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101. The Living Company
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102. Coaching and Mentoring: How to
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103. Cost & Effect: Using Integrated
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104. The Process Edge: Creating Value
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105. Derivatives: A Comprehensive Resource
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106. Breaking the Code of Change
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107. Made In China: What Western Managers
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108. Back to the Drawing Board: Designing
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109. The Wisdom of Teams: Creating
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110. The Monk and the Riddle: The Art
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111. Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's
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112. How Customers Think: Essential
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113. Best Face Forward: Why Companies
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114. Managing Across Borders: The Transnational
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115. Out of the Box: Strategies for
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116. Harvard Business Review on Work
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117. Teams At the Top
118. How Venture Capital Works
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119. Harvard Business Review on Managing
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120. Hidden Value: How Great Companies

101. The Living Company
by Arie De Geus
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578518202
Catlog: Book (2002-06-04)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 127974
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Most companies do not survive the upheavals of change and competition over the long haul. But there are a few remarkable firms that have withstood the test of several centuries. What hidden lessons do they hold for the rest of us? Arie de Geus, the man who introduced the revolutionary concept of the learning organization, reveals the key to managing for a long and prosperous organizational life.

The Living Company speaks not just to aspiring leaders, but to anyone trying to adapt to a turbulent business environment. Only those steeped in the habits of a living company will survive.

"This profound and uplifting book is for the leaders in all of us. Arie de Geus challenges most of the conventional wisdom in management thinking today."

-Dr. James F. Moore, author of The Death of Competition

"Arie de Geus gives leaders of the future an indispensable guidebook in which commitment to values, people, learning, and innovation defines the living company. It's in my book bag."

-Frances Hesselbein, President and CEO, The Drucker Foundation

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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars This experience is like a busines trip to the Galapagos!
Arie De Geus turns on its head the idea that companies must go through stages of life and eventually mature and fade away. Instead, those that really succeed constantly adapt, having conserved the resources to allow that to occur. You will develop new ideas about how to help your company succeed. The book also explains how and why scenario planning began, and how critical it is to being ready to adapt to the changing environment. With today's increasing volatility in business, resources and world economies, this book should be required reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book is must reading for any leader or aspiring leader!
Arie de Geus is probably the most unique business thinker around. He combines the pragmatism of someone who had a very successful career at Shell with the curiosity of a talented academic. Behind this unique perspective is a deep appreciation for people. Most of us automatically relate to organizations like Newton related to the natural world, as one big physical mechanism. We casually talk about "aligning parts of the organization", "operating in organizational smokestacks or silos", and "fixing communications channels". Mr. de Geus helps us learn to think about organizations from the natural perspective, as living organisms, subject to many of the same limitations and forces as individual people are. When you read this book, you will become a much better and more effective person in all parts of your life. You will also feel better about yourself, and make those around you feel better about themselves. Read THE LIVING COMPANY today. This book is a wonderful gift to us all!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Management Book
This is a must read for all those people who are interested in the subject of organizational learning. The book illustrates clearly the challenges companies face in encouraging its employees to learn. Also, it provides a lot of examples and strategies from Shell. Overall, it is an excellent for a any person, even if they are not in a managerial position in a company. If the reader is such a position, then this is a must read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Insightful yet sarcastically entertaining.
I found this book to be a relief and escape to the way the corporate world has evolved. By taking a look at long living companies, the author has extracted some timeless advice for corporations to pay attention to. The thing that "lowered the score," so to speak is that there were hardly any statistics or hard numbers involved to back up his claims, regardless of the intuitive excellence of their teachings. If this book is to make a difference and it has the ingredients to do so, I thought some hard results outside of the longevity would have to be produced and they weren't. What I particularly liked was how the distinction was made between living companies and economic companies. More importantly, how people need to realize that you can't run a company with some of one philosophy and some of the other. You'll have to pick this up and read it to understand this, but I think if you do, you'll see that most companies are attempting to mix oil and water today and unfortuneately, I agree that they will be "dead before their time." Overall, this was a very insightful book and upon reflection to my own life, sarcastically entertaining.

5-0 out of 5 stars the living book
If I have to stay with only one business book in my shelf( I have more than 300 in the last count), the living company would be this book. My review will be more emotional I think. This is so, because the way this book touched me. I read it three times and some time think I have to read it again.

This is a very similar with the "Built to last", one of the bestsellers of Amazon. If you liked that book this will be an excellent complement of your reading and thoughts.

Perhaps this is the book that a Startup's CEOs should had read before launch their enterprise, because one of the characteristic of a living company is that they are conservative in their finances.

De Geus wrote a book that it is not limit to a period of time like recent books dot com books. By this I mean that you can go back to it and reapply its contents in your business reality again and again.

An import thing to say is that this is a book of principles, not rules or easy steps to success. Although the author is going to show you that there is a pattern in all the living company, he goes beyond that, showing the root that origin these patterns. The principles was constructed by observing companies, specially Royal Doutch/shell, were Arie de Geus worked for many years, but with the help of other disciplines like psychology and biology, which study the behavior and life of humans and animals. To discuss about innovation for instance, you will observe how a specie of bird is very smart to pass a learning to the whole specie. And to understand how we react or anticipate an external change in our business, it will be useful to look some psychology's theories about the human mind, and so on.

Don't think this is a book for academic public, it is not. You will find not only theories but many examples and cases of the thesis of De Geus. But it is different, I think, of the recent business book. Some times it seems so easy to look a successful company today and says "look, this is what you have to do in your company". A couple of years ago you could find many books explaining why Netscape was so great. Where are Netscape now?. It would not pass in the test of time.

So if you are only worried to make your money no matter what is going to happen to your company, this is not a book for you. Probably you are Jim Clark type. Read the new, new thing instead. But if you thing that management is more than stock options ( I said more. I am saying that is a consequence not the only objective), if you believe the every company must have a reason to exist, if you believe the people are important, than I guarantee, you gonna like this book, tell me about ... Read more

102. Coaching and Mentoring: How to Develop Top Talent and Achieve Stronger Performance (Harvard Business Essentials)
by Harvard Business School Press
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 159139435X
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 118630
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103. Cost & Effect: Using Integrated Cost Systems to Drive Profitability and Performance
by Robert S. Kaplan, Robin Cooper
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.80
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Asin: 0875847889
Catlog: Book (1997-10-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 115825
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Two of the most innovative thinkers in the field present a workthat represents the single best resource for understanding andimplementing activity-based cost management.Kaplan and Cooper revealthat most companies don't know how to measure accurately, influence, orunderstand the fundamental cost drivers in their businesses.They thenprovide a detailed and comprehensive blueprint that will enablemanagers to make better decisions and to promote organizationallearning and improvement.

Cost and Effect takes the management,finance, and accounting fields to an entirely new level, as the authorsdemonstrate how the principles of activity-based costing and otheradvanced cost management techniques, such as target and kaizen costing,can drive business performance.Using lively examples from a varietyof leading companies worldwide--including Siemens, Hewlett-Packard,AT&T, the Swedish wire manufacturer Kanthal, Kirin Beer, and Procter &Gamble--they show how to create integrated, knowledge-based systemsthat provide meaningful information on current and pastperformance.

The innovation systems described in Cost and Effectwill help you: Determine where improvements in quality, efficiency,and productivity will have the highest payoffs. Assist front-lineemployees in their learning and improvement activities. Make betterproduct mix and capital investment decisions. Negotiate moreeffectively on price, product features, quality, delivery, and serviceto promote win-win relationships with your customers. Choose low-costsuppliers who are truly low cost, not just low price. Design productsand services that meet customers' expectations--and that can beproduced and delivered at a profit. Integrate your activity-basedcost system into reporting and budgeting processes to reveal thesources of excess capacity.

Everyone involved in running abusiness--from general managers and strategic planners to financialexecutives, IT professionals, and operations managers--must read thisbook to learn how innovative cost and performance measurement systemscan enhance their organizational profitability and performance. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

Kaplan and Cooper have put together an outstanding guidebook for managers to follow in order to reap the most significant benefits from activity based costing and other cost management techniques. The great merit of this book is that it does not preach to the reader the latest management fad, but rather goes through a thorough analysis of budgeting processes, highlighting benefits and drawbacks of each. They do not claim ABC is the best approach, and even praise some simpler methods that are more adequate for certain companies. Instead, they point to the circumstances in which ABC can provide outstanding results to companies.

The book structured first with an analysis of the most often used systems of managerial cost accounting. It highlights the shortcomings of these, proceeding then to present certain productivity improvements that could contribute to performance. These are mostly related to the quality movements (TQM, 6 Sigma, etc), which are presented in a very understandable way. These are complements to the existing usual cost management systems. These improvements can be made even without implementing ABC systems.

Then the authors proceed to describe activity based costing and its benefits in terms of choosing customers, suppliers, and product breadth. They present many examples that would be very relevant to any practitioner, in industry or service. There is a specific section focusing on services, which makes the appropriate adaptations to the systems for the peculiarities of it.

Overall, an outstanding work, to help anyone involved in cost management, whether they are interested in activity based costing or more traditional standard costing methods.

5-0 out of 5 stars The very best book on activity-based management.
I have read this book cover to cover and have re-read chapters. Kaplan ensures that you grasp the fundamental concepts by keeping things simple. He illustrates the concepts with easy to understand examples. I gained very little knowledge from the first 3 ABM books I read, but after reading "Cost and Effect," I felt that I had a good enough grasp of the fundamentals to actually implement a costing system.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cooper and Kaplan: my heroes
After reading several academic papers concerning activity based costing I still wasn't convinced about the usefullness of the methodology. After reading Cost & Effect I revised my opinion on Cost Management. This book gives all the answers to effective Cost Management. It takes you from the ABC Age to the Activity Based Management Age and clearly helps you to understand what costs are alle about. Once you really understand the topics of this book you will be able to face and manage costs in whatever business you are in. Read it!

5-0 out of 5 stars Evolving Toward Better Financial Information and Actions!
Cost & Effect will most appeal to those who have had extended experience with Activity-Based Costing (ABC) or operate in manufacturing industries.

If you are interested in learning more about Activity-Based Costing, this book is not the best choice for you. Professor Kaplan has co-authored books that explore this subject in much greater detail.

