October 10, 2008
Staff Picks: Review Roundup
In his astonishingly prescient book, The World Is Curved: Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy, David M. Smick argues that we have inherited an impressive global economic system. It, with the U.S. as the hub, has produced unprecedented levels of global prosperity. But it has now spun wildly out of control. It can't be fixed with the shock and awe of a $700 billion rescue package, Smick says. The fundamental architecture needs to be reformed.
We posted an excerpt of the book when it was released last month, which you can find here.
The writers at The Economist have covered a number of intriguing books in their last few issues. In the last issue, they reviewed Yasheng Huang's Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics: Entrepreneurship and the State. It tells a story of China's shift from the rural, entrepreneurial capitalism that existed in the '80s to "the 'Shanghai model' that dominated the 1990s: rapid urban development that favoured massive state-owned enterprises and big foreign multinational companies."
The issue of September 27th-October 3rd has reviews of both The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs (here) and Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is driving the Future of Business. The Partnership's been released at an unfortunate time, but The Economist gives it a good review, offering that "... amid the torrent of negative news, Charles Ellis's exhaustively researched history of Goldman Sachs paints a convincing picture of an institution that has got most of the important things right." We've covered Crowdsourcing a few times in the past, and you can listen to Kate's interview with Jeff Howe, the book's author, here. The Economist review is here. And Wired had this video of Jeff Howe on the front page of their blog today.
On the 26th of last month, I listed 8 books that Jia Lynn Yang at Fortune wrote "belong in everyone's briefcase." Sadly, I couldn't find a link to his synopsis of each book at the time, but that has now been remedied and you can find the list and book descriptions here.
The October issue of Inc. contains a skimmer's guide to Changing the Game:How Video Games Are Transforming the Future of Business Leigh Buchanan specifically suggests:
Chapters Five though Eight describe how games can be used to manage and motivate employees. Edery and Mollick believe that even the most tedious task can be made fun if they incorporate elements of gaming. Their examples include Microsoft's in-house competition to find bugs in Vista and a program that allows IT administrators to destroy errant code using an interface similar to Doom.
I'm assuming "Doom" is a videogame, otherwise that doesn't sound very pleasant. So, Jack and Todd, how about that office Wii™?
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.