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WLE Bookstore » Books by WLE Keynote Speakers & Compass Award Honorees



Bang! Getting Your Message Heard in A Noisy World
Robin Koval, Delia Marshall, Linda Kaplan Thaler

Thaler and Koval, the CEO and vice-president respectively of the Kaplan Thaler Group advertising agency (KTG), share the secrets of their marketing success. In business for six years, KTG has created advertising campaigns based on a philosophy of the big bang, defined here as a strategy designed to make a brand explode onto the marketplace virtually overnight. Although the authors' advice is targeted primarily toward businesses and other publicists, the glitzy anecdotal writing is witty and informative enough to appeal to those interested in advertising and popular culture. Drawing on many specific examples of their accomplishments, Thaler and Koval describe just how the creative process is triggered by innovative thinking. The AFLAC insurance company, for example, was turned into a household name when a member of the KTG team realized that AFLAC sounded like the quack of a duck. The AFLAC duck raised the company's profile from zero to instantly recognizable. According to Thaler and Koval, big bangs are achieved in an atmosphere where rules are ignored, organization is compressed, chaos is embraced and intuitive thinking is encouraged. In addition to useful tips, the authors also highlight pitfalls that can derail a potential big bang, such as failing to rehearse presentations or neglecting to do appropriate homework on the company being wooed.

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The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart
Maxine Clark, Amy Joyner

In The Bear Necessities of Business, Build-A-Bear Workshop founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Bear Maxine Clark reveals how she built this amazing global business from the ground up. Drawing upon more than three decades of business experience, she shows readers what it takes to create an incredible company for customers of all ages. The Bear Necessities of Business is divided into seven sections, each built around an essential element necessary to start, run, and market a thriving company. Every section contains a series of short chapters, which further expand on each required element. While primarily drawing on real-life experiences from Build-A-Bear Workshop, this engaging book also features lessons and examples from some of the other successful companies Clark has admired and/or been associated with, including Starbucks, Payless ShoeSource, and Southwest Airlines. Readers will discover the true inside story of how Clark created Build-A-Bear Workshop from the ground up-while at the same time learning the key tenets to successfully growing and managing any kind of business. Filled with in-depth insights and practical advice, The Bear Necessities of Business provides a model for how to run a great company, regardless of what industry you're competing in.

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Bold Women, Big Ideas: Learning to Play the High-Risk Entrepreneurial Game
Kay Koplovitz

Koplovitz ran the USA Networks for 21 years, negotiating enormously successful deals, including the televising of National Baseball League games. However, in 1997 USA Networks became a bargaining chip in an unpleasant lawsuit between Viacom and MCA, and was sold for $4.5 billion. Since Koplovitz had no equity in the company, she made no money from the sale. She suddenly found herself looking for a new employment opportunity and confronted with the reality that women, according to her, are still at a distinct and tangible disadvantage in the business world, whether in raising venture capital or finding ownership opportunities. This led Koplovitz, along with some other well-connected women, to form Springboard, a venture capital group intended to help women start and grow businesses. Now involved in Springboard, as well as a company that televises Broadway shows, Koplovitz tells her own career story and gives advice for female entrepreneurs on such subjects as how to create a pitch and how to prepare for the tough questioning of investors. She offers readers a look into the psyche of today's venture capitalists and shares the business stories of other women who've sought funding from Springboard. Though Koplovitz's claim that female entrepreneurs face greater challenges than men may be true, this topic has already received much attention, and readers might be familiar with some of the material here. Also, Koplovitz only discuses professional life; this is not a book for those who want to read about balancing career and family. However, for fledgling female entrepreneurs and anyone else who wants an inspiring and educational look at successful businesswomen making high-stakes deals, this book fits the bill.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Carolyn 101 : Business Lessons from The Apprentice's Straight Shooter
Carolyn Kepcher

Smart, direct, precise. These are adjectives viewers of NBC's hit reality show, The Apprentice might use to describe Donald Trump's left-hand woman, Carolyn Kepcher. Kepcher is a tough judge who can make or break hopeful contestants vying to get hired by Trump. In Carolyn 101, readers find a respected business executive and familial leading lady. Kepcher's personal stories draw an entertaining and inspiring picture of a scrappy, former waitress and restaurant manager, with a no-holds-barred approach to getting hired and succeeding in a mostly male-dominated environment in New Jersey--and, eventually, in The Trump Organization.
In Carolyn 101, Kepcher describes how she successfully synthesized her learned-on-the-job business acumen and motherhood duties to become a respected leader in the Trump empire. Plus, readers will love the snippets Kepcher shows of her famous boss, including his empathy to her personal life and foresight in choosing Kepcher for a management role at the age of 25: "I was twenty-five, a woman, and had never run a golf club in my life. But since Donald Trump trusted that I could handle it, I trusted myself to handle it."

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My Life So Far
Jane Fonda

One of the most recognizable women of our time, America knows Jane Fonda as actress, activist, feminist, wife, and workout guru. In her extraordinary memoir, Fonda divides her life into three acts: her childhood, early films, and first marriage make up act one; her growing career in film, marriage to Ted Turner, and involvement in the Vietnam War belong to act two; and the third act belongs to the future, in which she hopes to "begin living consciously," and inspire others who can learn from her experiences. Fonda reveals intimate details and universal truths that she hopes "can provide a lens through which others can see their lives and how they can live them a little differently."

