August 31, 2009

Three Laws of Performance

Zaffron and Logan state that the future of individuals and businesses have already been written for them, though most are unaware of this. They state that you hopes, fears, expectations, decisions, aspirations, successes, and failures, along with the circumstances of culture and history determine the future. They assert, however, that this future can be rewritten. The first law of performance states that everyone behaves according to their own perception of situations. It is only be creating open, honest dialog that groups of people can come to a shared understanding and move forward in the same direction. The second law states that situations arise from the language that is used to describe them. To get beyond this point, we need to be clear about what is said, and to reveal what often goes unsaid. The third law is that future-based language changes the way that people think about situations. Zaffron and Logan argue that by changing the way that people talk about the future, they will not feel that the future has already been planned for them, and will be empowered to create a different future for themselves. The book goes into further depth, explaining how both individuals and leaders can implement these laws of performance to change their lives and change the direction of their companies. This is an interesting spin on the power of positive thinking.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life
Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan
BF 481 .Z23 2009

August 28, 2009

Guide to Economic Indicators

This guide helps you to understand and interpret economic data so that you can make up your own mind about the way the economy is performing and make informed decisions about your own financial choices. It defines basic indicators such as GDP, trade balances, and retail sales figures, explains their significance, and tells you where you can find them published. It also explains how reliable each figure is, how frequently they are revised, and how you can interpret them to provide you with insight on the economy. The book is organized into three introductory chapters and ten chapters each of which discuss the indicators of a particular sector of the economy. The book is written into short, non-technical paragraphs which define each term and provide a context for it. Numerous charts and graphs are used to help explain the data, particularly illustrating how the U.S. economy compares with other industrialized nations. This book is a helpful, easy to understand introduction to economics.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Guide to Economic Indicators: Making Sense of Economics
ed. by the Economist
6th ed
HA 29 .E28 2007

August 27, 2009

Thinking in Systems

This book is a primer about systems theory. A system is a set of things that are interconnected in a way that they produce a regular pattern or behavior over time. The system may respond to outside forces, but even that response is characteristic of the way the parts within the system relate toward one another. Learning to think in terms of systems can help us to analyze problems such as pollution, disease epidemics, and war. The method is relatively simple: identify the parts of the system, analyze the parts, then put the system back together again with an understanding of how the parts relate to one another. Meadows approaches the topic of systems theory from a non-technical approach, presenting archetypal problems that systems thinkers have examined repeatedly as illustrations for the points that she makes.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Thinking in Systems: A Primer
Donella H. Meadows, ed. by Diana Wright
QA 402 .M423 2008

August 26, 2009

Box Boats

The Pan-Atlantic Steamship Company launched the first container transport ship in 1956. The Ideal X was on a return trip, but rather than return without cargo, she had 56 boxes strapped to one of her decks, inaugurating what the company hoped would become a new Land-Sea Service. Todays container ships are much larger, carrying an average of 9000 container boxes, with even larger ships currently in design. These ships have changed the way that freight goods are transported around the world--from the ports that are used to the trains, trucks, and other vehicles required to transport them to and from these ports. This book tells the history of the container shipping industry and the way that it has impacted the transportation of cargo beyond the steamship.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed the World
Brian J. Cudahy
HE 566 .C6 2006

August 20, 2009

Hit the Ground Running

Gleaned from research and interviews with successful business CEOs, Jennings offers ten rules for new leaders to follow, enabling them to take charge and immediately get to work. Jennings explains that the stakes are particularly high for new leaders. Often they have been brought into a company to fix something that is broken or change the company's direction. In order to make progress, they must assess the situation, bring together a team to get the job done, decide on a strategy, and inspire their team to execute it. The CEOs highlighted in this book each contribute a different leadership tactic or trait. Taken together, these stories and lessons will help new leaders develop their own style to tackle both the short-term and long-term challenges that they face in new positions.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Hit the Ground Running: A Manual for New Leaders
Jason Jennings
HD 57.7 .J468 2009

