Book Review October 2008

Mastering the management bucketsMastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
Author: John Pearson

Publisher: Regal Books
Pages: 284
ISBN: 978-0-830745-94-4

In his introduction to Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit, author John Pearson speaks freely about his faith and spirituality and how this is as important to his success as the buckets. Certainly, the book will hold added meaning for those who are religious. Those who chose to move on to the next book after reading the Introduction will miss out on its wealth of information and tips on success management.
The 20 ?buckets? are grouped into three sections. ?The Cause,? covering buckets 1 to 6, is ?all about our mission?and the results we are targeting.? these particular buckets contain strategies – ?strategic balls? – for achieving your goals. The Results Bucket, for example, contains such strategic balls as focusing on outside results, not inside results and measuring your results; the Customer Bucket?s balls include ?focus on your primary customer? and ?move your customers from ignorance to purchase?; and the Strategy Bucket?s includes ?memorize your mission statement.?
Section 2, ?The Community,? contains buckets 7 to 13, where ?we hone our core competencies in people skills? and where ?we build and equip team members and celebrate results.? The People Bucket, for example, examines four ?social? styles and the importance of knowing which style is your own. The Team Bucket presents an anecdote in which the author works marathon hours to catch up on his work and finally realizes that he should delegate work to his team and trust the team?s work.??
Buckets 14 to 20 comprise the section titled ?The Corporation,? which focuses on ?operations, systems, marketing and public relations, boards and meetings.? It is here, Pearson states, that ?fiduciary responsibilities, hiring and firing employees, delegation, organizational charts and budgets? are sorted through and resolved. Strategy balls for the Budget Bucket are ?understand and communicate your cash flow plan,? ?monitor monthly reports? and ?implement financial best practices.? The Delegation Bucket is tied into The Team Bucket and reinforces the point that no company can sustain itself if it depends on one person to do it all. The Operations Bucket advocates clarifying responsibilities and ownership of tasks, as well as shaping a permission-giving environment.
Presenting this enormous amount of information and strategic advice in small sections eliminates the need to read the entire book, or even an entire chapter, in order to extract management gems. This is great for readers who prefer their information in ?bite-size? portions. For those who aim to be effective in a management capacity, Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit truly is invaluable.

Reviewed by Soroya Brantley

The Essential writings of James WeldonThe Essential Writings
of James Weldon Johnson

Edited with an Introduction
by Rudolph P. Byrd
Modern Library, October 2008
$15, 352 pp

James Weldon Johnson is probably best known as the composer – along with his brother John Rosamond – of ?Lift Every Voice and Sing,? the hymn they wrote in 1900 that became the Negro National Anthem. Johnson was also an educator, journalist, playwright, novelist, executive secretary for the NAACP, and a U.S. diplomat to Nicaragua and Venezuela. He was a cultural and political critic who embraced cosmopolitanism and once wrote: ?That a people are only as great as the literature and art they produce.?
In this collection, Professor Byrd of Emory University has compiled Johnson?s most celebrated works. In the Foreword, award-winning author Charles Johnson aptly writes: ?He [Johnson] was in the truest, the noblest, and purest sense of the phrase an American ?Renaissance man.??

The Naked TruthThe Naked Truth: Young, Beautiful, and (HIV) Positive
By Marvelyn Brown, with Courtney E. Martin

Amistad/HarperCollins, September 2008
$14.95, 176 pp

It?s shocking news, indeed, when someone, let alone a teenager, discovers they are faced with a serious disease. In this inspiring memoir, Brown recounts how she dealt with being diagnosed with HIV at the age of 19. In The Naked Truth, she confesses that she ?was insatiably hungry for love.? But as Brown recalls the happenings of her life, hers may echo in the minds of many youngsters longing for approval, attention and love.
According to the CDC, Black youth comprise the largest single group of young people affected by HIV. For those who might be facing similar challenges, Brown writes: ?This is a story of my still young, wild, and, at times, reckless ride of life. It is a cautionary story of how I discovered self-love, self-respect ? and speaking the truth in hopes of saving the lives of others.?

Reviewed by Clarence V. Reynolds