The Great Leveler

Tracing the global history of inequality from the Stone Age to today, Walter Scheidel shows that inequality never dies peacefully. Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world. Ever since humans began to farm, herd livestock, and pass on their assets to future generations, economic inequality has been a defining feature of civilization. Over thousands of years, only violent events have significantly lessened inequality. The "Four Horsemen" of leveling--mass-mobilization warfare, transformative revolutions, state collapse, and catastrophic plagues--have repeatedly destroyed the fortunes of the rich. Scheidel identifies and examines these processes, from the crises of the earliest civilizations to the cataclysmic world wars and communist revolutions of the twentieth century. Today, the violence that reduced inequality in the past seems to have diminished, and that is a good thing. But it casts serious doubt on the prospects for a more equal future. An essential contribution to the debate about inequality, The Great Leveler provides important new insights about why inequality is so persistent--and why it is unlikely to decline anytime soon.

Capitalism Without Capital

Capitalism without Capital shows that the growing importance of intangible assets has also played a role in some of the big economic changes of the last decade. The rise of intangible investment is, Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake argue, an underappreciated cause of phenomena from economic inequality to stagnating productivity. Haskel and Westlake bring together a decade of research on how to measure intangible investment and its impact on national accounts, showing the amount different countries invest in intangibles, how this has changed over time, and the latest thinking on how to assess this. They explore the unusual economic characteristics of intangible investment, and discuss how these features make an intangible-rich economy fundamentally different from one based on tangibles. Capitalism without Capital concludes by presenting three possible scenarios for what the future of an intangible world might be like, and by outlining how managers, investors, and policymakers can exploit the characteristics of an intangible age to grow their businesses, portfolios, and economies.

The Sum of Small Things - A Theory of the Aspirational Class

In The Sum of Small Things, Elizabeth Currid-Halkett dubs this segment of society "the aspirational class" and discusses how, through deft decisions about education, health, parenting, and retirement, the aspirational class reproduces wealth and upward mobility, deepening the ever-wider class divide. Exploring the rise of the aspirational class, Currid-Halkett considers how much has changed since the 1899 publication of Thorstein Veblen's Theory of the Leisure Class. In that inflammatory classic, which coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption," Veblen described upper-class frivolities: men who used walking sticks for show, and women who bought silver flatware despite the effectiveness of cheaper aluminum utensils. Now, Currid-Halkett argues, the power of material goods as symbols of social position has diminished due to their accessibility. As a result, the aspirational class has altered its consumer habits away from overt materialism to more subtle expenditures that reveal status and knowledge. And these transformations influence how we all make choices. With a rich narrative and extensive interviews and research, The Sum of Small Things illustrates how cultural capital leads to lifestyle shifts and what this forecasts, not just for the aspirational class but for everyone.

The Transformational Consumer

They are the most valuable, least understood customers of our time. They buy over $4 trillion in life-improving products and services every year. If you serve their deeply human need to continually improve their lives, they will eagerly engage with your brand at a time when most people are tuning out corporate messages. They are Transformational Consumers, and no one knows them like Tara-Nicholle Nelson. Her Transformational Consumer insights powered her work at MyFitnessPal, which grew from 40 million to 100 million users in her time there. Nelson takes readers on a hero's journey to connecting with customers in ways both profitable and transformational. After going inside the brains, emotions, and behaviors of Transformational Consumers, Tara issues a call to adventure: a rallying cry to leaders to shift their focus from simply making products to solving their customers' problems. Nelson uses stories and cases studies from every industry to guide readers through this journey in five stages, shedding light on how to rethink their customers, their products and services, their marketing, their competition, and even their culture. The key to growing a business today is not building an app or getting new social media followers. The key is engaging people over and over again by triggering their deep, human desire for growth and transformation.When a company reorients every initiative to serve Transformational Consumers, it kick-starts a lifelong love affair with its customers--a love affair that results in unprecedented revenue growth, product innovation, and employee engagement.

