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Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action Hardcover – September 8, 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470494514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470494516
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Named one of the Top 10 Small Business Books
Small Business Trends

"[Awesomely Simple] reminds us that a thriving successful business is about doing the basics right and not just doing what feels good. If you’re a small business owner, no matter what the size of your business, this is your bible. You will save yourself heartache, time, frustration, anguish and a multitude of other small business frustrations by simply taking this book and making it your roadmap."
Smart Business Trends, December 13, 2009

From the Inside Flap

What do the world's most successful companies and organizations have in common? And what are the real takeaways to use in your own business?

John Spence, trusted advisor, strategist, and consultant, has spent decades helping business owners and managers cut through the clutter to determine the core needs for creating and sustaining a successful organization. Real solutions aren't necessarily complex, but they are critical, and with John Spence's guidance, they can even be made simple.

In Awesomely Simple, Spence helps you take a hard look at your business and evaluate how it is succeeding in the six areas most critical for lasting success. Every organization, no matter what its size or sector, must excel in cultivating:

  • Vivid Vision

  • Best People

  • A Performance-Oriented Culture

  • Robust Communication

  • A Sense of Urgency

  • Extreme Customer Focus

Focusing on these fundamentals, Spence breaks down each principle to readily understandable action items, offering countless tools, strategies, and measurements of success to make these concepts both come alive and be put into practice. By bridging the knowing-doing gap, Spence shows how to develop tailored plans in easy-to-follow steps that will allow you to dramatically improve the success of your company.

Whether you are solidly weathering the current economy or struggling through it, Spence's straightforward, uncomplicated approach shows anyone how to turn big ideas into action and performance.

Business strategy and success don't haveto be unattainable goals; they can be awesomely simple.

More About the Author

Background on John Spence

"Making the very complex...awesomely simple" is no mere catch phrase, it is truly John Spence's mission in life. Driven by an insatiable curiosity to understand the fundamental aspects of what it takes to achieve and sustain excellence in business and life, John Spence has earned a reputation as a leading authority in the areas of Strategic Thinking, High-Performance Teams, Advanced Leadership Development, and Delivering Consistently Superior Customer Service, making him one of the most highly sought after executive educators and professional speakers in America.

At the age of just 26, John was named CEO of an international Rockefeller foundation, overseeing projects in 20 countries and reporting directly to the Chairman of the Board, Winthrop P. Rockefeller III. Two years later John was nominated as one of the top CEOs under the age of 40 in Florida and Inc. Magazine's "Zinc Online" recognized him as one of America's up and coming young business leaders. John is Director of Best Practice Innovation at the Best Practice Institute, has twice been named one of the Top 100 Business Thought Leaders in America and has also received honorable mention as one of the top 100 Small Business Influencers (along with Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell and Apple).

For the past 17 years, John has presented workshops, speeches and executive coaching to more than 300 organizations worldwide including; Microsoft, IBM, GE, Abbott, Merrill Lynch, AT&T, Verizon, Qualcomm, State Farm, and dozens of private companies, government offices and not-for-profits. John is also the author of "Excellence by Design - the six key characteristics of outstanding leaders" and "Awesomely Simple - essential business strategies for turning ideas into action" and has been a guest lecturer at over 90 colleges and universities across the United States including Harvard, Rutgers, Brown, Stanford, the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and is an instructor of the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at MIT.

Affectionately referred to as the "Human Cliffs Notes" by many of his clients, John is known for taking massive amounts of research combined with his personal hands-on experience to deliver timely, focused, results-driven programs. For example, to create carefully customized workshops and presentations that reflect the newest research and most current thinking, John reads a minimum of 100 business-related books each year and listens to an additional 30-50 audio books, giving him an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge which to draw from.

John has served as "Executive in Residence" for the University of Central Florida's Technology Incubator; as a Special Advisor to the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University; as a lead instructor for the University of North Florida's Executive Education division; on the Board of Directors for the University of Florida's Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation; as an advisor to the University of Florida's Leadership Development Institute and as a senior instructor at the Cornell University Leadership Development School.

His work as a business advisor and executive educator has taken him on assignments to Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Latin America, New Zealand the Bahamas and Canada.

