The Director’s Picks

September 15th, 2009

director's picks

The Director’s Picks

Fuqua School Dean Blair Sheppard asked Ford Library Director, Meg Trauner to select 5 recent business books that should “be on his nightstand”.

Click the titles below for information on location and availability.



Book Review: Fool’s Gold

September 9th, 2009

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Tett, Gillian. Food’s Gold: How the bold dream of a small tribe at J.P.Morgan was corrupted by Wall Street greed and unleashed a catastrophe. Free Press, 2009.

In 2003, Warren Buffet described derivatives as “financial weapons of mass destruction.” He was later proved to be a prophet. Yet a decade earlier, when credit derivatives were first conceived, they appeared to be a win-win for the financial world, freeing up capital, diversifying risk and increasing profits.

This is the story of a small group of young employees at J.P.Morgan investment bank, who discovered the latent power of derivatives, products which initially seemed so promising, but later evolving into cyber-world instruments that even the financiers struggled to understand.

Fool’s Gold is a lively narrative that reports behind the scenes about the workings of an elite company and its bankers. The story also describes the complicated financial instruments and shows how they combined with greed and stupidity to create a global financial disaster.

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

Securing Professional Contacts–Tips from the Harvard Business Blog

September 1st, 2009

David Silverman, Harvard Business Blog author, tells you how to “Ask a (Near) Stranger for a Favor“.  Make sure your email to those possible professional contacts isn’t overlooked or deleted outright.

Book Review: What Would Google Do?

September 1st, 2009

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Jarvis, Jeff. What would Google do?. Collins Business, 2009.

Media leader and founder of Entertainment Weekly, Jeff Jarvis, describes Google as the first post-media company. He analyzes company principles and shows how companies, organizations and people can use Google’s worldview to re-engineer their own strategy and behavior.

In business, the mass market is gone. Today’s economy is a mass of niches. Google goes to where the customers are, instead of requiring the customers to come to Google. As a network and platform, Google organizes and distributes content to an enormous market and payment is made by people and companies who want to reach that market.

For example, in the old economy, the media covered the cost of publications by charging readers and viewers. In the new economy, the publications are free — media charge advertisers for reaching the customers.

Author Jeff Jarvis recommends that every human being needs a search presence on Google. “Today, if you can’t be found in Google, you might as well not exist.” Exaggeration and hyperbole are abundant in this book. Yet the underlying ideas ring true and the conversational style makes this book an interesting read.

This title is also available in audiobook format in Ford Library.

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

WRDS Changes Access Methods

August 27th, 2009

Effective in early September 2009, Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) is changing the way Library users of the WRDS web site access their site.

This change in access method does not affect Duke or Fuqua Faculty and Phd students who hold their own WRDS usernames and passwords.

If you connect to any WRDS data set from the Ford Library database page, or from the Duke Libraries database finder, you will need to enter your Duke email address at the WRDS web site, after you have entered your Duke NetID and password and been sent to the WRDS site.

Here are the new steps for accessing WRDS:

  1. User follows a link from a Library web site to a WRDS data set.
  2. User enters their Duke NetID and password when prompted by Duke.
  3. User enters their Duke eMail address at the WRDS web site.
  4. WRDS sends a “WRDS Day Pass” email to the user’s Duke eMail account that contains a “connection string” URL.
  5. All off-campus users, and non-Fuqua MBA Duke users (both on- and off-campus) must now enable a Duke or Fuqua VPN connection.
  6. The user follows the Day Pass URL and is connected directly to the WRDS site, and may begin their research.

The Day Pass URL is effective for 24 hours. After 24 hours, you must return to the WRDS web site via a Library site link, and re-submit your email address to receive a new Day Pass URL.

Remember that non-Fuqua Duke users, and ALL off-campus users must have an active Duke, or Fuqua VPN connection to successfully connect to WRDS via a Day Pass URL.

We will begin re-directing links to the new site for some WRDS data sets effective today (8/27/09), so that users can begin trying the new site access method above. These data sets are:

We encourage users to test their access on the new WRDS site by following links to the above products.

