Women's & LGBTQ Equality, Reimagining Capitalism, Start-Up Culture | Business & Economics

An essential addition to the field of economic studies and especially vital for academic libraries; a thorough overview of how to start and run a small business; Henderson’s passion will be a clarion call to action for business leaders; Orozco’s work is highly recommended for introverts and those who work with and supervise them

Badgett, M. Lee. The Economic Case for LGBT Equality: Why Fair and Equal Treatment Benefits Us All. Beacon. May 2020. 240p. ISBN 9780807035603. $26.95. BUS
How does being LGBT affect economic well-being? For three decades, economist Badgett (Univ. of Massachusetts Amherst) has studied this topic. As a result, Badgett presents the economic case for ending the stigma and discrimination against LGBT people. Excluding LGBT people from participating in a country’s workforce through discrimination and violence not only affects the individual, but can generate a meaningful drop in income and jobs for a nation’s people. While acknowledging discrimination is primarily a human rights issue, Badgett argues that economics and human rights are intertwined. Furthermore, an economic study can aid human rights activists by offering more information and tools for promoting fairness and equality. Badgett begins by demonstrating how LGBT people are currently treated differently in important economic contexts (education, employment, and health), then moves on to examine how economic arguments have made a difference in parts of the world; finally, the author builds a case that discrimination has a literal cost attached to it by estimating the overall losses to countries’ economies from exclusion and discrimination. The book concludes with ideas for actions moving forward. VERDICT An essential addition to the field of economic studies that is especially vital for academic libraries.—Laurel Tacoma, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA
Carder, Susie. Power Your Profits: How To Take Your Business from $10,000 to $10,000,000. Atria. May 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781982137687. $28. BUS
While this book may look like any other finance-for-small-business guide, the advice within covers much more than the balance sheet. Carder, an entrepreneur–turned–business coach, quickly gets down into the nitty-gritty of mission plans and hiring procedures before turning her attention to finances. The book starts with a focus on assessing personalities and products before even discussing profitability. From there, it’s filled with case studies of small businesses that learned from their mistakes to grow beyond expectations. The eight chapters take readers through evaluating an idea; understanding not only leadership but also employee relations, operations, finance, and marketing; and exploring a mix of practical guidance and inspirational stories that will appeal to nonprofessionals looking to grow their passion into a sustainable business. The book also includes exercises on SWOT analysis, standard operating procedures, and developing sales funnels. Similar to Mike ­Michalowicz’s Profit First, this is geared toward small business owners, but also focuses on more than finances.
VERDICT A practical book, written in a simple and straightforward style, while providing a thorough overview of how to start and run a small business.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston
redstarHenderson, Rebecca. Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire. PublicAffairs. Apr. 2020. 336p. ISBN 9781541730151. $28. BUS
Because a degraded planet and impoverished populace will be bad for profits, Henderson (business, Harvard Univ.) strategizes how business will be part of the solution. She tells of a waste company that profited by selling valuable metals harvested from recycling and how Walmart saved a fortune by increasing the energy efficiency of its truck fleet. While such innovations may hurt short-term profits, she says they can mitigate future risks, citing what happened with Nike when it ignored its supply chain until it became synonymous with child labor. Henderson explores innovative practices that enhance customer relations, create engaged workforces, and promote long-term thinking in tackling environmental and social ills. To ensure businesses can act effectively, she explains, there is also need for supportive financial markets and governments.
­VERDICT Henderson’s convincing arguments and passion will be a clarion call to action for business leaders and interested readers everywhere. A complementary work is microfinance champion Muhammad Yunus’s A World of Three Zeros, while Christopher Leonard’s Kochland offers a contrasting portrayal of the Koch Industries’ single-minded resistance to any such ideas.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
King, Marissa. Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection. Dutton. Jun. 2020. 368p. ISBN 9781524743802. $28. BUS
According to this work, three simple topographies characterize most people’s networks: expansionists, brokers, and conveners. How your network is shaped has implications for a variety of personal and professional outcomes. The book promises to transform the way you think about networking, but does it succeed? No. The weakest material is the exploration of the three types of networkers King proposes. The horoscope-like nature of the distinctions between expansionists, brokers, and conveners (any given characteristic of one type of networker could be equally true of the others) leaves the entire concept feeling pointless. However, the second part, dedicated to strategies for improving networking, is more interesting and informative. Chapter seven onward provides the best material of the ten-chapter book. But the helpful generalities for improving social interaction in the latter half calls into question the whole selling point of the book: King does not make a satisfactory case for the promised revelatory distinctions between people’s different networking capabilities and how to leverage them.
VERDICT Pass. The value of the second half does not make up for the feebleness of the first.—Laurel Tacoma, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA
Lemieux, Christiane & Duff McDonald. Frictionless: Why the Future of Everything Will Be Fast, Fluid, and Made Just for You. Harper Business. Jun. 2020. 304p.
