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181. Winning in Asia: Strategies for
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182. Harvard Business Review on Compensation
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183. The Attention Economy: Understanding
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184. The Product Development Challenge:
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185. Face-to-Face Communications for
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186. Evolve! : Succeeding in the Digital
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187. Managing With Power: Politics
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188. All the Right Moves: A Guide to
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181. Winning in Asia: Strategies for Competing in the New Millennium
by Peter J. Williamson
list price: $32.50
our price: $22.75
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Asin: 0875846203
Catlog: Book (2004-06-15)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 348937
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Book Description

The competitive landscape in Asia is undergoing a sea change. Companies are finally breaking the bonds imposed by the 1997 financial crisis. The engine of growth is shifting from exports to Asian market demand. China's rapid development is redrawing the Asian playing field. National fiefdoms are succumbing to cross-border competition. Together, these forces are signaling the emergence of a fundamentally new competitive game-and there will be no going back.

International business expert Peter J. Williamson argues that competing in this rapidly evolving arena will require a very different kind of company. In this book, he identifies the key challenges that will distinguish the winners in tomorrow's Asia and explores the fundamental changes-in business models, mind-sets, organizational structures, and management processes-that will be required to meet those challenges.

Asian companies will need to leverage the strengths of their local heritage into the future by building distinctive, new strategies around them. Western multinationals will need to fundamentally reassess the approaches that have won them a share of Asia's rapid growth over the last two decades.

Laying out strategies for creating a new and distinctive breed of Asian corporation, Winning in Asia provides a blueprint for reshaping the future of Asian competition. ... Read more


182. Harvard Business Review on Compensation
by Alfred Rappport, Alfie Kohn, Egon Zehnder, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert D. Nicoson
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Asin: 157851701X
Catlog: Book (2002-01-25)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 73625
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Book Description

The Harvard Business Review Paperback Series is designed to bring today's managers and professionals the fundamental information they need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world. From the preeminent thinkers whose work has defined an entire field to the rising stars who will redefine the way we think about business, here are the leading minds and landmark ideas that have established the Harvard Business Review as required reading for ambitious businesspeople in organizations around the globe.

This collection will help managers and human resource professionals weigh the pros and cons of different compensation plans and provide a framework for thinking about this important aspect of the war for talent. The articles discuss a variety of compensation-related issues such as: making salaries public, stock options, executive compensation, and incentive plans.

... Read more


183. The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business
by Thomas H. Davenport, John C. Beck
list price: $16.95
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Asin: 1578518717
Catlog: Book (2002-09)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 127355
Average Customer Review: 4.19 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Welcome to the attention economy, in which the new scarcest resource isn't ideas or talent, but attention itself. This groundbreaking book argues that today's businesses are headed for disaster-unless they overcome the dangerously high attention deficits that threaten to cripple today's workplace. Learn to manage this critical yet finite resource, or fail! ... Read more

Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!
This book is a delightfully interesting combination of academic and general audience writing that makes it quite readable and holds your attention page after page. The content is nicely woven into twelve chapters that explain more aspects of attention, gaining attention, and holding attention than you could imagine. You'll learn a lot from these pages. An abundance of footnotes will give you more resources to pursue to expand your learning even further.

I turned down more pages than usual in this volume. I marked all sorts of things to share with others and to go back to. I even wrote notes on some of the pages, which I don't usually do when reading a book like this. The authors explain that "attention is the real currency of business and individuals...In post-industrial societies, attention has become a more valuable currency than the kind you store in bank accounts."

The official definition: "Attention is focused mental engagement on a particular item of information. Items come into our awareness, we attend to a particular item, and then we decide whether to act." There's more, but I don't want to spoil this delicious read for you. You'll gain valuable insight into the role of attention in all aspects of our lives, how the ability to manage our attention is all-powerful . . . and how we struggle with our own personal challenge of managing the tremendous volume of information and other stimulants that bombard our senses. Part of the attention process is filtering and sorting, which is difficult for some people and can be overwhelming. There is so much in this book that I have no hesitation in giving it very high marks. Have your highlighter ready!

The one negative-if it even is a negative-is the quotes and illustrative comments that appear in smaller type at the bottom of many of the pages. They distracted my attention from the flow of the text, making the book consciously a bit more difficult to read. Ah! The authors have made their point! Recommended for people in all walks of life; this is a book about us, not just an economy or business treatise.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Summary of Latest Research and Measurement Model
Professor Thomas H. Davenport is well known for his superb summaries of best practices in knowledge management. In The Attention Economy, he and co-author, Professor John C. Beck, outline the work that others are doing in measuring how attention is gained, and provide a prototype measurement device for attention. The book modestly advances our knowledge of this subject. The book's weakness is that it misdefines the key issue, which should be "What Should We Be Paying Attention to in Business?"

The authors feel that the most pressing problem today is "not enough attention to meet the information demands of business and society." They argue that everything except human attention is plentiful and cheap. They think of attention as "human bandwidth." As a result, they suggest that like all scarce resources, attention is a "currency." In support of these observations, the authors note that 71 percent of white collar workers feel "info stress." They also argue that companies have "organizational ADD."

The most interesting part of the book is the proposed measurement model. There are three continuums involved: one is from aversive to attractive, a second is from captive to voluntary, and a third is from front-of-mind to back-of-mind. The authors provide some examples of how to use this as a measurement tool, and prescribe some potential solutions for what they find in the examples. I thought that the weakness of this approach is that without experimental experience and testing, one will probably be wrong in prescribing from a new measurement tool. In that sense, the writing here exceeds the scope of the research the authors have done. However, I am glad they are sharing their prototype.

Of existing research, you will get a quick look at psychobiology, the impact of technology on solving or making the problem worse, lessons from advertising, Web issues (especially e-mail, which they mention incessantly), leadership effects, strategy effects, and organizational structure as it affects attention.

Basically, their argument is that less is more in most situations. Their goal is to create a world where technology enhances attention, you have control over sending and receiving information, you can escape information, and institutions (like companies and schools) make information more relevant for you. In so doing, they would like to see information providers focus on quality, not quantity.

"In the end, the greatest prize for being able to capture attention will be the freedom to avoid it."

Being familiar with the literature in this area, I found only the measurement model to be new. If you have read widely, you can focus on just that part of the book.

My own sense is that measuring attention is less important than measuring what people use information for. Are they working on the right things, with the right people and tools, and in the best possible way? I also suspect that attention does need to be somewhat open. You do not know what you do not know, nor do I. Openness is clearly valuable to creativity and innovation. Hopefully, it will remain so.

I was also struck that not enough attention was paid to giving people more tools for handling information that would already work. But this is a theoretical book, rather than a practical one. If you want to know more about how to turn information into influence, I suggest you read Robert Cialdini's classic, Influence.

Basically, this subject is only of interest because voice mail and e-mail are being overused. That source of stress is fairly unimportant though, because little of importance comes from either source. They just happen to waste time. Good manners and more consideration would solve most of those problems. For most companies, a little attention to suggesting what should be done in both areas would solve much of the stress described here.

I think we do need to do more work on helping people to appreciate their perceptual weaknesses. Like many management books, this one focuses more on "doing things to people" rather than helping people do things for themselves better. I hope that future work in this area will be more practical for the individual.

My experience has been is that if people have good information, almost everyone decides and acts in the same way. The poorest sources of such information are regular financial reports in companies. As a result, Professor Kaplan's work with the Balanced Scorecard, as described lately in The Strategy-Focused Organization, is a area to focus on if you are concerned about organizational ADD.

The relatively new book, Simplicity, by Bill Jensen is also a good source of ideas for how to overcome many of these issues.

After you think about this issue, I suggest that you focus your organization on what are the three things you need to do better than anyone else. Then be sure that everyone understands what information needs to be addressed. Give them lots of freedom to wallow in the information anyway they like. A regimented approach will help with execution, but limit your choices.

Expand your mind's control over what you focus on, to avoid the bad habits that stall progress!

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly fluffy
The book sets out in a bad direction, and never really recovers. There's some interesting survey material for those who are completely unfamiliar with the issues, but also many random unsubstantiated claims, much that's illogical or contradictory, and a ream of chapters later in the book with what seems to me to be vague management advice.

The initial bad direction comes in the form of a broken definition of attention: the authors claim attention is a narrowing of perception (sensory input), followed by an action decision. The latter part of this is completely bogus from a psychological perspective, and only there to support the marketing/advertising-oriented slant of the book. Yes, attention does involve a focus on a subset of sensory input, but no decision making needs to be attached. Think of watching a movie: it has your full attention; you're blocking out surrounding stimuli to some extent. But when the movie is effective, you're along for the ride, not making decisions. Furthermore, the authors *claim* that attention-management is different from time-management, but are very sloppy in distinguishing between attention, time, mind share, effort, persuasion, and a variety of other measures. It's maddening.

An example of the contradictory nature of the authors' advice is that they both advise managers to be creative in seeking their employees' attention (including multimedia messages, clowning in meetings, and other nonsense) AND advise that companies deploy "attention guards" to keep employees focused. Well, which is it? Distractions or focus? The sheer enthusiasm with which the authors endorse the arms race for attention (more and more baroque packaging of messages (ads) to get your attention) is disturbing.

The graphic design of the book makes a point and is amusing at first, but when you're trying to stick to the flow of the main text, the sidebars and tangential blurbs become very distracting. They becgome more distracting as the amount of real information in the main text decreases in later chapters.

I read this as a bookclub book to discuss it with a few (high-tech focused) friends, and we unanimously hated the book. I recommend taking a good look at it before spending your money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Seminal - A Paradigm Changing Book
A book which is not only well paced and well written, but most importantly, has something to say which does not echo the 'me too' mantra of most recent management books.

A truly insightful book, I recommend you pause to listen to its message and judge its insight against your personal experience.

Davenport et al present a new paradigm, a new way of viewing the causality of corporate thinking, and for that he should be applauded.

3-0 out of 5 stars It didn't hold my attention
I found this book disappointing. Attention (and lack thereof) is on a lot of peoples' minds these days. The book highlights the distinction between time and attention. It also does a reasonable job of describing the increasing prevalence of attention deficit among individuals and organizations.

I suspect however that anyone reading the book is already well aware of the problem and is looking for solutions. The book offers few that are particularly new or useful. The book itself looks new. It has a 'weby' feel in that chunks of text and 'factoids' are scattered around the pages. No doubt this was intended to be attention-getting but in book format I found it distracting.

