Author Archives: Kama

Summer Reading…Travel Edition

As summer moves into high gear, our thoughts turn to summer vacation plans. As book lovers, AMACOM staffers have been inspired by books to travel, enjoy a staycation, pick up a book or two after a holiday, or add a location to a bucket list.  Here are some books that give us the itch to travel. Tell us what books make you want to travel in the comments!

Jacket image, Anne of Green GablesWhen I was a kid I picked up Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, probably through the Scholastic Book Club, and quickly read my way through the whole series. Then I moved on to the Emily of New Moon trilogy about another spunky orphaned girl who finds a home and family on Prince Edward Island. Ever since, I’ve wanted to visit. Montgomery’s description of her home made it sound like the Garden of Eden, and a recent reread of one of the Emily books — promptly picked up after a particularly dark and depressing read — reaffirms how delightful a place it sounds. I haven’t made it yet to Prince Edward Island, though I did sign up for some emails from the PEI Tourism board a few years back. If I get there, I’ll be sure to steer clear of the Anne themed plays and museums, and I might be disappointed to see cars and modern conveniences on the island. But it seems like exactly the type of place I like to recharge: quiet, peaceful, and beautiful. — Kama Timbrell, Publicity & Social Media Manager

Jacket image, The WPA Guide to New York CityI’ve always had wanderlust, but sometimes I have to remind myself that there are wonderful things here in New York City if I slow down and put myself in traveler mode. If you want a taste of New York City’s history and architecture, to see what’s been lost but also what’s maintained, and find some real treasures, take a look at The WPA Guide to New York City. Written in 1939 as part of a program to provide work relief for artists and professionals under the Works Progress Administration, The WPA Guide was one of the program’s enduring successes and offered a detailed description of the communities and points of interest in all five boroughs of New York City. Republished a number of times, the book can still be used as a guide today. But it’s also a fascinating glimpse into what has disappeared or changed. In 1939, a room at the Plaza Hotel was $7.50 a night. The average apartment rent in Manhattan was between $30 and $59 a month. Manhattan had 218 movie houses, 15 English-language dailies, 29 museums, and 17 ferries operating between Manhattan and cities around it.

So flip through the book, find your favorite factoid, and go exploring! — Andy Ambraziejus, Managing Editor & Director of Self-Study

Image, box set of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

I hate to travel. Airport security theatre. The knowledge that everyone’s trying to suck away your last dime. Hotel rooms that lack a decent chair to read in and a lamp to read by. On top of these discomforts, of the two places I want to go, one is Florence, where everyone’s already been, so it’s done, and the other doesn’t actually exist: Middle Earth.

Sure, there is the constant threat of marauding orcs and dire wolves, the endless expanses marked only by ruins, little transportation infrastructure and a thorough lack of medicine beyond what a hero-king knows isn’t a weed. But there’s also marauding orcs and dire wolves, endless expanses marked only by ruins, little transportation infrastructure, and hero-kings. See if you can find those in Orlando.

Which is why I play The Lord of the Rings Online. I’ve retraced the routes of Bilbo and the Fellowship many times. I’ve explored the depths of Moria and the deepest reaches of Fangorn. I’ve traveled to the places Tolkien only alludes to, such as Forochel. And I’ve slaughtered so many orcs that my name in their language translates as “The One Who Knocks.”

The straight path from Middle Earth doesn’t lead to Valinor. It leads to my imagination. And the boat I sail it on is called LOTRO. — Stephen S. Power, Senior Editor

Jacket image, Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony HawksThe only time I have ever traveled to Ireland, I was eight years old, too young to retain more than vague memories. Every Irish book, folktale, movie or song I’ve encountered since makes me want to go back. Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawks is one of my favorites. It’s the howlingly funny (and true!) story of one man’s adventure hitchhiking all over Ireland. And yes, he travels in the company of a mini fridge, which only serves to make his adventures even goofier. I’m not sure when I’m going to get back to Ireland. Probably not until next summer at least. While I do want to visit Dublin and several of the small countryside villages Hawks describes, I don’t plan on toting along a small household appliance.  — Elizabeth Willse, Publicist

