Saturday, March 17, 2012

Executive Toughness: The Mental-Training Program To Increase Your Leadership Performance By Jason Selk

Executive Toughness: The Mental-Training Program to Increase Your Leadership Performance

Executive Toughness: The Mental-Training Program To Increase Your Leadership Performance By Jason Selk

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Take your professional game to the next level—in 100 seconds o r less!

People with inborn talent may be good at what they do—but only the mentally tough reach the highest plateaus in their field. And here's the best news of all: mental toughness is something anyone can learn.

Director of mental training for the St. Louis Cardinals and a top-tier executive coach, Dr. Jason Selk knows everything there is to know about developing the mental toughness required for achieving any goal you set for yourself. In fact, the techniques he outlines in this book are the same ones he used to help the Cardinals defeat the heavily favored Detroit Tigers in the 2006 World Series.

Inspired on the vision of legendary basketball coach John Wooden, Selk's program is as simple as it is effective. But that doesn't mean it's easy. You have to put effort into your drive to success; it's the only way to build up your mental "muscles." Selk provides hands-on daily exercises for breaking old, self-defeating patterns of behavior and replacing them with the can-do attitude and positive behavior that would make Coach Wooden proud.

Executive Toughness outlines the three fundamentals for attaining high-level success:

ACCOUNTABILITY—admit to mistakes, correct them, and, most important, learn from them
FOCUS—on your strengths, on winning, on reaching your goal . . . for only 100 seconds per day
OPTIMISM—don't just believe you can succeed, know you can succeed

Executive Toughness takes you through the steps of making these critical behaviors part of your everyday routine. Practice your accountability, focus, and optimism, and you'll be on the path to attaining your goals; make them part of your mental "DNA," and there will be no turning back—ever.

A complete regimen from a leading expert on developing the mindset for attaining goals, Executive Toughness is your workout for ultimate success in your career and in your life.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #153469 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-11-03
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .0" h x .0" w x .0" l, .0 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 224 pages
Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Jason Selk is the bestselling author of 10-Minute Toughness, director of mental training for the St. Louis Cardinals, and an executive coach.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5Excellent Resource for Individuals and coaches/mentors
By John Chancellor
This is an excellent self-coaching book with great content. I think the title and sub-title do not fully convey the value and message of the book - in my view it is more about how to actually achieve your goals. I think the title might lead the potential reader to think the book is only/primarily for executives. I believe the book can be a very valuable resource for anyone interested in achieving their goals.

Dr. Jason Selk, the author, is an executive coach and a "mental toughness" coach for many world class athletes including the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. He draws on his vast experience of executive and sports coaching to write a very engaging and entertaining book. But the real value is the well laid out principles and exercises he gives. These are the exercises and examples he uses in coaching very high level executives. So this book gives you some very valuable lessons in personal achievement at a very reasonable price.

The book presents 10 mental toughness concepts, with a separate chapter devoted to each concept. The concepts are grouped into four major categories: The foundation - defining your specific goals and who you are. The second category deals with the process of achievement, setting priorities and how to hold yourself accountable. The third major category covers focus, improving execution and consistency. Here Dr. Selk gives lessons on controlling your emotions, scripting your presentations and the 100 second mental workout. The final category is about overcoming obstacles. Here he introduces the concept of "Relentless Solution Focus" - focusing on the solution rather than the problems. He also introduces us to "Gable Discipline" - a wrestler and now wrestler coach who is a master at discipline.

There are a number of excellent and noteworthy points in the 10 mental toughness concepts. The need for setting product and process goals was one of the better ones. His advice is to set product goals - the outcomes you want AND set process goals - the specific things you will do daily/weekly to achieve your product goals. I think far too many people fail to achieve their goals because they set product but not process goals. Dr. Selk gives some very good tips and exercises on how to set and hold yourself accountable for setting process goals.

The 100 second mental workout is another great coaching tool. If you will use the tools set forth in this book, you will greatly improve your life.

The book is well written and very easy to read. There are plenty of stories and real life examples which serve to deepen the reader's understanding of the ideas being presented. The book has lots of suggested exercises - actually Dr. Selk is a little stronger than merely suggesting - but therein lies the real value of the book. At the end of the book, the 10 mental toughness concepts are summarized with commentary about the why and how of the concept. This makes it easy to refer to and refresh your knowledge of the concepts on a regular basis.

This can be a very valuable resource for anyone who wishes to get better, more positive results in life. It is also a great resource for anyone coaching/mentoring others.

A very good read.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
5"It's All in Your Head"
By Steve Amoia
"The fundamentals presented in this book have worked for every one of my clients who has made the commitment to using them over the past 15 years. When I say every client, I don't mean most clients. I literally mean every client." Dr. Jason Selk, page XV of the Preface.

The author made a bold and confident statement to begin this book. You will see why after reading this entertaining, informative and highly instructional work. This book will force you to consider something that many of us refuse to recognize: We alone are the masters of our destiny.

