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CFO Bookshelf

Author: Mark Gandy

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CFO Bookshelf is focused on lifelong learning for financial and all other business leaders. 

In following its mission, guests include best-selling authors in the fields of finance, management, operations, organizational health, and leadership.

185 Episodes
True Profit

True Profit


Confessions of a Pricing Man is easily the best book ever written on this topic.The author is Hermann Simon, the Chairman of Simon-Kucher. He's also one of this generation's most prolific business thinkers, whose writing parallels Peter Drucker's.In this conversation, our topic is Hermann's 2021 book, True Profit. Topics include profit maximization, the reason why pricing as a profit lever trumps volume increases or cost reductions, and the differences between profit and free cash flow.
I predict that Number Go Up will be considered the most fascinating and entertaining book in narrative non-fiction for 2023.Our guest is Zeke Faux, an investigative reporter. Several years ago, he was asked to check out Tether and the money supporting that cryptocurrency. Zeke had no idea that story would take him across the globe, logging many air miles along the way.If you are challenged or intimidated by the vocabulary surrounding cryptocurrencies, we attack about ten terms to lay the groundwork for the stories Zeke tells us later in the interview.
The BI Cantos

The BI Cantos


Dan Murray is the author of Tableau Your Data, and he recently published a blog series called The BI Cantos. The 21-post series is about how to successfully deploy a business intelligence system.Dan is the Director of Strategic Innovations at Interworks, where he has spoken across the country with audiences, including many in the Fortune 500.What exactly is business intelligence? What are the best tools to use? How do we separate fact from fiction in these implementations? And what is the best way to find a consultant?Dan answers these questions and more as this episode is geared toward those embarking on a new BI journey.The BI Cantos Blog Series - LINK
Joel Salatin is more than a gifted farm entrepreneur in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Joel is the author of twelve books and speaks around the globe on not just farming but simultaneously protecting and replenishing the land.The book we focused on was Folks, This Ain't Normal, which includes plenty of satire and humor. Our topics included open-book farming, the difference between buying natural vs. processed food, and several fascinating concepts revolving around money.If you want to learn more about Joel after listening to the interview, I'd start with this site as a launching pad: can read the full show notes on this episode on our website.
One of my favorite 25 business books is The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig.During this conversation, Phil explains the halo effect, along with several other delusions business leaders are bombarded with daily from the press, business authors, and consulting gurus.Other highlights include:remedies for overcoming the halo effect heuristicresearch flaws in Good to Greatbackward causalitiesbusiness culture and financial performance"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend."greed and hubrisPhil's favorite business books
Rasputin for Hire

Rasputin for Hire


As I search for books to highlight on the show, I'm looking for unique and interesting content and an author who has probably slipped under other podcasters' radars. Take, for instance, the title Rasputin for Hire by Michael Goodman.Michael is a marketing expert who has been consulting since 1979. In this conversation, we hear about the story behind this fascinating title and:the difference between his book and Dan Pink's first title, Free Agent Nationwhy new consultants have to love sellingthe problem with cold leadson working alonehow to use peer networkshaving confidence in one's own abilitiespersonal mission statementsconsulting between jobsa fascinating Seth Godin storyA special thanks to my friends at
Good to Great Boards

