With the American economy gradually gaining some forward momentum as it recovers from the Great Recession, several spring business titles reflect indications that the economy could be entering a period of sustained growth.
That doesn’t mean, however, that publishers have abandoned books that deal with the serious issues that led to the worst financial crisis since the Depression and its aftermath.
One sign of an improving economy is the fact that companies are trying to be more attuned to the needs of their employees. The “stay interview” has taken hold at some companies, and several books address that topic, including Hello Stay Interviews, Goodbye Talent Loss, by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. Attracting talent is the subject of Work Rules, written by the head of Google’s People Operations, Laszlo Bock, who provides a blueprint for attracting talented employees and making sure they succeed.
New types of businesses have helped the economy grow, and in The Membership Economy, Robbie Kellman Baxter examines the success of “membership” businesses such as Netflix to see which of their practices can be used by other companies.
The spread of technology has inundated consumers with choices, and several books address the “discoverability” issue. Captivology by Ben Parr discusses the “triggers” businesses can use to gain, and retain, the attention of consumers.
Two of the biggest business successes in the past few years have been the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba and the entrepreneur Elon Musk. In Alibaba’s World, Porter Erisman, a former v-p at Alibaba Group, analyzes the company’s success while detailing how founder Jack Ma rose from obscurity to revolutionize e-commerce in China. Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk looks at the life of the founder of two of today’s best-known cutting-edge companies.
With more people poised to start earning more money, a new book warns that money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness. In Measuring Happiness, three economists examine the evolution of happiness research, which has found that average life satisfaction doesn’t seem to depend on income.
Even with an improving economy, unemployment remains high. How government can return more people to the workforce is the subject of Ravi Batra’s End Unemployment Now. The recession and technological advances have made companies in all areas and of all sizes adjust the way they operate, and those changes are the subject of The Great Disruption, by the Economist’s Adrian Wooldridge. One of the next major disruptions that businesses will face is global warming: Climate Shock by Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman discusses how companies need to think about the impact of humans on the environment.
PW’s Top 10: Business & Economics
Alibaba’s World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company Is Changing the Face of Global Business. Porter Erisman. Palgrave Macmillan, May 12
Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention. Ben Parr. HarperOne, Mar. 3
Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet. Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman. Princeton Univ., Feb. 22
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. Ashlee Vance. Ecco, May 19
End Unemployment Now: How to Eliminate Joblessness, Debt, and Poverty Despite Congress. Ravi Batra. Palgrave Macmillan, May 12
The Great Disruption: How Business Is Coping in Turbulent Times. Adrian Wooldridge. PublicAffairs/Economist, Apr. 14
Hello Stay Interviews, Goodbye Talent Loss: A Manager’s Playbook. Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. Berrett-Koehler, June 5
Measuring Happiness: The Economics of Well-Being. Joachim Weimann, Andreas Knabe, and Ronnie Schöb. MIT, Feb. 6
The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue. Robbie Kellman Baxter. McGraw-Hill, Mar. 20
Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead. Laszlo Bock. Hachette/Twelve, Apr. 7
Business & Economics Listings
The Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the Financial Crisis by Darryl Cunningham, intro. by Michael Goodwin (Mar. 31, hardcover, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-4197-1598-3). An in-depth and accessible graphic novel about the current economic crisis, how we got there, and how all roads lead back to Ayn Rand.
A Giant Reborn: Why the US Will Dominate the 21st Century by Johan Van Overtveldt (July 4, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-932841-81-7). In his newest work, leading economic journalist Van Overtveldt argues that the 21st century will be defined by the country currently best set up to succeed: the United States.
Allen & Unwin
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Economics of Just About Everything: The Hidden Reasons for Our Curious Choices and Surprising Successes in Life by Andrew Leigh (Apr. 1, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-74331-471-5). Drawing on examples and data, Leigh shows how economics can be used to illuminate what happens on the sporting field, in the stock market, and at work.
Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System by Philip Kotler (Apr. 15, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-8144-3645-5). Combining economic history, business lessons, and recent data, Kotler examines today’s critical dilemmas and suggests solutions for returning to a healthier, more sustainable capitalism that works for all.
The Stay Interview: A Manager’s Guide to Keeping the Best and Brightest by Richard P. Finnegan (Mar. 18, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-8144-3649-3) introduces managers to a powerful new engagement and retention tool: the stay interview. Companies have begun conducting these periodic reviews in order to discover why their important talent might leave and to solve any problems before they actually quit.
