Best Business Education Book 2006

The Financial Times has announced its shortlist for the best Business Education book in 2006. The shortlist of five books includes a few surprises....

The Five Books the FT has shortlisted are below. Our personal favourite is The Long Tail, which was on our Kineo summer reading list. The surprise choice is The Box on the global transformation bought about by containerisation. As people in the business of packaging content in attractive formats, we were enthralled by this story...


By James Kynge
Houghton Mifflin

An analysis of China that recognises the manifold strengths and weaknesses of an industrialising power.

The critics said: "Travels to Germany, Italy and America to talk to communities forced into change as a result of China’s rise. He also weaves in stories of Chinese entrepreneurs who disobeyed national edicts." (The Economist)

China Shakes The World Excerpt
Quite suddenly, or so it seemed, China became an issue of daily international importance. It is difficult to pinpoint when, exactly, that transition took place; perhaps it was late in 2003, or maybe it was early the next year. I could not be sure. In any case, it was unlikely that there would have been any single moment when everything changed. 


By Marc Levinson
Princeton University Press

How entrepreneur Malcolm McLean turned containerisation into a huge industry that slashed the cost of transporting goods around the world. We all know the value of packaging content...

The critics said: "Levinson makes a strong case that it was McLean’s thinking that led to modern-day containerisation . . . Without the container, there would be no globalisation." (The Economist)

The Box Excerpt
On April 26, 1956, a crane lifted fifty-eight aluminum truck bodies aboard an aging tanker ship moored in Newark, New Jersey. Five days later, the Ideal-X sailed into Houston, where fifty-eight trucks waited to take on the metal boxes and haul them to their destinations. Such was the beginning of a revolution.


By Charles Fishman
Penguin Press

Inside Wal-Mart’s wall of secrecy, with the first in-depth access to former executives. The company everyone loves to hate -- except the many elearning companies who make a decent living from them.

The critics said: "Opts for a personal approach, sitting with the supplierwho went broke because Wal-Mart forced prices down,and makes interesting points such as the observation that “Wal-Mart isn’t subject to market forces because it’s creating them.’ ” (FT)

The Wal-Mart Effect Excerpt
More than half of all Americans live within five miles of a Wal-Mart store, less than a ten-minute drive away. Ninety percent of Americans live within fifteen miles of a Wal-Mart. On the nation’s interstates, it is rare to go a quarter hour without seeing a Wal-Mart truck.


By Chris Anderson

Anderson argues that the future of business lies in ‘misses’, once seen as the ‘long tail’ of the traditional demand curve.

The critics said: "Anderson has a 'theory of everything'. This turns out to be a theory of entertainment, books and the media in general but it is a very good theory, as far as it goes." (Financial Times)

The Long Tail Excerpt
The secrets of twenty-first-century economics lie in the servers of the companies that are all around us, from eBay to Wal-Mart. Although it’s not always easy to get the raw numbers, the executives at those companies swim in that data every day and have a great intuitive feel for what’s meaningful and what isn’t. So the trick to trend-spotting is to ask them.


By Bo Burlingham

A view from inside 14 privately held US companies that chose to be great instead of big (Kineo's view - what's wrong with both?!)

The critics said: "Champions the unusual proposition that privately held companies should resist expansion. It celebrates American small-town cosiness as embodied in corporate form but its quietly subversive message is relevant to entrepreneurs everywhere." (FT)

Small Giants Excerpt

Chances are, your banker, your lawyer, your accountant, or whomever else you turn to for business advice will be encouraging you to grow as fast and as far as you can. The bigger your company becomes, the better their advice looks, and the more business you’re going to do with them in the future. 

Do you agree?

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