Archive for March, 2014

Possible Database Downtime

Friday, March 28th, 2014

Business Source Complete & other EBSCO databases may be offline during vendor maintenance 9PM-11PM EDT on Friday, March 28.

From the EBSCO web site:

On Friday, 28 March 2014 your EBSCOhost databases and services may be intermittently unavailable while we perform network upgrades. The service window is scheduled to begin at 9:00 PM EDT (-04:00 GMT). You may experience intermittent access to EBSCOhost products and services for the duration of the service window, which is scheduled to end at 11:00 PM EDT (-4:00 GMT).

Please let us know and check the EBSCOhost Support Alerts site for more details if you experience downtime beyond the service window.

Book Reviews: Bursting the Housing Bubble

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

other-fingersLyons, Tom  and Richard Curran. Fingers: the man who brought down Irish Nationwide and cost us €5.4bn. Gill & Macmillan, 2013.

Bagli, Charles V. Other people’s money : inside the housing crisis and the demise of the greatest real estate deal ever made. Dutton, 2013. also available in audiobook format.

It has been 6 long years since the Great Recession began in 2008 and people are starting to ask how it happened that no Wall Street bankers were charged with crimes for their part in meltdown of the economy.  Taxpayers are asking why they covered the losses of the powerful, while ordinary citizens who owed money lost all their assets. Two new books in the Ford Library describe the origins of two financial crises, one in Ireland and the other in New York City, explaining what went wrong and who is to blame.

In Fingers, business journalists Tom Lyons and Richard Curran tell the story of Michael Fingleton, self-made man, one-time billionaire and banking legend, who as head of the Irish Nationwide Building Society was responsible for the second largest failure in Irish history.  The authors describe the greed and ambition of the CEO, as well as his autocratic style, effectively a one-man loan department.  They explore the reasons for the society’s failure, including mismanagement and a troubled culture.  They also expose how financial regulators knew about the problems at the bank for decades yet did nothing to induce change.  In the end, the bank’s failure cost the Irish taxpayers 5.4 billion euros, while Fingers and his political friends walked away.

Similarly across the pond, New York Times journalist Charles Bagli explains in Other People’s Money how international real estate mega-firm Tishman Speyer Properties and its partner, BlackRock, lost $4 billion on a single deal financed with almost zero equity.  Using this project as a lens into the housing bubble, Bagli explains that investors expected housing prices to rise perpetually while developers failed to anticipate resistance from established tenants.  Wall Street banks loaned billions to the developers despite inadequate cash flow expectations because they rebundled the loans and sold them to investors.  In the end, Tishman Speyer and BlackRock walked away from the property unscathed, while the investment losses by public employee retirement funds flowed down to city budgets and to individual retirement accounts.

Both books are clear first person accounts of titanic failures that explain the causes and consequences of the real estate bubble in the early 21st century.  Both are recommended.

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

Book Review: On The Edge

Monday, March 17th, 2014

on-edgeLevine, Alison.  On the edge : the art of high-impact leadership. Business Plus, 2014.also available in Kindle and audiobook formats.

Alison Levine completed her MBA at the Fuqua School in 2000 and has remained active with the School, serving in leadership roles at both the Fuqua/Coach K Center for Leadership and Ethics, as well as Fuqua’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship.  Outside of Duke, Levine has held positions of leadership in a variety of other nonprofit organizations worldwide. In 2003, she served as Deputy Finance Director for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s successful campaign for Governor. She also founded the Climb High Foundation, a nonprofit organization that trains women in third world countries to be mountain guides and porters in their local mountains so they can benefit from climbing- and trekking-related tourism.  Alison is currently the co-chair of the West Coast chapter of 85 Broads, a member of the Association of Women MBAs and was a founding member of World Wildlife Fund’s Young Partners in Conservation.  A popular and talented keynote speaker, Levine is also an adjunct professor at the US Military Academy at West Point.

In 2002, Levine served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition and she returned to Mt. Everest in 2010 to climb to the summit.  These adventures form the basis for her best-selling new book, On the Edge.  For Levine, mountain climbing is a metaphor for endurance, willpower and achievement.  Her book is about the leadership lessons that she learned during those two climbs – the need for teamwork, moral character and emotional intelligence.  She explains that preparedness is key to success and advises readers to condition for sleep deprivation, even for those whose challenges take place in the office.  Levine uses vivid descriptions of environmental hardships on the mountains to explain that while we cannot control our environment, we can control the way we react to it.  She also explains that backtracking does not necessarily mean you are losing ground, if you are strengthening the foundation of your effort.

