вторник, 1 марта 2011 г.

Advice on business literature from Helen Edwards

We congratulate you on the first day of spring and offer you a new set of books selected by SKOLKOVO Library project manager Helen Edwards

1. Obliquity: why our goals are best achieved indirectly
John Kay
Profile Books, 2011
x111, 210 pages; ISBN: 9781846682896

John Kay, economist, business school professor and Financial Times writer, presents his new approach to problem solving - obliquity. Obliquity is the best approach whenever complex systems evolve in an uncertain environment and whenever the effects of our actions depend on the ways in which others respond to them. Instead of approaching a solution head on, Kay recommends a process of iteration and adaptation, choosing from a limited set of options and then reviewing the impact. The book is full of anecdotes pointing out the failures of the direct approach and the wide use of "Franklin's Gambit", the presentation of a logical rationale for a decision after the solution has already been made using the oblique approach.

2. Don't be fooled again: lessons in the good, bad and unpredictable behaviour of global finance
Meyrick Chapman
Financial Times / Prentice Hall, 2010
xiv, 282 pages. ISBN: 9780273727897

Why did the global financial crisis happen and what can we learn from it? This book, written from within the financial industry, shows how financial markets really work. Chapman describes the flight of capital from the west, with its roots in the earlier Asian crisis. The very benefits of easy credit for short term social improvements blinded people to the underlying risks once questioning began, leading to the world wide disappearance of liquidity. The book discusses the rise of derivatives, the role of technology in their creation, the dark side of securitization and the challenge of regulation.

3. Rework: change the way you work forever
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Vermilion, 2010
279 pages, 9780091929787

Fried and Hansson, creators of Basecamp, describe the approach to building and running a business used by their company 37signals. Informal and practical, the authors advise a relentless focus on the core business, the fundamental needs of a type of customer. The product should meet these basic needs and not be caught up in a cycle of enhancements which both adds costs and detracts from the original value proposition. Minimize external funding, no five year plans (bound to be only guesses), cut back on meetings, and market by building an audience using social media rather than expensive campaigns. This has worked well for 37signals themselves - see their blog Signal v Noise

4. China 2020 : how western business can--and should--influence social and political change in the coming decade
Michael A Santoro
Cornell University Press, 2009.
xiii, 162 pages; ISBN: 9780801446955

This book is about the moral responsibility of western business in China. It discusses the impact of economic reform on political reform and the challenge of integrity for western business. The author notes that whereas major issues for foreigners include human rights and environmental degradation, surveys show the Chinese themselves are more concerned with consumer price rises, income inequality and corruption. Chapters discuss issues such as sweatshop labour and drug safety. To conclude the author offers two possible futures for the next decade: continuing growth and economic prosperity or alternatively a slide backwards into greater authoritarianism.

5. Business Intelligence: practices, technologies, management
Rajiv Sabherwal and Irma Becerra-Fernandez
John Wiley, 2011.
vii, 295 pages; ISBN: 9780470461709

An up- to- date and comprehensive introduction to business intelligence, this book explains the importance of information in the workplace. Chapters cover the four key capabilities of business intelligence: organizational memory, information integration, insight creation and decision support, and presentation capability. The book explores the technologies involved, identifies the vendors and provides case studies for illustration.

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