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

UK: Readings & Rankings - The good business book guide. - Robert Heller reviews the latest business books.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Robert Heller reviews the latest business books.

INTELLECTUAL CAPITAL: THE NEW WEALTH OF ORGANISATIONS

by Thomas A Stewart. Nicholas Brealey £12.99

The 'information society' has become a truism. Behind the cliches about the knowledge economy, company and worker, lies the reality that is reshaping the world - above all, the world of business. Thomas Stewart writes of 'the end of management as we know it'. His brilliant reportage delineates accurately how management must change to manage three varieties of intellectual capital: human (individual powers and resources), structural (accumulated knowledge and know-how of the organisation), and customer knowledge, 'probably ... the worst managed of all intangible assets'. This unmissable book is an intangible asset in its own right.

Rating: Worth a special effort.

E-SHOCK: THE ELECTRONIC SHOPPING REVOLUTION

by Michael de Kare-Silver. Macmillan Business £19.99

'E-shock' awaits retailers who fondly believe that electronic commerce is for the birds or the distant future. The smart ones, who read this book, will be shocked into doing the right thing, investing heavily in know-how, systems and set-ups to capitalise on the electronic boom. The less smart will be shocked only by their commercial failure later on. The author, in a gripping tour de force, explains why 'the revolution will reach critical mass by as early as 2005'. That leaves little time for established retailers and suppliers to discard time-honoured strategies and follow these convincing prescriptions. The new world demands new kinds of company and new retail behaviours for would-be survivors in the shopping centres. As de Kare-Silver says: 'There is still a huge gap between the marketing potential of the internet and companies' understanding of how to exploit it.' His book shows comprehensively how to fill that perilous, tantalising gap.

Rating: Worth a special effort.

MANAGING PEOPLE IS LIKE HERDING CATS

by Warren Bennis. Kogan Page £12.99

America's leading authority on leadership takes a dim, even angry view of its present calibre: 'CEOs are being dumped in unprecedented numbers. The forces of size, speed and change intersect to create ineptitude, inertia and arrogance.' These deadly diseases couldn't survive the honest application of Bennis' several lists of necessary leadership qualities and behaviours - such as showing: '(1) purpose, direction or meaning; (2) trust; (3) a sense of we-can-do-it optimism; (4) results'. These collected essays are unidentified in provenance and date, which causes some repetition and wrong-footing by events - thus, Bennis mercilessly slams NBC's new chief executive, who became a major success. But his wisdom is priceless, as are the lists, even if none surpasses JP Getty's three-part success recipe: rise early, work late - and strike oil.

Ratings: Worth a special effort, Take on a trip.

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