ISBN 9780062893673. $29.99. BUS
What will the next wave of successful start-up businesses have in common? According to Lemieux (Undecorate, The Finer Things) and McDonald (The Golden Passport) it’s that they will deliver what they have promised (whatever that may be) without monopolizing any of their customers’ preciously guarded free time. To be “frictionless,” any given business transaction must seem to be effortless and instant and the start-ups that will flourish will be those driven by services that make something we’re already doing easier, thereby adding to that free time. Though there are frequent references to co-author McDonald, the book is written as first-person advice from Lemieux. This advice comes largely in the form of examples from the current crop of start-ups that embody various aspects of the titular concept—”frictionless experience,” “frictionless competition,” “frictionless YOU”—31 in all. Lemieux also details what she’s learned from her own start-up experiences with DwellStudio and The Inside. VERDICT Following the evolution of ideas that led to the businesses Lemieux describes makes for interesting reading as well as speculation as to whether her predictions of success will hold true. Will appeal to budding entrepreneurs and those interested in start-up culture.—Sara Holder, Univ. of Illinois Libs., Champaign
redstarMoore, Don A. Perfectly Confident: How To Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely. HarperCollins. May 2020. 272p. ISBN 9780062887757. $29.99. BUS
Moore (Univ. of California at Berkeley’s Haas Sch. of Business) shares results from his many years of analysis and research into confidence and decisionmaking. He examines psychological and economic studies that clarify confidence and explain when the trait is helpful and when it can backfire. Moore emphasizes moderating by sharing how to maintain a healthy balance of overconfidence and underconfidence. While overconfidence can result in errors, underconfidence can lead to missed opportunities. The author teaches readers how to distinguish between the three main forms of confidence—estimating a meaningful self-image, realistically comparing oneself with others, and accurately assessing these inner beliefs—while also explaining how to avoid overestimation, overplacement, and overprecision. The premise is that determining the importance of confidence can be confusing for many, regardless of their profession. Solidly researched chapters explain the author’s view of confidence, how to reconsider what you think you know, how to think of possible outcomes and associated probabilities, and how to dispose of unhelpful wishful thinking. He concludes with recommendations and strategies on how to find your way to perfect confidence. VERDICT Wise, solidly researched, and highly recommended for academic libraries supporting business and psychology curriculum.—Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Orozco, Thea. The Introvert’s Guide to the Workplace: Concrete Strategies for Bosses and Employees To Thrive and Succeed. Skyhorse. Apr. 2020. 274p. ISBN 9781510754157. $16.99. BUS
Two surprising facts inform this work. First, 50.7 percent of Americans are introverts. Second, extroverted men make $490,100 more than introverted men over their lifetimes. The difference between extroverted and introverted women is $284,600. Clearly, growing up and working in an extrovert-focused society poses unique challenges to those who gain energy by being alone. Orozco, a life and business coach, founder of Introvertology, and self-professed introvert, covers an array of topics regarding introversion, including its etiology, common myths and misconceptions, different types, and workplace assets and challenges. The author provides practical recommendations and exercises for identifying satisfying careers, nailing interviews, handling self-promotion, and thriving in the workplace. Salted with anecdotes and interviews, the book also contains guidelines for coping with situations that often present particular challenges to introverts, including shared work-spaces, small talk, networking (live and online), and public speaking. VERDICT On par with Jane Finkle’s The Introvert’s Complete Career Guide: From Landing a Job, to Surviving, Thriving, and Moving on Up, Orozco’s work is highly recommended for introverts and those who work with and supervise them.—Alan Farber, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Scott, Linda. The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment. Farrar. May 2020. 384p. ISBN 9780374142629. $28. ECON
Gender equality has been a long-fought battle with lots of scholarship behind it. Scott (entrepreneurship and innovation, Oxford Univ.) adds to the mix with a deep dive into the historic economic exclusion of women and the problems—both for women and for the global economy—it has caused. Scott begins by laying out the basics of the Double X Economy concept, weaving in her own experiences that propelled her forward into this study. The bulk of the book examines the multiple impediments (work, salary inequity, lack of property ownership, capital credit, participation in global markets, and governance) and constraints (limited mobility, reproductive vulnerability, the ever-present threat of violence) that keep women from participating equally. Scott closes by offering insight and recommendations for engaging and benefiting from the Double X Economy, highlighting five priorities for the United States, three areas of focus for the world, and six areas of impact for individuals. Though the book is without question well-researched, larger and full-color illustrations would add to the impact and readability of the material. VERDICT Weighty subject matter with an edge. Will appeal to fans of social commentary and those interested in women’s and global economic issues.—Sara Holder, Univ. of Illinois Libs., Champaign
Sedgewick, Augustine. Coffeeland: One Man’s Dark Empire and the Making of Our Favorite Drug. Penguin Pr. Apr. 2020. 448p. ISBN 9781594206153. $30. ECON
Combining biography with a socioeconomic study, Sedgewick (history, City Univ. of New York) examines the consumption and growing of coffee. The biographical portion focuses on British ex-patriot James Hill, a prominent planter in El Salvador from the end of the 19th century through his death in 1951. Sedgewick recounts how coffee became a beverage of choice in the United States, and how it transformed formerly diverse El Salvadoran agriculture into a monoculture. He details the difficulties Hill and other planters had to overcome with growing conditions, labor, and global price fluctuations. Also discussed are scientific and marketing breakthroughs and the more sensitive subject of how Hill and other planters used food and hunger to coerce labor from workers. Sedgewick also covers the interplay of coffee with world wars and the Great Depression, along with revolution and poverty. He concludes that coffee is the commodity that best explains how the global economy functions between producers and consumers and what that relationship says about fairness and justice. VERDICT Sedgewick’s wide-ranging work is most appropriate for readers with a serious interest in food economics.—Lawrence Maxted, Gannon Univ. Lib., Erie, PA
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