UK: Readings & Rankings - The good business book guide.

UK: Readings & Rankings - The good business book guide. - The stats you may have missed - and the books you can't afford to.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

The stats you may have missed - and the books you can't afford to.

Robert Heller reviews the latest business books

Inside Intel:

How Andy Grove Built the World's Most Successful Chip Company

by Tim Jackson

HarperCollins £19.99

The creator of the information revolution isn't in fact IBM or Microsoft, but Intel. Its breakthroughs are without precedent: the first memory chip, DRAM, and EPROM - and the almighty microprocessor. So is Intel superbly managed? Up to a point. This is an object lesson in recruiting, motivating and liberating high-achieving, high-technology talents. These skills serve relentless, ruthless, litigious, phenomenally successful pressure for market domination.Yet Intel lost all its self-created DRAM market - just one of the failures that Tim Jackson brilliantly explores. Free-ranging creativity has saved Intel from its mistakes and from the harsh, unforgiving discipline inspired by its martinet CEO, Andy Grove. The book does have a few oddities (like no mention of IBM's one-time major stake in Intel), but its virtues far outweigh them.

Dynamic Organisations:

The Challenge of Change

by David Jackson

Macmillan £25

The management consensus, blessed by every guru, is now deeply familiar to most of us. Companies should get as close as they possibly can to customers as they pursue their visions in line with their values - which always include putting people first: and should bring all possible weapons to bear, including IT, to build the responsive, dynamic organisation needed to apply the formula. David Jackson's book doesn't strike a new note, partly because he quotes so much and so often from earlier toilers in this vineyard. But he is, nonetheless, right. These vines bear better fruit. Oddly, the case studies are not convincingly linked to business performance.

Brand Warriors:

Corporate Leaders Share Their Winning Strategies

edited by Fiona Gilmore

HarperCollins Business £20

The creation and nurturing of winning brands are dominant necessities.

But this book shares the defect of all anthologies of business war stories told by the heroes themselves (from BA's Robert Ayling to VTech's Allan Wong). Too many contributions read as if the PROs have been at work. Fiona Gilmore's introduction, despite several glimpses of the obvious ('If either brand values or product delivery equals (sic) zero, you will not deliver customer satisfaction'), sounds the right notes on today's issues of the day. The book's main issue and lesson is that globalism is the new name of the game. Too true.

GENEROUS-TO-A-FAULT COMPANIES

The top 20 corporate donors

Christmas isn't the only time for giving. These figures, for the last financial year, show that unsurprisingly, big businesses are the biggest givers. But, before praising BT's benevolence too highly, remember that with profits of £3.2 billion last year, £15 million, while laudable, won't break the bank.

Company Total corporate support £000

1 BT 14,869

2 Glaxo Wellcome 10,700

3 National Westminster Bank 10,561

4 Marks & Spencer 8,500

5 Barclays 8,400

6 Scottish & Newcastle 6,500

7 Guinness 6,300

8 BP 6,100

9 Midland Bank 5,500

10 British Gas 5,000

11 Grand Metropolitan 4,985

12 Shell UK 4,810

13 Lloyds TSB 4,606

14 Seagram Distillers 4,340

15 Boots 4,100

16 Unilever 4,000

17 HSBC 3,817

18 Cadbury Schweppes 3,100

19 BAT Industries 3,000

20 Halifax 2,970

Source: CAF

PREZZIE PERFECT - CORPORATE GIFTS

Yuletide offerings sure to make recipients smile or grimace

How do you thank your business contacts? Clearly you should give the corporate knick-knacks a wide berth; saying it with booze is OK, but skip the Scotch and make for the Moet. And, if you really want to show some appreciation, shell out a couple of hundred quid and say it with a Psion.

TOP FOUR MOST-WANTED GIFTS PERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS

Electronic organiser 56%

Champagne 29%

Aromatherapy products 13%

Other 2%

TOP FOUR MOST PREDICTABLE

Diaries 35%

Calendars 29%

Bottle of whisky 14%

Other 21%

TOP FOUR IRRITATING AND TACKY

Diaries with logos 29%

Pens with logos 26%

Key rings 19%

Other 26%

Source: Le Fevre.

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