July 1, 2016
New Releases: Business Books to Watch in July
These are some of the books we have our eye on in July. The first two were actually released in late June, but we missed them in last month's list, and wanted to make sure you didn't miss them, as well.
The Evolution of Money by David Orrell & Roman Chlupatý, Columbia University Press
The Evolution of Money illuminates money's elastic nature, focusing on the tension between currency's real and abstract properties and advancing a vital theory of money. From ancient Mesopotamia to the digital era, The Evolution of Money helps us visualize and strategize money's next, transformative role.
The sharing economy's unique customer to company exchange is possible because of the evolution of money. These transactions haven't always been as fluid as they are today, but they are likely to become even more so in the future. It is therefore critical that we learn to appreciate money's elastic nature as deeply as do Uber, Airbnb, Kickstarter, and other leading innovators, and that we better comprehend money's transition from hard currencies to cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, to access their cooperative potential.
The Evolution of Money illuminates this fascinating reality, focusing on the tension between currency's real and abstract properties and advancing a vital theory of money rooted in this dual exchange. It begins with the debt tablets of ancient Mesopotamia and follows with the development of coin money in early Greece and Rome, gold-backed currencies in medieval Europe, and monetary economics in Victorian England. The book concludes in the digital era, with the cryptocurrencies and service providers that are making the most of money's virtual aspects and that suggest a tectonic shift within the relevant power structures. By building this organic timeline, The Evolution of Money helps us visualize and strategize money's next, transformative role.
Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez, Harper
Liar’s Poker meets The Social Network in an irreverent exposé of life inside the tech bubble, from industry provocateur Antonio García Martínez, a former Twitter advisor, Facebook product manager and startup founder/CEO.
The reality is, Silicon Valley capitalism is very simple:
Investors are people with more money than time.
Employees are people with more time than money.
Entrepreneurs are the seductive go-between.
Marketing is like sex: only losers pay for it.
Imagine a chimpanzee rampaging through a datacenter powering everything from Google to Facebook. Infrastructure engineers use a software version of this “chaos monkey” to test online services’ robustness—their ability to survive random failure and correct mistakes before they actually occur. Tech entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, disruptors testing and transforming every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and lodging (AirBnB) to television (Netflix) and dating (Tinder). One of Silicon Valley’s most audacious chaos monkeys is Antonio García Martínez.
After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, García Martínez joined Facebook’s nascent advertising team, turning its users’ data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and chairman and CEO Mark “Zuck” Zuckerberg. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetization strategy, García Martínez eventually landed at rival Twitter. He also fathered two children with a woman he barely knew, committed lewd acts and brewed illegal beer on the Facebook campus (accidentally flooding Zuckerberg’s desk), lived on a sailboat, raced sport cars on the 101, and enthusiastically pursued the life of an overpaid Silicon Valley wastrel.
Now, this gleeful contrarian unravels the chaotic evolution of social media and online marketing and reveals how it is invading our lives and shaping our future. Weighing in on everything from startups and credit derivatives to Big Brother and data tracking, social media monetization and digital “privacy,” García Martínez shares his scathing observations and outrageous antics, taking us on a humorous, subversive tour of the fascinatingly insular tech industry. Chaos Monkeys lays bare the hijinks, trade secrets, and power plays of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists, accidental tourists, and money cowboys who are revolutionizing our world. The question is, will we survive?
Art Thinking: How to Carve Out Creative Space in a World of Schedules, Budgets, and Bosses by Amy Whitaker, HarperBusiness
An indispensable and inspiring guide to creativity in the workplace and beyond, drawing on art, psychology, science, sports, law, business, and technology to help you land big ideas in the practical world.
Anyone from CEO to freelancer knows how hard it is to think big, let alone follow up, while under pressure to get things done. Art Thinking offers practical principles, inspiration, and a healthy dose of pragmatism to help you navigate the difficulties of balancing creative thinking with driving toward results.
With an MBA and an MFA, Amy Whitaker, an entrepreneur-in-residence at the New Museum Incubator, draws on stories of athletes, managers, writers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and even artists to engage you in the process of “art thinking.” If you are making a work of art in any field, you aren’t going from point A to point B. You are inventing point B. Art thinking combines the mindsets of art and the tools of business to protect space for open-ended exploration and to manage risks on your way to success.
