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New Summer Readings for Creative Leaders 2016
Summer 2016 will see a wide range of new books that promise to inform and support those striving to become better creative leaders. The following recommended titles are scheduled for release between May and August.
Jens Beckert, Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics (Harvard University Press, June 7)
How do we – as consumers and creators, investors and economic actors – approach the unknowability of future markets? A sociologist and Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne mounts an original argument that our fictional expectations, collectively-held images, and finally dreams of the future not only guide our forecasts and choices but generate actual economic activity.
Jonah Berger, Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior (Simon & Schuster, June 14)
The Wharton School marketing professor and author of the bestselling study of social transmission and what goes viral, Contagious, has written a new book on how social influence works. The result is a lively, wide-ranging and illuminating exploration of what affects our choices and actions to imitate, embrace, resist or diverge.
Didier Cossin and Ong Boon Hwee, Inspiring Stewardship (Wiley, June 27)
Steward leadership involves safeguarding and enhancing the capability of an organization to create economic and societal value now and into the future. Cossin, on the IMD faculty, and Hwee, a financial consultant, researched some of the world’s most successful stewards, like Rajan Tata, Warren Buffett, and Eiji Toyoda, and explain how they lead with impact across multiple and competing objectives, demands and contexts.
Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby, Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines (HarperBusiness. May 24)
Davenport, the Babson professor and author of Competing on Analytics and Big Data at Work, is among our most incisive guides to data and analytics in contemporary business. His new book, written with the co-author of Standing on the Sun, looks at the potential effects of increasing automation – not to replace human workers but rather to collaborate and augment their productivity and problem-solving capabilities.
Jim Dewald, Achieving Longevity: How Great Firms Prosper through Entrepreneurial Thinking (University of Toronto Press, May 15)
The Dean of the University of Calgary business school explores how entrepreneurial thinking and action can be the foundation of enduring success at existing firms. In particular, he advocates developing a ‘dual-core’ capacity that establishes decision-making and business processes that can better support rapid innovation and adaptability.
Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance (Simon & Schuster, May 3)
More than IQ or genius, the University of Pennsylvania researcher and MacArthur fellow argues that the basis of success – in school, business, sports, life – is a special combination of passion and long-term persistence: ‘grit’. Her much-anticipated book describes how that stamina, as many discovered in her famous TEDTalk, is learnable and can enable peak performance.
David S. Evans and Richard Schmalensee, Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms (Harvard Business Review Press, May 24)
Unlike traditional single-sided business, a crucial part of what multisided platforms (like Apple, Alibaba, Facebook, and Uber) sell is access and connection to different groups of customers. An economist and entrepreneur and the former Dean of the MIT Sloan School plumb the historical roots and future possibilities of such business models and the economics behind them.
Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan, The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them—And They Shape Us (PublicAffairs, June 7)'The authors of the lively and insightful study of how offices really work, The Org, turn to the ways that economic theory and theorists have actually shaped markets and market activity since World War II. Their explanation of transformational marketplaces, like Airbnb, Amazon, Google, and eBay, make clear how revolutionary changes in business and society were first theorized by economists.
James Hurman, The Case for Creativity: Three Decades Evidence of the Link Between Imaginative Marketing and Commercial Success, 2nd ed. (Cannes Lions Publishing, June 20)
One of the world’s top marketing planners takes on the longstanding question of whether advertising effectively contributes to the performance of clients’ businesses and brands. Updating his earlier edition, Hurman incorporates recent developments in data, digital, and social media to argue that creative campaigns and other work can have measurable impact on long-term commercial results.
Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future (Viking, June 7)
The ‘Senior Maverick’ at Wired magazine and author of What Technology Wants offers a fascinating look at the deep trends shaping our technological and social lives. While recognizing specific applications like virtual reality, the on-demand economy, and embedded artificial intelligence, it is his account of deeper forces – accessing, filtering, flowing, remixing, screening, sharing, tracking, questioning – that is especially incisive.
John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber, That's Not How We Do It Here!: A Story about How Organizations Rise and Fall--and Can Rise Again (Portfolio, June 7)
Much like Our Iceberg is Melting, which famously offered a fable of penguins racing to lead change amidst rapidly deteriorating conditions, the world’s most famous change management guru offers a new tale of agility, teamwork and developing fresh solutions. Here, a clan of meerkats in the Kalahari struggle and then succeed with the challenge of combining the efforts of a large, staid, disciplined group and a smaller, more inspiring and informal one.
Barry Libert, Megan Beck and Jerry Wind, The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models (Harvard Business Review Press, June 28)
Based on a nearly ten-year study, this tour-de-force read identifies how digital networks, technology platforms and network-based business models are affecting all industries today. Three Wharton School researchers lay out the key principles shaping these successful ‘network orchestrators’ and also offer a clear five-step process for leaders of organizations wanting to transform their own business models.
M. Pilar Opazo, Appetite for Innovation: Creativity and Change at elBulli
(Columbia University Press, July 12)
The legendary Spanish restaurant elBulli, which closed in 2011, and its iconic chef Ferran Adrià, were renowned for their uncompromising creativity. A Columbia Business School research scholar has written a fascinating organizational and business analysis of the restaurant and, in the process, produced an insightful account of how a culture of innovation can be achieved and sustained.
Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead, and Kevin Maney, Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets (HarperBusiness, June 14)
The founders of a Silicon Valley advisory firm examine the success of ‘category kings’ – those firms, like Amazon, IKEA, Salesforce and Uber, that have generated new ways of thinking and doing business. Rather than introducing disruptive products or even transforming markets, their success emerges from having designed new categories by identifying and solving previously unknown needs or problems.
Arun Sundararajan, The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism (The MIT Press, May 13)
A wide-ranging and rigorous assessment of the varied forces that are increasingly supplanting traditional corporate-centered capitalism and re-organizing economic activity. The NYU Stern school professor uses examples from around the world, from Etsy and Uber to Didi Kuaidi and Ola, to explore the complex economic, political and social issues in play in the far-reaching transitions of work, organizations, and economies.
Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World (Portfolio, May 10)
The prolific author and leading authority on new technologies and media in business, along with the head of a blockchain advisory firm, have produced a well-researched and forward-looking study of the digital currency and the ‘internet of value’ it promises. In particular, they explore how the trust and transactional protocols intrinsic to the technology could provide a secure basis for many other forms of social, informational and economic exchange and interaction.
Todd Zenger, Beyond Competitive Advantage: How to Solve the Puzzle of Sustaining Growth While Creating Value (Harvard Business Review Press, June 14)
Grounded in two decades of analysis, Zenger’s important new study argues that today’s successful strategist needs to develop a ‘corporate theory of value creation’ that can provide ongoing guidance in making more coherent decisions. Such thinking, claims the University of Utah strategy professor, enables leaders to organize and arrange assets and activities to move beyond the goal of competitive advantage toward achieving more sustained value creation.