Levine chose the women for her team on her first attempt to summit Mount Everest by using telephone interviews.  She “screened for aptitude, then hired for attitude.”  She chose experienced team members who were confident about their skills and felt proud to be members of the team.  As a skilled leader, she developed personal relationships with individual team members to build loyalty and trust, and fostered relationships with those who offered encouragement and support.

In addition to serving as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, Levine also achieved the Adventure Grand Slam, climbing the highest peak on every continent (the Seven Summits), and skiing to both the North and South Poles.  In addition to her successes, Levine details her mistakes.  She describes her own bad judgment during a climb up the Carstensz Pyramid in western New Guinea, as she put herself in danger without proper equipment.  Also compelling was her description of her skiing to the South Pole in 2008.  As the weakest team member, she learned from her leaders to help others compensate for their vulnerabilities.   Levine lays out her story with candor and humor.  Her engaging book is highly recommended.

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

New Movies for March

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Here are our newest DVDs:

Blue is the Warmest Color
Dallas Buyers Club
Ender’s Game
Game of Thrones, season 3
The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete
Life of a King
Muscle Shoals

About Time
All is Lost
Escape Plan
Free Birds
Thor: the Dark World
12 Years a Slave
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
House of Cards, season 1


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

Book Reviews: Celebrating International Women’s Day

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Today on March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, in recognition of women’s achievements throughout history and across nations.  And at the same time, the entire month of March is dedicated to women’s history, 31 days when we celebrate women of character, courage and commitment. ( Cynics may say that these days in March are to compensate for overlooking the achievements by women.  But optimists may observe that opportunities for women are improving and attitudes about women are changing worldwide. Today, International Women’s Day, these three books are dedicated to Fuqua women who are making work-life decisions about their futures.

xx-factorThe XX Factor by Alison Wolf – Prior to 1970 the primary roles for working women were secretaries, nurses, teachers and librarians.  Today highly educated women routinely hold key managerial roles in Fortune 500 companies and government.  They own their own businesses and are widely represented in professions such as law, medicine, banking and the clergy.  Yet millions of ordinary women still work in female dominated occupations.  In The XX Factor, British professor Alison Wolf explains that women in elite occupations make different choices in daily activities and personal lives than women in traditional female occupations, who are likely to be far poorer.  In their work habits, job choices, family patterns and daily tasks, upper class women have more in common with their male professional colleagues.  Elite women are better educated and work longer hours.  They marry later, if at all. They have fewer (or no) children; they bear them later in life and return to work immediately.  Elite women spend little time on activities in the home such as cooking or laundry, and they devote their time during the evenings and on weekends to their managerial work. High earning men and women marry each other, concentrating wealth within a small elite and creating a less equal world.

dareDare by Becky Blalock – Strategy consultant and former executive of Georgia Power writes her new book for women in middle management who aspire to senior leadership at their companies.  Author Becky Blalock advises women to seek out new opportunities and to take more risks, accepting roles that are beyond their current expertise.  Most of the book is practical guidance generated from personal experience showing women how to differentiate themselves to stand out from the crowd.  She explains how to project a confident attitude and to become comfortable with ambiguity.  She encourages readers to develop relationships with others inside and outside the organization, building a support network of professional colleagues and mentors, and by becoming a mentor to others in return.

joy-nofunAll Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior – sells over 50,000 books on parenting, and most of them address the profound ways that parents influence their children’s intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical lives.  But journalist Jennifer Senior’s new book is about how children affect their parents at each stage of their development.  Children strain marriages, compromise their parents’ sleep and work, and jeopardize their parents’ psychological health.  But children also bring meaning and purpose to the lives of their parents.  As parents commit to something bigger than themselves, parenthood brings strength and integrity.  While parents  admit that it is no fun to interact with their children, they also report that their children bring a heartfelt joy to their lives.

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

Library Closing Early – Opening Late

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

icy-roadDue to a strong potential for icy roads and dangerous travel conditions, Ford Library will be closing at 1PM on Monday, March 3rd, and opening late at 10AM on Tuesday, March 4th.

Library reference staff will be monitoring our online reference chat and email throughout the normal business day (8am – 5pm).

Weather conditions can change suddenly, so please monitor the DukeAlert site and the Ford Library Twitter feed for the latest updates to our hours of operation.

Stay Safe!