HOW TO DOUBLE YOUR PROFITS -- AND MORE A manager's guide that Jack Welch thinks is cool; plus critiquing capitalism, bashing the FDA, and selling service. HOME-BREWED ADVICE

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Plenty about Double Your Profits: 78 Ways to Cut Costs, Increase Sales and Dramatically Improve Your Bottom Line in 6 Months or Less is notable. It's thin to the touch, employs large-size type that a kid could handle, and features one five-line chapter whose in-your-face message, boiled still further, is simply: ''Titles are cheap. Distribute them generously.'' But what's most amazing about this book is its short but action-packed history. That history, as you will learn, establishes consultant and author Bob Fifer, 38, as one of those rare chefs who get fat and prosper by eating their own cooking. Beyond that, it also attests dramatically to his book's potential usefulness to other managers looking for recipes. After a stretch of indecisive dealings with bureaucratic publishers who thought he might have a book, but then again maybe he didn't, Fifer set out on that typically dead-end road, self-publishing. (A thought from the book: ''A stubborn impatience to do things now is a powerful producer of profit.'') Fifer says he wrote his manifesto last spring in 15 hours (''My experiences have proven there's little correlation between hours worked and results achieved'') and promptly found a printer willing to whip it up for about $3 a copy. (''The most painless way to reduce costs is to aggressively manage the prices paid to suppliers.'') But ''when you set prices,'' Fifer admonishes, ''you never look at cost.'' So he priced the book at $23.95 and then fired a sales shotgun, sending off free copies to about 80 CEOs of FORTUNE 500 companies. (''The superb businessperson . . . ruthlessly minimizes nonstrategic costs . . . so as to free up money to spend on marketing and other strategic costs.'') Back from Fifer's mailing came probably the best news he could have had: an order from General Electric Chairman Jack Welch for 125 copies, which Welch distributed to his top managers as a reminder that many of the cost-cutting, bureaucracy-busting, revenue-raising steps Fifer was espousing fit right in with what Welch has been trying to do at GE. Welch's gang next sent in orders of their own, and Fifer has by now sold 2,700 copies to GE -- most, Welch will be happy to hear, at a volume discount. Welch's friend and former GE colleague Lawrence Bossidy, CEO of AlliedSignal, has bought 165 copies, and many another businessperson has climbed on this train as well. All told, with his simple marketing strategy and only meager attention from the press, Fifer has so far sold around 25,000 copies. The book, he figures, has made him ''hundreds of thousands'' in profits, not counting a significant amount of new business he says it has brought to the door of his consulting firm, Kaiser Associates of Vienna, Virginia. Not counting, moreover, what is still happening. (''The confident salesperson starts the next sale the moment the first sale is complete.'') Publishers who once couldn't stir themselves to close a deal have since engaged in a lively bidding war for the rights to take over publication of this phenomenon. (''Go to bid, frequently.'') HarperCollins won, so to speak, and will be rolling out a new printing of 100,000 copies in April -- an unusually large run for a business book. The price: $22. How's that again? Twenty-two dollars for a book that Fifer was successfully selling, out of a closet, for $23.95? Well, to give him the last word: ''Most businesses, in order to get the sale and keep busy, leave money on the table when it comes to pricing.''