Archive for September, 2015

Book Review: Road to Character

Monday, September 28th, 2015

book cover imageBrooks, David. The road to character. Random House, 2015.

It has been 15 years since Jim Collins wrote Good to Great, possibly the most influential business book of all time. The book reported on Collins’ own research about how to turn a good company into one that produced great results over a sustained period of time. One of his key findings was that the personal character of company leadership mattered. Great companies had leaders who were humble but acted with iron will. Celebrity CEO’s were rarely linked with great companies.

Journalist and bestselling author David Brooks agrees that character matters. In his new book, The Road to Character, Brooks observes that there has been a shift in American culture from one that encouraged people to think humbly to one of relentless self-promotion. Modern society admires those who compete, achieve and brand themselves, but overlooks those whose quieter lives serve a larger moral purpose.

As a columnist and TV news pundit, Brooks is especially susceptible to celebrity culture. Successful at developing professional skills, he senses his own shallowness and need for admiration, his lack of integrity. His way of developing a strong inner character is not to follow someone’s 7-point program, but to observe the lives of remarkable people and to understand their wisdom.

In his new book, Brooks illustrates the lives of 8 well-known people who have been down the difficult “road to character” and shows how character building works in the real world. Flawed but humbly aware of their faults, these remarkable people struggle with their internal weaknesses until they overcome them. In the end they build a solid moral core. Brooks explains that personal growth occurs when people meet those they admire and make difficult changes to emulate their lives.

Character can be developed at any point in life, but it is a lengthy process. This noteworthy book is recommended for anyone who wants to live a good moral life.

This book is also available as an audiobook on OverDrive, an eBook on OverDrive, and on the Business Bestsellers Kindles in the Ford Library.

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

New Movies for September

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Our latest DVD titles for September are:

5 to 7Orphan Black DVD cover
Big Game
Child 44
Hot Pursuit
Jackie & Ryan
Lila & Eve
A Little Chaos
The Runner
The Salvation
I Origins
Orphan Black, season 3
Two Days, One Night

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

Book Review: Return on Character

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Kiel, Fred. Return on Character : the real reason leaders and their companies win. Harvard Business Review Press, 2015.

book cover imageIn June, Fuqua faculty published their recommendations for summer reading, an eclectic list of 36 classic books and current bestsellers, as diverse as are the members of our faculty. One book on the list was not yet available at Duke libraries, Return on Character by Fred Kiel. At first, I thought this recommendation was a mistake because a similar title, Road to Character by David Brooks, was a runaway best seller. But Kiel’s book was an intentional choice by Assoc. Dean Shane Dikolli.

Former practicing psychologist and current advisor to executive leaders, Fred Kiel wrote Return on Character to chart the connections between strong character, principled behavior and sustainable business results. In 2006, he began a research project involving 212 CEO’s, interviewing and surveying the leaders and the people who worked for them. These results were compared to the financial performances of their businesses.

After 7 years of research, Kiel concludes that CEO character matters — there is a consistent relationship between character driven leaders and better business results. In addition, he finds that an individual can develop his/her character well into adulthood. For leaders who want to improve their character, Kiel recommends practicing the habits that shape character. These habits include always telling the truth, no matter how difficult; accepting and forgiving mistakes; and helping others to thrive. Developing habits like these causes profound personal change over time.

Kiel outlines his 6-step program for personal growth and change for individuals and goes on to explain how to infuse character attributes like integrity and compassion throughout an organization. Yet skeptical readers may doubt that egotistical CEOs want to change their self-focused values. It is also unlikely that most people can get to the root of their character “in a few weeks” using the brief tools outlined in chapter 7. Even the most motivated individuals may require therapy or expert coaching to overcome pride and self-deception, to ultimately gain the personal insight needed for change at the deepest level.

Nonetheless, Kiel’s guide to inner growth would benefit anyone aspiring to give his/her best at work and to leave the world a better place, especially corporate and nonprofit leaders, who are exceptionally influential at work and within the larger world. The qualities that Kiel identifies — integrity, responsibility, compassion and forgiveness — are important for leaders at all levels of organizations. Recommended.

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

The Ford Library “Did You Know?”

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

…Check out our website & connect with us online facebook twitter youtube

…Together we have 140 years of experience serving the Fuqua community!

Ford Library team 2015 wide

…Our Reference Librarians have been asked where to find information on everything from consumer debt to 1950s car dealership jingles. If you have a question, ask a librarian via email, phone, or chat.

…Not only do we have a dedicated and hardworking staff, we also offer access to some incredible resources. Read on to find out more.

…Whether you’re planning a vacation to Alaska or a business trip to Shanghai, our Lonely Planet Travel Guides can help you find some of the best places to eat, shop, and lodge.

…With Pronunciator and Transparent Language Online, your language-learning needs are covered from Afrikaans to Xhosa.

…If you’re looking for information on retirement planning or personal investing, evaluating a charitable organization, or researching a company, you’re in luck. More than fifty databases are available to you, including Morningstar Investment Research Center, GuideStar, and OneSource.

…Need to get organized? Amazon’s #2 bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is one of hundreds of books available to you on Ford Library Kindles.

Audiobooks on CD are perfect for a commute. The Art of the Start 2.0 may be just the motivation you need to get started on a project.

…You can read Fifty shades of Grey on your smartphone, or listen to Gone Girl on your MP3 player with Duke’s OverDrive subscription.

…Binge-viewing is in. You can now check out up to 3 movie titles (DVD and/or Blu-Ray) for 7 days. Let the Game of Thrones marathon begin!

…Meg Trauner, Ford Library founder. 33 years at Fuqua haven’t changed her a bit!