Monday, November 30, 2009

Green to Gold or Orbiting the Giant Hairball

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage

Author: Daniel Esty

s Weekly review:
"Two experts from Yale tackle the business wake-up-call du jour-environmental responsibility-from every angle in this thorough, earnest guidebook: pragmatically, passionately, financially and historically. Though "no company the authors know of is on a truly long-term sustainable course," Esty and Winston label the forward-thinking, green-friendly (or at least green-acquainted) companies WaveMakers and set out to assess honestly their path toward environmental responsibility, and its impact on a company's bottom line, customers, suppliers and reputation. Following the evolution of business attitudes toward environmental concerns, Esty and Winston offer a series of fascinating plays by corporations such as Wal-Mart, GE and Chiquita (Banana), the bad guys who made good, and the good guys-watchdogs and industry associations, mostly-working behind the scenes. A vast number of topics huddle beneath the umbrella of threats to the earth, and many get a thorough analysis here: from global warming to electronic waste "take-back" legislation to subsidizing sustainable seafood. For the responsible business leader, this volume provides plenty of (organic) food for thought. "

Soundview Summary - Soundview Executive Book Summaries

The business world and the natural world are inextricably linked. Our economy and society depend on natural resources. Every product comes from something mined or grown. The environment provides critical support to our economic system - not financial capital, but natural capital. And the evidence is growing that we're systematically undermining our asset base and weakening some of our vital support systems.

Why are the world's biggest, toughest, most profit-seeking companies like General Electric, Wal-Mart and others talking about the environment now? Because they have to. The forces coming to bear on companies are real and growing. Almost without exception, industry groups are facing an unavoidable new array of environmentally driven issues. Like any revolution, this new "Green Wave" presents an unprecedented challenge to business as usual.

As the business world wakes up to the fact that many natural resources are finite, a second reality is emerging in parallel: Limits can create opportunities. Companies that manage nature's bounty and boundaries best will minimize vulnerabilities and move ahead of their competitors.

Top 10 Environmental Issues
Here are the top 10 environmental issues facing humanity:

  1. Climate Change. This catch-all includes rising sea levels, changes in rainfall patterns, more severe droughts and floods, harsher hurricanes and other windstorms, and new pathways for disease.
  2. Energy. For big energy users, resource and energy productivity may become a major point of strategic advantage.
  3. Water. Companies around the world now face real limits on access to water. A rising population and growing economies are putting substantial stress on resources. Pollution is increasingly a concern.
  4. Biodiversity and Land Use. Biodiversity preserves our food chain and the ecosystems on which all life depends. A key factor in the decline of biodiversity is habitat loss. Many companies face pressure about their contribution to sprawl.
  5. Chemicals, Toxics, and Heavy Metals. Part of what makes air pollution - and all forms of pollution - more dangerous is the presence of toxic elements. The legal liability surrounding toxics can turn out to be virtually unlimited.
  6. Air Pollution. Significant air-quality controls on factories, cars and other emissions sources have radically reduced air pollution levels over the past 30 years in the United States, Japan and Europe. But the air is still not clean in many places.
  7. Waste Management. The EPA estimates that the 1,200 Superfund sites across the country will require about $200 billion to clean up over the next 30 years. Under the liability provisions of the Superfund law, anyone found responsible for the waste at a site can be held liable for the full cost of cleanup, even if the toxics were disposed of legally.
  8. Ozone Layer Depletion. With a thinned ozone layer, the world becomes a more dangerous place, with reduced agricultural productivity, higher risk of skin cancer and other health problems.
  9. Oceans and Fisheries. More than 75 percent of the world's fisheries are over-exploited and beyond sustainability. For those whose livelihoods depend on fishing, recreation and tourism, the effect of declining fisheries may be severe.
  10. Deforestation. Every company that uses wood, paper or even cardboard packaging has some stake in, and responsibility for, the state of our forests.

Building the Upside
Environmental strategy has been on a long march for the past 40 years, from a tactical focus on compliance, to an additional - but still tactical - emphasis on costs and efficiency, to a more strategic view centered on growth opportunities. More and more companies now see the top-line potential from artfully managing the pressures of the Green Wave.

The Eco-Advantage Mindset
Those who ride the Green Wave - WaveRiders - build a foundation for Eco-Advantage by reframing how everyone in the company looks at environmental issues. For these companies, environmental thinking is not always the final word on strategy, but it is always a consideration.

WaveRiders use an environmental lens to change the way they think and sharpen their business strategies. Environmental thinking becomes intrinsic to how they do business. Deeply embedded, the Eco-Advantage Mindset arises naturally at every opportunity.