Good to Great Boards


I never knew there was a consulting niche for advising directors for public company boards of directors until I met Denise Kuprionis. She founded The Governance Solutions Group (GSG) based in Cincinnati, where she helps boards apply effective governance practices and achieve their most pressing objectives.In this conversation, some of our topics include:The way Denise finds clients to work withThe biggest difference between her board work today and ten years ago - there are not manyBoard assessmentsCorporate vs. board governanceCEO succession planning and when to startTone at the topThe role of a board of advisors in private companiesSandra Kurtzig's first advisory groupThis conversation also applies to private companies as Denise shares valuable nuggets for private company CEOs who could use the support of advisory board members to fill gaps where specialized knowledge is lacking.
After reading a book by a successful commercial developer who moved his family to France for two years, I wanted to learn more about setting up shop in a foreign country.That's because the real estate developer faced obstacle after obstacle because he wasn't used to the vast cultural divide between his home country and France.Accordingly, I felt I struck oil when I found the book, The Business Accidental Nomad by Kyle Hegarty. Kyle shares his experiences in building a marketing and sales presence in Asia based on data and humorous and engaging stories. I'll go so far as to say this book has a Liar's Poker feel to it; it's that good.Some of the big ideas we hit in this conversation include:the 70% failure rate in starting an international operationstereotyping vs. data-driven generalizationscalibrated storytelling - evidence and anecdotes"Treat people the way they want to be treated"TOR - trust, openness, and respectThe communications contractThe role of DISC for hiring new staff
One of my favorite business authors has just released his 15th book. The title is Own Your Work Journey by Ed Hess.Fans of Ed Hess will be treated to a mini-memoir in the introduction of the book, and we spend the first ten minutes of this conversation talking about some of the mentors in Ed's life during his upbringing as a youth.Other key points we hit are:the quiet ego and the wild stallion that's brought under controlemergent thinkinginner peace while having an open mindthe keys to reflecting, listeningthe skill of developing skills at a fast pacethe ongoing concept of learning, unlearning, and relearningthe primary reason our brains are not wired to be hyper-learners
The best book I've ever read on the topic of growth is by Ed Hess, and it's aptly named Smart Growth.It's not an anti-growth book, but through research, it dismantles the mental model of what I call Wall Street Growth which is:1.  Businesses have to continually grow or die2. All growth is good3. Growth has to be continuous and smooth4. Quarterly growth is the primary measure of successIn this conversation with Ed Hess, we discuss some of his favorite case studies in the book, the opposite of the 'grow or die' mindset, and the ideal work environment where people can continually be learning, unlearning, and relearning.
According to cognitive psychologist Gary Klien, people with a seemingly high sixth sense become experts at pattern recognition through years of experience in their respective fields. But where does that experience come from? How does that person achieve such experience?Soren Kaplan is the author of the 2023 book Experiential Intelligence. Soren explains the differences between experiential intelligence (XQ) and IQ and EQ (emotional intelligence).In this show, we also hit topics such as:curiosity, empathy, and imaginationXQ vs AIthe three levels to building XQSoren's favorite stories in his bookthe reason why every high school student should be aware of Soren's messagethe role of failure in XQBoth/Andthe corporate university conceptforecasting the pastWho is Soren Kaplan?Soren Kaplan wrote Experiential Intelligence to explore the idea that experience is a form of innovation and to help individuals and organizations develop their ability to create and innovate through their experiences. Soren was inspired to write the book by his work with a variety of companies and organizations, and his observation that the most successful innovators were those who were able to learn from their experiences and use them to drive new ideas and breakthrough results. Kaplan also saw a need for a new framework that could help individuals and organizations develop the skills and mindset needed to leverage experience as a driver of innovation. He believes that by cultivating experiential intelligence, individuals and organizations can become more agile, adaptable, and successful in today's rapidly changing world.
One of the most intriguing and thought-provoking management books I've ever read is the 1993 book, Maverick by Ricardo Semler.Ricardo took over his father's business Semco not too long after he graduated from college. He knew he didn't want to run the business as his father had, so he started in small steps by getting his staff involved in all decisions of the business, not just small ones.The results were phenomenal. In less than ten years, Semco grew 6x in spite of inflation, recessions, and a chaotic national policy Productivity grew 7x, profits up 5x, and one newspaper ad during this time period yielded 1.4k responses.Even though Maverick is no longer in print, I still wanted to talk about it on the show. FP&A global thought leader Daniele Martins joins us to discuss the book from her unique perspective.To learn more about the Ricardo Semler story along with participative leadership, here are a few resources:Managing Without Numbers - HBRRicardo's Ted Talk - How to Run a Company With Almost No Rules Semco Style InstituteCorporate RebelsShownotes on the CFO Bookshelf website
Gareth Pronovost is my go-to expert on his YouTube channel, GAP Consulting, where he teaches his subscribers about Airtable, SmartSuite, automation techniques, and other great insights on no-code solutions.In this conversation, Gareth discusses how to break spreadsheet addiction. Other topics include:Gareth's interesting entry point to no-code appsthe best definition for no-code applicationswhat no-code is notthe best starting point for no-code applicationscombining no-code apps with automationGareth's go-to no-code toolsThe future of PythonIs no-code only for non-developers?Is no-code only for simple projects?Gareth is the founder of GAP consulting, and you can learn more about his work on his website.
Technology with the advancement of generative AI is seemingly moving at a pace we've never seen with other innovations.How does any organization step back and figure out how to adopt digital and AI technologies to support its strategic objectives?That's where Rewired comes in. The subtitle for this new book is The McKinsey Guide to Outcompeting in the Age of Digital and AI.Our guest is Eric Lamarre, one of the co-authors of this practical playbook. In this conversation, we address:the origin story of the bookfive myths surrounding digital and AI transformationsthe harsh realities of starting a transformationthe domain approach to getting startedgetting the team rightthe role of the CTO - chief transformation officerdigital skills mappingtalent win roomsemployee value propositionsquarterly business reviewspilot purgatorygo & see visitsDigital 101
More Than a Numbers Game is rich in business and accounting history. We learn about the Merchants of Venice and why they had a strategic advantage. We also learn about the many flaws and imperfections of financial reporting, where completeness and consistencies are impossible.This conversation is geared toward non-accounting students and professionals where additional topics include the one-page report by the early railroads, what was included in the first modern financial report in 1903, the many names for the bottom line, Sarbanes–Oxley, and a stronger focus on liberal arts in higher education.
When I finished reading Next Generation Retail by Deborah Weinswig and Renee Hartmann, my first thought was that the great ideas in this book apply to direct-to-consumer manufacturers and professional services firms.In this conversation, co-author Renee Hartmann helps us to understand better the following technologies that are not just for big companies:metaverseblockchainlive streamingsocial commercedata and the CORE frameworkretail mediaquick commercesupply chainHeadless CaaS
The Entrepreneurs

