Kramer had a great idea

    In a classic episode of the "Seinfeld" television series, the irrepressible Kramer character wrote a coffee table book about … coffee tables. In the show, the book becomes a best-seller, and Kramer ends up on Regis Philbin’s show.

    Ultimately, life imitated art, which had imitated life, and such a book was actually written.

    That was the first thing that came to mind when I received an advance copy of a book titled, "The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: What They Say, Why They Matter, and How They Can Help You."

    The book is written by Jack Covert and Todd Sattersten. Covert is the founder and "chief mentor" of 800-CEO-Read, a Milwaukee-based specialty business book retailer that began as a subsidiary of the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops. Sattersten is president of 800-CEO-Read.

    The reason Seinfeld’s Kramer came to mind is that for the past few years, Covert and Sattersten have been writing reviews about business books. And I mean, hundreds of business books.

    So, it is amusing that they turned around and wrote a business book of their own about the best business books they have read.

    I would dare to say they are qualified to make such judgments.

    The book is basically a collection of reviews that Kramer, I mean Covert and Sattersten, wrote about business books through the years.

    One of the coolest and most valuable features about the book is its collection of anecdotes from the authors of the books, including:

    • "My goal in ‘Purple Cow’ is to make it clear that it is safer to be risky – to fortify your desire to make truly amazing things. Once you see that the old ways have nowhere to go other than down, it becomes even more imperative to create things worth talking about." – From "Purple Cow" by Seth Godin.
    • "Those businesses that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience." – From "The Experience Economy" by B. Joseph Pine II and James Gilmore. (You might recall that BizTimes Milwaukee brought Pine to speak at the BizTech Conference & Expo two years ago.)
    • "Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall." – From "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey.
    • "Good is the enemy of great." – From "Good to Great" by Jim Collins.
    • "Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do." – From "The Radical Leap" by Steve Farber.
    • "More leaders have been made by accident, circumstance, sheer grit or will than have been made by all the leadership courses put together." – From "On Becoming a Leader" by Warren Bennis.
    • "The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the financial outcome, good or bad." – From "The Great Game of Business" by Jack Stack with Bo Burlingham.

    I was not shocked to learn that there were 11,000 business books published in the United States in 2007. I think I received press releases, e-mails or advance copies on half of them. That’s what makes the new book by Covert and Sattersten such a valuable resource. For additional information, visit

    Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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