Reach: 40 Black Men Speak on Living, Leading, and Succeeding, edited by Ben Jealous and Trabian Shorters, foreword by Russell Simmons (Feb. 3, paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-4767-9983-4). In this timely collection of personal essays, black men from all walks of life share their inspiring stories and how each, in his own way, became a source of hope for his community and country.
Do the KIND Thing: Think Boundlessly, Work Purposefully, Live Passionately by Daniel Lubetzky (Mar. 31, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-553-39324-8). The founder of KIND Healthy Snacks (known for its not-only-for-profit model) provides an inspiring, narrative guide for improving your business, your life, and the world of those around you.
If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy: How to Win at Work Without Flunking Life by Raj Raghunathan (June 2, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-465-08565-1). Business school professor Raghunathan draws on original research and interviews with leading experts in psychology, business, and behavioral economics to show how the smart-and-successful can learn to be happy.
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford (May 5, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-465-05999-7) offers a stark warning from an artificial-intelligence entrepreneur about what we must do to keep an automated economy from being a massively unjust one.
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Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters (Apr. 28, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-941631-15-7). Wickman, the author of the bestselling Traction, and Winters release a book on an important partnership that can help your business excel.
Hello Stay Interviews, Goodbye Talent Loss: A Manager’s Playbook by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans (June 5, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-62656-347-6). Organizational experts Kaye and
Jordan-Evans share how every manager can use the stay interview to keep their best employees and help them feel energized, engaged, and excited in the workplace.
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Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing That Matters by Linda J. Popky (Mar. 24, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-62956-037-3). With all the new marketing techniques available, consumers are hit by more and more intrusive messages: “noise.” Popky introduces a new model to measure marketing clout, which helps organizations focus on key aspects of their marketing to provide the most significant return on investment.
The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game by Mary Pilon (Feb. 17, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-60819-963-1). The inside story of the world’s most famous board game—a buried piece of American history with an epic controversy that continues today.
Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup by Andrew Zimbalist (Feb. 5, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8157-2651-7). Sports economist Zimbalist traces the path of the Olympic Games and the World Cup from noble sporting events to exhibits of excess, finding no net economic gains for the countries that have played host to either spectacle.
Genealogy of American Finance by Robert E. Wright and Richard Sylla, foreword by Charles M. Royce (Mar. 10, hardcover, $60, ISBN 978-0-231-17026-0). In this illustrated book, readers learn how 50 financial corporations came to dominate the U.S. banking system and their impact on the nation’s political, social, and economic growth.
Triggers: How Behavior Change Begins, How to Make It Meaningful, How to Make It Last by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter (May 19, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-8041-4123-9). One of the world’s foremost executive coaches, Goldsmith examines the emotional and psychological triggers that cause us to react and behave in often inappropriate ways, at work and in life, and shows how to break that cycle and enact meaningful change.
A Higher Standard: Leadership Strategies from America’s First Female Four-Star General by Ann Dunwoody (Apr. 28, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-7382-1779-6). The first woman to become a four-star U.S. Army general shares the leadership principles and life lessons she learned along the way.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance (May 19, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-230123-9) is an authorized look at the extraordinary life of one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting, unpredictable, and ambitious entrepreneurs, the man who started PayPal and whose new companies include the car company Tesla.
Every Town Is a Sports Town: Business Leadership at ESPN, from the Mailroom to the Boardroom by George Bodenheimer, with Don Phillips (May 5, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4555-8609-7). The first-person account of Bodenheimer’s rise from working in the mail room at ESPN to becoming the chairman of the world’s best-known sports network, with revealing inside stories of how he
confronted and resolved key crises along the way.
Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock (Apr. 7, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-4555-5479-9). From the head of Google’s innovative People Operations comes a groundbreaking inquiry into the philosophy of work, and a blueprint for attracting the most spectacular talent to your business and ensuring the best and brightest succeed.
Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money by Nathaniel Popper (May 19, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-236249-0). A New York Times technology and business reporter charts the dramatic rise of Bitcoin and the fascinating personalities who are striving to create a new global money for the Internet age.
The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch (Apr. 14, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-236280-3). The bestselling authors of Winning return with a modern guide for everyone in business today—and tomorrow—that explores the most pressing challenges to creating winning strategies, leading and managing others, and building a thriving career.
Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention by Ben Parr (Mar. 3, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-232419-1). Journalist and entrepreneur Parr explains how and why the mind pays attention to some events or people—and not others—and presents seven captivation triggers, techniques guaranteed to help capture and retain the attention of friends, colleagues, customers, fans, and strangers.
Harvard Business Review
The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance by Jim Whitehurst (June 2, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-62527-527-1). The president and CEO of Red Hat, a revolutionary software
company, tells of his journey from manager and “chief” problem solver to CEO of one of the most open organization environments, and shows others how to apply open source methods.