The Eco-Advantage Mindset is a powerful motivator and the core of the environmental lens that helps companies step up to challenges and find opportunities for seizing advantage. But it's just the beginning. Companies need tools to get going. Getting the lay of the land requires thinking and analysis that might not come naturally. Eco-Tracking helps to answer fundamental but sometimes unfamiliar questions:

  • What are the company's big environmental impacts?
  • When and where do those impacts arise?
  • How do others view the company's environmental performance?

Pollution Prevention Hierarchy
For most companies, the state of the art in environmental thinking can be summed up with the slogan, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Most companies are still working on integrating these three Rs into the production process.

The pollution-prevention hierarchy has two further levels. Before reducing, companies should explore ways to redesign what they do and how they do it. And even before that, they should try to reimagine their products or processes. Just as companies have learned it's generally cheaper to reduce than to reuse, recycle or throw out, now they are discovering that it is often more profitable to redesign and reimagine.

Eco-Advantage Strategy
Eco-Advantage has a twin logic. On one hand, the strategic gains are based on hard-edged analysis. The business case for environmental stewardship grows stronger every day.

In parallel, there's a strong case for corporate environmental care. WaveRiders have made money by refining their business strategies to incorporate environmental factors. But as much as they are driven by profits, they are also aware that their stewardship helps more than the bottom line. When short-term gains don't justify green initiatives, they are willing to look for long-term value for themselves and their workers, for their communities, and for the planet. The gold they've discovered by going green is not only about money. Copyright © 2007 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

More Reviews and Recommendations


Daniel C. Esty is Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University with appointments in the Environmental and Law Schools. He is also a former top official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has advised companies across the world on corporate environmental strategy. He lives in New Haven, CT. Andrew S. Winston is director of the Corporate Environmental Strategy Project at Yale’s Environment School. He has advised companies on corporate strategy while at Boston Consulting Group and has held management positions in strategy and marketing at such leading media companies as Time Warner and Viacom. He lives in New York City.

Book review: The Diet Code or Pizza

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace

Author: Gordon MacKenzi

Gordon MacKenzie worked at Hallmark Cards for thirty years, where he inspired his colleagues to slip the bonds of Corporate Normalcy and rise to orbit - to a mode of dreaming, daring, and doing above and beyond the rubber-stamp confines of the administrative mind-set. In his deeply funny book, exuberantly illustrated in full color, he shares lessons on awakening and fostering creative genius. He teaches how to emerge from the "giant hairball" - that tangled, impenetrable mass of rules, and systems, based on what worked in the past and which can lead to mediocrity in the present.

Table of Contents:
Chapter Two: The Giant Hairball
Chapter Three: Pink Buddha
Chapter Four: Preparing For Lift-Off
Chapter Five: A Chicken's Fate
Chapter Six: Thou Shalt Not Have It Easy
Chapter Seven: What You Don't See Is What You Get
Chapter Eight: No Access
Chapter Nine: First There's Grope, Then There's Rote
Chapter Ten: Containers Contain
Chapter Eleven: Cage Dwellers
Chapter Twelve: Introducing...Your Brain
Chapter Thirteen: About Teasing
Chapter Fourteen: High-Tech Peaches
Chapter Fifteen: Milk Cans Are Not Allowed
Chapter Sixteen: The Power Of Paradox
Chapter Seventeen: Death Masks
Chapter Eighteen: The Pyramid & The Plum Tree
Chapter Nineteen: Orville Wright
Chapter Twenty: Beyond Measure
Chapter Twenty-One: A Conference Of Angels
Chapter Twenty-Two: Dynamic Following
Chapter Twenty-Three: Pool-Hall Dog
Chapter Twenty-Four: Paint Me A Masterpiece

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Snowball or Town Country The Art of Gratitude

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Author: Alice Schroeder

Here is THE book recounting the life and times of one of the most respected men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir, but now he has allowed one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him and with those closest to him his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom. The result is the personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha.”

Although the media track him constantly, Buffett himself has never told his full life story. His reality is private, especially by celebrity standards. Indeed, while the homespun persona that the public sees is true as far as it goes, it goes only so far. Warren Buffett is an array of paradoxes. He set out to prove that nice guys can finish first. Over the years he treated his investors as partners, acted as their steward, and championed honesty as an investor, CEO, board member, essayist, and speaker. At the same time he became the world’s richest man, all from the modest Omaha headquarters of his company Berkshire Hathaway. None of this fits the term “simple.”

When Alice Schroeder met Warren Buffett she was an insurance industry analyst and a gifted writer known for her keen perception and business acumen. Her writings on finance impressed him, and as she came to know him she realized that while much had been written on the subject of his investing style, no one had moved beyond that to explore his larger philosophy, which is bound up in a complex personality and the details of his life. Out of this came his decision to cooperate with her on the book about himself thathe would never write.

