Back to previous page


Business Rx: Summer reading for business leaders

Toss one of these books into your bag as you head for the beach or pool — especially if you’re looking to get ahead in business or take your entrepreneurial venture to the next level. Here are the top summer reading picks from faculty and experts at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

1. “Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping Their Futures and Yours,” by Tarun Khanna (2011)

“This book is a must-read for anyone interested in how the world of business is going to be transformed by India and China during this century. The book describes the complementary strengths of India and China, and how ‘mutualism’ between both nations can facilitate each other’s weaknesses. Khanna reinforces the notion that the government is the entrepreneur in China. Conversely, Indian entrepreneurs have little faith in the Indian government and try to avoid it at all costs.”

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

2. “Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future,” by Dan Schawbel (2010)

“To be competitive in today’s global marketplace, people must seek new ways to build their brand and gain access to business opportunities. So what are you doing from a social media perspective to differentiate yourself? This book offers a comprehensive guide for leveraging the big three social media features: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. In this easy-to-read book, Schawbel offers a variety of branding techniques and tools to maximize job search success. This is a must-read for those who want to create a powerful persona that truly separates them from the competition amidst the war for talent.”

— Jeff Kudisch, managing director, Office of Career Services

3. “Decision Points,” by George W. Bush (2010)

“This book shows the inside perspective on the key decision points during the Bush presidency. It’s a real-time read on how key decisions were made in times of great significance. This is a valuable read for strategic thinkers and leaders.”

— Asher Epstein, managing director, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

4. “Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, Transform Your Business,” by Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler (2010)

“The authors explain how to use technology and your employees to link to your customers and improve your brand. The book encourages companies to allow their employees to interact with customers via social media. Some great examples are given regarding employees becoming brand builders.”

— Ken White, executive director, Office of Marketing Communications

5. “Social Innovation, Inc.: 5 Strategies for Driving Business Growth Through Social Change,” by Jason Saul (2010)

“This book is an excellent primer to those thinking about how their firm can create business value through social change. Saul describes five strategies to take organizations beyond the traditional model of corporate social responsibility as an obligation for companies to give back or minimize the negative effects of business. Indeed, the ‘aha!’ of this book is about discovering the hidden or unrealized business potential of social change.”

— Melissa Carrier, executive director, Center for Social Value Creation

6. “You Can’t Lead With Your Feet on the Desk: Building Relationships, Breaking Down Barriers, and Delivering Profits,” by Ed Fuller (2011)

“This book explains how to connect, manage and do business with people in any culture. During his leadership at Marriott, Fuller has opened more than 500 hotels outside the United States and has visited more than 125 countries on six continents. Fuller outlines how he built Marriott’s global arm into the world’s largest international hotel chain, with lessons for managers and students.”

— Mark Wellman, Tyser Teaching Fellow of Management & Organization

7. “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives,” by Steven Levy (2011)

“Few companies have ever been as successful as Google, whose influence goes well beyond Internet search. Levy takes readers inside the Googleplex to show how Google works. I’ve reviewed a number of books about Google, and this is by far the best one I have come across that shows how Google executives really manage the company.”

— Wellman

8. “The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It,” by Scott Patterson (2011)

“This is a fascinating story of the math geniuses who started hedge funds, creating great wealth for a few and great losses for many more (sometimes themselves) in the collapse of the financial markets in 2008. The quants used complicated mathematical models and supercomputers to develop trading strategies. The book follows the financial moves of a handful of traders at places including Morgan Stanley, AQR hedge fund and Deutsche Bank. The book is an entertaining story, but it oversimplifies the causes of the financial crisis — blaming a few traders when, in reality, the crisis and its aftermath are far more complex.”

— Susan White, Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow of Finance

9. “Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard,” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (2010)

“This book addresses how everyday people are able to use both their emotional and rational minds (which are often in conflict) to achieve all types of personal and professional changes. Filled with great examples and backed up with lots of research, this book should help anyone trying to make a change or trying to get others (colleagues, friends, family, etc.) to change.”

— Joyce E.A. Russell, distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow of Management & Organization

Looking for some advice on a new business, or need held fixing an existing one? Capital Business and the experts at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business are ready to assist. Contact us at capbiznews@washpost.com.

© The Washington Post Company