Jackson book and make some conclusions about both leaders.

“CHURCHILL & SEA POWER”

This was certainly not my first book on the legendary former Prime Minister. Years ago I read William Manchester’s “THE LAST LION, Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940” (1988, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN 0-316-54512-0) which I still consider the authoritative description of Churchill between the world wars. I recently purchased Bell’s book as I wanted to know more about the Gallipoli campaign which is generally regarded as a major failure of Churchill’s. In fact, the purpose of the Bell book is to analyze the prime minister’s failures over the years in order to ascertain if the blame truly belonged to him, or possibly rested elsewhere. In other words, Bell was attempting to impartially set the record straight. In particular, Bell challenges the findings of Captain Stephen Roskill who was charged with producing the official British history of naval operations in World War II, where he was highly critical of Churchill’s perceived “interferences” with naval strategy.

By the time Churchill assumed the role of Prime Minister in 1940, he was uniquely qualified as a military leader. He saw active duty in the Army during the Boer War, was Lord of the Admiralty (twice), and was a proponent of Air Power. Whether he was working at the Admiralty, Treasury, Exchequer, or as PM, all jobs were performed with the same level of zeal and vigor.

As the British Isles are separated from Europe, it naturally relied on naval supremacy to form a defensive shield around it. This meant the thinking in military circles was more defensive in nature as opposed to offensive, particularly during the 20th century. This didn’t sit well with Churchill who always wanted to take the war to the enemy as opposed to waiting to be pummeled by his opponent. He despised military idleness, whether it be in the Navy, Army or Air Force, particularly when there were offensive opportunities available. This thinking was in sharp contrast to military planners at the time.

During the first World War, when Churchill served as First Lord of the Admiralty (overseeing the Royal Navy), he proposed the Dardanelles Campaign in Turkey whereby he intended to move a force of aging Dreadnaughts, along with one modern battleship, up into the Dardanelles straight and pound Turkish positions, possibly going as far as Constantinople (today’s Istanbul). It was thought the Turks would be weak, and with a show of force from Britain, they would renege their support of Germany. Should anything go wrong, the naval force could easily retire from their positions back into the Mediterranean Sea. The plan was simple and could have succeeded, but it was considered too risky by military planners who insisted on invading the Gallipoli peninsula with a force of approximately 70,000 men. As the British were to discover, the Turks were in a better position to defend their land and much tougher to fight than was envisioned, thereby becoming a bloody defeat and an embarrassing loss. Churchill was blamed for the defeat which ultimately cost him his position as head of the Admiralty and politically devastated his career, which took several years to rebuild. As Bell points out in his book, Churchill’s original plan was much simpler in ambition and scope, but he bowed to the conservative views of the military who brought in the Army as part of the campaign. Even though it was not entirely his fault, Churchill assumed the blame for the defeat and nobody else.

During World War II, when Churchill was now serving as PM, the Nazis were dependent on iron ore from Sweden for their development of armaments. This was being shipped through the northern Norwegian port of Narvik. As Norway was still neutral at the time, Churchill devised a plan to invade Norway and seize the port, thereby intercepting the flow of iron ore to Germany. Again, conservative military planners thought this was too risky and required a massive buildup of forces on the ground to repel Germany should they decide to retaliate, and to mine the waters. The operation was delayed due to intensive planning. In the meantime, the Nazis trumped the British by invading and seizing the country in its entirety. Again, Churchill’s plans were thwarted by indecision and caution. As before, Churchill assumed lone responsibility for the failure while others remained silent.

As a leader, Churchill was well informed, decisive, and probably not as “reckless” as his critics would argue. He possessed an intellectual curiosity on just about everything and thrived on debate, either in public forums or close personal relations. He would challenge his advisers to stand up to his arguments and would be frustrated when they would not. Bottom-line, he would listen to his subordinates, but they would have to argue to defend their positions. While some would suggest Churchill was “browbeating” his people, he was simply challenging them to think and take a stand, a smart tactic in motivating people.

As Bell points out, in the end, Churchill’s record was misunderstood by the public and his critics, leaving it to historians to sort out his intentions. There is considerable detail in the book to support his arguments, but what emerges from the pages is a profile of a strong leader with a Type “A” personality who is bold and imaginative, and deeply frustrated by cautious people particularly early in his political career. So much so, he would challenge them to think outside of the box, take risks, and force them to argue their case. After all, this was war.

