Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker

Winner of the Institute for Industrial Engineer’s 2008
Book-of-the-Year award and the Shingo Prize for Manufacturing Excellence

Product Description

How to speed up business processes, improve quality, and cut costs in any industry

In factories around the world, Toyota consistently makes the highest-quality cars with the fewest defects of any competing manufacturer, while using fewer man-hours, less on-hand inventory, and half the floor space of its competitors. The Toyota Way is the first book for a general audience that explains the management principles and business philosophy behind Toyota's worldwide reputation for quality and reliability.

Complete with profiles of organizations that have successfully adopted Toyota's principles, this book shows managers in every industry how to improve business processes by:

Eliminating wasted time and resources
Building quality into workplace systems
Finding low-cost but reliable alternatives to expensive new technology
Producing in small quantities
Turning every employee into a qualitycontrol inspector

From the Back Cover

"This book will give you an understanding of what has made Toyota successful and some practical ideas that you can use to develop your own approach to business."--Gary Convis, Managing Office of Toyota

Fewer man-hours. Less inventory. The highest quality cars with the fewest defects of any competing manufacturer. In factories around the globe, Toyota consistently raises the bar for manufacturing, product development, and process excellence. The result is an amazing business success story: steadily taking market share from price-cutting competitors, earning far more profit than any other automaker, and winning the praise of business leaders worldwide.

The Toyota Way reveals the management principles behind Toyota's worldwide reputation for quality and reliability. Dr. Jeffrey Liker, a renowned authority on Toyota's Lean methods, explains how you can adopt these principles--known as the "Toyota Production System" or "Lean Production"--to improve the speed of your business processes, improve product and service quality, and cut costs, no matter what your industry.

Drawing on his extensive research on Toyota, Dr. Liker shares his insights into the foundational principles at work in the Toyota culture. He explains how the Toyota Production System evolved as a new paradigm of manufacturing excellence, transforming businesses across industries. You'll learn how Toyota fosters employee involvement at all levels, discover the difference between traditional process improvement and Toyota's Lean improvement, and learn why companies often think they are Lean--but aren't.

The fourteen management principles of the Toyota Way create the ideal environment for implementing Lean techniques and tools. Dr. Liker explains each key principle with detailed, examples from Toyota and other Lean companies on how to:

Foster an atmosphere of continuous improvement and learning
Create continuous process "flow" to unearth problems
Satisfy customers (and eliminate waste at the same time)
Grow your leaders rather than purchase them
Get quality right the first time
Grow together with your suppliers and partners for mutual benefit
Dr. Liker shows the Toyota Way in action, then outlines how to apply the Toyota Way in your organization, with examples of how other companies have rebuilt their culture to create a Lean, learning enterprise. The Toyota Way is an inspiring guide to taking the steps necessary to emulate Toyota's remarkable success.

What can your business learn from Toyota?

How to double or triple the speed of any business process
How to build quality into workplace systems
How to eliminate the huge costs of hidden waste
How to turn every employee into a quality control inspector
How to dramatically improve your products and services!

With a market capitalization greater than the value of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler combined, Toyota is also, (by far), the world's most profitable automaker. Toyota's secret weapon is Lean production--the revolutionary approach to business processes that it invented in the 1950's and has spent decades perfecting. Today businesses around the world are implementing Toyota's radical system for speeding up processes, reducing waste, and improving quality.

The Toyota Way, explain's Toyota's unique approach to Lean--the 14 management principles and philosophy that drive Toyota's quality and efficiency-obsessed culture. You'll gain valuable insights that can be applied to any organization and any business process, whether in services or manufacturing. Professor Jeffrey Liker has been studying Toyota for twenty years, and was given unprecedented access to Toyota executives, employees and factories, both in Japan and the United States, for this landmark work. The book is full of examples of the 14 fundamental principles at work in the Toyota culture, and how these principles create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. You'll discover how the right combination of long-term philosophy, process, people, and problem solving can transform your organization into a Lean, learning enterprise--the Toyota Way.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker is a professor of industrial and operations engineering at the University of Michigan and cofounder and director of the Japan Technology Management Program at the University of Michigan.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Who's Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success--and Won't Let You Fail by Keith Ferrazzi

Positively received comments from many bestselling books authors

"Keith Ferrazzi does for relationships what Tom Peters did for management . . . he's opened our eyes to a new reality that relationships are the key to success in business. Who’s Got Your Back will teach anyone, from job seekers to CEOs, how to quickly build the kinds of relationships that really make a difference in business."
—Jack Canfield, Co-author of The Success Principles and the Chicken Soup for the Soul series

"Ferrazzi points out that a seismic shift is underway, we are moving from isolation and corporate silos to community and collaboration. This book is a roadmap for success in the new world, conveyed with emotion and wit."
—Devin Wenig, CEO, Thomson Reuters Markets

“After reading Keith Ferrazzi’s Who’s Got Your Back, you will not only be inspired to make change happen in your life, but you will be able to make it stick!”
—Bill Novelli, CEO, AARP

“If I’d had this book at the start of my career, I would have saved myself 30 years of trial and error. If you are serious about your success, I strongly recommend that you read this book and build your support circle today.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There, a NYT best seller, WSJ #1 business book

“Get ready to read a book that will strengthen every one of your closest relationships. If you haven’t read Who's Got Your Back, you’re at a competitive disadvantage”
—Tom Rath, author of the bestseller
StrengthsFinder 2.0

“Who's Got Your Back is more than a 'self-help' book. It's the first 'let others help' book. If you're serious about your success, listen to Ferrazzi and build your support circle today.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of A Whole New Mind

"In a bleak time for business, Keith’s book is both a wake-up call and a cheerful reminder that you can beat the odds — with the right help."
—Dr. Mehmet Oz, coauthor of the #1 bestseller YOU: The Owner’s Manual, and host on the 'Oprah & Friends' XM Radio Show

"I am not a big reader of self help books, but this is refreshingly simple. Not the simple found in cliché’s but the elegant simplicity and useful voice of experience."
—Seth Waugh, CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas

"Ferrazzi does it again. Concrete advice with inspiring stories: a business book for everyone that goes far beyond just business."
—Teresa M Ressel, CEO, UBS Securities

"Keith's program isn't about changing who you are. It's about enlisting others to help you become the best you can be."
—Dennis R. Glass, President & CEO, Lincoln Financial Group

Product Description
Disregard the myth of the lone professional “superman” and the rest of our culture’s go-it alone mentality. The real path to success in your work and in your life is through creating an inner circle of “lifeline relationships” – deep, close relationships with a few key trusted individuals who will offer the encouragement, feedback, and generous mutual support every one of us needs to reach our full potential. Whether your dream is to lead a company, be a top producer in your field, overcome the self-destructive habits that hold you back, lose weight or make a difference in the larger world, Who’s Got Your Back will give you the roadmap you’ve been looking for to achieve the success you deserve.

Keith Ferrazzi, the internationally renowned thought leader, consultant, and bestselling author of Never Eat Alone, shows us that becoming a winner in any field of endeavor requires a trusted team of advisors who can offer guidance and help to hold us accountable to achieving our goals. It is the reason PH.D candidates have advisor teams, top executives have boards, world class athletes have fitness coaches, and presidents have cabinets.