Please comment on this post, or contact us at if you have questions or difficulty accessing WRDS.

Euromonitor GMID Access Change

August 25th, 2009

UPDATED (8/28/09): Euromonitor GMID has removed their mandatory registration requirement at the request of their academic customers.

Here are the steps now needed to access Euromonitor GMID:

  1. Follow a link to GMID from our web database page.
  2. Authenticate to the Duke University ID management system.
  3. Acknowledge the Euromonitor Terms & Conditions after connecting to the Euromonitor GMID site.
  4. Begin your research!

Our thanks to Euromonitor for listening, and responding positively to the feedback of their academic customers.

Please comment on this post, or email us if you have any questions or concerns.

Book Review: The Truth About Middle Managers

August 17th, 2009

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Osterman, Paul. The truth about middle managers : who they are, how they work, why they matter. Harvard Business Press, 2008.

In large organizations, senior management sets the strategy — what markets to enter, with whom to merge and how much to invest. Middle managers have little voice regarding strategy, yet they are responsible for interpreting and executing those decisions.

In recent years, corporate restructuring has made middle management careers less secure. Author Paul Osterman from MIT’s Sloan School studied the careers of middle managers to determine what has been happening to middle managers since 2004. He finds that job security in middle management is nonexistent, but the number of middle management positions has increased. The work has gotten more dynamic and managers have more autonomy, keeping morale high despite the lack of job security.

In the end, Osterman concludes that middle managers are committed to their jobs and their immediate colleagues and subordinates, but are critical of their companies and top management. They enjoy what they do and are committed to high quality work. But job paths are unclear and performance is less visible. The criteria for judging who gets ahead are confused. In conclusion, middle managers are loyal to their professions but alienated from the organizations that employ them.

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

New Movies for August

August 14th, 2009

Ballet Shoes
Battlestar Galactica, Season 4.5
Dark Matter
Edge of Love
Express : the Ernie Davis Story
Final Destination
Foot Fist Way
Frozen River
The Great Buck Howard
In the Shadow of the Moon
Priceless [Hors de Prix]
Race to Witch Mountain
Son of Rambow

Book Review: To serve God and Wal-Mart

August 10th, 2009

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Moreton, Bethany. To serve God and Wal-Mart : the making of Christian free enterprise. Harvard University Press, 2009.

Historian Bethany Moreton recounts the birth and growth of Wal-Mart from one store in Bentonville, Arkansas to the largest retailer in the world. Interwoven into this story is a complex network of cultural ideals, including devotion to free markets, the family and evangelical Christianity.

In the post WWII years, the US government redistributed wealth from the industrial North to the rural South and the New Christian Right learned to harness electoral power to promote “family values.” Sam Walton took a discount retailer in a rural town in the Sun Belt and built a regional chain around Christian and family values, which later evolved into a global powerhouse. This story shows how business, religion and government are interconnected in modern America and brings clarity into the current political landscape.

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

Book Review: Longing & Belonging

August 6th, 2009

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Pugh, Allison J. Longing and belonging : parents, children, and consumer culture. University of California Press, 2009.

In affluent and low-income families alike, spending on children has exploded. Some of the blame belongs to advertising, a powerful factor in ramping up children’s desires and parents’ spending practices. Some of the blame belongs to the costliness of childhood toys, such as a $300 Nintendo, $90 American Girl doll or $165 for a pair of Air Jordans.

In Longing and Belonging: Parents, Children and Consumer Culture, Sociology professor Allison Pugh provides an in-depth analysis of a third reason parents spend for their children. Children want to belong to a group and conversations at school and in the neighborhood are about materials goods. Children yearn to join these conversations, and their parents don’t want them to be left out.

Poor families buy expensive children’s goods at great financial sacrifice. Affluent parents can afford them but feel guilty for selling out to the commercial culture. All parents wish to prevent their children from feeling invisible with their peers. Anyone wishing to opt out finds it very difficult.

In the end, this is a book about consumer culture and how parents use material goods to help construct happy childhoods for their children.

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

All rights reserved.