Short Organized Format

There are four parts with ten concise chapters (totaling less than 200 pages) accompanied by a lengthy introduction, a concise notes section and detailed index. The author's writing style is motivational and supportive. It is as if he is talking directly to you during a one-on-one session. Dr. Selk also provides a great number of anecdotes from clients, such as the St. Louis Cardinals, who have benefited from his advice. This format provides actual case studies for you to study and learn.

Innovative Features

There is a "Choose to Be Great" synopsis at the end of each chapter to reinforce key points. Another feature that I liked was that the author asks you to do things as you read the book. For example, on page 25, "My purpose of life is..." Dr. Selk makes you write down specific goals and objectives. He gives you charts, fill-in-the blank lists (such as the Success Log) and urges you to use electronic schedulers to stay on the course. If you don't like to challenge yourself, exceed expectations and perform self-evaluation, you probably will not like this book. It is a call to action. One that most of us will be pleased to answer.

Notable Quotes

"Once found, mental toughness through confidence can be carried for the rest of life." Page 13

"I often tell my clients that visualization is like bringing a gun to a knife fight: your previously negative thoughts and self-talk won't stand a chance against the more powerful detailed visions of success you are about to create." Page 33

"Remember that you are likely to be nine times more successful if you actually write down your goals, so it's really important to grab a pen and actually put it to paper instead of just thinking about them." Page 62

"Coach Wooden, even at the age of 93 not only was advising some of the greatest business minds in the world, he also continued to self-evaluate his performance as a speaker." Page 85

"There will be times when you have to prepare as if Coach (Vince) Lombardi is standing over you screaming like a drill sergeant." Page 133

"I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp, in focus picture of it in my head." (Jack Nicklaus) Page 145

"You need to know what your issues are, and you need to work on them until they become strengths. If there is hesitation, it means you're not ready and that you need help." (Coach Dan Gable) Page 172

Negative Facet

The only thing that I didn't like in this excellent book was the frequent use of "successful professional, beautiful wife and children" examples. Some readers may find these particular comparisons as overly materialistic and/or idealistic. I also recognize that many of the author's clients are high-achievers and would benefit from such scenarios.

How-to Guide to Mental Toughness

Whether you are a professional athlete or a professional bricklayer, you will benefit from Dr. Selk's hands-on advice. The next time that you visit the doctor and he or she says, "It's all in your head," show them this book. :)

Please Note

A representative of McGraw-Hill contacted me to provide a review. I was not obligated to provide a positive review and was encouraged to present an objective analysis.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful.
5Great Book!
By Michael Filla
Executive Toughness is a great book! I am a personal trainer and I have recommended this book to all of my clients to help them stay on track with their fitness and life goals. Executive Toughness will provide you the knowledge needed to help you get your life on track. It offers a tremendous amount of information in a clear and easy to read format that can be applied immediately. I have personally used all of the information that I have learned from this book to streamline my days, grow my personal training business, and improve my relationship with my girlfriend. You will love this book!


Economics For Dummies By Sean Masaki Flynn

Economics For Dummies

Economics For Dummies By Sean Masaki Flynn

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Grasp the history, principles, theories, and terminology of economics with this updated bestseller

Since the initial publication of Economics For Dummies in 2005, the U.S. has endured a number of drastic changes and events that sent its economy into a tailspin. This newly revised edition presents updated material about the recent financial crisis and the steps taken to repair it.

Packed with refreshed information and relevant new examples from today's economy, it gives you a straightforward, easy-to-grasp understanding of how the economy functions-and how it influences personal finances.

  • New information on deciphering consumer behavior
  • Refresh coverage of fiscal and monetary policies
  • A new chapter on health care policy and the financial crisis

Presenting complex theories in simple terms and helping you decode the jargon, understand the equations, and debunk the common misconceptions, Economics For Dummies tackles the topic in terms you can understand.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #15961 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-04-12
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .85" h x 7.36" w x 9.19" l, 1.31 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 408 pages


  • ISBN13: 9780470879481
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BRAND NEW FROM PUBLISHER! 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
  • Tracking provided on most orders. Buy with Confidence! Millions of books sold!
Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover
Grasp the history, principles, theories, and terminology of economics

Want to know more about the recent financial crisis and the steps taken to repair it? Packed with information and relevant new examples from today's economy, this updated, best-selling guide gives you a straightforward, easy-to-grasp understanding of how the economy functions — and how it influences personal finances.

