Monthly Bookmarks –
156th Edition – September 16th, 2023
There are few things more beautiful to an author’s eye … than a well-read copy of one of his books.Amor Towles, The Lincoln Highway
1. The Key to Change
Beyond having a great product or service, I’ve heard many CEOs say the key to a highly-effective organization is cohesiveness and unity throughout the entire company. After seeing this list, could these six statements be an impediment to such cohesiveness?
- What is said is not heard.
- What is heard is not yet understood.
- What is understood is not yet believed.
- What is believed is not yet advocated.
- What is advocated is not yet acted on.
- What is acted on is not yet completed.
Source: a reference to the Austrian psychologist Konrad Lorenz by Stephen Bungay in his book, The Art of Action.
2. A Decision He Never Regretted
Dad: If not now, when? When do I sell the business?
Son: The time to sell is not when an offer comes over the transom but rather when you have neither the energy nor the ideas to achieve your financial objectives.
According to this son, it was a decision he never regretted. And he was right. A young twenty-something, after receiving his MBA, took over his father’s business and seemed to keep pressing the right buttons during a time of growth and divestiture of unrelated brands in their food business.
He would oversee a public offering price of $40 million in 1968, to a value of $320 million in 1990, and finally to a public value of approximately $6.5 billion in early 2020.
Not bad for a father and a family putting pressure on young Robert Rosenburg to sell the business after receiving a $7.5 million offer from an interested buyer.
Around The Corner is one of my favorite books so far in 2023.
3. All My Sons is Riveting With a Powerful Message
This past month, I listened to the Audible version of All My Sons by Arthur Miller. After the ending, I thought this would be an ideal book for an ethics class.
The audio version is only two hours which includes a father who is focused on himself in the midst of his partner serving time in prison for approving faulty plane parts, which led to the death of American soldiers in World War II. The truth unravels through numerous heated discussions between the father and his sole surviving son.
4. Real Estate Development in France
According to real estate developer Bryne Murphy, property development begins with a vision.
Our vision was of a new kind of European retail center where well-known brands sold excess stock at lowered prices without disturbing their primary retail accounts.Byrne Murphy, Le Deal
I haven’t read many, but Bryne’s book on launching several McArthurGlen outlet stores is the best book I’ve ever read on real estate development. Much of the book centers on their first development in France, where he and his wife lived for two years. Luck, resilience, and ditching an American mindset ultimately led to the creation of thousands of new jobs and the creation of a billion dollars in value throughout parts of Europe.
For those of us intimidated by commercial real estate development, his line about the best deal he’s ever done is priceless. “A few select ones which I didn’t do.”
5. High-Impact Days
Finally, I’m on the last chapter.
Every summer, I search for a good fiction title, and I found it in The Lincoln Highway, a slow, lazy, but enjoyable story, and at times frustrating when a certain character does the unthinkable over and over again.
This novel has some great lines in it that make for great discussion in a book club setting. For instance, one character is reflecting on the daily rituals of three boarding schools he attended. “Every day, [we would] wake up at the same time, get dressed in the same clothes, and have breakfast at the same table with the same people before heading off to attend the same classes in the same classrooms.”
The character Woolly wondered why heads of boarding schools choose to make every day an every-day day. “He came to suspect that they did so because it made things easier to manage.”
Perhaps the appropriate question in the context of an every-day day is, “What is the opposite of such a day?” How about a high-impact day?
The best definition of a high-impact day is your own. You know it when you have one. Perhaps leaders in organizations need to help us to clear a path for the rest of us to experience more high-impact days instead of the tediousness of every-day days.
Props to one of my favorite authors and a great podcast host, Ron Baker, on the concept of high-impact days.
Recent CFO Bookshelf Podcast Playlist:
Work With Minimal Rules
No-Code Development Tools with Gareth Pronovost
A Pragmatic Playbook for Digital and AI Implementations
More Than a Numbers Game with Tom King
Technology for the Next Generation of Retail and Beyond
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