In this step-by-step guide to the powerful principles behind personal growth and change, you’ll learn how to:

· Master the mindsets that will help you to build deeper, more trusting “lifeline relationships”

· Overcome the career-crippling habits that hold you back, once and for all

· Get further, faster by setting goals in a dramatically more powerful way

· Use “sparring” as a productive tool to make the decisions that will fuel personal success

· Replace the yes men in your life with those who get it and care – and will hold you accountable to achieving your goals

· Lower your guard and let others help!

None of us can do it alone. We need the perspective and advice of a trusted team. And in Who’s Got Your Back, Keith Ferrazzi shows us how to put our own “dream team” together.

About the Author
KEITH FERRAZZI, CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, has counseled the world’s top enterprises on how to dramatically accelerate the development of business relationships to drive sales, spark innovation, and create team cohesion. As a thought leader and advocate for corporate citizenship, he has rallied executives around initiatives to improve healthcare and education nationwide. Ferrazzi has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Inc., and Fast Company, and has appeared on Today and other national TV. His previous book, Never Eat Alone, is a national bestseller. He lives in Los Angeles.

Car and Driver Magazine

American automotive magazine. With 1.31 million sales monthly.
Originally headquartered in New York City, the magazine has been based in Ann Arbor, Michigan since the late 1970s.

Product Description
This magazine is for automobile enthusiasts interested in domestic and imported autos. Each issue contains road tests and features on performance, sports, international coverage of road race, stock and championship car events, technical reports, personalities and products. Road tests are conducted with electronic equipment by engineers and journalists and the results are an important part of the magazine's review section.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Option Volatility & Pricing: Advanced Trading Strategies and Techniques

Product Description
One of the most widely read books among active option traders around the world, Option Volatility & Pricing has been completely updated to reflect the most current developments and trends in option products and trading strategies.

Pricing models
Volatility considerations
Basic and advanced trading strategies
Risk management techniques
And more!

Written in a clear, easy-to-understand fashion, Option Volatility & Pricing points out the key concepts essential to successful trading. Drawing on his experience as a professional trader, author Sheldon Natenberg examines both the theory and reality of option trading. He presents the foundations of option theory explaining how this theory can be used to identify and exploit trading opportunities. Option Volatility & Pricing teaches you to use a wide variety of trading strategies and shows you how to select the strategy that best fits your view of market conditions and individual risk tolerance.

New sections include:

Expanded coverage of stock option
Strategies for stock index futures and options
A broader, more in-depth discussion volatility

Analysis of volatility skews
Intermarket spreading with options

About the Author
McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo: The Road Car & WRC Story

New Zealand Performance Car magazine, February 2007 'Mitsubishi Lancer EVO: The Road Car & WRC Story' describes the story of the Lancer from its early days in 1973 when the first humble model rolled onto the streets, through to the Lancer Evolution IX and beyond. With a detailed recounting of the Lancer's WRC racing heritage and road car status across the years, this definitive guide to everything Lancer is one you'll want to add to the collection if you're a triple diamond fan. There's a glimpse to the Lancer's future, too.

Product Description
The Lancer name conjures up many different images. For some, it evokes memories of the first-generation cars, introduced in 1973, which fought with the best on the Safari Rally and came out the victors. Others will remember the second-generation models--especially the turbocharged versions, the original Mitsubishi wolf in sheep’s clothing--and who could not be aware of the Evolution (Evo) series, launched in 1992? Forged in the fierce heat of WRC competition and honed by years of continuous development, the Lancer Evolution is not only one of the greatest rally cars of all time, it is also a desirable high-performance road car, too. Written in Japan with the full cooperation of Mitsubishi and key staff members, this is the definitive international story of all the world’s Lancers, whether they carried Mitsubishi, Dodge, Colt, Plymouth, Valiant, Eagle, Proton, or Hyundai badges, with special emphasis on the Evolution models.

About the Author
Brian Long now has around 40 books to his credit. Coming from an engineering background, he has been an enthusiast for as long as anyone can remember. His passion for sports cars and vintage machinery remains as strong as ever. Born in Coventry, England, he now lives in Chiba City with his wife, Miho, and their two children, Louis and Sophie-Mercedes. He is a member of the RJC in Japan, the Guild of Motoring Writers, and the Society of Automotive Historians.
Shinichi Kurihara is a Product Executive overseeing the Lancer range for Mitsubishi Motors R&D Centre in Japan.

Subaru Impreza: Since 1994 (Autocar Collection)

Book Description
Founded in 1895, Autocar is the world’s oldest car magazine and thrives today like never before as a vibrant, authoritative weekly packed with car news and reviews, including the most comprehensive road tests in the business. This book, one of the first in an important new series, collects all the best Autocar material about the iconic and all-conquering Subaru Impreza Turbo in one brightly designed, photographically lavish, information-packed book that will be a must-have for all enthusiasts of these cars. From detailed performance data to scoop stories, it’s all here in one superb reference source.

About the Author
The content of this book has been created by the staff and contributors of Autocar, one of the flagship magazines of Haymarket Publishing, Britain's leading publisher of magazines and websites about cars and motorsport.

The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 by Paul Krugman

Written by Paul Krugman
Winner of 2008 the Nobel Prize in Economics

Product Description

In 1999, in The Return of Depression Economics, Paul Krugman surveyed the economic crises that had swept across Asia and Latin America, and pointed out that those crises were a warning for all of us: like diseases that have become resistant to antibiotics, the economic maladies that caused the Great Depression were making a comeback. In the years that followed, as Wall Street boomed and financial wheeler-dealers made vast profits, the international crises of the 1990s faded from memory. But now depression economics has come to America: when the great housing bubble of the mid-2000s burst, the U.S. financial system proved as vulnerable as those of developing countries caught up in earlier crises and a replay of the 1930s seems all too possible.

In this new, greatly updated edition of The Return of Depression Economics, Krugman shows how the failure of regulation to keep pace with an increasingly out-of-control financial system set the United States, and the world as a whole, up for the greatest financial crisis since the 1930s. He also lays out the steps that must be taken to contain the crisis, and turn around a world economy sliding into a deep recession. Brilliantly crafted in Krugman's trademark style--lucid, lively, and supremely informed--this new edition of The Return of Depression Economics will become an instant cornerstone of the debate over how to respond to the crisis.

About the Author

Paul Krugman is the recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics. He writes a twice-weekly op-ed column for the New York Times and a blog named for his 2007 book, The Conscience of Liberal. He teaches economics at Princeton University.
This is how Paul Krugman comment about Phil Gramm before the Lehman brother bankruptcy . The date was September 15 2008

The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition

The Official guide book from the GMAT exam designer.
Contain with both math and verbal sections.
Including the essay writings.

The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 12th Edition is the only book on the market written by the creators of the GMAT exam. Inside you’ll find more than 800 actual GMAT questions from previous tests with answers and detailed explanations. There’s also a grammar review, math review, actual essay topics, sample responses, and scoring information insights into the GMAT exam that debunk test-taking myths. Plus, use the diagnostic section to pinpoint your skill level and focus on the areas where you need the most help.

Product Description
A review guide for the GMAT, prepared by the creators of standardized exams, features previously administered exams for practice tests and more.

From the Back Cover

Trust the worldwide bestselling study guide to help you prepare for the GMAT!

Here's what you'll find inside the only book on the market written by the creators of the exam.

