The Miami Herald's Business Monday Book Club.
Click here for information.
Music Reviews and Features
Lester Bangs in Buffalo
Lester Bangs in "Almost
The Cure In Concert
Pearl Jam In Concert
History of Warner Brothers
People's Bar-B-Que and
Originally published June 7, 2004 in The Miami Herald.
in a Box covers all the basics of business.
varied group of contributors offers lessons on everything imaginable about
in a Box. Joel Kurtzman, Glenn Rifkin and Victoria Griffith et al. Crown
Business. 448 pages.
Although the title reminds me of old junior high school jokes (``Hey,
do you have Prince Albert in a box?'' or "Why does Dr. Pepper come
in a bottle?"), it's still an apt name for this top-line tour of
business necessities such as sales, marketing, HR, leadership, finance
and so on.
Not nearly as exhaustive as Business,
The Ultimate Resource (produced by Britain's Bloomsbury Publishing
and published in the States by Perseus and reviewed here,
this new volume is a bit less daunting and will probably be read as opposed
to just used as a reference.
Kurtzman is more of a producer than author in this case, but it's his
vision that's clearly the dominant one in the conception and execution
of this work. His most obvious contribution is a longish introduction
that outlines his motivations for putting out this volume, as well as
profiles of his contributors. It's tempting to excerpt that intro here,
but the book's chapter titles might be more revealing. They are:
* Innovation: How Breakthroughs Happen.
* Sustainability and the Environment: A Business That Makes Nothing But
Money Is a Poor Kind of Business.
* Finance and Accounting: ''We're Not in Kansas Anymore'' -- Getting Real
About Numbers and What They Mean.
* Strategy: Make Sure You Take the Right Fork in the Road -- On the Importance
of Strategic Direction.
* Managing Is Getting Paid for Other People's Home Runs.
* Human Resources: Why Brains Trump Brawn.
* How to Be a Leader and Live to Tell About It.
* Marketing: Find Out What They Want and How They Want It and Give It
to 'Em Just That Way.
* Communication: A Fool May Talk, But a Wise Man Speaks.
* There's Many a Slip 'Twixt the Cup and the Lip: Good Ideas Gone Awry.
Kurtzman prefers familiar and colloquial language, which accurately echoes
the prevalent informality of most businesses and professions these days.
Fair enough, but the discussion of the relevant issues is no less serious
or learned. Contributors include such notables as Dean
J. Slywotzky and Rosabeth
Moss Kanter, former editor of the Harvard Business Review and Herald
Most of the pieces are short and well focused with well-chosen examples
and accompanying explications that make sense. One grievous exception
is the very last item in the box, er book, Bill Pollock's tale of the
Apple III Computer. He apparently thinks the lesson is obvious and self-evident,
so he just presents the facts and implicitly asks readers to come to their
own conclusions. Mine is that it's the weakest contribution in this otherwise
interesting and potentially valuable business asset.
Like business books? Join the club.