  • The science of scarcity — discover how economics is all about scarcity, and how it forces people to make tradeoffs for desired goods and services

  • Oh, behave! — learn about theories on behavior (micro-economics) to better understand what motivates a firm to produce a given output, and how buyers and sellers interact in markets to distribute that output

  • Put it to the test — find out how to apply theories onmicroeconomics to shed light on real-world scenarios, likethe high cost of health insurance, why it's so hard to find aquality used car, and much more

  • Get the big picture — take a look at the economy from the top (macroeconomics) to find out how economic growth andstability is dealt with at national and international levels

Open the book and find:

  • How the government fightsrecessions and unemployment

  • Why international trade is good for nations (and individuals)

  • What's behind the goods andservices you might take for granted

  • Reasons monopolies are bad

  • Who is controlling your money (and inflation)

  • Policies that can cause more harm than good

  • How the simple "supply anddemand" model easily explains the price of everything

  • The effects of taxation on society

Learn to:

  • Decipher consumer behavior

  • Use the model of supply and demand

  • Identify factors that lead to inflation

  • Understand fiscal and monetary policies

About the Author
Sean Flynn, PhD, is an assistant professor of economics at Scripps College in Claremont, California. He is an active resource on the topic of economics in both the academic community and the media. He has been a guest expert on NPR and has been interviewed for articles on

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful.
3Great Source of Information, but Dummies Beware ...
By DACHokie
Having accumulated several of the "for Dummies" books over the years, I find that they offer a great base knowledge of information on a wide variety of subjects and are very useful as a reference. That being said, some topics are a little too "meaty" to simplify so easily ... and I would have to include economics as one of those topics.

Although a business management degree required me to take several courses in economics over 20 years ago, I was well aware then that the subject matter was far more complex and deep than any of the overview courses I took. Needless to say, only the most basic economic principles have stuck with me over the years. Fast forward to today, with the economy being such an important issue in our lives, and ECONOMICS FOR DUMMIES seemed logical as both a refresher course and a reference. While I thought the presentation of economic s was as good as any of the "for Dummies" books, I quickly understood the reason I never retained the old college course material in the first place ... the subject matter is simply tedious. Face it, economics is a specialized and involved field of study that requires an attention span of more than a passing interest. In other words, economics is not for dummies at all.

What I like about ECONOMICS FOR DUMMIES is the standard "Dummies" format with the icons in the margins that allows the reader to distinguish what material is important to remember from the material that is superfluous. There are plenty of real-life scenarios presented to further illustrate the various economic concepts. What gets complicated is that the foundation of basic principles is compounded by so many intervening variables that the material may quickly overwhelm a reader. The real-life scenarios are helpful, but the speedy progression of economic concepts can render the reader lost in a sea of graphs, charts and economic vernacular. In other words, a person completely unfamiliar with economics may find the onslaught of such complicated, and quite frankly, boring subject matter a turnoff. I venture to say that the book would be better served if presented in smaller doses ("Supply and Demand for Dummies", "Macro-economics for Dummies", "Recession for Dummies", etc.) rather than a condensed overview of the entire realm of economics. Regardless, the book DOES provide an decent overview of economics and how it relates to the world today (meaning a lot of time is spent covering inflation and recession) in as simplified a manner as possible (no small feat). At the end of the book, the author provides an interesting list of economic myths that should be very enlightening to most readers.

The true value of the book, however, may be as a quick reference tool or resource to disseminate and somewhat understand what is being reported on the news, day in and day out ... after all "it's the economy, stupid". While most of us generally like to read a book from start to finish, there are some books that are best served as a reference to be pulled from the shelf when a question needs to be answered ... in that case, this book is invaluable.

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful.
5What I Should Have Learned in Econ 101
By Marcia Burns
Had I read Economics for Dummies before I took the Econ 101, the class would have made much more sense. I finally understand how the government puts money into the economy, why many stimulus measures may not work at all, and the futility of price supports. While my huge Econ textbook contained arcane terms and copious footnotes, it's nice to know that the basic concepts of economics depend on neither of these. I suspect the author of having conservative leanings, and I suspect that some of his arguments are either oversimplified or have another side not presented here, but for the modest price of this book, I certainly gained insight for evaluating the political fray which is currently taking place and really obtained more useful information than I gained in the $1,000 class. (This book was provided to me by the Amazon Vine program, but I also bought a copy for my Kindle; every time I had a moment to read the free copy, I found it in my husband's hands! Oh, by the way, much as I love my Kindle, this is not a good book to read there. Increasing the type size does not increase the size of the formulas, leaving them very difficult to read.)

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
4Smart enough for dummies?
By Christopher Powell
I picked this book up because I'm constantly barraged by the media and politicians on their political takes of the economy. Democrats believe that bottom up works and republicans believe in supply side. I wanted to get away from the power driven hype and reestablish the sliver of knowledge gained in my college micro and macro course study.

