Thursday, December 20, 2012

BOOKS - The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania


Book Report: Reading Resolutions for 2013 January can be a good time to wipe the slate clean and begin anew. Whether you want to become a better leader, motivate your team to achieve greater productivity or learn how to think differently about recurring problems, this book report, featuring seven author interviews and two book reviews, offers ideas on how to address the challenges that lie ahead. ________________________________________________________________   
Insurance and Pensions
Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Accepting Uncertainty, Embracing Volatility

The defining characteristic of future change, according to Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is that it is impossible -- and foolhardy -- to try to predict it. Nonetheless, the dominant impulse among policymakers and so-called experts is to attempt to reduce volatility rather than deal with it more productively. In his new book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, Taleb argues that in order for individuals, institutions, industries and societies to not only survive but also thrive, it is essential to make peace with uncertainty.
Leadership and Change
Barry Schwartz's 'Practical Wisdom'

Swarthmore professor Barry Schwartz says rules and incentives are an "insurance policy against disaster, but [they don't] produce excellence." In his recent book, Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing, Schwartz and co-author Kenneth Sharpe, also a Swarthmore professor, say that what is needed is not more bureaucracy. Instead, society needs the Aristotelian ideal that trumps all others -- practical wisdom. Knowledge@Wharton recently discussed with Schwartz why individuals fail to do the right thing, what practical wisdom looks like in practice and what organizations can do to regain people's trust. (Video with transcript)
Strategic Management
Multinationals from Emerging Markets: Making a Virtue out of Necessity

In recent times, emerging markets have attracted a great deal of attention from the rest of the world because they have become the motors of global economic growth. This has been accompanied by two trends: a boom in investment from corporations in developed nations, and the rise of homegrown multinationals. A recent book, co-authored by Wharton professor Mauro Guillen -- Emerging Markets Rule: Growth Strategies of the New Global Giants -- analyzes the winning strategies of emerging multinationals as well as the lessons that can be learned from today's more globalized distribution of power.
Managing Technology
'Makers': Chris Anderson on DIY Manufacturing

Just as the Internet enabled anyone with a computer to become an entrepreneur, today's newest technologies have spawned a DIY (do it yourself) micro-manufacturing movement, so anyone can be both inventor and manufacturer. Wired editor Chris Anderson, author of the new book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, recently spoke with Knowledge@Wharton about how technology is changing the limits of what inventors can do, what the Maker Movement is, why he started DIY Drones and how the new technologies will drive the global economy. (Audio with transcript)
Strategic Management
'Kill the Company': Identify Your Weaknesses Before Your Competitors Do

For many, implementing an innovation strategy, which requires changes within an organization, means adding layers of new processes. Lisa Bodell, author of Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution, argues that there are straightforward ways to make change without bogging down the organization. Knowledge@Wharton spoke with Bodell recently about her approach to getting companies to face their vulnerabilities, why taking risks is essential and why small changes make all the difference. (Video with transcript)
Finance and Investment
'Bull by the Horns': Sheila Bair's Insider View of the 2008 Financial Crisis

The 2008 financial crisis caused a recession in the United States, forced the government to bail out several banks and investment firms to the tune of $125 billion and led to 1.9 million housing foreclosures in 2008 and 2009 due to lax and often predatory subprime mortgages. In Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself, Sheila Bair, director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) from 2006 to 2011, gives an insider's view of what caused the crisis and what can be done to prevent similar meltdowns in the future.
Finance and Investment
Maneet Ahuja on Hedge Funds and the 'Alpha Masters'

Maneet Ahuja began her career at age 17 as a credit risk analyst at Citigroup. Now, 10 years later, she has been named to the Forbes 2012 "30 under 30" list, is a producer for CNBC's Squawk Box and has written a new book called The Alpha Masters: Unlocking the Genius of the World's Top Hedge Funds. Knowledge@Wharton recently talked with her about the alpha masters she profiled in her book and about where she thinks the hedge fund industry is headed. (Video with transcript)
Leadership and Change
'The Corner Office': Adam Bryant on the Five Qualities of Successful Leaders

New York Times editor Adam Bryant has interviewed more than 200 CEOs for his Corner Office column. In his book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, Bryant shares what he has learned from Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Ford CEO Alan R. Mulally, Yum Brands CEO David C. Novak, Teach for America CEO Wendy Kopp, Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus and other leaders. Knowledge@Wharton recently sat down with Bryant to discuss five qualities of successful leaders, the age-old question of whether leaders are born or made and how his discussions with CEOs have influenced his own approach to leadership. (Video with transcript)
Leadership and Change
Gretchen Rubin's Search for Happiness

Are you happy? Could you be happier? Gretchen Rubin was already "pretty happy" when she asked herself these very questions. In search of the answers, she started her own pursuit of happiness, which eventually became a New York Times bestseller titled, The Happiness Project. She has now written a second book called Happier at Home. Knowledge@Wharton recently spoke with Rubin about why happy people work more hours each week, how to make and keep happiness resolutions and how to ward off the three happiness leeches. (Video with transcript)

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