Dan's Biz Bookshelf: Broken to Better—13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership

None of us are perfect and this book by Michael Kurland talks about what we can do when we discover that we are not.

Most of us have a difficult time acknowledging when we are not operating on all eight cylinders. When we feel ourselves slipping a bit in our leadership role it’s not easy to admit it, and harder to decide to make changes, hopefully improvements.

While we are all so quick to judge and advise others, it is much more difficult to make those judgments and then improvements on ourselves. Now you don’t have to go it alone.

broken2better_book.jpgAs he describes in his book, Kurland has been there. He hit the proverbial rock bottom: Divorce, spirit-killing job, and a dismal “Is this all there is?” outlook on life. He decided it was time for a change. He resolved to do something about it. Most importantly, he knew that the quality of the rest of his life was up to that guy looking back in the mirror.

By writing this book he not only gives us a front row seat to his metamorphosis, but he also inspires us with his story as well.

Instead of feeling sorry for himself, he picked himself up, resolved to improve himself in all ways (physical, spiritual, business), sold everything he owned, and, following old Horace Greely’s advice, headed west to California to launch a new business called Branded Group. The company is now very successful and has been named one of the Fastest Growing Companies in America by the Financial Times.

So, how did he do it? How did he go from the bottom to the top? Well, that’s what this book is all about.

From the very beginning, he writes about how he changed his way of thinking, how he changed the way he viewed the people around him, and how he chose to be determined and purposeful to the point of getting things done—and done properly, correctly, and effectively.

I particularly like his chapter on being inspiring:

Being an inspiring leader starts with this willingness to change. Here are some practical tips to be inspiring by being a better leader:

  • Examine your motivation
  • Be transparent
  • Be resilient
  • Cultivate a continuous improvement mindset
  • Maintain your reputation

These are all values that apply to any business leader who strives not only to be successful but truly inspirational as well.

Look, we’ve all been there. We have all faced challenges in our leadership journey, so I would advise you to use this fine book as your personal roadmap to becoming a successful and fulfilled leader.

By the way, don’t let the title fool you. This is not only for leaders but for anyone who is constantly facing the everyday challenges of life. That’s pretty much all of us. Don’t face those challenges alone, let Michael Kurland be your guide.

Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.

Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership

Author: Michael Kurland

Copyright: 2022 by Houndstooth Press/Michael Kurland

Price: $22.99 hardcover/$15.99 paperback

Pages: 161

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2022

Dan's Biz Bookshelf: Broken to Better—13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership

08-23-2022

No one is perfect and this book by Michael Kurland talks about what we can do when we discover that we are not. Most of us have a difficult time acknowledging when we are not operating on all eight cylinders. When we feel ourselves slipping a bit in our leadership role it’s not easy to admit it, and harder to decide to make changes, hopefully improvements. While we are all so quick to judge and advise others, it is much more difficult to make those judgments and then improvements on ourselves. Now you don’t have to go it alone.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: Leading With Gratitude

07-27-2022

I like this book because gratitude is something in which I have always believed. So, it was fun for me to find a book, a very good book I might add, that said the same thing. I have always been confused and surprised by leaders who do not like to say thanks. I have never understood it. All I can think of is that they are afraid that if they show too much gratitude the person, they are thanking will ask for a raise. Or maybe they are reserving the right to lay that person of someday, so they don’t feel comfortable telling her she is doing a good job.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: TeamWork—How to Build a High-Performance Team

07-14-2022

Interesting fact: Out of 31.5 million small- to mid-size business in this country, 25 million list one employee—the owner. The next 5.3 million business in the group have two to 15 employees, and get this, only the last 600,000 business have more than 15 employees. Frankly, I was shocked by these statistics, enough to make me buy and read the book. I’m glad I did. In this book, author Natalie Dawson talks about how to grow a team and what it takes to scale that team to success by using various methods of employee engagement.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: 'The Millennial Myth—Transforming Misunderstanding into Workplace Breakthroughs'

07-07-2022

This is a book we all must read right now. I have had it with people ignorantly and blindly attacking millennials. We should be trying to understand them rather than just blindly knocking them. It is in our own self-interest to give them a break. We are going to have to work with these folks. And as we boomers age out, we will be turning the reins over to them.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans

06-02-2022

This one’s going to blow your mind. It’s the past, present, and future all rolled into one. It is about exactly what the title indicates—finding ways to connect with customers by creating bonds between your company and your customers. The message is likely antithetical to what you've always believed. I know it was for me.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: Back to Human—How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation

05-19-2022

In some ways, the work-from-home situation works out fine, but in other ways, it's really not working. For many of us, we haven't seen our co-workers in person for over two years. While technology has done well to connect us, often we're still not "connecting." Author Dan Schawbel looks at the current landscape and offers some advice.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: A One-Legged Stool—How Shareholder Primacy Has Broken Business

