The author tells (in a very personal, down-to-earth, and amusing fashion) of the challenges involved in helping people and institutions in former Communist countries make the difficult transition from a rigid, centrally planned system, to the competitive free market environment. The companies he assisted had old, run-down facilities, obsolescent equipment, outdated products, no marketing experience, and were losing money rapidly.
Mr. Riess found imaginative ways to develop new markets, improve production, reduce costs, and expand sales. These tasks had to be accomplished without firing workers or spending money on capital investments and expensive advertising and sales promotion programs.
Mr. Riess helped industrial, professional, educational, and cultural organizations in Russia, the Czech Republic, and the Republic of Georgia. He was asked to advise regional and municipal government agencies on attracting foreign investment and expanding exports.
The author's pithy and insightful descriptions of the societies and business conditions in the countries where he worked, and the specific actions taken to resolve the problems of his client organizations, makes fascinating and entertaining reading. Business executives will appreciate his unusual and imaginative approaches to overcoming obstacles. Other readers will enjoy his tales of coping successfully with primitive living and working conditions.