The commercial application of Greatest Hits

How Greatest Hits training can transform your business.

  • I take 15 minutes to explain what is in a book
  • We discuss the content and its implications
  • Attendees have to work out how they can apply the thinking to their business, customers, clients, or staff
  • This generates a minimum of 10 ideas per book
  • Repeat 6-10 times and you have 60-100 ideas to stimulate the business
  • Over 200 books to choose from


number of view: 0


12 2012

The Strategy Book – Max McKeown

The one-sentence summary

Thinking before you plan is vital. Strategists who don’t take time to think are just planners.


  • This is a handbook explaining how to generate powerful strategies, and what the strategy tools are that you can use.
  • Strategy is all about shaping the future, and that requires a combination of thinking, planning and reacting to events that emerge along the way.
  • The crucial questions are:

What do we want to do?

What do we think is possible?

What do we need to do to achieve our goals?

When should we react to new opportunities and adapt plans?

  • Thinking before you plan is vital. Strategists who don’t take time to think are just planners.
  • Imaginative, open, playful, passionate thinking is required before the serious work of planning begins. This involves knowing where the grass really is greener.
  • Inspiration and insight can be drawn from looking forward, backwards, and outwards, which often means blending smart prediction with past experience and astute observation of what’s happening outside the company and the category.
  • Strategists need to know what stage their organisation, industry, products and services have reached. What crises have they survived? What will be next?


  • Your company is a collection of decisions. And that’s what strategy is all about. If a decision is strategic it will:

Get specific things done.

Outmanoeuvre the competition.

Be part of a strategic pattern.

Fix the company’s position.

Risk (or save) the company’s position.

  • Survival is a priority, but growth is better. How has the company grown in the past? What can fuel it? Which markets and products could help?
  • Just doing what you did last year isn’t imaginative enough. Executive teams need to:

~ Find enough time to look at the bigger picture several times a year, with a talented facilitator.

~ Accelerate and deepen the strategy process by using many more people inside and outside the company.

  • Strategy can be a lot of intellectual and emotional fun. A great session will involve laughter.


Nothing – and the tool kit at the back is a great reference point if you are in a rut.

number of view: 96


10 2014


  1. Linchpin, Seth Godin, 47,300 hits
  2. Marketing Judo, Barnes & Richardson, 8,600
  3. Little Black Book of Innovation, Scott Anthony, 8,500
  4. Adaptability, Max McKeown, 6,700
  5. Sticky Wisdom, Matt Kingdon, 6,000
  6. When Cultures Collide, Richard Lewis, 6,000
  7. The Brand Innovation Manifesto, John Grant, 6,000
  8. The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty, Dan Ariely, 4,600
  9. Rigorous Magic, Taylor & Hatch, 4,000
  10. Tell The Truth, Unerman & Salem Baskin, 3,800
  11. The Accidental Creative, Todd Henry, 3,600
  12. The Little Big Things, Tom Peters, 3,400
  13. The Use of Lateral Thinking, Edward de Bono, 3,400
  14. How Brands Grow, Byron Sharp, 3,200
  15. The Bed of Procrustes, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 3,200
  16. Organisations Don’t Tweet, Euan Semple, 2,700
  17. Drinking From The Fire Hose, Frank & Magnone, 2,600
  18. Talk Lean, Alan Palmer, 2,400
  19. David & Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell, 2,300
  20. Contagious, Jonah Lehrer, 2,300
  21. The Language of Leaders, Kevin Murray , 2,300
  22. Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 2,200
  23. Makers, Chris Anderson, 2,200
  24. Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, 1,900
  25. The Age of Unreason, Charles Handy, 1,900
  26. Business Is Beautiful, Danet et al. , 1,800
  27. Obliquity, John Kay, 1,800
  28. The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz, 1,700
  29. The Art of Action, Stephen Bungay, 1,600
  30. Smart Leadership, Yudelowitz et al., 1,600
number of view: 120


10 2014

Free! – Chris Barez-Brown

The one-sentence summary

Life and work are intrinsically linked, so if you want to live an extraordinary life, your work needs to resonate with a strong sense of purpose.


  • The sub title and message of this book is Love your work, love your life.
  • Life and work are intrinsically linked, so if we want to live an extraordinary life, our work needs to be extraordinary too. And that means it needs to resonate with a strong sense of purpose.
  • Work is your slave, not the other way round. No one makes you work – the choice is yours.
  • Reflection time is crucial to build in to each working day.
  • There’s no such thing as bad people, just bad actions.
  • Be nice to people and it will be nicer for you.
  • You have to love yourself before you can love others.
  • Our self-worth should never be dictated to by other people’s opinions.
  • If you had a blank sheet of paper how would you design your job?
  • We have on average 27,350 days on the planet, and 10,575 will be spent at work.
  • Vergaderziekte is Dutch for ‘meeting sickness’. Try to have fewer of them.
  • Don’t chase the orgasm: the current job is never the ultimate goal and so it is never properly enjoyed.
  • 75% of employees say their boss is the worst part of their job. 65% say they’d prefer a new boss to a pay rise.
  • Crap bosses are our fault because we let them get away with it, and it is estimated that they cost the US economy $360bn a year.
  • Most people use 60% or less of their work time to be productive.


