UK: Readings & Rankings.

UK: Readings & Rankings. - Worth the paper it's printed on? Robert Heller's guide to the latest business books.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Worth the paper it's printed on? Robert Heller's guide to the latest business books.

The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen

Harvard Business School Press £19.95

Everybody knows why great firms (IBM, GM, etc) stumble: because of 'incompetence, bureaucracy, arrogance, tired executive blood, poor planning and short-term investment horizons'. Wrong. The failures of integrated steel companies vs mini-mills, mainframe computers vs microprocessors, variety stores vs discounters, etc were paradoxically the result, not of mismanagement, but of managerial excellence.

This must-read book shows how true closeness to key customers, combined with correct pursuit of up-market margins, actually steers good managements clear of having to adopt 'disruptive technologies'.

The vanishing of all 14inch disk-drive makers before the onslaught of the 8inch epitomises the consequences of being too successful with older technology. The remedy is probably unfettered corporate start-ups: but this authoritative study looks at all options.

The Will to Lead: Running a Business with a Network of Leaders by Marvin Bower

Harvard Business School Press £19.99

Marvin Bower's The Will to Manage (1966) is one of the best consultant books. This isn't. Bower, a prime McKinsey mover, calls (rightly) for the ending of command-and-control management and for the undermining of hierarchy through 'leadership'. Unfortunately, he knows of no company that 'motivates people throughout' - as he recommends - by forming multiple leadership teams with multiple leaders.

His is similar to the McKinsey model; this often reads like a McKinsey memoir. But Bower's a wise old hand. If his book inspires managers to seek more stimulating management styles and structures, then that's what the author would have wanted - and what every company needs.

The Differentiated Network: Organising Multinational Corporations for Value Creation

Nitin Nohria and Sumantra Ghoshal

Jossey-Bass Publishers £19.95

Written by two top academics this contains more references to other authors than usable information. Its hard-to-read research reinforces the work of Christensen and Bower. Innovation is the name of the game for multinationals.

But they won't win without adapting relations between HQ and subsidiaries to the latter's different natures and needs. It wins the authors' plaudits: but who today thinks that the old, undifferent-iated, HQ-knows-best MNC stands a chance?


Which middle/senior managers' cars hold their value?

Model List Price Depreciation Value after

over 3 years 3 years (%)

1 Mercedes Benz C180 Classic £19,990 £8,796 56

2 Audi A4 1.8SE 4r £20,609 £10,305 50

3 Volkswagen Passat 1.8 20v Sport £17,110 £8,897 48

4 BMW 318i SE £19,535 £10,744 46

5 Saab 900 2.0i 5dr £16,300 £7,335 45

6 Citreon Xantia 1.8i SX 16v £15,895 £8,742 45

7 Chrysler Neon 2.0 16v LX £13,795 £6,483 43

8 Peugeot 406 1.8 GLX 4dr £16,445 £9,867 40

9 Rover 618Si 4dr £16,940 £10,164 40

10 Volvo S40 1.8 SE £16,675 £10,172 39

11 Ford Mondeo 1.8 GLX 5dr £16,285 £10,097 38

12 Honda Accord 2.0i S £16,290 £10,100 38

13 Nissan Primera £16,240 £10,069 38

14 Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 GLS 5dr £16,600 £10,458 37

15 Mazda 626 2.0 Lxi 5dr £14,610 £9,204 37

16 Renault Laguna 1.8RT 5dr £13,440 £8,467 37

17 Mitsubishi Carisma 1.8gLX 5dr £13,225 £8,464 36

18 Toyota Carina E 1.8 CD 5dr £15,480 £10,062 35

19 Seat Toledo 2.0 Sport £15,700 £10,205 35

20 Daewoo Espero 2.0 CDXi £13,735 £9,612 30

Buyers, it is alleged, often pay way over the odds for the reputation of

German cars. Looking at their retained values over three years, however,

the initial outlay may well be worth it. The driver who economised with a

Daewoo would see it lose 70% of its value over three years, whereas the

motorist who splashed out on a Merc would see its value drop by just over

40% (and get to enjoy three years cruising around in a far flashier



Course fees for 10 costliest business schools in Europe

Rank School Annualised


1 Cambridge University, The Judge Institute £17,500

2 IMD (Switzerland) £16,200

3 Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris

- MBA Sciences Po £16,000

4 INSEAD £15,700

5 SDA Bocconi-Milano, Italy £15,300

6 Ashridge £15,000

7 Oxford University, School of Management Studies £15,000

8 Cranfield School of Management £14,500

9 European School of Management (EAP), France £13,000

10 Warwick Business School £12,500

Course lengths vary; exchange rates are for 8/9/97; prices to

nearest £100.

That five of the 10 costliest schools are British maybe due to the

rise of sterling. That Cambridge is the most expensive, however,

suggests thisparticular institution is trading on 1,000 years of

history. For economy, Teesside University can see you right for as

little as £700.

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