Movies for April: Part 2

April 17th, 2015

Here the remainder of our new DVD titles for the month:

Night at the Museum: Secret of the TombInterstellar DVD cover
Penguins of Madagascar
Imitation Game
Out of the Dark
The Rewrite

You may browse the entire DVD collection via the library catalog.

Fine Forgiveness Fridays

April 15th, 2015

I Love Fridays CUTOUT image

The Ford Library Presents – Fine Forgiveness Fridays

Library fines got you down? Post a selfie taken in the Ford Library to our Facebook page and we will waive one of your overdue fines* during each Friday of the time period. Fine Forgiveness Fridays begin this Friday, April 17th and ends on Friday, May 8th.

FYI- If you don’t feel comfortable posting your image on our Facebook page, feel free to be creative. You just need to post a picture that you have taken in the library that infers that you were present. How you do that is up to you.

*Fine forgiveness will be applied to one Ford overdue fine incurred in the last 6 months (Nov. 2014 – April 2015). Forgiveness does not apply to fines incurred from recalled items, items that have not yet been returned, or for fines that were incurred for items owned by Duke University Libraries other than the Ford Library.

*This waive would be in addition to the once per year regular one-time waive for overdue materials that is already available to any Ford patrons. Maximum of 4 total fine waives is possible since the event will last through four consecutive Fridays. You must post one eligible picture per waive.  For any questions contact

Movies for April: Part 1

April 14th, 2015

Here are the first of our new DVDs for the month:

Alpha House, season 1Alpha House DVD cover
The Americans, season 2
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Into the Woods
Person of Interest, season 3
Son of a Gun
Song of the Sea
Song One


You may browse the entire DVD collection via the library catalog.

Book Review: Marissa Mayer and the fight to save Yahoo!

April 14th, 2015

book cover imageCarlson, Nicholas. Marissa Mayer and the fight to save Yahoo! Twelve, 2015. Also available as a downloadable audiobook, eBook, and on Kindle

In the late 1990’s Yahoo was the place to work in Silicon Valley.  Yahoo attracted the best engineers.   The corporate culture was friendly, innovative and irreverent.   For customers, Yahoo was an easy to use interactive platform for email, chat rooms, shopping, travel and games.  For most users, Yahoo was the internet.

But in 2000, Yahoo’s good fortune began to change as advertising revenues declined and competition with startups like Google intensified.  Leadership changes designed to turn Yahoo into a next generation media company failed.  Frequent CEO changes produced additional corporate mistakes and missed opportunities.  In 2012 Marissa Mayer was hired from Google to end the long period of decline by transforming the company.

In Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!, business journalist Nicholas Carlson tells the complicated story of Yahoo and its famous CEO.  After graduating from Stanford in 1999,  Mayer accepts a position at Google as a coder to surround herself with smart people who would challenge her to grow.   Less than a year later, Mayer finds her niche, guiding the development of Google’s user interface and setting the agenda on the products that Google would make.

Like many others at Google, Mayer is smart and ambitious.  Some say she takes credit for the work of others.  She is confident, dismissive, self-promoting and insensitive to the feelings of others. But so are many other technology company icons, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and their behavior does not generate the same resentment.   In 2011 Mayer conflicts openly with other executives and is removed from the top spot at Google Search, the company’s most important product, and is moved to Google Maps.  She decides to leave.

When Mayer gets to Yahoo in 2012 the company is in bad shape.  The firm does not have a clear identity: Is Yahoo a media company or an internet products company?   Revenues are declining.  Employees are demoralized by layoffs and unmotivated due to lack of strategic direction.  Mayer is tough and intense, taking the lead on product reviews.   To improve transparency, she sets up weekly town meetings with Yahoo employees.  She replaces  company leadership, not always successfully.  Despite her efforts, she has yet to engineer a turnaround.  Fortunately, Yahoo has a strong presence in Asia, including a stake in Alibaba, which generates a fortune in cash when the Chinese e-commerce company goes public in 2014.

Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! contains an unflattering portrait of Roy Bostock, Yahoo chairman 2008-12.  Bostock has been a member of the Fuqua Board of Visitors and Duke Board of Trustees.  He and his wife Merilee are also generous donors to the university and in appreciation, Duke’s Bostock Library is named after them.  This book is recommended.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

Book Review: The Circle

March 30th, 2015

book-coverEggers, Dave. The Circle : a novel. Alfred A. Knopf / McSweeney’s Books, 2013. also available in online audiobook and online e-book formats.

On his list of the best business books of 2014, leadership expert/author James O’Toole names a novel as one of the best books about organizational culture for the year.  The novel is The Circle by Dave Eggers, author of several best selling novels and memoirs.  It is rare that a work of fiction is cited as a leading business book — with the notable exception of The Goal by the late Eliyahu Goldratt, required reading at Fuqua and many other top MBA programs.

