You Had a Job for Life: Story of a Company Town
Reviewed 25 Jun, 2018
You Had a Job for Life: Story of a Company Town by Jamie Sayen, 2018, University Press of New England, Lebanon, NH.
This is a book about the creation, growth, and eventual decline of a paper manufacturing company in Groveton, NH. The author was a student in an ethnography course at a local college. His assignment was to develop an oral history of the town. The teacher was so impressed with his work that she suggested he do additional work, which turned into this book. Initially, I bought the book because I know the area and was curious. Why did it turn into a review? Because it is an in-depth study of what it takes to run a paper plant. For those of you who have never worked in a manufacturing plant, you’ve missed a significant opportunity. If you have ever wondered what it is like, this is a good read. In a factory, you learn about process, flow, fixing problems quickly—and the importance of people up and down the production chain
The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing: A Guide to Growing More Profitably
Reviewed 14 Feb, 2018
The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing: A Guide to Growing More Profitably, Sixth Edition by Thomas T. Nagle and Georg Muller, 2018, Routledge, New York, NY. In college texts such as this one, the game is to make small changes, release a new edition, and kill the used book market. My question in reviewing this book was whether the changes justify you running out to buy one if you already have one of the earlier editions. My conclusion is yes, it is.
The authors have included sufficient new thoughts and processes around pricing strategies and tactics to justify the purchase. I like the way they reorganized content to provide a more thoughtful process of pricing and analytics. Sure, they still have some of the previous content and examples, but enough new information has been added to justify a re-read.
This Brave New World: India, China, and the United States
Reviewed 12 Dec, 2017
This Brave New World: India, China, and the United States, by Anja Manuel, 2016, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY.
This book hit the pile from a list of books CEO’s were reading over the summer. Due to the title and my primary interest in business, not geo-political economics, this book kept slipping to the bottom. That was a mistake. This is not only a good book, it is an important one. Our world is changing. Both India and China are rising to take their place in the new global order. The problem is that many of our global systems like the UN and the International Monetary Fund were established shortly after WWII when neither country contributed much to the global economy. As business leaders, we have to move beyond the current inflaming political rhetoric that comes from both U.S. parties to a better understanding of the upcoming global order from a political, economic, and military perspective and the issues and opportunities with that evolution. This is the book to help you sort through the complexity.
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction
Reviewed 14 Nov, 2017
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner, 2015, Crown Publishers, New York, NY.
If you have anything to do with forecasting, be it doing, using, defining, and especially paying for it, this is a great book to read. I do have to admit that it is somewhat scary to realize how much they can actually predict these days. The authors talk about recent advances in forecasting which point to the problems with many of the current methods and new, highly-successful tracks for the field. There is a new breed of superforecasters who are, for the most part, slightly intelligent but often ordinary people. Thanks to Michael McNulty for this recommendation.
The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite
Reviewed 20 Sep, 2017
The Golden Passport: Harvard Business School, the Limits of Capitalism, and the Moral Failure of the MBA Elite, by Duff McDonald, 2017, Harper Collins, New York, NY.
Recognize that this is a “historical” book. That means well-researched, detailed and looooong. And from that perspective, it is very well written by a world-class author. Also, is there dirt on Harvard? Of course there is….lots of it. Just think Enron….there’s a whole chapter on that and another one on the greed of some of the professors. But before you dig into this one, ask yourself the following question: do I already know enough about that? If the answer is yes, skip this and read one of the more relevant books out there.
By Frank Sesno 2017, American Management Association, New York, NY.
Reviewed 28 Jun, 2017
Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change, by Frank Sesno.
This is a terrific book for both personal and business conversations. There are a wide range of suggestions on how to prepare for, engage in, and create conversations in both business and your personal life. Those suggestions are simple, practical, and backed with plenty of interesting stories. A great read. Thanks to Chris M. for suggesting this one.
The Performance Manager
By Roland Mosimann, Patrick Mosimann and Meg Dussault, 2007, IBM Corporation, Ontario, Canada
Reviewed 28 Jun, 2017
The Performance Manager: Proven Strategies for Turning Information into Higher Business Performance by Roland Mosimann, Patrick Mosimann and Meg Dussault.
