Tag Archives: business books

Trump’s Art of the Deal May Not be a Big Deal

Many years ago, I read Donald Trump‘s The Art of the Deal (New York:  Random House, 1987)

The book is often-cited as one of the best-selling business books ever written.  Others use the  Art of the Deal Covercontent of the book to register complaints about his Presidency, claiming that what Trump wrote is inconsistent with what he now says and does.

But, the larger question is, “does The Art of the Deal even qualify as a business book?”  And, exactly how big of a best-seller is it?  As of this writing, the book is in the top 100 of three Amazon.com best-seller sub-categories.

I found some information about these questions; click here to read these questions.

“It’s difficult to weigh Trump’s opus against other “business books” for two reasons.

“One, best-seller lists are almost always periodical. Amazon tallies sales by the hour, while the New York Times’ lists are by week or by month. Greg Cowles, who writes for the New York Times “Inside the List” column, says the paper doesn’t track all-time sales.
“Second, the genre called “business books” is nebulous and can range from memoirs and essays to financial tips and management strategies. Trump’s book can certainly be shelved in the business section, as it’s both a memoir by a business executive and offers business advice. But experts say it can hardly count as influential in the subcategories or important in the broader genre.
“Trump is full of B.S.,” said Jeffrey Pfeffer, a professor of business management at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. “The best selling/most important business books would have to be In Search of Excellence by (Thomas) Peters and (Robert) Waterman that started the genre, Built to Last by Jim Collins, The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.”

5 Reasons Why 15minutebusinessbooks.com is Different – and Useful

So many books -- so little time

We have many titles to choose from

First, let me say, as I always say, it is better for you to read a good book for yourself.

But sometimes, even if you have read a book, you need a little help pulling out the most important concepts to ponder, the most useful transferable principles and lessons to put into action.

We can help.

For 18 full years, Karl Krayer and I have been presenting synopses of best-selling, useful, provocative, informative business books – to alive audience, in Dallas, Texas. These synopses (our version of business book summaries) are available to purchase through our companion site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com. Each synopsis comes with our comprehensive handouts, and the audio recordings of our presentations.

Here’s what makes 15mintuebusinessbooks unique:

#1 – 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because these recordings were recorded in front of live audiences.

Karl and I present these to a very alive group of business folks in Dallas, and we have done so every month since April, 1998.

You will sense the interaction between speaker and audience in these recordings. It really does make a difference to speak before a live audience, and we have done so every month, 12 times a year, for 18 full years.

#2 — 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because we have a carefully curated list of titles – including most best-sellers.

We only select 24 titles a year – 2 books a month. We focus on books that have made it to one of the respected best-sellers lists. We look for books that we think are especially worth the time of our audience members. And, we avoid some categories (personal finance, for example). Peruse our catalogue, and you will see the kinds of books we choose.

But, consider especially the “big” best sellers – Team of Teams; Extreme Ownership; Elon Musk; Steve Jobs, Lean In, Great by Choice, Presnece, The Big Short; Womenomics; The Power of Habit. We have presented each of these, and of course, our list is much, much longer than just these titles. (After 24 books each year, for 18 years, we provide quite a selection).

#3 – 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because our synopses are designed for more than just a casual glance or listen.  

If you print out our handouts, and listen with pen in hand, you will be more engaged as a learner.

Of course, you can listen to our recordings as you jog or drive or make birdhouses in your garage. But, if you sit at full attention, handout in hand, ears and intellect engaged, you will come away with much more benefit. Our process is designed for such engagement.

#4 — 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because we’re two guys who have continually refined our process – I think for the better.

All of our synopses are presented by just two people: Karl Krayer and me (Randy Mayeux). We’ve been at this a while!

Speaking of my approach (Karl and I take a slightly different approach): If you look at my first handouts (I almost want to say, “please don’t”), they were not as comprehensive, and they were missing many current features.

In my synopses, and on my handouts, I now include, for every book selected, these sections:

  • Why is this book worth our time?
  • Key excepts and quotes from the book
  • Significant stories and lessons from the book
  • An outline/overview of the key content of the book
  • And, my own lessons and takeaways from the book

And, our handouts are currently designed by an accomplished graphic designer, making them easier to read and follow.

#5 — 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because it is conducive to small group learning and discussion sessions.

We know business consultants and coaches who gather leadership teams, and they sit together, listening to the audio recordings of one of our synopses presentations, with each participant with handout in hand. Then, the consultant/coach leads a discussion of the implications of the content of this book for their organization.

It is, quite simply, a useful “content” session for a leadership team.