My initial reading of Eggers’ The Circle was disappointing.  The characters were superficially drawn and did not connect to me as a reader.  The dialog seemed stiff and some of the content was repetitive.  Yet the book was a quick read for 500 pages and made thoughtful points about social media, connectedness and privacy.

Two weeks later, I reviewed Invisibles by David Zweig, who describes the work culture of the people that he calls the “Invisibles” as the complete opposite of the work culture that Eggers creates in The Circle.  Zweig’s Invisibles are highly skilled professionals who work anonymously, deriving meaning from the craft itself and excellence in its performance. By contrast, the characters who work in The Circle receive instant numeric feedback after each task and are driven to relentless self-promotion to improve their metrics.

I went back to The Circle and my second reading gave it more stars.  In Eggers’ novel, the Circle is the name of the company that replaces Google, Facebook, Twitter with one unified corporation that offers a single account for email, banking, social media and all other identity needs.  The goal of the company is to improve the world, through utility, efficiency and transparency.

The Circle pushes their employees to share their experiences through social media and in company sponsored events.  Since people improve their behavior when all is visible, the Circle intensifies the habit of sharing into constant surveillance called “transparency.”  Individuals are conscious of everything they do and filter everything they say.  Communication sounds forced.  Relationships become superficial.  Life grows less spontaneous, less genuine.  Perhaps Eggers’ superficial characters and unnatural dialogue were purposeful choices by an exceptional author.

Or not.  Either way The Circle provokes ideas about workplace culture, and about our changing attitudes around sharing and privacy.  I recommend The Circle to anyone interested in the culture of organizations as well as those concerned about the changes in society arising from use of the internet.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

J.B. Fuqua Collection Open House

March 19th, 2015


The Ford Library invites you to visit us this Friday, March 20th from 12PM to 6PM to learn more about James Brooks (J.B.) Fuqua, the founding benefactor of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

The awards, honors, memorabilia and an illustrated biographical slide deck of J.B. Fuqua will be on open display in Ford Library’s J.B. Fuqua Room, located at the end of the aisle of our main reading room.

Please visit us to learn more about this pioneering entrepreneur, self-made man, and philanthropist.

Book Review: Invisibles

March 16th, 2015

cover imageZweig, David.  Invisibles : the power of anonymous work in an age of relentless self-promotion. Portfolio/ Penguin, 2014. also available as an online audiobook

During my 33 years at Duke, I often hear faculty members say how much they love the Ford Library.  They cite deep collections, seamless data, and beautiful buildings, but it is rare for anyone to acknowledge the people who make this all possible.  To faculty members, the librarians who select materials in anticipation of their needs, the catalogers who make them “discoverable” online, and the IT managers who license and provide data at their fingertips, are almost invisible.  Even reference librarians, once the public face of the library, are now anonymous, as research assistance takes place through email and IM.

Journalist David Zweig explains why.  In his book, Invisibles, Zweig shows that for professionals with key technical skills, the better they perform, the more they disappear.  It is only when mistakes happen that these specialists are noticed at all.

While Zweig does not analyze libraries per se, he uses many other examples of complicated work.  He begins at the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta, where he interviews the man responsible for designing the cues (maps, signage, lighting, color) that direct millions of confused and disoriented passengers to their next destinations.  He then moves on to the world of perfume, where a “Nose” follows a meticulous process to create new fragrances for clients.  While Invisibles are found in all walks of life, many Zweig’s examples are from the arts, including architecture and music.

The people that Zweig calls the “Invisibles” are happy in their anonymity.  Invisibles develop an expertise within a field and find meaning in the challenges that the work presents.  As masters of their craft, they enjoy taking on more responsibility and working collectively with others.  Invisibles are deeply respected for their skills by co-workers but do not seek rewards or recognition from those outside their professional group.  For Invisibles, excellence is its own reward.

This book is recommended for all, but most especially for the Invisibles at Fuqua, as well as readers who enjoyed the best seller, Quiet by Susan Cain.

© Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

New Movies for March: Part 2

March 11th, 2015

Here are the remainder of our new DVDs for the month:

FarmlandGame of Thrones DVD cover
Horrible Bosses 2
The Interview
St. Vincent
Game of Thrones, season 4
Olive Kitteridge

You may browse the entire DVD collection via the library catalog.

New Movies for March: Part 1

March 9th, 2015

Here are our newest DVD titles:

Kill the Messenger
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
The Theory of Everything
Million Dollar Arm
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

You may browse the entire DVD collection via the library catalog.

Library Hours Update (Feb.27)

February 27th, 2015

photo credit - Salt Lake TribuneFord Library will be closing at 8PM on Friday, February 27 due to winter weather conditions.

Please follow our Twitter feed for the very latest updates on the Library’s operating hours during winter weather conditions.

Feel free to direct any questions or concerns to us at