Achieving Business Excellence with John Spence

Some Fantastic Resources for You

I spend a fair amount of time doing research on the net looking for cool information. In this blog I want to share with you some of my very favorite resources that I go to often for ideas, inspiration and instruction. There is some incredible information on these sites…

The first is the TED site. If you have never been to this site you are going to be absolutely amazed! TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design and it started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader. The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives in just 18 minutes. I honestly think the world would be a better place if we threw away our TV’s and simply watched one TED video a day!  The quality of the videos is superb and the content mind blowing. Here is a direct link to the “TED Top Ten” videos:

** When you go to the site be sure to watch Benjamin Zander, the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, and his presentation on “Music and Passion” and “One Buttock Playing,” it is pure joy. Here is a link right to that video:

For a good all-around information resource I often go to my friend Guy Kawasaki’s new site Alltop.  Here is how he describes the site:

“We help you explore your passions by collecting stories from “all the top” sites on the web. We’ve grouped these collections – “aggregations” – into individual Alltop sites based on topics such as environment, photography, science, Muslim, celebrity gossip, military, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, and Macintosh. At each Alltop site, we display the headlines of the latest stories from dozens of sites and blogs.”

Here is a link to Alltop:

You might also enjoy Guy’s personal site too:

Since I do a lot of PowerPoint presentations I am always on the lookout for good ideas about improving my slides. Another friend, Garr Reynolds, wrote a superb book “Presentation Zen” and has a companion site that has fantastic ideas, information and examples of really good PowerPoint presentations. You’ll learn a ton about presenting at this wonderful site:

Now here is a more obscure site on presentations that is absolutely amazing.  My new friend, Samuli Pahkala, and I have been sending notes back and forth for about a year; he is an engineer from the Helsinki University of Technology who is currently working in Tokyo. He has a superb blog called the Manager’s Toolbox and his slide shows are some of the best I have ever seen. He has some other great resources on his site too. You owe it to yourself to take a minute and check out his “Our Iceberg is Melting” presentation on Slide Share (and be sure to give him a vote for the World’s Best Presentation contest) – his style of presenting information in both a logical and entertaining way, with stunning visuals, is phenomenal. Here is a link to his site:

Another fun site with lots of great resources and ideas is the “Personal MBA.” My buddy Josh Kaufman has created this site because… in his own words: “Business schools don’t have a monopoly on worldly wisdom. If you’re serious about learning advanced business principles, the Personal MBA can help you master business without the baggage of b-school.”

The entire premise of Josh’s site is that you can learn just about as much as any b-school can teach you by reading his list of the very best business books ever written. As someone who has consistently read more than 100 business every year since 1989 – I was very impressed with his list and feel strongly that he is on the right track. He also has a cool blog and interviews a lot of interesting people. You will definitely enjoy this site:

Last, but certainly not least are the two sites I go to almost daily to get the very best management and leadership information available. The first is the “Knowledge @ Wharton” site, which has superb articles, podcasts and interviews on a broad array of business topics. That link is:

I will admit that I am pretty much addicted to the next site, Harvard Business Publishing. I have an account on this site (the account is free) and have downloaded literally hundreds of HBR articles, white papers, case studies and books on topics I have been researching. A typical article is 10-20 pages and the electronic PDF download costs about $7.00. It is like having the Harvard Business School library at your fingertips, a truly valuable resource:

I have lots of other sites I go to, but these would be some of my very favorites – all of them definitely worth a visit! By the way, if you know of a really cool site that deals with business, presentation skills, professional speaking, management, leadership, customer service, high performance teams… I would LOVE to know about it — please send me a link!

Hope this helps – take good care — John


  1. Hey John,

    Great job in putting up those link and boy sure damn good on the slideshow on Our Iceberg is Melting. I read that book back and forth for 2 times. It is an amazing book. A book talked about everything about change. I have recommended to business owners to read it as well. A book that will guide us about the steps in change management. Great Resource!

    I have personal link from my blog on PersonalMBA too. Josh has been doing an excellent job in updating the reading list. Perhaps I should suggest the book as the next reading list too.

    Other link as great too. I have updated it as part of my blog list. By the way, could I ask you something, by reading a lot and listen the tapes you mentioned, how have that benefits you in doing your work? Otherwise reading and listening these resources are only part of key items that help you in your work?

    Look forward your input as I continue to seek comment from those people that gone thru and become success.


  2. John,

    thank you for mentioning my blog among such great resources!


  3. Desmond – good question. As you well know I am a bit of a freak when it comes to reading and listening to business CD’s and attending seminars. On average I read about 120 books a year, listen to 30+ books on CD, read 10+ business magazines every month and try to attend at least one very intensive training session every year. This year I will go out to California to participate in the GILD program (Global Institute for Leadership Development) where my instructors will be folks like Warren Bennis, Nicholas Negroponte, Marshall Goldsmith, Tom Peters, Patrick Lencioni and others. All of this personal development is for four main reasons:

    1. It gives me a wealth of ideas and information to bring to my clients.

    2. When combined with my real-life experience it helps me see the patterns of excellence – the fundamental keys to success… and failure!

    3. The networking opportunities are incredible – last year when I went to the Aspen Institute’s “Idea Fest” for a week I met Colin Powell and Queen Noor and had lunch with Allen Greenspan.

    4. It is fun! I really enjoy doing the reading, learning and meeting interesting people.

    Luckily, at the end of the day it is also very helpful in my business because I can bring all of this new information and new contacts to bear on my client’s issues and problems. Truly a virtuous cycle.

  4. John,

    Great list of resources. Also liked the “new business” post. How do you think Starbuck’s equation has changed recently?


  5. Superb question Robert — I feel that quarterly financial pressure from Wall Street to keep earnings and growth climbing – forced Starbucks to grow far too much, too fast == and they were not able to maintain the quality of service and special, friendly atmosphere that made them a success when they had more control over delivery of the brand promise.

  6. John,

    Thanks, I keep that in mind then. I shall set a goal realistically for myself at least 50 books in a year, listening 5 tapes/audio and 5 business magazines for a start. Gradually increase it once my momentum kick-in. Instead thinking about it, might as well just do it.

    So I guess could summarize your reasons into:

    1. Wealth of Ideas
    2. Patterns of Excellence-Reflections
    3. Networking
    4. Fun

    Great info’s there and truly appreciate your inputs. By the way, I look forward on your sharing once you attended GILD coming October.


  7. Killer resources. Thanks John.

  8. Thank you John for offering up a continuous stream of resources that really get me thinking.
    Knowledge is power and I am so grateful for your generous sharing of information.


  9. John, “Our Iceberg is Melting” was a good recommendation and well worth a vote in the slide share contest.

  10. Thanks John, I’ve been watching videos for hours.