Most people set as their initial priority the need to have accurate financial reporting for the entire enterprise. Falling below that level of effectiveness is Stage I in the terms of this book. Once you have that financial reporting done accurately, you are at Stage II. But you know almost nothing about how to manage your costs better. In order to do that, you will need to establish ad hoc financial reporting processes designed to help your organization learn from its experience and identify opportunities for improvement, built around Activity-Based Costing (ABC). ABC is simply a way of more accurately applying overhead costs back to activities and then processes that permits accurately understanding more about which combinations of products and services and customers are profitable and which are not. Then, within each activity, you can also see the inefficiencies in what you are doing that present opportunities for improvement. The book also has a nice discussion of Kaizen costing that is widely used in Japanese companies looking for on-going cost improvements, based on Professor Cooper's research. There are a few case histories to illustrate the principles, but most will find these insufficient to guide them through the process. In other books, Professor Kaplan has pointed out that there is a lot of acquired art in the subject and you probably need help to get it right. I concur. Once you have ABC operating in stand-alone systems, you are at Stage III.

At this point, you will have a financial reporting system that is separate from the ABC system. How do you put them together? That the subject of chapter 14, which is the key value-added part of this book. You will see what the systems architecture and process flow needs to be in order to combine ABC with Enterprise-Wide Systems (EWS) of the sort that many large companies have invested in during recent years. Putting the two together will greatly improve planning, budgeting, design of new products and services, and operational improvements. Chapter 15 expands into the area of how to apply the combined system to budgeting and transfer pricing. Combing ABC and EWS puts you at Stage IV, a level rarely reached today.

The book's main message is that it's a mistake to try to go from Stage II directly to Stage IV. There's a lot of experimentation and mistakes that you can benefit from in an extended Stage III. I agree again, based on my experience with ABC.

The one caution you should have about ABC in this context is that if you are going to radically change your business model every 2-5 years as many companies are, Stage IV is probably unattainable and undesirable. You can't hold back business model innovation for better cost systems. The next business model innovation will probably give you better costs than tweaking the current business model with ABC will.

Seek out the fastest route to progress, and do more of it!

5-0 out of 5 stars The book I use every day!
I would like to have it in German and French languages in order to recommend it to my colleagues. ... Read more

104. The Process Edge: Creating Value Where It Counts
by Peter G.W. Keen
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 0875845886
Catlog: Book (1997-05-16)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 234165
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Even a company that dramatically improves its efficiency and product quality can fail miserably. Peter G. W. Keen names this phenomenon the "process paradox," a modern industrial problem that he deconstructs and defeats in his book The Process Edge. The basis of business acumen is common sense, Keen reminds us, but it must be combined with a rigor that measures pure worth. Processes--not only in customer service and quality assurance, but in larger, abstract notions such as acquisition and cultural initiatives--need to be approached in this basic manner. Using a broad, multidisciplinary approach (Keen was an English literature major in college but has since taught management science at Stanford and MIT), he immerses the theory of business processes in an economic bath, refining previously overlooked processes and debunking "magical" ones. Methods that businesses institute, after proving advantageous, can still build in value, and then must be incorporated into the entire business strategy. Keen substantiates his points with real-life cases and examples, from Dell and IBM to Wal-Mart and Boeing. Managers who wish to examine their businesses holistically and within sound theory will appreciate The Process Edge, but it will prove most valuable to managers who need to enact change now. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Process Edge
Excellent overview and approach to project selection for business process improvement.Clear and original thinking on the matrix and balance sheet approach to process definition.Little detail however on what to do once the targeted areas are identified.Good companion to Good To Great by Collins (with similar levels of implementation detail).

4-0 out of 5 stars "Keen" Insight into Process Improvement
Most improvement programs struggle with the project selection process.Mr Keen provides an interesting approach in identifying processes where improvement offers the greatest impact to the organization.There is also intriguing discussion contrasting benefits and value.This is a nice thought provoking book for folks tasked with identifying improvement opportunities in any organization.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking!
Keen excels at extending the definition of processes and providing a structured Salience/Worth matrix approach of thinking about them.An important read for developing an understanding of processes and their role.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional value! Replaces your TQM & Reengineering books.
The inability to understand the value of business processes is the pitfall of many reengineering projects especially in IT.Internalizing this book will certainly contribute to your future projects.A must in any businessmanagement library.

3-0 out of 5 stars Poor follow through
The book raises some interesting issues (treating processes as capital, using EVA) but ultimately falls short somehow.The author points out that there are more processes than just the traditional workflow ones, but his examples are all of workflow processes.He never talks about succession planning processes or employee retention processes.The first few chapters were interesting but the rest was more or less useless. ... Read more

105. Derivatives: A Comprehensive Resource for Options, Futures, Interest Rate Swaps, and Mortgage Securities (Financial Management Association Survey and Synthesis Series)
by Fred D. Arditti
list price: $60.00
our price: $40.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875845606
Catlog: Book (1996-04-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 600155
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Very poorly written
I found Arditti's writing to be simply attrocious. What the marketplace needs is a clear, concise guide to instrument structure and valuation, and Mr. Arditti writes in circles. As an example, his chapter on option pricing refers to "using the methods used previously in this chapter" without referring to how to apply these to the method just introduced. The method just introduced was explained using numbers that were presumably fabricated, but lord only knows, because the author can't be bothered to specify how his example was structured.

In trying to explain things simply, the author fails to explain anything clearly. "Derivatives" is an extreme disappointment. As a reference, this book may have some use, but if you're looking to learn something from it, stear clear.

5-0 out of 5 stars He knows how to design derivatives and make them work
I am completely satisfied with this book. He knows how to design derivatives and make them work. This book does a remarkable job of explaining the theory and practice of derivative securities.

This book is an excellent resource for beginning and intermediate level fund managers who want to understand the derivatives to be able to use them in risk hedging and income maximization.

The book is excellently organized in four sections and each section is self sufficient. Each of the sections begin with basics, illustrates the concepts with example, introduces the mathematics of pricing and methodology of hedginag of risks

Every section has also a nice subsection on terminology and definitions.

The book is an excellent attempt to explain a highly technical and complex subject.The section on Interest Rate swaps is outstanding. A must read for all corporate money managers and a must addition to all financial libraries. ... Read more

106. Breaking the Code of Change
by Michael Beer, Resolving the Tension between Theory E, O of Change
list price: $60.00
our price: $37.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578513316
Catlog: Book (2000-10)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 422357
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A Groundbreaking Work on the Theory and Practice of Organizational Change

Organizational change may well be the most oft-repeated and widely embraced term in all of corporate America-but it is also the least understood. The proof is in the numbers: Nearly two-thirds of all change efforts fail, and they carry with them huge human and economic tolls. Lacking any overarching paradigm for change, executives of large, underperforming organizations have been left with little guidance in how to choose the strategies that will lead them to sustained success.

In Breaking the Code of Change, editors Michael Beer and Nitin Nohria provide a crucial starting point on the journey toward unlocking our understanding of organizational change. The book is based on a dynamic debate attended by the leading lights in the field-including scholars, consultants, and CEOs who have led successful transformations-and presents a series of articles, written by these experts, that collectively address the question: How can change be managed effectively?

Beer and Nohria organize the book around two dominant, yet opposing, theories of change-one based on the creation of economic value (Theory E), and the other on building organizational capabilities for the long haul (Theory O). Structured in an unusual and engaging point-counterpoint style, the book enlists the reader directly in the debate, providing a comprehensive overview of the strengths and weaknesses of each theory along every dimension of the change process-from motivation to leadership to compensation issues.

The editors argue that the key to solving the paradox of change lies not in choosing between the two processes, but in integrating them. They identify the crucial considerations leaders must make in selecting strategies that satisfy shareholders and develop lasting organizational capabilities. With a groundbreaking conceptual framework applicable to established corporations and small organizations alike, Breaking the Code of Change is a unique and authoritative contribution to academic research and management practice on the process of organizational change.

... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Human factor and business
Human factor and business
Michael Beer and Nitin Nohria's have present a framework toward as an integrative theory of change. Theory E has as its purpose the creation of economic value, often expressed as shareholder value. Its focus is on formal strong hierarchy structure and systems. It is driven from the top down with extensive help from consultants and financial incentives. There's know room the creative managers. You must agreed to the objects (make and keep the shareholders happiest man in town no matter what) that the top commands and demands.

Theory O has as its purpose the development of the organization's human capability to implement strategy and to learn from actions taken about the effectiveness of changes made. Its focus is on the development of a high-commitment culture. Its means consist of high involvement, and consultants and incentives are relied on far less to drive change. Change is emergent, less planned and programmatic. Here there's know place for silos but teamwork and personal development.

Resolving the Tension between Theory E and O
It is vary tempting if you find a business model that can boots the business finance, there's a big chance that you will follow that lead. But this can turn out on the short run well for the business and especially for the shareholders. But on the long run this have a great deal of stress on the employers by taken the human factor out of the workspace, and make the workplace a money machine. The authors argue strategies that works only on behave of the shareholders will not survive in the long run. To solve this problem one must look further than the shareholders and deeper than the business objectives (theory O). There must be a cultural transformation. Everyone must work for the same goal and not draining the gaol for the sake of the CEO. To make the cultural transformation, there will be more benefits to the organization in the long run. Finally this will create a win-win situation for the organization employees and the shareholders.

Even in the change literature are changing. In breaking the code of change the authors have may very well suggest that the old change agents like Weick, Pettigrew, Bennis, Argyris have lost contact whit the reality, they don't have the vision, the energy.
They are not change agents but organization development that help curtain organization to function within the circumstances under the economic situation of that particular moment. At the end of the book Beer and Nohria conclude that these agents didn't succeed to break the code of change.

The interesting thing is when you look at the company's the authors consider that make the loop from good to great, you will be surprise if you think that the good to great company's are IBM, Microsoft, Enron, Shell, well not anymore if you're, if you're looking for the company's that embodied the leadership that make the loop from good to great. Don't look for the company's that appear on the front page, or the company's that make the news. But look around the corner. My advise study this book, search for the human factor, and make your notes and act according to your vision. You may be surprise how in the smallest things you can be the one that turns things around from good to great. Good study material for organization consultants, HRM and MBA's.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finally--clear reasons about what works and what doesn't
When I read this book, I felt that I had been missing the obvious for a long time. The authors provide an explanation about why most of the changes in organizations don't work, whether they are Theory E or Theory O, and how you can combine the two for meaningful and effective results. Their work is based on lots of experience and for me they finally explained what the problem is--and what to do about it. As a change agent, this book gave me great new thinking with which to practice my craft.

