понедельник, 17 октября 2011 г.

Advice on business literature from Helen Edwards

A new selection of business literature by Helen Edwards dealing with what you can learn from great visioner leader Steve Jobs, what your personal MBA is, the way you can get the best from your people and other new topics! Read the books and be on the top.

Jay Elliot and William L. Simon
Vanguard Press, 2011
xiv, 242 pages
ISBN: 9781593156640

Steve Jobs is probably the best example of a leader who could run even the largest organization as if it were in start-up mode. This book, written by a former senior executive at Apple, describes the day to day experience of working closely with Steve Jobs. Jobs' relentless product focus, obsession with detail, ability to imagine the future and charismatic presence are illustrated by anecdotes covering the period from the early days of the Mac to his stepping down as CEO at Apple shortly before his death. The last chapter "On becoming Stevian" describes how other business leaders can learn from Steve Jobs and create product focused and inspirational environments in their own companies.

Josh Kaufman
Portfolio Penquin, 2011.
xii, 402 pages
ISBN: 9780670919512

This book introduces 266 basic business concepts with the objective of demystifying business. Business is defined as creating value, which other people want or need, at a price they are willing to pay, which meets the purchaser's requirements and generates sufficient revenue for the owners. The author reinforces Warren Buffett's advice to "beware of geeks bearing formulas" and instead focuses on the mental models needed to make things happen in business.

Tim Harford
Little, Brown, 2011.
309 pages
ISBN: 9781408701522

Harford argues that the world is too complicated for grand plans. Instead we should learn from two key processes of evolution: variation and selection. The essential steps are to try new things, with the expectation that some will fail, make failure containable and survivable, and recognize failure when it happens Writing about innovation, the author points out that disruptive innovations can come about because a new experimental technology does not appeal to traditional customers and from their perspective is inferior, lacking features critical to mainstream product users. But for a small group of new users with different requirements the new product meets their needs in a new way. From here new industries are born including digital photography and webmail.

Lynda Gratton
HarperCollins, 2011.
ix, 374 pages
ISBN: 9780007427932

This book predicts the death of the generalist and the rise of deep specialists, social entrepreneurs and micro producers. Based on an analysis of five global forces: technology, globalization, demography and longevity, society and energy, Gratton looks at two alternative futures. The default future could result in fragmentation as workers deal with more and more tasks in an ever expanding working day; isolation as people are cut off from others by technology and become invisible as they lose their long term positions within company hierarchies; and exclusion for those not able to compete in the global market place. However a look at the opportunities these trends offer provides the chance to craft a better future. The alternatives are illustrated by imaginary characters experiencing these different working lives.

Edward M. Hallowell
Harvard Business Review Press, 2011.
x, 197 pages
ISBN: 9781591399320

Many managers focus on trying to get their employees to work ever harder. This book explains how this is often counter productive. Hallowell introduces the 5 step cycle of excellence to help employees reach peak performance. The steps are: select, making sure the employee is right for the job; connect to counteract isolation and disengagement; play to encourage imagination and creativity; grapple and grow to motivate employees to face challenges; and shine to give recognition and perpetuate the positive cycle. What is new in this book is not the individual steps but the programme as a whole, backed up by recent discoveries in neuroscience about how the brain works.

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