More than 800 actual questions from past GMAT tests—300 of which have never before been published
Full answers and detailed explanations for all questions

Grammar review covering concepts tested on the GMAT Verbal section

Comprehensive math review of the topics tested on the GMAT Quantitative section

Actual essay topics, sample responses, and scoring information

Questions organized in order of difficulty to save study time

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East by Kishore Mahbubani

"(S)uccinct, accessible and pointed" and say that "if you want to maintain notions of developed Western hemisphere countries benignly acting in the best interests of the world get a different book. If you are open instead to seeing the world through an Asian lens less sanguine about Western motives, you should find this book highly thought-provoking." Irish Times "This is no dry scholarly tome. It is an anti-Western polemic, designed to wake up Americans and Europeans by making them angry. In that goal it will certainly be successful." Economist"

Product Description

For two centuries Asians have been bystanders in world history, reacting defenselessly to the surges of Western commerce, thought, and power. That era is over. Asia is returning to the center stage it occupied for eighteen centuries before the rise of the West.
By 2050, three of the world’s largest economies will be Asian: China, India, and Japan. In The New Asian Hemisphere, Kishore Mahbubani argues that Western minds need to step outside their “comfort zone” and prepare new mental maps to understand the rise of Asia. The West, he says, must gracefully share power with Asia by giving up its automatic domination of global institutions from the IMF to the World Bank, from the G7 to the UN Security Council. Only then will the new Asian powers reciprocate by becoming responsible stakeholders in a stable world order.

About the Author

Kishore Mahbubani is Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He has had a distinguished diplomatic career and is the author of Can Asians Think? and Beyond the Age of Innocence. In 2005, Foreign Policy magazine included him among the top hundred public intellectuals in the world.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by John Collins Review
Five years ago, Jim Collins asked the question, "Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?" In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last, concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11--including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo--and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn't require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come. --Harry C. Edwards

From Publishers Weekly
In what Collins terms a prequel to the bestseller Built to Last he wrote with Jerry Porras, this worthwhile effort explores the way good organizations can be turned into ones that produce great, sustained results. To find the keys to greatness, Collins's 21-person research team (at his management research firm) read and coded 6,000 articles, generated more than 2,000 pages of interview transcripts and created 384 megabytes of computer data in a five-year project. That Collins is able to distill the findings into a cogent, well-argued and instructive guide is a testament to his writing skills. After establishing a definition of a good-to-great transition that involves a 10-year fallow period followed by 15 years of increased profits, Collins's crew combed through every company that has made the Fortune 500 (approximately 1,400) and found 11 that met their criteria, including Walgreens, Kimberly Clark and Circuit City. At the heart of the findings about these companies' stellar successes is what Collins calls the Hedgehog Concept, a product or service that leads a company to outshine all worldwide competitors, that drives a company's economic engine and that a company is passionate about. While the companies that achieved greatness were all in different industries, each engaged in versions of Collins's strategies. While some of the overall findings are counterintuitive (e.g., the most effective leaders are humble and strong-willed rather than outgoing), many of Collins's perspectives on running a business are amazingly simple and commonsense. This is not to suggest, however, that executives at all levels wouldn't benefit from reading this book; after all, only 11 companies managed to figure out how to change their B grade to an A on their own.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
Collins is coauthor of Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (1994), the widely heralded book that was the result of a six-year research project conducted by Collins and Jerry Porras. They identified 18 companies that met their rigorous standard for long-term performance. They looked for companies that had outperformed the stock market by a factor of 15 starting from 1926. Then they went about the task of identifying what these companies had in common. Now Collins turns his attention to companies that have made the transition from "good to great." This time the findings are backed by five years of research and data analysis. Starting with every company that ever appeared in the Fortune 500, Collins identifies 11 companies that had 15-year cumulative stock returns at or below the general stock market when, after a transition point, they then demonstrated cumulative returns of at least three times the market over the next 15 years. Collins then looked for similarities among the companies. What he found would both surprise and fascinate anyone involved in management. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

One of the top ten business books of 2001 -- Business Week

One of the top ten business books of 2001 (Business Week )

Product Description

The Challenge
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.

The Findings
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.
“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

About the Author
Jim Collins is a student and teacher of enduring great companies -- how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies.Having invested over a decade of research into the topic, Jim has co-authored three books, including the classic Built to Last, a fixture on the Business Week bestseller list for more than five years, generating over 70 printings and translations into 16 languages.His work has been featured in Fortune, The Economist, Business Week, USA Today, Industry Week, Inc., Harvard Business Review and Fast Company.
Driven by a relentless curiosity, Jim began his research and teaching career on the faculty at Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1992.In 1995, he founded a management laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, where he now conducts multi-year research projects and works with executives from the private, public, and social sectors.

Jim has served as a teacher to senior executives and CEOs at corporations that include: Starbucks Coffee, Merck, Patagonia, American General, W.L. Gore, and hundreds more.He has also worked with the non-corporate sector such as the Leadership Network of Churches, Johns Hopkins Medical School, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and The Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Non-Profit Management.

Jim invests a significant portion of his energy in large-scale research projects -- often five or more years in duration -- to develop fundamental insights and then translate those findings into books, articles and lectures.He uses his management laboratory to work directly with executives and to develop practical tools for applying the concepts that flow from his research.

In addition, Jim is an avid rock climber and has made free ascents of the West Face of El Capitan and the East Face of Washington Column in Yosemite Valley.

This is a good clip of how to portray the concept of this book.
credits to

Saturday, May 23, 2009

How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins

Decline can be avoided.
Decline can be detected.

Decline can be reversed.
Product Description

Amidst the desolate landscape of fallen great companies, Jim Collins began to wonder: How do the mighty fall? Can decline be detected early and avoided? How far can a company fall before the path toward doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can companies reverse course?

In How the Mighty Fall, Collins confronts these questions, offering leaders the well-founded hope that they can learn how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course. Collins' research project--more than four years in duration--uncovered five step-wise stages of decline:

Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success

Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More

Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril

Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation

Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

By understanding these stages of decline, leaders can substantially reduce their chances of falling all the way to the bottom.

Great companies can stumble, badly, and recover.

Every institution, no matter how great, is vulnerable to decline. There is no law of nature that the most powerful will inevitably remain at the top. Anyone can fall and most eventually do. But, as Collins' research emphasizes, some companies do indeed recover--in some cases, coming back even stronger--even after having crashed into the depths of Stage 4.

Decline, it turns out, is largely self-inflicted, and the path to recovery lies largely within our own hands. We are not imprisoned by our circumstances, our history, or even our staggering defeats along the way. As long as we never get entirely knocked out of the game, hope always remains. The mighty can fall, but they can often rise again.

About the Author
Jim Collins is a student of companies--great ones, good ones, weak ones, failed ones--from young start-ups to venerable sesquicentenarians. The author of the national bestseller Good to Great and coauthor of Built to Last, he serves as a teacher to leaders throughout the corporate and social sectors. His work has been featured in Fortune, BusinessWeek, The Economist, USA Today, and Harvard Business Review.

Prisoner of the State: The Secret Journal of Premier Zhao Ziyang

Product Description
“Zhao may be more dangerous in death than he was in life.” —Time

How often can you peek behind the curtains of one of the most secretive governments in the world? Prisoner of the State is the first book to give readers a front row seat to the secret inner workings of China’s government. It is the story of Premier Zhao Ziyang, the man who brought liberal change to that nation and who, at the height of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, tried to stop the massacre and was dethroned for his efforts.

