Silicon Valley II: Chaos Monkeys

November 28th, 2016

book cover imageGarcia Martinez, Antonio. Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley. Harper, 2016.

Wall Street quant turned ads technology guru, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Facebook middle manager, Antonio Garcia Martinez presents a 500-page diary of a volatile 6 years of his life, from 2007-13. While too long by 100+ pages, his memoir is an entertaining and useful guidebook for working and succeeding in the new economy.
Garcia Martinez begins his story in 2007 when he leaves Stanford’s PhD program in Physics to price credit derivatives for Goldman Sachs. A year later he moves back to California, reinventing himself as an expert in advertising technology at Adchemy, a start-up that creates internet ads software and generates lists of potential customers for businesses. By 2010, Adchemy is sputtering and Garcia Martinez partners with two talented co-workers to apply to the start-up bootcamp Y Combinator. Their internet ads start-up, AdGrok, is funded by Y Combinator, but eventually sold to Twitter. Garcia Martinez abandons his partners to work at Facebook, generating revenue from user information for the Facebook Ads system. In 2012, Facebook’s IPO earns Garcia Martinez $4,000,000, but before he can collect it all, he loses a power struggle and is fired. In 2013, he rejoins his partners at Twitter.
Chaos Monkeys describes the brave new world of technology, where employees are replaced by computers and companies pay heavily for consumers attention. Garcia Martinez is at his best when he is illustrating the ways that technology is changing industries like finance and advertising, or when he is explaining complex concepts like derivatives, ads technology, venture funding or corporate buyouts.  His detailed descriptions about company identity, engineering culture, and decision making at Facebook are fascinating. Chapters about the Y Combinator network and process are vital for start-ups.  His portrayals of coworkers like Sheryl Sandberg and venture capitalists like Paul Graham are frank and detailed.
A self-described ruthless little shit, Garcia Martinez is weak when relating the personal aspects of his story. His drunken encounter with police is petty. He calls his partners at AdGrok, “the boys.” He complains that his $4 million IPO gain is a pittance for San Francisco natives. He is “snookered into fatherhood” when he sires two children with a derivatives trader, but pays his way out rather than compromise his freedom. Yet despite it all, Garcia Martinez’s bold and honest insights are recommended for anyone wanting to work in an industry disrupted by technology.

Also available as a ebook on OverDrive and as an audiobook on OverDrive.

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

New Movies for November

November 17th, 2016

Here are our latest DVDs for the month:

Alice Through the Looking GlassInto the Forest DVD Cover
Café Society
Captain Fantastic
The Good Neighbor
Ice Age: Collision Course
The Infiltrator
Into the Forest
The Legend of Tarzan
Lights Out
The Night Manager
Swiss Army Man
Game of Thrones, season 6
Wild Oats

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

Silicon Valley I: Disrupted

November 14th, 2016

book cover imageLyons, Daniel. Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-up Bubble. Hachette Books, 2016.

Dan Lyons, once the anonymous author of the acerbic Fake Steve Jobs blog (2006-11) and now a writer on HBO’s Silicon Valley satire, hit a rough patch in 2013.  At 51 years old, he was suddenly downsized from his prestigious job as technology editor at Newsweek and decided to reinvent himself as a marketing professional at a startup.  His road to success is full of potholes and is the subject of his new book, Disrupted.

After sifting through a handful of opportunities, Lyons takes a job at a Boston startup, HubSpot, a cloud computing company, selling marketing automation software for businesses.  He accepts a lower salary but bets that his stock options will be worth money in a few years.  As Lyons settles into HubSpot, he finds the company and work culture mystifying.  Most of HubSpot’s 500 employees are in their 20s and relentlessly positive.  The culture is energetic, enthusiastic and loyal, but managers are poorly trained and oversight is haphazard.  Lyons’ cynicism about free candy, foosball tables and Fearless Fridays is a misfit.

Lyons describes HubSpot’s product as substandard and the leadership as a band of sales and marketing charlatans.  The two owners and a handful of investors are focused on growing sales and revenue and telling a heartfelt story about changing the world, while they stay in business long enough to get rich in an IPO, and then move on.  HubSpot is no anomaly – Lyons concludes that the new tech industry is run by young amoral hustlers.  In the epilogue, he explains that as he delivered the first draft of his book to the publisher, HubSpot executives hacked into his computer and broke into his house to steal his manuscript.

