News at Smith

Third Annual Top 10 Summer Reading List for Business Leaders

Jun 15, 2006


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

  The 360 Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization (2006), by John C. Maxwell, helps individuals understand how you don't have to be at the top of an organization to lead, says Dr. Joyce E. A. Russell, Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow. "In fact, Maxwell talks about the unique challenges that leaders in the middle of an organization face and how to overcome those challenges. The book has really useful insights and strategies for becoming a more effective leader." Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker and author who has sold over 12 million books.
   Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco (1990), by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar, is an older book, but just as interesting as ever, says Dr. Susan White, Tyser Teaching Fellow. "It's a chronicle of the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco. It's a fascinating look at how Wall Street operated in the heyday of leveraged buyouts." This book arose from the authors' coverage in The Wall Street Journal of the battle for control and eventual leveraged buyout of the RJR Nabisco Corporation for $25 billion in 1988 by KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co). Not up for a 592-page book? Check out the movie (DVD) of the same name with James Garner.
  Bullies, Tyrants and Impossible People: How to Beat Them without Joining Them (2005), by Ronald Shapiro and Mark Jankowski, "is one of the very few books out there that offers strategies for dealing with difficult people to improve negotiations and enhance collaborative relationships," says Dr. Joyce E. A. Russell, Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow. As a follow-up to the successful The Power of Nice (2001), attorneys Shapiro and Jankowski offer up the "NICE" approach to get what you want in business and personal relationships with difficult people in Bullies, Tyrants and Impossible People. NICE: Neutralize your emotions, Identify type, Control the encounter, and Explore options.
  The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits (2004), by C. K. Prahalad, is a very innovative book that argues that the size of the market among the lowest income earners in any country is still very large, says Dr. G. "Anand" Anandalingam, Ralph J. Tyser Professor of Management Science. "Using examples from developing countries Prahalad estimates the 'bottom of the pyramid' to be worth trillions of dollars in terms of consumer goods that businesses can market to and make profits in." This book is also available from as an eBook.
   Freakonomics: A Roque Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (2005), by Steven D. Levitt, University of Chicago economist, andSteven D. Dubner, a New York Times writer, provides numerous entertaining examples illustrating the power of economics in explaining human behavior, says Dr. Martin P. Loeb, professor of accounting and information assurance and a Deloitte & Touche Faculty Fellow. "Levitt and Dubner provide a fresh reminder that economic analysis does not have to be dismal and that such analysis can provide fresh insights into areas one may well have thought were outside the purview of economists," says Loeb. "Managers at all levels can benefit from deepening their understanding of the crucial role of economic incentives in motivating behavior."
   How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization(2005), by Franklin Foer, a New Republic editor, focuses on how examining soccer in different countries helps us understand how international forces affect politics and life around the world. "With globalization continuing to be a fundamental force, and with the World Cup in full swing, Foer's interesting and highly readable book nicely pulls the two together," says Dr. Curtis Grimm, Dean's Professor of Supply Chain and Strategy. "Based on in-depth investigation across the world, Foer explores soccer clubs, history and issues in a series of largely self-contained chapters. The end result provides insight on the degree to which global markets operate, illustrated by the business side of soccer, both effectuating and resisting change."
  An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It (2006), by Al Gore, provides a fairly comprehensive examination of the potential for global climate change using an enormous amount of data and visuals, says Dr. G. "Anand" Anandalingam, Ralph J. Tyser Professor of Management Science. "There is a current documentary film being shown around the world with the same title. Anyone who is concerned about doing business that will continue to sustain our planet should read this book," says Anandalingam. An Inconvenient Truth is former Vice President Al Gores follow-up to the best-seller Earth in the Balance.
  In Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations: A Story of Economic Discovery(2006), David Warsh, an experienced economic journalist and writer, explores recent developments involving the connection between the production and use of knowledge and the rate of economic growth. "In conventional economic analysis the state of knowledge, usually referred to as 'technology,' was taken as a 'given' -- something like the natural climate. By the 1950s, when the impact of technological change was becoming increasingly conspicuous, it came be viewed as an external phenomenon--something like an earthquake or a volcanic eruption--very important, but largely unpredictable and totally uncontrollable," says Dr. Lee E. Preston, professor emeritus. "The new thinking about economic growth, however, presents technological change as a direct output of the economy. Just like any other economic process, inputs of land, labor and capital are used to produce education and research, which then become the engines for technical change and economic growth. This is a process that feeds on itself. The greater the level of output (i.e., growth), the more input is available for the future, resulting in a 'virtuous cycle' of 'increasing returns.' The book is not light reading, but the story moves along at a good pace and provides a close look at the way in which important new ideas are generated and popularized," says Preston.
  One Billion Customers: Lessons from the Front Lines of Doing Business in China (2005), by James McGregor is an interesting book that provides an historical overview of the transformation of China into a modern industrial state as well as some excellent observations and insights into Chinese business practices, says Dr. Howard Frank, dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business. "One Billion Customers provides an excellent guide for anyone interested in understanding how the Chinese do business and navigating the through the Chinese business landscape," says Frank. McGregor, a former The Wall Street Journal China bureau chief, has lived in China for nearly two decades and his book reveals street-smart strategies, tactics and lessons for succeeding in the worlds fastest growing consumer market.
  In River Town - Two Years on the Yangtze (2006), Peter Hessler, at the time a young Peace Corps volunteer, tells of his experience as an English teacher in the late 1990s with the citizens of Fuling, a small town on China's Yangtze River, the political and historical climate, and the feel of the city itself. "With all of the hype and hope of the emergence of China as the next great economic superpower, we must stop to get to know the China that is the foundation of what could be and what will likely come," says Dr. Scott Koerwer, associate dean for professional programs and services. "River Town takes a look at the travels of a Peace Corps volunteer who blazed new trails of his own, immersed himself in a culture few of us will ever know, faced trials and tribulations that all of us who seek an appreciation of China will benefit from knowing."

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.