So, here are the five reasons:

#1 – 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because these recordings were recorded in front of live audiences.
#2 — 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because we have a carefully curated list of titles – including most best-sellers.
#3 – 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because our synopses are designed for more than just a casual glance or listen.  
#4 — 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because we’re two guys who have continually refined our process – I think for the better.
#5 — 15minutebusinessbooks.com is different because it is conducive to small group learning and discussion sessions.

Now, a confession/word of explanation. Though we call this 15minutebusinessbooks.com, they actually average around 17-19 minutes in length; even an occasional one at 20 minutes. So, yes, these are slightly longer than 15 minutes. Sorry about that.

Give it a try. Maybe start this way: pick a book you know well; one that you’ve read carefully. Order our synopsis, and you will be able to tell if we have captured the essence of the book. Then you can begin “catching up” with books you never got around to reading for yourself.

Each synopsis costs $9.99 — but you can also purchase a subscription, which includes the upcoming 12 months (24 synopses), including all of the archived synopsis, for $199.00. Click here to visit our 15minutebusienssbooks site.

15minbb150And, for companies and organizations, we provide special group pricing options. Click here to send me an e-mail, and let’s discuss special pricing for larger groups within your organization.

The Wolf of Wall Street Sits at #1 – Here’s the February, 2014 Best Sellers List of Business Books from the New York Times

Lean InWell, you knew it had to happen at some point.  Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is not the #1 best selling business book this month.  It fell all the way down to #3 – after being #1 since the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show.  (Ok – actually only since shortly after it came out).

Here is the February, 2014 Best Sellers list of Business Books from the New York Times.  They changed how they compile and list the books in some way (I’m not quite sure) a short while ago, and their change included this:  they went from two lists (hardcover, and paperback) down to one. And in their earlier method, the hardcover list was 15 books, and the paperback list was 10 books. Now, the single list is only 10 books.  With this change, there seem to be more “older” books making a recurring appearance to the list.  (With the old method, such books were usually found on the “paperback” list).    

A couple of observations. Two earlier Malcolm Gladwell books are on this list:  The Tipping Point and Outliers, while his new book David and Goliath is simply not being included in the business book category.  (It is #2 on this week’s New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction best sellers list).  And, Lean In is #5 on the Hardcover Nonfiction list this week.

And I suspect that The Wolf of Wall Street, this month’s #1, got a boost from the movie…  Maybe Lean In will get a another similar “new boost” when the movie comes out.   (Yes, there are plans to turn Lean In into a movie).

From the ten titles from this month, we have presented synopses of 5 of them at the First Friday Book Synopsis.  I presented Lean In, The Power of Habit, Outliers, and The Tipping Point.  (I have referred to The Power of Habit twice in the last week – it is a useful/helpful book).  My colleague Karl Krayer presented Thinking, Fast and Slow.   (You can purchase our synopses of these books – see below).

Here’s the February, 2014 Business Books Best Sellers list from the New York Times.  (Go to the New York Times link for brief descriptions of each book).


THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, by Jordan Belfort.




LEAN IN, by Sheryl Sandberg with Nell Scovell.


THINKING, FAST AND SLOW, by Daniel Kahneman.


OUTLIERS, by Malcolm Gladwell.


THE POWER OF HABIT, by Charles Duhigg.




PEOPLE TOOLS, by Alan C. Fox.


ON THE EDGE, by Alison Levine.


THE TIPPING POINT, by Malcolm Gladwell.


15minadYou can purchase our synopses of these books, with our multi-page, comprehensive handouts plus the audio of our recordings of our presentations from the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.

Leaders and their Conversations – Good Books Can Help

I read business books.  Along with my colleague Karl Krayer, I present synopses of business books.  These presentations help facilitate needed conversations.

I think a lot about how to think about the needs of leaders, and how to “plan” these needed conversations.  So, here is my latest visual take on this.  This one includes eight “conversations” for leaders to have, all revolving around “The Healthy & Growing Organization – Constantly Adapting and Innovating.”  The book titles are all ones that I have presented.  (Karl Krayer has presented other books that would further enhance these conversations).  And, please do not pass judgement on the “look” of this page – I am not a graphic designer, and I prepared this just to help me, and others, think about these issues.  Take a look:

Click on image for full view

Click on image for full view

Some suggestions:  Buy copies of these books for your leadership team, and read them together.  Such an approach is ideal – but some groups have discovered that “not everyone actually reads the books.”

