WSJ: Best Business Books 2015

December 4th, 2015

stack of booksEvery November the Wall Street Journal publishes a list of books to give to family and friends for the holidays. But in addition to their gifting potential, these books make amusing airport reading for traveling students, staff and faculty members over the holidays too.

The 2015 list is created by Bryan Burrough, author of the 2009 acclaimed best-seller Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco and most recently Days of Rage: America’s Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence. Readers wanting to see Burrough’s complete remarks about these books can find it in the Weekend Edition, Nov. 21-22, 2015, page C10.

Alibaba’s World: How a Remarkable Company is Changing the Face of Global Business by Porter Erisman.
Alibaba is the Chinese and the anticipated frontrunner in global commerce. One of its first employees, Porter Erisman, tells the story of its founder, Jack Ma, and the company’s rise to power. Also available as an audiobook on OverDrive and as an eBook on OverDrive.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance.
This portrait of controversial visionary and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, his life and career, his successes and failures, begins with his difficult childhood in South Africa. Read our full review here. Also available as an audiobook on OverDrive, as an eBook on OverDrive, as an audiobook on CD, and on the Business Bestsellers Kindles at the Ford Library.

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute by Zac Bissonnette.
In this entertaining story and economics lesson, a toy purchased for $5 was resold for $10,000 at the height of the Beanie Baby bubble in the 1990’s, which ended swiftly with devastating consequences for some. Also available as an eBook on OverDrive and as an audiobook on OverDrive.

Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry by Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff.
An insider’s account of BlackBerry, which in 2009 ranked the world’s fastest growing company with half the smartphone market, but anon was crippled by internal management feuds and ruthless competition from Apple and Google. Also available as an audiobook on OverDrive and as an eBook on OverDrive.

Once Upon a Time in Russia by Ben Mezrich.
Epic drama and true story of billionaire oligarchs Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich, who mined massive profits in the early days of privatization after the fall of the Soviet regime, depicting the massive wealth, corruption and power within the business elite in Russia. Also available as an audiobook on OverDrive.

The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory by John Seabrook.
This journey into the highly competitive music industry explains the science behind today’s highly processed pop songs that produce a “hook” every 7 seconds to appeal to the human brain’s “bliss point.”
Also available as audiobook on OverDrive and as an eBook on OverDrive.

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

New Movies for November

November 17th, 2015

Here are our newest DVDs for November:

The Giftfinalgirls
Inside Out
When Marnie Was There
Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
The Final Girls
Testament of Youth
Before We Go
Dark Places
The End of The Tour
Escobar : Paradise Lost
Jurassic World
Magic Mike XXL
San Andreas
She’s Funny That Way

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

Book Review: Elon Musk

November 2nd, 2015

book cover imageVance, Ashlee. Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X, and the quest for a fantastic future. Ecco, 2015.

Celebrity entrepreneur Elon Musk is known for his vision, intensity and drive — and for his accomplishments in four different industries: finance (PayPal), automotive (Tesla), aerospace (SpaceX) and energy (Solar City). Technology journalist Ashlee Vance tells the story of Musk, his life and career, his successes and failures, beginning with his difficult childhood in South Africa.

The successes are legendary. After Musk sells his first company Zip2 in 1999, Musk takes his $22 million to start a new venture,, which merges with Confinity to become PayPal. After PayPal is sold to eBay for $1.5 billion, Musk again uses his personal funds to underwrite three new startups. The best known, Tesla Motors, is more than a high end all-electric car. As Musk distributes recharging stations worldwide, he is creating a new transportation system. Another Musk-owned company, SpaceX, designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets, and aspires one day to enable humans to travel to Mars. And Solar City is the largest installer of solar panels for consumers and businesses.

Author Ashlee Vance portrays Musk as a complicated man — arrogant and confrontational, daring and flamboyant, hardworking and demanding. He is insensitive to his employees, yet his companies deliver products that industry leaders assumed were impossible. On paper, Musk is a wealthy man, yet occasionally his finances are near collapse. According to Vance, Musk foresees that human survival depends on establishing a colony on another planet and Musk is dedicating his life to realizing this. Critics dismiss Musk as a crazy star-gazer, but he is passionate about cars, global warming and interplanetary travel and his companies are succeeding.

This portrait of Elon Musk, the innovator and the man, is recommended.

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

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

New Movies for October

October 16th, 2015

Here are the latest titles in our DVD collection:

The Age of AdalineMad Max DVD Cover
The D Train
Empire, season 1
Fortitude, season 1
Furious 7
The Hunger Games. Mockingjay, Part 1
I’ll See You in my Dreams
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Love & Mercy
Mad Max: Fury Road
Marvel Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Overnight
Penny Dreadful, season 2

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

Book Review: Zero to One

October 12th, 2015

book cover imageThiel, Peter. Zero to One: notes on start-ups, or how to build the future. Crown Business, 2014.

PayPal, the world’s largest online payments system, began in 1999, when a start-up named Confinity, founded by Peter Thiel and others, launched a money transfer service for Palm Pilot owners. At the same time, Elon Musk’s start-up,, also built a person to person payment system using the Web and email. The companies battled hard to be the first to create the digital currency that would replace the U.S. dollar.

At both companies, customers were paid to join, a practice that was both expensive and unsustainable. In 2000, Confinity merged with, but conflicts over culture and technology continued. As largest shareholder, Musk was named the first CEO, but by the end of the year,’s board replaced Musk with Thiel, who rebranded the company as PayPal.

In Zero to One, Peter Thiel uses his own experience, as entrepreneur and venture capitalist, to explain how to create a successful startup. After discussing the nature of competition, he outlines the elements should be part of every business plan, such as engineering, people and distribution. Thiel explains that successful startups find value in unexpected places, create small monopolies and scale up. Thiel’s book offers no personal information about his life, but relates practical business advice from his experience at PayPal:

  • Startups should make their early staff as personally similar as possible.
  • Every startup should start with a very small market.
  • In no case should a CEO of an early-stage venture-backed startup receive more than $150,000 per year in salary.

Zero to One is recommended for anyone interested in establishing, working in, or investing in a startup. A review of the book Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance will be posted on November 2.

Zero to One is also available as an audiobook on OverDrive, as an eBook on OverDrive, as an audiobook on CD, as well as on the Business Bestsellers Kindles in the Ford Library.

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

Book Review: Road to Character

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

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

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?”

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!


Vault’s Top 50 Consulting Firms & Premium Access

August 31st, 2015


Vault just released its annual signature list of the top 50 consulting firms to work for: the “Vault Consulting 50”. To view this list and additional premium Vault content, Fuqua students can create an account here.

Vault offers career research for candidates seeking opportunities across hundreds of industries and professions. With a premium Vault account, Fuqua students can access downloadable career guides, employer profiles and rankings, discussion boards, industry blogs, news covering the latest trends and issues, and Vault’s job board, which matches employers and recruiters with top talent.

For additional career resources, including WetFeet Guides, books on resumés and interviewing, and information about companies recruiting at Fuqua, visit Ford Library’s Career Tools webpage.