By Jonathan Spira
Wiley, 260 pages (print version)
Spira calculates that in 2010 information overload cost the US economy about a trillion dollars. The figure might be debateable, but the reality of the problem is not. Much of the overload crisis, says Spira, lies with proliferation of email and social media and he offers remarkable examples of workers who were buried under piles of stuff they did not need to know. In many cases the root cause is the poor design of jobs that were set up in an era when the most dangerous aspect of communication was a paper cut. Another recurring theme is that problems can stem from a lack of clear lines of responsibility, creating a pattern of sending everything to everyone “just in case” rather than only to the relevant people. Addressing these issues needs innovative rethinking from line managers and senior executives, but the results can be striking.
Wiley GAAP 2012
By Steven Bragg
Wiley, 1344 pages (print version)
This massive piece of work contains complete coverage of all levels of US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), now indexed to the new Accounting Standards Codification. Although the codification does not itself change the GAAP content, it has comprehensively reorganised the GAAP into a single compendium. It organises the material by topic and subject and Bragg, a specialist in this field, also provides supplementary explanations and cross-references where needed. There is no escaping the complexity of the system, but the book provides a useful map and compass.
Business Continuity and Risk Management
By Kurt Engemann and Douglas Henderson
Rothstein Associates, 370 pages (print version)
A big problem with many books on risk management is their highly specialised nature. This book is designed primarily as a textbook, but is likely to prove useful to anyone who wants a basic grounding in dealing with natural disasters. It summarises international standards and best practices, then goes on to offer a chapter-by-chapter discussion of key areas such as IT and emergency management. It also draws a clear distinction between risk management, how to foresee and prevent problems, and business continuity, which tends to deal with consequences. Two case studies, a service company and a manufacturer, are examined throughout the book to illustrate the move from theory to practice.
The Power of Reputation
By Chris Komisarjevsky
AMACOM, 224 pages (print version)
Komisarjevsky is formerly the CEO of PR giant Burson-Marsteller, so he knows a few things about reputation. However, his emphasis here is not on corporate reputation but the personal variety, which he regards as vital to effectiveness in a role and a means of climbing the organisational ladder. He points to the importance of developing a “circle of trust” by demonstrating respect for others in good times and bad, and by building strong personal connections. But the critical issue is to be able to make clear decisions, communicating reasoning and intent and seeing them through to the end. He acknowledges that everyone makes mistakes: owning up to them and learning the lesson is often better for one’s reputation than blaming others and running for cover. He also makes the point that building a good personal reputation is a slow process, one best begun as early as possible.