Jacket image, Netherland by Joseph O'NeillNetherland by Joseph O’Neill inspired me to visit Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. To provide some context, the author recounts the story of a charismatic acquaintance who dreams of building a sports arena for cricket matches at the old airfield turned National Park. I believe this is one of the best and most descriptive books about New York and was thrilled to read about my subway stop in Brooklyn described in such detail: “the wall surrounding the subway station hosted a tattered painting of Kilimanjaro, snow-capped and circled by clouds. In the foreground were enormous leaves and bushes and fronds….”  Since the mundane, daily details of my commute could be brought to life so evocatively, Floyd Bennett Field grew in my imagination. One day I took my bike down Ocean Parkway and turned off on the greenway to visit an area of Brooklyn I never knew. While the park was massive and I enjoyed the ride out there, it takes a writer such as Joseph O’Neill to imbue our taken-for-granted environments with excitement and wonder. — Lynsey Major, Senior Associate, Rights & International Sales

Becky Sheetz-Runkle on Essential Themes for Small Businesses from Sun Tzu’s Art of War

Photo of Becky Sheetz-Runkle, author of The Art of War for Small BusinessThe following is a guest post from Becky Sheetz-Runkle, author of The Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun Tzu.

Imagine that Sun Tzu, the great military strategy mastermind who lived 2,500 years ago, was with us today. Imagine that upon retiring from the battlefield he went into business as a CEO, or joined the executive team of a small business. How would he adapt his principles from The Art of War to wage war and peace and build a business empire? That’s the question at the heart of The Art of War for Small Business. Here we will call out some of the most absolutely essential themes of The Art of War for small business readers. Pay heed, and you, too, can build an empire.

The military principles of Sun Tzu’s classic, The Art of War, are timeless. Small business leaders must be smarter and stealthier than their larger, better-established adversaries. They’ll fail if they try to match the big players tool for tool and move for move. And they’ll whither on the vine if they just attempt to weather storms.

The great news is that if interpreted and explained well, Sun Tzu provides profound insight that small business leaders can use with great success. Sun Tzu is the architect that smaller forces can use for domination.

Here is a quick summary of some of Sun Tzu’s fundamental principles that apply to small business.

Build alliances. Think about your community and influencers, everyone from partners to employees, customers, vendors and suppliers, investors, and friends. Your strength will be a sum of these parts. To dominate, you need to leverage these combined forces. Small business leaders need all the friends they can get.

Using the few, out-strategize the many. The only way to defeat the big competitors is to do so with superior strategy. In one well-executed battle at a time, Sun Tzu used a smaller number to defeat a larger force, and you must do the same.

Secure your position. Your business must take the most advantageous position. For Sun Tzu, a good position is high ground, on a sunny spot, with the supply line that is well guarded. Trust me, this may seem esoteric, but study Sun Tzu, and ideas like this will have real application for your business.

Control perceptions. Small businesses have many opportunities to shape how they are viewed by customers, partners, and the rest of the world. While you may opt to deceive the enemy and shape appearances to advance your position, be sure that you’re also directing what your customers and allies see, hear, and know about you. Every single engagement your customer has with your company counts.

Think growth. Successful business leaders know that they can’t expect to achieve aggressive growth goals if they simply opt to hold ground. Always think growth, not just taking a defensive position.

Play the long game. Strategy is framed by the big picture and the long game. Don’t let your business slip into sacrificing long-term objectives for short-term benefits.

Be prepared to turn disadvantage to advantage. The seeds of opportunity are in disadvantage. But you must be prepared to seize these opportunities.

Win first. This quintessential Sun Tzu concept is not to be taken for granted. It’s one of the most important ideas from all of The Art of War.

Act decisively. While gathering intelligence and carefully planning every tactic around your strategic objectives is essential, it’s also fundamental to make informed decisions, and move quickly and with conviction when the time is right.

Fight only when necessary. War is an incredible drain on resources, including human resources. Remember that the best way is to attack the enemy’s strategy, followed by disrupting his alliances.