August 19, 2009

Driving Results through Social Networks

Business leaders are always on the lookout for ways to getting work done faster and more efficiently. Cross and Thomas explain how to leverage the informal networks that already exist within organizations. Cross and Thomas offer principles and practical tools to initiate and encourage collaborations that improve communications within an organization and accelerate innovative thinking. Rather than formalize relationships, they use network analysis techniques to uncover connections that already exist. They then ask questions about how effectively and efficiently the formal organization is working by tracking information flow through the informal networks. This is an interesting twist on the current use of social networking to bring people together. With thought and planning, however, these kinds of networks can be created and used to facilitate more effective professional communications.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Driving Results through Social Networks: How Top Organizations Leverage Networks for Performance and Growth
Rob Cross and Robert J. Thomas
HD 69.58 C757 2009

August 18, 2009

Soldiers Once

Whitney writes about her brother, Jim Schuler, a Vietnam veteran. In addition to telling the story of Jim's struggle to find a place for himself in the world, she writes about what happened to him after he returned from Vietnam. Jim drowns himself in alcohol, alienates himself from his family, and never quite recovers from the trauma of war. Unable to successfully integrate into society, Jim becomes increasingly isolated, finally dying in poverty at the age of 54. While telling her brother's story, Whitney puts it into the context of an American society that did not support the Vietnam war and does not recognize the human casualties within the men who faught there. She shows the differing priorities of the military community in which Jim lived, contrasting them with those of her family. Finally, Whitney comments on the way that military personnel and veterans are treated in society today.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Soldiers Once: My Brother and the Lost Dreams of America's Veterans
Catherine Whitney
DS 559.73 .U6 W47 2009

August 17, 2009

Going Lean

The current economic environment has created a crisis situation among many American businesses. In spite of trying a wide variety of techniques to improve their business performance, they are still struggling from high costs of production and labor while sales languish. Ruffa suggests that businesses look to a different model to improve. He recognizes that efficient operations and innovations are only possible when business is steady and when demand is increasing. He draws on the Toyota Production model to demonstrate how companies can identify the sources of lag in their business, develop production streams that are steady and predictable, and create systems that increase customer demand and provide room for innovations in all kinds of economic conditions.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Going Lean: How the Best Companies Apply Lean Manufacturing Principles to Shatter Uncertainty, Drive Innovation, and Maximize Profits
Stephen A. Ruffa
HD 38.5 .R84 2008

August 16, 2009

Conservation & Biodiversity Banking

The concept of biodiversity is known by many other names. Some of the common ones include biodiversity offsets, compensitory mitigation, and ecological footprint mitigation. Regardless of the terminology, however, the concept remains the same--the idea that a financial value can be assigned to biodiversity of ecological habitat, and that the market and businesses can then be used to promote conservation. This handbook explores this growing trend, explaining what it is and how it works. It provides practical guidance, tools, case studies, and analysis into conservation banking and other market economics-based approaches to conservation. The book includes discussion on the origins of conservation banking, the pros and cons of conservation in general, and the financial and legal aspects of how this kind of a system can be established and internationalized.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Conservation & Biodiversity Banking: A Guide to Setting Up and Running Biodiversity Credit Trading Systems
ed. by Nathaniel Carroll, Jessica Fox, and Ricardo Bayon
QH 75 .C655 2008

August 14, 2009

Who's Got Your Back?

In this book, Ferrazzi explains how to develop "lifeline relationships" which he believes are critical to reaching full potential. Ferrazzi believes that becoming successful requires each person to have a team of trusted advisors who offer guidance, support, and hold them accountable for what they say they will do. These close personal relationships are essential because they allow everyone to have people with whom they can be vulnerable, and who are willing to give them honest feedback that will help them shed bad habits and behaviors and define what success really means for them. One of the most important skills he discusses is sparring, a formal questioning process through which your advisors challenge your assumptions, hold you accountable for your decisions, and press you to perform at a higher level. The book is filled with anecdotes and practical tips on how you can develop and benefit from your own team of personal advisors.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Who's Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships that Create Success--and Won't Let You Fail
Keith Ferrazzi
HF 5386 .F4118 2009