5-0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful, no hype, solid content book
I have just finished reading this book and have been rewarded, as a "change" practitioner, this book adds real value in bringing the streams of change together. It is rare when I read a book on the subject and find it rewarding, enhancing what I do at the coal face. No, quick fix recipes but a thoughtful, well constructed set of ideas that do justice to this complex subject. I would reccomend this book to those who want to get beyond "listmania" and into some real thinking of what is involved in the dynamics of change.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must, If You Do Not Wish To Get Lost Between HH.RR & OD
Mike Beer has been for some time now clarifying the issues involved in Corporate Cultures, Human Capital, and Organizational Change. In this recent book Dr. Beer has done what SHOULD have been done decades ago: Linking several fields by providing useful Framework. This book synthesizes fields "apparently" diverse such as: Organizational Design with People & Team Profiling with Organizational Profiling and Human Dynamics. It is a precise, concise, extremely effective, and much needed book. ... Read more

107. Made In China: What Western Managers Can Learn from Trailblazing Chinese Entrepreneurs
by Don Sull, Yong Wang
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 1591397154
Catlog: Book (2005-06-09)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 982765
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Book Description

Lessons from China's leading entrepreneurs on competing in unpredictable markets

U. S. entrepreneurs from Bill Gates to Michael Dell have been studied and emulated by executives worldwide. Yet we know next to nothing about the pioneers who are reshaping the world's second largest economy: China. In the face of murky ownership structures, inconsistent access to capital, shifting industrial policy, and other obstacles, an elite few Chinese firms have thrived during the turbulence of the last decade.

In Made in China, Donald N. Sull profiles eight of these formidable ventures to reveal the secrets behind their surprising success. Based on extensive research, including in-depth interviews and access to corporate archives, Made in China explores these entrepreneurs' winning strategies, from how they anticipate and maneuver through emerging threats and opportunities ("active waiting"), to how they manage risks, to how they consistently out-execute rivals. Taken together, these principles represent a comprehensive model for managing in unpredictable environments worldwide.

An insider's look at the playbook of some of the world's savviest and most resilient entrepreneurs, Made in China is essential reading for companies operating in China or in any volatile industry or market.

Donald N. Sull is an Associate Professor of Management Practice at London Business School. Previously an Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Sull was also a consultant at McKinsey & Company, Inc. He advises both multinational firms and new ventures in several countries.

... Read more

108. Back to the Drawing Board: Designing Corporate Boards for a Complex World
by Colin B. Carter, Jay W. Lorsch, Jay William Lorsch
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578517761
Catlog: Book (2003-11-21)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 32969
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Reinventing Corporate Boards for the Twenty-First Century

Business scandals from Enron to WorldCom have escalated concerns about corporate governance into a full-blown crisis. Institutional investors and legislators have dominated the debate and enacted important changes in corporate accounting and other areas. But Colin B. Carter and Jay W. Lorsch say that we must now focus on the performance of corporate boards.

This timely book argues that boards are being pressed to perform unrealistic duties given their traditional structure, processes, and membership. Carter and Lorsch propose a strategic redesign of boards-making them better attuned to their oversight, decision-making, and advisory roles-to enable directors to successfully meet twenty-first century challenges.

>P>Based on the authors' deep expertise and longtime experience working with boards around the world, and on a probing survey of CEOs, Carter and Lorsch help boards to develop a realistic value proposition customized to the company they serve. The authors explore the core dilemmas and responsibilities boards face, and outline a framework for designing the most effective structure, makeup, size, and culture.

This book provides a candid account of the current state of boards and points the way in a time of crisis and change.

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Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Helpful Suggestions for Those Who Want to Improve Boards
Back to the Drawing Board will be of most value to those who have never sat on a Fortune 500 board or been present during the meetings of one. Much of the current concern about boards reflects a lack of understanding of how they operate. By reading this book, you will get a good sense of what the average and better boards are doing . . . and what their continuing problems are. A unique resource in the book is a survey of 150 CEOs around the world concerning their perceptions of how to improve boards. Although the total is too small to be statistically meaningful, the directional evidence will help many to see what the most glaring issues are.

A second audience for this book will be independent chairs of boards and chairpeople/CEOs who want to improve the effectiveness of the boards.

A third audience for the book will be neophyte directors getting ready for their first meeting.

A fourth audience for the book will be those who want to improve governance practices through legislation and regulation.

As a management consultant who is often asked to speak with public boards about shareholder perceptions of company management, strategy and performance, I found the material accurately reflected my experiences. Boards are overwhelmed, overscheduled, undereducated and often uncoordinated in addressing key concerns of the enterprise and its stakeholders. I had no disagreement with any of the descriptive materials that begin the book. They are valuable addition to the literature. If the book stopped there, it would have been an excellent book.

The prescriptions though that the book makes fall short of what is needed when you get past the idea of building a board and processes to fit the tasks appropriate for that board.

Here are some of the enormous issues relating to effective monitoring of a company's performance (the minimum standard for the board) that the book fails to adequate address:

Is the CFO capable of knowing whether the company is under control and operating honestly and ethically? Most CFOs are chosen for their legerdemain with accounting to make the EPS work out.

Is the CFO telling the board what is really going on in the company? Most CFOs would be fired by the CEO if they did.

Notice that until recently no director in the company needed to know anything about finance or accounting. With Sarbannes-Oxley, one person does. Big deal! Most companies could use several ex-CFOs on their board to deal with these issues.

What do the shareholders (and potential shareholders) think of the company's management, strategy, alternatives and performance? The authors suggest talking to security analysts. That's a waste of time. They just want to sell the company something. As a back-up the author suggest looking at the expensive economic analysis programs (such as sold by BCG, where Mr. Carter works). For a lot less money, you can just talk to shareholders and get regular reports on this. Many firms will do this for you at a very modest cost. In most organizations, the CEO knows less than anyone else about what is going on. Well, the board knows even less than the CEO. You have to get direct information from those you are supposed to serve, both institutional portfolio managers and individual investors.

How is the company actually performing versus competitors with customers, potential customers, desirable distributors, vendors, and in attracting top talent? There's no mention of that subject in the book (expect indirectly in suggesting that Balanced Scorecard companies share those measures with their board).

I could go on, but you can see that the prescriptions here are ones that reflect an incomplete understanding of how to inform a board and make it effective. You need someone who knows how companies work who can set up direct access to the cutting edge information that CEOs often do not go out and acquire themselves. They usually focus on meeting the budget. That's how they get their bonuses.

If a board follows what the authors suggestion, they will definitely make a lot of helpful progress. That's good. But will they be adequately fulfilling their responsibilities to monitor the company on behalf of the shareholders? Usually not. Only where they have a great CEO in place who wants to share information with them will they know what they need to know.

It's very disappointing to me that top experts like Mr. Carter and Mr. Lorsch cannot come up with better prescriptions than these after the round of awful collapses in corporate governance we have just experienced. Investors deserve better.

5-0 out of 5 stars A strongly recommended revolutionary analysis
Back To The Drawing Board: Designing Corporate Boards For A Complex World addresses what expert professional consultant Colin B. Carter and Harvard Business School professor Jay W. Lorsch see as the greatest challenge facing corporate boards today -- that many national and international corporate boards are composed of member with limited knowledge of the companies they must be responsible for, and too little time to make even the most crucial decisions. Recommending a major corporate board of directors redesign based on experience and a "what works" approach, Back To The Drawing Board offers methodologies that can be customized for each unique corporate board of directors to the benefit and bottom-line profitability of the corporation and all who serve it. Back To The Drawing Board is a strongly recommended revolutionary analysis with emphasis on practical needs and reasonable expectations.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great contribution for a challenging job
Very feasible practices and real life suggestions for an increasingly complex and risky job.
Since 1989's "Pawns or Potentates", this is the best book about director's activities.
I recommend this book: very focused and structured contribution for actual corporate board members around the world. ... Read more

109. The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High-Performance Organization
by Jon R. Katzenbach, Douglas K. Smith
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 0875843670
Catlog: Book (1992-11-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 93680
Average Customer Review: 3.73 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The bestselling book that explores the remarkable benefits of teams at all levels of the organization. A look at the 30 virtues of good business that have inspired success in thousands of leaders, by the man voted Boss of the Year, 1994 by the National Organization for Women. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A strong working guide to team development and support.
This book is the result of research into why teams are important, what separates effective from ineffective teams, and how organizations can tap the effectiveness of teams to become high-performance organizations. Liberally citing research efforts in 47 specific organizations, Katzenbach and Smith share their insights into what makes teams work.

They emphasize teams as an important part of a three part cycle leading to a high-performance organization: a) shareholders who provide opportunities, b) employees who deliver value, and c) customers who generate returns. The performance targets in the high-performance organization are multidimensional, impacting all three cyclic contributors. Teams provide real benefits to employees, the result being an impact throughout the cycle. If employees increase the value they deliver, customers will increase the return, allowing shareholders to increase the opportunities available to employees.

Central to the thesis is their defini! tion of team, concentrating on "a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable." [45] The distinction is far more than semantic. Working groups who do not share all of these characteristics are not to be considered teams. "Unlike teams, working groups rely on the sum of 'individual bests' for their performance. They pursue no collective work products requiring joint effort. By choosing the team path instead of the working group, people commit to take the risks of conflict, joint work-products, and collective action necessary to build a common purpose, set of goals, approach, and mutual accountability" [85]

Katzenbach and Smith aren't completely negative toward working groups. On the contrary, they cite numerous situations in which the working group offers the most effective approach. But for turning ourselves into high-performanc! e organizations, the limitations of working groups must be ! overcome, and the power of teams must be harnessed, through increased risk. "People who call themselves teams but take no such risks are at best pseudo-teams." [85]

THE WISDOM OF TEAMS describes a Team Performance Curve that correlates team effectiveness against the performance impact of the team, resulting in the organizational path from working group, to pseudo-team, to potential team, to real team, and ultimately to high-performance team. The working group describes the organization of least team effectiveness, although not without performance impact. The performance of working groups, in fact, can be very effective owing to the individual contributions of the group members.

