Book Recommendations

Below is a sampling of recommended books I’ve personally read.

  • Japan


    Japan1(Bow)Learning to Bow: Excellent summary work for learning about Japanese culture





    Japan2(Docomo)DoCoMo–Japan’s Wireless Tsunami: How One Mobile Telecom Created a New Market and Became a Global Force: Fantastic overview of changes in Japan’s telecom sector and why / how their technologies differ than those in the US.




    Japan3(Wright)Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel (Dover Books on Architecture): My former employer while in Japan. For anyone interested in architecture & history, this is a must read.





    Japan4(sun)Saving the Sun: A Wall Street Gamble to Rescue Japan from Its Trillion-Dollar Meltdown: Good historical overview on Wall Street’s efforts to help Japan post its lost decade of the 90’s.





    Japan5(Clueless)Clueless in Tokyo: Explorer’s Sketchbook Of Weird And Wonderful Things In Japan: If you’ve ever lived overseas, there’s a certain amount of “stuff” which never makes sense. This book was written for that purpose and is quite well done. There’s a sequel called “Still Clueless in Tokyo.”




    Japan6(celebration)Japanese Celebrations: Cherry Blossoms, Lanterns and Stars!: Good book summarizing Japan’s many cultural fêtes.





    Japan7(macro)The Holy Grail of Macroeconomics: Lessons from Japan’s Great Recession: Published in 2009, an excellent read on Japan’s economy, but be prepared for a heavy dose of economics with lots of graphs / charts. 





    9780824838690Capturing Contemporary Japan: Fascinating look at today’s Japan from a societal perspective.





    South Korea

    South Korea

    Korea1(culture)Culture Smart! Korea: Handy little summary of life in South Korea.





    Korea2(etiquette)Korean Business Etiquette: The Cultural Values and Attitudes that Make Up the Korean Business Personality: Detailed work on how to navigate South Korea culturally and socially.





    Korea3(2koreas)The Two Koreas: Revised And Updated A Contemporary History: While a bit long, the detail will be extremely helpful in terms of understanding Korean history on the peninsula.





    Korea4(TheKoreans)The Koreans: Who They Are, What They Want, Where Their Future Lies: Written by a friend of mine, this work is a more concise version, albeit from a different perspective, on Korean history.  Another good, complementary work is by Bruce Cumings (“The Korean War: A History (Modern Library Chronicles”).




    Korea5(Envy)Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea: One of the best works I’ve read on the true life of North Korean citizens.





    Korea6(cleanest)The Cleanest Race: How North Koreans See Themselves and Why It Matters: Unique look at North Korea from the inside out.





    UnknownBirth of Korean Cool: First-hand look at South Korea’s positive domestic trajectory in terms of business, culture and how it exports everything to the world .





    China / Hong Kong

    China / Hong Kong

    China1(eaters)The Eater’s Guide to Chinese Characters: Even if you only speak or read a little Chinese, this is a great read in terms of menu decoding.





    china2(mrchina)Mr. China: A Memoir: Think you can really handle business in China? Read this one to test your mettle.





    china3(red)The Dream of the Red Chamber: Classic, and famous, Chinese story.





    china4(diary)Shanghai Diary: A Young Girl’s Journey from Hitler’s Hate to War-Torn China: Very sobering book at one aspect of world history.





    china5(factory)Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China: This book is terrific and she’s since spoken a couple of times in my courses on international business.  The personalized nature of the interviews are terrific.





    china6(crazy)Coming Home Crazy/an Alphabet of China Essays: Definitely worth the time to read if your career pursuits will take you to China on a regular, or on a long-term basis.





    china7(copycat)The End of Copycat China: The Rise of Creativity, Innovation, and Individualism in Asia: Recently reviewed by a one of my guests on the Radio Entrepreneurs program.  A great read.





    china8(eastwest)Where East Eats West: I know this author personally. He’s been a good friend ever since our first IME trip and his case is regularly included in my International Entrepreneurship graduate course.





    china9(hongKong)A Modern History of Hong Kong: Very good preparatory book for those traveling to the heart of One Country, Two Systems, in Hong Kong.





    china10(lost)Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid: A refreshing look at a non-China person’s reflections on China.




    china11(Rivertown)River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (P.S.): First in a 3-week series by author Peter Hessler.  Love this book.  Other books in the series are “Oracle Bones” and “Country Driving.”







    Thai1(history)A History of Thailand: Very good preparatory book for those taking a trip to Thailand







    france1(almost)Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris: One of my all-time favorite titles about being a long-term expat, and integrating into the community, and in this case, true French life.





    france2(toujours)Toujours Provence: The next work in Mayle’s ongoing series about living the permanent life of an expat abroad.  The original works are “A Year in Provence” and “Encore Provence.”





    france3(savoir)Savoir Flair: 211 Tips for Enjoying France and the French: Fun read on very subtle French cultural rules. If traveling for business, this is a must-read!  Other related titles I’ve read are “French or Foe,” and “Love à la Française.”  Another complementary work is by Gilles Asselin and Ruth Mastron entitled “Au Contraire: Figuring Out the French, 2nd edition.”