Given the ever-increasing demand for our attention, it seems more important than ever to get to the point quickly and avoid tangents. This book violates that principle by squandering the readers' attention on ideas that are old (e.g.: Maslow's Hierarchy), of questionable relevance to this topic (e.g.: mergers and acquisitions) or dealt with more comprehensively elsewhere (e.g.: how to structure documents to maximize attention) ... Read more


184. The Product Development Challenge: Competing Through Speed, Quality, and Creativity
by Kim B. Clark, Steven C. Wheelwright
list price: $32.50
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Asin: 0875846092
Catlog: Book (1995-04-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 480640
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book
A series of excellent articles on the new product processes. Especially recommend the article on "Make Projects the School for Leaders". A prediction for the future that many companies are beginning to experience. Highly recommended. ... Read more


185. Face-to-Face Communications for Clarity and Impact (The Results-Driven Manager Series)
by Harvard Business School Press
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
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Asin: 1591393477
Catlog: Book (2004-06-11)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 264924
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Book Description

The Results-Driven Manager Series

Managers are under increasing pressure to deliver better results faster than the competition. But meeting today's tough challenges requires complete mastery of a full array of management skills, from communicating and coaching to public speaking and managing people. The Results-Driven Manager series is designed to help time-pressed managers hone and polish the skills they need most. Concise, action-oriented, and packed with invaluable strategies and tools, these timely guides will help managers improve their job performance today-and give them the edge they need to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Face-to-Face Communication for Clarity and Impact

  • Speak directly and confidently
  • Assert yourself in uncomfortable situations
  • Make a case convincingly
  • Offer constructive criticism
  • Use the spoken word more effectively
... Read more

186. Evolve! : Succeeding in the Digital Culture of Tomorrow
by Rosabeth Moss Kanter
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.70
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Asin: 1578514398
Catlog: Book (2001-02)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 65885
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter is the Eartha Kitt of change-management gurus. Just when you think the grand dame has taken her final bow, she comes bounding back onto the scene with a new act that's as shrewd and insightful as anything any young kitten has to offer--but benefiting from decades of wisdom and experience that puts the whole litter to shame. Take, for instance, Evolve!, Kanter's latest in a string of highly influential books on organizational management (including Innovation, World Class, When Giants Learn to Dance, and The Change Masters). Yes, the ubiquitous dot (as in "com") after the E in "Evolve" on the book's cover may suggest to the cynical that this is another old-school change guru weighing in with the obligatory guide to making it on the Net--and months after e-commerce mania has subsided, to boot! And granted, the thumbnail keys to successful I-preneuring that form the book's structure--namely, a willingness to improvise, a desire to network aggressively with other sites, a readiness to create "integrated communities," and a commitment to creating a workplace culture that attracts and retains the best talent--aren't necessarily breakthrough insights, however cogently presented.

But Evolve! stands out among the vast spate of e-commerce how-tos of the past few years because of the meticulous, rigorous research on the part of Kanter and her legion of Harvard Business associates. Here, coupled with Kanter's always-keen prose, that research translates into perhaps the most vivid, probing, and instructive anthology of e-commerce success (and failure) stories yet to appear in one book. Kanter & Co. conducted over 300 interviews, plus surveys with nearly three times as many companies worldwide, to tease out their conclusions on what works and what doesn't when doing business online--with brash start-ups as well as brick-and-mortar giants. That serious-minded, Harvard-quality sleuthing is reflected in the long narratives that make up the meat of the book, detailing the complete online journeys of some of the world's most high-profile companies, from venerable offliners venturing online (among them, Arrow Electronics, Barnes & Noble, NBC, Hewlett-Packard, Honeywell, IBM, Williams-Sonoma, and Sun) to the Net-born (Amazon, eBay, Razorfish, EarthWeb, iXL, Renren.com, and Abuzz, which clearly emerges here as Kanter's pet model of how to do it right in entrepreneurial cyberspace).If you've followed the start-up scene with eagle eyes every day for the past five years, you might already be familiar with these companies' twisting, turning story lines. If, more likely, you haven't, you're in for some illuminating object lessons on what works (and what doesn't) on the precarious, often uncharted terrain of e-commerce--not to mention some really good reading.

Shortly before Evolve! went to press, Kanter added two new chapters to address the latest changes in the e-commerce market. That's a valuable update, but even if she'd skipped the postscript, Evolve! is blessedly free of reckless cybermania. And, unlike many such dot-com how-tos, it's wise enough to know that, far from having completely rewritten the rules of good business, the callow world of e-commerce has much to learn from the offline forbears it often scoffs at. For these reasons, the observations and advisories in Evolve! should transcend the inevitable fluctuations of the e-commerce market in the years to come.In other words, this is the real thing: smart, deeply researched advice from a pro whose talents are evident on every page. Well, except for the rap lyrics she's penned for "Evolve!--The Song," which kick off the book, and run along such lines: "You're not alone, so start placing your bet/On finding lots of partners throughout the Net!" Cole Porter she's not. Then again, maybe they wouldn't sound so lame if only we could get that other old pro, Eartha Kitt, to slip into her catsuit and purr her way through them. --Timothy Murphy ... Read more

Reviews (38)

5-0 out of 5 stars The History of Today's Internet
In the genre of e-commerce handbooks Evolve! does not give all the answers. There is no blueprint step by step process to Internet success that is outlined in her writings. Rather, the book presents a view of the correct culture, and outlook of a successful e-business. Social interactions are modified, and conflict is encouraged. In the end the focus is then shifter to the individual who is reading the book. Attention is given to the qualities of an effective leader in a fast changing internet environment where one must be a salesman and visionary while keeping track of concrete deadlines. Evolve! also has a large collection of research to back its claims. The Author, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, is a Harvard professor with a multitude of graduate students at her disposal. This gives her book a large amount of data and research into the various companies that have shaped the Internet and the world of e-business. It divides the players into the categories of Dotcoms, Dotcom Enablers, and Wannadots. It also shows the mistakes, and changes that occurred when the market leaders were first developing their focuses and strategies. To me the greatest aspect of the book is the in-depth historical perspective on the last four years in Silicon Valley. Big players, and company insiders give valuable information on their struggles to become the market leaders. The information is current, the background information is informative, and its message is useful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kaleidoscopic View of Successfully Connected e-Cultures!
Rosabeth Moss Kanter is one of our finest thinkers about organizational change. In Evolve!, she has taken on a very large challenge. She attempts to help the young and the old, the e-hip and the offline, the techies and the nontechies, and those in new economy and old economy companies understand one another better so they can cooperate for greater results through using the Internet as an enabling medium. She also takes a look at beneficial cultures separately from the perspectives of pure dot com companies, dotcom-enablers (like Sun Microsystems), and wannadots (already-established companies seeking to add the Internet to their businesses). In the process, she provides lots of helpful examples of what NOT TO DO, as well as what TO DO both in terms of what kind of organization to create and how to get there. I found that the book added a great deal to my storehouse of case histories about what has been working and what has not as companies have sought to develop and improve Internet-based business models. Unlike most books about the Internet, this one was primarily based on lots of research with people at companies rather than lots of experience in using cool Web sites.

The book is divided into three parts. The first section looks at how the Internet affects every business and person, the role of young people to date in advancing the changes, and why companies have to do more than just open a web site to be effective. Basically, the Internet means a fundamental change in at least part of every company's business model. For some companies, this is a complete change. For others, it is a partial, but significant change. Cisco Systems provides a good example. You can be a major provider of high technology products while having very little manufacturing youself. Dell Computer is another helpful example. You can have negative receivables and no inventory while manufacturing products to order in minutes. Anyone would like to be able to move profitably in these directions.

The second section identifies the qualities that allow a company's culture to work well in e-commerce. Professor Kanter focuses here on the need to create generations of rapid change each of which is well received by the beneficiaries, how to create truly supportive and effective networks of partners, reconfiguring the business and organizational structure to improve the business model, and attracting and retaining the top talent needed to make these improvements.

The third section looks at initiating and enabling the change process towards the model of e-effectiveness. The roles of leaders, organizations, and of individuals are identified . . . as well as the sources of friction and resistance.

I thought that the book was exceptionally well done. It's weaknesses come from having taken on such a large topic and challenge. But Professor Kanter succeeds in most areas quite well.

Those who work in dot com companies that are facing bankruptcy will not find enough here to help them sort through their issues. Those who want to establish a new dot com from scratch also will find this book to be useful, but not a complete resource for that purpose (as Professor Kanter warns in the book). The book was primarily researched while the dot com companies were flush with cash and valuations on the stock market were still quite high. So, although there are references to stocks falling after March 2000, the book reflects in many ways a world that doesn't exactly exist right now for dot com companies.

For dotcom-enablers, they will get a few ideas about how to satisfy the need to keep revitalizing their business model. But most of this will not seem new to them, if they have been at all successful.

For wannadots, this book will help lift the veil of how to get from here to there. The main benefit will be to help avoid problems that others have experienced. You can save tens of millions of dollars and start delivering benefits to your customers much sooner if you follow the change lessons here. The senior executives in these companies should be the prime beneficiaries of this book . . . the Harvard B-School grads of a few years ago, or more.

Metaphors are very helpful for understanding new subjects. The metaphors here, although apt, are ones that many readers will not find to be very much within their experience. For that reason, the points will be a bit lost. For example, the idea of continuing innovating and creating rapid improvements is linked to what improvisational actors do. I have had some improvisational training, so this made sense to me (see Robert Lowe's book, Improvisation, Inc.). I do not know many corporate executives in large companies however who do have this experience. I suspect this metaphor will be lost on them. Some of the other metaphors also lack an experience base for most readers, as well.

A potential weakness of this book for some readers is that they will not get enough information for how to identify ways to create more profitable and sustainable business models. To date, most Internet innovations have led to lower profits . . . not higher ones -- whether they came from dot coms, dotcom-enablers, or dotcome wannabes. If more skill is not applied in this important area of conceptualizing what the new structure of the business should become, you may evolve . . . but not into any place where you want to be.

Reading this book today, you'd have to say that if you are not going to be a dotcom enabler, you'd better watch out.

5-0 out of 5 stars About the author...
This review is not so much about the book but rather about the author. I had the chance to have Rosabeth Moss Kanter as a Professor for a semester last year while doing an MBA at Harvard. She has an extraordinary personality, full of passion, full of colors and surprises. A fresh, insightful and pragmatic perspective of the world. A Grand lady who constantly evolves with her time. In my opinion, that's why her books, and Evolve! in particular, are so well written and so inspirational for all of us. Grand books are the reflect of Grand personalities. I cannot wait to get her new book "Confidence".

