Archive for August, 2010

Book Review: Priceless

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

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Poundstone, William. Priceless : the myth of fair value (and how to take advantage of it). Hill and Wang, 2010.

Years ago, a businessman asked me to recommend a good book on pricing, which is when I first realized that good books on pricing are hard to find. It turns out that more than just a number, price is dependent on context, and any given price can be viewed as a bargain or a rip-off depending upon how it is framed.

In Pricing, author Poundstone describes the psychology of pricing. In most of the book, he describes experiments by well-known a psychology researchers, including those of Fuqua faculty member Dan Ariely, whom he describes as a brilliant Israeli American. Poundstone describes a variety of pricing tricks, some of which are centuries old. He uses cases to illustrate the powerful effects of anchoring and adjustment. He also offers suggestions to use in price negotiations, for example, to threaten to walk away from the table rather than to agree to an unacceptable starting point.

A number of books on behavioral psychology have been reviewed in this blog including Nudge by Richard Thaler; How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer; Sway by Ori and Rom Brafman; and the Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely. All of these books, including Priceless, are informative and interesting reads. At the end of the day, however, it is probable that even those who have read these books will continue to find themselves manipulated by price. It turns out that even things that no one believes still influence our behavior.

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

Capital IQ

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Last March the Ford Library began subscribing to Capital IQ after a number of students’ requested it.  At that time I had some idea that it was a powerful deal database, but that was about it.  So, after signing on to Cap IQ, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the depth of information and ease of use this source provides.  Not only is there information on deals, but the database contains financial modeling and quantitative analysis for companies and industries worldwide, plus screening tools that are, as mentioned earlier, very easy to use.

I can see that this database will be popular with our students interested in deal making as well as those working on their job search, so if you’re a current Fuqua student and want to register for it, go to our database page and click on the Capital IQ link.  Your login will then be forwarded to you.

E-Journal Management Change

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

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Duke University Libraries (and Ford Library) will be activating a new e-journal management tool tomorrow morning (Tuesday, August 24). You may notice some brief interruptions in your access to e-journals at that time; but these are likely to be short-lived.

Prior to this change-over, Ford Library has temporarily disabled the e-journal search box in the “E-journals” tab of our home page; but has provided a link to the main Duke Libraries e-journal search box. Our own search box will become available again sometime Tuesday morning after the change-over

We will also be introducing a new, tabbed browsing page for our Selected E-journals on our web site. As we’ve added more e-journal titles, our current, 3 column format became too dense to scan quickly. We hope you’ll find the new tabbed list easier to read and use.

Thank you for your patience during this transition, and please email us if you have any questions or concerns about this change. Your feedback is always welcome.

Book Review: Linchpin

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

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Godin, Seth. Linchpin : are you indispensible? Portfolio, 2010.

Best-selling author Seth Godin has written his latest book for employees in the new world of work. Employees have been trained to be a cog in the industrial machine, yet ultimately, the way to achieve success is to stand out and to become indispensable. Godin calls those people “linchpins,” and they cannot be replaced because their roles are just too valuable.

To become a linchpin, a worker must seek opportunities to do more than what is assigned. They must take the initiative to do what is necessary for the organization to succeed. Linchpins connect easily with other people and work collaboratively with coworkers and customers. They make positive things happen.

Godin encourages everyone to become an “artist” at work by being creative, making connections and finding joy in work. And he encourages everyone to put their heart and soul into all aspects of their lives.

Linchpin is Seth Godin’s twelfth book since 1999 and it reads as if it were written in a hurry. The style is choppy and terse. The ideas could have been presented in a much shorter and better organized format. I found this book a chore to read, but on, other readers rated it very highly, with the reviews averaging 4.5 stars, far better than most.

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

Book Review: Spent – Sex, Evolution, & consumer behavior

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

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Miller, Geoffrey. Spent : sex, evolution, and consumer behavior. Viking, 2009.

If a $1,200 high-quality replica of the Rolex President watch is difficult to distinguish from the $30,000 original, why do people pay the $28,000 premium for the real one? And why do Americans work long and hard for money to buy status products, when the pleasures they are bring are short-lived? Human evolution offers some answers.

In Spent, evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller explains that humans evolved in small social groups in which image and status were important for attracting mates and rearing children. Modern humans possess the same instincts as those early social primates. People still advertise their ability to survive and reproduce, and unconsciously, they use status products to display their biological fitness to one another. The Rolex watch signals that the wearer is wealthy, intelligent and sexy, important traits in a mate.