When China’s army moved in, killing hundreds of students and other demonstrators, Zhao was placed under house arrest at his home on a quiet alley in Beijing. China’s most promising change agent had been disgraced, along with the policies he stood for. The premier spent the last sixteen years of his life, up until his death in 2005, in seclusion. An occasional detail about his life would slip out: reports of a golf excursion, a photo of his aging visage, a leaked letter to China’s leaders. But China scholars often lamented that Zhao never had his final say.

As it turns out, Zhao did produce a memoir in complete secrecy. He methodically recorded his thoughts and recollections on what had happened behind the scenes during many of modern China’s most critical moments. The tapes he produced were smuggled out of the country and form the basis for Prisoner of the State. In this audio journal, Zhao provides intimate details about the Tiananmen crackdown; he describes the ploys and double crosses China's top leaders use to gain advantage over one another; and he talks of the necessity for China to adopt democracy in order to achieve long-term stability.

The China that Zhao portrays is not some long-lost dynasty. It is today’s China, where the nation’s leaders accept economic freedom but continue to resist political change.

If Zhao had survived—that is, if the hard-line hadn’t prevailed during Tiananmen—he might have been able to steer China’s political system toward more openness and tolerance.

Zhao’s call to begin lifting the Party's control over China's life—to let a little freedom into the public square—is remarkable coming from a man who had once dominated that square. Although Zhao now speaks from the grave in this moving and riveting memoir, his voice has the moral power to make China sit up and listen.

, a political commentator and veteran human rights activist, is a publisher and editor of New Century Press in Hong Kong.

RENEE CHIANG is a publisher and the English editor of New Century Press in Hong Kong. As a teacher in Beijing in 1989, she was an eyewitness to the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

ADI IGNATIUS is an American journalist who covered China for The Wall Street Journal during the Zhao Ziyang era. He most recently served as Time magazine’s deputy managing editor.

ZHAO AT TIANANMEN BEFORE THE MASSACRE “I was trying to persuade them to end the hunger strike . . . I felt it was a waste for these young students to end their lives like this. [The students could not] imagine the treatment in store for them.”

ZHAO ON EVADING HIS JAILERS “After I played at Chang Ping Golf Course, the news was released . . . Both Jiang Zemin and Li Peng became extremely anxious. They condemned the decision and began an investigation to find out who had allowed me to go out to play golf.”

ZHAO ON HOW CHINA MUST CHANGE “Not only should [China] implement a market economy, it must also adopt a parliamentary democracy as its political system.”

Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions

From Publishers Weekly
Harvard Business School professor Kotter
, author of the bestselling Leading Change (1996), teams up with executive Rathgeber to offer his contribution to the "business fable" genre. Kotter presents his framework for an effective corporate change initiative through the tale of a colony of Antarctic penguins facing danger-inspired, perhaps, by today's real-life global warming crisis (or, perhaps, by March of the Penguins' box office). Under the leadership of one particularly astute bird, a small team of penguins with varied personalities and leadership skills implement a thoughtful plan for coaxing the other birds in their colony through a time of necessary but wrenching change. The logic of Kotter's fictional framework is wobbly at times-his characters live and act very much like real penguins except that one carries a briefcase and another ("the Professor") cites articles from scholarly journals-and the whimsical tone will not be to everyone's taste. However, this light, quick read should fulfill its intended purpose: to serve as a springboard for group discussions about corporate culture, group dynamics and the challenges of change.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Penguins illustrate how to conquer changeBy Michelle Archer, for USA TODAY At first glance, Our Iceberg Is Melting seems easy to dismiss as an attempt to fuse a few hot topics — global warming, marching penguins — into a Who Moved My Cheese? fable-as-business-lesson best seller.
But this penguin parable has a pedigree in the form of Harvard Business School's John Kotter, author of Leading Change, the 1996 business guide that also sported our flat-footed, feathered friends on the cover. The Heart of Change was his 2002 follow-up. This time out, Kotter moves the penguins inside, using how a colony of them copes with a potential catastrophe — yes, their iceberg is melting — to illustrate his eight-step process of successful change. Their story is short and peppered with the personalities organizations inevitably include: the naysayers and nitpickers, the innovators and agitators, the leaders and followers. The idea is that everyone in a group must play a role in navigating change. In that vein, Kotter and co-author Holger Rathgeber write that their goal is to use a good story with visual stimuli (full-color, cartoon-like illustrations) to influence a broad range of people to better handle change and produce results. In other words, companies should buy a copy for everyone from the CEO to the stock clerk. This approach paid off for Spencer Johnson of Who Moved My Cheese?, who writes the foreword. Kotter's process advocates quick action to confront issues, group thinking and the buy-in of the whole organization. The goal: replace old habits with new behaviors and make them stick. Whether you're a fan of lowest-common-denominator reading or not, there's no denying the logic behind Kotter's steps and the at-times clever way they are woven into the penguins' journey.

Product Description

Most of the denizens of the Antarctic penguin colony sneer at Fred, the quiet but observant scout who detects worrying signs that their home, an iceberg, is melting. Fred must cleverly convince and enlist key players, such as Louis, the head penguin; Alice, the number two bird; the intractable NoNo the weather expert; and a passle of school-age penguins if he is to save the colony.Their delightfully told journey illuminates in an unforgettable way how to manage the necessary change that surrounds us all. Simple explanatory material following the fable enhances the lasting value of these lessons.Our Iceberg Is Melting is at once charming, accessible and profound; a treat for virtually any reader.

From the Back Cover

"I came across Our ICEBERG IS MELTING in May, ordered and dsitributed 60 copies in June, evaluated its effect on our change effort, and then ordered 500 more copies in September. This is a gem." -- Heidi King, Program Manager, Dept. of Defense "As a result of the book and my sharing it with a few people in the organization, we have moved quickly on several fronts. We are galvanized to go ahead instead of further studying, more organizing and so on. It is making a difference for us." -- Tom Curley, President and CEO, Associated Press "This is the easiest to read yet most informative book I have ever seen. Setting one of management's biggest challenges, 'what problem, I don't see a problem,' in the context of a melting iceberg and a determined penguin, was a stroke of sheer genius."-- Michael Dimelow, Director of Product Marketing, TTP Communications PLC

About the Author

JOHN KOTTER has been on the faculty at Harvard Business School since 1972. He is the author of eleven award-winning titles and frequently gives speeches and seminars at Harvard and around the world. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

HOLGER RATHGEBER spent his early professional career in Asia. He has worked in industry since the early 1990's and is now with one of the leading medical technology companies, Bectom Dickinson. Raised in Frankfurt, Germany, Rathgeber currently resides in White Plains, New York.

You can see the overview of this book by Prof. John Kotter here.

My Remarkable Journey by Larry King

The story of
Larry King, The icon of american televison broadcastings. He has won an Emmy Award, two Peabody Awards and ten Cable ACE Awards.

