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Need some ideas for holiday reading? | The Melting Pot Newsletter | #98


We’ve had over 30 guests on our podcast so far this year, recommending a whole range of brilliant business books.  And as it’s holiday time, we’ve compiled our top picks from this list.  Happy reading!

Why Pricing Is Not Primarily About Price with Hermann Simon

If you have a fear of pricing, or if you’re worried that if you put your prices up you’ll lose customers, then you need to listen to the ‘Pricing Man’, Hermann Simon, author of over 35 books on the subjects of profit and pricing. 

“Pricing is about value, or more precisely, the value perceived by the customers. If the customer perceives a high value, he or she is willing to pay a high price. If the perceived value is lower, you have to offer the product at a lower price.”

Hermann Simon has lived two lives: in the first he was a boy on a farm in the Eifel region of Germany. In the second he is the Founder and Honorary Chairman of Simon-Kucher & Partners, a global consultancy with over 1500 employees. He’s an expert in strategy, marketing and pricing and he’s the only German in the “Thinkers50 Hall of Fame” of the most important management thinkers in the world. 

“No company has ever failed from making profit. Most companies are revenue driven, market share driven, sales driven and only about one quarter are truly profit oriented.”

This is an incredibly insightful podcast about the importance of pricing and the need to understand the complexity of price, as well as looking at new pricing techniques. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


America’s best podcast for learning how today’s top business owners Think, Act, & Achieve. Business owners share the most influential lessons learned throughout their careers, including insights into their daily habits, their most vital priorities that have contributed to their business and personal success, and the most challenging time or situation that could have devastated or even ruined their businesses or careers. They share their “recipes for success” including those systems they wish they had put into practice inside their business when first starting out. Each episode concludes with guests sharing two or three practical and tactical strategies they would recommend to brand new business owners in order to best ensure success in their new business and careers. 


In early 2020, the world began what is undoubtedly the largest work-from-home experiment in history. Now, as countries reopen but Covid-19 remains a major threat, organizations are wrestling with whether and how to have workers return to their offices. Business leaders need to be able to answer a number of questions to make these decisions. Primary among them is “What impact has working from home had on productivity and creativity?”


Managing people has always been very difficult – employees don’t come with an operating manual. Each person is different and has their own unique set of quirks and complexities. Significant changes in the workplace make managing today’s employees even more difficult. Daunting challenges now include increases in remote working, matrixed teams, digitization, automation, blending of work and life, and building diverse and inclusive environments. And let’s not forget changes in what employees expect of their workplace – they want ongoing coaching and development, not simply to follow the boss’s orders and have work delegated to them.


Teams that don’t communicate. Market disruption. Unidentified logjams. Employee burnout. Lost efficiency. As part of a group of data scientists, management consultants, and engineers at Microsoft, we help companies harness behavioral data to measure and solve these kinds of challenges — the kinds that firms feel but usually cannot see. Four months ago we realized that our company, like so many others, was undergoing an immediate and unplanned shift to remote work. We all scrambled to set up home offices, situate newly homeschooled kids, juggle customer calls and cat antics, and, in many ways, rethink how to do our jobs.


An inspiring guide from Dolly Chugh, an award-winning social psychologist at the New York University Stern School of Business, on how to confront difficult issues including sexism, racism, inequality, and injustice so that you can make the world (and yourself) better. Many of us believe in equality, diversity, and inclusion. But how do we stand up for those values in our turbulent world? The Person You Mean to Be is the smart, “semi-bold” person’s guide to fighting for what you believe in. Dolly reveals the surprising causes of inequality, grounded in the “psychology of good people”. Using her research findings in unconscious bias as well as work across psychology, sociology, economics, political science, and other disciplines, she offers practical tools to respectfully and effectively talk politics with family, to be a better colleague to people who don’t look like you, and to avoid being a well-intentioned barrier to equality. Being the person we mean to be starts with a look at ourselves.


In the middle of the eighteenth century, British entrepreneurs unleashed the astounding energies of steam and coal and the world changed forever. Factories, railways and gunboats then propelled the West’s rise to power, and computers and nuclear weapons in the twentieth century secured its global supremacy. Today, however, many worry that the emergence of China and India spell the end of the West as a superpower. How long will the power of the West last? In order to find out we need to know: why has the West been so dominant for the past two hundred years? With flair and authority, historian and achaeologist Ian Morris draws uniquely on 15,000 years of history to offer fresh insights on what the future will bring. Deeply researched and brilliantly argued, Why The West Rules – For Now is a gripping and truly original history of the world.



Create your own network and secure your business in one fell swoop by organising a customer summit. Work out your top 15 customers and invite their CEOs to a half day, every six months. Tell them you want to pick their brains to find out what your company could be doing to make things even better. Seeking criticism in this way is really valuable as it builds an emotional commitment. If there are any bumps in your future relationship, this will inoculate you against them.  Get them together and ask them, ‘What would you do if you were me?  How would you make us easier to do business with? What do you buy from someone else that you could buy from us?  Is there an adjacency that we’re not seeing?’  I did this regularly when I was MD of Peer 1.  I remember a particular guy from Debenhams.  Lovely to talk to but he couldn’t have been more scathing about our invoicing.  We learned so much from these gatherings.


Monkhouse & Company Summit, Foundry Farm – 15 September 2020

Acetech Summit, Whistler – 14-16 October 2020 (re-scheduled)

Join us for a day of learning, development and fun. We’ll be hosting 9 keynote speakers to talk about culture, strategy and execution.  They’ll also facilitate a workshop to help you put into practice what you’ve learned. Confirmed speakers include: Shannon Susko, author of 3HAG Way; Justin Roff-Marsh, author of The Machine; and Nic Marks, founder of Friday Pulse and the Happy Planet Index. We’re excited to see you here!

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