1-0 out of 5 stars One sided observation rather than an Analysis
I thought the naration was terible on this CD, author was not to the point. More of a one sided observation presented as a story rather than a complete analysis.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tomorrow Is Here, Albeit Briefly
Throughout human history, most revolutions share a common cause, a shared commitment, courage, passion, sacrifice, determination, and varying degrees of impact. Darwinists believe that all organisms participate in a process of natural selection. In the 21st century, organizations (like organisms) must therefore initiate or respond effectively to revolutions inorder to survive. That is, they must recognize major developments (what Kuhn calls "paradigm shifts," what Grove calls "inflection points," and what Gladwell calls "tipping points"), preferably before they begin. Meanwhile, prudence dictates that these organizations carefully select their terms of engagement with their competition, allocating their resources with great care.

I recently re-read e•Volve, curious to learn how relevant it remains in light of what has (and has not) happened since it was first published early last year. My conclusion is that it is even more relevant now than it was then. The material is based on more than 300 interviews, a survey of more than 700 companies, and various case studies developed at the Harvard Business School. Kanter and her research associates analyzed a combination of traditional companies (e,g, Arrow, Barnes & Noble, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Sun Microsystems) and what are generally referred to as "dot coms" (e.g. Amazon, EarthWeb, eBay, and Razorfish) to determine how these companies attempted to achieve success in "the digital culture of tomorrow."

It would be a disservice to Kanter as well as to those who read this review to summarize the tentative conclusions which Kanter shares. (Read the book and you'll understand why such conclusions are necessarily tentative.) For me, the greater value of this book (and of all others she has written, notably When Giants Learn to Dance and Innovation) is derived from the questions she asks rather than from the answers she offers. No one else asks more probing questions than does Kanter. Why do some "revolutions" in business succeed and others fail? Which organizations (non-profits as well as for-profits) have either launched and then sustained successful "revolutions" or responded effectively to them? How and why? Within any organization, what must be allowed to "evolve," especially in today's competitive marketplace?

If you are a decision-maker now struggling to answer questions such as these, I highly recommend this book. With Kanter's expert assistance, you can determine which are the most important questions your own organization must ask. She will also assist the immensely difficult process of obtaining answers to those questions. That said, I presume to offer one final word of caution, one with which I hope Kanter agrees: At all times keep in mind that both questions and answers are transient. Whether circumstances e•volve or re•volve, they change and often do so at the most inconvenient time. ... Read more


187. Managing With Power: Politics and Influence in Organizations
by Jeffrey Pfeffer
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875844405
Catlog: Book (1994-02-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 14998
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Managing with Power, by Stanford Business School professor Jeffrey Pfeffer, provides an in-depth look at the role of power, and shows how power is used, the conditions under which power and influence are important, and how to manage the political dynamics at work in every organization. Pfeffer shows convincingly that not only is power not a dirty work, its effective use is an essential component of strong leadership. With vivid examples from both the public and private sectors, Managing with Power, provides a fascinating look at the personal attributes and structural factors that are essential for anyone striving to manage with power and influence. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars The ability to influence behavior, events and people
Jeffrey Pfeffer is Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, California. Previously he has been at the University of Illinois, the University of California at Berkeley, and as a Visiting Professor at the Harvard Business School. He has written several business- and management-related books.

This book consists of four parts, with each part consisting of 3-to-6 chapters. Pfeffer starts with a definition of power: "... the potential ability to influence behavior, to change the course of events, to overcome resistance, and to get people to do things that they would not otherwise do." This power is utilized and realized through politics and influence. Based on above definition the book discusses the details to the implementation process which consists of seven steps:
1. Decide on your goals.
2. Diagnose who is important in getting your goals accomplished.
3. Have a sense of the game being played, the players, and what their positions are.
4. Ascertain the power based of the other players, as well as your own potential and actual sources of power.
5. Determine your relative strength, along with the strength of other players.
6. Diagnose what is going to happen in an organization, as well as preparing yourself to take action.
7. Consider the various strategies or tactics that are available to you, as well as those used by others.

I believe it is important to keep these steps in mind since the book does not follow the sequence of these steps. The other chapters in Part I - Power in Organizations provide help both in diagnosing the extent to which situations are going to involve the use of power and in figuring out who the political actors are and what their points are likely to be. Some important quotes in this part are: "Power is a valuable resource [and] those who have power typically conserve it for important issues [scarcity and importance are correlated]." "Knowing the power of various organizational members and subunits is important, and so is understanding whose help you need in order to achieve your goals."

Part II - Sources of Power, consisting of 6 chapters, considers where power comes from, or some people and some subunits have more power than others. It offers implicit lessons on how to acquire more power and influence for ourselves. "Power comes from being in the 'right' place. A good place or position is one that provides you with: 1. control over resources.; 2. control over or extensive access to information; and 3. formal authority." By using both well-known and practical examples, the author discusses each of these aspects in detail. His view is that although individual attributes are important, being in the right place (in particular, the right subunit) is more important.

Once we know where power comes, we need to know how to use it effectively to get things done. This is the subject of Part III - Strategies and Tactics for Employing Power Effectively, which consists of 6 chapters. It begins with the topic of framing and how the way we see things depends upon the context in which they are seen. This, in turn, is affected by the principles of contrast, commitment, and scarcity. There is also the consideration of interpersonal influence by examining the impact of what others are saying or doing, the effects of liking, and the use of emotional contrast. Understanding this make it possible for us to consider some strategic elements in the exercise and development of power. "It is not enough to know that power exists. It is also critical to know how power is used - to have an arsenal of strategies and tactics that translate power and influence into practical results."

However, the discussions of the strategies and tactics for employing power might us lose sight of what organizations are all about - getting things done. Therefore the final section of the book, Part IV - Power Dynamics, begins by providing some cautionary ideas about how power is lost. It shows how even the mighty fall, and consider what this means for us as we think about own personal relationship to power and influence. This part also considers how power dynamics can be productive or unproductive for the organization. "The book is about managing with power, and it is also about managing power." The final chapter returns to the main subject of the book: getting things done through understanding and using power and influence. "... there is a greater sin than making mistakes or influencing others - the sin of doing nothing."

Yes, I do like this book. It discusses a subject with which most of us have to deal day-in day out, whether we like it or not. Jeffrey Pfeffer provides us with an excellent handbook for understanding power and influence, but also with strategies and tactics on using it. Pfeffer also recognizes that certain individuals are obsessed with politics and power (I think that most of you will know what I am talking about), and therefore finishes the book with some excellent cautionary advice. Although the author has a strong academical background the book is written in a very practical manner complemented with good, understandable examples. Highly recommended.

1-0 out of 5 stars No Practical Advice
This book is too academic with little practical advice, and thus the one star.

4-0 out of 5 stars A great disection of power
Using some very popular figures such as Presidents, CEOs, and the like. Dr. Pfeffer takes a detailed look at how power is gained, used, and lost in the world of humanity. This book is fairly easy to read and is packed with usable information for wading one's way through the often political nature of business. Even those who aren't aspiring CEOs can benefit from this book. If nothing else you should be able to recognize THE GAME as it takes place in your organization, and in the process keep out of the line of fire. Insightful yet practical.

5-0 out of 5 stars Thanks Prof. Pfeffer
GREAT BOOK!

I cherish this book and the thoughts that the prof. gives us in it. If you earn your livelihood by interacting with people, you need to read this book and read it every time you take a new job and every time you find yourself running into a brick wall at work. I recommend this book to everyone I meet, especially younger ambitious employees.

4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Guys Finish Last
Power is a rare coin: glittering, valuable, and hard to swallow. For many people power is unsavory, disgusting, an abrogation of all that our democratic ideals hold dear. Power corrupts, says the axiom, and our lives, our goals, our organizations prosper in joy and harmony only when it has not tainted the very air we breathe.

Stop kidding yourself. Power - politics, influence, authority wielded decisively - is what makes companies work, what allows organizations to function productively and effectively. And as Jeffrey Pfeffer argues in Managing with Power, power is not an evil miasma to be thwarted, but a tool to be seized and wielded. By recognizing the combination of techniques, strategies, tactics, and dynamics that underlie power, managers can use it successfully to accomplish and achieve.

Pfeffer's take on power therefore sidesteps classic moral quandaries regarding good and evil, means and ends. The world's problems are questions not of morals but of action - or rather, of inaction and passivity. Using Managing with Power, the reader can learn to diagnose the sources of power: how communication and allies create influence, why formal authority matters, and when location matters more. The reader can then study how power may be used effectively and how it may be lost in turn, by following Pfeffer as he analyzes the actions of corporate and political leaders (Lyndon Johnson, Henry Ford II, Roger Smith, et al.). His subjects are measured by their results and their actions; morality is rarely relevant.

Machiavelli would have loved this book, which may put it beyond the pale for many readers. Others attracted by the topic may be dissuaded by the scientific tone and language. Pfeffer is ever the calm observer, the dispassionate social psychologist, and his serenity at times traps the reader in sentences more intricate than articulate: "Needless to say, there were more and more such vacuums to be filled, as his reputation as someone who gets things done, in this case, by analysis, grew." And putting the style itself aside, readers expecting a handbook on how to become rich and powerful will be sorely disappointed. This is a meticulous and methodical analysis; it's not How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Nonetheless, if you're interested in power, if you want to understand the real basis of management and leadership (and why that distinction is immaterial), read this book. Managing with Power is thoroughly researched, theoretically grounded, and remarkably persuasive. Readers glutted by the soul-numbing pablum of most modern business writing will find here a book to stretch the mind and question the most instinctive beliefs. Does power corrupt? Power gets things done. ... Read more


188. All the Right Moves: A Guide to Crafting Breakthrough Strategy
by Constantinos C. Markides
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875848338
Catlog: Book (1999-12)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 104680
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In All the Right Moves, author Constantinos Markides argues that business strategy is all about making difficult choices: Who will be your target customers?What will you offer them?How will you do it?The goal for every company should be to answer these questions differently from its competitors-and thus stake out a unique strategic position.With this highly practical handbook to the fundamentals of strategy, Markides helps managers zero in on the important choices that lie at the heart of all innovative strategies.

More importantly, Markides argues that even the best of strategies have a limited life.Companies must therefore continually search for new strategic positions to colonize, a task which many established companies find difficult if not impossible.Markides explains how to overcome the obstacles to innovation so that even firmly established companies can innovate by breaking the rules of the game.

Markides reveals that strategic thinking should be approached as a creative process, examining an issue from a variety of angles is often more productive than gathering data, and experimenting with new ideas can be more effective than much scientific analysis.All the Right Moves shows how creative thinking leads to strategic innovation-the "breakthroughs" that can separate winning strategists from also-rans.Markides poses key questions for readers to ask as he guides them through a step-by-step framework for developing their strategic thinking skills.