The pseudo-team - high team effectiveness, but usually less performance effectiveness - "has not focused on collective performance and is not really trying to achieve it." [91] The result is an organization that produces fewer results because of the forced team interactions. Th! e members are actually slowed down compared to the contribution they would make without the team overhead - as members of a working group. "In pseudo-teams, the sum of the whole is less than the potential of the individual parts." [91]

The "group for which there is a significant, incremental performance need, and that really is trying to improve its performance impact" [91] is the potential team. Higher up the Performance Team Curve in terms of both team and performance effectiveness, the potential team can be extremely effective when targeted at a problem or process for which a team approach makes sense. Unfortunately, in addition to the results attributable to individuals on the team, the increased performance brought about by the potential team is largely attributable to luck. Still lacking from potential teams are the commitment to a common purpose and working approach, as well as the mutual accountability inherent in real teams.

Finally, the high-p! erformance team "is a group that meets all the conditi! ons of real teams, and has members who are also deeply committed to one another's personal growth and success." [92] With a little reflection, any of us who has ever experienced working on a high-performance team knows it. We also quickly recognize how rare such opportunities have been. THE WISDOM OF TEAMS is a guidebook to creating a high-performance organization built around high-performance teams.

Teams must have the right blend of complementary skills, including technical or functional expertise, problem-solving and decision making skills, and interpersonal skills. "It is surprising how many people assemble teams primarily on the basis of personal compatibility or formal position in the organization." [48] The authors warn, however, that too much emphasis can be placed on skill mixes too early in the team process. In their research, they "did not meet a single team that had all the needed skills at the outset. (They) did discover, however, the power o! f teams as vehicles for personal learning and development." [48] As long as the right team dynamics are present, the necessary skills will materialize or develop.

The authors focus specific attention on the creation of teams at the top. "Team performance at the top of the organization is more the exception than the rule." [217] They cite several specific misguided beliefs that they find lead to lessened team effectiveness at the top: 1) the purpose of the team can't be differentiated from the purpose of the organization, 2) "membership in the team is automatic," [218] 3) the role of each team member is predefined by their functional position in the organizational hierarchy, 4) executives spending discretionary time on team activities is inefficient, and 5) the effectiveness of the team depends only on open communication. "This (last) all-too-common misconception equates teamwork with teams." [221]

These beliefs create obstacles to effecti! ve team performance. "The most practical path to build! ing a team at the top, then, lies not in wishing for good personal chemistry, but in finding ways for executives to do real work together." [230] Katzenbach and Smith are citing these problems particularly for the top, although they apply just as well to teams throughout the organization. Their prescription for breaking through these obstacles includes "carving out team assignments that tackle specific issues," "assigning work to subsets of the team, "determining team membership based on skill, not position," "requiring all members to do equivalent amounts of real work," "breaking down the hierarchical pattern of interaction," and "setting and following rules of behavior similar to those used by other teams." [230-234]

Katzenbach and Smith have provided a quick-injection standards program for teams. For quality professionals attempting to improve processes in their organization model, the authors have provided mater! ials at all three levels. Their definition of team - with its focus on complementary skills, mutual accountability, common approach, and shared goals - can be used as the basis for a Teams Policy Statement.

Making use of this book in our organizations will allow us to move beyond calling a group of people a team hoping it will motivate and inspire them. It allows us to move forward toward high-performance organizations with a process-based approach to continuously improving team effectiveness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why and How to Work in Teams
A good balance of case studies, step-by-step procedures, and advice for people who want or need to work in teams but are accustomed to working in organizational "stovepipes" or matrix organizations. People who have successful experience working in Integrated Product Teams and Integrated Product and Process Development (IPPD) Environment will find the principles and processes familiar. This book dates back to 1992 and reads a lot like a Harvard Business Review article, only of book length. The Department of Defense used this book as a source reference for their IPPD guide, and Integrated Product Teams have "taken off" since that time and are integral to DoD acquisition programs today. Nevertheless, this book is still worthwhile. The DoD did a thorough job of taking the "how to" information from this book and expanding on it to great detail. The mistake they made was to leave out the "why." The case studies, omitted by DoD, really put you in the middle of successful teams to the point that they will make you want to be on a team like the ones in the book. That is the missing element when converting an organization to a team-based work environment... step by step instructions are not enough. To succeed, the team members have to want to work in this difficult but rewarding manner. That is the main value of this book: it puts you in the picture and makes you want to succeed at teaming.

1-0 out of 5 stars Complete waste of time
This book is a complete waste of time. In 40+ years I have never seen a published piece of work that is this poorly written. There is no way you can draw any conclusion about team effectiveness from the disjointed, incomplete cases prsented. Before these authors create another disaster I would recommend that they take a basic writing course. The book would only been midly anoying had the author understood how to form a basic english sentence.

My recommendation - rather than buy this book just throw your money in the garbage.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good book, solid content
This book does not present any real "revolutionary" ideas that will blow you away with originality, what it does do is lay out the things that make teamwork work. Since so much in business nowadays requires teamwork, the book has a valuable and timely message. Recommended.

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring
The message: real teams are good. The authors rave about all the great things a well functioning team can accomplish and give several examples.

The authors set out to figure out what makes a real team and how people that put these together do it. It is a worthwhile purpose. The problem is that the "insights" revealed are old and rather useless. For example, the authors found that teams that had clearly stated goals performed better than teams that had not agreed on common goals. If this is news to you, you should buy the book.

1 star out of 5 ... Read more

110. The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living
list price: $14.95
our price: $10.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578516447
Catlog: Book (2001-07-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 33117
Average Customer Review: 4.11 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

What would you be willing to do for the rest of your life . . . ?

It's a question most of us consider only hypothetically-opting instead to "do what we have to do" to earn a living.But in the critically acclaimed bestseller The Monk and the Riddle, entrepreneurial sage Randy Komisar asks us to answer it for real. The book's timeless advice-to make work pay not just in cash, but in experience, satisfaction, and joy-will be embraced by anyone who wants success to come not just from what they do, but from who they are. At once a fictional tale of Komisar's encounters with a would-be entrepreneur and a personal account of how Komisar found meaning not in work's rewards but in work itself, the book illustrates what's wrong with the mainstream thinking that we should sacrifice our lives to make a living.Described by as "part personal essay, part fictional narrative and part meditation on the nature of work and life," The Monk and the Riddle is essential reading on the art of creating a life while making a living.

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Reviews (100)

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful ... but incomplete.
The insights offered in this book go beyond merely "educating" a silicon valley entrepreneur as suggested by the hardcover title. I like the paperback title better - "The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living".

The book explains the difference between oft-confused words: passion & drive, management & leadership, risk & uncertainty, comfort & fulfillment, the deferred life plan & the whole life plan. These differences are explained with the example of a business plan that is progessively improved from the initial "Better-Faster-Cheaper" look to a "Brave New World" look.

The book is well-written and easy to read. Those who have read "The Goal" will find a similar organization of ideas in this book. After flipping through the last page, I found myself thinking about the best answers to many questions looming in my mind. These are all good signs about the book!

However, in continuously driving the idea of getting out of complacency and into a 'brave new world', the book did not provide insights on how one may balance the two. Komisar speaks from personal experience in the book and recalls the turning point of his life when he decided that he wouldn't be a lawyer by profession any more. He says that a lot of what he did upto that point was living "The Deferred Life Plan" (do what you have to do now, do what you want to do later). The reader is left with the impression that Komisar even viewed his Harvard education in this light. But would he have been where he is today if he hadn't got an education from Harvard? The progression of events in our life is a related one. Your past actions definitely impact the future. His Harvard education led him to a good job at a law firm where he added to his network of contacts.

In this context, Komisar failed to address the issue that we all *have* to do certain things in our lives. Not everything can be what we *want* to do - e.g., is it wise to pursue a 'brave new world' idea when you're 13 years old? Or if you're old enough, but do not have enough savings to sustain yourself through failure? Maybe, maybe not. There is always a goal we have to accomplish (pay off our debts, take care of our obligations) before we can do what we *want* to do. It is upto each person to realize for themselves that they're living "The Deferred Life Plan" when they truly don't *have* to, anymore. Only then will it make sense (and be more fulfilling) to switch to "The Whole Life Plan". The book would have been complete if Komisar had provided his insights about how one might attempt to balance the two points of view.

That's the only reason I cut out 1 star from my rating.

Bottom line: Get it!

5-0 out of 5 stars A pinch of philosophy and a cup full of practical advice
There is no better way to learn than by story telling. In the tradition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence, Komisar and Lineback deploy an absorbing narriative to explore a complex topic. The parable explores all the ins and outs of raising capital for a tech start up.

I have been reading and editing business plans for several years, and I will make this book required reading for anyone I work with in the future. There is a discussion of the importance of defining the targeted market for a business plan that is the best I have ever read.

At the same time, the book offers a fine philosophical inquiry about the ultimate purpose behind each business plan. The authors draw a distincution between being driven and being passionate that is very valuable. We are driven to objectives, which may or may not be important in themselves. On the other hand, we are pasisonate about things that matter deeply. Ultimately, the lesson here is that passion should fuel our business objectives.

1-0 out of 5 stars Badly written, Boring & Little (or no) value
Randy tries to present an old concept in an old way. There are tons of books that tell you to do what you feel passionate about, how to succeed in investing and how to love life.

Randy fails miserably in delivering his story that is a mix of all of the above.

With less than 200 pages and big font, there's not much space to say in the book.

Randy, get a lesson on collecting thoughts before you write a book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Perspective
Could you be happier in your work? In your life?

Reading this book provides an opportunity to step back from the day to day muck and gain perspective on both life and career. Althought the book takes place in and around Silicon Valley, it provides a means of reflection for anybody no matter where they live or the size of their employer.

An extremely worthwhile read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Took a while to get into, but captured me afterwards
This book by Silicon Valley legend Randy Komisar, beginning with its title, took me a while to get into, I have to admit. I was way into it (page 60+ or so) and still wondering what the big deal about it was. This is the reason why I give it four stars: it takes a while to hook you. But if you stick to it, Komisar has a wealth of experience to share with you, from his first days in the East Coast, litigating, all through his experiences with tech giants such as WebTV, Tivo and Apple.