From Booklist
The greatest softball pitcher of all time lobs a few more, but this time the subject is himself. Although King has written other books, this is as close to a full-scale autobiography as he is likely to come. Although he writes about some of the traumatic events of his life (his father’s death; his heart troubles, both physically and emotionally), he is not much interested in self-examination. Fortunately, the comments at the end of each chapter from King’s family and friends (which he says he won’t read until the book is published) delve a little more deeply into analysis of the talk-show-host’s psyche. No matter what one thinks about King’s interviewing skills, between his radio days and his CNN show, there’s no doubt that he has talked to just about everyone and made friends with more than a few—among them, Al Pacino, who turned up at a restaurant to help King impress his soon-to-be (eighth) wife, and George W. Bush, who spent two hours in the White House talking baseball with his pal, Larry. There’s no explaining the Larry King phenomenon; even King agrees with that. This may be a soufflé, but it’s decorated with stars, and it goes down easily. --Ilene Cooper

"The most remarkable talk-show host on TV ever." (TV Guide )

"Master of the mike" (Time magazine )

"The master interviewer" (Entertainment Weekly )

Product Description
The definitive autobiography of one of the most famous personalities in television history-an intimate, revealing, and riveting memoir that will show a Larry King the world has never known, up close and personal.

Celebrated as "the most remarkable talk-show host on TV ever" by TV Guide and "master of the mike" by Time magazine, for a half-century the world's most influential figures have been telling their story to Larry King. Now the man in suspenders shares his riveting and inspiring story, from his humble roots in Depression-era Brooklyn to the heights of celebrity as host of CNN's Larry King Live.

Before he befriended presidents and iconic entertainers, Larry grew up on the streets of Brooklyn, where he was known to friends as "Zeke the Greek the Mouthpiece" because he never stopped talking. Larry delves deeply into his extraordinary personal odyssey, beginning with the loss of his father at age nine. He has lost jobs, had a three-pack-a-day smoking habit, been down to his last $2 when he won an $8,000 trifecta at the racetrack, had a heart attack and quintuple bypass surgery, quit smoking, founded a heart foundation that has raised millions and assisted thousands, and now, at the age of seventy-five, has recently gotten thrown out of a Little League game for arguing a call in defense of his nine-year-old son.

Filled with delightfully evocative personal anecdotes and behind-the-scenes observations on some of our most important world figures, What Am I Doing Here? will be devoured by Larry King's millions of fans worldwide.

About the Author
LARRY KING is the host of CNN's Larry King Live
, the first worldwide phone-in television talk show and the network's highest-rated program. The Emmy-winning King has been dubbed "the most remarkable talk-show host on TV ever" (TV Guide) and "master of the mike" (Time). King also founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation, which has raised millions of dollars and provided lifesaving cardiac procedures for nearly sixty needy children and adults.

How Rome Fell Death of a Superpower by Adrian Goldsworthy

Published by : Yale University Press
With Amazon best of May 2009. Review
Amazon Best of the Month, May 2009:
Adrian Goldsworthy's Caesar: Life of a Colossus was a masterly fusion of vivid historical biography and scholarly detail, an impeccably researched work that also succeeded as a compelling read. With How Rome Fell, Goldsworthy's eye turns to the forces that ultimately destroyed the Roman Empire, challenging the traditional assumption that Rome was sacked by ultimately irrepressible foreign armies. Goldsworthy asserts that Rome's foes in the death throes of empire weren't any more formidable than those at its peak, but that the cutthroat nature of its political system fractured and diverted forces better spent maintaining the integrity of provincial borders--it was civil war and paranoia that destroyed the empire from within. Drawing parallels to modern societies might be tempting, but Goldsworthy is interested in Rome and resists foreboding or moralistic tones--even making a point of acknowledging the different dynamics that drive the rise and fall current powers. In just over 400 pages, How Rome Fell speeds the both the casual and Rome-savvy reader through 400 years of tumultuous and world-changing history--it's a worthy successor to the triumph of Caesar.--Jon Foro

Product Description

In AD 200, the Roman Empire seemed unassailable. Its vast territory accounted for most of the known world. By the end of the fifth century, Roman rule had vanished in western Europe and much of northern Africa, and only a shrunken Eastern Empire remained. What accounts for this improbable decline? Here, Adrian Goldsworthy applies the scholarship, perspective, and narrative skill that defined his monumental Caesar to address perhaps the greatest of all historical questions—how Rome fell.

It was a period of remarkable personalities, from the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius to emperors like Diocletian, who portrayed themselves as tough, even brutal, soldiers. It was a time of revolutionary ideas, especially in religion, as Christianity went from persecuted sect to the religion of state and emperors. Goldsworthy pays particular attention to the willingness of Roman soldiers to fight and kill each other. Ultimately, this is the story of how an empire without a serious rival rotted from within, its rulers and institutions putting short-term ambition and personal survival over the wider good of the state.

How Rome Fell is a brilliant successor to Goldsworthy's "monumental" (The Atlantic) Caesar.

About the Author

Adrian Goldsworthy is the author of many books about the ancient world including Caesar, The Roman Army at War, and In the Name of Rome. He lectures widely and consults on historical documentaries produced by the History Channel, National Geographic, and the BBC. He lives in Wales.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Deal Breaker (Myron Bolitar) by Harlan Coben

One chapter of The famous serie of Myron Bolitar
from Edgar Award winner : Harlan Coben


"A mystery thriller with all the right stuff, intrigue, suspense, romance and humor...Coben keeps you in suspense from beginning to end."—The Newark Tribune

"Like fellow wise-cracking P.I.'s Spenser and Elvis Cole, Myron Bolitar is great fun in the best hard-boiled tradition."—Houston Chronicle

Product Description
Sports agent Myron Bolitar is poised on the edge of the big time. So is Christian Steele, a rookie quarterback and Myron's prized client. But when Christian gets a phone call from a former girlfriend, a woman who everyone, including the police, believes is dead, the deal starts to go sour. Trying to unravel the truth about a family's tragedy, a woman's secret, and a man's lies, Myron is up against the dark side of his business--where image and talent make you rich, but the truth can get you killed.

In novels that crackle with wit and suspense, Edgar Award winner Harlan Coben has created one of the most fascinating and complex heroes in suspense fiction--Myron Bolitar--a hotheaded, tenderhearted sports agent who grows more and more engaging and unpredictable with each page-turning appearance.

From the Inside Flap
Sports agent Myron Bolitar is poised on the edge of the big time. So is Christian Steele, a rookie quarterback and Myron's prized client. But when Christian gets a phone call from a former girlfriend, a woman who everyone, including the police, believes is dead, the deal starts to go sour. Trying to unravel the truth about a family's tragedy, a woman's secret, and a man's lies, Myron is up against the dark side of his business--where image and talent make you rich, but the truth can get you killed.

In novels that crackle with wit and suspense, Edgar Award winner Harlan Coben has created one of the most fascinating and complex heroes in suspense fiction--Myron Bolitar--a hotheaded, tenderhearted sports agent who grows more and more engaging and unpredictable with each page-turning appearance.

About the Author
Harlan Coben is the winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony awards. His critically acclaimed novels have been published in thirty-three languages around the world and have been number one bestsellers in more than half a dozen countries. In addition to the Myron Bolitar series (Deal Breaker, Drop Shot, Fade Away, Back Spin, One False Move, The Final Detail, Darkest Fear, and the upcoming Promise Me), he is also the author of Tell No One, Gone for Good, Innocent, The Woods, and Hold Tight.

