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Business Success with Less Stress

Clarion Review (3 Stars)

In Business Success with Less Stress, Carl Nomura, a former executive at Honeywell, offers basic tips and advice for managers, drawing on more than thirty years of his own experience.

In twelve brief chapters, Nomura provides recommendations on hiring employees, listening to customers, differing management styles, and effective presentations. Nomura intends the book to be a quick read, and it is. The information is straightforward, with a cartoon panel, illustration, or table in most chapters to further highlight key points. A bulleted list at the end of each chapter summarizes the principles discussed, and an appendix compiles all of these bullets into one large set of rules.

Also included are many first-person examples that vividly recount his experiences. They are the most memorable aspects of the book, and they serve to emphasize his suggestions and demonstrate his work ethic and devotion to treating employees with sensitivity and respect. For example, he relates how he memorized the names of one thousand employees and their spouses, so he could greet them by name at a corporate event.

Still, these examples would have even more impact if his work history was discussed in depth up front. He details his responsibilities at Honeywell in the appendix, but if presented earlier (perhaps in a preface), they would have provided better context for readers. He also includes information that is not relevant to executives, such as his process of first writing the book in third person before revising it to better illustrate his points.

Much of the advice is presented in an outline-type overview. One exception is chapter six, which focuses on products and technologies. It is a dense chapter that is too specific to the semiconductor industry to have wide appeal—he even advises readers to skim the chapter because it is heavy reading. Throughout the book, some of the instructions are obvious: Ask good employees for recommendations when hiring, be transparent with customers about problems with products and address their complaints quickly, and don’t use a management style that is demeaning to employees or condones the use of racial slurs. Other guidelines are circuitous, advising to “do what needs to be done when it must be done.” There is also little focus on stress-free techniques as the title promises.

As a result, Business Success with Less Stress is not ideally suited for the primary audience Nomura is targeting—CEOs, vice presidents, directors, and other senior managers—but it would be helpful to newly hired or newly promoted supervisors, specifically those without a business school background who may feel overwhelmed by the additional managerial responsibilities. He presents a revealing introductory business lesson for would-be senior executives.

Maria Siano