The main idea presented by Komisar is that you don't need to postpone your life's dream for later, by playing it safe and engaging in what he calls the Deferred Life Plan. To convey this idea, he presents the reader with the process through which he takes Lenny (an entrepreneur at heart, driven by money, who comes to him for advice) in his pursuit to push his Business Plan for into the attention span of some Silicon Valley VC that Komisar knows. Initially a great idea conceived as a community-building scheme, leveraging the Web to assist those in grief due to the loss of a loved one, had evolved into a very basic money-making scheme that didn't have much of a spark to it, tied to the sale of cheaper caskets by leveraging the efficiencies that the Web can bring about.

In the end, if you take away the Silicon Valley specifics, Komisar's point remains not just valid, but a healthy proposition to lead life driven from within, by passion for what you do and pride rooted in leaving a legacy behind you, instead of ambition and short-term gratification. Highly recommended reading for those who are searching for their mission in life, as well as those who are considering pursuing the entrepreneurial path in their lives. ... Read more

111. Many Unhappy Returns: One Man's Quest To Turn Around The Most Unpopular Organization In America
by Charles O. Rossotti
list price: $29.95
our price: $20.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591394414
Catlog: Book (2005-04-08)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 98059
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Book Description

No one believed the IRS could ever run like a twenty-first-century business. Until it did.

When Charles O. Rossotti became Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in 1997, the agency had the largest customer base-and the lowest approval rating-of any institution in America. Mired in scandal, caught in a political maelstrom, and beset by profound management and technology problems, the IRS was widely dismissed as a hopelessly flawed enterprise.

In Many Unhappy Returns, Rossotti-the first businessperson to head the IRS-recounts the remarkable story of his leadership and transformation of this much-maligned agency. In the glare of intense public scrutiny, he effected dramatic changes in the way the IRS did business-while it continued to collect $2 trillion in revenue.

Through fascinating accounts of heated Congressional hearings, encounters with Washington bigwigs, frank exchanges with taxpayers and employees, and risky turnaround strategies, Rossotti serves up a colorful story of leadership and change against daunting odds.He also underscores why every honest taxpayer should demand reform in the broader U.S. tax system.

Infused with keen wit and hard-won business wisdom, Many Unhappy Returns illuminates the perils and possibilities of leading large, complex organizations in a transparent world.

... Read more

112. How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market
by Gerald Zaltman
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578518261
Catlog: Book (2003-02-21)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 6035
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A New Approach to Understanding How-and Why-Customers Buy

Despite the resources spent on market research, nearly 80 percent of new offerings fail. The pattern is predictable: Customers say they want something, companies create it, and once it's available, customers don't buy it. Why? Is it because customers just don't know what they want? Gerald Zaltman sorts through this puzzle and concludes that, at some level, customers do know, but marketing's most overused tools-surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups-and conventional thinking don't dig deeply enough to help them discover and express it.

In this mind-opening book, Zaltman argues that 95 percent of thinking happens in our unconscious. Therefore, unearthing your customers' desires requires you to understand the "mind of the market," that dynamic interplay between the consumers' and the marketers' thoughts that determines the outcome of every buying decision.

Building on research from disciplines as diverse as neurology, sociology, literary analysis, and cognitive science, Zaltman offers rich insights into what happens within the complex system of mind, brain, body, and society as consumers contemplate their needs and evaluate products. Zaltman illustrates how leading companies are "mining the unconscious" "-with remarkable results, and introduces innovative tools and techniques that help marketers:

* Develop research questions that speak to the unconscious brain.

* Evoke valuable meaning through a customer's metaphors-and instill those images in brand communications.

* Measure consumer reactions to marketing stimuli-and alter advertising or positioning strategies accordingly.

* Build "consensus maps" that reflect a market segment's universal thinking-and reengineer them to boost customer satisfaction, loyalty, and sales.

* Understand how their own minds work-and how they can think in creative new ways.

The mind of the market is waiting to be explored. Make sure your competitors don't get there first.

BACK JACKET: "If you read this book carefully and actively, then you will never approach the disciplines of consumer behavior or market intelligence the same way again."-Anil Menon, Vice President, Worldwide Market Intelligence & Brand Strategy, IBM Corporation

"This book is an enlightening convergence of business theory, case study analysis, brain science, and human nature. Zaltman is to be commended for his vision and creativity. His work in marketing innovation is the most significant to come along in some time."-Robert S. Scalea, Chief Strategy Officer, J. Walter Thompson, North America

"How Customers Think moves easily among the data stores of brain science to make a powerfully compelling case that the world of marketing research cannot afford to ignore. Zaltman lucidly plucks some of the most intriguing and profound insights from our knowledge explosion today."-Kenneth S. Kosik, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience, Harvard Medical School

"Finally, a practical perspective on marketing that answers the question, 'Why haven't our approaches been working all these years?' How Customers Think clearly articulates why focus groups and traditional customer surveys fail to deliver competitive advantage. While the book delineates the significant limits of our 'legacy techniques,' it provides an equally clear action plan for delivering bankable insights. These ideas will turn marketing and research on its heels."-William L. McComb, President, McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals

"The insight that companies need multidisciplinary science to fully comprehend and act upon customer behavior should factor heavily into any business leader's strategic planning process. This more holistic approach opens new and superior avenues to create competitive advantages in the never-ending fight for the customer's loyalty. Zaltman's book is invaluable to any CEO or marketing professional devoted to excellence."-Lars Pettersson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Sandvik AB ... Read more

Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshing new insights
This book is a must-read for marketing researchers, academics, managers, or anyone else interested in why we make the decisions we do. Dr. Zaltman has integrated the latest findings from cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and sociology into an easy-to-read, but definitely thorough, discussion of how the brain works and consumers think. Zaltman accomplishes that task by providing real-life case studies coming from his years of experience as a consultant along with a well-summarized view of the underlying theories and evidence. His discussions about the role of the subconscious should result in a paradigm shift in marketing research. Anyone who has conducted a focus group or distributed a large-scale written survey and has been left with the feeling that there must be more going on, will be comforted by the fact their intuition was right (there is) but also troubled by the issue of how to gain more information from consumers. Zaltman's research method, Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique (ZMET), is presented as a way for managers to "dig deeper" into both their own and their consumers' decision processes. This book provides detailed information about ZMET and how real managers have gained unique insights from its usage.

As both an academic memory researcher and consultant I was particularly impressed with Zaltman's coverage of the role of memory in consumer decision making, both with its frailty, making it subject to distortion on more traditional market research measures, and its depth, as in the role of storytelling and relationship to deep metaphors. On a practical note, Zaltman has integrated some features that make his book user-friendly, such as usage of pictures or images to demonstrate his points, summary tables that concisely articulate his ideas, a short glossary of terms that is helpful to the novice reader and an appendix on ZMET which includes good/bad examples of interviewing techniques. In addition to Zaltman's breakthrough coverage of content, he is also a gifted writer that is a pleasure to read. I highly recommend this book!

4-0 out of 5 stars If you're really "into" marketing, then rad this book
Heard the taped version of HOW CUSTOMERS THINK:
by Gerald Zaltman . . . as the author, a Harvard Business
School professor, notes: approximately 80% of all new products
fail within six months or fall significantly short of their profit forecast . . . this shouldn't be surprising, he argues, since "a great mismatch exists between the way consumers experience and think about their world and the methods marketers use to collect this information."

Zaltman takes what could be a complex topic and presents
it so that most (marketers and those not in the field) should
be able to grasp the key points . . . but I'd still only recommend the book for those really "into" marketing . . . I am, so I found it quite interesting . . . but others will be bored.

Yet all should probably find the following passage of interest, in which six common marketing fallacies are presented:

First, consumers think in well-reasoned, linear ways as they
evaluate products. They don't. For example, consumers do not
consciously assess a car's benefits attribute by attribute
and decide whether to buy it. Instead, their emotions--the desire for happiness, prestige, and so on--play a bigger role than logic in the purchase decision.

Second, consumers can plausibly explain their thinking and
behavior. In reality, however, 95 percent of thinking takes
place in our subconscious minds. People use conscious
thought primarily as a way to rationalize behavior.

Third, consumers' minds, brains, bodies, and surrounding
culture can be studied independently of one another. In fact,
the mind, brain and external world interact with, and help
shape, one another. For example, people from different
cultures experience physical pain differently.

Fourth, consumers' memories accurately reflect their
experience. Research reveals that memory is not perfect,
and in fact it changes depending on the situation. For
example, when people are asked to recall an experience,
their memories are influenced by the sequence in which
the questions are asked, and even the color of the paper
on which the survey is printed.

Fifth, consumers think primarily in words. Yet brain scans
suggest that only a small portion of the brain's neural
activity ultimately surfaces in language.

Sixth, consumers can received "injections" of company
messages--and interpret them correctly. However, consumers
do not passively absorb messages. They constantly reinterpret
such messages in terms of the unique experiences. For instances,
people have long heard that they should visit the dentist every
six months. But research shows that most individuals are very
skeptical about the need for such dental visits.

5-0 out of 5 stars Advertising and Neurology Brought Together
With the advances made in the last 15 years on brain research and understanding, creating advertising is a whole new ballgame.

Consumers conscious thoughts are only 5% of their thinking, so it is often that most research doesn't address the incredibly important 95%. Zaltman explains how to do it and how to do it effectively, of course plugging his own firm here and there.

Being in a big ad agency, I know that most work isn't produced with solid research behind it, but instead for a client who has "dictated" what the advertising needs to do or how it should appeal to consumers. The best account planners and managers can take the knowledge from this book and guide their clients to understanding the benefits of this type of research (through ROI) and ultimately achieve better results.

5-0 out of 5 stars There are no mature markets. Only lazy marketeers!
The title of my review refers to Sergio Zyman, in his book "The end of marketing as we know it!". His quote just entered my mind while writing this review. This is what Zyman in his book calls a "Mental reentry map".
When you are facing a mature market, the book of Zyman can provide you with enormeous growth potential. This just by tapping into the consumers' mind.
Van&Goos Marketing Partners helps firms in the Healthcare market to make sustainable profits.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant insight. Left me breathless.
Zaltman's book contains critical insights on every page. It is a wonderful read for anyone seeking insight into how customers think - and how you, the reader, thinks. Equally applicable for B to B or B to C markets.

