Achieving Longevity: How Great Firms
Prosper through Entrepreneurial
By Jim Dewald.
July 2016. 224p. Univ. of Toronto, $32.95
Anyone who has spent time in large organizations, whether public or private or
nonprofit, will recognize the basis of Dewald’s plea of “Where are the entrepreneurs?”
And, more important, what’s the process and
kind of thinking needed to prod a bureaucratic institution into transforming itself?
Based on his teachings at the University of
Calgary business school, he gives a fairly decent picture of what it takes for businesses
to succeed in this disruptive world—and
dispels the myths of entrepreneurialism.
No, there’s no need to be considered “
creative”; his model for thinking differently is
explained with high-level examples from
the likes of Honda, Nucor Steel, IBM, and
others. Each chapter features a numbered
summary at the end, best for clarifying major takeaways (though the writing’s a bit
dense). And in a tome expressly designed to
talk about acquiring a specific state of mind,
he does remarkably well in capturing what
needs to happen to become entrepreneurial—go beyond intuition, accept ambiguity,
and expand. —Barbara Jacobs
The Big Thing: How to Complete Your
Creative Project Even If You’re a Lazy,
Self-Doubting Procrastinator like Me.
By Phyllis Korkki.
Aug. 2016. 256p. Harper, $26.99 (9780062384300).
New York Times business editor Korkki
draws on many interviews to produce her
big thing, this book. Her thoroughly researched stories, intriguing interviews, and
self-deprecating style create a fun, thought-provoking read. Want to know why you can’t
focus? Read Korkki’s interview with a neuroscientist. Want to work with less fatigue?
Learn how to belly breathe. Whether you
learn more about posture, about the impor-
tance of letting your big thing sit for a day
or even years, or become inspired by young
people taking a trip and living through hav-
ing an Uzi pointed at them, you’ll want to
keep reading. If you enjoy good journalism
and want to create a big thing of your own,
read this book. Readers who like Elizabeth
Gilbert are sure to enjoy Korkki and, when
they’ve finished this, may want to try Gil-
bert’s Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear
(2015) for another title that delves into the
creative self-help realm. —Joyce McIntosh
Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival
Manual for a Sexist Workplace.
By Jessica Bennett.
Sept. 2016. 256p. illus. Harper Wave, $24.99
Journalist Bennett was part of a circle of
female friends who started meeting to complain about their jobs. The women quickly
realized that the bulk of their problems
stemmed from sexist behavior, and the
gatherings became less bitch sessions, more
call-to-action meetings. Bennett shares what
she’s learned, hoping to give women the confidence to speak up and fight the patriarchy.
There’s plenty of humor here, to be sure, but
there is a lot of practical and useful information, too. Just because there is a snarky
chart describing the five types of Manter-rupter (including the Dismisser and the Ass
Kisser) doesn’t mean that the point of the
chart is any less true: these are the types of
men women encounter regularly at work.
The book is designed with short, choppy
chapters that readers can dip in and out of,
and is peppered with comical illustrations,
adding to the fun factor. But don’t let that
casual tone fool you. Bennett is on a mission to reform today’s workplaces, and this
manifesto just might be the weapon modern
women are looking for. —Rebecca Vnuk
Fix It: Getting Accountability Right.
By Roger Connors and Tom Smith.
2016. 416p. Portfolio, $32 (9781591847878); e-book,
$13.99 (9780698194359). 658.
According to a recent Gallup poll, nearly
70 percent of American workers feel disen-
gaged in their jobs, and the authors contend
that fixing accountability is the best solu-
tion to engagement problems. Connors and
Smith conducted “The Partners in Lead-
ership Workplace Accountability Study”
to provide an understanding of the 16 ac-
countability traits they see as necessary for
running a successful business; and the book
offers 240 proven solutions to accountabil-
ity problems from 120 high-level executives.
Practical advice based on those traits in-
cludes “See It” (understanding how things
really are); “Own It” (being personally in-
vested); “Solve It” (removing obstacles to get
results); and “Do It” (getting things done).
Part 1 is an assessment that helps readers
determine where (in focusing upon them-
selves personally, focusing upon their teams,
or focusing upon their organizations) they
need to “Fix It.” Part 2 is an introduction
to the accountability traits and the results of
the study, and part 3 provides practical solu-
tions to immediately implement what needs
improvement. This challenging book offers
important insight and valuable solutions for
leaders. —Mary Whaley
The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve
the Well-Being of Your Employees—and
Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line.
By Leigh Stringer.
July 2016. 256p. illus. AMACOM, $27.95
A leading expert in workplace well-being,
author Stringer knows workplace wellness
because she has spent years developing it.
Stringer tackles today’s sedentary workplace habits by challenging employers to
offer holistic wellness programs, with compelling reasons to do so, such as reduced
absenteeism and higher productivity. Her
approach is more than exercise programs
and health coaches; she wants the employer
and employee to focus on myriad wellness
behaviors, including stress reduction, sleep,
workplace design, and more. Readers will
learn how pioneering wellness programs,
like Apple’s 30-minute meditation mantra
and General Mills’ mindfulness training
program, shaped those companies’ culture.
She also found that simple initiatives, such
as requiring employees to take vacations
sans work, adding standing work stations,
and improving stairways to encourage activity, yield positive results. This book offers
solutions for managers, HR departments,
and executives choosing strategies to prioritize employee health. A handy “cheat sheet”
summarizes and ranks strategies outlined,
and there is a suggested-reading list. Even
employees will find this book engaging and
be able to glean ideas to bring to their employers. —Jennifer Adams
High-Hanging Fruit: Building Something
Great by Going Where No One Else Will.
By Mark Rampolla.
July 2016. 240p. Portfolio, $28 (9780399562129). 650.
Consumer products are probably one
of the most difficult industries for entre-
preneurs to break into—especially in the
beverage business, with Coca-Cola and Pep-
Bennett is on a mission to reform today’s workplaces, and this mani-
festo just might be the weapon modern women are looking for.
—Rebecca Vnuk, on Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for
a Sexist Workplace