So, another option — bring us into your organization to lead these sessions.
purchase our synopses of these books from our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.  Each purchase provides you with the audio recording of our presentation from the First Friday Book Synopsis, held monthly in Dallas, along with our comprehensive handouts.  Some groups play the recordings (around 17 minutes), and then start their discussion.

Now, take a good look at the visual.  Whether you use these books or not, or this plan or not, wouldn’t a few sessions on these issues be really valuable for your team?


(Contact me by e-mail).

What’s Wrong with Barnes & Noble’s Picture?

I was surprised today (2/28/2012) when I received an e-Mail with Barnes & Noble’s “top picks of this week’s new books.”

The list does not contain a category for “business,” nor do I see a single business book listed.

What’s wrong with this picture?  Is this just a bad week for them in the eyes of Barnes & Noble?

Like our other bloggers, I have a great appetite for business books.  They have become a passion, and I eagerly anticipate the publication of the best-selling list every Saturday morning the Wall Street Journal Weekend edition.

I think that not including a single business title in the “top picks” of the week is quite strange.  This is especially true when lists of top non-fiction books regularly include a number of best-selling business books.

Are you surprised that the list features “cookbooks” but no business books?

How do you interpret this omission?  Does it say more about Barnes & Noble, or about the status of business books?

Let me hear from you!  Let’s talk about this really soon.

Here is the list that they distributed, with categories in blue:

Hot New Fiction
Lone Wolf


Trail of the Spellmans

Cinnamon Roll Murder

Ideas and Advice for You
Wishes Fulfilled

The Power of Habit

The Emotional Life of Your Brain

Let It Go

Compelling History

China’s Wings Kingdom During the Golden Age of Flight

Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith

Blackhorse Riders

New Biography & Memoir
House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East

The First Lady of Fleet Street


Burn Down the Ground

The Latest Romance
Redwood Bend

Witchful Thinking

The Darkest Seduction

Deadly Sins

New for Kids
Penny and Her Song

The Kane Chronicles Survival Guide


Power Play

New for Teens




New in Cookbooks
Hello, Jell-O!

Asian Tofu

Alain Ducasse Nature

Joy the Baker Cookbook




Reading Business Books Is Sort of Like Listening to Good Sermons

I had breakfast with my blogging colleague Bob Morris this morning.  He reads more books than anyone I know.  You cannot talk about a business issue, a business idea, without him knowing the two or three books to read on that specific issue.  And in the midst of the breakfast, I had one of those moments of insight – you know, an “aha”  moment.

So – a little background.  I used to preach (I still do, occasionally, but only as a guest preacher).  I preached at least two new sermons a week – for about 20 years.  If you go to church, then you know the truth about sermons – after a few, they all deal with the same themes, the same issues, repeated a multitude of times, in whatever new and creative ways the preacher can come up with.

One homiletics textbook said that most preachers only have 5 sermons anyway (plus or minus), and then challenged preachers to make sure they were the right 5 sermons.

So what was my “aha” insight?  It is this:  Reading business books is a lot like listening to a steady diet of sermons.

Here’s a simple truth:  people who go to church and listen to sermons learn very little.  They are simply reminded of the basics, over and over and over again.

So it is with business books.  There are about five major themes (or maybe 7, or 10…the number is imprecise).  But the truth is clear.  Business books do more reminding than they do teaching.

Some of the themes that crop up over and over again are:

• be an ethical leader
• have the important conversations that you need to have
• treat your people well
be a good team leader/player
• be sure that your product/eservice is top quality
• and, though you provide top quality, make it even better next year  (innovate, constantly!)
• and, use your time well (it disappears so very fast)
• study the successful companies/leaders, and emulate them
• study the unsuccessful companies/leaders, and do not repeat their mistakes
• plan well, execute better
• communicate! — openly, often — hide very little!

You could expand on this list.  But…  I think it really is true that after you’ve read a good initial stack of business books, you continue reading not to learn, but to be reminded.  Don’t you think?

So – how many books should you read a year.  It depends – how quickly do you forget to do what you know to do?  I suspect the answer to that question is… pretty quickly.  That is why preachers always encourage their folks to show up at church week after week.  Unfortunately, it takes regular reminders to “love your neighbor” to help you do a good job of actually loving your neighbor.  And, it takes regular reminders to lead well, to treat your people well, to keep getting better at what you do.

So, read more books.  Lots more books.  It takes a “business sermon” a week – just to help you remember.

And, by the way, some books are better than others.  Lots better.  So too, some sermons are better than others.  But it is better to read a mediocre book to help you remember than it is to not keep reading, and thus fail to remember.