Many business books are heavier on jargon than on wisdom, executives often complain. But among this year's titles are some that can sharpen managers' thinking about technology, management and careers. Other simply offer pleasure, as the holiday season gives some respite from meetings and business trips. (wow power leveling
The exchange of ideas on the Internet, for example, is bound to keep proliferating, which is what makes 'Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything,' by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, worthwhile reading.
The book highlights how traditional collaboration among employees in meeting rooms is fast being superseded by collaboration on a much vaster scale. Thanks to the Internet, masses of people beyond corporate boundaries can exchange thoughts and innovate to produce content, goods and services. Web sites such as Wikipedia, the user-edited online encyclopedia, MySpace and even the Human Genome Project encourage this interaction, which spurs growth.
Some corporate executives still lament the competition this poses to their proprietary marketplace offerings, Wow gold
but Mr. Tapscott, a proponent of open sourcing, argues that the more you share, the more you win. He and Mr. Williams outline ways to exploit the power of online collaboration. They describe how companies from Flickr to the more traditional Procter & Gamble have benefited from inviting in ideas from customers and others browsing the Web.
For a trenchant view of business and business advice, take a dip into 'The Halo Effect . . . and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers,' by Phil Rosenzweig. The author, a former manager turned professor, asserts that a great deal of analysis offered by consultants, academics and the media is simplistic and often 'deeply flawed.'
When a company reports that sales and profits are on the rise, for example, people say it has a visionary leader and a brilliant strategy. When performance then falters, they say the leader was myopic and had the wrong strategy. Yet little in the way of leadership and strategy may actually have changed. Sro Gold
The book illustrates this point by delving into good and bad times at big companies such as Cisco and IBM. It identifies nine common business delusions, including 'single explanations' for success or failure, and 'absolute performance.' Because company performance is relative to competition, following one formula can never guarantee results, Mr. Rosenzwieg asserts. Success comes only from doing things better than rivals do them.
'The Halo Effect' is for executives who aren't looking for a quick-fix prescription and who understand that winning depends on knowing one's own company and on executing smart decisions well -- with a little luck mixed in.
Managers who want to be better bosses may turn to 'The Three Signs of a Miserable Job' by Patrick Lencioni, the author's latest management fable, which uses fictional characters to illustrate what should be self-evident: Unhappy employees are those who don't feel valued or listened to, don't know why their job matters to others, or don't know how they are performing. All these problems can be fixed easily, as Mr. Lencioni outlines in his tale. The book is a quick read. Sro Gold
Executives concerned with their own fates should consider 'Firing Back -- How Great Leaders Rebound After Career Disasters,' by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and Andrew Ward. Using the accounts of dismissed top executives at companies such as Morgan Stanley, Home Depot and Hewlett-Packard, the authors show why some have been able to move on to new successes by, among other things, seeking help from old allies and acknowledging their failure.
For a colorful take on recovering from a personal and professional fall, read Michael Gates Gill's 'How Starbucks Saved My Life.' It tells of the author's unusual journey after losing a senior advertising job and his marriage in middle age. Lonely and unemployed at 63 years old -- and with no health insurance after being diagnosed with a brain tumor that wasn't malignant but cost him some hearing -- he landed a job at a Starbucks in Manhattan.Aion kina
,His fellow workers and boss are decades younger, mostly African-American and without the Ivy League degree he has from Yale. But rather than feel depressed taking orders for lattes and lugging garbage to the curb, Mr. Gill finds the job becomes a refuge, where he feels valued and makes friends among colleagues and regular customers.
His account of his year behind the counter at Starbucks -- which is slated to become a movie starring Tom Hanks -- is a moving reminder that having a community at work can be more rewarding than a big office or title.
No Christmas Eve column about books would be complete without mentioning some longtime Christmas favorites that are still relevant. 'A Christmas Carol' by Charles Dickens, the writer's 1843 tale of boss Ebenezer Scrooge's journey from a life of greed and miserliness to one of charity, still resonates, especially at a time when the super-rich are so exalted. And O. Henry's century-old 'The Gift of the Magi' still reminds us that love is the only gift worth possessing.