Tag Archive for harvard business review press

“Six Simple Rules” – A Book Review for a HBR Press Title

If there is one thing that is increasing in the modern working world, this is the entropy. Which has as synonym, among other words, “complexity”. The authors of “Six Simple Rules – How to Manage Complexity Without Getting Complicated” (Yves Morieux and Peter Tollman) have embarked on a journey to do just that. And they accomplished to write a fine book.
Both seniors in the Boston Consulting Group, the authors are seasoned warriors in this “untangling the clients’ businesses” field. This might be just the smallest reason why they embarked on creating a handbook on how to efficiently manage your business from a strategic and de-complexing level. The biggest one is that they seem to be “ideas entrepreneurs” – the kind of persons who see an opportunity to improve things via a new approach or idea – and they just go for it.
And here’s how “Six Simple Rules – How to Manage Complexity Without Getting Complicated” proposes to do: Read more

Book Review – “The First Mile”, by Scott Anthony

The First MileA book about how to transform your innovation ideas into a working machine? Anytime! Especially when it comes from Harvard Business Review Press and it is packed with actionable advice and study cases.

“First Mile”s author (Scott Anthony) is not quite new to the innovation field. As a managing partner at Innosight (a small venture capital and consulting company from Singapore which generates 76,400 hits, quite  a lot for a discrete company), he has seen hundreds of such small companies starting and failing – or succeeding. And objective books by venture capitalists, written out of passion, are quite rare. So I braced myself for a potentially good read.

“The First Mile” is an entrepreneurship book mostly about creating, testing and starting the implementation of your business plan. It is a book oriented towards the first-time or maybe serial antrepreneurs, who want to do other mistakes than their predecessors. As a Harvard Business Review Press book, it has two main advantages: Read more

Book Review – “Big Data @ Work” by Thomas Davenport

It is quite rare that somebody admits they were wrong about a major trend in IT which was overseen in the past. Quite rare. Fortunately, Thomas Davenport is not that kind of person – on the contrary. In the preface of his new book (“Big Data At Work) published by Harvard Business Review Press, he actually admits that he initially dismissed the concept as being just another technology hype. And you can hardly blame him – there are many gurus or specialists or journalists who still think that the “big data” concept represents another form of selling clound and analytical services. Promoted, of course, by the big IT companies who happen to endorse the concept quite actively.

From this perspective, Harvard Business Review Press has done some justice to the hype surrounding the concept. “Big Data at Work” was in a sense a long waited for book – people were maybe familliar with the concepts, but wanted maybe to know more about:

– how big data is implemented and used by various companies (the famous “case study” approach patented by the Harvard Business Review (one of the biggest business case studies publishers in the world by the way); Read more

“Global Dexterity” by Andy Molinski – A Harvard Book Review

When you work in an international environment, it is very easy to forget how complicated is to deal with different cultures. “Global Dexterity – How To Adapt Your Behavior Without Loosing Yourself in the Process” comes to correct this forgetting – before you can do some irreversible damage to your cross-cultural relationships.

As usually, a Harvard Business Review Press book comes with two main strong points:

–          A highly knowledgeable expert author  –  in this case Andy Molinski, a professor specialized in cross-cultural communication and

–          Lots of practical study cases which should illustrate powerfully each demonstrated point.

“Global Dexterity”does not simply state some facts and then demonstrates them – it actually assumes that managing  cross-cultures is a skill which can be taught and developed into a concept of … global dexterity. As such, it offers a meta-framework – namely a conceptual framework which can be applied various cultures and help you adapt quicker and better to the new environment. This is what I actually liked about “Global Dexterity” – you can take it as a light case-study handbook or you can advance and practice the mastery of the new method to new levels. Read more

“Project Management for Profit” by Knight, Thomas and Angus – a Book Review

There are many books for project management on the market nowadays, as this turns into a profession. So why, would you ask, would somebody bother to write one more? The answer is simple – because none is perfect.

This is not to say that “Project Management for Profit” is the perfect book! However, it covers an important existing gap in the market, namely the “get to the practical basics in PM”. “Project Management for Profit” talks about the practical aspects of managing a project under tight deadlines, with multiple stakeholders and quite a few problems. In other words, the book goes for project management as it happens in reality, not in the theory. Read more

“The Devil’s Derivatives” by Nicholas Dunbar – a Financial Book Review

the-devils-derivatives-by-dunbar-courtesy-review-wwwdoitinvestcom Well, this was a treat for me. The book was launched on July 12th in the US, and by a day later it landed on my desk, courtesy of the publishers (Harvard Business Review Press), who by a skillful marketing found out that I like such (financial management) books … and sent me this copy without any request from my side. Nice surprise.
I have read many books about the financial innovation and the crisis (at least 5 in the last year) – this should qualify me not as an expert, but at least as a knowledgeable person.
“The Devil’s Derivatives” is a book about both, so if you expect some stories about the history of the derivatives or a crash course on how to make money late in the night in front of your computer screen – call an expert. “The Devil’s Derivatives” rather illustrates the point of view of an outside historian – thus representing a relatively objective view on how the derivatives world exploded and then imploded in the last years.
“The Devil’s Derivatives” tells the most interesting financial story of our times – how the banks invented new financial products to make more money, how were the worldwide investors lured to buy them and how regulators were seduced by the siren song and adopted lax rules for the derivatives. It is a story of greed and deception, a story of smoke and mirrors in the heart of the world’s financial system.
Nicholas Dunbar is well placed to tell such a story. First of all, he is a well known financial journalist in the UK, and thus he followed the story step by step as it developed. Secondly, by his own account he lived in both London and New York and saw live the banking mentality. From the money splashing of the bonus system to the secrecy of the boardrooms, nothing is missed by “The Devil’s Derivatives”.
At last (but not at least), Dunbar is a physicist by education – thus the assertions that the derivatives are more complex that the quantum physics has finally found a worthy tester. He is actually drawing a very neat comparison between the two fields of science – with interesting results. Read more