Whether you are a fan or foe of Churchill’s, Bell’s new book is an excellent read to consider both the pros and cons of the British leader.

NEXT UP: In Part Two, I will address the Jackson book and make some conclusions about both leaders. Stay tuned!

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


NEXT UP: 
LESSONS OF LEADERSHIP (Part 2 of 2) – Two published biographies, about Churchill & Jackson, can teach us some important lessons regarding leadership.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST).

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

Posted in Books, Management, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 9 Comments »

GEORGE W. BUSH AS MANAGER-IN-CHIEF

Posted by Tim Bryce on January 11, 2011

Over the holidays I read President George W. Bush’s new book, “Decision Points” (497 pages, Crown Publishers, ISBN 978-0-307-59061-9). The book chronicles his years in the White House and the tough decisions he grappled with. His intention was to go beyond just writing another autobiography, but to also explain how he arrived at certain key decisions. By doing so, he gives us a rare glimpse of the complicated issues a U.S. President faces and the decision making process he used to address them, something that is normally delegated to historians to ponder years afterward.

As a management consultant, I found this book particularly intriguing and wanted to try and define Bush’s style of management. To do so, I decided to test it against our “Bryce Management Analysis” feature on our corporate web site, a tool designed to analyze and define a particular management personality based on a person’s responses to a series of questions posed to him. From this, we can deduce a person’s management characteristics regarding such things as leadership, style, corporate culture, environmental considerations, and results orientation. After I finished the President’s book, I answered the questions on his behalf and produced the following analysis. Please keep in mind I inputted responses based on Bush’s own personal perspective as explained in the book. In other words, it is produced solely from his perspective and not others such as members of the media, political rivals, or even other friends, family, or colleagues. What follows below is the analysis produced from our tool along with supplemental comments pertaining to each section.

ANALYZER: “In terms of LEADERSHIP, it appears you are properly articulating your goals and priorities with your workers. You appear to be in tune with the needs of your business and, as such, I suspect your goals and objectives are synchronized with the business. It appears you have the necessary leadership skills to lead your people.”

The American public will be surprised to learn how spiritual the President was and how his beliefs guided him throughout his presidency. From this, he showed great empathy for the people serving him, particularly the troops and victims of catastrophes. He wrote, “I felt it was my responsibility to comfort those who had lost a loved one” (pg 204). In turn, Bush drew his strength and resolve from the people he was trying to comfort.

Throughout the book, Bush reveals his frailties as a human-being and the mistakes he has made. He would be the first to admit he is certainly not perfect, just a human-being trying hard to do what is right, which is all we can ask of any manager.

When he was convinced of the necessity for doing something, he doggedly pursued it. His persistence created a sense of urgency among his people. He would listen to arguments from all sides before forming a decision, but after it had been made, there was no second-guessing.

Bush was also smart enough to know his limitations and when he didn’t know the right course of action to pursue, relied on the advice of others. To illustrate, in discussing military operations in Iraq he wrote, “I did not try to manage the logistics or the tactical decisions. My instinct was to trust the judgment of the military leadership. They were the trained professionals;…” (pg 195).

A U.S. President must inevitably react to events outside of his control. In Bush’s case, it was 9-11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Great Recession of 2008. To his credit though, he understood the need for being more proactive than reactive even if it meant sharp criticism from the media and his political opponents. For example, in describing his approach to combating terrorism he wrote, “We needed to disrupt attacks before they happened, not just investigate them after they took place” (pg 145). He goes on to write, “From the beginning, I knew the public reaction to my decisions would be colored by whether there was another attack. If none happened, whatever I did would probably look like an overreaction. If we were attacked again, people would demand to know why I hadn’t done more. That is the nature of the presidency. Perceptions are shaped by the clarity of hindsight. In the moment of decision, you don’t have that advantage” (pg 180).

Bush met frequently with his team to make sure everyone was operating on the same page. Communications and consistency were important to him, as was simple teamwork. In describing his loss in the New Hampshire primary to John McCain he explains, “The conventional playbook called for me to fire a few people and claim a fresh start. I decided to go in the opposite direction. I got the senior staff together and told them I refused to chuck anyone overboard to satisfy the loud voices on TV. One person deserved blame, and that was me. Win or lose, we would finish this race as a team” (pg 72).

