Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Book Review: The Opposable Mind

Friday, May 30th, 2008

© amazon book cover image

Martin, Roger L. The opposable mind : how successful leaders win through integrative thinking. Harvard Business School Press, 2007.

Author, and Dean of the Rotman School of Business, at the University of Toronto, Roger Martin studied fifty superior business leaders to discern a shared theme — what makes these people successful? He found that these successful business leaders had a special way of thinking. When faced with problems, they all were predisposed to construct solutions using diametrically opposing ideas, those that seem, on the surface, to be mutually exclusive. Successful leaders avoided settling for one alternative or another, but instead they produced a synthesis that was superior to either of the opposing ideas. Martin calls this thinking process Integrative thinking.

One example that Martin uses is a local company, Red Hat in Research Triangle Park. In the mid 1990’s the software industry was dominated by two business models. In the proprietary software model, companies invested heavily in research and development, guarded their intellectual property and charged high prices. These companies had high profit margins. The alternative model was the free software model where suppliers sold CD-ROMs that included both software and the source code. Prices were low but volume was high. These seemed to be the only two alternatives.

Book Review: New Titles on Peter Drucker

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

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Cohen, William A. A Class with Drucker: The lost lessons of the world’s greatest management teacher. AMACOM, 2007.

Edersheim, Elizabeth Haas. The Definitive Drucker. McGraw-Hill, 2007.

Peter Drucker is widely respected as one of the great thinkers on management. Throughout his career as teacher, writer, and philosopher he inspired students and business leaders alike with countless books and articles, lectures in the classroom, and informal conversations with friends and colleagues. Since his death in November 2005, several new books have been published, highlighting his wisdom, creativity and humor.

In A Class with Drucker, William Cohen shares stories and insights into Peter Drucker’s teaching methods, his inspiring ideas and his life experiences. He also relates personal anecdotes about Drucker and his life. As a PhD student at Claremont University, Cohen studied under Drucker, who was a gifted and passionate teacher. Cohen maintained a lifelong friendship with his mentor and created a personal tribute to the man who changed his life.


Just Java. No Jive.

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

image courtesy markus schoepke via

Four Cups of Starbucks

Fuqua’s Start-up Cafe proudly serves Starbucks coffee. MBA’s crowd the counter, getting their fixes of caffeine at $4 a pop. Outside of Fuqua, Starbucks seem to be everywhere. Stores can be found around the globe and in the US, they are located surprisingly close to other stores. Two of the top Starbucks are within fifteen yards of each other. What it is about the product and the company that is irresistible to more than forty million customers?

Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce and Culture explores the rise of the Starbucks Corporation and the caffeine-crazy culture that fueled it success. This is a story of how a small Seattle coffeehouse took a standard commodity, shaped it into a luxury product and made it synonymous with a cultural experience. The book includes anecdotes about familiar products and stores, and covers free trade and global issues related to coffee production.

It’s not about the Coffee: Leadership experiences from a life at Starbucks. The founding director of Starbucks International describes the strategies he used to build Starbucks into the success it is today. Behar helped establish the Starbucks culture, which stresses people over profits. He shares his ideas and skills that transported the company from a regional outlet to global brand. The voice of experience and in-house examples from a popular company provide a foundation for a discussion of leadership skills.


Book Review: Creativity: Unconventional Wisdom …

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

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Herb Meyers and Richard Gerstman, Editors. Creativity: Unconventional Wisdom from 20 Accomplished Minds. Palgrave, 2007.

This book contains the individual stories of 20 accomplished people, including entrepreneurs, designers, authors, sculptors and architects who reveal their personal histories, their inspirations and their ideas about creativity. Among the people are profiled are Nandan Nilekani, CEO of Infosys, a company of over 66,000 employees headquartered in Bangalore, India, which pioneered the concept of outsourcing services to corporations worldwide.

Nilekani defined business creativity as the ability to see a pattern of potential opportunity among a number of seemingly unconnected things and visualizing a future that others do not see. For Infosys, those disparate elements included changes in the Indian economy, development of technology that permitted people in India to work for clients in the United States and greater freedom in Indian capital markets.

Book Review: What were they thinking?

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

© amazon book cover image

Pfeffer, Jeffrey. What were they thinking? : unconventional wisdom about management. Harvard Business School Press, 2007.

Why do companies that are led by intelligent and dedicated people make so many mistakes? Stanford professor Jeffrey Pfeffer shows that executives often make decisions that have unintended consequences, because employees and customers respond in ways that make the situation worse for the company. As an example, relying on incentive pay is usually harmful to the company in the long run. And extracting wage concessions from labor is counterproductive.

Companies also make mistakes by using simplistic models of people and organizations that are not realistic, which leads them to make bad decisions. And companies overcomplicate straightforward choices when sometimes the answer is obvious.

In 28 short and engaging chapters selected from the author’s column in Business 2.0, this book presents critical topics on leadership, organizational strategy and public policy. Numerous examples, data and insights challenge conventional beliefs and accepted management wisdom.

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

Leadership Experience– Building World-Class Leadership Teams

Friday, April 4th, 2008

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Are you interested in attending the Duke MBA Leadership Experience conference (Building World-Class Leadership Teams) developed and hosted by the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI)?

Well here are some new titles available at the Ford Library to help get you in the “swing of things”. Click on any title below to check availability or to place a hold.

Leadership Experience:

Team Building and Collaboration:

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New Books for the Spring Semester

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

stack of books image courtesy of Dartmouth Univ.

The Ford Library has started off the Spring Semester by adding lots of great new books. Come check out our New Books section for even more titles than are shown here. We add many new ones every month on a wide variety of business and related topics. (Click on any of the titles below to check availability or to place a hold.)

Business Trends & Events


The Environment, Nature, and Natural Resources:

Leadership & Ethics*:

* Many leadership and ethics titles are part of the library’s Dorothea F. Peterjohn Leadership Collection

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The Peterjohn Collection in Ford Library

Friday, January 25th, 2008

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Ford Library has created a special web page to highlight our Dorothea F. Peterjohn Leadership Collection.

This new Ford Library page complements and augments the Dorothea F. Peterjohn Leadership Library pages on the newly released Fuqua/Coach K Center for Leadership and Ethics site.

From our Peterjohn Collection page, you can:

  • view a dynamically updated listing of all Ford Library books in the Peterjohn Collection
  • request book titles for check-out directly from the web page
  • view a dynamically updated list of full-text online journal articles on leadership and ethics
  • view a listing of e-journals available at Duke on leadership and ethics

Please feel free to send any comments or questions about this new page or the Peterjohn Leadership Collection in Ford Library to:

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