AT WORK WITH THOMAS EDISON offers a glimpse into the mind and spirit of the man who transformed American life with his light bulb, phonograph, and motion picture projector. Edison is the ultimate hero for today's entrepreneur. He could invent, manage and promote at the same time. Unlike most other factories that manufactured specific products, Edison's enterprise specialized in innovation, and became known as the Invention Factory. A firm believer in freedom, individuality, and experimentation, he attracted the best talent, while dispelling the notion of the lone genius. Surrounded by a group of partners in a rowdy lab with no rules, a pipe organ for group sing-alongs, apple pie at midnight parties, and a revolving door of talent, he nurtured the process of innovation. Edison's maverick style had more in common with the young wizards of Silicon Valley in the 1970's and 1980's than the crude foundries and factories of his own era. Ironically, Edison did business with Silicon Valley, then known as Santa Clara Valley, taking advantage of the area's good mercury lode in his development of the incandescent lab.
Edison knew that continued financing was critical for the steady flow of inventions. With his development of the stock ticker, he had earlier established a familiar name on Wall Street. In addition, he located his lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey, a short railroad trip to New York City and the bankers. He was successful at getting capital not by making big promises, but achieving small victories with regular reports. To finance the electric light bulb, he first wired his Menlo Park lab with electricity and had the financiers marvel at the scene. He had already carefully courted New York City bureaucrats to allow him to wire lower Manhattan for electricity. He then wired the city's power station and invited everyone to view the spectacle. His application of the win small, win early, win often, approach proved that "a little something is better than nothing."
Author Blaine McCormick does a fine job translating the complex tableau of
Edison's life, work, and accomplishments into a book that is at once
engaging and useful. McCormick's accessible style and obvious love for
the material make this title an ideal companion piece to his earlier book,
BEN FRANKLIN'S 12 RULES OF MANAGEMENT. Just as Edison demonstrated passion
and enthusiasm for his projects, so too does Mr. McCormick, and in so
doing he allows one of America's greatest entrepreneurs to pass on his
legacy of innovation.
HB 119 .G33 A25 2001
THE ESSENTIAL GALBRAITH selected and edited by Andrea D. Williams. Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
This wonderful collection of works, with annotations by Mr. Galbraith
himself, demonstrates why he is widely held to be one of the Twentieth
century's great economists and intellects. Dry, occasionally hilarious
and always fearless, John Kenneth Galbraith made his reputation in the
late 1950s and early 1960s as an iconoclast whose cutting analysis of
consumer culture proved to be influential, however nettlesome it seemed at
the time. Highlights of The Essential Galbraith include chapters from The
Affluent Society (1958), an incisive exposition on the dangers of rampant
consumerism, which also served as an unusual source of inspiration for an
emerging dissident culture. It's difficult not to experience an unsettling
sense of familiarity when reading selections from this book, as it eerily
describes a cultural climate, not unlike our own, in which consumption is
equated with patriotism. Other highlights include The Crash, seen as one
of the definitive works covering the events of October 1929; two excellent
biographical essays - The Massive Dissent of Karl Marx and Who Was
Thorstein Veblen?; and The Founding Faith: Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations,
a convenient primer for everyone who has dropped the influential
economist's name without ever actually having read him. Galbraith's
personal introductions offer fresh insights into each piece. Old fans and
readers new to John Kenneth Galbraith alike will find value in this fresh
presentation of his work.
HD 6053 .H387 2001
IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN: TURNING WORKPLACE CONFLICT INTO POWERFUL ALLIANCES by Pat Heim and Susan Murphy. Tarcher/Putnam, 2001.
"Why can't a woman be more like a man?" wonders Professor Henry Higgins in the classic musical, My Fair Lady. Women in today's workplace recognize that acting like a man can be professionally damaging, but may not be aware of the hidden nuances in woman-to-woman relationships that might be equally damaging. Females are often socially conditioned to share, to avoid confrontation, and not to draw attention to themselves or their achievements. These attributes can become serious liabilities when a woman is recognized for her abilities and given increasing responsibility within her organization. For the unwary woman, the success she worked so hard to achieve can ultimately prove to be her undoing. Women can sabotaging other women indirectly through "gossip, spreading rumors and divulging secrets, publicly making insinuating or insulting comments, and purposefully snubbing and withdrawing friendship," and they do not hesitate to do so when they believe such actions are justified.
Heim and Murphy set out to discover why so many women believe other women had undermined them at some point in their careers. They discovered an invisible, unstated, rule of behavior and gave it the somewhat cumbersome name "Power Dead-Even Rule," wherein "the self-esteem and power of one must be, in the perception of each woman, similar in weight to the self-esteem and power of the other." The authors feel strongly that a clear understanding of this rule is essential to women in the workplace. IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN explores the potential minefields to which newly promoted female managers may fall prey if they fail to observe this rule. When the existing balance of power suddenly shifts, you become vulnerable if you and your former peers have shared secrets and "troubles talk" in the past. Your entire private life can be exposed, warts and all; the Monica Lewinsky/Linda Tripp friendship is cited as a cautionary example. Additionally, internal company information that comes your way must now be kept confidential and can no longer be shared. Your former peers often perceive this as a violation of the "power dead-even rule". If you become comfortable with the men in the office or spend more time associating with managers at your level, this might also be seen as breaking the rule. When you assume a position of leadership, your employees are no longer your peers, and new boundaries between your professional life and your private life must be established if you are to be effective. It's just not possible to have it both ways.
How then do you preserve a harmonious working relationship with your
former friends and keep them from stabbing you in the back when you least
expect it? . IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN provides an excellent road map.
Guidelines are provided for learning how to assess and handle a variety of
unpleasant situations without becoming defensive or losing your
self-control. Finding a mentor to offer guidance and honest feedback as
your career progresses will make navigating treacherous waters easier. If
you are expecting a major promotion, or if you have recently been placed
in charge of former co-workers, then run, don't walk, to your nearest
library or bookseller and read this book! You'll find that many of the
techniques for improving relationships and communication skills in the
workplace can be useful in your personal life as well.
Also recommended are:
HF 1017 .B24 2002x
THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO BUSINESS STATISTICS by Sunny Baker, Ph.D. Alpha Books, 2002.
HD 9980.65 .S49 2001
THE CONSUMER'S GUIDE TO EXPERTS by Susan T. Shay. Kiplinger Books, 2001.
HT 123 .K67 2001x
THE NEW GEOGRAPHY : HOW THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION IS RESHAPING THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE by Joel Kotkin. Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2001.
Contact the business librarians, who also answer questions about business,
money, and work, at (412) 281-7141 or at