These earmarks caused me to conclude he possessed good leadership skills; he was a principled man, drew strength from his people and constituents, believed in being proactive as opposed to reactive (he clearly understood the difference between complacency and action), promoted the concept of teamwork over individual achievement, and stressed the need for his people to perform their duties in a consistent manner. Despite all of this, mistakes were still made and he frequently took the blame as opposed to his people (a trait shared by other presidents, particularly Lincoln). Throughout the book he openly admits when his team got something wrong. He would then take the blame himself as opposed to his underlings, thereby shielding his people and creating a sense of trust and loyalty.

ANALYZER: “In terms of MANAGEMENT STYLE, your responses indicate a Theory Y form of management with some leaning towards Theory Z. This means you are willing to delegate responsibility and empower your workers to do the job they are assigned. I also suspect you have a good rapport with your workers and are inclined to trust them. It also sounds like they are beginning to act like a team as opposed to a group of individuals.”

As mentioned, Bush knew his limitations and leaned on the advice of people he trusted. There is no evidence that he micromanaged anyone, but created an esprit de corps whereby his people were charged with assigned tasks and given a certain level of power to make their own decisions. It was definitely a “bottom-up” approach where Bush empowered his people and they, in turn, reported to him on progress and asked his advice on key decisions.

This meant Bush was careful in his selection of people to serve key positions surrounding him. A person’s sense of integrity, honor and trustworthiness was critical. The president would stand with you through thick and thin so long as you maintained your integrity, but if you deviated, he would rightfully abandon you. He would also look for team players and stressed the need for it. As he wrote, “I started each personnel decision by defining the job description and the criteria for the ideal candidate. I directed a wide search and considered a diverse range of options. For major appointments, I interviewed candidates face to face. I used my time to gauge character and personality. I was looking for integrity, competence, selflessness, and an ability to handle pressure. I always liked people with a sense of humor, a sign of modesty and awareness” (pg 66). Later in the book he wrote, “But as someone who valued personal diplomacy, I put a high premium on trust. Once that trust was violated, it was hard to have a constructive relationship again” (pg 234).

There are clear signs in the book that Bush understood the necessity of building consensus among his people (an essential element of Theory Z management). As an example, “I laid out a process for making it (a complex decision). I would clarify my guiding principles, listen to experts on all sides of the debate, reach a tentative conclusion, and run it past knowledgeable people. After finalizing a decision, I would explain it to the American people” (pgs 110-111).

Bush used a common technique for gathering information and testing his subordinates, “I learn best by asking questions. In some cases, I probe to understand a complex issue. Other times, I deploy questions as a way to test my briefers’ knowledge. If they cannot answer concisely and in plain English, it raises a red flag that they may not fully grasp the subject” (pg 109). “Explaining my decision would be almost as important as making it” (pg 118).

ANALYZER: “In terms of CORPORATE CULTURE, it sounds like you have a very professional working environment, a place that workers are proud to work at and call home. It also sounds like you have been successful in terms of instilling some very positive work habits. In addition, it appears you have reached a homogeneous working environment where everyone is working in a concerted manner.”

From the book, it is rather obvious the president clearly understood the need for defining and controlling the corporate culture. The physical appearance of his offices were used to convey certain subliminal messages and signals, both in Texas when he was governor and the White House. He was also mindful of the power of dress and decorum. There was a time and place for conducting the business of state and a time to relax. Rarely were the two ever confused inappropriately.

Being punctual and organized were considered two important elements of the culture. To illustrate, it was well known the president would order the doors to cabinet meetings closed and locked when they were scheduled to begin. He wrote, “Timeliness is important to make sure an organization does not get sloppy” (pg 109). As a result, the Executive Branch ran on time.

ANALYZER: “In terms of other environmental considerations, it sounds like you may have to tighten some things up, such as minimizing distractions, and improving the workers’ skills and proficiencies. It may also be time to reevaluate and update your working standards.”

This became rather obvious after 9-11, Katrina, and the Great Recession, where new tactics and new thinking was required to remedy problems.

Organizationally, the size of the executive branch begs the issue as to whether it can be effectively managed by any one person. Because of the calamities he faced in office, President Bush was forced to make changes in the organization structure. Perhaps the most visible indication of this was the creation of Homeland Security which consolidated several organizations under one roof. This may be fine for pacifying the moment, but the federal government still needs to be flattened as evidenced by the recent report of the Debt Reduction Commission, not simply due to economics, but to improve communications, productivity, and manageability, thereby making it more responsive to the needs of the country. It could very well benefit from some Enterprise Engineering as I have described in the past.

