ISBN 9780061353239 Published Feb. 2008
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Posted May 2009 9:05 a.m. by todd-sattersten
In Publishing Industry - 800 CEO Read Blog
We posted quite a bit over on twitter this week. We tried pulling together what we saw people saying about business books, recommendations for business books and some ideas around the future of publishing at large. Here is the what we found:
# RT @TalentAcquisit The Art of War by Sun Tzu is 1 of the best business strategy books. For business strategy check out http://www.sonshi.com 9:18 PM Apr 29th from web
# @kennypratt yes, here is the mystery box url: http://800ceoread.com/mysterybox 10:04 PM Apr 28th from web
# RT @tomewing:The Cluetrain Manifesto is the Velvet Underground of biz books: everyone who read it formed a dodgy start-up. (via @ricklevine) 3:57 PM Apr 28th from web
# RT @whgtoga Cool book ! One of the top 100 biz books of all time. (CEO READ) The Story Factor- Annette Simmons. 2:57 PM Apr 28th from web
# Great to see @jack_welch joining Twitternation today.2:38 PM Apr 28th from web
# @sarahcannon Finished reading Tribes over wkend, halfway thru The Tipping Point this wk. Both read too easily to be biz books...2:35 PM Apr 28th from web
# Looking for what business books to read? Check out our 377 reviews - http://800ceoread.com/blog/... 3:52 PM Apr 27th from web
# RT @Techmeme Amazon Acquires Stanza, an E-book Application for the iPhone (Brad Stone/Bits) http://bit.ly/JkHFz (via @debbiestier)3:42 PM Apr 27th from web
# You can follow Nancy at @nancyduarte.12:00 PM Apr 26th from web
# RT @chinasolved Pirated biz-books now @ my sbwy sta. Saw 'Black Swan' 'Essential Drucker" & 'Outliers' for 10 rbm each. 10:51 AM Apr 26th from web
# RT @fredwilson: Kenny Lerer is co-founder of HuffPo & here's his thoughts on newspapers http://bit.ly/v8Z0y
You can follow us at @800ceoread or jump over to our twitter page.
Jack Covert Selects - Here Comes Everybody
Posted April 13, 2009 7:19 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky, Penguin Books, 344 pages, $16.00, Paperback, February 2009, ISBN 9780143114949
Everyone seems to have a vague idea of what sociology is. But a high school history class, or the course you took in college to cover some elective requirement, is about as far as we usually get in that understanding. In business, we should care more about this area of study, as this is the realm of science that deals with how groups behave. Teams, firms, and even customers all fall into this realm.
Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody is a big-think book along the lines of Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind and Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational. But, where Pink and Ariely deal with individuals, Shirky writes about the collective. The thrust of the Brooklyn-based consultant and professor's argument is that our focus on technology itself is misplaced, and what we should be paying closer attention to are the new behaviors society adopts as the result of technology. "[S]ocial tools don't create collective action—they merely remove the obstacles to it," Shirky writes.
Shirky shows how many popular business concepts of the last several years have roots in sociology. The Long Tail, the description author Chris Anderson used to shape his idea of power law distributions, is usually formed by systems where things interact with each other. Many social phenomenons, ranging from population of cities to popularity of music tracks on iTunes and changes on Wikipedia pages, follow the same quickly sloping curve from popularity to obscurity.
You may have heard of "flash mobs" forming at random in train stations, hotels and city parks. The tasks they take to are harmless, like freezing in place at a given time or dancing to some unheard soundtrack. These groups can form quickly and with little more than a text message—a great example of the speed technology can bring to the coordination of groups. As Shirky writes, "Whenever you improve a group's ability to communicate internally, you change the things it is capable of." Protesters in Belarus have used these exact techniques to oppose their repressive government. Flash mobs have formed to read books on the steps of the that country's Supreme Court and eat ice cream in Oktyabrskaya Square—harmless activities for which people are still arrested, and allow organizers to document the suppression and treatment of citizens.
These may sound like weighty topics for a business book, but they are exactly the issues leaders are going to be struggling with, or taking advantage of, as technology changes our social behaviors. Technology allows more loosely formed groups to accomplish more complicated tasks to greater effect, whether sharing tips for hacking new features on iPhones or staging boycotts after complaints go unaddressed. The rules are changing and, as Shirky says, "What the group does with that power is a separate question."