Inequality: What Can Be Done? by Anthony B. Atkinson (May 11, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-674-50476-9). Inequality and poverty have returned with a vengeance in recent decades and reducing them requires fresh ideas that move beyond taxes on the wealthy. Atkinson offers ambitious new policies in technology, employment, social security, sharing of capital, and taxation, and he defends them against the common arguments for inaction.
Sustainability for a Warming Planet by Humberto Llavador, John E. Roemer, and Joaquim Silvestre (June 8, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-0-674-74409-7). Human-generated greenhouse gas emissions imperil a global resource: a biosphere capable of supporting life. What is the fair way to share this scarce resource across present and future generations and across regions of the world? This study offers a new perspective based on the guiding ethics of sustainability and egalitarianism.
Who Gets What? And Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design by Alvin E. Roth (June 2, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-544-29113-3). A Nobel laureate reveals the often surprising rules that govern a vast array of activities—both mundane and life-changing—in which money may play little or no role.
Holacracy: The New Management System that Redefines Management by Brian J. Robertson (June 2, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-62779-428-2) presents the most exciting new management philosophy since Six Sigma. Unlike Six Sigma and other authoritarian solutions, Holacracy turns everyone into a leader.
Paid Attention: Innovative Advertising for a Digital World by Faris Yakob (Apr. 28, paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-7494-7360-0). Rapid changes in communication technologies shifted the media environment from one of scarcity to one of abundance. Here is a guide to modern advertising ideas: what they are, where they come from and how they are evolving.
The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter (Apr. 10, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-07-184946-3). A renowned health-care professional explains how we can finally achieve the impossible: a health-care system that works for everyone.
The Membership Economy: Find Your Super Users, Master the Forever Transaction, and Build Recurring Revenue by Robbie Kellman Baxter (Mar. 20, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-07-183932-7). The “membership” business models of Netflix, AmEx, and other industry giants are revealed, along with how leaders can use them to launch their own companies to the top of the food chain.
Measuring Happiness: The Economics of Well-Being by Joachim Weimann, Andreas Knabe, and Ronnie Schöb (Feb. 6, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-262-02844-8). Three economists explore the happiness-prosperity connection, investigating how economists measure life satisfaction and well-being, and examining the evolution of happiness research, which found that people’s average life satisfaction didn’t seem to depend on their income.
Hurray for High Gas Prices: 317 Crazy Ideas from the Freakonomics Guys That Just Might Not Be So Crazy by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (May 5, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-06-238532-1) is a compilation of the best blog posts of the past decade from the bestselling authors of the Freakonomics books.
All You Can Pay: How Companies Use Our Data to Empty Our Wallets by Anna Bernasek and D.T. Mongan (May 26, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-56858-474-4). The next application in big data—where companies use your personal information to create custom pricing for goods and services based on what you can and will pay—is coming soon, and will upend free markets and create unprecedented shifts in economic power.
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Out of Sight: The Long and Disturbing Story of Corporations Outsourcing Catastrophe by Erik Loomis (June 2, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-62097-008-9). In the tradition of Naomi Klein comes a powerful new analysis of labor and environmental harm in the age of globalization by an award-winning scholar and public intellectual.
By All Means Necessary: How China’s Resource Quest Is Changing the World by Elizabeth C. Economy and Michael Levi (June 1, paper, $18.95, ISBN 978-0-19-022922-1) is a comprehensive account of the Chinese economy’s explosive growth over the past 25 years from two leading scholars.
Alibaba’s World: How a Remarkable Chinese Company Is Changing the Face of Global Business by Porter Erisman (May 12, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-250-06987-0). A former v-p at Alibaba Group and creator of the documentary Crocodile in the Yangtze analyzes Alibaba’s role as a harbinger of the new global business landscape. Erisman also reveals how Jack Ma rose from obscurity to revolutionize commerce in China, and now the world.
Big Weed: An Entrepreneur’s High-Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business by Christian Hageseth, with Joseph D’Agnese (Apr. 21, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-137-28000-8). Hageseth, the founder and chairman of Green Man Cannabis, describes his quest to build the quintessential marijuana brand in the U.S. He also explores legal marijuana’s full impact on American life and the cultural changes it will continue to bring.
End Unemployment Now: How to Eliminate Joblessness, Debt, and Poverty Despite Congress by Ravi Batra (May 12, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-137-28007-7). Economist Batra presents a reality-based blueprint for ending unemployment quickly by going around an uncooperative Congress. He explains how joblessness can be eliminated in just two years, and how the president and the Federal Reserve can accomplish that.
