A thorough, incisive account of the changing moral landscape of business.

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THE CONNECTING LEADER

IN THE AGE OF HYPER-TRANSPARENCY, INTERCONNECTIVITY AND MEDIA ANARCHY, HOW CORPORATE LEADERS CONNECT BUSINESS WITH SOCIETY

A chief executive reconsiders the relationship between a corporation’s success and its commitment to social responsibility. 

According to debut author Valenzuela, the business world has been changed by a trio of historical forces: globalization, the digital revolution, and a newfound emphasis on sustainability. These shifts have produced a “New Normal,” an age in which technological innovation demands a strategic accommodation of the extraordinary transparency delivered by a new online community of “collaborative consumers.” This “environment of intense scrutiny,” Valenzuela compellingly argues, demands a radical reassessment of the ways in which companies articulate their responsibilities to stakeholders and their places within society as a whole. The author provides a detailed history, including concrete case studies, of the ways in which companies have accomplished this—some have simply organized themselves around the priority of profit (Apple), tried to combine a commitment to profit and a societal obligation (Unilever), or made their principal mission the satisfaction of some greater good (Patagonia). Valenzuela ultimately proposes a new model that envisions a company’s societal mission deeply embedded within every province of the organization, a pervasive diffusion of its core values. To that end, he recommends the creation of a new position, a connecting leader, a “Society Proxy,” who manages the social contract that delineates a company’s duties not just to consumers, but also to the greater world it inhabits. The author is a visiting professor at the Cass Business School and the founder and chief executive of his own company, and his knowledge of the subject matter is unimpeachable. He thoughtfully and persuasively argues that the old social contract that once defined a business’s sense of its moral obligations is now obsolete, and a new covenant has replaced it. In addition, he writes in accessible prose, largely unencumbered by the turbid MBA-ese that contaminates so many business books. Valenzuela’s discussion of “authenticity,” though, is a touch anodyne—it seems to simply mean an earnest versus purely strategic devotion to a corporation’s societal obligations. It’s unclear how this translates into counsel since sincerity is not so easily willed. 

A thorough, incisive account of the changing moral landscape of business. 

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5445-1250-1

Page Count: 244

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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