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Managing (Right) for the First Time Hardcover – June 10, 2010
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A friend's request that you review his first book can prompt a range of emotions. On one hand, he's one of the smartest, well-reasoned successful and in-charge people you know. On the other, brilliant authors occasionally produce literary clunkers. It was that with a fair amount of procrastination, I prepared for the reading session. (After all, this was a business book I was about to read, not a Nelson DeMille novel). Within minutes, I found myself half way through the book. Because I know David, I could visualize him sitting across from a new manager, dispensing his counsel in his straight-foward, logical, no-nonsense manner. He writes with authority about the good and not-so-good reasons people are promoted into management roles; the pitfalls and opportunities; the importance of managing the relationship with one's boss; and the critical importance of understanding the core principles that guide successful managers. This book is not meant exclusively for the neophyte. Every manager can profit from it. Experienced managers can use it to assay the fineness of their managing. Moreover, hiring managers will find it an indispensable guide when they promote others to management. From watching David present to large audiences, reading his articles and conversing with him via email, I was certain the book would not be a pompous tome about the importance of motivation, formal employee development programs or organizational development theory. I was not disappointted, as it is wise, tested counsel, presented logically and understandably and immediately usable. --John Ranalletta, Senior Consultant at Advisa
Inc. Magazine just named this book one of the Top 10 Books that Entrepreneurs Should Read. That's quite an honor, and also a validation of the reviews above. --Inc. Magazine
About the Author
David C. Baker was born in Michigan, but lived in San Miguel Acatan, Guatemala with a tribe of Mayan indians until he was eighteen years old, after which he moved to the United States. He spent six years in graduate school, earning an advanced degree in ancient languages and theology. He has taught at the undergraduate and graduate level. David managed a publisher and mail order book house from 1983-1988 and then owned and ran a marketing firm in Warsaw, IN from 1988-1994. David lives in Nashville, TN with his wife Julie. They have two grown boys: Jonathan, who lives in Atlanta, and Nathan, who lives in Nashville. David enjoys playing racquetball, riding fast motorcycles, taking photographs (ReTake), and flying (he's a helicopter and airplane pilot). Since 1994, David has been a speaker, a writer, and a consultant for the marketing industry via his own firm (ReCourses). He has worked with more than 600 firms individually and thousands of people have been through his seminars. David founded RockBench Publishing Corp., a traditional and electronic publisher of courageous thought leadership content. He has been a featured speaker at nearly every marketing industry conference (HOW, AIGA, PRSA, Counselors Academy, MYOB, SEGD, BDA, PROMAX, Y, etc.), as well as a frequent contributor to nearly all the major publications that serve the marketing industry (Critique, Communication Arts, HOW, Rough, Creative Business, PR Intelligence Report, Creative Planet, In-Review, Graphic Artists Guild, Agency Insider Report, Post Industry, Internet Professional Publishers Association, etc.). He edited Persuading for its entire tenure of six years, earning accolades from subscribers all over the planet. His work has been discussed in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Inc. Magazine, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, Forbes, CBS Business Network, and MarketingProfs. He also contributed portions of Cameron Foote's The Business Side of Creativity, Robert Bly's Internet Direct Mail: The Complete Guide to Successful E-Mail Marketing Campaigns, and the new AIGA book on Professional Practices in Graphic Design. He has contributed to a dozen other publications by leading authors, and a recent three-part booklet series was published by NewPage: David C. Baker Speaks, and he has also written Financial Management of a Marketing Firm, also available on Amazon.
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The one main thing that has to be said about this book is that it does not speak to the reader in dry and theoretical language that most management books do! The Author has gone through extensive research and writes in a very easy to read and digest tone, even hilarious at times!
What caught my attention from the first few chapters was that the Author was describing the proper management techniques by observing the wrong management techniques and pointing out how not to follow in those footsteps!! It was funny for me because I saw the exact same mistakes being made by some of my previous superiors and I could relate to the situation being described and the frustration it caused me and the entire team! It made me realize that management is universal as it speaks to a core human nature.
The book targets managers, soon to be managers, and business owners. For people with no ambition to ever become entrepreneurs then some sections might sound unnecessary and because this book speaks to managers in general and not towards managers in a certain industry where there are different management norms, the techniques might sound excellent on paper, but a little bit more difficult to implement in reality.
Overall a great, informative, and enjoyable book which is very easy to read. I read mine in a few days. There is tons to be learned from this book, which might warrant a second or third reading in order to best unlock the true value of this book.
The book is meant to appeal to any manager, but is particularly relevant to small business owners who reluctantly (or not) found themselves in a management role as they grew. There is a definite bent to the creative industry, but worth reading-and paying attention to-for any new (or frustrated!) manager. If I had any comment on how it could be better it is that the book flips back and forth between being broad and being focused on the creative industry.
That said, Baker's insights are short, to the point, based on years of real experience with managers and business owners, and always, always, *always* worth considering.
He is not a flashy guy, but he is a true thought leader, one of only a few I know.
I value his opinions and insights far more than celebrated marketing authors like Seth Godin (that's not a slam on Godin, but rather a testimonial for Baker :-)
If you're feeling stuck in the sludge of management, or you are looking for a shot-list to improve your style - read this. Heck, if you are just looking for a something to fill up your time, or make it seem like you care about your skills - read this. I promise you, this book will have an effect on you. It's not a feel-good, inspirational, leadership book - it's a practical handbook that basically smacks you in the face with reality. Seriously.
Robert L. Gardenhire