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A concise, powerful call for responsible, long-term business practices.

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A manual advocates a return to a more classic mode of thinking about business.

In this book, the authors direct concerted criticism at the drastic increase in short-term thinking in the business and management world in the last two decades. They cite the boom in things like investment hedge funds that stress short-term gains and hence short-term thinking, pointing out that this phenomenon goes hand in hand with larger changes in corporate culture. The tenure of most executives is shorter now, they explain, noting the obvious result: “CEOs tend to focus on shorter-term objectives.” Carey (Talent Wins, 2018, etc.), Dumaine (The Plot to Save the Planet, 2008), Useem (The Leader’s Checklist, 2011, etc.), and debut author Zemmel have aimed their arguments at executives, directors, and investors, laying out the values of long-term thinking and highlighting both its risks and rewards. “One of the toughest challenges any CEO faces is staying focused on a long-term strategy while having to deal with short-term distractions,” they write. They provide several prominent examples of major corporate executives who risked short-term consequences for long-term gain: the decision of Ivan Seidenberg, when he served as Verizon’s CEO, to redouble his investment in the growth of his companies in the face of investors calling for selling off assets; the willingness of CVS Health CEO Larry Merlo to incur a short-term $2 billion loss in getting his chain out of the business of selling cigarettes; and the readiness of 3M CEO Sir George Buckley to restructure his company’s finances to increase its investment in its own future. The authors deftly use these and other cases to emphasize that long-term thinking and long-game investing and strategizing are not only more responsible, but also more profitable if they are done with daring and determination. The narrative tactic of grounding all this in real-world examples from business headlines pays off, and each chapter in the book’s first section ends with a useful “executive summary” outlining the key lessons to be learned from the individual cases. Considering the enormous harm that short-term investing has done not only to companies, but to countries as well, this book should be required reading in boardrooms everywhere.

A concise, powerful call for responsible, long-term business practices.

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61363-088-4

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Wharton Digital Press

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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