Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Release Spotlight: Making it Count

Making it Count: Putting Meaning Back in Business and Relationships
by Bryan Hurlbut

The American dream is to work hard and to have it pay off, to make it count. Author Bryan Hurlbut does his best in Making it Count to help readers achieve this dream, just as he has. Among the many existing books that offer advice on business growth and relationship building, though, this book has little to offer.

A short bio on the back cover reveals that Hurlbut has been a successful business leader in IT consulting for twenty years and has worked with a variety of clients. Unfortunately, though, no introduction or in-depth author biography establishes Hurlbut as an expert on business relationships. While twenty years of business success is certainly an accomplishment, a nonfiction author must be an expert on the topic of the book—through publishing articles, leading seminars, and consulting specifically on the topic. Rather than establishing that base of experience to build trust in readers, though, Hurlbut dives into his first bit of advice: everyone loves to teach. One wonders whether Hurlbut is teaching in this book because he is qualified to or because he loves to.

Many of Hurlbut’s bits of advice are helpful, though. “People do what you inspect, not necessarily what you expect,” he writes in his chapter about management. “When in doubt, listen nine times more than you speak.” While measuring listening against speaking is difficult to quantify, the point is clear: you don’t know everything; shut up and listen.

Partway through the book, Hurlbut establishes a rhythm of introducing the point of the chapter through a personal anecdote, applying it to the reader, and then offering a numbered list of recommended actions or perspectives. Too bad he doesn’t establish that rhythm from the beginning.

Hurlbut and his occasional pearls of wisdom fail to make readers’ time count when compared with competing titles. Self-help authors like Stephen Covey offer timeless tips balanced with anecdotes and a proven history of expertise. If you’re looking for something to count, skip Making it Count and go straight to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, even if it is a classic.

Review by Ali McCart, Indigo Editing, LLC

ISBN: 978-1-934454-13-8
Publisher: Synergy Books
Pub Date: May 2008
Paperback: $13.95

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