My verdict? Certainly this book takes you back to school and requires some dedication to obtaining its concepts. I was expecting more of a high level approach but found that it's significantly detailed in concepts with charts, graphs, and formulae. It's not a casual read and I will admit to skipping to topics of interest to prevent being overwhelmed by topics i didn't have relative references to. I find now that I use it as a reference to topics to better understand what I run into. QE2 is no longer a ship to me.

i did like the end of the book in which the author covered the bubble and financial crisis. He does so without coloring it with politics and evenly details aspects that impacted the crisis. It's no longer effective to just demonize Wall Street, Main Street or the Government. All three's impacts were reviewed in a way that helps understand without pushing a bias. Good book, I'd recommend it. If your ego won't let you carry a dummies' book, get the Kindle version :)


Financial Accounting For Dummies By Loughran

Financial Accounting For Dummies

Financial Accounting For Dummies By Loughran

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Your plain-English guide to navigating a financial accounting course

Despite the economic landscape and job market, demand for accountants remains strong, and accountants will continue to see high demand for their services as the economy rebounds and businesses grow. Additionally, one of the effects of the economic downturn is a greater emphasis on accountability, transparency, and controls in financial reporting.

With easy-to-understand explanations and real-life examples, Financial Accounting For Dummies provides students who are studying business, finance, and accounting with the basic concepts, terminology, and methods to interpret, analyze, and evaluate actual corporate financial statements.

  • Covers traditional introductory financial accounting course material
  • Explores concepts accountants and other business professionals use to prepare reports
  • Details mergers and acquisitions purchase and pooling, free cash flow, and financial statement analysis

Whether you're a student on your way to earning a bachelor's degree, MBA, or MAcc, Financial Accounting For Dummies gives you a wealth of information to grasp the subject and ace the course.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #8103 in Books
  • Published on: 2011-04-12
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .81" h x 7.36" w x 9.16" l, 1.16 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 360 pages
Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover
Your plain-English guide to navigating a financial accounting course

With easy-to-understand explanations and real-life examples, Financial Accounting For Dummies provides you with the basic concepts, terminology, and methods to interpret, analyze, and evaluate business financial statements. Whether you're a student taking an introductory course or a business owner who needs a financial accounting initiation, this hands-on, friendly guide can help.

  • Financial Accounting 101 — get acquainted with the world of financial accounting, from the responsibilities of financial accountants to the coursework, certifications, and career options available

  • Book it — discover the process behind financial accounting, which starts with booking a company's accounting transactions using journal entries and ledgers

  • It's a balancing act — get the lowdown on the different parts of a balance sheet (assets, liabilities, and equity) and how together they illustrate a company's financial position

  • Search for profit (or loss) — navigate an income statement to study a company's revenue, expenses, gains, and losses

  • Follow the cash — find out what the statement of cash flows tells you about how a business uses its money

Open the book and find:

  • The purpose of financial accounting

  • Ethical responsibilities of financial accountants

  • What financial statements tell you about a company

  • Regulatory issues and agencies you need to know

  • Accounting methods and concepts

  • How to investigate income and cash flow

  • Different ways to analyze financial statements

  • The job (and income) outlook for financial accountants

Learn to:

  • Determine what each line of a financial statement tells you

  • Identify the various accounting concepts and methods that companies can employ

  • Recognize how investors and creditors use financial reports to make decisions

About the Author
Maire Loughran, CPA, is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. An adjunct professor of auditing, accounting, and taxation courses, she is also the author of Auditing For Dummies.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
3Recommended to those entering - or considering - the field of accounting. A bit too technical for the novice though.
By Steven I. Ramm
Recommended to those entering - or considering - the field of accounting. It gets a bit too technical for the novice who wants to understand financial statements.

While I usually review CDs and DVDs as well as entertainment related books here on Amazon, in my major occupation, I am a CPA with over 35 years of work in the nonprofit field. I also sit as Treasurer on a Nonprofit so I feel qualified to provide an accurate review of this book.

This is one in the series of "For Dummies" books now published by Wiley. The "Dummies" series goes back to 1991 when Dan Gookin wrote "DOS for Dummies". To date over 1600 (!) "Dummies" titles have been published. The topics range from the sublime to the ridiculous. All the titles share the format in common. Chapters begin with a related cartoon; There are "remember" and "tip" icons and all see to run about 300 pages. In a series this large, some are too simple and some too complicated.

In reading through this volume - a first edition, published in 2011 - I can only think that the target of this book is the high school student who is thinking about entering the field of accounting and pursuing it in college. Years ago I was one of those high school students and a book like this may have been helpful to me in deciding if that was a career I wanted. It also tries to explain - in plain English - the various governing boars and rules such as: Sarbanes-Oxley and ACBOA. The author explains each of this in just two sentences. Later chapters discuss journal entries and financial statements.

The book may be of some interest to owners of businesses who want to understand the financial statements prepared by their accountants as well as investors trying to understand an Annual Report from one of their investments, but - honestly - I think this is not the book for them. The later chapters read more like an Accounting 101 text book.

The author does have good overall credentials. She was worked in industry, government and nonprofits as well as public accounting. The specialized industries such as nonprofits, healthcare, real estate and governmental accounting are only briefly mentioned in the back with only a few sentences devoted to each.