In the end, Lyons argues that in the tech industry, the social agreement that once existed between a company and its workers is gone.  Employees are disposable parts that play a role for a few years and then are replaced by someone cheaper just out of college.  Silicon Valley is leading the way, but as other industries are reshaped by technology, such as banking and media, they are also changing the way they treat workers.  This book is recommended for anyone interested in working or investing in the technology industry.

Also available as an audiobook on CD.


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

Book Reviews: Weekend for Women

October 26th, 2016

Welcome participants in the Duke MBA Weekend for Women. Congratulations on your determination to develop your own potential by earning an MBA. You are already on the road to achieving power and purpose in your life.

Three new books in the Ford Library provide insights about women in business.

book cover imageTraister, Rebecca. All the Single Ladies. Simon & Schuster, 2016.

Today only 20% of Americans marry by age 29. For the first time in history, it is normal in America to be a young adult and unmarried. Journalist Rebecca Traister tells the life stories of dozens of single women to highlight how society has changed and how women have benefited. Women are choosing to complete their educations and to dedicate themselves to thriving careers, earning an independence never before experienced. Singleness is not necessarily more desirable than being married, but women have more options than ever before and are free to make their own choices about marriage, sex, careers, parenting and friendship.

book cover imageVerveer, Melanne and Kim K. Azzarelli. Fast Forward. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.

Hillary Clinton wrote the introduction to this new book by two of the founders of Seneca Women, a global leadership community centered on the principle that advancing women and girls creates an equitable and prosperous world. In Fast Forward, authors Verveer and Azzarelli make the case that women are the drivers of economic growth and social progress. Companies with more women in their top ranks outperform their peers; Women entrepreneurs reinvest their earnings in their communities; Women promoted to the highest ranks in business and government leverage their influence to help other women and families. Fast Forward outlines a simple approach to achieve one’s potential: Know your power. Find your purpose. Connect with others.

book cover imageHuston, Therese. How Women Decide. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

Seattle University cognitive neuroscientist Therese Huston explains that in professional organizations, when a tough call must be made, both men and women are more willing to accept a man’s decision than a woman’s. People sense that those who project confidence make better choices and they assume that those who collaborate are indecisive, both of which are false. Yet these hidden biases exist in every workplace. In her new book, Huston uses research findings and true stories of 34 women to explore how women make decisions and how they navigate judgments at work. In the end, she concludes that under pressure, having both men and women involved in decision making creates the best outcomes.

Also available as an audiobook on OverDrive and as an eBook on OverDrive.

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

New Movies for October

October 18th, 2016

Our newest additions to the DVD collection are:

Captain America : Civil WarHunt for the Wilderpeople DVD cover
Central Intelligence
The Conjuring 2
The Darkness
Free State of Jones
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
The Innocents
Love & Friendship
The Meddler
Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Money Monster
Now You See Me 2
The Shallows
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Out of the Shadows
X-Men: Apocalypse

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

New Movies for September

September 27th, 2016

Here are this month’s latest DVD titles:

The Angry Birds movie
April and the Extraordinary World
The Bronze
Fathers & Daughters
The Huntsman : Winter’s War
Jane Wants a Boyfriend
Manhattan Night
Me Before You
Mother’s Day
The Nice Guys
Ratchet & Clank
Sunset Song

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

Book Reviews: Perfect Pitch

September 26th, 2016

boy_at_microphoneEveryone in business is selling something – pitching a product; launching a company; convincing a client; supporting an idea; advancing a career. Managers are responsible for influencing decisions and motivating others, but not everyone is naturally persuasive. Dozens of books offering advice on making an impression or promoting an idea are published every year, but it is not easy to know which ones are best. These 3 new books in the Ford Library are rated 4.5 to 5 stars on

Gallo, Carmine. The Storyteller’s Secret. St. Martin’s Press, 2016. 

Executive coach and author of two bestselling books about making presentations, Carmine Gallo uses 100 compelling tales to illustrate how to craft a brief and emotional story about overcoming adversity and hardship to captivate an audience.

Also available as an audiobook on OverDrive.

Port, Michael. Steal the Show. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.

Author and professional actor Michael Port demonstrates how to use acting techniques, such as stagecraft and improvisation, to overcome fear and to improve everyday performances, including giving speeches, closing deals and nailing job interviews.

