The Best Books for Business Students

24 05 2013

The Economist recently posted about former Groupon boss CEO Andrew Mason’s favorite business books and his issue on new workers without any business books under their belts. There are certainly plenty of reasons to avoid much of the garbage out there on the business book shelves. The Career News section of the Economist used this as an opportunity analyze the choices and list some other interesting books. This reminded me of a long-delayed post listing my favorite books for business school students, new graduates and anybody entering  the workforce.

ANDREW MASON, Groupon’s ex boss, complained in a recent blog post that too few of the young people who joined his firm had read a single business book. This, he said, meant they “would arrive at orientation with minimal understanding of basic business wisdom”.

Are books a good way to learn about business? In some ways, recruiting people with a working knowledge of management literature is about correlation not causation. In other words, a firm might want to hire them because they are inquisitive enough to read about business strategy, not because the books themselves will have imparted much wisdom.

http://www.economist.com/whichmba/early-learning-business-books?fsrc=scn/li/cp/mba/earlylearningbook

My top business books (or book series) for the last decade are as follows:

1. Any book in the Incerto Trilogy by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (or Pentalogy if you consider the two technical addenda)

Fooled by Randomness

The Black Swan

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

2. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, John King, Halee Fischer-Wright

3. The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t by Nate Silver

Bonus for law students is Typography for Lawyers by Matthew Butterick. Should be mandatory reading  in all law schools.  No excuses for ugly fonts and poorly formatted documents.

These books look at conventional management or financial wisdom. Sometimes even skewering the fortune tellers that populate those industries. While extremely arrogant, everything by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is fascinating and thought-provoking. He has proved quite prescient over the years writing about business fragility right before the financial crisis.  Tribal Leadership is simply the best book I have ever read on motivating and leading teams or groups of people. The book was so influential to Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com that he bought the rights to distribute the e-book for free. The Signal and the Noise is Nate Silvers work on predictions and where they seem to succeed and fail. I should write a little more about each one but it is a busy holiday weekend approaching.

Happy Memorial Day weekend readers.





Analytics used to predict who will leave a job!

22 03 2013

HP ran a pilot program to use analytics to predict if employees might quit. Employers traditionally use exit interviews to figure out why and when employees leave for improvement (hopefully). Quantifying the sources and finding a companies risk factors before losing talent would benefit any business.

Capture

In my own research I find that most voluntarily exits by employees occur in July though September. See the chart for an example of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Look for the highlighted spike in late summer. December on the other hand is one of the lowest periods of the year for turnover. Therefore January through May would be a great time to start analyzing the historic data and implementing changes to beat off those late Summer exits, or for whenever your high turnover period was. It is predictive analytics you can do without special software or a PHD in data science or statistics.

Thanks to the Operations and Supply Chain Management blog of F. Robert (Bob) Jacobs, Professor of Operations Management at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University for the original story.

Operations and Supply Chain Management

WSJ – March 14, 2013, 3:36 PM ET

Book: HP Piloted Program to Predict Which Workers Would Quit

Hewlett Packard Co. tested a predictive scoring system that attempted to grade the likelihood that individual workers would quit the company, according to a new book.

HP piloted the scoring system in 2011 aimed at lowering attrition through a better understanding of which workers were most likely to leave, according to Predictive Analytics: The Power To Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie Or Die by Eric Siegel. The analytics model, Mr. Siegel says, looked at factors such as salaries, promotions and job rotations, and scored the likelihood that particular employees would leave. HP data scientists believed a companywide implementation of the system could deliver $300 million in potential savings “related to attrition replacement and productivity,” according to a November 2011 company presentation.

Data scientists made the presentation at a Predictive Analytics World…

View original post 215 more words








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