So if you are starting a general or corporate accounting course or preparing to enter college as a business major, you might gain something from this book. Otherwise I can't really recommend it.

Steven Ramm CPA

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful.
5MBA's learn it the hard way, not you if you read this book
By Mark P. McDonald
It is hard to understand business and executive decisions if you do not speak the language of finance accounting. Without an understanding of finance, good people are left in the dark as unfortunately companies keep score via the balance sheet and income statement more than customer satisfaction and personal innovation.

MBAs and other have to wade through financial accounting texts as they have the time and focus to work through the blur of terms and assumptions. Pick up this book and you will not only understand how financial accounting works, but also how it influences business decisions.

The `dummies' genre is always a misnomer as people who seek out these books are not dummies - it takes a smart person to know that they need to learn. I learned the hard way with a four and a half inch book on Financial Accounting. I could have learned more, faster and understood it if this book was around 20 years ago.

Recommended for anyone who wants to understand what accounting is, the language it uses, the rules behind it and finally how it shapes and influences business decisions. Every person needs this basic knowledge to understand what is really going on and why companies do some things that do not seem to make sense.


The book is written from the perspective of someone who needs to understand financial accounting rather than someone who needs to create/maintain financial accounts.

The writing is clear, understandable and builds on itself, starting with a few accounting terms and incorporating new ones as the reader builds familiarity with the subject area.

The chapters are short and focused, explaining the concept first and then illustrating it via a financial statement, so you know what you are reading.

The book asks provocative questions and then answers them, rather than being a dry recitation of financial accounting rules and processes. An example is the question "Do service companies have inventory?" something someone would ask but that would not be readily answered in a discussion of inventory accounting practices.


Like any large and complex subject there are some things that are simplified or omitted. Breaking things down into small chapters helps make the concepts more readable but they will not make you a financial accounting expert. That is ok, as understanding what financial accounting is will put you ahead of about 95%+ of the people you will meet.

You cannot understand business without understanding the fundamentals of marketing, production, finance and financial accounting. This book is a great accelerator for building that last part of knowledge.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
4Good book intended for students
By Pop S
I was interested in this book because of a job change. I now have more direct interface with the accounting and finance folks in our organization than I have in the past. I thought that something with a title like "for Dummies" would be a good way to learn a bit of the lingo and some of the concepts.

Well, first of all, I wasn't the intended audience. This book is for students who are looking for extra help while muddling though accounting courses at college. In fact, it continually references, "in your class" or "your professor may..." I found this a bit irritating. I don't have time to go back to college for this stuff.

Now, it does a pretty good job of explaining the different types of financial documents, what they are for and what to look for. The examples are simple- which is good to a point- but don't really relate well to people in my position that are looking at very complex documents and not simple examples. I was also hoping for more "rules of thumb" than are in the book.

Another strong point is the ability to enter the book at any point to reference a particular topic. For example if you want to ready chapter 4 it is not NECESSARY to read chapters 1 to 3. That said, I did read it in order.

The explanations are good, the examples easy to follow. For a student, its is probably a great book. That said, any student who buys a second book (Text book plus one) in order to master a subject is probably the kind of student who is going to succeed anyway.


6 Things To Do Before Your Job Interview

(MoneyWatch) Before you walk into a job interview, you want to give yourself every opportunity to show your best self. Even if your interview is later today, there's still time to improve your chances. Here are six things to do in the hours and minutes before your meeting:

Eat brain food

Put down the glazed doughnut -- it'll just leave you susceptible to an energy crash during your big moment. Instead, fill up on meals and snacks that will sustain you and won't leave your stomach growling mid-question. "Eat meals that are low on the glycemic index and combine carbohydrates, fats and proteins," says Tony Morrison, vice president of Cachinko, a social networking and professional community. "Proven brain food includes fish, blueberries, spinach, nuts and legumes."

Warm up your mind

You want to be firing on all cylinders by the time your interview begins. If your meeting is first thing in the morning, consider doing the crossword or Sodoku while you're already stoking your cerebral fires with coffee. "It's a great way to get into the problem-solving mode," says Morrison.

Get handy with deodorant

Sweaty palms leave a soggy first impression, and just feeling yourself melting down can cause you to lose focus. "For those of us who occasionally get sweaty palms under stress, rub a dab of unscented deodorant on your palms," suggests Roy Cohen, career coach and author of "The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide."

Call a positive pal

"Don't spend time with someone who tends to discourage you, makes you nervous, or who you envy and/or feel inadequate to be around," says Cohen. Instead, call a cheerleader -- a friend, partner, mentor or even a relative -- who can give you a last-minute boost.

Put away your notes an hour before

Many candidates have a tendency to rehearse talking points in the car or cab ride on the way to an interview. But preparing up until the very last second can backfire. "Don't over-practice," says Bruce Hurwitz, CEO of Hurwitz Strategic Staffing. "You don't want to memorize your answers. You have to be genuine."