In a refreshingly clear and practical approach, All the Right Moves offers concrete advice for thinking through the tough choices that all business strategists must face.It distills the important elements of strategy into an easy-to-follow system for crafting today's breakthrough business strategies. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Integrates Strategy, New Products and Organization Learning
This is the best strategy book that I have ever read (and I have read a few including Gary Hamel's books). This book clearly lays out the need for and process of developing a business innovation strategy. It does this without getting too preachy. Another reason that this book is so good is that it effectively builds on powerful concepts in organizational learning and new product development, thereby integrating some important concepts from these fields to build a strong, broad position for strategy and strategic thinking. If you are interested in innovation strategy, organizational learning and new product development, you need to read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exploration...Discovery...Conquest
All the Right Moves

Markides provides a cohesive and comprehensive guide to crafting breakthrough strategy for ANY organization. The basic premise of his book is that "superior strategy is all about finding and exploiting a unique strategy in the company's business while at the same time searching for new strategic positions on a continuing basis." He organizes his materials as follows:

Part I How to Create a Unique Strategic Position

• How to decide what your business is

• How to decide who your customers and what to offer to them

• How to "play the game"

• How to identity and secure strategic assets and capabilities

• How to create the right organization environment

• How to develop a superior strategic position

Part II How to Prepare for Strategic Innovation

• How strategic positions develop

• How to evaluate and respond to strategic innovation

• How to take a dynamic view of strategy

In the final chapter, Markides concedes that "designing a successful strategy is a never-ending quest. Even the most successful companies must continually question the basis of their business and the assumptions underlying their 'formula for success.' (In fact, in one way or another, this is what most successful companies have done to get where they are.). New who/what/how positions are constantly popping up around the mass market, and established companies must be on the lookout for them. Like a modern-day Christopher Columbus, each company must set out to explore its industry's evolving terrain, searching for new and unexploited strategic positions."

In this brilliant book, Markides explains HOW.

5-0 out of 5 stars A valuable guide to the basics of strategy
Markides argues:

"The essence of strategy is to choose the one position that your company will claim as its own. A strategic position is simply the sum of a company's answers to these three questions: Who should I target as customers? What products or services should I offer them? How should I do this? ... Ultimately, strategy is all about making choices, [to achieve] a distinctive strategic position ... The most common source of strategic failure is the failure to make clear and explicit choices in each of these three dimensions."

In itself, the statement is simple, even obvious. But, as he points out, many companies fail to make these explicit choices.

The value of the book lies in how the author works through these propositions. The advice is good common sense, laced with valuable insights. The language is clear and simple. The approach is systemic - the author is as concerned with how all the elements fit together within a dynamic market as with the elements themselves. Each chapter ends with a good summary of the arguments.

Even highly complex and highly dynamic strategies rest on these simple foundations. The book therefore provides both an excellent guide for those new to wrestling with strategy and excellent 'mental furniture' with which to approach more complex formulations.

5-0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking guide to What is Strategy?
All the Right Moves grapples with the issues which form the essence of the strategic management field. Professor Markides provides readers with a landscape for strategy which covers: 1) positioning, 2) business system interdependence, and 3) dynamics of competition. Positioning is recouched in an easy to understand and apply framework based on a new Who-What-How combination. An important message is that positioning is only part of the story. Once position is determined, management must coordinate a complex system of interrelated and interdependent activities which typically extend beyond our cognitive limits of bounded rationality. Further, once these activities are coordinated for one position, the firm cannot stand still. Competitive dynamics erode away any advantage over time, and therefore firms must continuously question their positioning . I whole-heartedly recommend this refreshing and thought provoking book to managers and academics alike.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mindsetting experience
This is a mindsetting book. In strategy one needs to ask the right questions to get the right answers. If you want to know what questions to ask then have a read. This is a well written, excellently structured book that should be on the must list of any manager that is formulating strategy. If you thought defining what is strategy is difficult then what about making decisions on What to offer, Who to target and How to do it. It's this sort of simple revealing answers that one finds in this book. It is simply excellent. ... Read more


189. Marketing Moves: A New Approach to Profits, Growth & Renewal
by Philip Kotler, Dipak C, Jain, Suvit Maesincee, D. Jain, Suvit Maesincee, Dipak C. Jain
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578516005
Catlog: Book (2002-03-07)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 284039
Average Customer Review: 2.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Internet, globalization, and hypercompetition are dramatically reshaping markets and changing the way business is done. The problem, says internationally renowned marketer Philip Kotler and his coauthors Dipak C. Jain and Suvit Maesincee, is that marketing has not kept pace with the markets. In today's world, customers are scarce-not products-and classic marketing needs to be deconstructed, redefined, and broadened to reflect this new reality.

Marketing Moves describes the next transformational imperative for marketing-and for any organization competing in our customer-ruled, technology-driven marketplace. It calls for a fundamental rethinking of corporate strategy to enable the ongoing creation and delivery of superior value for customers in both the marketplace and the marketspace. And it appoints marketing as the lead driver in shaping and implementing this new strategy.

The means for accomplishing this lies in a radically new marketing paradigm the authors call holistic marketing-a dynamic concept derived from the electronic connectivity and interactivity among companies, customers, and collaborators. This new paradigm combines the best of traditional marketing with new digital capabilities to build long-term, mutually satisfying relationships and co-prosperity among all key stakeholders.

Outlining a framework for implementing holistic marketing that calls for integrating customer demand management, internal and external resource allocation, and network collaboration-the authors show how holistic marketing can enable companies to:

- Identify new value opportunities for renewing their markets

- Efficiently create the most promising new value offerings

- Deliver products, services, and experiences that more precisely match individual customer requirements

- Consistently operate at the highest level of product quality, service, and speed

Thought-provoking and practical, Marketing Moves shows how to build a complete marketing platform primed for the challenges and opportunities of a customer-centric world.

... Read more

Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars One Among Many
The book begins with great promise with the authors doing a great job of capturing the impact of the internet, globalization and hyper-competition on the concept of marketing.

The authors introduce a new marketing paradigm called holistic marketing, and present a "holistic marketing" framework. The rest of the book is devoted to describing various elements of this framework.

The book dissappoints from the point this new framework is presented. It ends up being a compilation of information on business systems and applications for customer-centric marketing. The latter half of the book lacks depth. All said, the book doesn't stand apart from some of the others on this subject and is one among many.

5-0 out of 5 stars High level thinking and writing on marketing
The book provides a brilliant and easily digestable historical overview of "old" and "new" marketing and corporate strategy. Upon this foundation the book describes the current state of commerce and makes reccommendations for successful corporate strategy.
If you have read several marketing related books, the material may not seem revolutionary; however, the writing and clear thinking in this book puts it in a league of its own and creats its value. The book very effectively synthesizes history, theory, and the current state of corporate strategy and notably enhanced my thinking on marketing.

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not extraordinary
Clearly when one looks at the book authors, expectations get really high.

What I find really interesting is the new marketing paradigm that they propose, which focuses on a holistic marketing framework that encompases: looking at value from three perspectives (value exploration, value creation and value delivery) and looking at managing activities from three dimensions (demand, resource and partners) in order to create your market offer, business architecture, marketing activities, and operational system that drive profitability.

The issue is that discussions are too focused on e-business and don't provide much detail. For example, it touches different ideas such as CRM, One-to-One Marketing, Permission Marketing, customer loyalty, and Life Time Value but they don't disscuss them thoroughly.

I recommend it so you can understand how your marketing philosophy should be evolving based on their new marketing paradigm and how it links to other ideas, but be careful because you won't find much detail. Don't expect too much or you might be dissapointed.

2-0 out of 5 stars Nothing New
This book has focused too much on E-commerce.It does not provide something new on the issue of strategic marketing.I feel disappointed with the famous author. ... Read more


190. Radical Innovation: How Mature Companies Can Outsmart Upstarts
by Richard Leifer, Christopher M. McDermott, Gina Colarelli O'Connor, Lois S. Peters, Mark P. Rice, Robert W. Veryzer, Mark Rice
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875849032
Catlog: Book (2000-01-15)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 138279
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Breakthrough Study Reveals Established Companies Can Produce Radical, Game-Changing Innovation.Here's How.

How many big businesses have pioneered the technologies and business models that now dominate e-commerce, personal computing, biotechnology, and wireless telecommunication? Answer: hardly any. The problem is not that executives fail to recognize the need to infuse their organizations with the kind of model-busting innovative capabilities of agile startups. It's a lack of understanding of what to do and how to do it.

But now, this groundbreaking book reveals the patterns through which game-changing innovation occurs in large, established companies, and identifies the new managerial competencies firms need to make radical innovation happen. The authors define a radical innovation project as one that delivers a product, process, or service with either unprecedented performance features, or with familiar features that will enable market transformation through significant performance improvements or cost reductions. These projects are nurtured within the established organization, not skunkworks.They are not concerned with exploiting current lines of business, but with exploring entirely new ones.

Based on evidence from a five-year, real time study of twelve radical innovation projects within ten major corporations-including General Electric, IBM, Nortel Networks, DuPont, and Texas Instruments-this book addresses seven managerial challenges large companies face in creating and sustaining radical innovation: (1) dealing with radical ideas in the "fuzzy front end"; (2) developing new models for project management; (3) learning about unfamiliar markets; (4) working through uncertainty in the business model; (5) bridging resource and competency gaps; (6) managing the transition from radical project to operating status; and (7) engaging individual initiative.

The authors, experts in a variety of areas such as entrepreneurship, R&D management, product design, marketing, organizational behavior, and operations and project management, distill a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to mastering each of these challenges, from the conceptualization of viable ideas to the commercialization of radical innovations. Designed to push the envelope of thinking about the most significant challenge facing large companies today, this important book offers a revolutionary new paradigm for long-term corporate success.

... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Innovation = Respiration
I think this book will have the greatest value if read in combination with Yoffie and Kwak's Judo Strategy. Why? Because the authors of that book correctly stress the importance of maximizing organizational speed, agility, balance, and leverage in any competitive marketplace. What they do not address (except perhaps indirectly or by implication) is the importance of radical innovation which, more often than not, proves to be a decisive competitive advantage. Indeed, the seven authors of the book I am about to review identify "Seven Challenges in Managing Radical Innovation" (see Table 1-1 on page 8) and meeting these challenges effectively indeed requires maximizing organizational speed, agility, balance, and leverage. Obviously, no single volume asks all "the right questions," much less provides "all the right answers." Hence the importance of carefully correlating the ideas from several different sources. I also strongly Michael Hammer's The Agenda which offers a "model" by which decision-makers in any organization (regardless of its size or nature) can determine appropriate priorities and then set appropriate objectives before formulating strategies and tactics by which to achieve those objectives.