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Nothing's Impossible: Leadership Lessons from Inside and Outside the Classroom
Dr. Lorraine Monroe

This self-described "maniac leader" has written a delightful guide to becoming boss, whether it be in business or your own life. In this case, Lorraine Monroe's line of work is public education--and she possesses some pretty impressive credentials. As founder and principal of Harlem's Frederick Douglass Academy, she turned a wreck of a school into an inner-city success story, raising it to a third-place ranking among 180 New York public schools for student achievement. But her down-home tome of inspirational lists, autobiographical anecdotes, and thoughts on leadership transcends the schoolyard. Many of her tenets, collectively called the "Monroe Doctrine," could apply to management in most any field.
Monroe pulls no punches in her passion, even when describing her own life. She takes issue with the best and worst teachers from her own education, and portrays her parents, particularly her father, as imperfect but inspiring individuals as part of a symbolic lesson about adopting the best traits of those who surround you. Written in a wholesome, conversational style, her sound-bite nuggets of advice come across like a collection of Mom's best words of wisdom. "Worthwhile work is rarely done from 9 to 5," she advises. "Avoid people who envy, complain and drain." Her one-woman pep rally ranks up there with Trump: The Art of the Deal and basketball coaching legend Pat Riley's The Winner Within as a recipe for success.

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Our Separate Ways: Black and White Women and the Struggle for Professional Identity
Ella L.J. Edmondson Bell

Drawing on an eight-year survey of 825 black and white female managers, and juxtaposing the stories of seven black and seven white women executives at some of the most prestigious companies in America, this book illustrates the profound impact of "early life lessons" on women's professional identities and "reveals the power of geography and social location when combined with race." Foregrounding "the first generation of [black women] to hold managerial or executive positions" (many took their first jobs in the 1970s), the authors show that "the combined effects of race and gender create not only very different organizational identities and career experiences, but also very separate paths to the doors of corporate America." Bell and Nkomo (business professors at Dartmouth College and South Africa's UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership, respectively) are particularly adept at delineating the prejudices that create special problems for black women in the executive suite, without losing sight of the experiences they share with white women. They conclude that while there are crucial differences in the experiences of white and black female executives, the similarities suggest the enduring power of gender discrimination in the workplace and "the extent to which managerial careers are steeped in patriarchal ideology." An epilogue "offers suggestions on how to begin the sometimes difficult dialogue between black and white women executives. Bell and Nkomo have provided a well-researched and thought-provoking look at some important aspects of race and gender in corporate America.

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Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions
Gloria Steinem

Outrageous Acts premiered 12 years ago. While Steinem is disappointed that a second edition is needed-she wishes the subject were as dated as books on the Communist peril or apartheid-many of the stories testify as to how far women have come in three decades. Even Peggy Noonan or Mary Matalin would be appalled to be told that "no broads" were allowed at a high political council, as Steinem was told when working with the McGovern staff in 1969. This collection deserves better treatment from the producer, however; the essays are not listed on the packaging and the cassette halves lack screws, which makes repairing broken tapes nearly impossible. Still, this title is essential for all libraries.

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The Pampered Chef : The Story of One of America's Most Beloved Companies
Doris Christopher

Christopher's multimillion-dollar kitchen tools company, the Pampered Chef, was recently acquired by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway; her book documents how she turned a $3,000 initial investment into a thriving direct sales business that today employs tens of thousands. After a perfunctory foreword by Buffett, the book progresses more or less chronologically from Christopher's initial idea in 1980 (to sell high quality tools by way of TV infomercials), through her business development and hiring her first employees, to her quick expansion into a large international company. Along the way, Christopher shares the lessons learned from her business, including tips on starting up, handling organizational growing pains, customer service advice and wisdom on how to treat employees. Yet while Christopher's guidance is useful to aspiring entrepreneurs, her business advice is fairly basic, and written in a tone that is modest to a fault. Despite her tremendous business success, Christopher continuously downplays her own drive in favor of the assertion that her only desire was to put her kids through college and help her family. For those with other motivations, it will quickly become tiresome.

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When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution
Devra Davis

Davis, one of the world's leading epidemiologists and researchers on environmentally linked illness, writes about her lifelong battle against environmental pollution in strong prose, underlined with some horrifying stories. With a special emphasis on air pollution and its long-term effects, Davis anecdotally talks about some of the most infamous smogs and fogs of all time, including the Donora Fog (October 26, 1948) that left a small zinc-factory town in Pennsylvania blanketed in a thick, toxic fog for over a week. "Within days, nearly half the town would fall ill" and within one 24-hour period 18 people had died. She argues that these incidents are underreported because the industries responsible for the pollutants are often powerful corporations or the major employer in these small towns. Research into the long-term effects of pollution, such as breast and testicular cancer, reveals that people in the Northeast (including Long Island and Connecticut) and in California have a higher incidence of serious illnesses. Most importantly, Davis brings to the fore the long-lasting effects of growing up and living in a polluted atmosphere, clearly demonstrating that "people living in areas with the dirtiest air had the highest risk of dying." She sounds the warning bell loud and clear: the threat to public health is real. This is an enlightening, engrossing read (with an intro by Gaynor, a leading oncologist at the Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City), which should be on the shelf of anyone who cares about the environment and wants to learn more about policy, health and politics; Davis weaves all of these together with grace.

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Haven : Finding the Keys to Your Personal Decorating Style
Chris Casson Madden

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More Than a Game: One Woman's Fight for Gender Equity in Sport
Donna de Varona

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The Right Words at the Right Time
Marlo Thomas

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Thanks & Giving : All Year Long
Marlo Thomas

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