Nguyen, Kenny and Gus Murillo. The Big Fish Experience. McGraw-Hill Education, 2016.

Co-founders of Big Fish Presentations show how to create an unforgettable experience for the audience by creating engaging content, adding memorable visuals, and developing a powerful delivery.

Book Review: Leading through Language

September 12th, 2016

book cover imageEngal, Bart. Leading through language: Choosing words that influence and inspire. Wiley, 2015.

Desperately searching for a model strategic plan, I reviewed the 2016 plan produced by an elite university library. The first page listed new strategic directions, including these three:

  • Creating platforms for scholarly engagement
  • Supporting emerging literacies
  • Transforming the information ecosystem

All 5 pages of the strategic plan use this cryptic language.

This is not unusual. Managers often use particular phrases to capture complex ideas, assuming that the audience understands their meaning. Stringing these phrases into sentences and paragraphs makes it even less comprehensible.

In his new book Leading Through Language, Bart Egnal, CEO of The Humphrey Group, a communications consulting firm, explains that in the business world, jargon often undermines effective leadership. He uses his experience as an executive coach to explain why people use jargon and how leaders can use clear language to convey their ideas and to influence others.

Egnal begins his book by explaining that use of jargon can be positive. Jargon used within a small group of similar people fosters a sense of shared identity or serves as shorthand for concepts that everyone knows. But Egnal catalogs many negative types jargon, such as the unnecessary add-on (At the end of the day; Having said that) or the baffling noun cluster (Team strategy plan priorities) that confuse the listener. He encourages speakers to adopt the mindset of a leader, to communicate ideas clearly and to use every conversation as an opportunity to inspire action.

To speak as a leader, Egnal recommends developing a mental script of well-defined ideas that are ready to be articulated as communication opportunities arise. Scripts are adapted for particular audiences and delivered with authenticity and conviction. Every script has a clear subject, one sentence that defines the topic for the audience. An effective script also has a single leadership message that is positive, engaging and true and it ends with a call to action.

In Leading Through Language, Egnal shows how to articulate ideas that motivate others. He includes many examples of strong and weak messages. However, his book does not include something promised by the subtitle and the cover design – the specific “words that influence and inspire.” Nonetheless, this book is recommended for anyone who aspires to be a leader.

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

Ford Library Open Labor Day

September 2nd, 2016

imageFord Library will be open for our normal Semester / Term Hours on Labor Day, Monday, September 5th.

All Library services and resources as provided by our circulation desk attendants will be available except for research assistance.

Our professional staff, and expert reference librarians will return on Tuesday, September 6th to help guide you toward success in your MBA.

Good Luck in Fall Term 1!

Book Review: Presence

August 29th, 2016

Cuddy, Amy. Presence: Bringing your boldest self to your biggest challenges. Little, Brown and Company, cover image

Next time you walk down the mallway, watch how Fuqua students walk. Early in the academic year, most students walk confidently with a long stride, swinging their arms and moving their heads. By October, some students are walking with a shorter stride and smaller arm movements. Their shoulders are rolled forward and their heads are stationary. These students are losing their confidence.

In her new book, Presence, Harvard Business School faculty member Amy Cuddy offers this advice to discouraged students: To regain your confidence and to feel your personal power, begin carrying yourself in an expansive way. Start acting like you are strong and in control and your confidence will return. The body shapes the mind.

In 2012 Amy Cuddy taught millions of viewers about power poses through her popular TED talk. In Presence she explains the science behind her work, citing academic research on how to make the best impression – by being confident, passionate and enthusiastic. To channel these qualities, people need to be genuine, to believe in their own abilities and to feel at ease when revealing them to others.

The way you carry yourself – how you walk or stand or sit – does not change your abilities. Yet Cuddy explains that the body’s posture is a source of personal power that increases feelings of strength and skill. She presents ample evidence that expansive posture makes people more open, bold and creative. It improves the ability to relate to others. It fosters confidence and enhances performance, particularly under pressure.

Graduate school at a top university is stressful and Presence has much to offer students in Fuqua’s demanding programs. For Cuddy, presence is not about winning. It is about approaching challenges without dread, executing them without anxiety and living without regret. This book is recommended. For those short on time, Amy Cuddy’s TED talk is also recommended.

Also available as an audiobook on CD and in the Ford Library Kindle – Business bestseller collection.

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