BOOK REVIEW: This uncompromising book is a great advert for the self publishing revolution that is ‘democratizing’ the act of publishing. It presents valuable ideas in a stimulating way, is far more excitingly designed than the average business book, and through its link to IMD speaks with real authority. The IMD link must also provide a marketing channel for the book – an important lesson for all self publishers.
To prove business is an ‘art’, author/entrepreneur Jacques-Edouard Guillemot takes the reader (and his mum) on an inspiring journey through his one-year MBA program at IMD business school. We often hear the voices of thought-leading professors – but on this life-changing journey we uniquely hear about what a top business school can inspire in its students.
Written “For the Talented and Curious who want to build their next step,” the book provides a series of often counter-intuitive insights to the key drivers of business. A few sub-headings taken at random give a sense of what is covered: Economics – mastering the forces at stake; Leadership – knowing yourself, moving out of your comfort zone; Leadership – situational awareness; Cash – why bankers invented options; Media circus – silence is suicidal; and Organizational behaviour – getting the best people at work. Critically the coverage is far from commonplace in fact much of it is refreshingly disruptive.
Guillemot’s voice comes across powerfully but behind it and giving resonance is the experience gain from projects in Brazil, South Africa, Switzerland and France and the thinking of contributors such as American philosopher Nassim Taleb, South African entrepreneur Wendy Luhabe, investor Thomas Strungmann, IMD president Dominique Turpin and many others.
Perhaps more of a dip-in book than a long read, Yes Mum, Business Is an Art! is a great source of ideas and inspiration for entrepreneurs, business leaders and would be business leaders alike.
Perhaps inevitably the book suffers from not having passed by an experienced publisher. A lot of subjects are covered, perhaps too many, and some important observations are made about them. However the signposting through the book can be hard to follow and the writing style rather staccato – like notes from a Power Point presentation. Some really valuable insights are diminished by not being written in a more flowing style, and annoyingly although the headings are set in large type the bulk of the text is typeset too small (not a problem for ebook readers).
Of the ‘Good, Bad and Ugly’ of self publishing this book represents the Good. The Bad are just too second-rate to warrant being read and the Ugly live in the realm of vanity publishing and self-delusion. Too often we are reminded of the value of traditional publishers in filtering out the bad and the ugly. In this case, I am sure many publishers would have liked to publish Guillemot’s good book – though they may have asked him to compromise.
Yes Mum, Business is an Art! By Jacques-Edouard Guillemot, self published 2013, ISBN 978-2-8399-1249-5 (www.yes-mum.com)
IMD Business School