Time your attacks. You must know when conditions are most appropriate for an attack. A poorly timed concept won’t reach its full potential.

Make use of the unexpected. Keep your competitors in the dark so that they won’t know what to expect from you or when. The unexpected is a powerful weapon that keeps adversaries unprepared. Keep the enemy on the move.

Go where the enemy isn’t. Remember Sun Tzu’s direction to avoid attacking a larger adversary on his terms. You don’t have to “find” a niche. You can create one, like Elmer T. Lee did with premium bourbon. Go where the enemy isn’t and identify needs and wants that aren’t being satisfied.

Attack their weak spots relentlessly. Large organizations are typically prepared to counter direct competition, but they are woefully unprepared to respond to guerrilla insurgencies.

Create unity. Present a unified, consistent image and brand experience and you’ll be ahead of much of the competition.

Miss no opportunity to defeat the enemy. If you’re going to defeat the competition and dominate your market, you must take advantage of every single opportunity.

Adapt to trends and vary your plans. Identify and follow the trends in your industry. Vary your plans accordingly. Tablet and smartphone sales were escalating as DVD player sales were leveling. Netflix followed the trend instead of trying to capture a model with waning demand.

Execute flawlessly. The success of every strategy comes down to one essential thing: execution. Once you’ve defined yourself, you have to deliver the goods repeatedly and relentlessly.

Turn devious to direct. Outplay your adversaries so that they will have to take the longer, circuitous way, and you will get to the destination sooner.

Jacket image, The Art of War for Small Business by Becky Sheetz-RunkleMaximize resources. Make the best use of the comparatively limited resources you have. And don’t focus so much on acquiring new customers that you forget to maximize your current customers. Take advantage of the opportunities in leveling the playing field posed by the Internet, social media, and a global workforce.

Becky Sheetz-Runkle is a strategic marketer, speaker, and martial artist. She is the author of Sun Tzu for Women.

Webcast: Correlating Sales Data with Customer Behavior Data to Improve Sales and Customer Interaction

Photo of Mark van Rijmenam, author of Think BiggerMark van Rijmenam, author of Think Bigger: Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business and founder of BigData Startups, will be a featured speaker on a webcast hosted by Data Informed, sponsored by IBM.

Wednesday, June 17, 2014
12 – 1 PM EDT/ 9 – 10 AM PDT

Understanding your customers is the key to increased sales. In this webcast, Mark van Rijmenam, founder of and author of Think Bigger: Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business, explains how “mixed data” can help you produce a three-dimensional view of your customers that drives insights and greater sales opportunities.

Attend this webcast to learn how to:

Find new markets and leads: What are people saying and looking for, what are they thinking, who are they and how can this result in finding new markets?

  • Drive repeat sales: Recommendation engines and how knowing you customer results in more personalized sales.
  • Reduce prospect research time: Time is important in making a sale. Faster response times can improve your conversion rates.
  • Predict future sales: Which areas are important, and how can you combine data to predict sales?

Join us to find out why data volume is less important than finding the right data mix. Learn about the “data triangle” – Customer, Mobile, Social, where to find the relevant data, and how to use it. Hear case studies about how top companies are combining their data and the results they are realizing from this approach.

Jacket image, Think Bigger by Mark van Rijmenam
Mark van Rijmenam
is founder of the leading big data knowledge platform, Big Data Startups. He is a public speaker and a sought-after strategist who advises major organizations on how to develop their own customized big data strategies.


AMACOM is Hiring a Sales & Marketing Associate

We’re looking to hire a Sales & Marketing Associate who will market and sell print and electronic copies of all AMACOM books, with a specific emphasis on helping to launch each new seasonal list.

Apply for the Sales & Marketing Associate Position.


