Thursday, June 27, 2013


My weekly book post on the s+b blogs is about the Heath brothers' new book, Decisive:

Smarter Executive Decision Making Is Within Reach 
Chip and Dan Heath are back with another book that applies cognitive science to management. In 2007, the brothers—Chip is a business professor at Stanford and Dan  is a senior fellow at Duke’s Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship—had a hit with Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (Random House), which David Hurst reviewed  in s+b’s Summer issue that year. And in 2010, they published Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard (Broadway), which Judith Glaser called out as one of the year’s best business books in s+b. Their new book, Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work (Crown Business), looks just as promising. 
So when the publisher offered me a bit of Dan’s time, I used it to ask him a question: “In writing the new book, what did you guys discover about improving a company’s executive decision making?” Read Dan's answer here...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

American Turnaround

My strategy+business blog post this week is on Ed Whitacre's management memoir:

AT&T from Apples to iPhones

My grandfather repaired switchboards in Manhattan for the Bell system. When he retired in the 1960s, he and my grandmother lit out for the wilds of western New Jersey, where they bought a couple of acres of apple trees and lived quite comfortably on his pension. My great-grandparents, a waiter and an embroiderer, lived on the dividends from the AT&T shares they had purchased through my grandfather’s employee stock plan. Those were the days.
My mother inherited that stock in 2000. A few months later, AT&T announced an 83 percent dividend cut. By 2005, the former blue chip had been written off. “AT&T was a stripped-down long distance company with twenty straight quarters of declining revenue,” recalls Ed Whitacre in his memoir cum management guide, American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA(with Leslie Cauley, Business Plus, 2013). “It was bleeding customers by the thousands, with no way to bring them back…a shell of a company with no future, a crummy balance sheet, and a tarnished brand name.” the rest here

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Story of My People

I've been neglecting my blogging responsibilities lately. Too much work, too little time. But starting last week, part of that work includes a weekly post on business books for the newly launched strategy+business blogs. I'm excited about it: I've been serving as s+b's senior editor for books since 2007, but mostly behind the scenes - managing book reviews and features, and editing a really terrific group of expert freelance reviewers. Now, I get to call out books that catch my eye but might not make it into s+b otherwise, and stick in my own two-cents (one of the great joys of life...just ask any Kinni).

Going forward, I'll keep this blog going in the usual sporadic fashion. I'll also post a teaser of my weekly book post with a link back to the s+b blog. Here's last week's:

Another Facet of Globalization

“Who can say whether there was ever a moment, an hour, a day when we reached the apex of our economic lives, and from that day forth, our dreams became chimeras, our successes privileges, our future an imaginary quantity?”
So begins the climactic chapter of Edoardo Nesi’s Story of My People (Other Press, 2012), an eloquent, emotion-laden, and, I think, essential addition to the globalization bookshelf. Just released last month in the U.S., this slim memoir won the 2011 Strega Prize—the first time a work of nonfiction has received Italy’s most prestigious literary award since it was established in the rest here