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ISBN 9781422122952 Published May 2008
Harvard Business School Press
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Posted July 3, 2008 8:21 a.m. by todd-sattersten
In Lists - 800 CEO Read Blog
Carol Hymowitz in her In The Lead column for The Wall Street Journal recommends summer reading. Among the business titles you will find:
- John Kotter change fable Our Iceberg Is Melting (John has a new book coming in September, more on that soon).
- A.G. Lafley and Ram Charan's The Game-Changer (this was a May Jack Covert Selects)
- High Performance with High Integrity from GE's former general counsel Ben Heineman (this is from the great Memo To The CEO series which was a June Jack Covert Selects)
- Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed by Jared Bernstein (it received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly as well)
Jack Covert Selects - The Memo to the CEO Series
Posted June 13, 2008 9:27 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
The Memo to the CEO Series, Various Authors, Harvard Business School Press, $18.00, Hardcover, 2008
We recently attended Book Expo America, the national bookseller's convention, and almost every one of our meetings involved some talk of the future. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was one of the headliners, promoting his company's electronic reading device, the Kindle. Audio books look like they will follow the lead of their musical brethren and become more available digitally, and, surprisingly, will be released from at least one publisher in the popular, unprotected mp3 format. But, I wonder if there isn't something in looking at the good old paper version of books and improving it for the 21st century reader.
The "Memo to the CEO" series from Harvard Business School Press seems to be a step in that direction. Over the last few months, five books have been released under this banner, with more planned for the fall. They typically run about 120 pages and easily fit in the palm of your hand. This translates into a quick read for busy businesspeople. The topics are timely and focused, ranging from how climate change affects business strategy to what companies can learn from the private equity sector. This series occupies a unique spot between the coverage you would find in a magazine article and the significantly longer treatment you would get in a traditional book.
My favorite of the series so far is 5 Future Strategies You Need Right Now by George Stalk, who you may know from his previous books Hardball and Competing Against Time. For this book, Stalk went into his "files" to see what trends were forming on the horizon. The five strategies he talks about "began as faint signals, but the files on them are now sufficiently thick that the sources of advantage are not only abundantly clear, but undeniable" (3).
Stalk's strategies match his very nuts-and-bolts style, and each gets its own section in the book. He implores companies to avoid the huge fixed investments needed in the past for economies of scale and explore new, more flexible production techniques. He believes companies must develop dynamic pricing structures to match the second-by-second needs of the customer, and he discusses the idea of infinite bandwidth and how best to utilize it when it arrives. I'll leave the other two strategies for you to discover in the book.
The current titles in the series are:
I really like the intent of this new series, and the content between the covers. They're likely to be hard to find on bookstore shelves, so be ready to put in a special order or find them online.
Buying In, In the Press
Posted June 6, 2008 7:44 a.m. by dylan
In Uncategorized - 800 CEO Read Blog
Since posting links to an excerpt and review of Rob Walker's book Buying In on Monday, two more reviews have come to my attention--both more in depth than the first and both terrific. One is from Salon, and was published on Tuesday, so you can understand why it wasn't included in the original post. The review from TIME Magazine? Well... I just plain missed that when it was published in May, but it's well worth the read if you missed it as well. In it, TIME's Andrea Sachs describes the book succinctly in the second paragraph:
With a compelling blend of cultural anthropology and business journalism, he makes us fess up about our dependence on brand-name products and explains our nearly irresistible urge to use what we buy to broadcast our identities.
Witty and insightful, Laura Miller's review in Salon shows that she really grasps the material, especially near the end of the article when she contrasts Walker's book with Snoop, a book with a similar theme of less caliber. While looking through future releases a few months back to see what we should be looking forward to, a coworker and I made the same connection and distinction between the books. It's not that Snoop is bad, it's that Buying In is that good (it probably helps that Walker writes for a living, while Snoop author Sam Gosling is a psychology professor).
If you'd like some samples of Rob's writing before picking up the book, you can read an original essay at Powells.com, a manifesto at ChangeThis, and an excerpt from the book itself from FastCompany. You can also find the archive of his work for The New York Times Magazine at his blog, which, you know, you can also read.
Memo to the CEO
Posted Feb. 25, 2008 7:50 a.m. by dylan
In Uncategorized - 800 CEO Read Blog
Harvard Business Press has begun publishing a series of 100 page books called Memos to the CEO. The Publisher's Note from the beginning of the book sums them up perfectly.
Authored by leading experts and examining issues of special urgency, the books in the Memo to the CEO series are tailored for today's time-starved executives. Concise, focused, and solutions-oriented, each book explores a critical management challenge and offers authoritative counsel, provocative points of view, and practical insight.
While these may well be "tailored for today's time-starved executives," they are relevant to everybody interested in business. HBP is doing something else rather unique with this series as well, launching a blog for the series where "the expert authors of these 100-page debriefings will help us start the conversation ... ." I've seen and read plenty of author and book blogs, but can't think of a blog covering a whole series of books before.
The first two books in the series--Lessons from Private Equity Any Company Can Use and Five Future Strategies You Need Right Now--are available already, and two more--Climate Change: What's Your Business Strategy? and High Performance with High Integrity, are being released in April and May respectively.