Monday, April 09, 2007

Three Months: 3 books, 3 articles, 3 blogs...

I like to read, and it is part of my job to keep up with the field. So I always have a big stack of books and articles that I need to read, plus the daily flow of emails, blogs and essays.

Since we are 3 months into 2007, here are 3 books, 3 articles (well, I kinda cheated) and 3 blogs that I would urge you to consider reading:

First, the Books:

1) Medici Effect by Frans Johanson. Some very intriguing ideas about how innovation occurs, and better yet, where to look for innovations. I think it could have gone farther in terms of looking at how these intersections and collaborations are occuring in more virtual ways.

2) Made to Stick, by Dan and Chip Heath. So, once you have figured out where to look for innovations, and you find one, this book will be useful in how to popularize it. This is important. Think of all the great ideas that never go anywhere because they don't "stick". If you are an entrepreneur, you need to read this because: 1) it will help you get your ideas to stick... with the media, with customers, with investors, or 2) because your competitors will read it, and then you will really be in trouble if you don't. If you aren't sure you are going to read it because you think innovation is all about "substance," and this book is about "form"- get over yourself, and stop being one of those people who is always whining about their great ideas that no one is excited about.

3) Omivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. OK, I am a little late on this one. All my kids (and my Mom) read it before me. They all raved about it. We started having discussions where I couldn't keep up, because I hadn't read it. So I read it. It is an excellent book; well written, interesting, thoughtful. If you get a bit dizzy when business people talk about supply chains or value chains... read this book. You will never look at a meal the same way again, and that is a good thing.

Next, here are the 3 articles of note:
1) "The Ten Cent Solution", Clive Crook, Atlantic March 2007. A fascinating account of private schools at the BOP.
2) "Why the World Isn't Flat" Foreign Policy March 2007 and "Managing Differences" Harvard Business Review 2007, both by Pankaj Ghemewat. A first rate thinker, keeping it real. Think about the Triple A model for social sector enterprises.
3) "More Profit with Less Carbon" Amory Lovins, Scientific American Sept 2005. Quite simply, Amory is a frickin' genius. I looked this article up again recently to find the graphic on the wastefulness of our electrical grid (supply chain) but reread it. If I were ruler of the world, I would require everyone to read this article before they are allowed to write, blog, or even talk about what needs to be done to address climate change.

And, finally, three blogs I have enjoyed:
1) "The Greenwasher in All of Us" by Joel Makeower. Ouch... the truth hurts. Once again, we prefer to remove the speck from a neighbor's (or company's) eye before removing the log from our own.
2) "Writing a More Concrete Dating Profile" by the brothers Heath on 3/28, after their "Polarize Me" column in Fast Company last month. OK, I am not looking for a date, but I am often looking for business partners. So... have you rewritten your LinkedIn/FaceBook/MySpace page yet?
3) "Why to Not Not Start a Start Up" by Paul Graham (March 2007). I am a big fan of Mr. Graham. He's done it again. Just one juicy quote to get you to click on the link: "You don't need to know anything about business to start a startup. The initial focus should be the product. All you need to know in this phase is how to build things people want. If you succeed, you'll have to think about how to make money from it. But this is so easy you can pick it up on the fly." I am hoping one of my students gives me this quote on a final paper or exam. Bonus points. Really. Even better would be telling me about the product they built and the people that are using/buying it!

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