Book Smarts

The Golden Rules for Managers: 119 Incredible Lessons for Leadership Success, by Frank McNair. Sourcebooks, $16.99 (256 pages)

McNair (How You Make the Sale) distills his management wisdom into 119 aphorisms grouped into nine crucial categories: vision and planning, motivation, expectations, coaching, feedback and performance management, rewards and consequences, relationship management, self-management, and leadership. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and a challenge designed to help the reader apply the proffered wisdom. Specifically tailoring each rule to the management field, McNair offers such adages as “If you listen long enough, people will tell you what motivates them”; “The seeds of our destruction are sown in the soil tilled by our gifts”; and “People don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care.” The last chapter focuses on shaping one’s personal management philosophy, which many managers fail to consider. Concise and informative, this collection holds value for all managers, no matter the level or the experience.

—Reprinted from Publishers Weekly

Why She Buys: The New Strategy for Reaching the World’s Most Powerful Consumers, by Bridget Brennan. Crown, $26 (336 pages)

The founder of Female Factor Strategic Consulting is a convincing cheerleader for marketing more effectively to women. She points out that women purchase or are the key influencers in about 80 percent of all consumer product sales in the U.S. alone—but 90 percent of marketing execs trying to reach them are men. In her crusade to teach marketers to become female-literate, Brennan offers very practical advice, urging readers to think twice before using overtly “masculine” competitive messages, to avoid violent images and language, and to realize that women, focused on practicality rather than cool bells and whistles, require fairly sophisticated marketing: “Pink is not a strategy,” she reminds us tartly. The five important global demographic changes affecting female consumerism—more women in the work force; delayed marriages and therefore more spending on self; lower birthrates resulting in fewer kids (but more stuff); a divorce economy, which translates into needing two of everything; and the growing rate of active older women—mean that the female market must be well catered to. Brennan’s style is smart and straightforward, and her pragmatic advice is spot-on; marketers should take note.

—Reprinted from Publishers Weekly