Tag Archives: Little Brown
Brad Stone is Optimistic in The Upstarts
On Friday, April 7, I present a synopsis of The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley are Changing the World (New York: Little Brown, 2017).
The author is Brad Stone, who previously wrote the best-seller, The Everything Store (Back Bay Books, 2014), about Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com.
You can register to hear this presentation at the First Friday Book Synopsis for just $29 online by clicking on: www.15minutebusinessbooks.com. The site also has directions to the Park City Club. Breakfast opens at 7:00 a.m., and we end the session at 8:05 a.m.
In the book, Stone is optimistic about the future of these companies:
“Both Travis Kalanick and Brian Chesky had made big promises: to eliminate traffic, improve the livability of our cities, and give people more time and more authentic experiences. If these promises are kept, the results might be well worth the mishaps and mistakes that occurred during their journeys; perhaps they’ll even be worth the enormous price paid by the disrupted.
“And if they can’t meet their own lofty goals? Or if the intensity of competition pushes them further toward a ruthless, win-at-all-costs mentality? Then Uber and Airbnb risk validating the worst claims of their critics – that they used technology and clever business plans merely to replace one set of dominant companies with another, amassing a staggering amount of wealth in the process.
“I’m more optimistic than that. I believe in the power and potential of the upstart s and have frequently admired their resourceful, adaptive CEO’s. But it’s up to us to hold them to their promises. They are the new architects of the twenty-first century, every bit as powerful as political leaders and now completely enmeshed in an establishment that they have, at times, bitterly fought” (pp. 331-332).
My Pick for 2016’s Best: The Seventh Sense
I am often asked at this time of year, what I consider the BEST business book published in the past twelve months.
We presented my selection for 2016 in August. You can buy the synopsis at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com.
My choice is The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks by Joshua Cooper Ramo (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2016). Perhaps I am biased, since I have taught courses in “Communication Networks in Small Groups and Organizations” in MBA classes. However, I did so without this book.
Even today, the book is in the top 10 in three business categories on Amazon.com.
Ramo is a very eclectic guy. He is the author of the bestseller, The Age of the Unthinkable. He is co-chief executive officer and vice chairman of Kissinger Associates and a member of the board of directors of FedEx and Starbucks. His first book, No Visible Horizon, chronicled his experiences as a competitive aerobatic pilot.
The book is amazing. It’s real focus is on encouraging the reader to see the world in a different way. The book includes references and stories to many contemporary successful leaders perceive in their environment. The emphasis is on using networks, but not just from the Internet. He introduces DNA networks, political networks, and financial networks. The book is not simply descriptive, it also has many practical and implementable elements.
This post is not the book’s first critical acclaim. It has received high marks from reviewers at respected sources such as Financial Times, The New York Times, New Yorker, and San Francisco Chronicle.
Blair’s Book is the Best to Chronicle America’s Team’s Early Years
Since the Dallas Cowboys are “America’s Team,” you can understand why they have been the subject of so many books. I have read a lot of them.
The most recent, and likely, best-selling edition is called The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America by Joe Nick Patoski (New York: Little Brown, 2012). At 805 pages, it does the job.
But, I don’t think it’s the best. If you really want the history, go back to a book that concentrates on the first nine years of the team’s existence (1960-1969). And, that book is entitled Dallas Cowboys Pro or Con: A Complete History by Sam Blair (New York: Doubleday, 1970). The book is long out of print, but it is available through third-party sellers.
Before his retirement, Blair was a columnist for the Dallas Morning News. I met him through the late Merle Harmon, who broadcast games for area sports teams for many years. Blair was the paper’s first Dallas Cowboys writer, and he worked for the Dallas Morning News for 41 years (1954-1995).
Blair was a writer in a different era. In his career, there was not muckraking, blowing up heresay into facts, instant messaging, social media availability, or anything like today’s journalistic activity. Writers went to press conferences, chatted informally with players and coaches, kept off-the-record tidbits exactly that way, and did not blow up rumors into stories. It is true that they were laid-back, let the stories come to them, and were definitely not Watergate-style investigative reporters.
Perhaps even more so than Blair was Red Smith, who was an editorialist for the New York Times and New York Herald Tribune from the 1930’s through the 1980’s. I read a great collection of his columns in a book by Daniel Okrent entitled American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith (New York: Library of America, 2013). Writers like Blair and Smith were just so different than you see today.
But, back to the Cowboys book by Blair. I guess that I select it for history because it is concentrated on the early years. It does not have to spread itself thin over 50 years. The context of Dallas, Texas, and especially the rivalry for ticket sales with Lamar Hunt’s Dallas Texans is so vivid in the book. Because it only covers the first nine years, you find all aspects of the team covered in a well-developed manner.
There were other books published about the team at that time that were also good. I remember reading the late Steve Perkins’ Next Year’s Champions (New York: World Publishing, 1969) . But, that book focused on a single season when the Cowboys did not advance as far as they had previously into the NFL Championship game. I remember it had a drawing of Don Meredith on the cover, wrapped around by Green Bay Packer linebacker Dave Robinson, as he through an interception into the end zone in the fourth quarter of the 1966 NFL Championship game. And, I remember how much I was stricken by the racism and bigotry in our area, even for star Cowboys players in the 1960’s, as told in Cotton Bowl Days by John Eisenberg, which was later retitled, and is now unavailable even through third party sellers.
I just think if you want to study the team’s history, why not read it historically? And, Blair’s book is the one that allows you to do that. You have to search for it, but you can find it.