Food for Thought

June 15, 2011

Faculty at the Sellinger School of Business and Management share their top recommended reads—and a must-see movie—in this Top 10 list:

Bounce, Living the Resilient Life by Robert J. Wicks, Psy.D.
Wicks, a well-known clinical psychologist, speaker, and spiritual guide and a professor of pastoral counseling at Loyola, offers readers a variety of ways to manage stress and live a more meaningful, self-aware, and compassionate life.

“Bob Wicks teaches at Loyola and consults with organizations around the world. I like this book because it speaks to balance and setting priorities in our life. After surviving the great recession, I find people have had an extended period of professional stress stemming from volatility in the financial markets and layoffs and downsizing in organizations. This book urges us to think about how the stressors in our lives manifest themselves in impacting our health and wellbeing, and gives some strategies for creating a more centered life.” – Karyl B. Leggio, Ph.D., dean of the Sellinger School

In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Larson takes the reader to 1933 Berlin, as seen through the eyes of the new American ambassador, William E. Dodd.

“The author of Isaac's Storm, the story of the famous Galveston hurricane, Larson is a meticulous researcher and an expressive writer, revealing the true nature of evil as it unfolds for Dodd and his family. This book is an engaging, sobering, historical saga—a must-read for any student of history as well as for those who recognize the sometimes subtle seduction of power.” – Peter Lorenzi, Ph.D., professor of management

Quantum Shift in the Global Brain by Ervin Laszlo
Laszlo, a philosopher of science and systems theorist, explores two scientific theories that embrace a new view of physical reality, one that will enable us to deal with the problems our society has developed.

“While a bit older, this book provokes integration of ideas and thinking—and of course the electrons of this book could leap into business thinking if one can imagine.” – Roger Kashlak, Ph.D., professor of international business

The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations by James Surowiek
Surowiek explores the theory that large crowds can be an intelligent business source—even more informative than a few elite—if they satisfy four specific conditions.

“Social media and Internet technologies enable collaboration and engagement. This book challenges the idea that the opinions of experts are more accurate than the combined views of the masses. The author states, ‘Large groups of people are smarter than an elite few, no matter how brilliant—better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future.’ You will change the way that you approach the solution to business problems after reading this book.” – Gloria Phillips-Wren, Ph.D., associate professor of information systems

The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
McLean and Elkind, two Fortune magazine writers, pen this bestselling book examining one of the largest business scandals in American history.

“The authors describe the personalities and problems behind the implosion of Enron. You’ll be shocked how the corporate culture fueled a litany of bad decisions. I’m requiring the book for my Fundamentals of Finance class to demonstrate the ethical components of financial decisions.” – Jon Fulkerson, Ph.D., assistant professor of finance

A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time‐Tested Strategy for Successful Investing by Burton G. Malkiel,
Malkiel’s bestselling guide to investing includes the full range of investment opportunities in today's volatile markets and with a special focus on the long-term potential of emerging markets.

“This book is an excellent must-read for every investor. In challenging financial markets for individuals and institutions, sometimes it is helpful to be reminded of investing ‘basics’ as well as recent developments in other areas such as behavioral finance. Dr. Malkiel covers these in addition to helpful recommendations for the everyday investor with respect to better understanding risk and return among different asset classes. I regularly use this book in my classes as a bridge between theory and practice.” – Mark Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor of finance

Super Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Levitt and Dubner illustrate how people respond to incentives through bold storytelling and scenarios in their sequel to the 2005 bestseller Freakonomics.

“The authors' application of supply and demand concepts is clever and interesting.  It helped me view real-world phenomena from a simple but unique perspective.” – Gauri Kulkarni, Ph.D., assistant professor of marketing

Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help by Edgar Schein
Schein offers advice about giving and receiving help in almost any relationship.

“This easy-to read book was one of 2009’s top five leadership books by Strategy+Business magazine.  Schein illustrates what we can do to offer help—and how to do it right. I reference it when providing assistance to students, clients, and even my spouse.” – Hung-bin Ding, Ph.D., associate professor of management

Reckless Endangerment by Gretchen Morgenson and Josh Rosner
In the latest book about the financial crisis Morgenson and Rosner name familiar culprits such as Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, Barney Frank—and another name most Americans don’t know: James Johnson, the former chairman and CEO of Fannie Mae.

“It is always a reality check to learn how a few politically connected and powerful individuals can so easily destroy others—it makes you wonder what is going on behind the boardroom doors and how reliable the market really is, or is it all a big fraud? Have these people not heard of ethical behavior? Anybody who has any interest in financial market and Wall Street may find this eye-opening.” – Jalal Soroosh, Ph.D., professor of accounting

Or if you’re in the mood for a movie…

Inside Job
This 2010 documentary by Charles Ferguson, now available on demand on many cable networks, explores how the global financial crisis happened and how many of the complex—and largely unregulated—financial instruments at the root of the crisis collectively produced the catastrophe.
Download it from iTunes.

“The global financial crisis of 2008 has caused many people to wonder how a crisis of such significant magnitude could have happened. The interviews with high-profile regulators, politicians, and financial industry executives make for an insightful, educational, and thought-provoking film that is also entertaining—a great choice for a rainy summer day.” – Lisa Fairchild, Ph.D., professor of finance

Have a recommendation not on the list? E-mail the title, author, and your 1-2 sentence description of why it’s a must-read to