from the East — and from South Florida.
Two South Florida writers share their ideas on gaining a competitive
edge and finding a personal business niche.
published on Monday, April 19, 2004 in The Miami Herald.
Here are two recent books by South Florida-based authors seeking
to derive wisdom from the experience of others.
Art of the Advantage: 36 Strategies to Seize the Competitive Edge.
Kaihan Krippendorff. Texere. 288 pages
Kaihan Krippendorff is a Miami-based executive and consultant.
Despite a title that might suggest a memoir by Donald Trump, his
new book is an interesting and well-constructed effort to make an
aspect of traditional Asian philosophical thinking comprehensible
and actionable to Western business minds.
As a student at Columbia Business School, Krippendorff was encouraged
professor to consider turning his hobby of compiling business cases
into a book. The 36 Stratagems, a 2,500-year-old text of similar
pedigree as Sun Tzu's celebrated Art of War, provided the perfect
context. Each stratagem is used to portray at least one legendary
story, as well as a contemporary business tale involving companies
like Sony, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Coca Cola and others.
Here are some of the stratagems (and chapter titles): To catch something,
first let it go; Exchange a brick for a jade; Invite your enemy
onto the roof, then remove the ladder; Lure the tiger down from
the mountain; Befriend the distant enemy to attack one nearby; Kill
with a borrowed knife; Besiege Wei to rescue Zhao; The stratagem
of sowing discord; Beat the grass to startle the snake; Loot a burning
house; Feign madness but keep your balance; Clamor in the east:
attack to the west; Fool the emperor and cross in sea; Create something
out of nothing; Hide a dagger behind a smile; and so forth.
Krippendorff's book is an interesting one. Whether readers will
be adept enough to figure out which stratagem would best be employed
in any given situation is an open question. To that end, the author
includes a useful appendix that suggests ways to employ the stratagems
as brainstorming tools.
Regardless, thinking about business challenges and situations
in new ways can't hurt and might actually help a great deal.
Your Niche Can Be a Real Bitch But It Doesn't Have to Be. Kathy
Dolbow Doran. WORDrunner, Inc. 71 pages.
Kathy Doran is an active participant of the Business
Monday Book Club and often poses questions that challenge assertions
by authors (and a reviewer) and demonstrate her insatiable and relentless
curiosity. This acquisitiveness for information propelled her through
the twists and turns of her professional life.
Now she's directed this energy and interest toward learning how
others discovered their own path or ''niche'' in life. For some,
self-recognition came after much trial and error; others seemed
to lurch into a vocation or calling that magically matched their
skills and interests. To find out more, Doran interviewed eleven
people, among them several South Floridians, including physician,
author, painter and broadcaster Dr.
Ferdie Pacheco, and John
Dufresne, a writer and teacher.
Author Doran quizzed each subject on how they found their niche.
It's a potentially interesting procedure, but the brief interviews
offer little depth and scarce analysis. There's also a self-help
workbook section offering earnest exercises and recommended readings,
supplanted by quotes and take-aways from the interviews, along with
Doran's terse interpretations.
It's a noble effort but at 71 pages, a bit skimpy. Perhaps if this
self-published project takes off, she will be sufficiently motivated
to revisit it and add the necessary critical mass.
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