From Publishers Weekly
This practical guidebook to business concepts is appropriately straightforward in its approach. Kurtzman, a former New York Times reporter and editor of the Harvard Business Review, explains that the volume is "organized to reflect the way normal people do and think about business." Kurtzman identifies "big ideas" as concepts that... reduce the fog of complexity into something simple, solid, tangible, and most of all workable." Not so much a nuts-and-bolts guide to business, this volume focuses on ideas and takes readers through the process of innovation, the fundamentals of sustainability, finance and accounting, and the intricacies of strategy and management. Kurtzman explains that his book can be read either from cover to cover or thumbed through whenever answers to questions about a creative concept are needed. The book addresses such topics as human resources, leadership, marketing, communication and learning from slip-ups (both one's own and those of others). Lending extra credibility to the volume is an impressive roster of contributors, including Michael Milken, 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe, Segway inventor Dean Kamen and Harvard Business School dean Kim Clark, each writing about his or her area of expertise. In keeping with Kurtzman's philosophy of business (it's "one of life's great games, and it is exhilarating"), the book makes for a refreshing and often humorous read. Whether the book's marketing concept (the "box" of the title is actually a slip-case) and high price point will attract readers is left to be seen.
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Former New York Times reporter Kurtzman, who has written seven previous books on the markets, big business, currencies, and the economy, is also founding editor of Strategy and Business and editor of Harvard Business Review. Here he has assembled some thoughts from the best minds in business into a practical resource for solving problems and generating new ideas. The more than 35 contributors include Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segway human transportation device, who talks about how new technology becomes significant only when it turns into the Big Idea, which happens when people start doing something they've never done before and find they can't live without it. The 1980s bond king Michael Milken discusses how corporate finance is more an art than a science; journalist Victoria Griffith has two articles--one discusses how biotechnology companies innovate, the other the implications of electronic communication within organizations; and, finally, Sam Hill brings his unique perspective on branding to the table. All the pieces are both pointed and concise. David Siegfried
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