  • 98% of US employees believe their annual performance review is unnecessary. Anonymous ‘feedback’ in 360 degree appraisals is demotivating and divisive. The correct format is:

Fact – What is that I actually did?

Think – What is your interpretation of that?

Feel – What is your reaction to that?

  • “Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle they need to overcome. Since the present moment is life itself, it is an insane way to live.” Eckhart Tolle
  • “If you can’t enjoy one dollar, what’s the chance of you enjoying a million dollars?” Richard Bandler


  • There is a reasonable amount of floaty stuff here – shamanism, ayurvedic ideas, and various spiritual observations that are arguably something of a sideshow to business matters.
number of view: 134


10 2014

The Innovation Book – Max McKeown

The one-sentence summary

It is possible to become a competent innovator by being aware of powerful techniques and approaches that have succeeded elsewhere.


  • This is effectively a workbook that explains how to manage ideas and execution for outstanding results. It provides a comprehensive overview of the entire genre of innovation.
  • An innovator’s approach involves collecting ideas, transforming them into something else, exploring them in detail, and nurturing them through to execution.
  • You need a healthy dissatisfaction to achieve this – an unwillingness to accept traditional limitations, a restless desire for novel experiences, and a frustration with things as they currently are.
  • It takes a fair amount of pain to make progress. Unnecessary pain is caused by avoidable mistakes and uncaring application of new ideas. Industry pain involves existing structures that hold things up. People pain is where individuals struggle to make progress. Necessary pain is the total effort to develop and make room for the new (and better) idea.
  • Quitting can be winning. Knowing when to give up and try something else can save a lot of wasted effort.


  • Adaptability is vital to your approach. Compare the attitude needed:

High adaptability > > > > > > > Low adaptability

Take risks to make gains                     Take risks to avoid losses

Uncertainty starts new learning        Certainty from old learning

Explore to increase options                Exploit to increase profits

Driven by future opportunities          Driven by conformity

Learn by experimentation                   ‘Learn’ from tradition

  • Companies need to make sure they are not idea-toxic (creativity unwelcomed) or idea-wasteful (new ideas treated casually and mismanaged).
  • FFE is the Fuzzy front End. A lot is unclear during innovation and executives need to get comfortable with an element of this uncertainty as a permanent way of life.
  • Functional fixedness stops people and companies from solving problems creatively because they have fixed assumptions. Children don’t, for example.
  • The wave analogy sums up 4 approaches to innovation: stranded (left behind it); surfing (taking full advantage); shaping (inventing the next thing); smashed (standing against it and failing to adapt).
  • Beware of novelty overload. New ideas fight for attention, time and resources, and can prove very distracting if not properly channelled.
  • The author has to conform to a series format that is mildly constricting but effectively bypassed by the excellent toolkit of innovation techniques at the end – a must-read section for anyone needing a primer in the subject.


  • The author has to conform to a series format that is mildly constricting but effectively bypassed by the excellent toolkit of innovation techniques at the end – a must-read section for anyone needing a primer in the subject.
number of view: 340


10 2014

Business Reimagined – Dave Coplin

The one-sentence summary

The workplace is no longer fit for purpose so we need a more flexible and social approach.


  • This book is subtitled Why work isn’t working and what you can do about it.
  • The workplace is no longer fit for purpose so we need a more flexible and social approach. Businesses need to provide physical and cognitive space for employees to flourish.
  • Reimagining business involves bringing together flexible working, being social, and the management of change.
  • A recent study showed that 71% of Americans are not engaged with their work.
  • Open plan offices have turned workers into antelopes on the savannah – spending most of the time feeling vulnerable to the wide open nature of their habitat.
  • Productivity is now viewed as office-bound, process-focused and unimaginative. It’s about how much you get done, not the quality of it.
  • Being slaves to email was never part of our vision of the future.
  • The most vital question is: “Why do we do it like this?” The worst answer is: “Because we’ve always done it like that.” This is what Jonathan Margolis calls ‘the arrogance of the present.’


  • According to Tony Crabbe, creativity divides into three categories of activity: 1. Intellectual ambling. 2. Connecting brains. 3. Deep thinking.
  • It takes 15 minutes to achieve optimum ‘flow state’ thinking, but few modern executives ever get 15 minutes of uninterrupted time.
  • 70% of office workers say they get more done when away from the office.
  • 38% say they can be more creative when away from the office.
  • Multi-tasking makes us 30% less effective.
  • While social technologies are used by 70% of organisations, there is only a 10% success rate with such projects. This is because social collaboration is by its very nature disruptive, the technology is often outside of the traditional suite of corporate tools, and the risk of democratisation frightens many companies.
  • Collaboration is well demonstrated by this anecdote. When JFK visited NASA in 1962 he asked the janitor what he was doing. The reply was “I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”


  • There is no index or bibliography, which is a bit frustrating.
  • The Knowledge Worker descriptor at the start is never defined.

number of view: 315