Jack Covert Selects - Free Market Madness
Posted Jan. 8, 2009 10:54 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
Free Market Madness: Why Human Nature Is at Odds with Economics and Why It Matters by Peter A. Ubel, Harvard Business School Press, 272 pages, $26.95, Hardcover, January 2009, ISBN 9781422126097
Peter A. Ubel is a physician, so how is it that he ended up writing a book about the intersection of psychology and the free market for one of the most prestigious business publishers in the country? The quick answer is that he knows what he's talking about. The long answer is that he has "spent the better part of fifteen years researching the forces that influence the way people make decisions" and directs the Center for Behavioral and Decision Sciences in Medicine at the University of Michigan.
There has been a rash of behavioral economics books published recently that challenge the traditional view that human economic behavior is essentially rational. While most of the other books in the genre are subtler in their critique of that view, with titles like Nudge, Sway and Predictably Irrational, Ubel openly challenges the ways he believes traditional economics have failed us. Despite the book's title, though, Ubel is in no way anti-free market. He recognizes the tremendous wealth "of both opportunity and of consumer goods," that free markets have created, but also recognizes their fallibility.
With the meltdown of the economic system, there has been a lot a clamoring for more regulation of markets recently, but Ubel's critique is not a response to that crisis. His book is in response to "free market evangelists" who believe the market is the solution to every human ailment, even if it's an ailment the market itself seems to have created--such as the alarming increase in obesity in this country. As a physician on the front lines of the obesity battle, Ubel concentrates much of his focus on that problem, which he sees as a clear market failure. The problem, as Ubel sees it, is that those marketing products have spent so much time and money studying our behavior that they know more about how we make decisions than we do.
As you would expect from any book published by HBSP, Free Market Madness is well researched and intellectually engaging. Ubel weans us into the heavier issues with a brief history of both traditional and behavioral economics, while introducing us to the major players in each fields' development. Ubel definitely has a point of view and an agenda in this book, and as a self-described "flaming moderate" uses his platform to clamor for a middle way between free market evangelism and what critics of market regulation call a "nanny state." Regardless of whether or not you agree with the author, you will find the history and examples he provides a good addition to this ongoing conversation.
The Best Books of 2008 - Business Pundit Edition
Posted Dec. 17, 2008 3:24 a.m. by dylan
In Uncategorized - 800 CEO Read Blog
2008 came in two parts. Part I, which ran through Bear Stearns, carried the vestiges of prior years, when we thought we could get away with everything, never anticipating that in actuality, everything would get away from us. Some of the books on this list reflect that optimistic, braced mentality, when words like "social networking" still gave us more jitters than "401K."
The chosen 10 are:
The Trillion Dollar Meltdown: Easy Money, High Rollers, and the Great Credit Crash by Charles R. Morris, PublicAffairs Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business by Jeff Howe, Crown The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation by A. G. Lafley & Ram Charan, Random House (Jack Covert Selects) Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein, Yale University Press (Jack Covert Selects) Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely, HarperCollins (Jack Covert Selects) The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures by Dan Roam, Portfolio (Jack Covert Selects) A Sense of Urgency by John Kotter, Harvard Business School Press (Jack Covert Selects) The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr, W.W. Norton The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder, Bantam
No qualms with that list here. As you can see, half of them were Jack Covert Selects. And I think they're right in stating "If these books don't cover every event of the year, they certainly cover the thought processes that trace through it."
I would also recommend today's Business Pundit post on The Personal MBA. We've been big fans of the idea for some time, having published Josh Kaufman's Personal MBA Manifesto on ChangeThis in late 2005.
And, we've posted it before, but here is the link to Business Pundits 25 Best Business Books Ever.
The Best Business Books 0f 2008 - BusinessWeek Edition
Posted Dec. 10, 2008 3:00 a.m. by dylan
In Book Reviews - 800 CEO Read Blog
While we're in the midst of announcing the shortlists for our annual awards, I think it behooves us to look at what others found worthy of the "best" title. Last week, BusinessWeek gave their blessing to what they see as The Best Business Books of 2008 in an article by Hardy Green. The following books made the article:
Introducing the books, Green writes:
To look back at the books produced in the beginning of 2008 is to glimpse a more innocent world, an Eden seemingly free of financial crisis and the impending gloom of 2009.I don't necessarily agree with that. Though they weren't given much attention, the books were out there, they just weren't getting much attention. The first book Green mentions in the article, The Trillion Dollar Meltdown, was itself published in March. I believe that qualifies as "the beginning of 2008." (In fact, books warning us of a crisis have been out there for a while, including A Demon of Our Own Design, our choice for the best book in the Finance & Economics category last year.) Regardless of my nitpicking, Mr. Green has put together a fine list. To read the rational behind the decisions, head on over to the original article.