The subtitle of this book ("How Mature Companies Can Outsmart Upstarts") reminds me of Jack Welch's comments when explaining why he admires "small and sleek" companies:

"For one, they communicate better. Without the din and prattle of bureaucracy, people listen as well as talk; and since there are fewer of them they generally know and understand each other. Second, small companies move faster. They know the penalties for hesitation in the marketplace. Third, in small companies, with fewer layers and less camouflage, the leaders show up very clearly on the screen. Their performance and its impact are clear to everyone. And, finally, smaller companies waste less. They spend less time in endless reviews and approvals and politics and paper drills. They have fewer people; therefore they can only do the important things. Their people are free to direct their energy and attention toward the marketplace rather than fighting bureaucracy."

For those who seek radical innovation in so-called "mature" companies, the challenges which the authors of this book identify are obviously much greater than they are for those in the "small and sleek" companies which Welch admires. A majority of upstarts pursue a "judo strategy" (in one form or another) because they lack the resources of their much larger competitors. (David had no chance if he wrestled Goliath.) For that reason, they cannot afford incremental innovation. They must take bold, decisive action when and where it will have the greatest impact.

When explaining what they call an "imperative," the authors of this book make a critically important distinction: "...incremental innovation usually emphasizes cost or feature improvements in existing products or services and is dependent on exploitation competencies. In contrast, radical innovation concerns the development of new businesses or product lines -- based on new ideas or technologies or substantial cost reductions -- that transform the economics of a business, and therefore require exploration competencies." This is indeed a key distinction.

Much of the material in this book was generated by the authors' research over a period of five years (1995-2000) which followed the development and commercialization activities of 12 radical innovation projects in 10 large, established ("mature") firms. For the authors, a radical innovation project must have the potential to produce one or more of these results: an entirely new set of performance features, improvements in known performance features of five times or greater, and/or a significant (i.e. 30% or more) reduction in cost. What the authors learned from the research serves as the foundation of their conclusions; also of what they recommend to those who seek radical innovation in their own organization. All of the ideas presented are anchored in an abundance of real-world experience. Although this brilliant book's greatest value may be derived by decision-makers in "mature" companies, I think substantial value can also be derived by decision-makers in the "upstarts" with which such companies as DuPont, General Electric, General Motors, IBM, and Texas Instruments will continue to compete. One final point: All of the "mature" companies discussed in this book were once "upstarts" themselves. How revealing that all of them are now so hard at work on regaining or preserving certain competitive advantages which once served them so well.

2-0 out of 5 stars Superficial and non-comprehensive book
Having read this book two thoughts come up:
1. They should have had much more in-depth data, why stick so much to the surface ?
2. Is their overview of ways to deal with radical innovation comprehensive ?

Seen the impressive list of authors and the impressive research they've done the book is disappointing. Maybe because they were limited on what they could disclose, time pressure etc.

To learn more about dealing with radical innovation I recommend the books 'Corporate Venturing, 'Intrapreneuring', 'Webs of Innovation', 'The Innovators Dilemma'.

So should you read 'Radical Innovation ? Well if you're active in the field it should be on your shelves, otherwise I wouldn't spend my dollars on it.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT Information for ALL companies - Upstart and Mature
Very succinct yet comprehensive. It has key advice on the marketing, finance, and people skills necessary to see a new idea advance to a great new product. This book should be required reading for all MBA students, managers, and anyone who has the dream of a great new idea but is unsure as to how to make it come real. Although the title states that the book focuses on how more established companies can create environments to promote radical innovations, the information can readily be applied to any firm regardless of length of operations - and yes, to individuals.

The authors present a list of 7 challenges that face the radical innovator and then they provide the competencies, or skills, that are necessary to meet these challenges. Throughout the text, real-life examples from well-known firms help the reader to understand how these challenges come about, and to even recognize a challenge should it present itself. The examples do tend to focus on radical innovations that are new technological products, but the recommendations could also be applied to other new ideas such as new management systems or organizational structures. ... Read more


191. Michael E. Porter on Competition
by Michael E. Porter
list price: $39.95
our price: $15.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875847951
Catlog: Book (1998-10-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 42592
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

On Competition, a collection of works by Michael E. Porter, is a critical examination of the dog-eat-dog international economy. A Harvard Business School professor, Porter is one of the most respected and innovative economists of his time. Author of 15 books, he advises key elected officials and business leaders in all parts of the world. On Competition features 13 of his best articles over the past 15 years, including 2 new ones.The essence of Porter's message is that every company, country, and person must master competition to thrive in brutal international and domestic economies. Competition is the key to excellence. Worried about losing your job or your services becoming obsolete? Porter believes that a little fear is good for everyone. "Companies that value stability, obedient customers, dependent suppliers and sleepy competitors are inviting inertia and, ultimately, failure," he writes in his 1990 study and essay "The Competitive Advantage of Nations." Porter is a longtime critic of the short-term thinking on Wall Street that often stifles competition and hurts the economy. In "Capital Disadvantage: America's Failing Capital Investment System," he calls for much lower capital-gains rates for people who invest for the long term. He also urges investors and businesses to start thinking together. He contends that pension funds and institutional investors should get a greater say over the companies they own. It's wacky to have company directors with little expertise or financial interest in the company, he writes.

Porter is often unconventional and asserts that businessmen must be, too. In his essay "Green and Competitive," he shows little sympathy for businesses that complain about environmental regulations. Rules to protect the environment don't have to strangle companies--they can actually improve productivity with the right attitude and approach. Rhone-Poulenc, a French chemical and drug company, proved this when it stopped incinerating a certain byproduct and began selling it as an additive for dyes and tanning. Readable and provocative, On Competition is vital for business, government, and financial leaders as well as small-business people and investors. --Dan Ring ... Read more

Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great, clear frameworks on competition
Michael E. Porter is a Harvard Business School professor and a leading authority on competition. This book consists of three parts - Competition and Strategy: Core Concepts, The Competitiveness of Locations, and Competitive Solutions to Societal Problems - and each of these parts consists of 4-to-5 Harvard Business Review articles which were published between 1979 and 1998. "The study of competition, in its full richness, has preoccupied me for two decades."

In Part I, the five HBR articles outline Porter's strategic concepts. "I have sought to capture the complexity of what actually happens in companies and industries in a way that both advances theory and brings theory to life for practitioners. My goal has been to develop both rigorous and useful frameworks for understanding competition that effectively bridge the gap between theory and practice." In the 1979-article 'How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy', Porter introduces the monumental five competitive forces (from existing competitors, new entrants, customers, suppliers, substitution). This article has had an extensive impact on the field of strategy and is still a starting point for strategic management at any MBA-course. 'What is Strategy?' was published in 1996 and is, in my opinion, a reply to all the critics of his frameworks and models. The 1985-article 'How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage', Porter and co-author Victor Millar write how information technology influences competition. The current impact of Internet and e-commerce provide excellent examples for this article. In the 1993-article 'End-Game Strategies for Declining Industries', Porter lines up with Kathryn Rudie Harrigan to discuss the last stage/final phase of a industry. This articles is largely based on Harrigan's 1980 book 'Strategies for Declining Businesses' and is a chapter in Porter's 1980-book 'Competitive Strategy'. Part I is finalised with the magnificent 'From Competitive Advantage to Corporate Strategy'. This article is truly a classic and discusses the radical rethinking of corporate strategy. "Corporate strategy is what makes the corporate whole add up to more than the sum of its business parts." This article is the basis of his book 'Competitive Advantage'.

In Part II, Porter kicks off with 'The Competitive Advantage of Nartions', which is also one of the titles of his books. In this 1990-article Porter argues that in a world of increasingly global competition, nations have become more, not less, important. In 'Clusters and Competition' (1998), Porter expands on the theme and discusses the new economics of competition - clusters. "A Cluster is a geographically proximate group of interconnected companies and associated institutions in particular fields, linked by commonalities and complementarities." Examples are the Italian fashion industry, the California Wine cluster, Silicon Valley's venture capital industry, and Massachusetts IT industry. In the next article, 'How Global Companies Win Out' (1992), Porter, Thomas Hout and Eileen Rudden discuss what a global industry is and how global companies can win out. In the next article, 'Competing Across Locations' (1995), returns on this subject and provides additional insights on global strategy, including a general framework.

Part III includes the latest works of Porter. Porter discusses environmental regulation and competition ('Green and Competitive', 1995), with a great case study of the Dutch flower industry, and the impact of these regulations on competition and industries. In the next article ('The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City', 1995), Porter introduces the economic distress of America's inner cities, whereby "the real need - and the real opportunity - is to create wealth" . In the 1990s, Porter also turned more towards government institutions. He discusses the American health care ('Making Competition in Health Care Work', 1994) and, the according to Porter, America's failing capital investment system ('Capital Disadvantage', 1992).

The advantage of this book is that it provides the a quick insight into the ideas and essential points of Porter's books 'Competitive Strategy', 'Competitive Advantage', and 'Competitive Advantage of Nations'. Part I and Part II are now essentials in the field of strategy and competition with fantastic frameworks and models. Part III are Porter's latest articles and discuss the connection between social issues and competition. A great book that is good to read (simple US-English).

4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful Essays from a Corporate Strategy Icon
This book is a collection of essays and articles by Michael Porter alone or with others. Most of them are collected from his writings in the Harvard Business Review although two are new to this book. Think of this as a "Porter's Greatest Hits" kind of thing. That is a bit misleading because his HBR articles are not exactly the same thing as his Competitive Advantage books although the topics are definitely related.

The essays are grouped into three broad sections: 1) Competition and Strategy: Core Concepts, 2) The Competitiveness of Locations, and 3) Competitive Solutions to Societal Problems. Will you find each article of the same high quality? Probably not (again, like a greatest hits collection), but you will find them informative and thought provoking. It is impossible to study for an MBA nowadays without invoking "Porter's Five Forces" in your discussions of competitive and marketing strategy.

This book can help add to your thinking and understanding of how every aspect of our life is in some way part of a competitive context and the ways it improves our standard of living. It will also help you improve your thinking in how to best strategize for and participate in competitive situations.

It would be a mistake to think that Porter advocates for a Hobbesian nightmare of life being nasty, brutish and short. Rather, he is more or less helping us think through the nature of the way competition arises and how to best think about its sources and how to manage it and the traps to avoid.

