Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

HD 53 .G742 2016

“In his new compelling book, Adam Grant, one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders, again addresses the challenge of improving the world around us, but now from the perspective of becoming a trailblazer: choosing to go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we stand up for new ideas, policies, and practices without risking our reputations, relationships, and careers?

Using surprising studies and stories spanning the worlds of business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant debunks the common belief that successful non-conformists are born leaders who boldly embrace risk. Originals explains how anyone can spot opportunities for change, recognize a good idea, overcome anxiety and ambivalence, and make suggestions without being silenced. You’ll learn the successful techniques of

  • An entrepreneur who pitches his startups by highlighting the reasons not to invest in them
  • A woman at Apple who dared to challenge Steve Jobs from three management levels below
  • An analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA
  • A billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him
  • A movie producer who asked a single question that saved Disney’s first animated film based on an original story from the cutting room floor

Grant demonstrates how originality can be launched, unleashed, and sustained, offering practical insights on how individuals can find allies in unlikely places, leaders can fight groupthink, and parents and teachers can nurture children to think for themselves.

The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about how rejecting conformity can improve our circumstances and propel us forward. People who champion originality have the same fears and doubts as the rest of us, but what sets them apart is that they don’t freeze or faint in the face of a challenge – they take action anyway. Originals will give you the knowledge and the courage to advance your own ideas.
(publisher description)


A Curious Mind

A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life
by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman

BF 323 .C8 G73 2015

A Curious Mind is Brian Grazer’s exploration of the joys of curiosity and its power to transform our lives.

Since the late 1970s, Hollywood producer Brian Grazer has sought out interesting and accomplished strangers – from spies and Nobel laureates to artists and CEOs – for what he calls a “curiosity conversation.” These talks have helped inspire many of the films and television shows Grazer has produced through Imagine Entertainment, including Apollo 13, Splash, 8 Mile, A Beautiful Mind, Friday Night Lights, and Arrested Development.

This book is a personal account of how Brian Grazer’s enthusiasm to talk with anyone and everyone – including luminaries such as science fiction writer Isaac Asimov and medical researcher Jonas Salk, who discovered the polio vaccine – has made him one of Hollywood’s leading producers. But it is also an invitation for all of us to embrace our curiosity to become better leaders, better creators, better managers, even better romantic partners.

Brian Grazer believes that we are living in the golden age of curiosity, because we have the freedom to ask almost any question, and more tools than ever to figure out the answer. Together, we need to start asking those questions. The answer can open a world of creativity and adventure.”
– publisher description

Citizen Coke

Citizen Coke: The Making of Coca-Cola Capitalism
by Bartow J. Elmore

HD 9349 .S634 C6323 2015

“How did Coca-Cola build a global empire by selling a low-price concoction of mostly sugar, water, and caffeine? The easy answer is advertising, but the real formula to Coke’s success was its strategy, from the start, to offload costs and risks onto suppliers, franchisees, and the government. For most of its history the company owned no bottling plants, water sources, cane- or cornfields. A lean operation, it benefited from public goods like cheap municipal water and curbside recycling programs. Its huge appetite for ingredients gave it outsized influence on suppliers and congressional committees. This was Coca-Cola capitalism.

In this new history Bartow J. Elmore explores Coke through its ingredients, showing how the company secured massive quantities of coca leaf, caffeine, sugar, and other inputs. Its growth was driven by shrewd leaders such as Asa Candler, who scaled an Atlanta soda-fountain operation into a national empire, and “boss” Robert Woodruff, who nurtured partnerships with companies like Hershey and Monsanto. These men, and the company they helped build, were seen as responsible citizens, bringing jobs and development to every corner of the globe. But as Elmore shows, Coke was usually getting the sweet end of the deal.

It continues to do so. Alongside Coke’s recent public investments in water purification infrastructure, especially in Africa, it has also built – less publicly – a rash of bottling plants in dangerously arid regions. Looking past its message of corporate citizenship, Elmore finds a strategy of relentless growth.

The costs shed by Coke have fallen on the public at large. Its annual use of many billions of gallons of water has strained an increasingly scarce global resource. Its copious servings of high-fructose corn syrup have threatened public health. Citizen Coke became a giant in a world of abundance. In a world of scarcity it is a strain on resources and all who depend on them.”
– publisher description

Work Rules!

Work Rules!: Insights from Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

HD 57.7 .B633 2015

” “We spend more time working than doing anything else in life. It’s not right that the experience of work should be so demotivating and dehumanizing.” So says Laszlo Bock, head of People Operations at the company that transformed how the world interacts with knowledge.

This insight is the heart of WORK RULES!, a compelling and surprisingly playful manifesto that offers lessons including:

  • Take away managers’ power over employees
  • Learn from your best employees – and your worst
  • Hire only people who are smarter than you are, no matter how long it takes to find them
  • Pay unfairly (it’s more fair!)
  • Don’t trust your gut: Use data to predict and shape the future
  • Default to open – be transparent and welcome feedback
  • It you’re comfortable with the amount of freedom you’ve given your employees, you haven’t gone far enough

Drawing on the latest research in behavioral economics and a profound grasp of human psychology, WORK RULES! also provides teaching examples from a range of industries – including lauded companies that happen to be hideous places to work and little-known companies that achieve spectacular results by valuing and listening to their employees. Bock takes us inside one of history’s most explosively successful businesses to reveal why Google is consistently rated one of the best places to work in the world, distilling 15 years of intensive worker R&D into principles that are easy to put into action, whether you’re a team of one or a team of thousands.