Never before has Buffett spent countless hours responding to a writer’s questions, talking, giving complete access to his wife, children, friends, and business associates—opening his files, recalling his childhood. It was an act of courage, as The Snowball makes immensely clear. Being human, his own life, like most lives, has been a mix of strengths and frailties. Yet notable though his wealth may be, Buffett’s legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth; it will be his principles and ideas that have enriched people’s lives. This book tells you why Warren Buffett is the most fascinating American success story of our time.

The New York Times - Janet Maslin

[Buffett's] opinions are so hotly sought that The Snowball, a biography with which he has enthusiastically cooperated, would be of interest even if it answered only softball questions. It approaches him seriously, covers vast terrain and tells a fascinating story. Mr. Buffett made a smart choice when he chose Alice Schroeder as his Boswell. Yes, he found an appreciative biographer with whom he seems to have a warm rapport. But he also found a writer able to keep pace with the wild swerves in the Buffett story and the intricacies of Mr. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway business empire. Ms. Schroeder is as insightful about her subject's precise anticipation of current financial crises as she is about his quirky personal story. And she is a clear explicator of fiscal issues. This sprawling, colorful biography will mesmerize anyone interested in who Mr. Buffett is or how he got that way.

The Washington Post - James Rosen

The Snowball, whose title is derived from one of the Oracle's homespun aphorisms—"Life is like a snowball. The important thing is finding wet snow and a really long hill"—marks a titanic achievement of research and reporting. It's the definitive portrait of a complex man of simple tastes, a power player who trembled from anxieties worthy of Charlie Brown, a triumphant outsider who revolutionized Wall Street from a modest office in Omaha, a money-obsessed genius who amassed unprecedented wealth and then gave it all away. To be sure, Schroeder could have used an editor; at 960 pages, her book devotes pages and pages of description, however thoroughly researched, to peripheral characters, family histories and houses that could have been sketched, no less ably or helpfully, in a few sentences…But if the replication of any great achievement first requires knowledge of how it was done, then The Snowball, the most detailed glimpse inside Warren Buffett and his world that we likely will ever get, should become a Bible for capitalists.

Publishers Weekly

Successful investor Warren Buffett sits down with author Schroeder to give readers deep and erudite insights into his work and personal life. Detailing his views on current trends in the economy and society, Buffet speaks with tremendous wisdom about everything from his family to his business ethics. Richard McGonagle gives an eloquent, straightforward reading. He has a knack for delivering words with a profound importance in his voice, drawing in listeners and holding their interest for hours. Schroeder reads her introduction and sets the tone for this revealing biography. A Bantam hardcover (reviewed online). (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents:

Pt. 1 The Bubble 1

1 The Less Flattering Version 3

2 Sun Valley 5

3 Creatures of Habit 24

4 Warren, What's Wrong? 31

Pt. 2 The Inner Scorecard 35

5 The Urge to Preach 37

6 The Bathtub Steeplechase 44

7 Armistice Day 53

8 A Thousand Ways 59

9 Inky Fingers 66

10 True Crime Stories 86

11 Pudgy She Was Not 89

12 Silent Sales 96

13 The Rules of the Racetrack 105

14 The Elephant 110

15 The Interview 123

16 Strike One 129

17 Mount Everest 139

18 Miss Nebraska 151

19 Stage Fright 163

Pt. 3 The Racetrack 175

20 Graham-Newman 177

21 The Side to Play 190

22 Hidden Splendor 200

23 The Omaha Club 222

24 The Locomotive 229

25 The Windmill War 242

26 Haystacks of Gold 247

27 Folly 263

28 Dry Tinder 278

29 What a Worsted Is 287

30 Jet Jack 294

31 The Scaffold Sways the Future 303

32 Easy, Safe, Profitable, and Pleasant 312

33 The Unwinding 321

Pt. 4 Susie Sings 337

34 Candy Harry 339

35 The Sun 352

36 Two Drowned Rats 367

37 Newshound 375

38 Spaghetti Western 387

39 The Giant 399

40 How Not to Run a Public Library 416

41 And Then What? 439

42 Blue Ribbon 457

Pt. 5 The King of Wall Street 475

43 Pharaoh 477

44 Rose 490

45 Call the Tow Truck 505

46 Rubicon 514

47 White Nights 543

48 Thumb-Sucking, and Its Hollow-Cheeked Result 562

49 The Angry Gods 597

50 The Lottery 619

51 To Hell with the Bear 647

52 Chickenfeed 665

Pt. 6 Claim Checks 685

53 The Genie 687

54 Semicolon 689

55 The Last Kay Party 702

56 By the Rich, for the Rich 712

57 Oracle 730

58 Buffetted 752

59 Winter 765

60 Frozen Coke 773

61 The Seventh Fire 786

62 Claim Checks 806

Afterword 831

Notes 839

APersonal Note About Research 929

Photo Credits and Permissions 931

Acknowledgments 933

Index 937

Go to: Developing the Leader within You or South Western Federal Taxation Individual Income Taxes with CDROM

