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September 26, 2008

News & Opinion: Reviewing Reviews

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 4:30 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Heather Green has written a wonderful review of Jeff Howe's Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business for the September 29 issue of BusinessWeek. After observing that "Books about the crowd are becoming a crowd unto themselves," Green writes:
What sets Howe's book apart is his focus on business, an examination of different crowdsourcing models, and a deep dive into academic research to explain why people work together. It's a welcome and well-written corporate playbook for confusing times...
In his most recent article for Portfolio, "In Praise of Big Brother," Roger Lowenstein casts a somewhat leery eye at Stephen Baker's The Numerati. He begins:
Stephen Baker envisions a world in which our email and blog postings, our credit-card and grocery purchases, our pulse rates and facial expressions, and even our physical movements (handily tracked by our cell phones) will be fed to a new Brahmin class of math geeks devoted to sending us customized shopping choices, targeted political ads, real-time medical alerts, and the names of potential dating partners, not to mention (lest we be shirking on the job or hiding an illness) alerts to our bosses and insurance companies.
While that sounds awfully scary to me, the author is of the mind that this technology will one day empower us. Regardless of how you feel about these issues, the book does seem very informative and worth a read. Lowenstein describes Baker a "charming writer," and ends the review by calling the book "eye-popping and chilling." David K. Hurst reveiws four books in the Autumn issue of strategy + business's Books in Brief. The first, Richard Bookstaber's Demon of Our Own Design, was awarded the top spot in the Finance & Economics category of our first annual book awards. The other three books are Stall Points: Most Companies Stop Growing--Yours Doesn't Have To by Matthew Olson and Derek Van Bever, Michael O'Leary: A Life In Full Flight by Alan Ruddock, and Tad Waddington's Lasting Contribution: How to Think, Plan, and Act to Accomplish Meaningful Work. Fortune's Jia Lynn Yang has picked "eight volumes [that] belong in everyone's briefcase." Of course, Fortune doesn't make this list available online, but the chosen titles are: Birth of a Salesman: The Transformation of Selling in America by Walter A. Friedman Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story by Jerry Weissman Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results by Jack Mitchell Selling to Big Companies by Jill Konrath The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World's Best Companies by Robert B. Miller & Stephen E. Heiman Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher & William Ury Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie Rich Karlgaard has written an update to his "Books to Get Rich By" for Forbes. (You can find the original list of 53 books here.) The lists are broken up into six categories: History and Heroes, How Capitalism Works Today, Instructional Tips, Management Secrets, Food for the Soul, and Useful Entertainment. While the list is too long to list all of the titles, I have listed the entire "Management Secrets" section below. Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company by Andrew S. Grove Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Property by Garret B. Gunderson The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William Ury & Bruce Patton What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey with Rebecca M. Merrill Did you notice that Stephen Covey picked up an initial sometime between 7 Habits and Speed of Trust? (edit: As the brilliant Seth Godin has pointed out in the comment section, Stephen M.R. Covey is the eldest son of Stephen R. Covey. I had not known this previously. Don't let it be said business books aren't a family business.) Notable titles from other sections are John Kao's Innovation Nation and Fareed Zakaria's Post American World from "How Capitalism Works Today," Dan Pink's Adventures of Johnny Bunko from "Instructional Tipps," Randy Pausch's Last Lecture form "Food for the Soul," and Michael Lewis's Blind Side from "Useful Entertainment."