WORK RULES! shows how to strike a balance between creativity and structure, leading to success you can measure in quality of life as well as market share. Read it to build a better company from within rather than from above; read it to reawaken your joy in what you do.”
– publisher description

The Meat Racket

The Meat Racket

The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business
by Christopher Leonard

HD 9415 .L46 2014

“The American supermarket seems to represent the best in America: abundance, freedom, choice. But that turns out to be an illusion. The rotisserie chicken, the pepperoni, the cordon bleu, the frozen pot pie, and the bacon virtually all come from four companies.

In The Meat Racket, the investigative reporter Christopher Leonard delivers the first-ever account of how a handful of companies have seized the nation’s meat supply. He shows how they built a system that puts farmers on the edge of bankruptcy, charges high prices to consumers, and returns the industry to the shape it had in the 1900s before the meat monopolists were broken up. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the greatest capitalist country in the world has an oligarchy controlling much of the food we eat and a high-tech sharecropping system to make that possible.

Forty years ago, more than thirty-six companies produced half of all the chicken Americans ate. Now there are only three that make that amount, and they control every aspect of the process, from the egg to the chicken to the chicken nugget. These companies are even able to raise meat prices for consumers while pushing down the price they pay to farmers. And tragically, big business and politics have derailed efforts to change the system.

We know that it takes big companies to bring meat to the American table. What The Meat Racket shows is that this industrial system is rigged against all of us. In that sense, Leonard has exposed our heartland’s biggest scandal.” – publisher description

Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love

Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love by Fran Hawthorne

HD 2785 ,H37 2012

“Consumers are told that when they put on an American Apparel t-shirt, leggings, jeans, gold bra, or other item they look hot. Not only do they look good, but they can also feel good because they are helping US workers earn a decent wage (never mind that some of those female workers have accused their boss of sexual harassment). And when shoppers put on a pair of Timberlands, they feel fashionable and as green as the pine forest they might trek through – that is, until they’re reminded that this green company is in the business of killing cows. But surely even the pickiest, most organic, most politically correct buyers can feel virtuous about purchasing a tube of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste, right? After all, with its natural ingredients that have never been tested on animals, this company has a forty-year history of being run by a nice couple from Maine . . . well, ahem, until it was recently bought out by Colgate.

It’s difficult to define what makes a company hip and also ethical, but some companies seem to have hit that magic bull’s-eye. In this age of consumer activism, pinpoint marketing, and immediate information, consumers demand everything from the coffee, computer, or toothpaste they buy. They want an affordable, reliable product manufactured by a company who doesn’t pollute, saves energy, treats its workers well, and doesn’t hurt animals – oh, and that makes them feel cool when they use it. Companies would love to have that kind of reputation, and a handful seem to have achieved it. But do they deserve their haloes? Can a company make a profit doing so? And how can consumers avoid being tricked by phony marketing?

In Ethical Chic, award-winning author Fran Hawthorne uses her business-investigative skills to analyze six favorites: Apple, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, American Apparel, Timberland, and Tom’s of Maine. She attends a Macworld conference and walks on the factory floors of American Apparel. She visits the wooded headquarters of Timberland, speaks to consumers who drive thirty miles to get their pretzels and plantains from Trader Joe’s, and confronts the founders of Tom’s of Maine. More than a how-to guide for daily dilemmas and ethical business practices, Ethical Chic is a blinders-off and nuanced look at the mixed bag of values on sale at companies that project a seemingly progressive image.” – publisher description

Smart Pricing : How Google, Priceline, and Leading Businesses Use Pricing Innovation for Profitability

Smart Pricing : How Google, Priceline, and Leading Businesses Use Pricing Innovation for Profitability by Jagmohan Raju, Z. John Zhang

HF 5416.5 .R35 2010 

“In Smart Pricing, Wharton professors and renowned pricing experts Jagmohan Raju and Z. John Zhang draw on examples from high tech to low tech, from consumer markets to business markets, and from U.S. to abroad, to tell the stories of how innovative pricing strategies can help companies create and capture value as well as customers. They teach the pricing principles behind those innovative ideas and practices.

Smart Pricing introduces to marketing and product executives, along with corporate strategists, many innovative approaches to pricing, as well as the research and insights that went into their creation. Filled with illustrative examples from the business world, readers will discover restaurants where customers set the price…learn how Google and other high-tech firms have used pricing to remake whole industries…and understand how executives in China successfully start and fight price wars to conquer new markets.

Smart Pricing goes well beyond familiar approaches like cost-plus, buyer-based pricing, or competition-based pricing, and puts a wide variety of pricing mechanisms at your disposal. This book helps you understand them, choose them, and use them to win.” — book jacket