Art Thinking takes you from “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” to realizing your highest aims, helping you build creative skills you can apply across all facets of business and life. Warm, honest, and unexpected, Art Thinking will help you reimagine your work and life—and even change the world—while enjoying the journey from point A.
On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights by Andi Simon, Greenleaf Book Group
Seeing Your Business through a New Lens.
Innovation has become such a ubiquitous value, it’s in danger of becoming cliché. Companies frequently talk about it as the sweeping secret to solve all their business problems; however, they often don’t know where to start or how to expand beyond creative brainstorming to strategically identify and act upon new business opportunities.
Andi Simon is a corporate anthropologist who has empowered thousands of business leaders to see their companies with fresh eyes, identify their next big ideas, and—most importantly—turn innovative solutions into executable change. In her groundbreaking book, On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights, Andi presents her unique methods for harnessing innovation and revitalizing business growth. Taking readers on a journey through seven case studies, Andi shares how she helped these businesses discover new and profitable growth opportunities by exploring the untapped resources that were right in front of them.
From a medical center facing multiple years in the red to a rural university battling decreasing enrollment to an equipment manufacturer whose award-winning product just wasn’t selling—the stories of these seven companies struggling to innovate and grow provide invigorating testimony to the power of corporate anthropology.
Whether searching for a way to revitalize a business or to expand a successful company into new and profitable directions, the strategies outlined in On the Brink will give readers the fresh approach they need to achieve meaningful business breakthroughs.
Motivate Yourself: Get the Life You Want, Find Purpose and Achieve Fulfilment by Andro Donovan, Capstone
Do you want to feel more productive, more present and more inspired by your own life?
Motivate Yourself offers practical strategies to improve your productivity and gives you the know how to create the life you want. Learn how to move past your self-doubt and propel yourself into living your dream.
With practical exercises featured within each chapter, this book will help break those emotional barriers that hold you back and set you on the path to becoming fully engaged and more productive.
Kick start your productivity journey today and:
- Quieten that negative inner voice that inhibits your personal growth.
- Wake up to the possibility and opportunity of a different way of living.
- Learn how to motivate those around you with productivity at the center of everything you do.
- Challenge yourself to discover who you really are and what you are truly capable of achieving.
Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country by Alex Cuadros, Spiegel & Grau
From a former contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek, and written with the verve and explanatory prowess of Michael Lewis, this is the story of the rise of contemporary Brazil and our new era of global hyperwealth—told through the lens of that country’s glittering array of colorful billionaires, most specifically Eike Batista and his wild and ill-fated drive to be the world’s richest man. To be published just as the summer Olympics put Brazil in the international spotlight.
Eike Batista was recently the eighth-richest person in the world, worth more than $30 billion and determined to reach the top spot. His rise owed a lot to the stunning emergence of the world’s developing economies. His fall tells a lot about the overreaching hubris of the new class of global hyperwealth.
Alex Cuadros was a freelance reporter in Latin America who was sucked into the world of Brazilian billionaires when he covered them for Bloomberg Businessweek’s billionaires team. He was seduced and repelled and fascinated by their hermetic lives, outsized personalities, and immense power. And none drew him in like Batista.
The story of Brazil’s billionaires is a microcosm of the story of the rising economies of the former “third world.” Just a couple of decades ago, Brazil was an underdeveloped country emerging from a long military dictatorship. Now it is among the world’s leading economies, a big shift for a country tired of its fame for lyrical soccer, very small bikinis, and the spectacular violence of bleak favelas.
Brazillionaires tells the story of this vast and complex country by burrowing into the lives and finances of its wealthiest citizens, a cast of characters at times diabolical, oddball, and even inspiring.
It also asks important questions about what massive wealth concentration and inequality is doing to societies around the world, for better and worse.
Heads I Win, Tails I Win: Why Smart Investors Fail and How to Tilt the Odds in Your Favor by Spencer Jakab, Portfolio
The Wall Street Journal’s investing columnist explains why you’re deluded about your personal investing returns.
Garrison Keillor described Lake Wobegon as the town where all the children are above average. Now Spencer Jakab introduces us Lake Moneybegone, where all the women are wise, all the men are hard-working, and all the investors are below average. It’s a big place—almost everyone from teachers to doctors to bankers and even most fund managers live here.
