News Column

The Business Reader Review: January 2003

January 22, 2003

Here's what's new and notable on the business bookshelf for January '03:

TOXIC EMOTIONS AT WORK:
"How Compassionate Managers Handle Pain And Conflict by Peter Frost" (Harvard Business School Press, 239 pp, $27.50, ISBN 1578512573). Toxicity - emotional pain - is "a normal by-product of organizational life," says University of British Columbia's Frost. In the best book of the month, he describes the sources and effects of organizational pain, the role of "toxin handlers," and strategies for defusing toxic emotions, protecting the handlers, and creating compassionate organizations.

CEO CAPITAL:
"A Guide To Building CEO Reputation And Company Success" by Leslie Gaines-Ross (Wiley, 266 pp, $29.95, ISBN 0471268070). For better or worse, CEO reputation is a corporate asset that must be managed, according to consultant Gaines-Ross. Her book describes five characteristics of CEO reputation (being credible, establishing organizational ethics, effective internal communication, management teambuilding, and the ability to motivate and inspire) and describes how to achieve them throughout what she identifies as the five stages of a leader's tenure.

WHAT CLIENTS LOVE:
"A Field Guide To Growing Your Business" by Harry Beckwith (Warner Business, 282 pp, $21.95, ISBN 0446527556). Marketing maven Beckwith is back with a new collection of short (often less than a page) lessons in pleasing customers. He begins with 14 counterintuitive ideas for business planning, but the core of the book revolves around four main themes: creating clear communications, compelling messages, reassuring brands, and caring service.

COMPETITIVE SOLUTIONS:
"The Strategist's Toolkit" by R. Preston McAfee (Princeton, 404 pp, $59.50, ISBN 0691096465). Based on the idea that strategy is often situational, University of Texas's McAfee delivers an impressively encyclopedic selection of strategic concepts. The tools cover a wide range of purposes (industry analysis, labor bargaining, pricing, compensation and incentives, product life cycles, etc.), include technical instructions for use, and are illustrated with short case studies.

MORE THAN A PINK CADILLAC:
"Mary Kay Inc.'s 9 Leadership Keys To Success" by Jim Underwood (McGraw-Hill, 204 pp, $21.95, ISBN 0071408398). Management prof Underwood uses Mary Kay, Inc. to illustrate nine management principles including building a unifying brand, value-based leadership, maintaining a higher purpose, continuous innovation, etc. In doing so, he shows how Mary Kay grew from a $5,000 investment into a $2 billion company with 900,000 sales reps in 33 countries.

IN THE COMPANY OF OWNERS:
"The Truth About Stock Options (And Why You Should Have Them)" by Joseph Blasi, Douglas Kruse & Aaron Bernstein (Basic Books, 345 pp, $27.50, ISBN 0465007007). Greedy top execs aside, the authors argue that stock options serve as the enabler of "partnership capitalism" and should be offered to all employees. They prove their point by exploring the history of employee stock options and analyzing the results they deliver to investors and employees alike.

THE ONE MINUTE APOLOGY:
"A Powerful Way To Make Things Better" by Ken Blanchard and Margret McBride (Morrow, 111 pp, $19.95, ISBN 0688169813). The timing seems particularly ripe for this fast, simple business guide to the mea culpa. Blanchard and literary agent McBride call on the One Minute Manager to once again solve a management crisis - this time by teaching the mechanics behind an apology that can raise self-awareness, heal relationships, and create a commitment to future improvement.

IT'S HARD TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU CAN'T FIND YOUR KEYS:
"The Seven-Step Path To Becoming Truly Organized" by Marilyn Paul (Viking Compass, 303 pp, $24.95, ISBN 0670031941). Writing for the chronically disorganized, OD consultant Paul promises that an organized life yields "more self-confidence, more energy, and more joy." Her Seven-Step Change Process delves deep for the roots of the problem and establishes a purpose and vision for a more organized life. It is supported with plenty of
practical techniques and exercises.

FINANCE FOR MANAGERS:
"Finance for Managers" by Richard Luecke and Samuel Hayes (Harvard Business School Press, 210 pp, $19.95, ISBN 1578518768). An entry in the new Harvard Business Essentials
series, this primer is designed to introduce non-financial managers to business finance. Short chapters define and describe the basic elements of financial statements, accounting, taxes, venture capitalization, budgeting, decision and investment analysis, and business valuation in layman's terms.

THE VALUE PROFIT CHAIN:
"Treat Employees Like Customers And Customers Like Employees" by James Heskett, W. Earl Sasser, Jr., & Leonard Schlesinger (Free Press, 377 pp, $35, ISBN 0743225694). This author teams examines thirty years of research and anecdotal evidence to prove the efficacy of the "value profit chain" (happy employees = happy customers = profits). The book describes the "performance trinity" -- leadership and management, culture and values, and vision and strategy - and how it is used to fulfill the equation.

MASTERING ALLIANCE STRATEGY:
"A Comprehensive Guide To Design, Management, and Organization" by James Bamford, Benjamin Gomes-Casseres & Michael Robinson (Jossey-Bass, 410 pp, $45, ISBN 078796462X). This compendium is drawn from the archives of the now-defunct magazine, The Alliance Analyst. The articles have been updated and edited around four major topics: designing alliances, managing alliances, creating alliance constellations, and developing internal alliance competence.

BRANDED:
"The Buying And Selling of Teenagers" by Alissa Quart (Perseus, 239 pp, $25, ISBN 0738206644). The commercialization of kids is a burgeoning phenomenon with a dark side, according to journalist Quart. She argues that companies are successfully using sex, schools and social needs to market their brands and move goods, while teens are being insidiously transformed into consumer-zombies unable to just say no.

ATTITUDE 101:
"What Every Leader Needs To Know" by John Maxwell (Thomas Nelson, 102 pp, $9.99, ISBN 0785263500). "Attitude can make or break you," writes leadership guru Maxwell in this fast, motivational read. With plain prose, short anecdotes and quotes, he explains the power of attitude, describes how attitudes are shaped and changed, and how to approach both failure and success with a positive, productive mindset.



Source: Copyright 2003, The Business Reader


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