ANALYZER: “In terms of RESULTS ORIENTATION, it appears you have some work ahead of you in terms of raising the consciousness of your workers in regard to quality and satisfying the customer. It also sounds like you might have a few workers who watch the clock as opposed to deliverables. Try holding some meetings with your workers to discuss these problems and set them on the right path. You want to nip such behavior early so that it doesn’t fester and become worse.”

The first sentence really caught my attention. As we all know, the president’s approval ratings were high in his first term, and dismally low by the end of his second. A lot of this is due to his inability to dispel misconceptions and falsehoods about his actions and connect with his constituents.

Early in his first term, Bush met with many Congressmen on both sides of the aisle to develop a rapport with them. So much so, he was accused of conducting “the biggest charm offensive of any modern chief executive.” This worked fine initially, but as his second presidential election approached, his detractors fought him relentlessly, thereby adding to the gridlock of Washington. Consequently, Bush had to spend an inordinate amount of time answering his critics and opponents which distracted him from conducting the business of his office. As he wrote, “The toxic atmosphere in American politics discourages good people from running for office” (pg 121).

Despite such distractions, he persevered; “The shrill debate never affected my decisions. I read a lot of history, and I was struck by how many presidents had endured harsh criticism. The measure of their character, and often their success, was how they responded. Those who based decisions on principle, not some snapshot of public opinion, were often vindicated over time” (pg 121). He goes on to say, “I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I knew there would be tough days. Self-pity is a pathetic quality in a leader. It sends such demoralizing signals to the team and the country. As well, I was comforted by my conviction that the Good Lord wouldn’t give a believer a burden he couldn’t handle” (pg 459).

One other Bush characteristic caught my attention which is not directly related to management but I think is noteworthy. Based on his narratives in the book, it was obvious to me the president possessed a profound belief in the goodness of America and the principles on which it is based. Like Churchill and Reagan before him, Bush saw Democracy as a vehicle for combating terrorism and securing peace. “The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world… So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world” (pg 396, from 2005 inauguration speech).

Conclusion

Some will interpret “Decision Points” as nothing more than a rationalization for his failures. I didn’t. I found it an intriguing explanation of how he formulated decisions. If his writings are correct, he has done the American public a great service as we only have a rudimentary understanding of what actually goes on in the White House. Here, Bush gives us a front row seat in terms we can all understand.

I have given the president some rather high marks for his management style. His only weakness was his inability to control the external influences facing his administration. By this I do not mean just world events, but answering his critics, the media spin doctors, and communicating with his constituents. This gnawed away at his credibility and forced him to be distracted from tending to the business of state. Then again, there are not too many of us who can focus on their job when they are constantly under attack. Fortunately, Bush had some rather thick skin and took it all in stride graciously.

From Bush’s perspective, he always tried to do what was pragmatic and fair, not necessarily in accordance with the dogma of his political party. Based on his narrative, I have no reason not to believe him. I’m sure others will, but before finding him guilty I would suggest you read his book first. He makes some pretty compelling arguments. Regardless of your political persuasion, as a consultant, I heartily recommend this book as a management read. True, the book has historical significance, but I find it a fascinating first hand account of the decision making process of the Manager-In-Chief.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Books, Business, Management, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

AN 86 YEAR OLD BOOK REVIEW

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 6, 2010

Looking for something to read, I went back into my library and pulled out a copy of “The Autobiography of Mark Twain” which I have had since High School. I’ve always been an admirer of Samuel Clemens’ work, but I have to admit I balked at taking his autobiography seriously years ago. This time though, I was in the proper frame of mind and wanted to know more about the renowned author and humorist, not so much about the facts and history of his life, but more about his perspective of the times. I wasn’t disappointed.

The book was originally published in 1924 (fourteen years after Twain’s death) and basically consists of sketches describing his life spanning the years from 1835 to 1910, which is known as a very rich period of American history. He describes life prior to the Civil War, his involvement during the war, and the expansion west. I found his narratives of life in the Midwest, both as a child and an adult, particularly colorful and interesting. Clemens did a remarkable job describing life as a boy living on a farm. His description of the foods of the period made me hungry and I could vividly visualize the school he attended and life on the farm.

I’m afraid African-Americans will not be too happy with the book as Twain uses the “N” word liberally, but not maliciously. It was just the way people talked back then. There was no ulterior motive for using the word, nor venom in his language, it was simply a snapshot of the times. Nonetheless, African-Americans may call for the book to be banned from schools if they read it.

