The crisis for Australian charities is one of identity. They are in crisis because so many of them do not know who they are and they do not know why they are doing what they are doing. And what is sad is that many do not even understand the concept, according to Stephen Judd, Anne Robinson and Felicity Errington in their book Driven by Purpose: Charities that Make the Difference.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

The image of weak and declining churches has been carried forward in the last twenty years by news services in the United States, consistent with their general sense that religion itself is a dying relic of the past, according to Ted Campbell in his book The Sky Is Falling, the Church Is Dying and Other False Alarms. While the church as a whole clearly is experiencing decline, the reality is not as stark as the headlines seem to suggest.

The book lists a number of facts in support of this argument:

  • Historic Protestant churches were never the dominant center of American religion they are supposed to have been in the twentieth century.
  • The preponderance of lost membership has been of inactive members.
  • The numbers of active members of congregations are higher than weekly attendance figures reveal.
  • Historic Protestant churches today have a strong core of committed believers.

The author also describes a number of good things which have come from historic Protestant churches, including ecumenical engagement, postmillennial optimism and social engagement, roots beyond America, doctrine and liturgy, strong expectations for the Christian formation of adult church members, institutions for multigenerational transmission of cultures, and benevolent infrastructures

Not all readers will appreciate the author’s distinctive sense of humour or writing style, but those who are looking for a realistic appraisal of the current situation and immediate future of the churches often referred to as “mainline” will find some useful information in this book.

A few exceptionally well-informed and far-seeing individuals manipulated events in the aftermath of the Second World War, so that they gained control of a public relations machine of unprecedented power, according to Richard Milton in his book The Ministry of Spin: How Politicians Became Addicted to the Power of PR. The Ministry of Information had been created by the British Government at the start of the Second World War to counter German propaganda, but it was supposed to be wound up after the war, rather than being appropriated for peacetime political use.

The book describes how Herbert Morrison, the deputy prime-minister in Britain’s post-war Labour Government, secretly re-purposed much of the Ministry of Information machinery, using its propaganda abilities to push through the Labour party’s nationalisation program. Hundreds of skilled media professionals were pressed into service to promote the government’s social engineering schemes.

Although the author also describes how Anthony Eden’s conservative government used similar propaganda techniques to induce support for an unjustified war with Egypt over the Suez Canal, most of the book is devoted to describing the machinations of Clement Attlee’s government and how the mostly sincere believers in social reform justified the use of propaganda, funded at public expense, to persuade the public to support their programs.

It is an interesting tale, demonstrating a strong correlation between government public relations and misuse of public resources. The production of large numbers of government films including animated films forms an interesting part of the story. The book provides a fascinating insight into the misdeeds of a government more than 60 years ago, and leave one wondering how writers in 60 years’ time will view the misdeeds of current governments.

In a world of ever-expanding online opportunities, it is essential that we stop treating the Internet as a distraction to be resisted and instead see it as an ally in the battle for focus, productivity, and personal effectiveness. But the Internet can only be your ally when you know how to use online tools effectively: when you start by thinking about your priorities and working style, and then customize your digital toolkit accordingly, according to Alexandra Samuel in her book Working Smarter with Social Media: A Guide to Managing Evernote, Twitter, LinkedIn and Your Email.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Professional services firms have to recognize that they are no longer in business just to provide technically excellent products and services; they need to go the extra mile to anticipate, understand and deliver commercial solutions to their clients, in a manner and style that not only resolves their clients’ challenges, but also delivers a great experience in the process, according to Nigel Clark and Charles Nixon in Professional Services Marketing Handbook: How to Build Relationships, Grow Your Firm and Become a Client Champion.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Does a leader’s character really contribute to the organization’s bottom line, or are strong business results simply a reflection of a solid business model and positive macroeconomic forces? That is one of the questions asked by Fred Kiel in his bookReturn on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win. The findings of the book are based on a large number of surveys of employees of substantial organizations, concerning their leaders, as well as interviews with the leaders themselves, and also financial information relating to those organizations.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

The U.S. economy is increasingly run by a “visible hand” instead of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.” Large sectors of the economy are guided by a few powerful companies. The question is whether the visible hand runs these sectors with Smith’s “enlightened self-interest” or with just “self-interest”, according to Philip Kotler in his book Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Brands operate in sectors, and each sector is a separate playing field, according to Kartikeya Kompella in his book The Brand Challenge: Adapting Branding to Sectorial Imperatives. So, instead of trying to write a book on branding principles which are applicable to all industries, he assembled contributions from experts in a number of different sectors, to explain how branding in their sectors works.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

The most important thing in launching a crowd funding project  is to plan your pre-launch preparation properly, according to Johnathan Leow in his book Crowd Funding Checklist: The 90 Day Action Plan for Turning Your Idea Into a Best-Selling Kickstarter Launch. You will have to do many things, such as crafting your product message, setting up the campaign page, and building a base of interested audience prior to launch.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Digital tools allow digital disruptors to come at you from all directions—and from all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities; your competitors probably won’t come from within your industry—they could come from any industry, or from one that doesn’t exist yet, according to James McQuivey in his book Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation. Equipped with a better mindset and better tools, thousands of these disruptors are ready to do better whatever it is that your company does.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.