Author Archive

Book Review: Screwnomics

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Diamond, Rickey Gard. Screwnomics : how our economy works against women and real ways to make lasting change. She Writes Press, 2018.

book cover image

Rickey Gard Diamond’s book, Screwnomics, provides a conversational-style book on economics with a focus on women: more specifically, the devaluation of traditional women’s work over time.

Weaving examples from her own life with economic evolution and turmoil from the early 20th century, Diamond shows the effect these events have had on women. These events include women’s entrance into the workforce during World Wars 1 and 2 and the development of a need for a two income family in most households.

Much of her focus is on the last 25 years, beginning with the boom and bust and followed by Enron’s implosion, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the mortgage-backed securities meltdown and the subsequent financial crisis. With each, she discusses how adjusting traditional male leadership to a more woman-focused culture–nurturing as opposed to combative–would have mitigated the economic turmoil experienced. True enough, I suppose, but a rather simplistic look at a world which includes class, race, sexuality and religion as equals to the debate.

While reading Screwnomics, I felt unsure of which generation of women she wanted to address. I’m not that much younger than the author, but her metaphors, which included sexual innuendo, fell flat. If you’ve ever listened to Rachel Feinstein’s monologues about her mother, Karen, you’ll be able to identify that well-meaning, earnest person who wants to be hip but misses the mark.

Where Diamond gets it right is when she writes about the women in her family–her mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother–as well as herself. At this point, the reader can understand the way macroeconomic policies alter a family’s microeconomic life.

If you’re interested in a quick overview of economics, Screwnomics will do, but if you want a more nuanced look at the topic, there are many other blogs and podcasts which provide a more current and in-depth look at economics.

Book Review: Factory Man

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014



I grew up in Thomasville, NC, and if your first thought was furniture, you are correct. In fact, Thomasville was a two industry town. In a state known for three products – tobacco, textiles, and furniture – we had numerous knitting mills and we had Thomasville Furniture.

In the 1960s, jobs were plentiful in Thomasville. We had everything a small town could want or need. Belks department store stocked our school clothes, the Tasty Bakery baked our birthday cakes, and The Big 3 auto dealerships sold us our cars. Thomasville Furniture was to thank for much of this largesse. Then it slipped away.

Textiles left in the 80s, but furniture remained. Then NAFTA struck, and slowly those companies, who had been so loyal to their employees, moved to places not named after the town where they began. Finally, the entry of China into the WTO was the final blow to my hometown.

As I write this, Thomasville Furniture is out of business, and the grand showroom, headquarters, and giant Plant C are on the auction block, unlikely to be sold to another big employer.

Beth Macy, author of Factory Man, details Bassett VA, a company town less than 75 miles from Thomasville. Both the company and the town are named for the J.D. Bassett family. Mr. J.D. got his start in lumber before luring away the furniture industry from Michigan. Using the local resources, abundant forests and subsistence farmers, he not only made a less expensive product but also produced it faster than any of his competitors. Along the way, he raised the standard of living from poverty to middle class for his workers, while reminding his family it was these people who helped make their fortune.

Macy details Mr. J.D. and his heirs in this story of what community meant to its founder and how that was slowly dismantled by competition and greed, so, like Thomasville NC, furniture is no longer crafted in Bassett. From the ruins, though, we meet JDIII, or John Bassett III. Like his grandfather, JDIII believed in buying the best machinery, hiring the best people, and working them hard. He was eventually pushed out of Bassett Industries and started his own furniture company, Vaughan-Bassett, in nearby Galax, where he learned that no matter how efficient his production lines were, he couldn’t beat the prices offered by offshore competition dumping bedroom suites and dining room sets onto the US market.

Against his own Bassett relatives, friends, and industry insiders, JDIII charged the US International Trade Commission with shirking its responsibilities. Ms. Macy works her way through the D.C. law firms and courts to show the reader the machinations of trade law enforcement. We see retailers wanting nothing more than the lowest price. We see American furniture executives wanting nothing more than their companies’ survival, regardless where the furniture is made. And incredibly, we see a glimmer of hope for US manufactured products.

Introducing Privco

Monday, November 18th, 2013

One of the most difficult bits of data to locate is a private company’s financials.  Because these companies don’t issue publicly traded stock thus have no reason to file documents such as annual reports there’s a scarcity of financial information, at best  you may find a guesstimate on their revenues.  A relative new-comer to the financial data vendors, PrivCo offers extensive financial data on large privately held companies.  Now, Duke users have access to those reports, whether it’s Mars or Trader Joe’s.

