Archive for October, 2011

Halloween Movies You May Have Missed

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Silk, a Taiwanese film, focuses on a group of researchers who have captured the ghost of a little boy.  In a sublimely creepy scene, one of the researchers does manage to capture the spirit’s attention, and the ghost shifts from mysterious to menacing. This film provides the viewer with far more character motivation than the average horror flick.

File The Children under the “creepy kid” genre of horror movies. Actually these children go past creepy straight into homicidal. As a bonus this twisted, frightening British production is set during Christmas and well-acted to boot.

Not the Angelina Jolie movie but an older George C. Scott film from 1981, The Changeling contains the best seance scene in a movie ever. It’s a haunted house/ghost story done far better done than most. Director Peter Medak includes very few cheap “jump” scares, but there are numerous chilling scenes. Highly recommended.

Be sure to check out the other horror movies right next to our latest DVDs and feel free to ask me for other recommendations as horror is my favorite genre!

New Movies for October

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Bhindi Baazaar Inc.
Breaking Bad, season 2
The Entitled
Nanny McPhee Returns
Stake land
American: the Bill Hicks Story
Cedar Rapids
Fast Five
The Good Wife, season 2
Hoodwinked Too! : Hood vs. Evil
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Forks Over Knives

Book Review: Science Business

Monday, October 17th, 2011

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Pisano, Gary P. Science business : the promise, the reality, and the future of biotech. Harvard Business School Press, 2006.

Editor’s Note: Guest Reviewer Randall Mayes reviews an older book for our blog this week. But as he points out in his review, the issues raised by Pisano regarding the biotech industry boom are especially relevant in light of today’s uncertain economic climate.

In 2006, Harvard Business School professor and business analyst Gary Pisano wrote Science Business as a case study of the biotechnology industry. The significance of the book is more important today than when it was originally written. At the time, the economy was doing well, so who was asking questions?

Biotechnology is defined as new era in drug discovery which began in 1976 with the use of genetic engineering distinguishing it from when researchers used various other techniques. Although as a whole the biotechnology industry has done well revenue wise since its inception, actually only a few companies are profitable. Consequently, Pisano claims the biotech boom should not have occurred. This phenomenon presents a situation now known as the “Pisano Puzzle.”

After analyzing the biotech sector, Pisano has concerns with the biotech sector’s ability to adapt to other successful business models due to several factors. First, you have risk management with known unknowns which science can deal with; however, it is the unknown unknowns that are problematic. (more…)

Book Review: Joint Ventures

Monday, October 10th, 2011

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Regan, Trish. Joint ventures : inside America’s almost legal marijuana industry. Wiley, 2011.

Within the tranquil rolling hills of Northern California is an area known as the Emerald Triangle, where land is expensive, jobs are scarce and the politics are liberal.  The weather is perfect for growing marijuana, and there are more acres under cultivation in Mendocino County than anywhere else in the U.S.   Growers interviewed by Trish Regan for her book Joint Ventures report that the Reagan administration’s tough stand on drugs caused the price of pot to rise until it was obvious that residents could make a good living growing pot, which now accounts for 2/3 of the local economy.

Mendocino County is only one of the places that journalist Regan takes the reader as she investigates the Cannabis industry.  She begins by interviewing entrepreneurs of dispensaries in Denver and L.A. where medical use of marijuana is legal and regulated by the state, but is illegal at the federal level.  In Colorado, California and ten other states where medical marijuana is legal, there are many business opportunities, yet industry insiders maintain a low profile to avoid attracting the attention of DEA agents.

Author Regan also turns to the other side of the business, interviewing growers, brokers and investors, weaving their personal stories with facts about the marijuana industry.  Growing and selling on the black market is highly profitable, as expenses are low and profits are enormous.  Yet challenges abound.  Customers pay with small bills and banking the cash is a problem.  There is no legal recourse for bad products or shoddy service.  Crime is a risk at all levels. Regan ends her portrait of a fascinating industry with a discussion of the Portuguese experiment to decriminalize drugs.

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

Book Review: KaBoom!

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

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Hammond, Darell. KaBOOM! : how one man built a movement to save play. Rodale Books : Macmillan, 2011.

Darell Hammond, CEO and founder of KaBOOM!, is speaking in Geneen Auditorium at Fuqua at 6:30 on Tuesday 10/4 to discuss the challenges he faced in growing his nonprofit from a 2 person startup to a national organization, which leverages the power of local communities to construct playgrounds in disadvantaged neighborhoods.  Since 1995, he has raised $200 million and constructed 2,000 playgrounds throughout the US.  Hammond is also the author of a new book titled KaBOOM! about his life, career and company.

Hammond begins his book with a description of his childhood where he has a rough start, one of 8 children abandoned by his father.  Yet he thrives under the discipline and guidance in a group home near Chicago.  He describes his early career – the people he meets and the experiences they share, which help him develop the principles that guide KaBOOM! today.

For Hammond, the process of building the playgrounds is as important as the end product.  KaBOOM! provides the tools, resources and guidance for each project, but the local community is also involved, organizing the project, soliciting funds, and providing the labor.   When the project is complete, the volunteers experience a sense of pride in their accomplishment.  They are transformed into a community working for positive change.  They continue to maintain the playground for the children and they apply the planning and organizational skills to other projects in the community.

Written with passion and commitment, this is a story about the power of an individual to be a force for good in the world.  It is also a chronicle of an entrepreneur who develops a business model, nurtures his organizations expansion and standardizes the process and procedures.  Without formal management training, he makes mistakes and describes what he learns from them.  This engaging book offers practical points on social enterprise.

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