Since leaving his job as a top-rated stock analyst to become an investing columnist, Jakab has watched his readers make the same bad decisions again and again. Jakab looks at all the typical advice, from the clearly risky to the seemingly safe, to show you how various strategies are undermining even the most savvy investor’s returns. The paths that lead to a seven figure nest egg are surprisingly few, but he reveals reliable strategies that can multiply a typical retirement saver’s nest egg fourfold or more.
Jakab combines wise storytelling with a knack for doing the math on complicated ideas to explain why you shouldn’t buy Apple, or care about tomorrow’s big IPO, or even try to act on the belief that a recession is around the corner. He also explains why you should never trust a World Cup predicting octopus, and why you shouldn’t invest in companies with an X or Z in their names—information more useful than it sounds, and every bit as fun. His core audience: readers who fall somewhere in the gap between “401k’s for Dummies” and “Advanced Microeconomics.” Whatever your level of expertise, though, a tour of Jakab’s Lake Moneybegone will be entertaining and almost certainly profitable too.
Viking Economics: How the Scandinavians Got It Right—and How We Can, Too by George Lakey, Melville House
Liberals worldwide invoke Scandinavia as a promised land of equality, while most conservatives fear it as a hotbed of liberty-threatening socialism. But the left and right can usually agree on one thing: that the Nordic system is impossible to replicate elsewhere. The US and UK are too big, or too individualistic, or too… something.
In Viking Economics—perhaps the most fun economics book you’ve ever read—George Lakey dispels these myths. He explores the inner-workings of the Nordic economies that boast the world’s happiest, most productive workers, and explains how, if we can enact some of the changes the Scandinavians fought for surprisingly recently, we, too, can embrace equality in our economic policy.
Life of the Party: The Remarkable Story of How Brownie Wise Built, and Lost, a Tupperware Party Empire by Bob Kealing, Crown Archetype
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Sandra Bullock, the incredible story of Brownie Wise, the Southern single mother—and postwar #Girlboss—who built, and lost, a Tupperware home-party empire.
Before Mary Kay, Martha Stewart, and Peggy Olson, there was Brownie Wise, the charismatic Tupperware executive who converted postwar optimism into a record-breaking sales engine powered by American housewives. In Life of the Party, Bob Kealing offers the definitive portrait of Wise, a plucky businesswoman who divorced her alcoholic husband, started her own successful business, and eventually caught the eye of Tupperware inventor, Earl Tupper, whose plastic containers were collecting dust on store shelves.
The Tupperware Party that Wise popularized, a master-class in the soft sell, drove Tupperware’s sales to new heights. It also gave minimally educated and economically invisible postwar women, including some African-American women, an acceptable outlet for making their own money for their families—and for being rewarded for their efforts. With the people skills of Dale Carnegie, the looks of Doris Day, and the magnetism of Eva Peron, Wise was as popular among her many devoted followers as she was among the press, and she become the first woman to appear on the cover of BusinessWeek in 1954. Then, at the height of her success, Wise’s ascent ended as quickly as it began. Earl Tupper fired her under mysterious circumstances, wrote her out of Tupperware’s history, and left her with a pittance. He walked away with a fortune and she disappeared into history—until now.
For the Love of Money: A Memoir by Sam Polk, Scribner
In 2014, a former hedge fund trader’s New York Times Sunday Review front page article about wealth addicition instantly went viral. This is his unflinching memoir about coming of age on Wall Street, fighting to overcome the ghosts of his past—and the radical new way he now defines success.
At just thirty years old, Sam Polk was a senior trader for one of the biggest hedge funds on Wall Street, on the verge of making it to the very top. When he was offered an annual bonus of $3.75 million, he grew angry because it was not enough. In that moment he knew he had lost himself in his obsessive pursuit of money. And he had come to loathe the culture—the shallowness, the sexism, the crude machismo—and Wall Street’s use of wealth as the sole measure of a person’s worth. He decided to walk away from it all.
For Polk, becoming a Wall Street trader was the fulfillment of his dreams. But in reality it was just the culmination of a life of addictive and self-destructive behaviors, from overeating, to bulimia, to alcohol and drug abuse. His obsessive pursuit of money papered over years of insecurity and emotional abuse. Making money was just the latest attempt to fill the void left by his narcisstic and emotionally unavailable father.
As in Liar’s Poker, Polk brings readers into the rarefied world of Wall Street trading floors, capturing the modern frustrations of young graduates drawn to Wall Street. Raw, vivid, and immensely readable, For the Love of Money explores the birth of a young hedge fund trader, his disillusionment, and the radical new way he has come to define success.