Managing Oneself

Peter Drucker is widely regarded as the father of modern management, offering penetrating insights into business that still resonate today. But Drucker also offers deep wisdom on how to manage our personal lives and how to become more effective leaders. In these two classic articles from Harvard Business Review, Drucker reveals the keys to becoming your own chief executive officer as well as a better leader of others. "Managing Oneself" identifies the probing questions you need to ask to gain the insights essential for taking charge of your career, while "What Makes an Effective Executive" outlines the key behaviors you must adopt in order to lead. Together, they chart a powerful course to help you carve out your place in the world.

My Peerless Story

In 1951, Alvin Cramer Segal, at the age of eighteen and without a formal education, started working in the factory of his stepfather's company in Montreal. Today he is the chairman and chief executive officer of the largest supplier of men's fine-tailored clothing in North America, and is considered an outstanding business and community leader, at the forefront of policy-making in Canada's apparel industry, with commitments to philanthropic efforts that echo his business accomplishments. In My Peerless Story, Segal recounts how he learned business from the collar down and from the ground up, transforming a family-owned business into one that would eventually come to licence labels such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Michael Kors. Sharing anecdotes and personal experiences, Segal describes the history of garment manufacturing in Montreal and his intuitive strategies to leverage growth by improving fabrics, and adapting to innovative changes in the industry, eventually becoming the main inventory source of designer label suits to major department stores. Written from the heart, not as a handbook but rather as the story of a well-suited business career, My Peerless Story nonetheless includes relevant business lessons for the aspiring and inspired.

Saving Face in Business

This book explains the subtle maneuvers of what researchers call "facework" and demonstrates the vital role it plays in the success or failure of cross-cultural interactions. Building on Geert Hofstede's seminal research on cultural dimensions, Merkin synthesizes more recent research in business, communication, cross-cultural psychology and sociology to offer a model for better understanding facework.  Additionally, Merkin's model shows how particular communication strategies can facilitate more successful cross-cultural interactions. The first book of its kind to focus on the practical aspects of employing face-saving, it is a needed text for academics, students, and business professionals negotiating with organizations from different cultures. 

Engine of Impact

Engine of Impact shows how nonprofits can apply the principles of strategic leadership to attract greater financial support and leverage that funding to maximum effect. As Good to Great author Jim Collins writes in his foreword, this book offers "a detailed roadmap of disciplined thought and action for turning a good nonprofit into one that can achieve great impact at scale." William F. Meehan III and Kim Starkey Jonker identify seven essential components of strategic leadership that set high-achieving organizations apart from the rest of the nonprofit sector. Together, these components form an "engine of impact"--a system that organizations must build, tune, and fuel if they hope to make a real difference in the world. Drawing on decades of teaching, advising, grantmaking, and research, Meehan and Jonker provide an actionable guide that executives, staff, board members, and donors can use to jumpstart their own performance and to achieve extraordinary results for their organization. Along with setting forth best practices using real-world examples, the authors outline common management challenges faced by nonprofits, showing how these challenges differ from those faced by for-profit businesses in important and often-overlooked ways. By offering crucial insights on the fundamentals of nonprofit management, this book will help leaders equip their organizations to fire on all cylinders and unleash the full potential of the nonprofit sector.

Crisis Leadership

Anyone in a leadership position today knows that we live in uncertain times, and disaster can strike any business, at any time, usually without warning. From the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the oil disaster of Deepwater Horizon, to Malaysia Airlines' loss of two planes, corporations are coming to realize that the impossible can happen all too easily. Public institutions, too, face a range of threats--from global recession, resurgent terrorism, and a stream of appalling natural disasters. For leaders in such organizations, these crisis situations can present both opportunities and threats. How they lead their companies through such challenging times will propel their careers to new heights--or destroy them completely. Crisis Leadership examines the challenges faced by leaders at each stage of the crisis "lifecycle," from the instant they learn of the crisis, through to moments of critical decision-making and the final tumultuous days. Featuring interviews with General Stanley McChrystal, who was the top Commander of American forces in Afghanistan, and Sir Mervyn King, ex-Governor of the Bank of England, the book offers a unique insight into the lessons learned by people in the most challenging of situations. Blended with operational guidance from the author's extensive experience in crisis management, Tim Johnson offers an overview of the crisis "lifecycle" to ensure that readers will come away from this book with a honed understanding of the critical nature of each key stage.