  • Responsible for helping the trade department achieve its goals for revenue, profitability, and growth.
  • Participate in packaging, positioning, and marketing of titles— while attending title and jacket meetings.
  • Conduct competitive analysis and research
  • Communicate with trade accounts and sales representatives.
  • Create e-mail alerts communicating “breaking publicity news” to the sales reps.
  • Help maintain print metadata that feeds key accounts.
  • Download and distribute weekly Bookscan sales information for business category and AMACOM titles.
  • Involved in all aspects of the sales conference meetings, from planning to presenting a portion of the list, and participating in the business wrap-up.
  • Act as key player on AMACOM’s e-book team.
  • Help prepare and maintain e-book metadata.
  • Prepare e-book and electronic rights sales sheets for revenue reporting.
  • Arrange book signings and author appearances.
  • Field author queries.
  • Attend trade shows.
  • Contribute to and support the overall activities of AMACOM.
  • Other related duties.


  • BA/BS required.
  • 2+ years of trade book publishing experience (preferred), ideally in marketing or sales; demonstrated interest in publishing required.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint.
  • Excellent organizational skills and a keen eye for details.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, creative writing ability a plus.
  • Ability to prioritize, multi-task, and work independently in a busy environment, and also work as a team member on projects.
  • Occasional travel required.

Random Quotes from New Books This June

As we move in summer, why not devote some time to improving your business skills, as well as make time for that delicious beach read?

The AMA Handbook of Project Management, Fourth Edition by Paul C. Dinsmore, PMP and Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin

“Until the early 1990s, the organizational issues related to project management were largely centered on how a specific project should be organized: Should it be put into a task force mode or be handled from a matrix management standpoint? The concern was based on single-project logic.
Because of the booming number of projects in organizations and the time pressure and cost squeeze associated with them the organizational concern has moved toward managing multiple projects in a short time frame, with limited resources.” (page 235)

Jacket image, The Art of War for Small Business by Becky Sheetz-RunkleThe Art of War for Small Business: Defeat the Competition and Dominate the Market with the Masterful Strategies of Sun Tzu by Becky Sheetz-Runkle

“In another common example, a small business I worked with cast a wide net in an effort to miss no opportunities. That sounds good, but not everything that parades as an opportunity really is. And sometimes, you should be able to tell pretty easily that some floats shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the parade. This company targeted mid- and large-tier hospitals and healthcare practices. The company had an excellent concept, but the CEO’s focus shifted with the weather. Rather than politely telling small practices, including very small ones, that they weren’t a fit for the company’s solutions or price point, he chose to capture their information and add them to the pipeline with a pipe dream that ‘a solution for your market is on the way.'” (page 31)

Jacket image, The Brian Tracy Success Library, MarketingThe Brian Tracy Success Library, Marketing by Brian Tracy

“One of the best examples of this bundle of resources concept is Intel. In the 1970s and 1980s, Intel became the world leader in computer chips used in virtually every large and small consumer device, including toasters and washing machines, to improve efficiency. But then the Koreans and Taiwanese entered the market with computer chips of the same or better quality at vastly lower prices, bringing Intel to a moment of truth.
The people at Intel, including then president Andrew Grove, realized that there was no future for them in computer chips. They then made the decision to shift the entire business into the manufacture of microchips for computers.” (page 92)

Jacket image, Own Your Future by Paul Brown with Charles Kiefer and Leonard SchlesingerOwn Your Future: How to Think Like an Entrepreneur and Thrive in an Unpredictable Economy by Paul B. Brown with Charles F. Kiefer and Leonard A. Schlesinger

“So let’s look at the situation differently. Are you absolutely thrilled with the way things are going at your current job? If not, what we are about to propose could help you lay the foundation for the next phase of your life. You’ll see that we aren’t arguing that you need to start a new company tomorrow. But we are advocating that you learn how to master entrepreneurial thought and action so that you are able to succeed in whatever you do next.” (page 157)

Jacket image, Redefining Operational Excellence by Andrew MillerRedefining Operational Excellence: New Strategies for Maximizing Performance and Profits Across the Organization by Andrew Miller

“A successful organization is one that grows constantly by balancing innovation with operational excellence. It is one that integrates innovative thinking into its daily operations. It encourages risk and rewards good ideas, even when they don’t work. It encourages employees to show up at work every morning and question how the organization operates. A successful organization is one that excels at turning new ideas into usable products and services for its customers.” (page 77)

Want to sample other AMACOM books? Check out our Random Quotes from New Books series.