Monday, 24 March 2014

Book Review: Balance; The Business – Life Connection

We all need balance. We balance our home, work, and play activities. We balance our stress by what we do, or don't do. We make careful choices as we chart our course in life, if we are successful.

This book is as much of an autobiography as it is a How-To-Be-Successful book. Ironically, I read the first half whilst watching my cat hunt mice under the snow pack on a -5˚ C. day. She successfully dug up the mouse out of the snow, but didn't catch it as it fled this way and that.
The mouse ran away from the cat (I caught it on video!)
cat and mouse
It was a metaphor for work-life connection. She sat, waited, listened, practiced her pounce, found the right time and jumped on its head, but the prize ran away. More often, we learn from our mistakes, rather than our successes.

Luck, on the other hand, is when preparation meets opportunity. This is one of the strongest messages of the book. Find your goal, aim for it, but understand when it's time to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Our children, they say, will have more than one career path in their work lives. Certainly, since we are living longer, many of us are finding new goals in middle age, and have the wherewithal to pursue them.

On the shoulders of giants

Cusumano begins with the premise that we learn by perching on the 'shoulders of giants.' This is very much illustrated by Dr. Phil's concept of Five Pivotal People, not so much giants. I found that Cusumano's giants were a mix of giants (successful business people) and influential people in his life, beginning with his mother and father, but more, his giants were mentors. To my mind, this is an important part of business success, finding mentors. People who will give you wise counsel.

Now, we should be reading about successful personal strategies, since they have clues to success, but I'm not sure that I learned any lessons from the book. His target audience is quite specific: entrepreneurs and business owners.

Inspired and Conscious Leadership

He does provide some good tools, after his sections on how and why he was so successful (p. 27), based on education and achievement. He illuminates on creating your vision and mission in life, ethical principles that will guide you. He provides a means by which you find you inner compass, core values, and does and don'ts; e.g., "Don't be trapped by someone else's dogma."
Born 1942

Also, Six Spheres for Growth:

  1. Professional Values
  2. Financial Values
  3. Relationship Values
  4. Spiritual Values
  5. Health Values
  6. Knowledge Values

All these are important parts of existential development, he writes of finding your passion, building a successful business, Inspirational Leadership® (Inspirational Leadership-Pt. 1;PDF), performance reviews and Conscious Capitalism.

Ethical Principles

I agree with his ethical principles. His highly successful Chateau Mcely resort, in the Czech Republic, is a testament to the new world paradigm he espouses: to 'stimulate thinking as to how our world can safely and expeditiously transition to a new paradigm, a "new way of being".' I certainly agree with him that,
'The current paradigm based on excessive utilization of resources without regard to the impact on the environment and on the lives of others, may have worked since the inception of the industrial revolution, but it is now a very dangerous trajectory for the future of humanity.'

Writing Style

I edited a book my friend wrote and she did the same thing that Cusumano did, she managed to enclose in "quotes" words she wanted to "emphasize." It is a bit disconcerting.
It was well-written, although the first autobiographical section seemed to illustrate a perfect life that the author led. His scientific achievements and business decisions were highly successful, but a bit tedious to read, with much repetition.

Balance; The Business – Life Connection – (Personal Growth/Self-Empowerment/Business)  How does a 1950’s preteen from Jersey go from Rock n’ Roll crooner, to movie producer, to pharmaceutical CEO to Owner of a Chateau in the Czech Republic?  Learn how pursuing your passion to establish BALANCE  in your life.   
Read Chapter 1 (PDF)] 


Powell River Books said...

Balance in our lives is so important. When I was working in the school district, my balance was way out of whack. I worked probably 60 hours a week physically on the job and then took work (grant writing, etc.) home with me. Now that I'm retired my life has a little more balance, but I have swung more to the leisure side, but that's only fair I guess. - Margy

Cloudia said...

thank you for sharing these important considerations, Jenn

ALOHA from Honolulu

=^..^= <3

Christine said...

good review! It sounds like a textbook.