I met one of the co-authors at an event recently and decided to get his book. I’m glad I did. We often get asked to help companies develop a dashboard of key metrics in a particular area of pricing, sales, or business in general. This is the most complete listing of possible metrics I’ve ever seen. If you’re looking for some, this is where to get them.
The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking and the Future of the Global Economy
By Mervyn King, 2016, W. W. Norton and Co., New York, NY
Reviewed 20 Feb, 2017
OK, I have to qualify this book with the following question: do you have a strong interest in the global monetary and banking system? If not, don’t read it. But if you do, this is extremely well written and loaded with historic facts and insights. It does a good job of tearing apart the current global monetary system and proposing modifications for the future.
The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks
By Joshua Cooper Ramo, 2016, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY
Reviewed 20 Feb, 2017
This book is all about the implications of living in our connected age. It does have at its base a thread of Buddhism, but that is just in helping people to develop a model to understand the possibilities due to those connections. It’s about how to stay ahead of the technologies. This is an important, but not necessary, look into thoughts, technology, and networks or yesterday, today, and possibly tomorrow.
Extreme Ownership: How U. S. Navy Seals Lead and Win
By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, 2015, St. Martin's Press, New York, NY
Reviewed 26 Jan, 2017
Military/leadership analogies are favorites for me. But hey, the military has some great leaders and a need to continue to develop new leaders. In the military, leadership means the difference between life and death. In business, usually it doesn’t. That means that “leaders” can lead without the detail and precision needed to lead in the military. But business leaders can learn a lot about leadership from the military. This book is one of the best I have read on leadership with great stories and a very simple and specific application to business. One of my top five books from 2016. Sorry it took me until 2017 to read it!
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE
By Phil Night, 2016, Scribner, New York, NY
Reviewed 26 Jan, 2017
You have to understand how I read books. They will usually come from recommendations, but sometimes I’ll find a list of recommended books….this one from a list this past summer came from a bunch of CEO’s. I selected ten books from the list and put them in a pile. Clearly, I’m still wading through the pile. This is one I actually avoided reading….it’s about another rich guy….who needs to hear about that? Was I wrong. This is a book about a regular guy, one with a passion, and a big idea. Someone who started with nothing and worked his heart out to see it happen. He wasn’t a great leader. You could argue that he was a lousy one. But he and his wife Penny overcame obstacles that boggled my mind. Yes, they are among the 20 richest people in the world today. The two of them earned it. This is a terrific book.
Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving
By James W. Sipe and Don M. Frick, 1989 and 1993, Paulist Press, Mahwah, New Jersey
Reviewed 15 Dec, 2016
This is one of those books that has already been read by good leaders, and while there are some who do this type of thing naturally, there are those that will never read it but should. It’s a good book to review the ethical basics of how a leader wants to be seen by her people and how she needs to support her people for better results. I felt that the actual management of people to get things done was very weak, but we’ll probably find another book that talks about that. It’s an old but reasonable read.
Ego is the Enemy
By Ryan Holiday, 2016, Portolio, New York, NY
Reviewed 20 Oct, 2016
OK, this is one of those books where those who have to read it won’t and those who don’t will. While I found some of the discussion quite interesting, it didn’t hold together with well-organized and fundamental lessons. Interesting read but not recommended.
Own The Room: discover your signature voice to master your leadership presence
By Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins, 2013, Harvard Press, Boston, MA
Reviewed 20 Oct, 2016
This book is about more than “owning the room.” It’s about how to establish the right presence and subordinant/peer connection in your organization. It is especially valuable for people climbing the corporate ladder and how to think about both yourself and others for the benefit of the firm. A good read.
The Euro: How a common currency threatens the future of Europe
By Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2016, W. W. Norton & Company, New York, NY
Reviewed 22 Sep, 2016
After Brexit and the implications to both the European Union, the Euro and the global economy, I decided to see what this Nobel Prize winning author had to say about the future of the Euro. While just a bit technical, this book had some great insights into problems with the current system. He gets into considerable detail about how the Euro is set to lead to disaster for the individual countries and Europe as a whole. It gave some good insights as to why attempts to solve the problems of the failing countries like Greece are just going to make the problems worse and what needs to be done to get the EU working well again.