Take a quiet moment

Before you enter the office where your meeting will take place, try to briefly clear your head. "Find a quiet place near your interview -- a church, a library or a far corner of a hotel lobby - - to meditate and to calm your brain," says Cohen. You'll enter your meeting prepared and on point.

Thanks to Amy Levin-Epstein / CBS News / CBS Interactive


How To Be A Great Leader (In Under 300 Words)

The Six Psychological Factors That Make A Really Great Leader.

Want to lead others? Well, much has been said and written about what makes a great leader, so here are the crib notes.

These are the factors that psychologists consistently find make a good leader (Hogan & Kaiser, 2005):

  1. Decisiveness: good leaders make frequent decisions and stick with them. When there is uncertainty (and when isn't there?) good leaders choose and take responsibility.
  2. Competence: leaders should provide resources for their group. The headman in prehistoric times was often the best hunter in the group. Nowadays being competent often means having the knack of influencing others.
  3. Integrity: leaders you can trust increase followers' performance, satisfaction and commitment. Integrity breeds respect.
  4. Vision: projecting a vision of the road ahead is vital, this gives people a common purpose and motivation to persevere. Without a vision, the followers are lost.

Although being a great leader (like Aung San Suu Kyi, above) isn't necessarily the same as being a great manager, there's much common ground.

These four factors were confirmed in a study of Fortune 1000 companies that had been turned around by their CEOs (Collins, 2001). That research also found two further factors that lifted leaders from 'good to great':

  1. Modesty: the most effective leaders weren't grand-standing show-offs; they were incredibly modest and humble.
  2. Persistent: the leaders who transformed their organisations the most never gave up. That doesn't mean they were inflexible, but that they never stopped pushing towards their goals.

These may all sound like pretty straightforward characteristics, but apparently few have what it takes. Many surveys have been carried out asking people what they think of their immediate bosses. On average these find that about half are seen as incompetent.

Thanks to Psy Blog / Spring UK


Coaching A Bad Attitude

No matter how good we are at hiring and motivating a team, there almost always comes a time when we have to deal with an employee who has a less-than-stellar attitude. Coaching a bad attitude, I find, is one of the more challenging aspects of management.

A bad attitude is hard to quantify, and the person in question often doesn't agree that there is an issue.  However, if you don't address and turn that attitude around it can spread throughout the team, affecting teamwork, the customer experience, and ultimately sales.

Here are some tips for coaching an employee with a bad attitude.

1. Address the problem as soon as it arises.  Everyone can have a bad day, including you and me.  It happens.  But when it happens on a regular basis and starts to have an impact on the team and the customer, then it's a bad attitude that needs addressed.  Some managers hope it goes away without his/her involvement.  It rarely does.

2. Separate the person from the attitude. Just because someone has a bad or disruptive attitude doesn't mean he/she isn't a good person.  It just means that his/her behavior is not meeting the expectation within the position, but with your coaching hopefully the person will be able to stop demonstrating those behaviors.

3. Identify the behaviors you see and hear that add up to a bad attitude. This is really the key. Most people aren't even aware that their attitude is affecting the store, and a lot of them don't even know what they are doing to cause a negative impact.

These are some of the things you see and hear that create the bad attitude label.

* Being argumentative or short with others.

* Speaking negatively about other people or of new products, programs, and/or processes.

* Not being an active participant in meetings or in the store.

* Walking away while others are talking to them.

* Having improper or inappropriate conversations with customers.

4. Meet one-on-one to voice your concerns and set new expectations. Tell the employee you are concerned about his/her performance, and need to see some changes in behaviors.  Avoid using the word "attitude" altogether.  I think it makes people defensive and gets in the way of a productive conversation.

Share specific examples of the behaviors you've observed, and how those behaviors are impacting the rest of the team and the store's performance.  Then, set future expectations of the behavior you want to see.  Don't focus on what not to do, but what you want the person to do.  It's also often a good idea to put together a plan covering how you can work with the employee to successfully make the change.

5. Define the consequence for not changing. Most people will immediately improve their behavior, but some won't change unless there is a well-defined timeframe to change, and the consequences for not changing are clearly spelled out. The good news is that a dedicated employee who slipped into a bad attitude will quickly turn it around. Those that don't probably are hurting your business in other ways and may need to go. 

6. Continue to give the employee regular feedback on how they're doing in meeting expectations. If the employee is improving, praise him/her for the changed behaviors and thank her/him for their effort.  If expectations are not being met, the person needs to be told immediately, and work towards changing behaviors or changing jobs. What they can't do is to continue to work with a bad attitude.

Thanks to Doug Fleener / Customer Think / CustomerThink Corporation


The Ultimate Tool Belt

From the hammer to the socket wrench, men define themselves by the tools they use. But which ones are really worthy of prime placement on your tool belt? Here, we'll certain go through all the pliers, drivers and levels that are so versatile, they'll inspire even the most reluctant handyman to go out and fix something. Now let's get to work.