Paul Newman: A Life

Paul Newman ( 1925-2008)
Age 83
The story of legendary American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and auto racing enthusiast

From The Washington Post's Book World/ Reviewed by Ann Hornaday
Those eyes. Who wouldn't have had a charmed life with the endowment of such preternatural baby blues? And the metabolism of a 15-year-old boy, the superb physical coordination, the well-adjusted childhood and the series of fortunate breaks? Even the beneficiary himself had a name for it: "Newman's Luck." From the moment he was born, into a secure and stable Cleveland family in 1925, until he died at age 83 last September, Paul Newman personified that combination of congenital superiority, entitlement, modesty and beneficence that defined his era's most cherished ideals about America itself. For decades, he was probably the single best reason to go to the movies, from "Somebody Up There Likes Me" to "The Road to Perdition" (and let's not forget his gruff valedictory providing voice talent in the animated movie "Cars"). Newman embodied the Platonic ideal of the Hollywood movie star, combining heart-stopping good looks with genuine talent, and working continually at his craft when he could easily have coasted. But he found meaning in life far away from the screen: in Connecticut with his wife and six kids, on the racetrack, at camps he founded for terminally ill children and, relatively late in life, in a salad-dressing business that started as a lark but winded up being -- what else? -- stupendously successful. He was, in short, one hell of a guy. And Shawn Levy's absorbing, affectionate portrait manages to bring him back to us, if only cursorily. As Levy, a film critic for the Portland Oregonian, readily admits in the book's acknowledgments, he never spoke with Newman. He was forced to make do with interviews Newman had conducted with other reporters over the years, rearranging them in chronological order and constructing a grand unified narrative in the actor's own voice. Combining that with his own reporting and interjecting his own critical analyses of Newman's screen persona, Levy has respectfully and respectably summed up Newman as a man in full. By his own lights, that man was blessed with unusual good fortune. But occasionally even Newman's Luck gave out. Levy reminds readers that Newman's long and loving marriage to Joanne Woodward was the result of an affair during his first marriage, which had produced three children. (Even his marriage to Woodward endured at least one unbecoming instance of Newman's infidelity.) He had a difficult relationship with his only son, Scott, who in 1978 died of an accidental drug overdose. And, in what will perhaps come as the biggest surprise to readers, Newman himself was a devoted drinker. Although he eventually gave up the hard stuff, he continued to pound down several beers a day, somehow never developing the gut to show for it. That, pretty much, covers the bad news. The rest of "Paul Newman: A Life" reads as a virtually uninterrupted series of golden moments and gallantry. Fans of Newman's screen work may want to skip Levy's detailed chronicle of his subject's car-racing career in places like Atlanta and Daytona and Lime Rock, Conn., just as readers interested in his political activism -- which encompassed campaigns for Eugene McCarthy, Pete McCloskey and Ned Lamont -- may not especially care about whom he was up against each of the 10 times he was nominated for an Oscar. (He finally won in 1987, for "The Color of Money.") If the book occasionally feels rote in its retelling of Newman's accomplishments, it still presents a dutifully comprehensive record that, put together in one place, qualifies as astonishing in its consistency and level of achievement. Levy is most astute when he steps back to consider how Newman continually deployed his screen image to subvert his native appeal. As Fast Eddie Felson, Chance Wayne and Hud Bannon, he came to represent the youthful rebelliousness and anti-authoritarianism that the 1960s were all about. "The twist was that Newman played not kids but grown-ups," Levy writes, "more specifically, grown-ups who hadn't yet outgrown juvenile impulses, urges, and flaws and might never do so." Much later, in films like "The Verdict" and "Nobody's Fool," he played rough when he could have settled into a far more unthreatening dotage in more anodyne fare. It's tempting to think that Newman's Luck was just that: his alone, unattainable for mere mortals. But "Paul Newman: A Life" leaves readers with a surprisingly cheering and inspiring message. If the rest of us can't aspire to having Newman's life, we can at least take inspiration from the way he lived his. We can play the cards we're dealt -- with guts, grace and generosity.
Copyright 2009, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

From Booklist
As many diverse roles as Paul Newman played on the silver screen, he occupied nearly as many roles in his real life. Levy, in this for-the-record biography, shows us Newman as the hungry New York actor, the guilt-ridden divorcé, the matinee idol, the grieving father, the business philanthropist—and many more. Newman thought of himself as essentially two people: the public actor and the private man. Levy shows us that, in fact, Newman had many different identities within those two primary delineations. As the public performer, he was a consummate professional (and, of course, glamorous beyond compare). In this context, he wore not only the hat of leading man but also those of director, fund-raiser, promoter, and stage performer. In his private life, Newman proved just as supple, inhabiting the roles of loyal son and brother, supportive husband (to actress Joanne Woodward) and responsible provider for his six children. But he had his faults. Levy delicately documents Newman’s extramarital dalliances as well as his fatherly failings. Ultimately, the author reveals how Newman was able to blend his many components and become a man of great integrity who was successful at almost everything he tried—including his charitable pursuits. Levy’s representation of the many Newmans will leave readers feeling that they have somehow slipped through the security gate and gotten to know a movie star who was famously guarded about his private life. --Jerry Eberle

Praise for Paul Newman

“Shawn Levy’s absorbing, affectionate portrait manages to bring [Newman] back to us…. PAUL NEWMAN: A LIFE leaves readers with a suprisingly cheering message. If the rest of us can’t aspire to having Newman’s life, we can at least take inspiration from the way he lived his. We can play the cards we’re dealt–with guts, grace and generosity.”
—The Washington Post

“A graceful tribute to a one-of-a-kind man.”
—Seattle Times

“A rich, serious, yet thoroughly readable biography of a major American movie icon….Fascinating.”
—Portland Oregonian

“[A] very readable accounting of Newman’s life. Levy reveals the chinks…while still deeply appreciating the man.”
—People (featured review, 3 ½ stars)

“[R]ichly researched….Shawn Levy, a film critic at Portland's Oregonian, has done his homework....Being able to bask in Newman's Own insights is enough to bring this one-of-a-kind star back to life, however briefly. And to miss him terribly again when the final page is turned.”
—USA Today

“An illuminating look at one of the true greats, full of humor and intelligent analysis–highly recommended.”
—Kirkus, starred review

“Levy’s unique representation…will leave readers feeling that they have somehow slipped through the security gate and gotten to know a movie star who was famously guarded about his private life.”

“Respectful, thoroughgoing….Levy doesn’t’ shy from discussing Newman’s shortcomings as a father and husband, yet he leaves a glowing assessment of this legend’s career.”
—Publishers Weekly

Praise for Shawn Levy

The Last Playboy
“[Levy is] a bulldog researcher, and many of his judgments are entertaining, informative book.”
—Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

Ready, Steady, Go!
“Nimble and exciting . . . Levy’s writing is more smashing than an Austin Powers movie.”
—Entertainment Weekly

Rat Pack Confidential
“An excellent book, not only in its depictions of the Pack’s carryings-on but in its portrayal of the dark turns each life took.”
—Boston Sunday Globe

Product Description
Paul Newman, the Oscar-winning actor with the legendary blue eyes, achieved superstar status by playing charismatic renegades, broken heroes, and winsome antiheroes in such revered films as The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Verdict, The Color of Money, and Nobody’s Fool. But Newman was also an oddity in Hollywood: the rare box-office titan who cared about the craft of acting, the sexy leading man known for the staying power of his marriage, and the humble celebrity who made philanthropy his calling card long before it was cool.

