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SMALL BUSINESS / JANE APPLEGATE

Serious Summer Reads for the Entrepreneur

July 13, 1993|JANE APPLEGATE

If you are lucky enough to take some time off this summer, alleviate some of the guilt by packing a few readable business books.

The assortment of good and bad books aimed at entrepreneurs is almost overwhelming, but after reviewing about 50, here are some of my favorites:

"How to Succeed in Business Without Lying, Cheating or Stealing" (Pocket Books, New York, N.Y., $7) is a vest-pocket-size gem by veteran entrepreneur Jack Nadel. The president of Nadel Worldwide & Measured Marketing Services in Santa Monica has been doing business internationally for 40 years. His no-frills book is ideal beach reading--each page contains a single tip or insight.

For example, Nadel on negotiating: "Leave something on the table. So many people think they must get the last drop of blood out of every deal. Victims have a way of coming back to haunt the victor. The more blood you took, the greater his determination to get even."

Or this tip on personnel: "Always try to hire people who know more than you. Insecure employers hire people who will not challenge them. The more real talent you hire, the greater the chance that they will help expand your business."

If you are in the mood to be inspired, try "Profiles of Genius: Thirteen Creative Men Who Changed the World," by Gene N. Landrum (Prometheus Books, Buffalo, N.Y., $22.95). The book features detailed biographies of living male legends, including CNN founder Ted Turner, Steve Jobs of Apple Computer fame, Sony's Akio Morita and Bill Gates of Microsoft.

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"These innovative visionaries were well-read, but for the most part, self-educated in the tradition of Lincoln," says Landrum, who created the Chuck E. Cheese pizza theaters.

He lists 13 traits commonly found in great male achievers, including charisma, an intense sex drive and being a first-born male. He also digs up all kinds of fascinating tidbits. Did you know, for instance, that Ted Turner's nickname was Capsize Kid because he took so many risks while sailing? Or that Turner's heroes range from Alexander the Great to Attila the Hun to Mahatma Gandhi?

If you are inspired to do some active work while reading, get a pencil and spend a few hours in the shade with "Power Marketing for Small Business" (Oasis Press/PSI Research, Grants Pass, Ore., $19.95.) by Jody Hornor, a Sacramento marketing consultant.

Her book is not light reading but a serious guide to help you create a comprehensive marketing strategy for your business.

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"Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service," by Chip R. Bell and Ron Zemke (Amacom Books, New York, N.Y., $17.95) is a lively and timely book written for anyone who deals with customers.

"A strong, enduring customer service relationship will be founded on clear, open communications--whether the matter at hand is good or bad," say the authors, who are partners in Minneapolis-based Performance Research Associates, a consulting firm specializing in customer service programs.

Chapter 18, which provides 10 ways to collect information about customer service, is especially good. How about sending your employees into stores to see how potential customers view your products?

If you are the kind of person who can't find your airline tickets because your desk is so messy, pick up a copy of Lisa Kanarek's "Organizing Your Home Office for Success" (Plume, New York, N.Y., $10). Although Kanarek's book is aimed at home-based entrepreneurs, anyone can benefit from her practical, easy-to-use tips.

One last book: This is definitely not light reading, but "Workers' Comp for Employers: Taking Control" by James Walsh (Merritt Co., Santa Monica, $29.95) provides an inside view of the national workers' compensation insurance crisis and offers possible solutions for employers. Walsh, who edits a workers' comp newsletter, suggests managing workers' comp claims by "attacking the problem from four angles: employee hiring, work flow, supervision and employee communications."

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