Town & Country The Art of Gratitude: Thank-You Notes for Every Occasion

Author: The Editors of Town Country

We all have something to give thanks for, but we’re not always sure of the best way to convey our appreciation. This elegant new volume in Town & Country’s popular etiquette line will help. It gathers together the magazine’s time-tested wisdom on the subject, and offers the last, best word on the how and why of thank-you notes—when to write them and what to say, including examples readers can adapt for personal use.
The Art of Gratitude explains why the hand-written note is still relevant in today’s electronic society, discusses the basic stationery suite, and answers the pressing question: is it ever acceptable to send a thank-you note via e-mail? Find out about the correct language and structure to use; appropriate forms of address; ways of varying the tone for different occasions; and how to create wedding-related notes, including advice on designing your monogram as a couple. All situations receive careful attention, from the personal to the professional: letters for gifts, social occasions, in response to a kindness, condolences,and to follow up on a job interview. And, because no one is ever too young to learn good manners, the book includes guidelines for thank-you notes from children and teenagers, too.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Masters of Enterprise or What Hath God Wrought

Masters of Enterprise: How the Titans of American Business Shaped the U.S. Economy (Portable Professor Series)

Author: H W Brands

and/or stickers showing their discounted price. More about bargain books

See also: The Rough Guide to iPods iTunes and Music Online or Microsoft Office Access 2007 QuickSteps

What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848

Author: Daniel Walker How

The Oxford History of the United States is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes three Pulitzer Prize winners, a New York Times bestseller, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. Now, in What Hath God Wrought, historian Daniel Walker Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American War, an era when the United States expanded to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent.
Howe's panoramic narrative portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information. These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America's economic development from an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture. In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. He examines the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigs--advocates of public education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African-Americans--were the true prophets of America's future. He reveals the power of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe's story of American expansion culminates in the bitterlycontroversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico to gain California and Texas for the United States.
By 1848 America had been transformed. What Hath God Wrought provides a monumental narrative of this formative period in United States history.

The Washington Post - Jonathan Yardley

Howe brings an impressive array of strengths to the daunting task of encapsulating these busy, complicated three-plus decades within a single (admittedly, very long) volume. Emeritus professor of history at Oxford and UCLA, he grasps the meaning as well as the details of developments and events. He has a fine eye for telling detail…and for the revealing quotation. Beyond that, he is a genuine rarity: an English intellectual who not merely writes about the United States but actually understands it.

Publishers Weekly

In the latest installment in the Oxford History of the United States series, historian Howe, professor emeritus at Oxford University and UCLA (The Political Culture of the American Whigs), stylishly narrates a crucial period in U.S. history-a time of territorial growth, religious revival, booming industrialization, a recalibrating of American democracy and the rise of nationalist sentiment. Smaller but no less important stories run through the account: New York's gradual emancipation of slaves; the growth of higher education; the rise of the temperance movement (all classes, even ministers, imbibed heavily, Howe says). Howe also charts developments in literature, focusing not just on Thoreau and Poe but on such forgotten writers as William Gilmore Simms of South Carolina, who "helped create the romantic image of the Old South," but whose proslavery views eventually brought his work into disrepute. Howe dodges some of the shibboleths of historical literature, for example, refusing to describe these decades as representing a "market revolution" because a market economy already existed in 18th-century America. Supported by engaging prose, Howe's achievement will surely be seen as one of the most outstanding syntheses of U.S. history published this decade. 30 photos, 6 maps. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Frederick J. Augustyn - Library Journal

This authoritative addition to Oxford's "History of the United States" series is a product of synthesis and astute analysis. Intellectual and cultural historian Howe (Making the American Self: Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln) touches upon the rapidly expanding nation's economy, foreign relations, and social structures, taking into account race, gender, and ethnicity, and bringing special insights to his discussion of religious revivals and the evolution of moral consciousness, reform movements, and political institutions. The evocative title, which was the first message carried by Morse's telegraph, refers to the changes wrought by religious sensibilities as well as those wrought by technological breakthroughs. Howe boldly emphasizes the "communications revolution" rather than the "market revolution" of the early 19th century, asserting that the latter largely happened among 18th-century commercial farmers. On the other hand, he does not emphasize a "Jacksonian America." Andrew Jackson, he asserts, was not as uniformly democratic or influential as his supporters maintain. A worthy addition to public and academic institutions; beginning scholars will appreciate the maps and the extensive bibliographic essay, fleshed out by the journal citations in the footnotes. Highly recommended.