Gods and Kings: The Rise and Fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano by Dana Thomas (Feb. 10, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-59420-494-4). Journalist Thomas chronicles the unmaking of two pre-eminent fashion designers of their era.
Caring Economics: Conversations on Altruism and Compassion, Between Scientists, Economists, and the Dalai Lama, edited by Tania Singer and Matthieu Ricard, foreword by Dalai Lama (Apr. 7, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-250-06412-7) addresses the need for a more altruistic economy through a collection of internationally renowned scientists and economists in dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet by Gernot Wagner and Martin L. Weitzman (Feb. 22, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-691-15947-8). Demonstrating that climate change can and should be dealt with, and what could happen if we don’t do so, the authors help readers understand that we need to think about climate change as a risk management problem, only on a global scale.
The Globalization of Inequality by François Bourguignon, trans. by Thomas Scott-Railton (Apr. 19, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-691-16052-8). Economist Bourguignon examines the complex and paradoxical links between a vibrant world economy that has raised the living standard of more than half a billion people in emerging nations such as China and India, and the exponentially increasing inequality within countries.
No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends by Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan Woetzel (May 12, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-61039-579-3). The directors of the McKinsey Global Institute, the flagship think tank of the world’s leading consulting firm, analyze key forces that will transform the global economy over the next two decades, and explain what leaders need to do to reset their intuition and take advantage of the disruptions ahead.
Peers Inc.: How the Collaborative Economy Is Creating Radical Prosperity by Robin Chase (June 9, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-61039-554-0). The cofounder of Zipcar illuminates the profound potential of the sharing economy, showing how combining two powerful forces—a business platform (the “Inc”) and the underutilized talents, energy, and creativity of individuals (the “Peers”)—can transform the economy and create a future of prosperity.
The Great Disruption: How Business Is Coping in Turbulent Times by Adrian Wooldridge (Apr. 14, paper, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-61039-507-6) collects Wooldridge’s influential Schumpeter columns in the Economist, addressing the causes and profound consequences of the unprecedented disruption of business over the past five years.
Guide to Intellectual Property: How Companies Can Value and Protect Their Best Ideas by Stephen Johnson (July 14, paper, $18.99, ISBN 978-1-61039-461-1) is a comprehensive business guide to intellectual property: understanding its value and how to protect it.
Simon & Schuster
Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler (Feb. 3, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4767-0956-7). From the coauthors of the bestselling Abundance comes a radical how-to guide for using exponential technologies, moonshot thinking, and crowd-powered tools to create extraordinary wealth while also positively affecting the lives of billions.
The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Tales of Informal Ingenuity by Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips (June 16, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4516-8882-5) argues that lessons in creativity, innovation, salesmanship, and entrepreneurship can come from surprising places: pirates, bootleggers, counterfeiters, hustlers, and others living and working on the margins of business and society.
The Thin Green Line: The Money Secrets of the Super Wealthy by Paul Sullivan (Mar. 10, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4516-8724-8). The “Wealth Matters” columnist of the New York Times reveals the habits, worldviews, and practices that lead to true wealth, and why it’s more important to be “wealthy” than “rich.”
2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World by Stacey Ferreira and Jared Kleinert, foreword by Masters Blake (May 5, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-06761-6). Of the roughly seven billion people on Earth today, approximately two billion are under 20 years old. This book provides a look at 75 people under 20 who have remarkable accomplishments, in fields ranging from business to athletics to music.
People over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful by Dale Partridge, foreword by Blake Mycoskie (May 5, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-7180-2174-0). More corporations are donating a portion of their profit to meaningful causes, and entrepreneurs who want a more responsible marketplace have launched a new breed of “compassionate” business models. People over Profit uncovers the seven core beliefs behind this transformation.
Corporate Welfare: Crony Capitalism That Enriches the Rich by James T. Bennett, foreword by Ralph Nader (June 30, hardcover, $44.95, ISBN 978-1-4128-5598-3). The American government supports big businesses by giving them kickbacks, incentives, or other financial advantages, but taxpayers end up paying for these corporate benefits. Professor Bennett examines some cases of corporate welfare and explores measures to prevent future abuse.
How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century, and the Patient Zero of Piracy by Stephen Witt (June 16, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-525-42661-5) tells the untold story of the music piracy revolution and the man who almost singlehandedly brought down the industry.
Hubris: Why Economists Failed to Predict the Crisis and How to Avoid the Next One by Meghnad Desai (Apr. 28, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-300-21354-6) offers a frank assessment of economists’ blindness before the financial crash in 2007–2008 and what must be done to avert a sequel.