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ON THE SHELVES: Gettin' it in perspective

ON THE SHELVES: Gettin' it in perspective

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Downshifting: How to work less and enjoy life moreJohn D. DrakeBerrett-Koehler, 137 pages, RRP $32.95"Forty-nine per cent of Americans believe their society puts too much emphasis on work," says John Drake, founder of Drake Beam Morin, one of the world's largest human resources companies.

The former high-flying exec happens to agree with his fellow countrymen: what they are feeling, he explains, is a global economy cringe.

Epitomised by increased competitive pressures that are dictating the need to get more productivity from fewer people, and the pressure to serve more customers in an environment of rapid change, Drake believes the globalised economy has become a universal ‘enjoyment robber' for the denizens of the ever more connected corporate universe.

"Believe it or not," he warns, "the world around you has a plan for how you should live your life." But, then, so does Drake. The name of the game? Downshifting.

Having successfully escaped the corporate merry-go-round himself, Drake has written what the more cynical among us would label another self-help money spinner based on his own experience.

Although its format indeed subscribes to the all too familiar self-help cliché, Downshifting: How to work less and enjoy life more provides a practical guide to downshifting strategies built around a set of useful step-by-step self-assessment tools, case studies and questionnaires.

From questioning contemporary values to identifying solutions to everyday business situations (when was the last time someone tried to teach you that some phone calls don't ever need to be returned?), Drake's book tackles the issue of achieving a better life/work balance in a constructive and easy to relate to manner.

More of a Deepak Chopra than Anthony Robbins, Drake - a psychologist by trade - approaches the idea of life priorities in 10 clearly written chapters. Whether you want to get advice on the financial implications of downshifting or on getting your organisation's buy-in, if you're considering a change in your work life, this might be a good place to start.Love'em or Lose'em: Getting good people to stayB. Kaye and S. Jordan-Evans Berrett-Kohler, RRP $37.95How to keep your star employees is a question businesses often ask as a reflective afterthought when the people critical to the company's success start to leave. Written for HR professionals and managers, Love'em or Lose'em: getting good people to stay proposes 26 hands on strategies to prevent organisational brain drain. Clever and reader-friendly, it is a good guide for busy leaders in need of creative people management ideas.E-Supply Chain: Using the internet to revolutionize your businessC. C. Poirier and M. J. BauerBerrett-Kohler, RRP $79.95 Focusing on deriving value from the Internet supply chain, E-supply chain: using the Internet to revolutionize your business provides a valuable insight into the working of collaborative value chain networks.

An essential reading both for businesspeople looking to join a global ‘value chain constellation' and consultants who want to win their business.Heroes.com: The names and faces behind the dot com era Louise ProddowHodder & Stoughton, RRP $39.95From Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos, to "Web visionary" David Bowie, Heros.com: the names and faces behind the dot com era is an ode to the era of netrepreneurs. Featuring more than 50 interviews and profiles with the top guns of the dot-com world, this book offers an interesting insight into the psyche of those who managed to turn their dot-com dreams into success.


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