The son of a successful entrepreneur, Newman grew up in a prosperous Cleveland suburb. Despite fears that he would fail to live up to his father’s expectations, Newman bypassed the family sporting goods business to pursue an acting career. After struggling as a theater and television actor, Newman saw his star rise in a tragic twist of fate, landing the role of boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me when James Dean was killed in a car accident. Though he would joke about instances of “Newman’s luck” throughout his career, he refused to coast on his stunning boyish looks and impish charm. Part of the original Actors Studio generation, Newman demanded a high level of rigor and clarity from every project. The artistic battles that nearly derailed his early movie career would pay off handsomely at the box office and earn him critical acclaim.

He applied that tenacity to every endeavor both on and off the set. The outspoken Newman used his celebrity to call attention to political causes dear to his heart, including civil rights and nuclear proliferation. Taking up auto racing in midlife, Newman became the oldest driver to ever win a major professional auto race. A food enthusiast who would dress his own salads in restaurants, he launched the Newman’s Own brand dedicated to fresh ingredients, a nonprofit juggernaut that has generated more than $250 million for charity.

In Paul Newman: A Life, film critic and pop culture historian Shawn Levy gives readers the ultimate behind-the-scenes examination of the actor’s life, from his merry pranks on the set to his lasting romance with Joanne Woodward to the devastating impact of his son’s death from a drug overdose. This definitive biography is a fascinating portrait of an extraordinarily gifted man who gave back as much as he got out of life and just happened to be one of the most celebrated movie stars of the twentieth century.

About the Author
SHAWN LEVY is the film critic for The Oregonian and the author of The Last Playboy, Ready, Steady, Go!, Rat Pack Confidential, and King of Comedy. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and three children.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions that Will Help You See It and Seize It

Product Description

What's the difference between a dreamer and someone who achieves a dream? According to best-selling author Dr. John Maxwell, the answer lies in answering ten powerful, yet straightforward, questions. Whether you've lost sight of an old dream or you are searching for a new one within you, Put Your Dream to the Test provides a step-by-step action plan that you can start using today to see, own, and reach your dream. Dr. Maxwell draws on his forty years of mentoring experience to expertly guide you through the ten questions required of every successful dreamer:

· The Ownership Question

· The Clarity Question

· The Reality Question

· The Passion Question

The Pathway Question

· The People Question

The Cost Question

· The Tenacity Question

· The Fulfillment Question

· The Significance Question

More importantly, Dr. Maxwell helps you to create the right answers, giving you principles and tips to so you can make good decisions and maximize every moment to achieve your dream.

Don't leave your dream to chance. This book is a must-have and can make the difference between failure and success.

About the Author
John C. Maxwell
is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP and INJOY Stewardship Services.

On Competition by Michael E. Porter

The orginal ideas
The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy
What Is Strategy?
Green and Competitive: Ending the Stalemate
The Competitive Advantage of the Inner City
From Competitive Advantage to Corporate Strategy
The new ideas
Philanthropy’s New Agenda: Creating Value
The Competitive Advantage of Corporate Philanthropy
The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility
Strategy and the Internet
Seven Surprises for New CEOs

A highly respected academic and authority on strategy and competition, Porter draws together his articles on competition, which together provide a rigorous and useful framework for bridging the gap between theory and practice. The book has three sections. The first takes on competitive strategy, evaluating strategies and weaknesses for business, while the second addresses the role of location in competition experienced by government entities. Porter notes that prosperity in both companies and countries depends on the nature of the local environment in which the competition takes place. With an understanding of domestic and international competition, part 3 offers insight into such societal issues as urban poverty, health care, and income inequality. Porter concludes that competition is certain to be evolving, unsettling, and the source of our prosperity. --Booklist's 1998 Review of the original edition

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

Porter is often unconventional and asserts that businessmen must be, too. In his essay "Green and Competitive," he shows little sympathy for businesses that complain about environmental regulations. Rules to protect the environment don't have to strangle companies--they can actually improve productivity with the right attitude and approach. Rhone-Poulenc, a French chemical and drug company, proved this when it stopped incinerating a certain byproduct and began selling it as an additive for dyes and tanning. Readable and provocative, On Competition is vital for business, government, and financial leaders as well as small-business people and investors., by Dan Ring, 1998 Review of the original edition

Twenty years of studying industry performance and competitiveness have convinced Porter, a professor at the Harvard Business School and a noted authority on competition and corporate strategy, that a successful company must not only adopt the best practices available but also differentiate itself from its rivals. In 13 essays, some of which have appeared elsewhere, Porter elegantly lays out a sophisticated analytical framework for assessing the challenges firms face in today's business environment. Although Porter offers no magic formula for success, as a starting point for developing a long-term strategy, he does recommend close scrutiny of "factor conditions," "demand conditions," other competing and supporting industries and existing strategies and structures. Porter shows how companies have bested international competitors by forging integrated global strategies, operating with a long-term outlook, investing aggressively and managing factories carefully. He has also come to see the growing importance of geographical location to specific companies and celebrates the benefits of clustersAsystems of interconnected firms and institutionsAfor increased productivity and innovation. On the societal level, Porter's work, with its emphasis on long-term planning, brings a welcome new perspective to perennially thorny policy issues such as environmental protection, inner-city development and universal access to health care. While this book requires a serious investment of time and effort, its expert dissection of a very complex phenomenon is worth it. Line drawings throughout.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --Publishers Weekly's 1998 Review of the original edition

Product Description

For the past two decades, Michael Porter's work has towered over the field of competitive strategy. On Competition, Updated Edition brings together more than a dozen of Porter's landmark articles from the Harvard Business Review. Five are new to this edition, including the 2008 update to his classic "The Five Competitive Forces That Shape Strategy," as well as new work on health care, philanthropy, corporate social responsibility, and CEO leadership.

This collection captures Porter's unique ability to bridge theory and practice. Each of the articles has not only shaped thinking, but also redefined the work of practitioners in its respective field. In an insightful new introduction, Porter relates each article to the whole of his thinking about competition and value creation, and traces how that thinking has deepened over time.

This collection is organized by topic, allowing the reader easy access to the wide range of Porter's work. Parts I and II present the frameworks for which Porter is best known frameworks that address how companies, as well as nations and regions, gain and sustain competitive advantage. Part III shows how strategic thinking can address society's most pressing challenges, from environmental sustainability to improving health-care delivery. Part IV explores how both nonprofits and corporations can create value for society more effeapplying strategy principles to philanthropy. Part V explores the link between Strategy and Leadership


Michael E. Porter is the C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. He is the author of many influential books on competition and strategy, including The Competitive Advantage of Nations, Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance, and Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

Let's study the history of how small group of people decision impact
the world economic in 1920s, the era of great depression.

From The Washington Post
The Washington Post's Book World/ Reviewed by Frank Ahrens

From the 1870s to 1914, the world's developed nations basked in a shimmering age of commerce. The European powers were at peace. Goods flowed home from colonies. The newly reunited United States was growing into muscular adolescence. And all of the world's major economies rested on a seemingly solid base: the gold standard.

But it proved to be a system in a snow globe, easily shattered. World War I broke the idyll and unhooked country after country from dependence on gold. They resorted to printing money to fund the war, leading to massive inflation, unemployment, political instability and general suffering across the Continent.

It's no wonder, then, that after the signing of the armistice in 1918 the world's four most powerful bankers -- a fraternity described in newspapers of the time as "the world's most exclusive club" -- did everything they could to force nations back to the discipline of the gold standard.

