News at Smith

Smith School Faculty & Deans Offer 2005 "Top 10 Summer Reading List for Business Leaders"

Jun 15, 2005


Smith School faculty members and deans are excited to recommend some of their favorite business books in this year's "Top 10 Summer Reading List for Business Leaders."

The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times and best-selling author. "The global economic playing field is being leveled," said Friedman in a recent lecture at the Smith School. The lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution have made it possible to do business instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet. Friedman said that when we "stopped paying attention after 9/11" is when this development began to accelerate. Globalization 3.0, as he calls it, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations, but by individuals and small groups from all over the world (but especially in India and China) who can compete and win not just low-wage, but high-end research and design contracts. Professor Ritu Agarwal, Dean's Chair of Information Systems, calls The World is Flat a "must read" and Dean Howard Frank says it should be first on your summer reading list. "Friedman has perfectly articulated the incredible changes taking place before our eyes and that will continue to take place for the next 10 to 15 years," says Frank.  
The Modern Firm by John Roberts, a leading economist and expert on business strategy and organization, was recognized by The Economist as "Best Business Book" for 2004. "Roberts applies recent scholarship in game theory and information economics to key problems in strategy and organizational design and, in particular, the issue of incentives within organizations," saysShreevardhan Lele, MBA academic director and teaching professor of decision sciences at Smith. "It is by far the best non-technical presentation of the economics of organization from one of the leading researchers in this field."  
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time by Jeffrey Sachs."Sachs is well-known for his influential advising on economic reform in countries such as Bolivia, Poland and Russia," says Curt Grimm, Dean's Professor of Supply Chain and Strategy at Smith. "The first part of the book provides Sachs' perspective on the global economy, and a retrospective on economic reform and transition in the countries he advised. The latter half of the book explores the title theme - causes and potential cures for global poverty - drawing extensively on Sachs' work in Africa over the past 10 years. This is a thought-provoking and well-documented treatment of a subject of paramount importance, by an economist who combines impeccable academic credentials with unique first-hand experience."  
Ethics at Work: Creating Virtue In An American Corporation by Daniel Terris, director of the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University. Terris gives an enlightening assessment of the ethics program at Lockheed Martin, one of the world's largest defense contractors. He explains that in America the defense industry has the most developed set of ethics programs of any business sector. Lockheed Martin spends millions of dollars a year on ethics initiatives, employing 65 "ethics officers" and requiring all employees (more than 130,000) to devote at least one hour per year to the consideration of ethical issues. Cherie Scricca, associate dean of masters programs and career management, says, "Understanding the framework that a leading corporation employs to promote and deal with issues of ethics is important for anyone operating in business and industry today. "  
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, columnist for The New Yorker magazine. Blink is about rapid cognition -- the first two seconds of looking, the snap judgment. Building his case with typical scenes from life (a marriage, choking on the golf course, selling cars, etc.), Gladwell asks readers to rely on their "adaptive unconscious" and use this rational intuition to make instant conclusions. Scott Koerwer, associate dean for professional programs and services, says, "How often have you just known deep in your gut something was wrong or right but you resist the impulse, seek more data and end up over complicating a situation and or a decision? Gladwell is on to something here...trusting yourself and your instincts is something that all great leaders understand."  
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell, columnist for The New Yorker magazine. Tor Andreassen, visiting professor of marketing, says that both of Gladwell's books on our list gave him "enormous joy and insight." The Tipping Point is an examination of social epidemics and presents a new way of understanding why change happens as quickly and unexpectedly as it does.  
Winning by Jack Welch, retired CEO of General Electric. "Winning is a great book," says Joyce Russell, teaching professor of management and organization. "It has some excellent tips for effective leadership and managing people." The book describes the management wisdom that Welch built up through four and a half decades of work at GE, as he transformed the company into to a dynamic corporation worth nearly half a trillion dollars. Testimonials on the book come from Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rudy Giuliani, and Tom Brokaw, as well asFortune, Business Week and The Financial Times.  
The One Thing You Need to Know : ... About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success by Marcus Buckingham, social science researcher and business consultant. "It offers many informative career lessons that should be of value to any business person," says Joyce Russell, teaching professor of management and organization. Buckingham describes that single "controlling insights" exist for a whole range of situations and explains what each key concept is for managing, leading, and individual performance. He differentiates leading and managing: "When you want to manage, begin with the person. When you want to lead, begin with the picture of where you are headed."  
Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. "The first of William Gibson's usually futuristic novels to be set in the present, Pattern Recognition is a masterful snapshot of modern consumer culture and hipster esoterica," says Chris Dellarocas, assistant professor of information systems. Set in London, Tokyo, and Moscow, Pattern Recognition takes the reader on a tour of a global village inhabited by power-hungry marketers, industrial saboteurs, high-end hackers, Russian mob bosses, Internet fan-boys, techno archeologists, washed-out spies, cultural documentarians, and the heroine Cayce Pollard--a soothsaying "cool hunter" with an allergy to brand names. Pollard is among a cult-like group of Internet obsessives that strives to find meaning and patterns within a mysterious collection of video moments, merely called "the footage," let loose onto the Internet by an unknown source. Her hobby and work collide when a megalomaniac client hires her to track down whoever is behind the footage. Cayce's quest will take her in and out of harm's way in a high-stakes game that ultimately coincides with her desire to reconcile her father's disappearance during the September 11 attacks in New York. "This book is an entertaining and thought-provoking statement on the impact of globalization, online communities, and buzz marketing on our societies and culture by one of the masters of cyber-punk fiction," says Dellarocas.  
  Also recommended is a new book by Smith School professors:  
Beware the Winner's Curse: Victories That Can Sink You and Your Company by Professors G. Anandalingam and Hank Lucas. "I like this book because it addresses the psychological and market-related factors that may cause a manager to overvalue an asset or an acquisition, thereby being cursed with the undesirable outcome of paying much more than what the asset is worth," says Smith's Senior Associate Dean and Professor Arjang Assad. "In a managerial culture obsessed with winning, this book highlights an important caution. I believe that the analytic framework the authors use to analyze the "winner's curse" is a valuable addition to the mental toolkit of the astute manager. But the real strength of the book is the wealth of illustrations drawn from various business and industry segments that show how the winner curse is a frequent and widespread danger."

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.