Books for summer — and to help your business

July 22, 2012

Looking for a good read this summer as you ponder the next steps for your business? Here are the annual summer reading picks from faculty and experts at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

“Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World,” by Michael Lewis (2011)

“Lewis gives the reader a guided tour through some of the disparate places hardest hit by the fiscal crisis, such as Greece, Iceland and Ireland; tracing how very different people for very different reasons gorged on the cheap credit available in the prelude to the disaster.”

— G. “Anand” Anandalingam, dean, Robert H. Smith School of Business

“The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business,” by Patrick Lencioni (2012)

“Lencioni’s view is that the primary difference between successful and unsuccessful companies is based on how healthy they are. He defines organizational health in terms of four disciplines: building a cohesive leadership team, creating clarity, over communicating clarity, and reinforcing clarity. He offers real-world suggestions for how firms can seize an advantage by becoming healthier firms. A must-read for leaders of any type of firm!”

— Joyce E.A. Russell, vice dean, Robert H. Smith School of Business (Capital Business Career Coach contributor)

“Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All,” by Morten Hansen and Jim Collins (2011)

“The authors examine leaders who have succeeded in uncertain times and found they share three traits: No. 1 — productive paranoia; No. 2 — fanatic discipline; and No. 3 — empirical creativity.”

— Ken White, assistant dean of
marketing communications

“The Start-Up of You,” by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha (2012)

Hoffman (entrepreneur and co-founder of LinkedIn) and Casnocha provide a road map to accelerate your career in today’s highly competitive global environment.

“They argue that you should manage your career as if it were a start-up business. ‘The Start-Up of You’ empowers people to take control of their future and provides a blueprint for people to accomplish their professional objectives.”

— Mark Wellman, Tyser Teaching Fellow in the management and organization department

“Enough. True Measures of Money, Business, and Life,” by John C. Bogle (2009)

Vanguard Mutual Fund Group founder John C. Bogle, creator of the first index mutual fund, addresses how an obsession with financial success can be destructive.

“This book is not an investments book, but rather extends far beyond mutual funds. Bogle states: ‘Not knowing what is “enough” also undermines our business and professional values, and often leads us astray.’ ”

— John A. Haslem, professor emeritus of finance

“The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World,” by Michael Spence (2011)

“This is a very insightful and wide-ranging analysis of today’s and tomorrow’s global economy. Spence argues that economic growth is paramount and weaves together the determinants and prospects for growth in both developed and developing countries.”

— Curt Grimm, Dean’s Professor of Supply Chain and Strategy

“American Gridlock: Why the Right and Left Are Both Wrong – Commonsense 101 Solutions to the Economic Crises,” by H. Woody Brock (2012)

“Brock proposes solutions to vexing economic challenges such as deficit reduction and sustainable economic growth. He demonstrates that the choice confronting policymakers is not between free market capitalism and a government-driven economy. Rather, the solutions to America’s problems will require enactment of constructive policies that allow ‘true capitalism’ to flourish even as they incorporate social policies that help those who truly need it.”

— William Longbrake, executive-in-residence at the Smith School’s Center for Financial Policy

“The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses,” by Eric Ries (2011)

“Start-ups are entrepreneurial organizations dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This book argues that traditional management tools are frequently inadequate to ensure success of such organizations. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, the lean start-up approach relies on ‘validated learning,’ rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want as opposed to what managers think they want. Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, the lean start-up methodology provides a way to test an entrepreneur’s vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late.”

— Longbrake

“The Coming Prosperity: How Entrepreneurs Are Transforming the Global Economy,” by Philip Auerswald (2012)

“Auerswald provides colorful narratives to describe how entrepreneurship drives societal change and is the process by which we can achieve prosperity in the 21st century. One recommendation — the ability for government, business, and civil society to work together to catalyze, test and sustain new innovations — is critical. His conclusion is that we are all a part of the traffic; therefore, we are all a part of connecting problems to solutions.”

— Melissa Carrier, executive director of the Smith School’s Center for Social Value Creation

“Finance and the Good Society,” by Robert J. Shiller (2012)

“Shiller takes a very positive and constructive approach to suggesting how future financial innovation can be harnessed for the good of society, in general, and to benefit almost everyone. He recommends that finance be reinvented in a way that it would help society achieve its goals and increase society’s assets. Shiller recommends designing new financial inventions that incorporate the latest financial theory as well as research being performed in behavioral economics and behavioral finance.”

— David Kass, Tyser Teaching Fellow in the finance department

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