I used the words "brilliant" and "breathless" intentionally and with care. Both are metaphors that create images for the reader. The use of metaphors and images in customer thinking are key concepts in this book and fundamental to understanding your target market.

A pleasure to read.

Sean Gallagher
Gallagher Management, Inc. ... Read more

113. Best Face Forward: Why Companies Must Improve Their Service Interfaces With Customers
by Jeffrey F. Rayport, Bernard J. Jaworski
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875848672
Catlog: Book (2005-01-20)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 298414
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114. Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution
by Christopher A. Bartlett, Sumantra Ghoshal
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578517079
Catlog: Book (2002-02-04)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 98833
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The first edition of Managing Across Borders was hailed as a landmark book, widely praised for its pioneering insights into the management of companies operating in an international environment. With the introduction of an entirely new organizational form--the transnational--Bartlett and Ghoshal showed how the nature of the competitive game had fundamentally changed, requiring that companies simultaneously capture global-scale efficiency, respond to national markets, and cultivate a worldwide learning capability for driving continuous innovation across borders. In this newly revised edition, the authors revisit their breakthrough concepts, updating the material with fresh, timely examples drawn from today's leading global enterprises. The insightful profiles of global middle managers and the real-world case studies paint a complete picture of the issues, problems, and opportunities encountered on the road to becoming a transnational. Included with this edition is a new application workbook, a highly practical tool for translating the book's ideas into action. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An appreciative book that looks forward into the future
Now in an updated second edition, Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution by Christopher Bartlett (Daewoo Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School) and Sumantra Ghoshal (Professor of Strategic and International Management, The London Business School) is an informative introduction to the "transnational corporation", the new corporate phenomena of the interconnected global and digital age, which stretches its competition worldwide and fundamentally rewrites the nature of doing business. A fascinating, appreciative book that looks forward into the future, Managing Across Borders is highly recommended reading for anyone seeking to understand and capitalize on what the 21st century business community is evolving for purposes of international trade in a truly global and increasingly "borderless" age!

5-0 out of 5 stars Pathbreaking book
This seminal book has been a part of my professional library for almost a decade, now. I am an Associate Professor in International Business and teach the subjects covered in this book. From this book a number of concepts have grown which continues to dominate the discussion of global management. Let me jus mention a few: administrative heritage, which is the idea, that the organisational structure of multidomestic enterprises reflects the historical period they were established in - especially with respect to the regime of coordination and communication. For instance, whereas the typical american firm entering Europe after 2ww would follow a strategy of tight operational control (given the business circumstances of this firm) Phillips, a multinational from the 19th century would display a strategy of much more delegation and subsidary autonomy.

Another concept is that of transnational companies - firms which simultaneously seek to adjust to local circumstances and enjoy the benefits of global integration. This idea remains a hot issue in global management even today - more than a decade after this book was published. ... Read more

115. Out of the Box: Strategies for Achieving Profits Today & Growth Tomorrow Through Web Services
by John Hagel III, John, III Hagel, John Seely Brown
list price: $29.95
our price: $11.98
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Asin: 1578516803
Catlog: Book (2002-10-28)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 78902
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Managers today are understandably skeptical of the promises of new technologies. During the 1990s, vendors of both enterprise applications and Internet platforms promised enormous benefits. Companies invested large sums, but the benefits either failed to materialize, or came at a high price. Managers sacrificed flexibility and struggled to collaborate with business partners—a crippling disadvantage in today’s marketplace.

Now, leading business strategist John Hagel III has a refreshing message for managers burned by over-hyped technologies, yet pressured to find innovative ways to deliver more value with fewer resources. He focuses on a new generation of technology—known as Web services. This technology connects existing IT platforms in more automated and flexible ways, leading to much lower operating costs.

The premise is practical and devoid of "change the world" promises. That very pragmatism, says Hagel, will drive enterprises to adopt it. In this book, he provides a clear view of the business implications of Web services: its distinct capabilities, its power to deliver near-term profits, and its potential to drive long-term growth.

Drawing from the experiences of pioneering adopters, Hagel shows how Web services will enable companies of all sizes to:

- Realize bottom-line savings quickly with modest investment

- Leverage investments in existing applications and create more flexibility

- Target specific areas for near-term cost reduction

- Establish—or leave—business relationships fluidly and inexpensively

- Create leveraged growth platforms for long-term competitiveness

A landmark book for CEOs, strategists, and IT managers, Out of the Box addresses near-term cost concerns and requirements for future success. As it discusses Web services, it provides deep insights into business strategy. At its core, this book tackles the most fundamental business issue facing managers today: how to continue to create value as competition intensifies. It also outlines innovative approaches to business process management and organization. ... Read more

Reviews (14)

5-0 out of 5 stars A different way of thinking about web services
If you're like me and spend a lot of time with techies and read lots of tech journals, you're well familar with the "nuts and bolts" of how web services work. "Out Of The Box", however, takes a decidedly different approach, exploring not only what web services are, but also how they came to be, and where they're going.

John Hagel's observations are generally high-level and strategic, exploring the ways that web services can change how businesses operate and interact with one another. Hegel's thesis is that web services have the power to transform the fundamental ways in which business is conducted, removing many of the barriers and problems in information management, and allowing business relationships to form and dissolve more rapidly than ever before. As a result, wholly new business models can emerge that allow businesses to respond to changes in customer preferences, compensate for new economic or political realities, and make continuous improvements in quality and value.

A highly readable work, just about the book's only weakness is that it is indeed based largely on conjecture, and the premise that today's web service protocols will form the foundation of long-term IT development. Anyone even remotely familiar with IT knows that change can be sudden and dramatic. However, Hagel presents a lot of sound and creative thinking that is especially helpful for an emerging technology such as web services.

"Out Of The Box" should be essential reading for any manager or executive whose job involves implementation of web services at any level. By contrast, techies will find this book sorely lacking in specifics. But that's okay, as there are a host of other books by O'Reilly and other technical publishers that do an excellent job of "drilling down" into the details of the technology.

3-0 out of 5 stars Web Services... more spin and hype
John's book is very well written, and the subject matter is timely. But the fact remains that the content is a 200k foot vision. Web services is the next BUZZ and the hype machine is being driven by consultants, software vendors and authors (constantly looking to create case for change).

I have been in front of 30 of the Fortune 100 CIOs, and heavily involved in high tech initiatives. Few production operations do anything beyond traditional EDI, and file transfer. The case studies within this book (ex Dell and Cisco) are very mis-leading. In both cases the suppliers, CMs and 3PLs are largely (90%) translating EDI to hub specific XML formats. Which leads me to believe that: a) the execs at Cisco and Dell don't know what is going on, b) case studies are part of the hype, c) not properly interpreted.

Integration and exposing web services is too expensive, which is why few companies have sucessful hubs or service based architectures. This book confuses business strategy and software "mechanics". I would make the case that there are very few truly "new" things in software.

The connected business models which have matured are prospering in EDI particularly within Aerospace and Automotive. What "new" business models are supported by WebServices? What is the case for change from EDI? What is the cost of implenting now? The opportunity cost for waiting until they are packaged in latest version of ERP? ... Many questions that need to be answered.

If you are looking for a good vision book, on what is possible, then this is a very good book. However, there needs to be some critical mass of success stories before mainstream business starts to act on these ideas. As well as an assessment of cost.

I do agree with John that Business Strategy must be the driver. My question is why are we confusing the software mechanics of interaction with the strategy?

Tom Industry Analyst

5-0 out of 5 stars Great intro to web services for non-techie
This book did the best job of anything I've read in describing what web services is, the history behind it and what it means for businesses.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good start but just the beginning
As Hagel has done in his other books, he successfully synthesizes a signficant emerging trend into some provocative concepts and models. The three phases of restructuring, reduced cost of interaction, notions of loosely coupled process networks, unbundling/rebundling, etc. are all provocative and applicable concepts. There is much that I liked alot in this book and many new and interesting examples bring his ideas to life. I have already handed out over 50 copies of this books to friends and associates.

As with Hagel's other books, however, some of the concepts are taken too far almost to the point of being contrived...or to an unpractical level of abstraction. I think he actually could have left the almost "technical" explaination of the Web services grid out entirely. Components of the Web-services architecture don't tie to the rest of the book. A non-technical exec could skip/skim that chapter entirely and not miss much and still gain lot's from the book. Bottom line: Web-services (2nd Generation Web apps) facilitates easy connections between systems and building and extended real-time enterprise(big deal) but is still very much a work in progress...with lot's of value to be achieved today while remainder of grid is maturing.

I think there will be many more books written on this topic. The next logical one would examine and model the economics of process networks and rebundling while providing examples of rebundling and likely incorporate offshore/low-cost sourcing...and illustrate the practical tradeoffs, returnes, risks, against the existing human capital.

Great start!

4-0 out of 5 stars Exciting Concept Which Could Overpromise
Out of the Box provides a visionary approach to the promises of this new web programming and architecture called web services. In the second chapter he warns the ready about the writing becoming technical challenging but does a fair job of bringing the technology to the beginner's level. Perhaps more business books should help executives understand Internet technology so that the complexity could be appreciated in a realistic light. As with many books which try to predict future trends in Internet technology in business, Hagel works from a limited number of examples and tends to overuse some. The main weakness of the book is what many who purchase IT consulting services understand too well - early applications of new technology can easily be overpromised and deliver disappointing or more costly results. However, the book's strength is its forward-looking application of a technology that does indeed have great potential. ... Read more

116. Harvard Business Review on Work and Life Balance (Harvard Business Review Paperback Series)
by Harvard Business Review
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578513286
Catlog: Book (2000-06)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 43751
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Leading Minds and Landmark Ideas In An Easily Accessible Format

From the preeminent thinkers whose work has defined an entire field to the rising stars who will redefine the way we think about business, The Harvard Business Review Paperback Series delivers the fundamental information today's professionals need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world.