It was a ruinous decision. as Liaquat Ahamed notes in Lords of Finance, all the gold mined in history up to 1914 "was barely enough to fill a modest two-story town house." There simply was not enough of it to fund a global conflict or to allow economic recovery afterward.

Ahamed's illuminating and enjoyable book focuses on the four men whose arrogance and obstinacy, he contends, caused the worst depression in modern times: Benjamin Strong Jr., the morphine-using, consumptive governor of the New York Federal Reserve; Montagu Norman, the spiritual seeker at the helm of the Bank of England; Emile Moreau, the xenophobic governor of the Banc de France; and Hjalmer Schacht, the president of Germany's Reichsbank, a Prussian by temperament, if not by birth, whose sensibilities led to a flirtation with the Nazis.

They were the most important central bankers in their respective nations when those four countries controlled most of the world's wealth and one -- England -- was its unrivaled lender. It was a time, almost unrecognizable to us, when the central banks that printed each nation's currency were privately owned, and regulation was unheard of. As a consequence, this handful of men -- who knew each other intimately enough that one was godfather to another's son -- could wield a coordinated, long-lasting and terrible impact on the global economy.

The gold standard's role in the worldwide depression of the 1930s has been probed before, notably in Barry J. Eichengreen's scholarly Golden Fetters (1992). But Ahamed -- a hedge fund adviser, a World Bank veteran and a supple writer -- personalizes the story, exploring how insular relationships led to bad choices. Strong and Norman, for instance, became friends and gained each other's trust through lengthy correspondence. Strong used his influence to secure a loan for England, then prodded Norman to put England back on the gold standard. Norman, in turn, persuaded Strong to push down U.S. interest rates, helping to create the stock bubble that eventually burst in October 1929. When Strong died in 1928, his replacement became Norman's thrall and fell in lock-step with the emphasis on gold, extending the economic agony.

Meanwhile, the unchecked concentration of power in one banker's hands was also roiling Germany. In 1924, Schacht went bizarrely off the farm and attacked his government, releasing public statements accusing the state of losing control of its finances and saying that Germany was too broke to pay additional war reparations. While Schacht partly spoke the truth, his freelancing undermined already shaky public confidence. Later, he sabotaged a loan his nation tried to secure in New York, nearly bringing down the government.

Ahamed damns the dead, placing blame at the feet of men largely lost to history. The risk in writing about forgotten men, however, is that they might not have been interesting enough to be remembered. Lords Of Finance unearths some gossipy details: Norman, for example, was a salad-bar spiritualist who tried a little of this, a little of that (including Theosophy and autosuggestion) and once told colleagues he could walk through walls. But quirky does not equal memorable. These four bankers are about as compelling to us as, say, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson may be to readers a century from now. My guess is that readers in 2109 will instead remember Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, just as we still know J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller.

Rather than splendid personalities, this book's real advantage is timeliness. Parallels to today's global financial collapse come with regularity throughout, sometimes causing spit-take laughs, sometimes shudders. Heading into the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, one pugnacious English banker proposed forcing Germany to pay reparations of $100 billion, eight times its pre-war gross domestic product. He said he came up with the figure "between a Saturday and a Monday" -- which sounds a lot like the three-page request for $700 billion Paulson whipped up one weekend in September and sprang on Congress.

Until last year, few believed anything would stop U.S. homes from going up in value 10 percent every year. That is, until the sub-prime mortgage crisis exploded. Likewise, in the prosperous and interdependent Europe of 100 years ago, war was considered unthinkable because it would destroy all. By 1917, an entire generation of young male university graduates was dead. And, frankly, the brainpower needed for forward-thinking was lacking. European bankers of the time carried a cavalier ignorance of economics, and that goes double for America's first Federal Reserve directors. The science of monetary policy was still in its infancy, and no one could have expected four dreary bankers to turn suddenly into brilliant, ahead-of-their-time economists.

That role should have fallen to John Maynard Keynes, one of the few heroes of Ahamed's book. Keynes called the gold standard a "barbarous relic" and clearly explained its limits; in 1925, he accused the British banking elite of "attacking the problems of the post-war world with unmodified pre-war views and ideas." But despite being a well-known Cambridge don, Keynes was an outsider, not a member of the world's most exclusive club, and those in power largely ignored his warnings.

Looking at the events of the 1920s and 1930s, one wonders: Could a modern confluence of catastrophes cause another global depression? No major power is likely to return to the gold standard, so that risk is off the table. But is there a comparable systemic problem today, something we refuse to see? Ahamed thinks we're plain lucky that recent financial crises -- in Mexico in 1994, Asia and Russia in 1997-98, the United States beginning in 2007 -- "have conveniently struck one by one, with decent intervals in between." After reading his bracing book, one can only hope that our economy is in the hands of decision makers who are more numerous, less powerful or much wiser than in the past.

Copyright 2009, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine
Almost all critics praised Lords of Finance for its command of economic history and engaging, lucid prose. Ahamed, noted the New York Times, illuminates wise parallels between the misplaced confidence that spawned the global depression in the 1930s and the illusory calculations of risk that led to the current financial crisis. His compelling biographies also personalize economic history. While critics disagreed about whether lay readers will, in a century's time, care about Norman, Moreau, and Schact, the only negative words came from the Wall Street Journal, which criticized Lords of Finance for an imprecise understanding of the gold standard: "Harrumphing about the ‘gold standard,' Mr. Ahamed reminds me of the fellow who condemned ‘painting' because he had no use for Andy Warhol."
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC

“Ahamed cannot have foreseen how timely his book would be. Unlike most works on the origins of the Great Depression, Lords of Finance is highly readable – enlivened by vivid biographical detail but soundly based on the literature. That it should appear now, as history threatens to repeat itself, compounds its appeal.”
— Niall Ferguson, Financial Times

“Erudite, entertaining macroeconomic history of the lead-up to the Great Depression as seen through the careers of the West’s principal bankers…Spellbinding, insightful and, perhaps most important, timely.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Product Description
With penetrating insights for today, this vital history of the world economic collapse of the late 1920s offers unforgettable portraits of the four men whose personal and professional actions as heads of their respective central banks changed the course of the twentieth century

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person’s or government’s control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions taken by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades.

In Lords of Finance, we meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, the xenophobic and suspicious Émile Moreau of the Banque de France, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose façade of energy and drive masked a deeply wounded and overburdened man. After the First World War, these central bankers attempted to reconstruct the world of international finance. Despite their differences, they were united by a common fear—that the greatest threat to capitalism was inflation— and by a common vision that the solution was to turn back the clock and return the world to the gold standard.

For a brief period in the mid-1920s they appeared to have succeeded. The world’s currencies were stabilized and capital began flowing freely across the globe. But beneath the veneer of boom-town prosperity, cracks started to appear in the financial system. The gold standard that all had believed would provide an umbrella of stability proved to be a straitjacket, and the world economy began that terrible downward spiral known as the Great Depression.

As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, the Great Depression and the year 1929 remain the benchmark for true financial mayhem. Offering a new understanding of the global nature of financial crises, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, of their fallibility, and of the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

About the Author
Liaquat Ahamed has been a professional investment manager for twenty-five years. He has worked at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., and the New York-based partnership of Fischer Francis Trees and Watts, where he served as chief executive. He is currently an adviser to several hedge fund groups, including the Rock Creek Group and the Rohatyn Group, is a director of Aspen Insurance Co., and is on the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution. He has degrees in economics from Harvard and Cambridge universities.