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Customer Reviews

Very easy to read.
Linda Moran
What john does really well is to provide practical examples and advice on the implementation of these ideas to change your business.
Bryan da Frota
I highly recommend this book to anyone in a leadership position.
Brian K. Martin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Walter H. Bock on October 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Simplicity is simple. Writing about simplicity is not. That was the big challenge facing John Spence when he sat down to write the book Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action.

The result is a well-laid out, well-written book that makes 56 key points, asks you to audit 77 things in your organization. It suggests 41 items worthy of thought and discussion and a like number of suggestions for turning those ideas into action. And that's without getting to the meat of the chapters.

This book will be a good buy for you if you're looking for a short, well-written book that will help you review your business and come up with good ideas for improving the way you do things. If you're looking for a high level view, with a few good details thrown in, this is a good book.

The book may not be a good buy for you if you're seeking ways to improve your team or individual performance. The book is written about the whole organization and mostly high level issues. That leaves you with advice to do things like "Fully align all major strategies and objectives of the organization."

The book is written as if you can simply stop operations for a year or so and follow the book's ideas. You simply don't develop a high performance culture quickly and you don't have the luxury of chucking your old culture overboard and starting from scratch.

If that high-level overview is what you want, read on. Here's a review of the content, chapter by chapter.

The first chapter tells you to develop a "clear, vivid, compelling, and inspiring vision for the future of your business." That's simple to say and hard to do.

In the next chapter you are told to "create a corporate culture that attracts, grows, and keeps the best people.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tony Heath on June 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Spence may have a modern classic in his new book Awesomely Simple. Drawing on his years of consultation work and his study of the business literature, he has synthesized the best thinking in business strategy, leadership, and management. But the author doesn't stop here, he prioritizes the challenges for us.

I finished reading Awesomely Simple a few days ago and have found myself carrying it around with me as a reference. It's strange, but I feel almost proud to have it with me. I've cited it to my team and to the other managers with whom I work. I've copied a few phrases into email.

One feature I particularly love is that John Spence ends every chapter with a bullet point summary, a self inventory that helps apply the ideas to the reader's workplace, and a treasure trove full of examples and/or additional information. It's so difficult to translate what we read into action, but Awesomely Simple includes bridges to action for every key idea.

Awesomely Simple is a great example of a simple and clear view of what's important and what works in business. It assembles the best business logic of our time in one handy little guidebook. If everyone in my company would invest a single day to read it, my company might well achieve even more than it has.

Buy this book, read it, and then go back and work it. We'll all be better for the effort. And we'll owe John Spence a huge debt of thanks.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Brian K. Martin on September 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I highly recommend this book to anyone in a leadership position. If you have a team of any sort, buy it for them and read it together. The six principles may be awesomely simple, but the execution and follow through are the true challenge. This book provides real life examples that everyone can relate to; that really help drive the points home. As I read this book, I couldn't help but relate my experiences and current challenges to the examples and ideas contained within. This really allowed me to refocus my efforts based upon the six principles. The interactive self-audits make this book an actual tool to use; for individuals, or for entire teams. This is a powerful book with simple, but powerful concepts. Read this book before you read any other business book. It can transform you and your business - it has for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Monika Oli on February 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover
John Spence shared a story in the introduction of his book how he used "In search of Excellence", the #1 national bestseller by Tom Peters, at the outset of his career as his mantra (this first business book he ever read). As it turns out, many of the lessons and suggestions in this book did not hold up in the face of time and many of the great companies are no longer today.

After reading thousands of business books, John has mastered to simplify and unify the messages of many texts and he presents his findings and experiences in an interactive, suggestive way where every reader is guaranteed to gain insight from his book.

"Awesomely Simple" has become my new mantra for work, business and home and I would bet that John's strategies, approaches and suggestions have the potential to become a #1 bestseller, leaving a permanent imprint on the business community.

A must read for everyone, applicable to anyone, not just in the business world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gregg Piehl on September 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
John really does keep it simple. He takes complex ideas and describes not only the what but also the why in easy to understand terms. His stories are also great and really bring the point he is making to life. I found myself referring back to this book as well as John's first book as situations arise in the workplace to determine how John would approach the situation to help frame up my approach. I would say this is a must read for any level manager.
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