As a writer, I found his rich vocabulary, sentence structure, and punctuation particularly interesting. It was much different than what I am used to in the 21st century. Unlike today where we typically try to gorge ourselves on a novel as expeditiously as possible, Twain’s style forces the reader to slow down and savor each sentence. You can tell that it was written by a craftsman intimate with the English language.

His humor is also different. Instead of today’s “in your face” approach to comedy, Twain mischievously takes the reader down an unknown path where he inevitably springs a humorous conclusion on you. It is not backslapping funny, just elegant humor very tastefully presented. His anecdotes are always designed to teach a lesson and cause a chuckle in the process.

I wanted to read his autobiography, not so much to learn about his family history, which he volunteered reluctantly, but more to understand his perspective of the times which I found was essentially no different today than 100 years ago.

He made a few comments that particularly caught my attention; the first was the cycle of life, to wit:

“A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat and struggle for bread; they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble for little mean advantages over each other. Age creeps upon them; infirmities follow; shames and humiliations bring down their prides and their vanities. Those they love are taken from them and the joy of life is turned to aching grief. The burden of pain, care, misery, grows heavier year by year. At length ambition is dead; pride is dead; vanity is dead; longing for release in their place. It comes at last – and they vanish from a world where they were of no consequence; where they achieved nothing; where they were a mistake and a failure and a foolishness; will lament them a day and forget them forever. Then another myriad takes their place and copies all they did and goes along the same profitless road and vanishes as they vanished – to make room for another and another and a million other myriads to follow the same arid path through the same desert and accomplish what the first myriad and all the myriads that came after it accomplished – nothing!”

The second observation that caught my attention was his comments regarding success. In the book, he comments on the many bad business deals he had made in his lifetime which cost him dearly. He also missed an opportunity to invest in Alexander Graham Bell’s new invention, the telephone. However, an acquaintance of Twain’s invested $5,000 in the company and was paid back many times over thereby causing the writer to observe:

“It is strange the way the ignorant and inexperienced so often and so undeservedly succeed when the informed and the experienced fail.”

Concerning heroes:

“Our heroes are the men who do things which we recognize with regret and sometimes with secret shame that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be someone else. If everybody was satisfied with himself there would be no heroes.”

On writing, which I wholeheartedly agree:

“…when the tank runs dry you’ve only to leave it alone and it will fill up again in time, while you are asleep – also while you are at work at other things and are quite unaware that this unconscious and profitable cerebration is going on.”

Samuel Clemens was a past master of the anecdote. His autobiography was assembled more as a collection of such stories as opposed to a flowing history. I appreciated his cogent comments regarding the world of the 1800’s. His ability to paint a picture with words and tell a story was like taking a ride on a time machine. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the trip, but I’m not sure today’s younger readers would feel likewise as his stories are less about the complexities of life and more about the simple truths of living it.

The book is still available in print. Look for it on the Internet – see Amazon.

Most book reviews are printed either just prior to publication or shortly thereafter. I apologize for the slight delay.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Tune into Tim’s THE BRYCE IS RIGHT! podcast Mondays-Fridays, 11:30am (Eastern).

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Books, Literature | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

1ST LESSONS IN JOINING THE WORK FORCE

Posted by Tim Bryce on April 28, 2010

We recently released our popular “MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD – A Handbook for Entering the Work Force” as an eBook (PDF format). The book represents a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. It includes chapters to describe how a young person should organize themselves, how to adapt to the corporate culture, develop their career, and improve themselves professionally and socially. Basically, its 208 pages of good sound advice to jump start the young person into the work force.

In the Introduction, I prefaced the book by describing some of life’s hard lessons a young reader should expect upon entering the adult world. There is nothing magical here, yet you won’t find these lessons in the business schools, only in the school of hard knocks, to wit…

There are several lessons to be learned in order to make the transition from school into the work force, but none more important than these first basic truths you should always be mindful of:

* You are entitled to nothing. If you want something, you are going to have to go out and earn it.

* Nothing is free. Forget what the promotion says, people do not offer something without wanting something in return.

* Life is not fair. In fact it can be downright cruel and dehumanizing. Keep in mind, with rare exception, companies are not democracies; they are dictatorships. As such, they operate at the whims of the person in charge.

