Book Reviews: Other Books

Consulting

The Consultant's Quick Start Guide: An Action Plan for Your First Year in Business, by Elaine Biech. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
Based on, and with examples from, the author's own consulting career, this is a real how-to book, filled with guidelines, checklists, self-scoring questionnaires, tips, and more. The book is a terrific resource for anyone who plans to, or is getting into, consulting, covering all the basics. Very comprehensive and useful. Recommended. 243 pp. 2001.

The Consultant's Toolkit: 45 High Impact Questionnaires, Activities, and How-To Guides for Diagnosing and Solving Client Problems, by Mel Silberman. McGraw-Hill.
The major topics of the book are: consulting basics; leadership and management development; organizational effectiveness; performance improvement; problem solving and teamwork; and strategic planning and organizational change. Part one of this three-part handbook presents 13 ready-to-use questionnaires covering a wide range of assessment issues, including the study of individual clients, teams and entire organizations. Part two offers 15 how-to guides for solving client problems; these are short articles with useful ideas and guidelines for implementing consulting initiatives. Part three contains 17 intervention activities with step-by-step instructions. The guides and intervention activities can be downloaded and customized. Extremely useful. Recommended. 354 pp. 2001

Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, by Peter Block Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
Block examines the consulting process, specific to organizational change and development. Topics covered are: contracting, internal consulting, resistance, diagnosis, data gathering, feedback, meetings and client communication. This is a very extensive how-to book; it tells the reader what to do and say in different consulting situations. Flawless consulting centers around 1) being as authentic as you can be at all times and 2) attending directly, in words and actions, to the business of each stage of the consulting process. This is a highly practical book, filled with specifics. Strongly recommended. 214 pp. 1999.

Great Consulting Challenges and How to Surmount Them: Powerful Techniques for the Successful Consultants , by Alan Weiss, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
Weiss shows how to overcome forty challenges; a chapter is devoted to each. These challenges are grouped into four main topics: marketing, sales, delivery and practice management. From start to finish the book is a treasure trove of insights and guidelines. Weiss writes clearly and to-the-point. Any consultant will appreciate this work. 280 pp. 2002.

Guerrilla Marketing for Consultants: Breakthrough Tactics for Winning Profitable Clients, by Jay Levinson and Michael W. McLaughlin. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Levinson and McLaughlin offer guidelines to consultants on finding potential clients, selling one's services and creating profitable relationships once hired. Chapters cover: thirteen guerrilla marketing secrets; developing a marketing plan and road map; creating a client-centered web presence; how to get free publicity; when it pays to advertise; five steps to writing a winning speech; how to get articles and books published; proposal writing; project pricing; and after-sales marketing. The authors provide many highlights and checklists. This volume is filled with gobs of great advice for consultants. Highly recommended. 209 pp. 2004.

High-Impact Consulting: How Clients and Consultants Can Work Together to Achieve Extraordinary Results, by Robert H. Schaffer. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
Focuses on achieving client-consultant collaboration. Introduces the concept of the implementation gap—the difference between what clients should do to benefit from consulting advice and what they are capable of doing. Shows how this gap undermines consulting projects and presents the high-impact model that closes it. A key theme is switching from the view that success is receiving a deliverable to focusing on measurable client results. Shows how client and consultant conspire to protect themselves by avoiding outcome measures that can reveal failure as well as success. Discusses how large-scale change projects should be geared to client motivation and capability, and segmented into rapid-cycle sub projects which build momentum for change by yielding short-term tangible results. Each chapter concludes with action steps for clients and consultants. Very rich in ideas and insights. Highly recommended. 263 pp. 2002.

How to Acquire Clients: Powerful Techniques for the Successful Practitioner, by Alan Weiss. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
This addition to the author's Ultimate Consultant Series is aimed at highly successful consultants to stress the need for continually going after more and better business, but it is a valuable book for all consultants. Weis covers: identifying target opportunities; preparing for success in acquiring new business; building relationships with economic buyers; rebutting objections; sixteen great acquisition sources; building support from those who loathe your arrival; gaining market share from others; guaranteeing repeat business; sources of clients; and how to be selective in acquiring business. Filled with solid, to-the-point advice. A great buy. 189 pp. 2002.

