From the February 1999 issue of Entrepreneur

Image may not be everything, but it's hardly insignificant. How best to put your business face forward in this era of endless spin?

For a historical perspective, check out Stuart Ewen's PR! A Social History of Spin (Basic Books, $16). Intensely researched, PR! places the art of public relations in a cultural context that's interesting (but not for the scholastically faint of heart).

Both heartfelt and thorough, Signs and Wonders: The Spectacular Marketing of America (Currency/Doubleday, $27.95) delves into the world of signage in all its colorful, creative glory. Authors Tama Starr and Edward Hayman pay particular attention to that Mecca of visual marketing: Times Square.

Shel Holtz's Public Relations on the Net (Amacom Books, $24.95) is an excellent primer on technology's role in company image-keeping. "The Internet is so new," observes Holtz, "that businesses, unsure of what to do with it, are applying old uses to it." Don't let your business be one of them.

Heard On The Street

Can you handle the truth? If you've ever been tempted to get a polygraph machine for your business, you're going to be interested in a computerized lie detector system being marketed by an Israel-based technology company. The TrusterPro -- which works in conjunction with your phone and computer -- reportedly detects deceit through vocal mannerisms. Get the rest of the true story at www.truster.com

  • Easy riding: Josh Squire (l.) and Yuval Degani, co-founders of LeisureTec Inc. in Chicago, have developed the first fully automated bicycle-rental machine. Aimed at recreational users and environmentally conscious commuters, Bike Station proves there's still room on the entrepreneurial highway for good ideas.
  • Well, well, well: Whether it's a window to the workplace of the future--or merely a temporary retreat from the hectic world of the present--the Wellness Room at OP Contract, an office furniture dealership in San Francisco, certainly must cheer napping advocates. In this employee sanctuary, cozy blankets and soothing music purport to lift spirits and productivity alike.