I don’t do many book reviews these days – our FIR Book Reviews Editor, Bob LeDrew, does an admirable and far better job – and I wanted to prepare well for this one. So I wrote up my notes as a narrative and that’s what made it into the podcast.
As I have that narrative – in essence, the transcript of the podcast – I’m publishing it here as an additional review: the words on a screen that will show up in search results whereas audio yet cannot.
Think of it as bonus content, Philip!
Attenzi review notes
Hello, I’m Neville Hobson, co-host of the For Immediate Release podcast series, with a review of Attenzi – A Social Business Story, the new book by Philip Sheldrake published on May the 15th, 2013.
Attenzi is a business book with a huge difference – it’s not a business book, it’s a novel.
It tells a compelling and credible story of one man’s journey that, unbeknownst to him at the start, would help him and his leadership team “redefine the way we all think about our business and its place in the market and its place in the world.”
With Attenzi, Philip Sheldrake presents a sympathetic character in the story-teller Eli Appel, newly-installed CEO of Attenzi, a fictional international company that makes and sells top-range kitchen equipment and services.
Philip gives us a believable hero in Eli, a man who many readers will easily identify with in his desire to understand the shifting sands of contemporary consumer behaviours, the needs to respond to those changes in ways very different to old management and leadership preconceptions; and his endeavours to knit together a team of people that will be the driving force to enable Attenzi to make the jump to that next level.
As the tale unfolds, we see Eli and his colleagues consider aspects of organizational design, business performance management, marketing, public relations, branding, complexity, and the imminent empowerment of the individuals that make up all organizations.
The story also begins to explore the evolution of the customer-centric mindset that, Philip says, has dominated management thinking for the past two decades.
It’s good writing, good story development, credible characters all. It’s a highly probable storyline of individuals trying to understand the changes in their business world, and in their business itself, figuring out what it all means for them and their business, and working out what to do, who will do it, and when.
The kinds of things that business leaders face all the time in the real world.
Philip has done well in presenting business themes and topics that anyone really could grasp without getting lost or losing interest.
As Eli notes early on in the story, ‘social business’ is the kind of buzz word or buzz phrase you hear about at conferences yet have little belief that even those who bandy the words around have much real idea of what they mean to businesses.
I think Attenzi will make you really think about social business, probably in a way you might not have if you’ve thought about those two words before.
The thinking will be about the very things Eli Appel tells his story about – behaviours, engagement, influence, new ideas, organization culture, change, risks, rewards, and so on. It’s not about the tools and channels of social media.
That’s where I think Philip’s story works well. Yes it’s about social business. But unlike every other business book on this topic, it’s not a business book – it’s story-telling, it’s a novel, a work of fiction.
In sum, it’s a surprisingly good read on a topic that doesn’t sound like it would be. Social business? That dry old thing?
I think you’ll enjoy Attenzi. It’s not just a good read, a passive activity, though. You could engage with the primary characters, each of which you can find on Twitter. You could add to the content, build on it, with chapters of your own that you can connect via the hashtag #attenzi.
After all, Eli concludes his tale with: “I’m finishing this first part of the new Attenzi story.” In the concluding words of Adam Pisoni, Microsoft Yammer co-founder and CTO, who wrote the foreword, addressing you the reader: “Perhaps you’ll even write the sequel?”
Philip has written this book to give away under a Creative Commons license. The more people who read it, the possibility increases that they’ll talk about it, hopefully favourably, attracting more interest and readers. Word of mouth in action.
You can download a copy of Attenzi free of charge in a variety of digital formats: HTML, PDF, ePub, Kindle, and iBooks. There’s also a version on Scribd.
All available right now from www.attenzi.com.
If you have comments or questions about this FIR Book Review, or suggestions for future reviews, please share them in the online FIR community on Google+. You can also email us at email@example.com; and connect with us on Twitter: @FIRpodcast.
You can find more information about the For Immediate Release podcasts, including the weekly business show The Hobson and Holtz Report, at www.forimmediaterelease.biz.
Thanks for listening.
Philip’s set up the foundation for a community surrounding the book, and its broader concepts, on Google+. Well worth being part of that in developing, influencing and extending the conversation.