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Business Rx: The books of summer

By Special to Capital Business
Monday, June 28, 2010; 23

Even busy entrepreneurs and business leaders need some downtime to recharge. While you're relaxing on the beach or poolside this summer, check out some of the books that the faculty and leaders at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business prescribe as must-reads. Here's 10, along with comments from the Smith School:

1. "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink (2009) Pink is a Washington-based author.

"Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money -- the carrot-and-stick approach. According to Pink, the secret to high performance and satisfaction -- at work, at school, and at home -- is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world." -- G. "Anand" Anandalingam, dean, Robert H. Smith School of Business

2. "This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff (2009) Reinhart is a professor of economics at the University of Maryland.

"The authors have amassed an incredible data set on banking crises going back to the 1800s. They use this data to provide what is arguably the most insightful and well-documented analysis of the recent subprime mortgage crisis and ensuing Great Recession. A chapter on the 'Aftermath of Financial Crises' argues convincingly that recessions following financial crises are deeper and longer-lasting than average, providing guidance as to expectations this time around." -- Curt Grimm, dean's professor of supply chain and strategy

3. "Building Social Business: The New Kind of Capitalism That Serves Humanity's Most Pressing Needs," by Muhammad Yunus (2010 ) Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, founded Grameen Bank, a pioneer microfinance institution.

"This book goes beyond issues of microfinance to describe and discuss the nature of 'social enterprises.' " -- Brian L. Nelson, Tyser teaching fellow of logistics, business and public policy

4. "Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance," by Nouriel Roubini and Stephen Mihm (2010)"

"In 2008 when others saw a liquidity crisis, [Roubini] saw the truth of the matter -- a credit crisis. The book reads very easily and draws one in to this remarkable story that traces and explains step by step the elements of the crisis." -- John A. Haslem, professor emeritus of finance

5. "Profession and Purpose: A Resource Guide for MBA Careers in Sustainability," by Katie Kross (2009)

"'Profession and Purpose' is an excellent guide to those job seekers looking to understand the broad umbrella of a career in 'sustainability.' " -- Melissa Carrier, executive director of the Center for Social Value Creation

6. "Financial Shenanigans: How to Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports," third edition, by Howard M. Schilit and Jeremy Perler (2010) Schilit recently started the Financial Shenanigans Detection Group. Perler is co-director of accounting research at RiskMetrics Group, which has an office in Rockville.

"In addition to providing fascinating 'financial autopsies' of Enron, WorldCom and other recent accounting frauds, this edition shatters the myth that cash flow statements cannot be manipulated. One need not be an accounting expert to enjoy the stories presented or to learn to uncover foul financial play." -- Martin Loeb, department chair and professor of accounting and information assurance

7. "Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business without Losing Your Self," by Alan M. Webber (2009)

"His illustrative style of writing allows you to quickly grasps the rules, apply context and be on your way toward more professional and personal success. You will enjoy the 'ah-ha' moments of the book as much as his wit." -- Carrier

8. "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide," By Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn (2009)

"A direct implication of this book is that, as a society, we will never reach our potential until the human rights and the talent of half the world's population is realized. Note that this book will challenge its readers and is not for the faint of heart; it is a cleareyed view of lives of groups of women around the world, and the view isn't pretty. The stories, though, are inspiring and give cause for hope and possibility." -- Rachelle Sampson, assistant professor of logistics, business and public policy.

9. "Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the Financial System -- and Themselves," by Andrew Ross Sorkin (2009)

"This book gives a very detailed play-by-play of the financial crisis from both the Wall Street and inside Washington perspectives. It shows how the Treasury Department team worked around the clock to deal with countless unexpected issues. It is a great example of crisis management and also gives a lot of insight into the inner workings of Wall Street." -- Asher Epstein, managing director of the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

10. "Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements," by Tom Rath and Jim Harter (2010) Rath lives in Washington and leads Gallup's workplace consulting business.

"This book uses extensive research and examples based on Gallup's work in over 150 countries to provide the reader with a view of what contributes to an individual's well-being. Not only do the authors discuss these important areas, but they introduce the reader to Gallup's new Wellbeing Finder, which is an online assessment they can use to track and improve their well-being." -- Joyce E.A. Russell, director of executive coaching and leadership development programs and Ralph J. Tyser distinguished teaching fellow

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 Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the Robert H. Smith School of Business are ready to assist. Contact us as capbiznews@washpost.com.

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