herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

getting Down to business

Who's the boss of you? well, The general consensus from these books is that you are

Have you got a platform? How many followers do you have? Are you ready to intentionalise your leverage? What do you mean, you don't Tweet? Or you don't even have any leverage to intentionalise?

Business seems to be leaking into our personal lives at a great rate. All the things we've done on social media either build up our profiles or tear it down, especially since prospective bosses are consulting sites like Facebook before making hires. It seems we have to be 'on' all the time, always promoting and yet always filtering. The result of all this self-consciousness is actually an unconscious self, a self that is the by-product of what we think someone else wants to see.

In the current economic climate, many are losing jobs, many are bending over backwards to keep jobs, many are striving to leave corporate culture behind and strike out on their own. In all instances, being a leader is imperative, at least according to this author. Are you the type of manager that others will want to follow? Would you want yourself for a boss?

Subtitled A Holistic Guide to Inspiring Growth in Others… and in Yourself, Thompson melds business jargon with self-help jargon, and the mix works better than you'd think. I am quite happy with the self-help aspect, but the business-y words set my teeth on edge. It may be the opposite for other readers - it may be the case that both irritate you beyond measure. The message here is strong, but simple: be the change you want to see.

This is a terrific notion, but how to actually 'be' that? I particularly found the chapter on Authenticity to be the most helpful. In a world where, as mentioned, we seem to be posting and posturing to gain approval, where's your actual self in all this? As in all the sections, Thompson gives you some thinking to do, shares anecdotes, and presents case studies to back up her thinking.

You've got to do the work to reap the benefits, of course, and although it seems counter-intuitive - keeping the focus on yourself makes you a better, or an available leader of others - Thompson makes it all make sense. If you fancy yourself a leader in your workplace, or are keen to become an entrepreneur, I'd say this is definitely worth a look.

GET SH*T DONE!

By Niall Harbison Penguin €8.99 HHHII

This is subtitled From Spare Room to Board Room in 1,000 Days. And also, An Entrepreneur's Guide to Getting the Life You Want. So, arguably, it's trying to do the same as Thompson's book - business meets personal - but in a more colloquial fashion. Harbison seems to think that a page without the word 'sh*t' in it, in some form or other, is a page wasted.

This is totally cool, if it does call to mind the law of diminishing returns. The message, which is to make the pursuit of one's dreams an everyday, common occurrence, becomes somewhat diluted by the constant reference to the title. What the reader wants, in picking up this particular title, is in fact based on the title - a no-nonsense guide to how to get a business off the ground.

That this is a much a memoir as much as a how-to is to be expected, as Harbison has rather spectacularly been on the crest of the wave as an to iBusinessman, conceiving, starting up, and selling a series of businesses that, while not without their problems, were ahead of their time. In fact, the problems are the most interesting and instructive part. Learning from someone else's mistakes means that when you make your own, you won't be suffering from too much terminal uniqueness.

Some of the swaggering anecdotes felt like Harbison was giving an adamant two-fingers to notions of time-honoured Irish begrudgery. These were often immediately followed by a humble recounting of a horrible gig or of his struggles with addiction. Again, many messages, and at times they do mix well.

Will you find your inspiration in this tome? I found his assertion that conventional education systems are not for everyone to be the most inspiring message. Harbison speaks passionately on this topic, one that I think has immense value - not only for school-leavers, but older folk who may still be beating themselves for not having a third-level qualification. At the heart of this, Harbison is setting out a just-do-it approach to life that is daring, but doable.

FREEDOM FROM BOSSES FOREVER!

By Tony Robinson with Soculitherz

The Business Advisory Bureau Limited (2014) €3.32 eBook HHIII

Looking for something zany? I actually didn't know what was going on here for about fifty pages: Leonora Soculiherz (pronounced So-cool-it-hurts) is a stripper, or something. She is the primary voice of the book, and her anecdotes are meant to be the business advice as you've never read it before. So it's not dry for certain, but it's also confusing, and if it's not your sense of humour, not very funny. There are tips highlighted throughout that are closer to the sort of business advice one would expect. I didn't find this terribly helpful.

HOW TO BUILD A BILLION DOLLAR APP

By George Berkowski Piatkus €20.50 HHHHH

Never mind the currency: Berkowski invokes Hailo right from the off, and frankly, it's the app I had in mind when I when I saw the title of this book. He developed the core business strategy for the taxi-hailing app, and if I was going to take advice from anyone about how to break into the app-business, it'd be someone like him.

He takes the reader step-by-step, from concept to creating a team to marketing, and to ultimately selling the bejayziz outta your app. There's a healthy dose of geek here, naturally, so your learning curve may vary. The jargon is minimal, which is a surprise and a relief, and Berkowski's tone is so transparent that you believe that you can do it yourself, provided you've got a really good idea. Hmm, where does one get one of those…

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