05-06-2022

Thank you, Ed Chambliss, for writing this new book. It is long overdue. I think I loved it so much because I agree with the whole idea, including the premise that the shareholders’ economics philosophy expounded by Milton Friedman so many decades ago is basically the root of most of what is wrong with our companies and our economy today.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Firms of Endearment

03-17-2022

Get ready to have your world rocked as I discuss this book, Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose. First, let’s start by how not to run your business and handle your employees.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Leaders Eat Last—Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

03-03-2022

Leaders create culture and the right culture is what makes great companies and organizations. Leaders lead by example. Leaders allow their teams to be great. No matter the size of your organization, whether it’s three or 3,000 people, culture is always important. Culture is what makes a great company in the end, and that must come from the top.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: The Future of Sales

02-24-2022

As I told a friend the other day, I learned more in the first 13 pages of this book than any other book I have read in a long time—and I’ve read a lot of good ones. The reason I love this book so much is that it is timely. It is the perfect book for COVID-influenced sales both during and post (please let’s be able to say “post” soon).

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2021

Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: The Cult of the Customer

12-30-2021

I am a customer service fanatic. I am nuts about great customer service, customer service stories, and most of all, good books about customer service—how to train people to deliver it and how it helps companies surpass their competition. This is an especially appropriate book because we are in the time of very poor customer service. I am sure this is because of the labor shortage which is certainly causing a dip in customer service. And then, of course, there are the people who are coming to work untrained. But being the glass-half-full guy that I am, I see this as an opportunity, especially in our business. What better time to improve your customer service while everyone else’s is terrible?

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Love as a Business Strategy

12-22-2021

The basis of this interesting book is that we are all better together. If we can look out for each other, and we keep one another’s interest at heart, we will all succeed in the end. Sure, some of you will think that this a good basic premise for doing business, but realistically this message needs to be said repeatedly because some companies just don’t get it. If business is always between people, then the need for caring for those people we do business with is a true prerequisite for doing business.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: Amaze Every Customer Every Time

12-10-2021

If you could only buy and read one book on customer service, this would be the one. Filled with easy to read, understandable concepts for delivering great customer service this book would make an excellent primer for training your own customer service and inside salespeople. But it is much more than that. Among his nuggets of knowledge: The customer is not always right. Get this book.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Built to Fail—The Inside Story of Blockbuster’s Inevitable Bust

12-02-2021

Shall we talk about the epitome of a “woulda, shoulda, coulda” story? This is the real deal. "Built To Fail: The Inside Story of Blockbuster’s Inevitable Bust" takes us on a fascinating reverse fortune adventure illustrating how things should not be done in business. How the world’s leading movie rental business literally overlooked opportunity after opportunity only to find that straight path to failure.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Pogue’s Basics

11-19-2021

David Pogue is one of my favorite reporters on CBS Sunday Morning, one of my favorite programs. He is also the technology reporter for the New York Times. And he is the opposite of what you’d expect for a tech reporter for the “Old Gray Lady.” His Techno Santa features every December are not to be missed, and Pogue will be the keynote speaker at IPC APEX EXPO this year.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

11-05-2021

This is another worthy title by the great Seth Godin. I am often asked why I am so enamored of this writer. And my answer is always the same: He writes the best and most common-sense books on sales, marketing, and strategy, and everybody knows, I love common sense. First, let’s get this out of way. The Icarus Deception is actually about the fear of success, of flying on waxed wings like Icarus, too close to the sun. The heat of the sun melts the wings and Icarus goes tumbling down. In this book, Godin urges us to dare to make art. And to Mr. Godin, we are all capable of making art, even our own art that no one understands.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: The Secret—What Great Leaders Know and Do

10-29-2021

Here is the simple truth of leadership from one of the most concise books on leadership I’ve ever read. This is actually the 10th anniversary edition and marks over half a million copies sold. So, I guess I’m not the only one who appreciates this one. Of all the books on leadership, this is by far the very best. It is the gold standard of leadership books.

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Dan's Biz Bookshelf: It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be

10-22-2021

You can read all of the business books on strategy that you want, but if you really want to cut to the chase when it comes to creative ideas for setting your business direction there are no better books than those on advertising by people in advertising. This is one of my favorites.

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Experts Never Chase—The Hassle-Free Guide for Expert-Based Entrepreneurs

10-01-2021

Experts Never Chase: The Hassle-Free Guide for Expert-Based Entrepreneurs takes us to the next level of selling. The authors demonstrate from their own experience how to get close to clients on a more valuable and personal way than “selling them.”

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Dan’s Biz Bookshelf: Own Your Weird

09-23-2021

Take some cues from this serial entrepreneur whose ideas are refreshingly creative, even if they aren't all successful. Find lessons of inspiration in a way you've never heard before.

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