In addition, Privco also tracks both US and international venture capital, private equity, and M&A deals, a much needed resource for those interested in private finance.

Privco can be located on our database page or by searching for it through the Duke Library catalog.


New Kindle Business Best Sellers

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Fresh off the best seller lists, here are the new business titles available via the Ford Library Kindles:

  • $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, by Chris Guillebeau
  • Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future, by John Gerzema
  • Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think, by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger et al
  • Contagious: Why  things catch on, by Jonah Berger
  • Decisive:  How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, by Chip & Dan Heath
  • End this Depression Now, by Paul Krugman
  • Give and Take:  A Revolutionary Approach to Success, by Adam Grant
  • Great Degeneration:  How Institutions Decay and Economies Die, by Niall Ferguson
  • Happy Money:  The Science of Smarter Spending, by Elizabeth Dunn et al
  • One Thing:  The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller
  • Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain
  • Start:  Punch Fear in the Face, by Jon Acuff
  • To Sell is Human:  The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, by Daniel Pink
  • Unthink:  Rediscover Your Creative Genius, by Erik Wahl
  • Billionaire’s Apprentice:  The Rise of the Indian-American Elite, by Anita Raghavan
  • End of Power:  From Boardrooms to Battlefields, by Moises Naim
  • How Asia Works, by Joe Studwell
  • Race for What’s Left:  The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources, by Michael Klare
  • Private Empire:  ExxonMobil and American Power, by Steve Coll
  • Why Nations Fail:  The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, by Daron Acemoglu
  • This is How:  Surviving What You Think You Can’t, by Douglas Rushkoff
  • Naked Statistics:  Stripping the Dread from the Data, by Charles Wheelan

Business Classics via library Kindles

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Available now from the Ford Library, new classic business titles on Kindles.

  • Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki
  • Big Short:  Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis
  • Boomerang:  Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis
  • Built to Last:  Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins
  • Business Model Generation:  A Handbook by Alexander Osterwalder
  • Checklist Manifesto:  How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
  • Competitive Strategy:  Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors by Michael E. Porter
  • Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking by Kerry Patterson et al
  • Fifth Discipline:  The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge
  • Free to Choose:  A Personal Statement by Milton & Rose Friedman
  • Healing of America:  A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T.R. Reid
  • Innovator’s Dilemma:  When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton Christensen
  • Leading Change by John P. Kotter
  • Managing Transitions:  Making the Most of Change by William Bridges
  • Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley et al
  • Moneyball:  The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
  • On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis
  • Random Walk Down Wall Street:  The Time-Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel
  • Rework by Jason Fried et al
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad:  What the Rich Teach Their Kids about Money by Robert T. Kiyosaki
  • Shallows:  What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr
  • Start with Why:  How Great Leaders Inspire by Simon Sinek
  • Switch:  How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Dan Heath
  • Valuation:  Measuring and Managing the Value of Companies by Tim Koller
  • World is Flat 3.0:  A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman

New School Year, New Kindle Titles

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Our MMS students arrived earlier this summer, first year Orientation kicked off two weeks ago, and the second year MBA class have slowly returned to the library.

As you arrive, you may have time to read a few titles that provide clarity to your qualities as an employee, a leader, a partner, or a parent.  Keeping this in mind, the staff of the Ford Library as well as the Career Management Center contributed a few titles available on Kindles.

You may borrow these Kindles from the Ford Library circulation desk by using your Duke ID.  Stop by and borrow a few titles that might change how you see your life’s work.

  • Peter Bregman, 18 Minutes:  Find Your Focus
  • Timothy Clark, et al, Business Model You
  • Bene Brown, Daring Greatly:  How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
  • Ellis Chase, In Search of the Fun-Forever Job
  • Shawn Achor, Happiness Advantage:  Seven Principles of Positive Psychology
  • George B Bradt, et al, New Leader’s 100 Day Action Plan
  • Shirzad Chamine, Positive Intelligence
  • Meg Whitman, Power of Many:  Values for Success in Business and in Life
  • Dorie Clark, Reinventing You:  Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future
  • Karen Linder, Women of Berkshire Hathaway:  Lessons from Warren Buffett’s Female CEO’s and Directors
  • Thomas J Neff, et al, You’re in Charge:  Now What?

Classic Business Titles Now on Kindles

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Through the years there are titles, ranging from Getting to Yes to Predictably Irrational to 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which our readers return to time and again.  Now with our new Kindle Project, we’ve made these titles available as a takeaway library.  These classics, available April 25th, are sure to be popular with our traveling patrons.  Make sure to check yours out now and enjoy the classics with the Ford Library.