With articles ranging from an in-depth look at the "mommy-track" to perspectives on telecommuting, this book will help HR professionals and employees at all levels understand the oftentimes delicate balance between our professional and personal lives. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good!!
Here we have a collection of several articles about balancing work and life. I liked the book because of that. You don't have to begin reading on page 1. Just see the index for an article of choice an begin reading there. The ideas the authors propose are written in an easy reading manner an are always backed on serious researches. I licked it a lot. ... Read more

117. Teams At the Top
by Jon R. Katzenbach, Jon R. Katzenbach
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
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Asin: 0875847897
Catlog: Book (1998-01-15)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 178686
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

It is common knowledge that CEOs declare their direct reports as a "team at the top." Yet with a culture of individual accountability and self-reliance prevading executive suites, few management groups ever function as real teams. Now, in a natural follow-up to his bestselling The Wisdom of Teams, John Katzenbach moves his focus farther up the organizational ladder to offer practical guidelines for increasing leadership capacity at the highest executive levels. In Terms at the Top, he shows how even the strongest and most successful CEO can improve a company's performance by turning the senior executive group into a real team-without sacrificing each member's individual leadership capabilities. Teams at the Top explains how to recognize when a team effort at the management level is preferable and when a work group under single leadership will do. Then, the book shows how to develop the capability to shift into whichever mode is appropriate. With stories and examples from well-known companies including Enron, Ben & Jerry's, Champion, Citicorp, and Mobile, as well as lessons that are applicable for management groups anywhere in the organization, Teams at the Top will help companies of all sizes and in all industries maximize the full potential of their leadership. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Delicate but Essential Balance
In one of his several brilliant studies of leadership, Organizing Genius, Warren Bennis examines high-performance teams such as those associated with the Disney studios (which created the first full-length animation film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), the Manhattan Project, Xerox's PARC, and Lockheed's "Skunk Works." But if your own organization has few (if any) geniuses, what are the best strategies for unleashing the potential of both collaborative teamwork and individual leadership? Katzenbach is himself the author or co-author of a number of brilliantly conceived and executed studies, notably The Wisdom of Teams and Real Change Leaders. In this book, his central thesis is that "an integrated balance of real team, individual, and single-leader working group performance is both possible and desirable at the top -- not that one mode is intrinsically better than the other." The key phrase is "integrated balance." Whatever the size and nature of your organization, Katzenbach offers "three major messages":

1. The best senior leadership groups are rarely a true team at the top -- although they can and do function as real teams when major, unexpected events prompt that behavior.

2. Most of the team members can optimize their performance as a group by consciously working to obtain a better balance between their team and non-team efforts -- rather than by trying to become an ongoing single team.

3. The secret to better balance lies in learning to integrate the discipline required for team performance with the discipline of executive (single-leader) behavior -- not in replacing one with the other.

This third "message" is especially relevant to smaller companies, probably privately-owned, in which the CEO (the archetypical single-leader) is either the founder or related to the founder. In such companies, the need for an "integrated balance" may be even greater than it is for much larger organizations. Katzenbach organizes his material within nine chapters. Rather than list their titles, I have selected a few key passages which, hopefully, will suggest the potential value of this book to you and your own organization's specific needs and interests.

Executive Leadership Discipline requires an individual to "create and maintain urgency, resolve the critical strategic issues, enforce individual accountability, leverage executive time, make the tough decisions individually, pick the best individuals for the key jobs, and periodically raise the bar." (Chapter One)

"The notion of 'leadership capacity' implies a system of leadership, if you will, that can extract leadership wisdom, insight, and behaviors from many more individuals. [This is obviously essential to concensus-building.] Thus it fuels the continuing search for different kinds of leadership approaches, both individual and joint, at all levels of the organization." (Chapter Three)

Team Leadership Discipline requires members to "create a meaningful purpose, commit to a team performance goals, be mutually accountable (no member can fail... only the team fails), commit to real work, share decision among members, strive for the right skill mix, and establish the height of the bar." (Chapter Four)

"Integrating real team performance with executive leadership performance requires both a sharp understanding of the differences between the two two disciplines required and a relentless determination to integrate the two. It is hard work, counterintuitive, and outside the comfort zone of most senior executives. Nevertheless, it is well worth the effort." (Chapter Nine)

In Appendix B, Katzenbach offers this definition of a real team: "A small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable." My own opinion is that unless an organization has the two disciplines (both executive leadership and team leadership) in appropriate balance, it will probably have neither. Hopefully, this brief commentary will encourage you to read and then re-read this important book. Also, to check out the other books authored or co-authored by Katzenbach.

1-0 out of 5 stars Misses the Point
I was hugely disappointed with this book. It held such promise of addressing one of the most important barriers to building collaborative behavior in organizations---the behavior of the senior people.

Throughout the book the author seemed to defend the hierarchical behavior of senior executives and diminish team benefits. And it completely missed the essence of teams which is collaboration. Phrases such as "amorphous groups with overlapping responsibilities," "disrupt the natural order of things," "seldom the best way to get normal work accomplished or routine problems solved," "seldom the fastest way for a group with an experienced, capable leader to get where they are going," "time-consuming 'forming, norming, and storming' stuff," had me wondering if the author really understands collaboration.

This book may do more to maintain the traditional topdown, hierarchical decision making model than to foster real collaboration and teamwork. ... Read more

118. How Venture Capital Works
by Bob Zider
list price: $6.00
our price: $6.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005RZ7V
Catlog: Book
Manufacturer: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 66234
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this article, Bob Zider, president of the Beta Group, a California-based firm that invests in commercializing new technologies, presents an analysis of present-day venture capitalists and shows why its practitioners have a lot more in common with investment bankers than you might think. The popular mythology surrounding the U.S. venture-capital industry derives from a previous era. Venture capitalists who nurtured the computer industry in its infancy were legendary both for their risk taking and for their hands-on operating experience. But today things are different, and separating the myths from the realities is crucial to understanding this important piece of the U.S. economy. Today's venture capitalists are more like conservative bankers than the risk takers of days past. They have carved out a specialized niche in the capital markets, filling a void that other institutions cannot serve. They are the linchpins in an efficient system for meeting the needs of institutional investors looking for high returns, of entrepreneurs seeking funding, and of investment bankers looking for companies to sell. Venture capitalists must earn a consistently superior return on investments in inherently risky businesses. The myth is that they do so by investing in good ideas and good plans. In reality, they invest in good industries--that is, industries that are more competitively forgiving than the market as a whole. And they structure their deals in a way that minimizes their risk and maximizes their returns. Although many entrepreneurs expect venture capitalists to provide them with sage guidance as well as capital, that expectation is unrealistic. Given a typical portfolio of 10 companies and a 2,000-hour work year, a venture capital partner spends on average less than 2 hours per week on any given company. In addition to analyzing the current venture-capital system, the author offers practical advice to entrepreneurs thinking about venture funding. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear introduction into venture capital
Bob Zider is president of the Beta Group, a firm that develops and commercializes new technology with funding from individuals, companies, and venture capitalist. This Harvard Business Review-article was published in November-December 1998, which was during the Internet/e-commerce boom.

"Contrary to popular perception, venture capital plays only a minor role in funding basic innovation." Zider discusses the role venture capital plays: it "fills the void between sources of funds for innovation and traditional, lower-cost sources of capital available to ongoing concerns." He then continues to describe the investment profile and the logic of the deal venture capitalists use to achieve their investors' high expectations at an acceptable risk. Zider also explains the attractive returns for venture capitalists (in return for financing one or two years of a company's start-up) and the reason why "seemingly bright and capable people seek such high-cost capital?" The article is complemented with some extremely useful sidebars to clarify this mythical industry.

Yes, I do like this article. This clear article kills some myths and fairytale stories about the venture-capital industry. It is primarily aimed at beginners, although some financial knowledge is useful for readers. For readers who appreciate this type of article I also recommend Justin Pettit's 2001-article 'Is Share Buyback Right for Your Company?' The author uses simple business US-English. ... Read more

119. Harvard Business Review on Managing the Value Chain (A Harvard Business Review Paperback)
by Carliss Baldwin, Kim B. Clark, Joan Magretta, Jeffrey H. Dyer, Marshall Fisher, Donald V. Fites
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578512344
Catlog: Book (2000-02-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 43316
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Harvard Business Review Paperback Series brings managers and professionals the fundamental information they need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world. Gathered in a highly accessible format are the leading minds and landmark ideas that have established the Harvard Business Review as required reading for forward-thinking businesspeople worldwide.

As technology and globalization have disrupted traditional operations along the supply chain, the relationship between suppliers, customers, and competitors has changed dramatically. Examining this issue from several strategic perspectives, Harvard Business Review on Managing the Value Chain outlines key ideas and provides guidance for incorporating shifts in the value chain into your strategic outlook. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

2-0 out of 5 stars Typical professor-speak BS
I have a degree in Supply Chain Mgmt and I now work as a Supply Chain Consultant for a company in Atlanta. I picked up this book for useful tips and strategy and I was dissapointed with its contents. Its full of professor-speak BS, all the buzzwords and hip MBA slogans, but its short on anything that's practical. I would have enjoyed this book if were still a wet-behind-the-ears undergrad, real world experience makes cute catchprases and lofty anecdotes irrelevant.

4-0 out of 5 stars Compilation of HBR Articles
Excellent stuff... its just that I didn't realize that it was a compliation of HBR articles (which I already owned).
- Modularity
- Li & Fung Hong Kong
- Chrysler Keiretsu
- Trust in Retail
- The Right Supply Chain
- Make your dealers your partners
- Value chain constellation
- Lean Production

5-0 out of 5 stars top notch
Once again, HBR has produced an accessible book that highlights the forefront of ideas of the value chain. The best part of books in this series is that you don't have to commit to reading the whole book at one time. You can pick up the book when you have time and read a whole case and feel like you are still able to add to you strategy knowledge.

5-0 out of 5 stars Harvard Business Review on Managing the Value Chain
Excellent cases.If you are an operations professional, you'll study, learn and live by whats discussed here. There are a couple of examples that seem dated here, but that is to get the fundamentals right and I dont complain! I am a believer in HBR and this one again goes on to prove why. ... Read more

120. Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People
by Charles A. O'Reilly, Charles A. O'Reilly
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875848982
Catlog: Book (2000-08)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 121112
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Discover How the Best Companies Win Not By Acquiring the Right People—But By Building the Right Organization
The "war for talent" is one battle every company believes it should be waging. But while competitors are busy chasing after the same "hot" individuals, smart companies are doing something infinitely more useful and far more difficult to copy—they're building organizations that make it possible for ordinary people at every desk and cubicle in their companies to perform as if they were stars.