The Entrepreneurs


Derek Lidow is a former business founder of a major global semiconductor company that he ultimately sold. Today, he's a professor at Princeton, where he teaches entrepreneurship, the topic of his newest book, The Entrepreneurs.This book is rich with historical stories of entrepreneurs doing the same things in the past as they are doing today.In this deeply insightful conversation with Derek Lidow, we learn the three major traits of entrepreneurs, the origin of the term creative destruction, the role of outsiders in business innovation, the concept of swarming, and the law of unintended consequences.
When Walter Chrysler built his New York skyscraper in the early 1930s, his critics stated the building was a monument created for himself. The same comment could have been applied to John Jakob Raskob's justification for building The Empire State Building.In this book club-style conversation, John Coe and I dissect the book, The Birth of a Building. The author's book addresses how a book is conceived, financed, designed, and constructed. Unlike Chrysler and Raskob, this book starts with a purpose and a philosophy for any real estate undertaking.Our guest is John Coe, the podcast host of Icons of DC Area Real Estate.
Curiosity drives much of the content on this podcast, and when Erik Hanberg's book, The Little Book of Boards, showed up in my email, I felt compelled to buy it for several reasons.Of the six or seven boards I've served on, some have been boring experiences, others have been exceptional. I was curious if this book would have been valuable to me during my first board experience, which wasn't great--it definitely would have been.While Erik's background is in the non-profit world, this book and conversation apply to any organization.  Some big ideas we hit are performing due diligence for the board you are considering, getting involved outside board meetings, strategic planning, compensation committees, and mission statements.
Not only is Neil Dahlstrom the author of the business historical narrative Tractor Wars, but he's also the Branded Properties and Heritage Manager at John Deere. Before that, he was Deere's Corporate History and Archives Manager.Neil admits he wanted to be Indiana Jones when he grew up and even worked in a museum in high school.During this conversation, we learn what a corporate archivist does, how to start a company archive, and how to start a career in this field.
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