Archive for October, 2008

Book Review: Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Monday, October 27th, 2008

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Hot, flat, and crowded : why we need a green revolution– and how it can renew America by Thomas L. Friedman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Following his blockbuster book on globalization, The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman has written another destined for a multi-year stay on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Hot, Flat, and Crowded focuses on three global trends that will soon undermine the quality of life of earth: Global warming, the rise of the middle class world-wide and rapid population growth. As billions more people adopt middle class consumption patterns, the effect on climate, natural resources and biodiversity will be devastating. In addition, the world will experience tighter energy supplies, a division between electricity haves and have-nots, and a transfer of wealth to petro-powers, which are largely anti-democratic.

After focusing on the problems of global warming, population growth, and consumerism in the first half of the book, Friedman outlines his solution in the second. He proposes “Code Green” to transform our our current Dirty Fuels System to a clean-powered, energy-efficient, conservation-based system. Friedman calls for a revolution, the largest innovation project in American history.

Overall, this is an optimistic book. Friedman says that thirty years ago, America could be counted on to lead the world in response to the important challenges of the day, but recently the US lost its way. The green revolution is an opportunity to become that city on the hill once again, providing leadership on healing the earth.

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

Teamwork in the Movies

Friday, October 24th, 2008

This week we’re highlighting some of our movies that showcase teamwork. Check back later for movie selections on ethics. You can find all of the movies below in our DVD collection.

  • Heart of the Game–This documentary follows a Seattle girls basketball team through four seasons after Bill Resler, their new
    coach, takes over the team. Resler’s enthusiastic coaching, complete with wild seasonal metaphors (“tropical storm”, “school
    of pirahna”) for the team, sparks several wins but complications abound. The girls must learn to incorporate their more
    athletic members without letting them dominate team play. Even non-sports fans should enjoy this one.
  • Apollo 13–The 1970 Apollo 13 mission was the third manned lunar landing. Crippled by an explosion two days after launch,
    the Apollo spacecraft’s heat, power and water resources were severely compromised. The power loss limited voice
    communications with the flight controllers. Under extreme pressure and with clever management of scarce resources, the crew manages to make it home safely.
  • Saving Private Ryan–Set in World War II during the invasion of Normandy, the film follows Captain John H. Miller who takes a
    small group of soldiers behind enemy lines. Their mission is to retrieve a private whose three brothers have all been killed
    in action. The unit’s cohesiveness is tested after the first enemy skirmish. Critics consider this movie one of the most
    realistic war films ever produced.

Book Review: When Markets Collide

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

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When markets collide : investment strategies for the age of global economic change by Mohamed A. El-Erian. McGraw-Hill, 2008.

This book is about the fundamental changes that are occurring in global economic and financial systems. Existing financial infrastructures and systems are under pressure. Economic power is shifting from mature to emerging financial markets. Global growth is now influenced by former debtor nations that are building unforeseen wealth and facing unusual challenges. For investors, the transformation in the global economy has significant consequences.

Author El-Erian, CIO of PIMCO and former CEO of Harvard Management Company presents a diagnosis of the present financial turmoil and offers explicit investment advice to readers on how to exploit new opportunities and minimize exposure to changing patterns of risk.

El-Erian sees four trends: 1) Realignment in global growth 2) Return of inflation 3) Structured finance has diminished the barriers to entry 4) The transfer of wealth. He recommends that firms retool risk management and pay more attention to the middle and back-office activities that are less glamorous. He recommends that investors invest more internationally and less in the US.

This lucid explanation of the credit crisis won the 2008 Financial Times and the Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year awards.

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

Kiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands: Now a Database!

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

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Ford Library presents a new database based on the widely popular series Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than Sixty Countries.

This new database also includes Dun & Bradstreet’s Guide to Doing Business Around the World and articles written for publications like Industry Week and American Way Magazine, as well as the 2008 World Holiday and Time Zone Guide for over 100 countries.

Connect to Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands

E-books on Culture, Business Etiquette, and Global Business Practices: (These e-books are available through the Duke online catalog via NetLibrary.)

  • Managing Complexity in Global Organizations (IMD Executive Development Series): Drawing together insights from across the expert faculty, Managing Complexity in the Global Organization presents IMD’s framework on how to understand complexity and its four key drivers (diversity; interdependence; ambiguity and flux), along with solutions on specific issues in a variety of functions, industries and markets. The focus is on providing practical solutions based on real-life examples.
  • (more…)

Book Review: Followership

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

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Followership : how followers are creating change and changing leaders by Barbara Kellerman. Harvard Business School Press, 2008.

As a follow-up to the book Bad Leadership, author Barbara Kellerman writes about the complex relationship between those who have power, authority and influence and those who do not. Most organizations have systems and structures in which superiors control their subordinates. Yet sometimes the line that separates leaders from followers is blurred. In addition, leaders may find themselves following and followers end up with more power and influence than their leaders. And most managers are both superior and subordinate at the same time.

The most interesting part of the book is the discussion about different followership styles in Part II. Author Kellerman outlines five types of followers: Isolates, Bystanders, Participants, Activists and Diehards. These followers range from those who are completely withdrawn to those who are fully engaged, either in support of or in opposition to their leaders.

This book contains vivid examples of leadership issues. Most interesting are the chapters about Merck’s marketing of its miracle drug, Vioxx; and about Cardinal Law and the Voice of the Faithful in Boston.

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

Leadership in the Movies

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

This month we’re highlighting some of our movies that show characters in strong leadership roles. Check back for more movie selections on teamwork and ethics. You can find these titles in our DVD collection.

  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World—Set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, Captain Jack Aubrey leads the crew of the HMS Surprise against the French warship Acheron after the Acheron launches a surprise attack. Creative intelligence and clever subterfuge by Aubrey and his men undermine a foe superior in strength and speed.
  • Elizabeth—In early Renaissance England the young queen, beset by scheming advisers and determined enemies, must navigate political minefields and assassination attempts. It’s a fascinating portrait of Elizabeth’s early years and the great personal sacrifices she made during her rise to power.
  • Shackleton—Ernest Shackleton’s undertaking to cross the Antarctic continent turned from an ambitious enterprise to a perilous fight for survival. His ship becomes trapped in the ice of the Weddell Sea during the winter of 1915. After the ice crushes and sinks the ship, the explorer must lead his men over 800 miles of barren tundra and frigid ocean to safety.

Book Review: Rules to Break …

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

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Rules to break and laws to follow : how your business can beat the crisis of short-termism by Don Peppers & Martha Rogers. John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Martha Rogers, adjunct professor at the Fuqua School, has written a new book with her business partner Don Peppers, about the dangers of “short-termism,” or the obsession with making quarterly profits at the expense of long term customer value.

After arguing that customers are a company’s most scarce resource and the true source of long term value, the authors focus on the principle of trust. Customers choose businesses that they can trust, and long term business success requires a focus on keeping that trust and on developing business relationships.

A successful company’s employees earn their customer trust by treating their customers fairly, but employees need the right tools, training and authority for taking action. By developing a corporate culture that is centered on earning and keeping customer trust, a company gains the best chance to succeed.

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

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