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Peter Vincent reviews The Money Makers, by Anne-Marie Fink

By Peter Vincent, a writer based on Saltspring Island

Chapter Four of The Money Makers begins with the sentence, “Listening to your customers is overrated.” At that point I did a quick background check to see if the author was Canadian. Canada has a global reputation as a nation of lousy tippers and nonchalant customer service. Sadly, it appears that the author, Anne-Marie Fink, has no maple syrup in her veins. She seems to have come to this customer cul de sac the hard way - through hard knocks and personal experience.

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Peter Vincent: Advertising reborn

By Peter Vincent, a writer based on Saltspring Island

These days, every form of media is taking a financial beating, and this beating started way before the unpleasantness in the current market. Whether it is television, newspapers or radio, the ad revenue is just not coming in the way it used to. There’s a major sea change going on in the way companies are choosing to spend their advertising dollars, and it's hurting the industry to such an extent that television stations are closing down, magazines are disappearing off the shelves, and institutions like our own beloved CBC are planning
major cutbacks.

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Peter Vincent reviews The Happy Employee

By Peter Vincent, a writer based on Saltspring Island

It seems almost quaint to talk about a book on how to keep employees happy. In these days of skyrocketing unemployment figures and plummeting sales, it might be better to read a book about how to keep your employer happy. Nonetheless, amongst the wreckage of this present economy, it’s more important than ever that your business attracts and hangs onto the very best and brightest employees.

And so we have a book entitled The Happy Employee - 101 ways for Managers to Attract, Retain, and Inspire the Best and the Brightest.

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Peter Vincent: Contemporary art as an investment

By Peter Vincent, a writer based on Saltspring Island

The Museum of Modern Art in New York features a 14-foot shark suspended in a solution of formaldehyde. It is a work by British artist Damien Hirst, originally commissioned by Charles Saatchi in the early 90s for 50,000 British pounds. At the time, the Sun newspaper called it “50,000 pounds for Fish without Chips.” The artist entitled the work “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living.”

It sold a few years ago for $12 million. Twelve. Million. Dollars.

I’m not here to argue the aesthetics of a fourteen foot shark pickled in formaldehyde - after all, this is a business column. But I am here to talk about a new book that explores the brave new world of contemporary art as investment.

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Peter Vincent: Book review - Margaret Atwood’s foray into the world of economics

By Peter Vincent, a writer based on Saltspring Island

When I first heard of Margaret Atwood’s foray into the world of economics, entitled

Payback - Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth
, I leapt on the bandwagon. After all, what right does a poet and novelist have to venture so far afield? Was there some revelation that prompted her? Can she light the way for me to regain some of the mass amounts of cash my portfolio has been hemorrhaging?

After carefully poring through her book cover to cover, the answer is “No.” There are no tips here - no sleight of hand that will restore the auto industry or help me keep my job or find me a safe haven to park my cash until the current financial armageddon has been and gone. But then that’s not what she was trying to do in this book. What exactly her intentions were in penning this book is still a mystery to me.

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Peter Vincent reviews The New Gold Standard

Money Talks is a daily business column from CBC radio.

The New Gold Standard, by Joseph Michelli (who is first known for penning a similar book about the Starbucks Experience), is all about the Ritz-Carlton Group of Hotels and their near preternatural obsession with creating the perfect experience for their hotel guests.

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Peter Vincent on Naomi Klein's 'The Shock Doctrine'

By Peter Vincent, a writer based on Saltspring Island

About half way through Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, it dawned on me that this was the most exciting book I had ever read, that didn’t involve murder or full frontal nudity. Actually, that’s not entirely true. There are plenty of murders in here, most involving doomed South American presidents or unlucky factory workers . . . or Iraqi civilians or Thai fishermen.

These are the ones that, according to Ms Klein, have paid the price of giant companies such as Haliburton, or industrialized wealthy nations imposing Milton Friedman economic theories on otherwise perfectly content developing countries.

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Peter Vincent: Some fiscal-crisis reading

By Peter Vincent, a writer based on Saltspring Island

Just as we were all used to thinking of the world in terms of “post 9/11,” we get hit with "post 9/15." We now have to think in terms of the financial world post Black Monday. We Canadians got hit to the tune of $38 billion - that’s just a footnote in the global picture, where the American bill alone is estimated to reach $1 trillion.

Post 9/15, a stroll through the business section of your local bookstore becomes a little nostalgic - quaint even - like a Norman Rockwell painting. The days before you were seriously thinking of buying gold coins and stuffing them in your mattress.

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Peter Vincent: Reviews 'What Men Don't Tell Women about Business'

Money Talks is a collection of daily columns from The Business Network, which airs weekday mornings on CBC Radio One at 5:45 a.m. ET (6:15 a.m. ET in N.L.).

A recent StatsCan report showed that in 2005, women earned 85 cents for every dollar paid to men in the 25 to 29 year range. And the older you get, the larger the income gap becomes. The numbers haven't changed significantly in the last five years. What does that mean? Despite all the rhetoric, the glass ceiling is still firmly in place. If you are a woman, in any age group and profession, you need to deal with this not by sending dunning letters to your MLA, but by guerilla tactics. You need a plan.

Step One is to run to your favourite bookstore and purchase a book entitled "What Men Don't Tell Women about Business," by Vancouver based Christopher Flett. You likely haven't heard of this guy. He's an ex-bouncer, an ex-blue collar worker, and a self proclaimed ex-chauvinist pig who has gone over to the other side - now CEO of a motivational business development company called Think Tank Communications specializing in coaching women on their career paths.

Don't expect any of the politically correct, fuzzy warm group hug kind of Oprah stuff here. In fact, his candour and in your face style may shock you.

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Peter Vincent: Review of Richard Templar's The Rules of Life

Money Talks is a collection of daily columns from The Business Network, which airs weekday mornings on CBC Radio One at 5:45 a.m. ET (6:15 a.m. ET in N.L.).

Rule 38 in Richard Templar's book, The Rules of Life says: "Maintain Good Manners at all Times." Richard Templar is an English writer who has managed to make a nice living writing "Rules" books. On my desk I have before me The Rules of Wealth, The Rules of Work, and The Rules of Management, as well as the Rules of Life. All the Rules books are of the same format: 100 rules in about 200 pages, written in English. The Queen's English.

These books are quite refreshing after the constant diet of over-the-top business books coming from south of the border.

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