August 13, 2009

Save Your Retirement

This book is filled with practical wisdom about planning for retirement and sound financial planning generally. It does not chastise about past financial decisions, but rather advises readers about what decisions they can make from today forward to get themselves out of debt, take advantage of investing, and save for retirement, whether that is next week or years from now. Chapters geared toward retiring one, five, ten, or more years from now offer specific strategies for investing, considering insurance, health care, estate planning, and other benefits as you plan to leave the workplace. This book will stimulate your thinking about your future regardless of how far away retirement may be for you.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Save Your Retirement: What to do if you haven't saved enough or if your investments were devastated by the market meltdown
Frank Armstrong, III, and Paul B. Brown
HD 7125 .A76 2009

August 7, 2009

The Effective Public Manager

This book is a classic for public administrators and students. It is focused on helping real-world managers and managers-to-be understand the constraints of government so that they can meet the demands of their jobs. Chapters help to explain the management environment in public administration as moving from one crisis to another. Others discuss how to find and hire good employees, develop effective working relationships, and structure tasks and responsibilities appropriately. The book discusses budgeting and contracting, shaping organizational strategies and goals, gathering information, and communicating outside of your organization.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

The Effective Public Manager: Achieving Success in a Changing Government
4th ed
Steven Cohen, William Eimicke, and Tanya Heikkila
JF 1351 .C574 2008

August 6, 2009


Gladwell argues that the lives of people who are wildly successful follow a similar, predictable pattern. He states that most people believe that success is a result of intelligence and ambition. Gladwell challenges this assumption, arguing instead that factors such as generation, family, culture, and class play a role in success--one that follows a peculiar and unexpected logic. This book is organized into two broad sections: opportunity and legacy. These themes are two paths that people who become exceptional may use throughout their lives. Gladwell asserts that when predicting who may become exceptional or successful, you must look beyond the individual to the network our community that surounds them.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Outliers: The Story of Success
Malcome Gladwell
BF 637.58 .G533 2008

August 5, 2009

Plan B 3.0

Brown asserts that the current environmental trends are threatening civilization itself. Society must change. Brown's book investigates a variety of issues ranging from global warming to social instability, all of which have an effect on society. He identifies ecological problems that he believes are the central cause to the global warming currently affecting our planet and proposes changes that individuals and governments can make to alter this course. Brown's primary concern is the interaction between global environmental trends and the world economy. In his proposed solutions is the need to raise energy efficiency and to harness alternative energy sources on a large scale.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
Rev. and Expanded
Lester R. Brown
HC 79 .E5 B7595 2008

August 4, 2009

Nature, Landscape, and Building for Sustainability

This collection of essays explores the often complex relationships between nature, landscape and sustaining design. The key component that many of the authors focus on is the human element. These essays recognize a human rift with nature, attempts to understand this conflict, and to identify and move toward a resolution. Essays are organized around two main themes. In the first section, authors evaluate the way that humans view and think about nature. In the second section, chapters discuss how nature is used and abused in the design and building processes, and propose greener and more sustainable ways of integrating the human-built world with the natural one.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Nature, Landscape, and Building for Sustainability
ed. by William S. Saunders
SB 472.45 .N38 2008


Gallagher asserts that the quality of your life is largely dependent on what you choose to pay attention to. She argues that your world is constructed primarily from your thoughts and feelings, and that as you direct your attention to new things, it changes the way you experience life. Drawing on research in neuroscience and psychology, she explores both the science and behavior of "paying attention," including learning, memory, thinking and emotions, work, play, and relationship with others. She explains that the brain has limited processing power, so the choice of how you choose to use it is an important one. She focuses on the positive effects of paying attention--shaping inner experiences, changing behaviors, and literally change the way you think and feel about life.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life
Winifred Gallagher
BF 321 .G25 2009

August 3, 2009

Lean Thinking

Womack and Jones assert that Lean thinking is not a new trend in business management. Rather, they believe that it takes business back to their basics by asking what their customer really perceives as valuable. They explain that once value-creating activities have been identified, the next step is to organize these steps along a value stream. At the same time, steps that do not add value should be eliminated. The result of this leaning and streamlining process is to create a flow which generates products as a result of the pull of the customer rather than the push of the producer. This book demonstrates that simple changes can produce dramatic results and create major changes in companies and organizations.

This book can be found in HECSA Library:

Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation
Rev. and updated
James P. Womack and Daniel T. Jones
HD 58.9 .W659 2003