While Porter's model is used by some as a hammer that sees everything as a nail, it really needn't be used that way and, in its proper context, is very helpful.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Aggregration Of Porter's Work
'Porter On Competition' is 'lighter' to read than his 'Trilogy', but it nicely consists the core ideas of his work and how it evolved during the past decades. The book provides reader a nice overview about how competitive strategy & competitive advantage are applicable to a wide range of areas: from corporation, industry & nation, to social issues such as health care and environment.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ladies and Gentlemen please! time to get out the Porter
You can always tell when it's time to dust off the old Michael E. Porter books and to start to frantically search for better and sounder ways to do business and compete, it's when the economy starts to get a little tighter and begin to show signs of taking a down-turn, like about now.

So, before you fork out good money and time to read the next great and grandiose book on how to make a fast few million bucks on the internet read this first, and you will still be in business this time next year, and after that - maybe.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Gospel on Competition
Prof. Porter's work on competition in industry is a milestone and after two decades still holds its ground. I had his textbook for my MBA class well over a decade ago. His recent (Harvard Bus. Rev - March 2001) article regarding 'Strategy and the Internet' shows that the fundamental principles of Competitive Strategy is still valid as ever in the "new economy". ... Read more


192. The Harvard Business School Guide to Careers in Finance, 2002
by Ying Liu
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578515807
Catlog: Book (2001-08-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 210634
Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The 2002 edition of The Harvard Business School Guide to Careers in Finance is an indispensable resource for anyone considering a job search in finance or investment banking. This all-in-one guide details the trends in finance, describes the industry's vast and varying career opportunities, and provides guidance on the recruiting process. Included in this new edition are profiles of leading investment banks, commercial banks, and Fortune 500 companies that hire MBAs; a selected bibliography; and a useful glossary of finance terms.

The Harvard Business School Guide to Careers in Finance Includes:
*Is a Career in Finance Right for You?
*Company Profiles
*Recruiting Contacts
*Career Resources
*Career Paths in Finance
*Investment & Commercial Banking
*Financial Services
*Corporate Finance
*Glossary of Financial Terms ... Read more

Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars superficial book
This book is extremely superficial and unimaginative, giving only scant information and profiles from a number of companies of a few finance careers.

3-0 out of 5 stars good, but the Vault guides are better
In my opinion there is more and better objective information on Finance and investment banking careers in the Vault Career Guide to Investment Banking and in the Vault Guide to Finance Interviews, which have the added benefit of being able to be purchased on vault.com and downloaded immediately. Good luck.

3-0 out of 5 stars better information in the Vault guides
In my opinion there is more and better objective information on Finance and investment banking careers in the Vault Career Guide to Investment Banking and in the Vault Guide to Finance Interviews, which have the added benefit of being able to be purchased on vault.com and downloaded immediately. Good luck.

3-0 out of 5 stars fair
This book was fair, but in my opinion the Vault Guide to the Top Finance Firms is a superior guide to careers in finance. Also try the Vault.com Guide to Finance Interviews. Good luck.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Book for Finance Review
This was just as good as their 1999 edition. ... Read more


193. The Slow Pace of Fast Change: Bringing Innovations to Market in a Connected World
by Bhaskar Chakravorti
list price: $29.95
our price: $11.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 157851780X
Catlog: Book (2003-06-12)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 241941
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Shaping the Market Endgame-the Innovator's Playbook

Innovation's encounter with the market results in a game of both high risk and high stakes. Often its outcome defies common sense: Superior new products flop, unlikely ideas become runaway hits, and-despite rapid technological advances and intense interconnectedness-change happens at a snail's pace. What really happens during this encounter? How can you increase your own odds on this complex game board?

In The Slow Pace of Fast Change, Bhaskar Chakravorti peels back the many factors that govern an innovation's penetration into interconnected markets-and offers a game plan for successfully steering innovations from the lab to the living room. Chakravorti explains the vagaries of market adoption by highlighting a paradox in the widely celebrated concept of network effects: While everyone loves a great idea, individuals will embrace it only if they believe others will too. In markets with strong interconnections among participants, this "equilibrium" slows adoption and protects the status quo-despite the innovation's clear superiority.

To win, innovators must unravel this status quo equilibrium and replace it with one built around their own innovations. The key is to imagine a desired plausible endgame, and work backward to orchestrate the network of individual choices to create conditions that make this outcome happen.

Drawing on Chakravorti's hands-on experience with many of the best-known innovating companies and insights gleaned from his expertise in the practical applications of game theory, this playbook offers go-to-market strategies for:

  • qualifying endgames to guide current choices,
  • selectively enabling "influencers" to propagate the innovation across the network,
  • closing deals with influencers that are "win-win," and
  • judging the nature of uncertainty to decide how firmly to commit to the strategy.

    The Slow Pace of Fast Change shows how to leverage interconnected individual choices in ways that ensure your innovation will win when it meets the market.

    ... Read more

    Reviews (5)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book
    Many books have been published on the topic of innovation. But as rightly pointed out by Mr. Chakravorti, these studies are successful in nurturing innovations and bringing them till the gates of organizations. Many of the innovations despite being far superior solutions from powerful multinationals, fail in the market place. In other words, technological or product superiority and even the sheer muscle of giant corporations is not sufficient to ensure that these innovations are accepted by customers.

    This book looks at the market as a network of players with dependencies and in equilibrium. Some entities in this network act as nodes and are the main players. Networks prefer equilibrium and it requires a good understanding of what it takes to shift this equilibrium to a new state. This is where the concept of game theory is extensively used and demonstrated through excellent case studies - Communications, Automobile Industry Supply Chains and Software are some examples. "Think Equilibrium" is the key message.

    The best part of the book is that it simplifies complexity of theoretical aspects and delivers important concepts and a framework for application by managers. The other book that I enjoyed equally on the topic of game theory in business is "Co-opetition" by Barry Nalebuff and Adam Brandenburger. "How Breakthroughs happen" by Andrew Hargadon and "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen will be excellent supplements if we need to trace the complete trajectory of innovation from the lab to the customer's lap.

    This book is a classic. If game theory owes a lot to "A Beautiful Mind", successful innovations in future will thank this beautiful book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Paradoxes of Successful Innovation
    As the subtitle correctly indicates, Chakravorti explains how to bring innovations to market in a connected world. His contributions in this book to our understanding of both the difficulties and opportunities to do so are substantial. Acknowledging his academic roots, he acknowledges that he "developed an appreciation for a first- principles approach to strategy and decisions...how first principles translate into the framing of trade-offs and lead to timely action." Over time, he learned that true insight "comes from connecting the dots across multiple landscapes [and that] such dots lurk in the unlikeliest corners." He allows his reader to recognize those "corners" and to accompany him as he carefully but rigorously explores the connected world.

    I especially appreciate his dry but delightful wit, perhaps most evident in the final chapter whose head note is a quotation from Thelonious Monk: "You know what's the loudest noise in the world, man? The loudest noise in the world is silence." Without apparent effort, he invites his reader to consider the significance of the Galton-Gould evolutionary pool table, a metaphor which suggests that a market is the polyhedron-shaped ball." perhaps recalling John Nash's insight, he suggests that when innovation arrives on the scene (i.e. in a market), it creates disequilibrium. "It is in this situation of rest [i.e. when the "ball" has stopped] which may be viewed as gridlock by some and as a stable market by others -- that innovations in a connect must pry apart."

    Given the process of inquiry and exploration which has been completed in the prior chapters, I was intrigued by how Chakravorti achieves at least a temporary synthesis of so many different (sometimes contradictory) factors which interact throughout the innovation cycle: "the eureka moment; the development of technology to give life to an idea; and the creation of an organization to produce and commercialize the innovation." As we all know, few innovative ideas ever reach their intended market and fewer yet survive thereafter. There is indeed a natural selection process during any campaign to bring an innovation into the connected world. Chakravorti suggests four aspects of that campaign:

    1. "Qualifying the endgame and, in the process, choosing between several strategic options at the outset;

    2. "Orchestrating the changes necessary across the network of players through a mechanism that propagates the innovator's selective interventions into the wider network;

    3. "Actively managing with the critical agents that will pass on the innovation's influence; and

    4. "Making appropriate choices on how to commit to strategies that lead to certain endgames in the face of uncertainty -- depending on the situation, one must choose between making a bet, reserving options, and seeking insurance."

    Paraphrasing an ancient aphorism, Chakravorti suggests that market imperfection is the mother of innovation because it creates the need to innovate both in terms of a given product or service and in terms of the campaign by which to guide it to market. and then through natural selection to at least temporary security....that is, until another innovation (which accommodates the aforementioned four aspects) eliminates the need for it.

    I agree completely with Chakravorti that the "slow pace of change is good news for the strategic innovator. In fact, it is essential news." Obviously, when any organization plans to take a new product or service to market, it faces formidable competition and all manner of challenges, only some of which are posed by competitors. (How many innovative products or services have never survived internal barriers which may include what Jim O'Toole has characterized as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom") In this brilliant book, Chakravorti suggests a number of specific strategies and tactics to help achieve market penetration and eventual success in a connected world. There is also an important lesson to be learned from one of Aesop's fable, "The Tortoise and the Hare": At least in some situations, only a "slow pace" can achieve "fast change."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!!!
    I have never in my life read such an insightful book. It clearly lays out the structure of economics and helps diversify the playing field in terms of market infrastructure. Witty and well thought out, a deserved 5 star book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Delightfully written on a truly complex and timely topic
    This is one of the best written books I have read in a long time. The author must have pored over the crafting of every word. It is a serious book and yet it is quite a funny book. Overall it is clear he knows what he is talking about in terms of how real companies act and the game theory behind their actions. And it is about something that most people I know think a lot about. The book is on bringing innovations and new ideas to market. I read it as having much wider social and political consequences because it really does offer a way for us to understand how things work -- or don't -- in our super-connected world. With terrorism and SARS and globalization risks and the proliferation of the internet we are really connected in so many ways. I came away from the Slow Pace of Fast Change with, as the author puts it, a new "mindset" to understand and even strategize in this interconnected reality, where the network is both your best friend and your worst enemy. I know of Moore's law as the rule of the 90s--like everyone else I and everyone else I know lived and breathed it. Slow Pace...will I think give us a rule that may last even longer: Demi Moore's law. Cute, but really quite brilliant if you think about it.
    Every chapter in the book helps develop a rich set of ideas interwoven with really well-told tales of strategic games among the best known companies in the world -- and even some that have since flamed out, for reasons the book helped make me understand. The tales of real world games among AT&T, the Chinese, WorldCom, Comcast, Microsoft read like a novel. Even though that particular chapter had the least new material in terms of concepts, the stories and strategic analyses alone made its presence more than worthwhile.
    A deceptively easy read but it's deep stuff. I would read it again.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Where "The Tipping Point" and "Information Rules" leave off
    Skimming through the index alone reveals why this book is special. Where else will you find Christina Aguilera, Aerosmith, Nash equilibrium, Larry Ellison, Enron, Prozac, Napoleon, Paul Krugman, Star Trek, Shimon Peres and Napster all wrapped up in a highly compelling, intellectually rich and intensely practical story of why true progress is slow (despite the predictions of the gurus) -- and what you can do to speed innovation's journey to market? I found this book to be where Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point and Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian's Information Rules left off. Highly entertaining (don't miss the last chapter which is a children's story with a surprise ironic twist) and makes you think. It will certainly make me change the way I will make decisions in my own business and taking our own R&D to market. A book that is highly relevant for the present time of uncertainty about economic and tech recovery and will be a classic over the longer term. Unlike the slew of business books --that are mercifully fewer these days-- that filled the shelves of bookstores during the 90s, this one actually is very well written, has delightful puns and unusual stories of innovation and seamlessly draws on both high theory and what appears to be intimate knowledge of hands-on practice.