  • 48 Laws of Power
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Blink:  The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
  • Drive:  The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
  • Five Dysfunctions of a Team:  A Leadership Fable
  • Freakonomics:  A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
  • Getting Things Done:  The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
  • Getting to Yes:  Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
  • Goal, 20th anniversary edition
  • Good to Great:  Why Some Companies Make the Leap–And Others Don’t
  • Great by Choice:  Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck:  Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • Influence:  The Psychology of Persuasion
  • Intelligent Investor:  The Definitive Book on Value Investing
  • Lean Startup:  How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
  • Liar’s Poker
  • Mindset:  The New Psychology of Success
  • Outliers:  The Story of Success
  • Predictably Irrational
  • Steve Jobs
  • Strengths Based Leadership:  Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow
  • Think and Grow Rich
  • Thinking Fast and Slow
  • Tipping Point:  How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
  • Total Money Makeover:  A Proven Plan


Visitors from Afar

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

From time to time we welcome other librarians to Ford.  Usually our visitors include fellow business or university librarians from the States with an occasional visitor from Europe or East Asia.  However, last week we hosted three librarians from Nazarbayev University located in Kazakhstan’s capitol, Astana.

Their long trip began last year when the Fuqua School announced it would assist Nazarbayev in creating a business school, an essential institution for a country with a growing market economy.  So with that announcement, many Fuqua departments, including the Ford Library, began mapping out the resources needed by a top business school.  For our guests, however, it meant seeing how we operate at Ford as well as other Duke libraries including Perkins, Rubenstein, Lilly, and the Goodson Law Library.  In addition to Duke, they also visited UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus libraries and their School of Information and Library Science.  Between visits we made sure to take them to some of the area’s popular sites such as the Nasher Museum, the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, and even a shopping trip to a local mall.

During their visit, we showed them how we order from our vendors such as YBP, and how incoming books were processed.  They also had the chance to meet the Slavic acquisitions specialist at Perkins, plus see how librarianship is taught at UNC.

From our visitors, we learned the challenges of starting a new library in a post-Soviet economy.  For example, ordering books required knowing which books you planned to purchase over the next year, quite difficult when the books haven’t been published.  Plus the books had to be ordered from government approved vendors who may or may not be able to ship the titles when needed.  Even with these hurdles, they maintained their enthusiasm for their developing library, university, and country.  But throughout, they were excited to be involved, excited to learn new library workflows, and excited to meet the  staff.

As we move forward, we look forward to our continued mentoring relationship with our colleagues at Nazarbayev University.


Thursday, September 13th, 2012

If you’ve seen the movie The Iron Giant, you know it’s about a boy and his enormous robot which is capable of doing just about anything and doing it loudly.  In a nutshell, that’s how I describe Bloomberg.  Where  most news services are pulling back on coverage, Bloomberg is expanding.  Name an esoteric market instrument and Bloomberg probably carries its data.  From around the world to your town’s latest bond offering, Bloomberg covers just about everything market related, which may be why this Goliath commands an estimated third of the $16B global financial data market.

Used by our finance students, Bloomberg is also popular with faculty performing research due to the system’s large data footprint and its easy-to-use Excel add-in. Initial training on the system can take no more than 20 minutes for the new user to be up and searching, or they can enroll into Bloomberg University through the system to gain more expert knowledge.  An added bonus, it provides a responsive help desk via chat.

There are drawbacks for the academic user.  Because its software is loaded on individual computers, it can’t be accessed through the web.  And though it contains an enormous data warehouse, it’s hard to say exactly what’s in there other than to dig through the search engine.  Like the Iron Giant, Bloomberg is not the nimblest resource out there, but in terms of comprehensive news and financial information, it’s hard to beat.

On Your Bucket List?

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Learning a language as a high school student, I thought I would never use it.  Who spoke Spanish in rural North Carolina in the 1970s?  Fast forward many years and you’ll find amazing little tiendas and taquerías selling everything from tortas to Tejano CDs.  Sure wish I’d paid closer attention to Senorita Black all those years ago.

So now on my bucket list?  Learn to speak Spanish.  Luckily the Duke Libraries now subscribe to a new language instruction resource called Byki Online.  With over 70 languages, from Afrikaans to Zulu, you’ll find blogs, flashcards, words-of-the-day, and many other tools to speed your conversational skills.

You can locate additional information here, and after signing up, start your new language adventure.