From the January 2001 issue of Entrepreneur

It's easy to see the value in understanding ourselves, our employees and our fellow entrepreneurs. And you'd be crazy to pass up a chance to turn your own personal identity into a brand name. Now if you could just learn to tame the human tendency to complain, you'd really have something. In fact, you'd have these three books, each of which addresses an important aspect of what it means to be a successful, recognized and happy entrepreneur.


If you come across a book that's taught you to grow your business better, let us know. We'll pass it on to other readers looking for solutions-or mere inspiration. Write to us at entmag@entrepreneur.com.

Managing Workplace Negativity

Managing Workplace Negativity "Don't pay any attention to him-he's just a grouch." How many times have you said those words or something similar, usually accompanied by the appropriate eye-rolling and perhaps a rueful shrug? Even once could be too often, says management consultant Gary S. Topchik, who feels workplace negativity is a destructive but correctable problem.

Unfortunately, Topchik offers no evidence to support his claim that millions of dollars are lost annually to pessimism and complaining. What he does offer are so many anecdotes and hypothetical case studies that it's not hard to make that stretch.

Of special interest are his thumbnail portraits of 14 types of negative person-alities, from nit-picky "Micros" to the steam-rolling "Locomotives." If you can't recognize at least one of these 14 in your current work force, then congratulate yourself-and don't ever let your employees leave. If, however, you have plenty of negativists, Topchik offers you the tools to stop their negativity and prevent its recurrence.

Managing Workplace Negativity (Amacom) is available at Amazon.com.

Make a Name for Yourself

Make a Name for Yourself Robin Fisher Roffer has built brands for Turner Broadcasting, AOL and Robin Fisher Roffer, among others. Although she brags about her big clients in this book, there's little doubt which of these brand-building projects she's proudest of. Fisher Roffer knows the name she makes for herself is one of her most important assets-and she's willing and ready to do something about it.

That something is to provide readers with a guide to creating their own brands. To explain her concept, she turns to one of the most recognized individual brands anywhere: Oprah Winfrey. It's not hard to see how your business would be helped if you had the instant recognizability of Oprah. What's not so obvious is how Oprah did it, and how you can do it, too.

All the steps in Fisher Roffer's eight-installment plan are eminently doable. They not only show you how to find out what you stand for but also how to ensure that the right people understand it and appreciate it.

Make a Name for Yourself (Broadway Books) is available at Amazon.com.

Executive Instinct

Executive Instinct It's a jungle out there, folks. And it's a savanna in here, adds Nigel Nicholson, a London Business School professor who applies evolutionary psychology-the science that explains human behavior by reconstructing how our ancestors thought and acted-to management. In short, Nicholson says the reason employees sometimes act like so many Neanderthals is because they are (and so are you).

Some of this book won't go down too easily. Nichol-son maintains, for instance, that there are inescapable inequalities between men and women. Still, his explanations of why entrepreneurs so often seem to adore risk and ignore danger ring true, and Nicholson's writing is consistently lucid and witty.

Executive Instinct (Broadway Books) is available at Amazon.com.

What Are You Reading?

First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently (Simon & Schuster, $25) by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

"I think I run my 2½-year-old company in a very different fashion than the multinational companies I've been accustomed to working for [are run]. This book is an affirmation that my business methods are natural. It's an affirmation that it's OK to do things in nontraditional ways."

-Cecilia Pagkalinawan, 32, CEO of Boutique Y3K Inc., New York City