General Tools Digital Sliding T-Bevel

No structure is perfectly square, but this tool empowers you to measure and duplicate angles with electronic precision down to half of a tenth of a degree. There's even a button that lets you flip the LCD display when you're working upside-down to prevent misread numbers. $35

Kintrex Infrared Thermometer

How cold is the air blowing from your A/C vents? What about the heat levels inside of your PC, or in the radiator of your car? This infrared thermometer (complete with laser sight) takes out all the guesswork—in Fahrenheit or Celsius—with an accuracy of .1 degrees. $80

Amp Up Your Workout

Coast LED Lenser P7 and P5R

At less than six inches long, this flashlight still manages to pour out 200 lumens of brightness that will reach a distance of 689 feet. Available in either battery-operated or USB-rechargeable, a one-hand focusing lens lets you adjust from spot to flood lighting without any bright or dark spots. $110 for battery-operated, $100 for rechargeable

Stiletto Hammer

This titanium hammer hits like a one-pound steel hammer, but only weighs 10 ounces. And thanks to the metallurgical properties of titanium, it also transfers 10 times less recoil shock. Translation: You'll have less tired arms and sore hands, allowing you to drive nails faster and longer. "These are the bomb," says Jodi Marks, author of Fix it in a Flash and a frequent contributor to HGTV. "They're lightweight, and they have great balance." $110

Komelon MagGrip 30-foot Tape Measure

Most tool kits come with a 12- or 16-foot tape, which frankly just doesn't measure up to this 30-foot beast. Even better, the tip contains powerful magnets to make solo measuring that much easier—as long as you're working around iron and steel. $18

Stanley MaxGrip 10-inch Wrench

Save space in your toolbox with this double-duty wrench. It's adjustable, so you'll get a firm grab on any size nut, metric or English. And it also has a locking grip to give you an extra hand free for the rest of your task. $21

Smarter Performance for Active Trainers

Irwin Tools Fast Release Locking Plier

These adjustable vice grip pliers have a one-handed, triggerless release system that Irwin says is three times stronger than standard vice grips. We also love the curved jaw, which lets you grab hold of square, round, or hexagonal bolts, and the thick, cushy grips that transfer less painful vibrations to your mitts. $17

Leatherman Wave

The Wave is Leatherman's best-selling multi-tool, and it's not hard to understand why. Along with interchangeable-bit screwdrivers, a saw, a metal file, pliers, a wire-cutter, scissors, and the bottle opener no man should leave home without, it also features a three-inch blade that can be easily snapped open with one hand without having to open the Leatherman's handles. $60

Survival Straps

What looks like a nondescript (if not stylish) wristband is actually a carefully hand-woven bundle of up to 16 feet of 550-lb test, military-grade parachute cord (how much line you get depends on your wrist size). Wear it at all times—even if you're swimming in the ocean—and if you have the need to unravel your rope to MacGyver your way out of a tough situation, tell your story to Survival Straps and they'll send you a new paracord wristband for free. $25

Hinderer Extreme Duty Pen

Even though you're not Jason Bourne, you can still defend yourself with a pen. Made of lightweight but incredibly strong titanium, this writing instrument was designed to serve double duty as a discrete tool for fending off would-be attackers. What's more, it uses Fisher Space Pen refills, which means it can write cleanly and smoothly upside-down, underwater, and in the freezing cold. $237

Friday, March 16, 2012

Reading Financial Reports For Dummies By Lita Epstein

Reading Financial Reports For Dummies

Reading Financial Reports For Dummies By Lita Epstein

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Product Description

The second edition includes over 25 percent new and updated information including:

  • New information on the separate accounting and financial reporting standards for private/small businesses versus public/large businesses
  • Updated information that reflects the 2007 law on international financial reporting standards
  • New content to match SEC and other governmental regulatory changes over the past three years
  • New information about how the analyst-corporate connection has actually changed the playing field
  • The impact of corporate communications and new technologies
  • New examples that reflect the current trends
  • Updated websites and resources
Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #13506 in Books
  • Published on: 2009-01-09
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: .83" h x 7.44" w x 9.20" l, 1.27 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 384 pages
Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The ins and outs of financial reports, explained in plain English

Want to make sense of financial reports? This easy-to-follow guide gives you a set of tools to understand these complicated statements, helping you read between the lines to determine a company's true financial health. You'll make informed decisions about investing, spot possible problems, and use these reports to manage your own department or company for success.