Blowing up the prevailing wisdom that companies must chase and acquire top talent in order to remain successful, Hidden Value argues instead that the source of sustained competitive advantage already exists within every organization. O'Reilly and Pfeffer, leading experts on organizational behavior and human resources, argue that how a firm creates and uses talent is far more important than how the firm attracts talent. The authors provide vivid, detailed case studies of several organizations in widely disparate industries—including Southwest Airlines, Cisco Systems, The Men's Wearhouse, and NUMMI—to illustrate how long-term success comes from value-driven, interrelated systems that align good people management with corporate strategy.

In a refreshing break from management tomes that force-feed superficial frameworks and trite "rules," the authors instead allow the company stories to take center stage. They guide readers in discovering for themselves how seven different firms maximize talent, why one firm hasn't fully released the hidden value in its work force, and, most importantly, how the winning companies have made it tough for competitors to imitate them. Collectively, the stories reveal a common path to success that places values before strategy, emphasizes implementation over planning, and focuses on getting the best out of all employees, not just individual stars. The authors also explore concerns or questions managers might have about how each company's experience parallels or conflicts with their own.

Providing a rare opportunity for managers to actively participate in an invaluable learning process, Hidden Value offers a customizable template for building high-performance, people-centered organizations. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars The "Value" of this book is certainly "Hidden" from me......
This book is merely a compilation of case studies. There are few -- if any -- check lists, tables, charts, bullet points, or step-by-step methodologies to help you implement the concepts within your own company or organization. In fact, THERE ARE ONLY 21 PAGES not dedicated exclusively to either a case study and/or an analysis of the various case studies presented within the book. Save your money and purchase "The HR Scorecard", "The Talent Solution", or "Aligning Pay and Results" instead. Very disappointing...

5-0 out of 5 stars Detailed case descriptions of high performing companies
This book tells the story of eight extremely successful companies that manage to bring out the best in their people. The stories are detailed descriptions of the company's backgrounds, strategies, systems and management practices. The stories are also larded with quotes from the company's CEO's, HR managers and employees. Following this approach the authors provide the readers the opportunity to form their own hypotheses about the companies' successes. But the authors also present their interpretations of the case studies.

What these studies show is how these high performing companies have achieved their success by aligning their values, strategies and people. This is something which is easy to understand but hard to do. It requires consistent articulation and implementation of the values and vision and a relentless attention to detail in ensuring that all policies and practices support the company's values. In order to be able to show this kind of consistency a real belief and commitment are needed and a willingness to persevere.

This book shows how high performing companies consciously turn a lot of the conventional management wisdom upside down. For instance:

1. Contrary to what many people now think, recruiting, selecting and retaining unique talent is NOT the prime source of competitive advantage. Although these activities are important, the examples of these extraordinary companies show that it is much more important to build a culture and work system that enables all people to use their talents and develop their talents. A byproduct of this will be that your company will also be better at attracting and retaining people.

2. Values first instead of strategies. The conventional view puts competitive strategy on top and derives from that what structure is needed, what competencies and behaviors are needed and so on. The companies described here work differently. Although they do have competitive strategies these are secondary to their set of guiding values and to the alignment of these values with their management practices. In other words: they have a values-based view of strategy.

3. Respectful and trusting way of dealing with people. Many companies monitor, check and try to control employee behavior. The hidden value companies work differently. In the spirit of Douglas McGregor's book The Human Side of Enterprise, they seem to understand that if you begin by designing systems to protect against the small unmotivated minority, you end up alienating the motivated majority. So they put their people first by treating them respectfully, involving them and trusting them.

Lessons like the ones presented in this book can be found in several other books by for instance Jeffrey Pfeffer himself, David Maister and Jim Collins. What makes this book different and interesting to me is the presentation in the form of detailed case descriptions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Acorns, Oak Trees, and Common Sense
One of the greatest challenges facing organizations today is attracting and then keeping "the best and the brightest" people they can. Then, there is another great challenge to develop their talents and skills. Here is one of the best books I have read thus far which addresses the second challenge directly...and indirectly, addresses the first challenge as well (pun intended). O'Reilly and Pfeffer organize their material within a series of chapters, each of which (presented as a case history) focuses on eight exemplary companies (e.g. Cisco Systems, The Men's Wearhouse, and Southwest Airlines). The authors utilize a basic format (introduction, background, values, philosophy and spirit, etc.) which enables their reader to draw relevant comparisons and contrasts. They also summarize key points at the end of each chapter.

After extensive involvement with several of the exemplary companies, I can personally attest that organizations such as they which effectively develop the "hidden value" in their employees achieve at least three highly desirable (indeed imperative) objectives: they create a workplace environment in which people at all levels are much happier as well as much more productive; as a result, they have less attrition of their "best and brightest"; and finally, they are much more successful when competing for the "human capital" they need. To their credit, O'Reilly and Pfeffer do not promise to offer all manner of "secrets" to simplify the process of attracting and developing talent. Everything they suggest is common sense and much of it is obvious. The "hidden value" of their book is revealed only as you correlate all the ideas and experiences it provides within the context of your past and current circumstances.

If you agree that an organization should be value-driven and that values are driven by people, almost everything O'Reilly and Pfeffer share can be of substantial assistance. But I presume to conclude with three caveats. First, what they recommend is relatively simple to explain but will be immensely difficult (if not impossible) to implement without a firm commitment, sufficient time, and (yes) patience. Second, given the wealth of information provided, beware of massive adoption of what may have been effective elsewhere. Rather, select only what is most appropriate to your organization's needs when formulating a model. Finally, keep in mind that all of the eight exemplary companies have changed, some quite significantly, since the period during which this book was written. So must yours in months and years to come.

3-0 out of 5 stars OK Anecdotes Collection of People-Centric Success
"Hidden Value" purports to offer a new management book style and a "people-first" focus to organisational competitive advantage. This style involves a learn & do structure to 8 anecdotes, rather than the usual hypotheses, case study evidence and checklists often used by many US educators & consultants. Note 'learn & do" has been practiced for decades by military and engineering schools (for both physical maneuvers/value-add as well an intellectual stratagems/ designs etc..).

The repetitive anecdotal structured (e.g. introduction; background; values, philosophy and spirit; people/system, and lesson learnt) chapters span success stories from: SouthWest Airlines; Cisco Systems; The Men's Warehouse; the SAS Institute; PSS World Medical; AES; New United Motor Manufacturing Inc; and Cypress Semiconductor.

Strengths include: the broad range of case studies from different sectors including a few non-US examples; and the extremely timely "life-balance" and "people matter" message.

Weaknesses include: repetition of text (perhaps 35% of book); content gaps & granularity problems (e.g. aligned individual/team motivation models missing); a passive observational feel; a superficiality of analysis; a lack of formal tools to carry out own "people-centric" analysis; an often colloquial cliché-filled style (dates quickly); inconsistencies in many financial table rankings and formatting; and a lack of labeling/scales on the most significant table in the book on p.239.

O'Reilly/Pfeffer suggest through this table (p.239), that exceptional performance from committed people requires the organization to use the HR levers of: values, culture and strategy alignment; hiring for fit; investing in people; widespread information sharing; team-based systems; and rewards and recognition.

Better alternatives include: "The Secrets of Software Success" by Hoch et al (100 global software companies success factors including people) (ISBN 1578511054 HBS Press 1999); and the superb "First to the Future- on Active Leadership" by Willi Railo (rigorous proven methods to coach & lead Olympic-standard people, applicable to all) (ISBN82-991169-5-3 Norbok A/S 1995).

Having recently reviewed "The Knowing-Doing Gap" also co-authored by Pfeffer, I was struck by great similarities in case studies/data from SouthWest Airlines; Cisco Systems; The Men's Warehouse; the SAS Institute; PSS World Medical; AES; and New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (couldn't remember if Cypress Semiconductor was featured). To this reviewer, both books cover a similar subject-matter less-well, and perhaps would have better been written as one really good book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Look at People-Centered Values for Success!
In Strategy Safari, Professor Mintzberg and his coauthors describe that most people approach strategy from one of 10 different perspectives, mostly ignoring the others. That book argues that we would be better served to integrate these 10 perspectives into a combined one. In Hidden Value, Professors OReilly and Pfeffer succeed in combining four of those perspectives in a valuable synthesis. The four that are combined here are values, which people to attract and retain, determining which core competencies to build, and the role of senior management in strategy development and implementation.

At a time when there are many excellent books out on how to find and retain top talent, this book aims to do something different. "Hiring and retaining talent is great. Building a company that creates and uses talent is even better." So after you have read all about Topgrading and other useful methods, read this book next.

The book is unusual (especially for one from Stanford professors published by Harvard Business School Press) in that it uses a structure designed to allow you to learn more than frequently occurs with straight exposition (thesis, followed by examples to support the thesis, and then a conclusion).

To do this, the authors found 8 companies that exhibited people-centered values in different industries to succeed in different ways. You are invited to peruse detailed case histories to get a sense of how these companies work. Following the eight is an example of a company with many similar approaches that was not doing as well, Cypress Semiconductor. You are invited to think through what's different. Later on, you also do mini-studies of People Express and Levi Strauss to see where they vary from the model that you have developed from the cases.

But if you do want to know what the authors think about the cases, their conclusions are summarized at the end of every chapter. Chapter 10 also looks at the overall model they discern.

They see a process whereby each of the successes starts out with a focus on people that is primarily employee centered. This focus often comes from the founder or the current CEO. The company then looks for people who share that focus. At some point, common values begin to emerge among the leadership and the rest of the company. The company continues to focus on coalescing around those values by hiring people with those values, and teaching the values to new employees. Values are reinforced everyday through communications, information flows, training, and rewards and recognition. This creates an environment of mutual trust and respect. Then the company looks at the core competencies that make sense in light of the people, values, and market opportunities and develop those core competencies The company then looks for new strategies that build on the core competencies. Senior management follows at this point in leading from and to reinforce the values.

The payoffs in the case histories relate to superior performance in key valued-added areas (which differ by case), reduced turnover of people which decreases cost of employment and improves performance further, trust and information flows that encourage useful experimentation, and consistency of focus which allows improvement to be greater and on-going.

The point of the book is that the "what" to do is pretty simple, but few people have the commitment and patience to handle the "how" to do it. ... Read more

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