Archives For Business

 

Here are a few new book releases from this week that are worth checking out:

(Where possible, we have also tried to include a review/interview related to the book…)

People Over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful

By Dale Partridge

Watch a talk that the author did about this book at Qideas

NEXT BOOK >>>>>

Continue Reading…

 

Mara Einstein - Compassion, Inc.The Moral Life of Corporations

A Review of

Compassion, Inc.: How Corporate America Blurs the Line Between What We Buy, Who We Are, and Those We Help
Mara Einstein.

Hardback: U of California Press, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Amy Gentile.

Have you ever noticed all the “green” products nowadays and been skeptical of whether the companies making those products really care about the environment or are just jumping on the “do good” bandwagon? Have you ever felt uncomfortable with the idea of purchasing products to make a donation, like Product(RED) items, or donations that get you a badge of honor to wear, such as the ubiquitous yellow LIVESTRONG and other rubber bracelets? If so, you will probably enjoy this book; if these questions haven’t ever crossed your mind before now, you should definitely read this book.

Continue Reading…

 

Looking back, perhaps with an eye to the future, Galambos believes “that America needed leaders who could manage the experts and do so in ways that served our national interests and were still consistent with American democratic values.” (219). While he found that “in business, as in government and the nonprofit sector, it took a combination of good leaders and professional expertise to keep an organization efficient as well as innovative” (238), in the end that is not enough. A society does need good leadership, but Galambos would do well to pay more attention to the issue of the character that a society’s narratives produce. The problem and the challenge is not leaders to manage the experts, but the ethos out of which the leaders and their experts operate. The innovative efficiency of experts needs more than a sprinkling of equity, it needs to be shaped by a story that attends to the top and the bottom as well as the middle–it needs community.

Continue Reading...

 

“Christian ‘Realism’ or
a New Reality in Christ”

A Review of

Business for the Common Good:
A Christian Vision for the Marketplace

by Kenman L. Wong and Scott B. Rae
Paperback: IVP Books, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon ] [ Kindle ]

Reviewed by Ragan Sutterfield.

When I was in college we had to go to chapel, a requirement I couldn’t hold to regularly enough to keep me off the college’s “chapel probation” list—an honor roll of philosophy majors, artists, and a good smattering English majors.  One of the chapel speakers who came through was a business man who had graduated from the college and made it big with Goldman Sachs, working in a very senior management position.  He was invited by the college to speak to the students about being a Christian in business and also to spend time with the school’s business and economics majors.  He was also a rather large donor to the college.

One of my friends, an economics major, attended one of this man’s lectures with the Business and Economics department.  It turned out that the particular form of investments this Christian business man headed up for Goldman Sachs involved usury, and so my friend asked him how he squared the biblical prohibition on usury with his business practices.  The man responded that in his personal life he holds to the prohibition.  “So you leave your bible at home when you go to work?” my friend retorted.

Continue Reading…

 

838882: Why Business Matters to God: (And What Still Needs to Be Fixed)

A Review of

Why Business Matters to God:
(And What Still Needs to Be Fixed)


By Jeff Van Duzer
Paperback: IVP Academic, 2010.

Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

Reviewed by Thomas Turner

Too often, a Christian view of business is couched in terms of pros and cons. Jeff Van Duzer, in his theologically saturated business book Why Business Matters to God, reorients the discussion to focus not on the worthiness or ethics of business, but why it matters in the first place.

Building his case for business on a vocational theology defined by the creation story, Van Duzer expands the role of business beyond just being a means to an end for workers and businesspersons alike. In the creation story the material world is forefront and “good,” which for Van Duzer is a starting point for redefining the role of business. If the material world matters to God, then what we do with our material goods?the creativity, the entrepreneurship, the buying and selling of goods and services?is a furthering of God’s original creation. Next, Van Duzer does something interesting. Taking the theological perspective of Miroslav Volf and the creative theory from the Tolkien/Sayers camp, he defines the role of the Christian business and business leaders:

Continue Reading…

 

JayberCrow.com

A Review of

The Thank You Economy.
Gary Vaynerchuk.
Hardback: HarperBusiness, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon – Hardback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Reviewed by Will Fitzgerald.

Gary Vaynerchuk sells wine and himself; Gary Vaynerchuk is the classic American immigrant story. He arrived in the United States at the age of four, from what is now Belarus, started working in his father’s discount liquor store as a teenager, after running a chain of lemonade stands as a nine-year-old. He helped his father increase his business from four million to over fifty million dollars. One important way he did this was by creating a video weblog about wine, a kind of everyman’s guide (he even has a New York Jets spittoon), called Wine Library TV, aka “The Thunder Show, the Internet’s Greatest Wine Show”. After recently producing his 1000th show he’s stepping it up a notch: a show every day called The Daily Grape.