* Becoming an adult means assuming responsibility, be it on the personal or professional sides of our lives. Knowing this, put your best face on and act like a professional, someone you want others to respect.

* Becoming an adult also means making decisions. In theory, if you make 51% of your decisions correctly, you will be successful. Also, do not procrastinate; if you do not make a decision, the decision will be made for you (and probably not to your liking).

* If anything in life is constant, it is change. Some you will like, others you will have trouble swallowing. Nonetheless learn to accommodate change. Learn and adapt.

* People act on their perceptions, regardless if they are valid or not. As an old systems man, I can tell you authoritatively, if the input is wrong, everything that follows will also be wrong. Don’t jump to conclusions; always seek the truth.

* The only good business relationship is when both parties benefit (aka “Win-Win” relationship). Avoid situations where one party benefits at the expense of the other (aka “Win-Lose” relationship).

* Everything begins with a sale. All of our efforts, regardless of how mundane they may seem, should be geared towards producing income for the company. Without sales, everything else will eventually come to a halt.

* There is only one problem with common sense, it is not very common. The obvious is not obvious to a lot of people. You will undoubtedly discover that decisions are based more on emotion as opposed to logic.

* Your personal and professional lives are one and the same. Some people like to separate the two, but the fact remains, there is only one you.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a thought from a good friend of mine who survived over thirty years of corporate politics:

“You cannot move to the top of the ladder by breaking rungs and breaking rules….we all must move through the learnings, the little successes, the disappointments, to develop and grow.”
– Michael B. Snyder

I have had several parents tell me they appreciate this section out of the book as they have experienced this themselves and found it to be valid rules to live by.

For more information on the book, both the eBook and paper versions, see MBA Press at: http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/mbapress.htm

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Books, Business, Management, Social Issues | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

THE DIGITAL PANDEMIC (Book Review)

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 17, 2010

As someone who has written on the “Adverse Effects of Technology,” my interests were recently piqued by a new book entitled, “The Digital Pandemic” by Mack R. Hicks, Ph.D. (New Horizon Press), a fascinating thesis on the effect of technology on our youth. So much so, I believe it should be considered mandatory reading for everyone involved with PTA and school SAC programs. The premise behind Dr. Hicks’ book is that technology has an addictive quality to it which will have long-term adverse effects on our culture.

The book includes statistics demonstrating the pervasiveness of technology. For example, he points out 97% of twelve to 17 year-olds play video games, a third of which play adult games. This may not be startling to those of us who already guessed it but, as a noted psychologist and educator, he goes on to describe how it physically affects human thinking patterns. There have been plenty of such studies to indicate the adverse affect of technology, such as the King’s College London University study by Dr. Glenn Wilson which found that workers distracted by technology suffer a greater loss of IQ than if they’d smoked marijuana, but Hicks’ work goes further to demonstrate how technology alters the minds of impressionable youth. Further, they begin to exhibit the same robotic mannerisms of the technology they use which is not conducive for grooming socialization skills. Hicks basically argues that technology is a genuine threat to the human spirit. Such a claim should sound warning bells to parents as well as business people who will have to deal with these youngsters in the years ahead. He writes:

“This whole electronic revolution, with its emphasis on generational differences, is reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s, but this time the goal isn’t peace and love as much as unfettered, self-directed pleasure (and learning?). Well, if you’re a kid and you don’t trust adults, it’s likely you’re headed for trouble, big time.”

Hicks stresses the need for effective mentoring and parenting, something which may sound reminiscent of a bygone era. Aside from simply describing the problem, he goes on to offer pragmatic suggestions for parents, kids, and schools to help curb technology addiction. He devotes a whole chapter (17) to “Suggestions for Inoculating the Family,” as well as “Suggestions for Schools” in the Appendix.

The adverse effects of technology is a bona fide problem, and I, for one, applaud Dr. Hicks’ initiative for bringing this to the attention for all of us. As he writes, “If the growing epidemic of machines infests us all, I believe we’ll lose our humanity.”

Hicks’ work basically confirms one of our Bryce’s Laws, whereas: “As the use of technology increases, social skills decrease.”

“Digital Pandemic” by Mack R. Hicks, Ph.D.
List: $14.95
Printed 2010
http://digitalpandemic.info/ISBN-13: 978-0-88282-315-7
ISBN-10: 0-88282-315-9
New Horizon Press Books
Available at:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Borders

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see: http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

Copyright © 2010 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Posted in Books, Computers, Family, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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