Books Read in May 2009

Competing for Advantage by Robert Hoskisson, Michael Hitt, Duane Ireland, and Jeffrey Harrison

This was the textbook for my Strategic Management class, the capstone of my MBA. I just went ahead and read the entire thing straight through. Little tiny type. Footnote references all over the place including on statements that I would have thought were obvious. You could probably sell a popular business book on the material in one chapter. Dense and painstaking. Ouch. Not sure it was worth it in comparison to the rest of the stuff out there that has been written with the reader in mind instead of trying to stuff a student’s head full.

The Necessary Revolution by Peter Senge

Wow. Just wow. I really need to reread this book before I can review it intelligently. It tied together the concepts of business and sustainability in an emotional satisfying way, but with practical implementations advice and possibilities.

Tribes by Seth Godin

A reread for me. This time I just let it wash over me instead of thinking about it too much. Definitely still resonates.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Just plain fun. This is how using public domain works to create new stories should be done. The zombies weren’t just there, they enhanced the overall story. Mrs. Bennett was even sillier and the regard between Darcy and Elizabeth held more tension, among other aspects of the twisted reality.

The Age of the Unthinkable by Joshua Cooper Ramo

Another wow that deserves a closer look and a full blog post. It leans a little too much towards history and building background but eventually moves to the idea of becoming flexible and decentralized as a means to deal with a complex and uncertain world.

Cotton: The Biography of a Revolutionary Fiber by Stephen Yafa

I love this genre of book – the business/technology/culture cross-overs seen through a particular lens – and Cotton is a good example of it. The story meandered back and forth into related areas and kept pulling me through until the end. I was exposed to some interesting history that I had not expected, including how patents can be useless, how much cotton controlled the U.S. economy, and why denim is so distinctive.

The Lance Thrower and The Eagle by Jack Whyte

I’ve been reading Whyte’s Camulod saga in bits and pieces over the years and thought these were great additions. I was surprised at the controversy on the Amazon reviews until I really thought about it. No, they’re not what you might expect from the other books. They go with them, but they’re not a continuation. They are Lancelot’s story and so include much that isn’t about Arthur or Britain but are instead the growth and life of a different man. I enjoyed them, although I found myself speed-reading some of the detailed battle sections.

Now on the nightstand:

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Innovation and Entrepreneurship