“What Winning Companies and Great Managers Do in Tough Times”, is the tagline of Jeffery J. Fox's book entitled “How To Be A Fierce Competitor.” As you can probably gather just from the title, this book is rather feisty. It's all about how to be the #1 company anyone has ever had the pleasure to do business with. I'll tell you all about this book and give you my recommendation in just a bit, though I first have to answer this question: “Peter, why are you reviewing this book?”
The answer is simple and in two parts: a) the book is a good book and b) Mr. Fox himself sent me a autographed edition! That .. and I also promised to review it a while back. Here is the article I wrote up about the super, awesome, synergistic signed copy: https://piotrkrzyzek.com/my-signed-copy-of-jeffery-foxs-new-book-how/
So let's get down right into it.
The book isn't small nor large though it is jam packed with good information. Some concepts I already implement, some I will incorporate into my business and others I disagree with. As with the previous book of Mr. Fox that I reviewed, this book isn't for everyone. If you are content with working a 9 to 5 job and have no desire to advance your career, then this is NOT to book for you. Though, if you are a strapping young lad (or laddess? … whatever the female version lad is) who is set on making a mark on this planet or if you already have a successful business and want to improve it then this IS the book for you.
If you have read the other books from Jeffery Fox then this books style will be familiar to you. The chapters are short, straight to the point, rarely inter-connect (except for the global theme) and mostly use stories (and allusions [I hope that's the right word… SEE! That's why I'm not an author and Mr. Fox is!]) to convey the message. Though you don't have to worry about the story being too complex; the stories are simple to understand the the ‘point' of each chapter/story is very evident (unlike in Think and Grow Rich).
Just like the previous book(s), each chapter has the book logo before it. This book's icon in an hand in a business suit (or so) holding an umbrella in the rain. For those of you who don't know, Jeffery became a best selling author with ‘How to Become A Rainmaker‘. So this icon/logo is very fitting to the overall theme of his books. (ps: Sorry Mr. Fox for using the logo/icon without your permission. I'll treat you to tea and crumpets to make up for it if you're ever in the area).
About the content of the book:
The book is rather well written without any typos as far as I could see. There are 60 chapters and the book has 158 pages of content (this excludes the preface, forward and the ‘About The Author' sections).
As I mentioned the chapters are short; each chapter is anywhere between 1 and 3 pages on average. For example, chapter 1 entitled “The Fierce Competitor Company” 2.5 pages, though only really 2 pages after you take away the white space. The chapter describes what a good company will do:
“Fierce competitor companies relentlessly, tirelessly, continuously do whatever they legally can to pursue and capture every profitable customer. They never stop innovating. They never stop selling, reaching out, and communicating to their markets. … Fierce competitor companies play to win.
They are sometimes feared and always watched by their competitors. They are loved by their customers. They are easy to do business with, but they never take it easy. If the rest of the industry starts work at 8:30am, they are in by 7am. If everyone else closes n Sundays, they are open. If the other guy wings it, the fierce competitors plan their moves with care.”
All chapters describe what good competitors do and how they should do it.
While the book doesn't get down into the nitty-gritty details, it does give you very good guidelines to live and work by. You can almost consider this your 10,000ft map of the business world.
How to get the most out of this book:
The obvious first thing would be to implement the ideas … but that's wrong! What you want to do first is sit down with yourself and your business and take a good hard look at each other. See which ‘Fierce Competitor' qualities you have and which you don't. Only after you figure out what you have and don't have, then pick a few to start implementing. You can't do everything at once and many changes at once ‘might' be damaging to your business. It takes time to form habits and change. So do this gradually.
What I didn't like about this book:
As I mentioned previously there were several chapters that didn't float well with me. Here are some of the chapters and the reasons:
- “Forget Monthly Reports” — I believe that timely reports are very important. It keeps us executives in the here and now. We like to know what's going on and if we're making money AND if something isn't making us money (ie: losing money). Monthly reports are good, especially for us internet marketers. We have to constantly watch conversation rates, rankings, and sales statistics.
- “Always Answer The Phone” — I like this chapter a lot! The only complaint I have is the title because it is misleading. I do NOT believe you should always answer the phone. There are times that are ‘family' time and ‘me' time that should never be interrupted. Also, sometimes you have work to do that's more important than a phone call. Jeffery does make a VERY good point in the chapter, though my personal phone does have an off time. I need my ‘me' time.
- “Stay Off Magazine Covers” — This I really disagree with. For a non Fortune 1000 company such as mine, getting publicity is very important. Thus, spending time with interviews, writing article and being on/in magazines for us small fry businesses is very important. Though there are limits: if the interview/magazine cover will NOT benefit me nor my company (and thus my customers) in any way then it's a waste of time. Otherwise, each interview could also give you some time to plug yourself or your latest product.
There are a few other things that I disagree with, but that's just me. The ‘Stay Off Magazine Covers' is a very hot issue because it really will depend on what your goals in life and for your company are and where you and your company are financially. For example, someone like Bill Gates doesn't need any extra attention (and probably doesn't want it) though Mr. John Smith who runs a small consulting company pulling in only $100k a year gross can really use extra publicity to get his and his companies name out.
Overall thoughts and conclusions:
This is a book I'm proud to have read. I keep it near my business desk most of the time and freshen up on my business etiquette from time to time. It's a rather fast read so you won't have to spend much time on it, it's easy to read and makes many good points.
Overall conclusion: I would recommend “How To Be A Fierce Competitor”.
When you are ready click the book icon below to purchase it straight from Amazon. If you have any questions about the book or would like further info about it post a comment below.
For those of you whom have read this book, what did you think?