  • Get down to reporting basics — recognize different business types and how their structure affects the books, and grasp the accounting method underlying it all

  • Analyze the annual report — make sense of the balance sheet, income and cash flow statements, and the notes while spotting red flags

  • Know your numbers — keep an eye on whether a company is making a profit or suffering a loss

  • Understand how companies optimize operations — use reports to measure how efficiently management is using its resources

  • Meet the financial watchdogs — from auditors to analysts, see who certifies report accuracy and how recent scandals have changed the rules

  • Practice makes perfect — put your skills to the test by dissecting the annual reports of two similar companies throughout the book

  • Open the book and find:

  • The accounting basics necessary to understand financial reports

  • New information on reporting standards for private/small versus public/large businesses

  • Updates surrounding the 2007 law on international financial reporting standards

  • The impact of corporate communications and new technologies

  • New real-world examples that reflect current trends

  • Updated Web sites and resources

  • Tips for spotting the fluff in financial reports

About the Author
Lita Epstein, MBA, is a seasoned financial writer who focuses on helping people understand the complex worlds of money and finance. She was a financial manager for a medical clinic and content director for a financial services Web site, She also writes for AOL's Blogging Stocks and WalletPop.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

88 of 92 people found the following review helpful.
5Excellent value ... just buy it!
By J. Sims
I recently had to take a week long seminar about financial statements and didn't want to go in cold turkey and possibly embarass myself ... so I bought three books thru Amazon to help me learn about financial statements, this one being the most comprehensive.

I'll make this short and sweet ... this was an excellent book by any standard ... the other two books were brief and excellent overviews, but I'd have to judge Lita's (author) book as superb.

It was as if I learned detail from a text book (factual substance), but then had her sitting beside me saying ... ok, you know such and such, now this is how it really works, or this is how you apply it, or this is what it means, or this is what you need to do next, or these are the tricks of the trade only insiders know, etc. Plus her 10 real world discussions of what went wrong with certain corporations ... Enron, WorldCom/MCI, Tyco, etc., are very interesting reads.

For instance, she tells you how to go about listening to a call between analysts and corporate executives, which honestly I did not know you could do. It's this added perspective of an experienced insider's knowledge of the business that puts her above the rest ... and this being a 362 page book, which I read cover to cover, there are plenty of these types of examples.

For anyone who is not well versed in this subject matter, but WANTS to learn about it, quit pondering the purchase and just buy the book. It is money well spent ... I guarantee it.

Oh, and by the way, Lita dedicates the book to her father, who was an auditor and savings and loan examiner ... so you know she was taught plenty by ole Dad ... this stuff was in her blood from the get go, and she communicates her extensive knowledge very well.

I sincerely congratulate her on such a fine work. I enjoyed it immensely! Thank you Lita ... Jim

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful.
5Even Better Than I Had Hoped...
By D. Portney
I've never taken the time to leave feedback about any books I buy, but this book I really got a lot out of, and highly recommend.

Although the description of the book seems to mostly focus on reading financial reports in order to evaluate companies you might want to invest in by buying stock, I bought the book because I wanted to be much more comfortable with reading - moreover analyzing and understanding - financial statements for business management purposes.

Boy, I was NOT disappointed! By reading the book and constantly referring to the financial statements of 2 companies (Mattel and Hasbro), and interpreting, analyzing and comparing the numbers, I have really learned quite a lot about how to manage by the numbers. Now, when I look at financial statements, I know what every line means, I know what I'm looking for, how to interpret the numbers and changes in the numbers and/or ratios over time - I'm truly just as pleased as punch! This book is worth every penny you pay for it.

And, because the author also tosses in a lot of revealing and useful information about analyzing financial statements to evaluate a company and the worth of its stock, I received quite an education there as well. Very eye opening.

Whether you're a business owner, manager, accountant or stock investor, if you're even considering getting this book to enhance your knowledge, get it. It's a very, very good book. I kept a highlighter and some post it notes at my side, you may want to do the same. In any event, after reading this book (which, by the way is NOT a 'dry' read) you will have deep knowledge of financial statements - balance sheet, profit and loss (income statement) and cash flow statement.

I highly recommend this book.

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful.
5If you had to read only one investment book, this one should be it!
By Houman Tamaddon
This is the single best book for beginner and intermediate-skilled investors. I believe most non-professional investors will find this an absolute gem. The writing is clear and actually fun to read. You will learn the basics of how to evaluate companies, but Epstein includes nuances that even more advanced investors will find useful.

The book is valuable because of its appropriate coverage of 4 separate areas:
1) Teaches the reader basic accounting. For example, what do different items on a cash flow statement really mean and how are they related to the balance sheet or the income statement?
2) Once you understand basic accounting, it teaches you how to manipulate some of these numbers to get a better understanding of how well the company is doing. For example, what is the significance of inventory turnover?
3) Points you to other sources for more information and greater understanding ie: different websites and how to get bond ratings on particular companies.
4) Discusses pitfalls of analyzing financial reports. She discusses how companies manipulate numbers and how you can improve your chances of catching the culprits. She discusses 10 guilty companies.

There are many great books investors should read, but if you were only allowed one then this should be the one. Bravo Lita!
P.S. I am not a generous Amazon reviewer as you can see for yourself by reading my other reviews.