And now Vaynerchuk has written a self-help guide for entrepreneurs and company owners who want to know how to use social media (such as Twitter and Facebook) successfully. Vaynerchuk as a simple prescription for companies:

At its core, social media requires that business leaders start thinking like small-town shop owners…They’re going to have to do their damndest to shape the word of mouth that circulates about them by treating each customer as though he or she were the most important customer in the world.

Continue Reading…

 

Heavenly Merchandize - Mark Valeri A Review of

Heavenly Merchandize:
How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America
.
Mark R. Valeri.
Hardback: Princeton UP, 2010.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Mark Eckel

How many of us form an opinion on something based on spurious evidence and then allow the idea to set concrete-like into fact?  If there is any historical point of reference to which this dictum may apply it has to do with America’s founding.  We tend to “cherry pick” quotes and ideas that suit our rock hard position.  Our tendency, then, is to use these lovely out-of-context-ideals to chip away at other points of view.  Might I suggest that we break out a jack hammer to all our hallowed—and sometimes hollow—positions.

Mark Valeri’s Heavenly Merchandize is a historical treatise which reinvestigates Puritan economic positions at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries.  Key to the book is the dynamic of change that moves people over a short time within the Puritan movement.  Understood, yet not a focal point, is the way words changed meaning over time.  Moreover, Valeri notes what historical markers were allowed to lapse when the present pressures of commerce—including individual profit—meant more than principle itself.  In short, Puritan commitments to clear Scriptural standards were left behind when a better deal came along.

Continue Reading…

 

A Brief Review of

Obstacles Welcome:
Turn Adversity to Advantage In Business and Life
.
Ralph de la Vega.

Hardback: Thomas Nelson, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

Ralph de la Vega’s recent book Obstacles Welcome: Turning Adversity to Advantage in Business and Life chronicles the story of his rise from a humble beginning as a 10-year old Cuban immigrant to his present position as a top executive with AT&T Mobility.  The book also develops a strategy for handling adversity and using it to propel oneself toward success.

I picked up this book because I was curious about what it said about the nature of adversity and the impact of such challenges on our lives.  Despite de la Vega’s compelling autobiographical story, Obstacles Welcome did not offer much in the way of deeper reflections about the nature of adversity.  Instead what de la Vega provides us with here is rooted in a narrative of individualism and seems to fall in line with what I know of traditional self-help, leadership and business books.  The feel of the book, with frequent diagrams and bulleted “takeaway points” at the end of each chapter, reminded me of the sessions with motivational speakers that one of my previous employers, a Fortune 500 company, would host.  Adversity is real and is an inevitable part of life; however, we would do well to avoid this book and instead learn about adversity and redemption by the firsthand experience of sharing struggles with those in our church communities.

 

A Brief Review of

How to Write Fast Under Pressure.
Philip Vassallo.

Paperback: AMA.COM, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

I do a fair amount of writing for The Englewood Review and other publications, and juggling the responsibilities of family, other work and writing often leaves me pinned up against ultra-tight deadlines.  Thus, I was eager to explore the wisdom offered in Philip Vassallo’s new book, How to Write Fast Under Pressure.  I should have not been surprised since the book was published by The American Management Association, but Vassallo focuses primarily on writing in a business environment: minutes, emails, requests, etc.  Although this is not primarily the sort of writing that vexes me most, there are some excellent ideas here about time management and creating an environment for writing that will be helpful to most writers.  The trajectory of the book is summarized in Vassallo’s acronym DASH:

DIRECTION: Hitting the ground running with the end in mind

ACCELERATION: Moving quickly through any writing assignment

STRENGTH: Possessing the stamina to get the writing job done.

HEALTH: Maintaining productivity through your writing life (22).

Two of the most helpful facets of How to Write Fast Under Pressure were the “Three Big Questions” which Vassallo offers to clarify the direction of a writing project, and the “common energy stoppers” that would interrupt the flow of a writer’s work.  The three big questions that Vassallo names in order to give shape to the direction of a writing project are:

1)      “Where Am I Going?”  (i.e., what is the task at hand?).

2)      “When Must I Get There?”  (i.e., what is the deadline?).

3)      “How Am I Going to Get There?”

The other facet of this book that was particularly beneficial were Vassallo’s “energy stoppers” that threaten to deter our work as writers; these include:

  • Having no plan when we need one.
  • Trying to complete all of the writing process simultaneously.
  • Making of the message more than it really is
  • Worrying unnecessarily.

Because of its dual focus on business and speed, Vassallo tends to favor quantity over quality, which is not helpful for most of the sort of writing that I do, but otherwise there is some helpful reflection on the writing process here, which is worth the consideration of not just professional writers, but anyone whose work includes writing – which I suspect, as does Vassallo, is most of us.