New Movies for March: Part 1

March 13th, 2013

Here are the first of our newest DVDs for the month:

Chasing Mavericks
Chicken with Plums
Escape Fire : the Fight to Rescue American Healthcare
Freaky Deaky
Game of Thrones, season 2
Hit & Run
House at the End of the Street
The Master
My Lucky Elephant
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2
Wreck-It Ralph

Book Review: The Future – Six Drivers of Global Change

February 25th, 2013

the future (book cover image)

Gore, Albert, Jr. The future : six drivers of global change. Random House, 2013.

(Guest Reviewer – Randall Mayes) Roughly eight years ago someone asked Al Gore what he considered were the major drivers of global change. After responding with a rather simplistic answer, the question would continue to linger in his sub-conscious. On a plane flight back home, Gore spent several hours outlining his thoughts on his computer.

Drawing on his studies as far back as the 1970s of the works of futurists, Gore’s outlines eventually grew to extensive flow charts which precede each of the chapters of his most recent book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.

In the final analysis, it turns out that of Gore’s six major drivers, three are technology. Technologies are significant because they present a Faustian bargain. Some technologies revolutionize the existing infrastructure. Robotics has made our lives easier, but has increasingly resulted in unemployment, a phenomenon Gore refers to as robosourcing. This is not a surprising or unique phenomenon. Roughly a century ago, Henry Ford’s revolution of transportation put many people in jobs relating to horses out of business, but created jobs in the auto industry.

Our modern technology driven world also brings potential risks and tests our values. We are in the century of biology. Advances in biotechnology that will potentially lead to cures for bird flus, Superbugs and advance personalized medicine have a dual-use nature. They also enable the production of biological weapons and ethically controversial athletic and cognitive enhancements.

Digital electronic communications has led to privacy issues not only with DNA, but in other areas including online banking, medical records, commercial trade secrets, our personal lives, and national security. But, overwhelmingly advanced societies feel the benefits of technology outweigh the risks.

Read more …

New Movies for February: Part 2

February 19th, 2013

Here are the remainder of our DVDs for February:

Here Comes the Boom
Hotel Transylvania
The Imposter
The Possession
Seven Psychopaths
Tai Chi Zero
10 Years

New Movies for February: Part 1

February 15th, 2013

Here is the first batch of our newest movies for February:

Peter Pan
To Rome with Love
Hara-kiri (Death of a Samurai)
Alex Cross
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Downton Abbey, season 3
End of Watch

Book Reviews: Conscious Capitalism & Change

February 11th, 2013

UPDATED 2-18-13: This review has been updated with links to a recent speech and interview with Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods.

At last Tuesday’s Distinguished Speaker event in Geneen Auditorium here at the Fuqua School, I sat next to a 20-something woman who runs her own vegan soup business in Durham, Short Winter Soups.  She has more customers than she can handle and there is a wait list to become her client.  Prior to her current success, this entrepreneur had tried other ventures.  Her courage is both admirable and inspiring.

Courage was one of the attributes discussed by Tuesday’s invited speaker, Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market.  He encouraged students to discover what is meaningful to them and to follow their passion.  He described business as the greatest change agent in the world and the capitalist system as the best environment to foster prosperity.  He also encouraged students to see beyond profits and to consider stakeholders beyond shareholders, such as employees (team members), when creating strategy and policy.  During his presentation, he referenced several new books:

Conscious capitalism: liberating the heroic spirit of business by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia.
Robb’s CEO partner John Mackey and his co-author Raj Sisoda make similar points about higher purpose and conscious leadership in their new book, Conscious Capitalism. Mackey and Sisoda discuss how business and capitalism can be a force for good, by creating value for the customer and prosperity for humanity. They show how business conducted consciously benefits all stakeholders, not only investors, but also employees, customers, society and the environment. The authors describe how to cultivate a business culture that is more conscious of all stakeholders. Watch a “Real Conversations With Real Leaders interview with Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb.
The Financial crisis and the free market cure: why pure capitalism is the world economy’s only hope by John A. Allison.
John Allison (Fuqua MBA ‘74) was CEO of BB&T in Charlotte for 20 years, 1989-2008. His new book, The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure, provides an insider’s perspective on the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing Great Recession. Allison explains that government policies created the conditions that made the Great Recession possible and that the government’s policy decisions and banking reforms are preventing the recovery. He outlines his prescriptions for free market capitalism to ensure future economic success, including principled action that considers clients, employees and communities and their effect on shareholder value.
The Omnivore’s dilemma: a natural history of four meals by Michael Pollan.
As Walter Robb noted at the Distinguished Speaker event on Tuesday, Whole Foods Market was criticized in Pollan’s landmark book, the Omnivore’s Dilemma. Robb noted that the company took the charges seriously and changed their policies about providing locally grown foods. Pollan devoted an entire chapter on “big organic,” which tried to reconcile the back-to-nature growers from the 60’s who spawned the organic food movement with today’s industrialization of the organic food industry. Also available as an audiobook.

All three books are recommended.

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

Maintenance Work at Ford Library

February 1st, 2013

image courtesy monash.eduThere will likely be construction noise due to maintenance work in Ford Library this weekend sometime  between 5pm, Friday, February 1st and Sunday evening, February 3rd.

We apologize for the short notice; and any noise or disruption this may cause your work and studying in the Library.  The maintenance is necessary to correct issues related to unforeseen water damage in the ceiling near our main service desk area.

Many thanks for your patience and understanding!