    My only complaint: needs more graphics and summaries at the end of each chapter for me to have the overflow of insights handy. ... Read more


  • 194. Harvard Business Review on Nonprofits (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)
    by Harvard Business Review
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0875849091
    Catlog: Book (1999-02-01)
    Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
    Sales Rank: 125122
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    THE HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW PAPERBACK SERIES is designed to bring today's managers and professionals the fundamental information they need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world.Here are the landmark ideas that have established the Harvard Business Review as required reading for ambitious business people in organizations around the globe.

    These eight articles examine all aspects of the work of modern nonprofit organizations.The thoughtful essays cover important topics such as earning the public trust and learning from the success of venture capitalists. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Very good, but not great
    I really enjoyed the book for the most part. There are some great topics discussed. I especially enjoyed the chapter on nonprofit/corporation alliances. The downside: I thought the two chapters regarding Boards were lacking. Overall, it's definately worth checking out.

    1-0 out of 5 stars To much money for the lack of versatility
    The book is great. But, the E-book has a lot of inconveniences comparing vs. a regular book, such as:

    1.- You are unable to print the file (Make a hard copy) 2.- You only can read it from the equipment you downloaded (If there is a way to use it in others, it's very hard to find Believe me !) 3.- You must read it only at the monitor 4.- If you don't like it. (At this time) you can't return the item. (Amazon Policies). 5.- It cost the same as a normal book.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Harvard Business Review on Nonprofits
    The book is solid and accurate review of some crucial questions nonprofits are dealing with today. Anybody interested in topics as leadership, financial matters, founding, strategic alliances, entrepreneurship, excellence in performance and establishing trust in the field of the non-profit business, will benefit from reading a particular chapter or the whole book. Different authors, all experts in their fields, with practical axperience participate to a wide focus of the topics in question. What is missing in my opinion is maybe an article dealing with internal marketing - the nonprofits are mostly services and in this field a performance is inevitably linked to people performing the service. ... Read more


    195. The Age of Unreason
    by Charles Handy
    list price: $16.00
    our price: $10.88
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0875843018
    Catlog: Book (1998-02-01)
    Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
    Sales Rank: 78307
    Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In an era when change is constant, random, and as Charles Handy calls it, discontinuous, it is necessary to break out of old ways of thinking in order to use change to our advantage. We are entering the Age of Unreason, when the only prediction that will hold true is that no prediction will hold true. It is time for bold imaginings, for thinking the unlikely, and doing the unreasonable. In this fascinating book, Handy shows how dramatic changes are transforming business, education, and the nature of work. We can see them in astounding new developments in technology, in the shift in demand from manual to cerebral skills, and in the virtual disappearance of lifelong, full-time jobs. Handy maintains that discontinuous change requires discontinuous, upside-down thinking. We need new kinds of organizations, new approaches to work, new types of schools, and new ideas about the nature of our society. ... Read more

    Reviews (8)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Will stretch your thinking
    Very though provoking read. Even though written in '89 it has some very topical and relevant ideas. This is by no means a how to book, although there are suggestions and concepts to consider. Rather Handy gives arguments and suggestions on why adaptation to worn out approaches to organizations need to be considered. His writing style is informative without being overbearing, pretty quick read. If someone wants to understand more on why organizations need to adapt their designs and what some of the implications are then this is a good read, although some ideas are unique.

    5-0 out of 5 stars You Get What You Pay For
    A company at which I worked adopted one of the philosophies in this book -- the core business -- and outsourced all of the functions it considered non-core, such as human resources, accounting, info technology etc. The resulting situation was miserable, I've never worked with unhappier people, and I'm glad as heck to be away from that outfit. The "unreason" concept is definitely nothing to be proud of.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Don't take it *too* literally.
    I had to both laugh at and give a helpful vote to the review below which accused the author of citing half-maked fragments of myths and anecdotes as evidence. To a certain degree, it's a fair cop, particularly if you're looking for a book which is going to really stunningly predict the future.

    _The Age of Unreason_ isn't about predicting the future, it's about training yourself to look at the future in ways that you might otherwise not have done. As such, I found it a valuable and interesting book which is clearly based in a lot of meditation on learning and learning theories.

    Some of the things Handy mentioned turned out to have become true since the book was written. Other things didn't-- but it doesn't matter ultimately. What the book asks is this: Can you recognize the real causes for pain that you identify? Can you think differently to force discontinuous change? Is your vision of the future based on an accurate perception of the past, or are you looking past major factors because you don't recognize the role of gradual change?

    People who like this book may like some of the books on developing strategies using scenario exercises. This book also contains a decent (if dated) bibliography.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Definitely not for a reader who can reason
    You will like this book only if you are a non-analytical thinker. It's not really a book that educates with facts, data, arguments, or insights. It's more of a book where the author says "Here are some bits of facts and myths that I have run across in my readings and here are some unsupported, unoriginal thoughts I have that may be related (or not) to what I just talked about."

    If you are a well educated, thoughtful, reasonably creative person who has some insight into your life, you will read this book and say, "everything in this book is obvious." If you are a person who has difficulty thinking things through, you probably would find this of value.

    I know MOST people seem to find this book of some value. I am probably in the minority. If you are trying to decide whether to buy this book, you might ask this question: when you read the book, "7 habits of highly effective people," did you think

    A: I know everything in this book already and I can't believe there is anyone out there who doesn't

    or

    B: Wow this is a great book and I learned a lot from this book.

    If you answered A, then you will find this book to be a waste of money.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Life-changing
    I read this book as part of an MBA programme, but it's far, far more than a business book. In a series of self-examination exercises, Handy teaches how we can all reassess our lives and change the way we live and work. All this is achieved in a slim, matter-of-fact volume that puts many other business and management books (as well as the slew of self-help literature) to shame, with its erudition and the well-read eclecticism of its author. Maybe half a dozen books in a lifetime make you change the way you think. If this isn't one of them, there's no hope for you. ... Read more


    196. Competitive Advantage Through People: Unleashing the Power of the Work Force
    by Jeffrey Pfeffer
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $10.17
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 087584717X
    Catlog: Book (1996-01-01)
    Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
    Sales Rank: 423623
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (6)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Great Concepts for us to take in
    I have often read and reread Prof. Pfeffer's books. I give this one 3-stars because I found less than half the book of value. I find the examples quite colorful, interesting, and thought provoking. It's just too bad that the book didn't have a lot of value for the money (unlike his other books). I read this book the last time about 2 years ago, each time I pick it up I read less and less. The first time I read it, I read 5 chapters and now I'm down to 2. I wish I could say that it's because I see many of the concepts being implemented within corporate America and as such I have less need for the information.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pfeffer gives excellent arguments!
    Competive advantage through people is a great management book for the turn of the century. With a load of great ideas and innovative techniques, Pfeffer gets his message across. Although, one thing that I had notice when reading the book, is that Pfeffer repeats himself quite a lot. I feel that for a book aimed at the business world, management does not have time to read information twice. But, overall, it was a very interesting and enlighting book.

    3-0 out of 5 stars The author documents numerous Southern companies
    The Stanford professor's most recent book, Managing With Power, sold very well. Among the companies he documents here are Southwest Airlines, Wal-Mart, Tyson Foods, Circuit City, and Plenum Publishing.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Are there diamonds in here somewhere?
    Throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, American businesses have struggled to gain an international advantage through financial policies, improved efficiencies, and aggressive marketing to develop new and more prosperous markets. Despite these efforts, many American corporations are no longer the dominant force in the global economy they were in the late fifties and early sixties. In his book Competitive Advantage Through People: Unleashing the Power of the Work Force (Harvard Business School Press, 252 pages), author Jeffrey Pfeffer offers one possible explanation for America's decreased dominance in the global economy and suggests how to maximize our most valuable asset in order to reverse this trend. Mr. Pfeffer makes several cogent arguments backed up by real world examples to convince the reader of the importance of treating workers as partners in order to achieve success. By using several real world examples to prove his points, Pfeffer clearly details the benefits of implementi

    4-0 out of 5 stars Business' must change the way it views its workforce
    Jeffery Pffefer's Competitive Advantage through People is a timely statement which examines the elements that make business organizations successful, as well as theories why most firms continue to measure their work forces as "costs" rather than "investments." Pfeffer provides excellent empiracal examples of firms who have attached value to their workers through the commitment of their managers. He does contradict his own theory of leadership irrelevance in which he states that the responsibility for fixing the firm's problems lie with management. In addition, his discussion of organized labor as contributing to work place efficiency serves as a subjective endorsement in support of unions.

    Pfeffer makes good arguments against Frederick Taylor's principles of scientific management and declares that the Tayloristic ideology would have today's workers functioning as mindless robots waiting on their next instructions to come from management. He also discusses sixteen practices that successful managers and firms use in achieving competitive advantages through their workforces. Pfeffer's passion for firms to change their behaviors is strong and readers view his work as communicating the necessary message: bad business theories communicated by poor managers using the wrong language leads to further dissatisfaction and inefficiency within the U.S. workforce. ... Read more


    197. When Sparks Fly: Igniting Creativity in Groups
    by Dorothy Leonard, Walter Swap
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0875848656
    Catlog: Book (1999-08-01)
    Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
    Sales Rank: 255244
    Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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    Amazon.com

    Want to fire up creativity in your company? When Sparks Fly just might be the fuel you're looking for. Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap describe a method that can help people become more innovative and better at teamwork. "Whether you lead a group of three in a nonprofit foundation or 300,000 in a Fortune 500 business, the basic process of creativity is the same," write Leonard, a Harvard Business School professor, and Swap, a Tufts University dean. The process involves five steps: selecting the right mix of people to spark creativity; identifying the problem needing novel ideas; developing alternatives; taking time to consider choices; and selecting one option.

