Book Reviews: Focusing on Food

November 17th, 2014

book covers Lusk, Jayson. The food police : a well-fed manifesto about the politics of your plate. Crown Forum, 2013.

James, Randy. Why cows need names : and more secrets of Amish farms. Kent State University Press, [2013].

Americans enjoy a food supply that is abundant and affordable, but whether our food supply is safe and nutritious is open to debate.  Also in dispute are common agricultural practices that involve animal cruelty and environmental harm.  In the U.S. food is produced by a diverse array of 2.2 million farms and ranches scattered throughout the country, including factory farms, corporate ranches, small family farms and urban lots.  Two new books by faculty members in the agriculture discipline examine our food and how it is produced.

On one side of the debate is agricultural economist Jayson Lusk, who has no patience for people whom he calls the food elite, like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters.  In The Food Police, Lusk casts a skeptical eye on the claims and distortions that influence public opinion and form the basis of government regulatory policy for food.   In Lusk’s eyes, food subsidies, taxes and mandates designed to promote local foods or to reduce obesity are threats to personal freedom.  With biting wit, Lusk presents the benefits of genetically modified foods, non-organic produce and chemical insecticides.  These benefits include higher productivity and expanded food choice.

A counterpoint in the debate is Randy James, an agronomist who spent his career as an agricultural agent in Ohio’s Amish country.  In Why Cows Need Names, James presents an alternative to large efficient agribusinesses by using the true story of a young Amish couple in northeastern Ohio who are establishing a profitable small family farm. Beginning with a basic business plan, the family focuses on living simply with a shared goal for their farm.  Animals are treated humanely as they substitute for farm equipment and provide food for the table.  This is a quiet book, gently written by someone who appreciates a simple life free of car payments and electric bills, with clean spacious homes full of home-grown food and well educated children.

Both of these books are recommended as engaging and informative works.

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

New Movies for November: Part 1

November 7th, 2014

Here are our newest DVD titles for the month:

Deliver Us From EvilX-Men Future Past Cover
Life after Beth
Life of Crime
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Obvious Child
The Purge: Anarchy
The Scribbler
Wish I Was Here
X-Men: Days of Future Past

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

Book Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

October 27th, 2014

hard-thingsHorowitz, Ben. The hard thing about hard things : building a business when there are no easy answers. Harper Business, 2014.

In 2007 when Blair Sheppard was Dean, he asked me to make him a list each quarter — a list of 5 books that he could recommend to CEO’s.  This task turned out to be a hard thing to execute, more difficult than it seemed at first hearing.  To find the 5 best books, you must read a great many.

One book that would definitely be on the list is The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, the cofounder of an ongoing Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz and cofounder/former CEO of the software company, Opsware.  Horowitz draws on his experience as software engineer, entrepreneur, CEO  and venture capitalist to offer advice to technology entrepreneurs on hiring and managing talent, programming company culture, taking a company public and more.

In this engaging book, Horowitz tells his personal story against the backdrop of technology history after 1990, distilling the business and life lessons that he learned along the way.  Early in his career, Horowitz is at Netscape in charge of their web server product line.  During his tenure there, Microsoft releases Internet Explorer, challenging Netscape in a war for survival.  After Netscape is sold to America Online in 1998, Horowitz starts another company, Loudcloud.  Following the 2000 dot-com implosion, the company is sold to EDS but Horowitz keeps the software, Opsware, which is eventually sold to Hewlett Packard in 2007 for $1.6 billion.

Not everything goes as planned.  As Horowitz takes his companies from founding to going public to sale, he experiences both great success and near bankruptcy.  He uses his struggles to advise readers on how to lay people off and how to tell the truth when things fall apart.  He also offers advice on leading during uncertain times and on scaling a company.  In the end, Horowitz begins a venture capital firm to help technology company founders run their own companies.  And he writes a very readable book for entrepreneurs.  Recommended.

Also available in Kindle e-reader and online audiobook format.

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

New Movies for October: Part 2

October 24th, 2014

Here are the last of our new DVD titles for this month:

Godzilla DVD Cover
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 1
Fed Up
God’s Pocket
Long Way Down
The German Doctor
Ilo Ilo
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Lucky Them
Transformers: Age of Extinction

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

Fall Break With Malcolm Gladwell

October 13th, 2014

Fall Break is here!Congratulations, students!  You have survived the intensity of Fall Term 1.  Just polish off those final exams this week and you can bust out of town for Fall Break.  Whether you head for the snowy slopes of Squaw Valley or the showy shops in New York, you can travel with America’s best storyteller, Malcolm Gladwell.

In your car or on an airplane, listening to Gladwell makes the transit time melt away.  And you can hear Gladwell via a Ford Library audiobook by downloading one of his best sellers onto your own device — iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet. All his best books are available.

David and Goliath. Gladwell’s most recent book is about the powerful and considers the curious advantage of being the underdog.  Downloadable audio. Also in print, Audio CD and Business Bestseller Kindle.

Outliers. Gladwell examines successful people, who inhabit their world of advantages and inheritances, some that are earned through hard work and others that are simply good fortune. Downloadable audio. Also in print, Audio CD and Business Classics Kindle.

Blink. Humans use both conscious and unconscious modes of thinking and sometimes instant decisions can be as good as those made deliberately.  Downloadable audio. Also in print, Audio CD and Business Classics Kindle.

