Friday, March 12, 2010

The Big Picture by Kevin Coupe and Michael Sansolo -- Book Review and Giveaway

Yesterday, Michael Sansolo offered us an excellent article titled, "The World of Innovators". If you missed it, you can find it here.

We're going to review The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies and you'll get a chance to win a copy of this excellent book. Look for more details at the end of our review.

In The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies, readers are taken on a journey through over sixty movies, where co-authors Kevin Coupe and Michael Sansolo share the important business lessons to be gleaned from well-known and not-so-well-known movies through the decades.

From action and adventure movies like Jaws and Rocky to comedies like Babe and Tootsie, from classics like Citizen Kane to date movies like Bull Durham and Sex and the City, readers will discover or rediscover movies in a new and meaningful way. Even biopics such as Schindler's List (one of my favorites), and dramas such as Bottle Shock can provide lessons everyone can use to inspire solutions in their business life.

Here is one of my favorite excerpts from the book:

Take 1 - Action/Adventure

Jaws (1975)

Denial is Never a Good Idea

Rated L Leadership
Rated P Planning

by Kevin Coupe

Jaws is one of the best thrillers ever made, but it also serves up an example of business behavior that is almost inevitably fatal: denial.

“I don’t think either one of you are aware of our problems,” Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) says to Chief of Police Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) and Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) at one point in the movie. “I’m only trying to say that Amity is a summer town. We need summer dollars. Now, if the people can't swim here, they'll be glad to swim at the beaches of Cape Cod, the Hamptons, Long Island...”

Sure, Amity needed summer dollars. But what Vaughn ignored was the fact that the town also needed tourists that weren't worried about being torn limb from limb.

Vaughn’s reluctance to close the beach is an example of the type of short-term thinking that should be avoided in the business world. Vaughn is working under the premise that if the town of Amity closes the beaches because of concerns about shark attacks, it will scare away the tourists on which the town depends. Which is true. But Vaughn ignores the cold reality that if tourists find out that there is a shark in the water and the town allowed people to go swimming, not only will they stay away in droves, they’ll also lose trust in the town’s management and never come back.

Businesses have to engender trust in their customers. Violate that sense of trust by ignoring the obvious facts—or even just the likely trends—and the repercussions can be both serious and long lasting.

Mayor Vaughn obviously never learned from the management at Johnson & Johnson, who, when faced with evidence that Tylenol had been tampered with in 1982, immediately pulled the product off the shelves. The Tylenol executives figured that they could survive the short-term hit, but would never survive the backlash if they denied the seriousness of the problem. When a new tamper-proof version of Tylenol came back to store shelves, there remained a sense of trust on the part of the consumers because Johnson & Johnson played it straight.

To be fair, although Mayor Vaughn generally is painted as the bad guy in Jaws because he ignores the sharp-toothed reality swimming just off shore, almost everybody is in some sort of denial. While this denial drives the plot forward, it also offers a primer on how to not deal with serious or even not-so-serious business situations.

Think about it. Quint, the great shark hunter played to crusty perfection by Robert Shaw, continues to chase the enormous great white shark with a small boat and just two crewmen. That’s world-class denial.

Hooper, the oceanic expert with a passion for sharks, shows a sense of denial several times when he gets into the water with the shark. Sure, he’s getting into an anti-shark cage, but the evidence is pretty strong that it isn’t going to be nearly “anti” enough.

“You go inside the cage”? Quint asks. “Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water. Our shark.” And then he sings: “Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain. For we've received orders for to sail back to Boston. And so nevermore shall we see you again.”

About the only main character who doesn’t seem to be in denial is Chief Brody, and even he has a moment of self-delusion when he’s asked why, if he is scared of the water, he lives on an island. “It’s only an island when you look at it from the water,” he says.

Yeah, right.

But it also is Brody who has the movie’s primal moment of clarity. It’s when he’s shoveling bait into the water and gets his first close-up look at the shark’s massive body, black eyes, and very, very sharp teeth.

“I think we’re going to need a bigger boat,” he says.

Truer words never have been spoken.

In business, as in Jaws, denial can get you eaten for lunch.

If I had to provide an opinion on this book in only three words, they would be, "I loved it!" Now, you have to keep in mind why this is so amazing--I'm not much of movie fanatic. I can count on one hand the number of movies I've seen in the theater over the past decade. Being self-employed and working from home, I rarely turn the television on, never mind sit down to watch a movie.

The Big Picture got me to thinking about movies, though. What have I been missing that I could use as a writer, online publicist, and editor? What business lessons might I have found in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had this book been available back then? Are there lessons to be learned even in movies I didn't really care for?

Kevin Coupe and Michael Sansolo have done what many entrepreneurs suggest--turned their passion into something more. Once you've read this book cover to cover, you won't be able to deny they love movies. But more than that, you'll discover that these two men, who started as newspaper reporters and then moved into writing for business magazines, understand what it takes to compete in business today and in the future.

The best part is that this isn't your typical regurgitated lessons for business leaders type of book. It's fun. It's engaging. The conversational style and the authors' obvious passion for what they're doing, make this a book that is impossible to put down. Every type of business from the smallest to the largest will find something--and probably many somethings--in this book that they can immediately apply and use to make a difference.

Every business leader should have a copy of The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies on their desks and refer to it often.

Title: The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies
Authors: Kevin Coupe and Michael Sansolo
Publisher: Bringantine Media
ISBN: 978-0-9711542-8-5
SRP: $14.95

Here's how to enter for a chance to win a copy of The Big Picture:

1) Mandatory: Follow this blog or let us know you are already a follower. Comment must include a working email address so that we can contact you if you win.

2) Get three additional entries for blogging about this contest. Leave a comment (with link) here telling us where you blogged about it.

3) Get two additional entries for tweeting about this contest. Don't forget to let us know here that you tweeted and leave us a link.

4) Get two additional entries for posting about this contest on Facebook. Leave us a link here.

This giveaway will run from today until 11:59 p.m.(Eastern) on March 31st. A winner will be announced in early April.

This contest is open to all residents of the United States and Canada.


fredamans said...

Already a public follower.


fredamans said...



Dawn M. said...

This looks like a fun book to read. Count me in. :0)

I'm a follower.

librarygrinch at gmail dot com