Book Reviews: Innovation and Creativity

January 28th, 2013

Innovation and creativity can spring from unexpected sources. All three of these new books in Ford Library are recommended to anyone interested in opening their minds to new means of creativity and innovation.

The knockoff economy : how imitation spurs innovation by Kal Raustiala* and Christopher Sprigman.
On December 31, M.I.C. Gadget published the Top 10 Chinese Knockoffs of 2012. No surprise to find the iPhone and the iMac in the #1 and #2 positions, but #3 is the Steve Jobs knockoff, a wax figure clone of the official figure in Hong Kong. Copying electronic devices is a serious threat for Apple and other innovators, and patents and copyrights exist to protect them. Yet in a new book, The Knockoff Economy, two law school professors argue that in some industries, creativity thrives in the face of copying. In fashion, comedy and cuisine, copyright and patent restrictions do not apply, yet in all of these industries, creativity flourishes. Authors Raustiala and Sprigman analyze these industries to show how innovation can continue to thrive in an environment of imitation. *Author Kal Raustiala is a Professor in the UCLA School of Law and an alumnus of Duke University (Class of 1988, AB in Political Science).
Little bets : how breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries by Peter Sims.
Peter Sims also begins his new book Little Bets by discussing creativity in comedy, about how Chris Rock creates his standup routines by trying hundreds of preliminary joke ideas on small audiences before selecting a handful for a new routine on HBO. Sims calls this type of creativity “experimental innovation,” a persistent trial-and-error approach that gradually builds up to breakthroughs. This approach uses a discover-test-develop loop that refines results over time, and is especially valuable in an uncertain environment, or when solving open-ended problems. Failures happen often and are viewed as learning opportunities. While Sims notes that Google and Amazon use this style of innovation, he draws most of his examples from Pixar films at Apple and from architect Frank Gehry. Also available as an audiobook.
The wide lens : a new strategy for innovation by Ron Adner.
In The Wide Lens, Dartmouth professor Ron Adner explains that many smart companies and talented managers bring brilliant innovations to market with disappointing results. These failures occur even when customers value the products and are willing to pay for them. And they occur despite flawless execution; notwithstanding a focus on core competencies and despite beating the competition to market. These failures happen because the innovating companies do not recognize that they are part of an innovation ecosystem. Companies operate in an interdependent environment where success often depends on others. Innovators must align themselves with partners, suppliers, retailers, networks, distributors and other partners. Adner analyzes the risks, roles and relationships in an innovator’s environment and he explains how to reconfigure the ecosystem for success.

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

Ford Library Closing at 4PM, Friday, 1/25/13

January 25th, 2013

image courtesy

Ford Library will be CLOSING at 4PM TODAY, Friday, January 25, 2013 due to winter weather and potentially hazardous driving conditions.

Please follow the Library’s Twitter feed for the latest changes in our hours of operation due to weather conditions.

Tweets showing changes in Library hours should also appear on our Hours & Directions web page, although it may not be updated as quickly as our Twitter feed itself.

Please drive safely, and remember to check the links above to make sure we’re open before traveling into campus to visit Ford Library.

New Movies for January: Part 2

January 22nd, 2013

Here are the rest of the new titles for January:

Act of Valor
Diary of a Wimpy kid: Dog Days
Le Havre
Premium Rush
Red Hook Summer

Book Review: Confessions of a microfinance heretic

January 22nd, 2013

Sinclair, Hugh. Confessions of a microfinance heretic : how microlending lost its way and betrayed the poor. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2012.

Microfinance pioneer and Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus was the commencement speaker at Duke University in 2010 and he has been involved with Fuqua’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship since 2004.  The renowned “Banker to the Poor” has been one of the most successful social entrepreneurs of our time, beginning in 1976, when he loaned $26 to 42 women in rural Bangladesh to enable them to purchase bamboo to make and sell stools.   In 1983, he founded Grameen Bank to provide similar loans on a larger scale.  Soon after, international NGO’s with missions to serve the poor added microfinance programs as a simple and effective way to break the cycle of poverty.

Beginning in 2005, microfinance lenders began shifting their status as nonprofit organizations to commercial enterprises.  To make a profit on their loans, these MFI’s (microfinance institutions) raised interest rates – up to 100% in some cases — and hired aggressive loan collectors to hound borrowers– to the point of suicide for some.  In 2011, Yunus wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times, “I never imagined that one day microcredit would give rise to its own breed of loan sharks.”

In a new book, Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic, author Hugh Sinclair agrees.  Using his experience over 10 years with several MFI’s, he shows that what began as a good idea has been hijacked by large investors and banks.

In this fly-on-the-wall account, Sinclair begins his story in 2002 as a new MBA graduate from IESE in Barcelona, who accepts an offer as a consultant with an MFI in Mexico.  At the time, the industry is small, but through Sinclair’s daily interactions with executives, coworkers and clients at various MFI’s over the next decade, Sinclair shows how shady practices emerge as the sector grows and changes into the modern $70 billion microfinance industry.  His story illustrates a wide range of problems. As currently practiced, microfinance is  ineffective and most loans are made to buy consumer goods or to repay another loan.  Interest rates are usually over 30%.  Children are pressed into labor to repay the loans.  Borrowers are not protected in their unregulated economy.  Sinclair concludes that profit incentives and lack of oversight allow most MFI’s to ignore the negative impact they have on poverty.  This engaging book is recommended for anyone interested in emerging markets or social entrepreneurship.

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