Want to feel dumb? Then just take a look at Retrain Your Business Brain (Dearborn, $19.95), and try one of the 101 problems inside. Donalee Markus, Lindsey Paige Markus and Pat Taylor designed these visual and verbal puzzles to force open new mental pathways. If pain leads to gain, they've done it, because you'll feel as if your mind is being stretched, bent and twisted. It's like yoga for your brain.
The authors claim that leaders and employees who work their way through the book become better at solving business problems and spotting opportunities; they even promise to turn detail-oriented people into big-picture thinkers. They walk you through solutions, coaching you to color-code and label problem elements, create categories and apply other problem-solving tools. By the final chapter--in which you decipher an ancient Babylonian numbering system without the use of a decoder ring--you'll never approach a problem the same way again, whether it's unraveling a market trend or trying to develop a new product.
The premise of Peter B. Stark and Jane Flaherty's book, The Only Negotiating Guide You'll Ever Need (Broadway Books, $22.95), is that people too often treat negotiations as one-time affairs. According to business consultants Stark and Flaherty, by failing to consider the other side's needs, negotiators make it hard to win repeat customers and develop strong vendor relationships. After a self-test to evaluate your current negotiation skills, the authors introduce a slew of win-win deal-making tools, including The Dead Fish--a deal point unimportant to you, but one that your opponent will hate and perhaps exchange for something you do care about--as well as 100 other tools for becoming a successful negotiator.
By Donalee Markus,
By Peter B. Stark,
Jane S. Flaherty
Mark Henricks is Entrepreneur's "Smart Moves" columnist.