Local masters Featured

7:46am EDT October 21, 2004
I've never watched TV's "The Apprentice," mostly because I don't care much for Donald Trump. I've never met him, but from what I've seen, I don't think I'd want to spend much time with him.

By contrast, the local authors of three business books are people I know and whose company I've shared on occasion. More pertinent, their books provide plenty of solid business wisdom and counsel that any entrepreneur could glean in a few hours of relaxing reading.

In the nuts-and-bolts category is "Ready, Set, Succeed," a concise yet comprehensive look at project management. Linda Schumacher's book is methodical and well-organized, full of charts, graphs and bullet points to describe her strategies and tactics for tackling projects and making them successful and less painful.

While it covers a subject that some might find as exciting as watching a car rust, Schumacher presents it in a readable, fluid style, referring frequently to a fictional hair salon where the owner applies project management concepts to keep his business on track.

Entrepreneur Jack Roseman and co-author Steve Czetli, former business editor of the Pittsburgh Press and now publisher of online newsletter TechyVent, have produced "Outrageous Optimism," a collection of chapters, most only a couple of pages, that deal with topics ranging from partners to problem board members in a style that is full of Roseman's seasoned insights and humor.

Roseman cautions the reader early on that the book isn't a manual for becoming a millionaire; rather, it's a guide for enjoying the entrepreneurial journey. Most often, it offers advice on how to deal with people in respectful, constructive ways and how the business of life and the life of a business are so closely connected.

Lance Kurke, Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon professor and management consultant, penned "The Wisdom of Alexander the Great," a work that uses the exploits and triumphs of one of history's legendary leaders to illustrate the key principles of effective leadership. Scholarly but not ponderous, the book tracks Alexander's career and draws lessons that can benefit the modern leader 2,300 years later.

My advice: Ignore "The Apprentice." Pick up these works by a trio of local masters. Even "The Donald" could learn a thing -- or three.