    Leonard and Swap bolster their ideas with real-life examples of corporate creativity and analysis of dozens of psychological studies about human innovation. The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), for instance, generates breakthrough ideas by teaming up such diverse people as artists, anthropologists, and computer scientists. And to support diversity's role in creativity, they cite a 1992 study of 199 bank CEOs. The research found that top management teams are more innovative if they include people with varying expertise. Each of the book's chapters begins with a fictional management scenario and concludes with a summary of key points. It also includes chapters on designing the best physical and psychological environments for igniting new ideas. When Sparks Fly is a good tool for managers and others interested in fanning the flames of creativity. --Dan Ring ... Read more

    Reviews (7)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Creative Mindset
    In Leonard and Swap's book, "When Sparks Fly: Igniting creativity in groups," the authors acknowledge that with the right physical and psychological group environment, creativity can easily emerge from all members of a group. This creativity can be brought forth in groups ranging from five to five-thousand. The authors present their views and information in a congenial way, which gives the book a lighter sense. Their overall intention was not to create a guide which would be viewed as mentally cumbersome to absorb, but rather to write a book which bestows fresh ideas upon the reader in a non-technical way.
    The book begins by challenging the typical myths associated with creativity, and subsequently proving them to be incorrect. The authors assert that by using certain motivational and managerial techniques, greater overall creativity can be achieved, even by those who would not typically be referred to as the "creative" type.
    The chapters cover all of the basics of group formation and management, beginning with basic creative group problems, addressing techniques with which to harness creativity and keep it focused in the right direction, and leaving the reader with the knowledge and motivation to foster the proper environment for the foundation and formation of a creative group. This is achieved through a five-step process defined by the authors as: 1) preparation, 2) innovation opportunity, 3) generation of options, 4) incubation, 5) the convergence on one option. These steps are intuitively arranged and thoroughly explained throughout the course of the book.
    Overall, this book seeks to leave you with the idea that creativity, while an inherit ability to some, can also be thought of as a process. Once creativity is learned to be viewed as a process, many new avenues with which to inspire creativity can be realized and achieved through careful manipulation of the work environment. These authors truly provide a great prospective on a somewhat perplexing topic to most managers.

    4-0 out of 5 stars True organizational crativity
    THis book shows how the true creativity (the one for everyday work) arises and how managers should do in their corps to leverage this invaluable asset.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Tool for the Internet Age
    Innovation in the workplace is difficult to achieve for all organizations. Most businesses do not have a resident genius, but rely on the creativity of many people over multiple disciplines. Managing these different perspectives and expectations can be a nightmare. Risks of alienation, creating winners and losers and outright failure inhibit even the most self-assured manager. Within the first 15 pages of the book the authors, Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap, introduce Ken Iverson, the chairman of Nucor Steel who reported that, "when his company took on a new, extremely high-risk creative project, he slept like a baby -- he woke up every two hours crying!"

    According to the authors, group creativity requires thoughtful preparation, cultivation of different options, time to reflect and careful culling of the "right" ideas. Each step in the process will either energize the team to work harder or become part of a demoralizing and fractious process. As Leonard and Swap write, "Two (or more) heads are better than one, however, only if (1) there is useful knowledge inside the heads; (2) all that useful knowledge can be accessed; and (3) all that accesssed, useful knowledge can be shared, processed, and synthesized by the group."

    While reading the first section, I "borrowed" a legal pad from my spouse to pilfer the numerous creative ideas suggested. By the time I was done, I had filled the entire pad and was writing on the cardboard back, with designs for programs to reward creativity and groundrules for initiating appropriate creative sessions. Just about everything is covered -- from why preppy Tommy Hilfiger can design for urban youth to how Weyerhaeuser created new, cost effective particleboard. While the reader may not want to use every single idea, there are many new ideas to choose from, representing the best-of-breed these authors have found from around the world's corporations in their considerable body of research.

    When Sparks Fly: Igniting Creativity in Groups marks the publishing debut for a team of seasoned professors: Dorothy Leonard, of Harvard Business School, and Walter Swap, dean of the colleges at Tufts University. It is a rare business book: accessible, fresh and realistic. Perhaps it is no accident that the book was written shortly after the marriage of these two well-respected academics. Sparks do fly.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Creativity is an attitude and a learnable process
    This is a successor to Dorothy Leonard(-Barton)'s excellent Wellsprings of Knowledge, and expands the treatment of knowledge generation or creativity that forms one of the important chapters of that book.

    The central message is that group creativity is a social process and that the process needs a sympathetic climate in terms of norms, beliefs, attitudes and physical environment and needs to be managed through a series of stages. Neglect of any stage seriously inhibits the process. The authors do not deny individual creativity but insist that all of us can contribute to group creativity if the conditions are right - and that individual creativity can be destroyed or at least suppressed if the conditions are wrong.

    These are very similar to the conditions required for organisational learning (see Nancy Dixon: The Organizational Learning Cycle), which is not surprising as knowledge generation and learning are different perspectives on essentially the same phenomenon. The two books in fact make good companions to each other.

    Chapter 1 draws out some principles, defines creativity and innovation for the purpose of the book and outlines the creative process.

    While saying that creativity is resistant to linear progress, the authors identify five steps as capturing the essential features of the creative process. They are: preparation, innovation opportunity, divergence (generating options), incubation, convergence (selecting options).

    The steps of divergence, incubation and convergence are the central (usually iterative) engine of creativity. Effective management of these steps is vital, and it is the balance or rhythm of the steps that has to be got right.

    The rest of the book is basically about the conditions necessary to ensure that each of these steps and their combination are fully productive. How should the group be structured? What norms, beliefs and behaviours are necessary for them to interact creatively? What leadership behaviours are needed? How should the process be managed and when, if at all, should there be external facilitation? What psychological and physical conditions are conducive to creative success?

    The authors conclude: "Creativity, like learning, is not only a process but also an attitude. Managing creativity is all about the values we enact."

    5-0 out of 5 stars Activating the Maverick Synapses
    There are many books now available on the general subject of "creativity" but relatively few on the subject of "group creativity." Leonard and Swap have selected an appropriate title for theirs. As they explain, if you create the appropriate physical and psychological environments for a group, creative "sparks" can "fly"...perhaps igniting a department, a division or even an entire organization. For whatever reasons, others do not share my high regard for this book. So be it. What I expected -- and what it delivers -- is a solid conceptual framework within which to generate and then sustain collegial creativity. If you've read Robert Fritz's The Path of Least Resistance for Managers, you are already aware of his assertion that an organizational structure can be designed for success. Leonard and Swap agree with Fritz, not only that such a design is possible but also that it is imperative. Their book consists of six chapters:

    What Is Group Creativity?

    Creative Abrasion

    Generating Creative Options

    Converging on the Best Options

    Designing the Physical Environment

    Designing the Psychological Environment

    These chapters are followed by several pages of Notes and a superb Bibliography. Their concluding thoughts reiterate that "creativity is a process -- and can be encouraged and influenced....Thinking of creativity as a process removes, we hope, some of the mystery -- and the temptation to step back from the challenge....Creativity, like learning, is not only a process but an attitude. An attitude that promotes creativity is a kind of alertness to innovation opportunities -- a constant mental challenge to routine and openness to change.... Some individuals thrive on the challenge of constant change and improvement; others recoil from the implicit chaos....But it takes only a small spark to ignite a large fire. Let the sparks!"

    I provide this brief excerpt for two reasons. First, it gives you at least some idea of how the authors think. Also and more importantly, their remarks imply some of the barriers to "group creativity" which must be overcome, if not eliminated: fears of being "wrong", of embarrassment, of rejection, of seeming "dumb", etc. As Leonard and Swap correctly suggest, it is as important to be alert to human sensitivities and vulnerabilities it is to "innovation opportunities." Without mutual respect, there can be no mutual trust. Without mutual trust, there can be no creative collaboration.

    If you share my high regard for this book, you may wish to check out the works of other authors such as Guy Claxton, Edward de Bono, Doug Hall, Michael Michalko, Joey Reiman, and Roger von Oech. ... Read more


    198. Wise Choices: Decisions, Games, and Negotiations
    by Richard J. Zeckhauser, Ralph L. Keeney, James K. Sebenius
    list price: $49.95
    our price: $34.96
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0875846777
    Catlog: Book (1996-07-01)
    Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
    Sales Rank: 511997
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    199. Entrepreneur's Toolkit: Tools and Techniques to Launch and Grow Your New Business (Harvard Business Essentials)
    by Not Available
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1591394368
    Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
    Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
    Sales Rank: 59479
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    200. Harvard Business Review on the Business Value of It (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)
    by Harvard Business Review
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $13.57
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0875849121
    Catlog: Book (1999-02-01)
    Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
    Sales Rank: 365034
    Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
    US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

    Book Description

    THE HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW PAPERBACK SERIES is designed to bring today's managers and professionals the fundamental information they need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world.Here are the landmark ideas that have established the Harvard Business Review as required reading for ambitious business people in organizations around the globe.

    Information Technology (IT) influences all aspects of business today, and this wide-ranging resource will help managers understand the key concepts and terms, and to envision the strategic potential of their IT assets.The articles provide a candid dialogue on the issues surrounding outsourcing, and take a look at planning for connectivity and control in the year 2000 and beyond. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    1-0 out of 5 stars Hopelessly out of date
    Although I am a fan of HBR collections in general, this one is now out of date. Most of the articals are from the early 1990's, and in IT, 10+ years is an eternity.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nice collection of articles
    I really liked the article on Enterprise Systems, it gives a good understanding of what you are getting into when buying solutions like SAP.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Value on IT valuation
    The IT heavy hitters weigh in here in this neat little volume of "classics" in IT management from the 1990's. Starting with the rallying call from guru Tom Davenport on the limits of IT, this collection of essays and insights ponders not only the new challenges of the internet age, but also, the more fundamental issues and problems that have plagued the IT arena for decades. The role of the CEO, management alternatives for the IT infrastructure, and how to manage IT as a connected, strategic resource all recieve good attention here. The book is a bit heavy on outsourcing, devoting 3 of its 8 chapters to this one management option. There is also the constant and somewhat prosaic refrain centered on speed and flexibilty as the corporate challenge for which IT can step in and create value. The final chapter on the Y2K problem is today, out of date, and not so valuable as other chapters. It lacks a connecting transition to the next decade in IT and fails to present lessons learned from dealing with the problem. But for general managers, business students, and for those aspiring to understand what all the shouting is about, this volume from the Harvard Business School is a fine treatise on what we have learned about using and managing IT in our organizations, and on our expectiations for this technology to be the one best answer to all the ills that plague organizations. ... Read more


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