The Tipping Point.  Written years before social media, Gladwell’s first commercially successful book explores how ideas and trends suddenly go viral.  Downloadable audio.  Also in print, Audio CD and Business Classics Kindle.

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

New Movies for October: Part 1

October 9th, 2014

Here are the first of our new DVD titles this month:faultinourstars2

Captain America, the Winter Soldier
The Fault in Our Stars
Palo Alto
The Signal


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

Book Review: Sons of Witchita

September 29th, 2014

sons of witchitaSchulman, Daniel. Sons of Wichita : how the Koch brothers became America’s most powerful and private dynasty. Grand Central Publishing, 2014.

The October 2014 issue of Harper’s magazine features an article, PBS Self-Destructs, that begins with a protest at WGBH in Boston, to force the station to dislodge David Koch from the station’s board of trustees. Protesters claim that the oil tycoon’s new strategy for PBS is to destroy it from within, and they condemn the business practices of Koch Industries in general.

The protest is given a short mention in the final pages of a remarkable new book, Sons of Wichita, by journalist Daniel Schulman.  This story about the Koch family’s power, wealth and abundant conflicts begins in Kansas where Fred Koch begins life in modest circumstances, starts a refinery business and celebrates his 30th birthday a wealthy man.  A zealous anticommunist, he helps found the John Birch Society.  He teaches his four sons to be tough and competitive, to work hard and to distrust government. Two of Fred’s sons, Charles and David, join the family business and under their leadership, Koch Industries grows into the second largest private corporation in the US.

Schulman paints a picture of Koch Industries as an unethical company with a profit obsessed corporate culture.  In a two year period in the late 90’s Koch Industries are taken to court four times– for duping family members on the sale of their company holdings; for pipeline violations that caused two teenagers to be burned to death; for fraud when taking oil from native American lands; and for covering up the environmental consequences of leaky pipelines and storage tanks.  Yet the book is more about the dysfunctional Koch family than about the company.  In two of the four lawsuits, the Koch brothers support the plaintiffs as well as the defense as the brothers battle bitterly over the empire their father left to them.

Co-founders of the libertarian CATO Institute and drivers of the Tea Party movement, the Koch brothers are sometimes accused of orchestrating a secretive campaign of self-interested political reforms.  But to Schulman, it is more creed than greed.  Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch believes that all functions of society should be privately funded and he donates heavily to causes that advance the doctrine of libertarianism.  To shape public opinion, Koch hopes to reach the intellectual class through educational institutions, research funding, and yes, even public television.

Readers of this book will find themselves both engaged and enraged about the Koch family.  The battles and feuds among the four brothers last 20 years, vicious attacks in courtrooms and boardrooms, over issues at the company as well as their inheritance. Shulman’s illuminating portraits of Koch family members bring a human dimension to the conflicts.  Recommended reading for anyone who enjoys business, politics or Game of Thrones.

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

New Movies for September: Part 2

September 24th, 2014

Here are the last of the new DVDs this month:

Amazing Spider-Man 2Spiderman 2 DVD cover
The Double
Draft Day
The Love Punch
Muppets Most Wanted
Ping Pong Summer
The Railway Man

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

New Movies for September: Part 1

September 17th, 2014

Here are the first of our new DVD titles for September:Moms Night Out DVD Cover

Night Moves
Hateship Loveship
Trust Me
Fading Gigolo
Moms’ Night Out
Only Lovers Left Alive
The Quiet Ones
They Came Together


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

Book Reviews: Communicating with Confidence

September 15th, 2014

book coversGallo, Carmine. Talk like TED : the 9 public speaking secrets of the world’s top minds. St. Martin’s Press, 2014.

McGowan, Bill. Pitch perfect : how to say it right the first time, every time. Harper Business, 2014.

In July, two Ford Library staff members attended the Advanced Communications Workshop taught by Dorie Clark, Fuqua adjunct professor, former presidential campaign spokesperson and author of the book, Reinventing You, about developing a personal brand.

Prof. Clark also teaches a popular course in Fuqua’s Executive Education program, Great Leadership Requires Great Communication.  To influence, inspire and persuade others, corporate executives and government leaders need to communicate clearly and confidently with diverse constituencies both inside and outside their organizations. Two new books in the Ford Library also explain how to communicate ideas so they are heard and understood.

Talk Like TED is for speakers who want to deliver presentations with more confidence and authority.  Author Carmine Gallo analyzes more than 500 TED presentations and distills nine common elements from the most popular ones.  Like Dale Carnegie 100 years ago, Gallo recommends that speakers keep their presentations short and tell stories to connect emotionally with the listener.  But he also adds more modern techniques such as the use of humor and novelty.  He advises speakers to have passion and also to be authentic.  Gallo is also the author of the bestselling book, Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.

Communications coach Bill McGowan helps clients, executives and celebrities, decide what to say and how to say it.  In his new book, Pitch Perfect, he condenses what he has taught in 4000 coaching sessions into a simple set of 7 principles for handling a variety of personal and professional communication scenarios.  To get attention, McGowan recommends starting with the best material, and to hold attention, he recommends preparing a brief but rich message.  He underscores the importance of conveying certainty with words, posture, eye contact and tone of voice.  He shows how to use visual images to illustrate a story.  His principles work for media interviews, internal meetings, interviews and most other business communication situations.

Both of these books are informative and engaging, and they are recommended for professionals who communicate their ideas at work.

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