How to Establish a Unique Brand in the Consulting Profession: Powerful Techniques for the Successful Practitioner, by Alan Weiss, Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
The author sets for ten lessons at the start and proceeds to reveal ways to develop brand strength to attract business. Highlighted points, checklists, a list of myths, and many vignettes add to the value of the key points of every chapter. The book reveals how to develop a brand through writing a book, speaking, creating products to boost your brand, and much more. Weiss, who has a very successful track record in consulting to back-up his assertions and views, provides a well designed, clearly organized and smoothly written work that abounds in interesting and important ideas and insights. Strongly recommended. 210 pp. 2002.

Organizational Consulting: How to Be an Effective Internal Change Agent, by Alan Weiss, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Weiss draws on his extensive experiences in consulting to present straightforward, to-the-point views and guidelines on how to approach and conduct consulting assignments as an internal change agent. The book is rich in specifics, well structured, and filled with highlighted bits of wisdom and brief case illustrations. The author doesn't pull any punches and shows, in clear language, how to be a successful internal consultant. Highly recommended. 255 pp. 2003.

Process Consulting : How to Launch, Implement, and Conclude Successful Consulting Projects, by Alan Weiss. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
Written for consultants who want to go beyond the basics the book is about how to work with a client. Weiss covers such topics as: conditions for a successful intervention, the strategy and tactics of gathering intelligence, coaching key people; culture change and change management; how to deal with project problems; creating dynamic instruction; transitioning from strategy to implementation; and improving leadership. The book provides 40 cases that prove to be enormously value. Weiss gives liberally of his straightforward insights and ideas. The book is rich in specific advice (e.g., a five-step client education checklist) and savvy observations. Very highly recommended. 191 pp. 2002.

The Ultimate Consultant: Powerful Techniques for the Successful Practitioner, by Alan Weiss. Jossey-Bass Inc., Publishers.
Written for consultants who want to go beyond the basics and learn more advanced techniques, the book has great breadth and depth. It covers such topics as: rules of consulting; ways to make money 24 hours a day; ten techniques to squeeze in more business; ways to establish an international presence; forming alliances with larger firms; and fifty techniques to enhance life balance. The book provides cases and interviews with highly successful consultants that prove to be enormously valuable and offer solid, heartfelt insights and ideas. This book is a great source terrific advice, specific techniques, and savvy observations. Very highly recommended. 267 pp. 2001. 2002.

Value-Based Fees : How to Charge and Get What You're Worth, by Alan Weiss. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer.
Provides guidance on how to establish fees, create a good-deal relationship with clients, and prevent or rebut fee objections. Includes sixty ways to raise fees, interviews and stories, sample proposals, letters of agreement, and numerous highly valuable tips. The book focuses on tying fees to value and is strong on specifics and practical advice. An excellent buy for anyone in consulting. 207 pp. 2002.

Reference and Research

Business-to-Business Bible, by Simon Collin. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
A directory to Web sites categorized by: business resources; finding a business online; accounting; business advice; business education; starting a business; business to business; office supplies; financial management; global business; news; human resources and staffing; sales and marketing; stocks; traveling and other topics. Includes a section on getting online. Glossary. 182 pp. 2000.

Questions That Work: How to Ask Questions That Will Help You Succeed in Any Business Situation, by Andrew Finlayson. AMACOM.
Examines why individuals, leaders and organizations gain from asking better questions. Discusses why people don't ask questions and how to create a questioning culture in the workplace. Provides guidelines for effective questions. The major portion of the book is devoted to questions that work when: looking for a job; taking a new job or career change; selling and negotiating; creativity and new thinking are needed; meeting and planning; hiring and managing; managing your career; dealing with a problem; you are fired or laid off; you are put on the spot; starting your own business; you are educating yourself; you are leading others. The book is, primarily, a very useful collection of questions. An excellent resource. 360 pp. 2001.

Wisdom From the Ancients: Enduring Business Lessons from Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and the Illustrious Leaders of Ancient Greece and Rome, by Thomas J. Figuerira, T. Corey Brennan and Rachel Hal Sternberg. Perseus Books.
Brief quotations from many ancient scholars and leaders are presented, along with terse discussion by the authors. Some topics covered are: leadership; building constituencies; consulting and decision making; strategy; competition; motivation; hiring and firing; risk taking; communication; and delegation. The enduring truths of the ideas in this volume make it well worth the reading. 240 pp. 2001.