Miller also discusses the engine of our consumer capitalism – marketing. Marketers use advertising to create psychological links between products and the traits that consumers want to display by hinting in vague terms the possible status and sexual payoffs for buying and displaying premium products.

This short review cannot do justice to the many ideas in this important work. The book is full of challenging insights, and numerous examples. The writing style is clear and entertaining. Miller concludes that by spending less time purchasing goods, humans would have more time to enjoy life and find suitable mates and friends.

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

Where are the EIU Country Reports?

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

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The following post further describes changes to Duke Libraries EIU Publications subscriptions and products that Ford Library provides to Duke University. Some of the links in this post may require off-campus users to activate a Duke VPN connection.

Due to their excessively high costs, we could no longer subscribe to the Economist Country Reports, and several other Economist Intelligence Unit publications. This linked graphic details the components of our subscription that we will be dropping (in red), and those we will retain (in green). Note that some of this EIU content will be available via ProQuest as described below.

The pricing of the full suite of the EIU Country Reports has increased steadily over the years until they reached over $50,000.00 for our online access. As you may know, Duke University continues to be in conditions of economic stress, and Ford Library, which funded the majority of Duke Libraries EIU subscription, could simply no longer accommodate the cost impact of the Reports on our e-resource budgets.

Ford Library has, however, scaled up our access to comparable data via a number of other databases, and will continue to provide Duke with other resources for strong coverage of globally focused economic and business news and data.

Proquest has significantly improved its available resources in this area; and includes access to a number of comparable, subject focused country reports from the Economist Intelligence Unit. Our IHS Global Insight database has comparable access to country reports, and better tools for macroeconomic data retrieval. ISI Emerging Markets also has excellent news and macroeconomic data coverage.

Please respond in the comments below if you have any questions or concerns about this change. Your feedback is always welcome.

Limited E-Journal Access: August 7-8

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Due to site upgrades and maintenance, the following e-journals may not (or will not) be available from their publisher web sites from 4am EST Saturday, August 7, until 12 noon EST, Sunday.

Wiley Interscience Titles .

  • Accounting Perspectives
  • Business & Society Review
  • Canadian Journal Of Economics
  • Contemporary Accounting Research
  • Decision Sciences
  • Decision Sciences Journal Of Innovative Education
  • Econometrica
  • Entrepreneurship Theory And Practice
  • Journal Of Accounting Research
  • Journal Of Applied Corporate Finance
  • Journal Of Business Finance & Accounting
  • Journal Of Economics & Management Strategy
  • Journal Of Finance
  • Journal Of Financial Research
  • Journal Of Management Studies
  • Journal Of Small Business Management
  • Personnel Psychology
  • Production & Operations Management
  • Review Of Economic Studies



All Wiley titles, (including those above) will be unavailable from the Wiley Interscience web site from 4am EST Saturday, August 7, until 12 noon EST, Sunday. Please note that access to older issues of these titles may be available from other providers. Follow the links to the titles from our e-journal page to check availability. (more…)

Book Review: CEO of Me

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

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Kossek, Ellen Ernst, and Brenda A. Lautsch. CEO of me : creating a life that works in the flexible job age. Wharton School Publishing, 2008.

As women boomers began graduating from college forty years ago, an emotional debate erupted about whether working women were harming their children, who were enrolled in daycare. As women continued in the workforce, there was a siren call for workplace flexibility and the discussion changed to the relationship between work and family life. And this discussion, an issue for both men and women, has continued for 30 years.

Fast forward to the new millennium and the workplace is flexible, thanks to cell phones and laptops, yet employees often mingle their work and personal lives in ways that create considerable stress. The goal of CEO of Me is to help workers understand how they are managing the relationship between work, personal and family time and to determine what can be done to create a better life

Using interviews from hundreds of professionals and managers, authors Kossek and Lautsch identify common patterns that people adopt as they try to manage the balance between work and family. After readers identify their own patterns, they can see the conscious or unconscious choices they are making that are barriers to a satisfying life. The book concludes by recommending practical steps for negotiating a new life.

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

New Movies for August

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010
Alice in Wonderland
Brooklyn’s Finest
Clash of the Titans
From Paris with Love
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Green Zone
Hot Tub Time Machine

The Losers
Percy Jackson & the Olympians : The Lightning Thief
Presentation Zen
The Runaways
A Single Man
Stock Shock