    france4(merde)In the Merde for Love: Stephen Clarke has several titles in this series and they’re all extremely funny, and classy, in terms of poking fun at the French.  Other related titles are “A Year in the Merde,” “Dial M for Merde” and “Mered Happens,” as well as “Talk to the Snail: Ten Commandments for Understanding the French.”




    france5(goodyear)A Good Year: This is one of Mayle’s newer novels, outside of the coverage on Provence.   Another good titles are “Vintage Caper,” and “The Marseille Caper.”





    france6(parissweet)Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate): If you’re a foodie, definitely check out this book. Amy has spoken in my class several times, too.  Another quasi-complementary work is by Olivier Magny (“Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi”).






    india1(time)A Matter of Time: Read after a recent IME trip to India, this book did not disappoint, even though it’s a fictional novel.





    india2(spirit)In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India: Excellent book on the inner workings of India’s culture, from educational approaches, the caste system & politics.





  • Business Law

    Business Law

    law1(america)Law in America: A Short History: Helpful overview for non lawyers of the US legal system.  Relevant & helpful to anyone running a business.





    law2(finding)Finding the Law : An Abridged Edition of How to Find the Law (11th Ed) (American Casebook Series): Excellent primer on how legal cases are brought and adjudicated.  Another good addition to your library.





    law3(entrepreneur)The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Law: For someone running a business who’s not a lawyer, read this carefully not only “just because,” but also before you consult your own counsel.





    law4(research)Berring’s Legal Research Survival Manual: Good insight in how your lawyer completes legal research on your behalf





    law5(trial)A Trial by Jury: Find out how the legal process really works





    law6(anatomy)The Anatomy of a Lawsuit: Understanding the process, step-by-step, from the inside out.





    General Business / Entrepreneurship

    General Business / Entrepreneurship

    general1(buffet)The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America, Second Edition: Recommended by a BC colleague who knows Buffet well, personally, this is a great summary of his annual shareholder letters.





    general2(snowball)The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life: Albeit long at 960 pages, this is so worth the effort, if you want to understand how Warren Buffet thinks.






    The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine: There’s a reason this was a #1 New York Times bestseller.  It’s quite good.





    general4(endoffree)The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations?: Interesting look at state capitalism, and as the Amazon description reads, the intersection between of economics and politics.





    general5(rock&roll)So You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star: How I Machine-Gunned a Roomful Of Record Executives and Other True Tales from a Drummer’s Life: Recommended by a BC colleague, this is a fun, although true, account of life for people interested in being a rock-n-roll star or media person.  Now so many years into my own project, its lessons ring so very true.




    general6(globalentrepreneur)The Global Entrepreneur Second Edition: For anyone interested in global commerce / entrepreneurship, you have to read this book at least twice.





    general7(kiss)Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands (The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More than 60 Countries): This book keeps getting revised and its content is better and better. Even after all of these years traveling internationally for work, I still refer to it regularly.




    general8(toobigtosave)Too Big to Save? How to Fix the U.S. Financial System: Excellent book giveaway from recent investor conference.





    general9(outliers)Outliers: The Story of Success: Excellent work at figuring out a potential recipe for business success.





    general10(tshirt)The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade: Recommended by a BC colleague and an easy-to-follow read on global trade.





    Entrepreneurial Finance

    Entrepreneurial Finance

    finance1(deals)Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist: We recommended this for our teams preparing for the Venture Capital Investment Competition (   My Entrepreneurial Finance course received a nice write-up on Brad Feld’s Ask the VC web site, too. Click here to read it.




    finance2(vcgame)Mastering the VC Game: A Venture Capital Insider Reveals How to Get from Start-up to IPO on Your Terms: Jeff Bussgang is smart and successful. His book was also very helpful for our team’s VCIC preparation.




    finance3(strategy)Strategies in Entrepreneurial Finance: This was my original work in 2005, featuring cases and commentary.  It’s received some nice citations and referrals, most recently from Cornell’s MBA program. Click here to see the recommendation.




    finance4(entrepreneurialfinance)Entrepreneurial Finance: As textbooks go, this is one of the better ones I’ve seen over the years.





    UnknownFrom Scratch: Inside the Food Network: Great book on the economics of building a television network.





    Financial Analysis Citations

    Financial Analysis Citations

    In connection with a recent case study I completed, below are references that provide background on financial analysis, along with sources on dividend policy, managing growth, financial management, entrepreneurial finance / venture capital, and bankruptcy, and could be assigned as supplemental reading for the use of the case in a graduate-level course (listed alphabetically by author).

    Baker, H. Kent, Dividends and Dividend Policy (Robert W. Kolb Series), Chapter 6 (Dividend Irrelevance Theory), 2009.

    Berman K., Knight J., and Case J., Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs: What You Really Need to Know About the Numbers, Part Five, Chapters 18 and 19 (How Cash Connects, Why Cash Matters), 2008.

    Feldman, David N., The Entrepreneur’s Growth Startup Handbook: 7 Secrets to Venture Funding and Successful Growth (Bloomberg Financial), Chapter 10 (The Greatest Challenges / Insufficient Capital), 2013.

    Gompers, P., Optimal investment, monitoring, and the staging of venture capital (Staged Venture Capital Investments / Agency Costs).  Journal of Finance, 1995.

    Gompers, Paul A., Lerner J., Scharfstein D., and Kovner, A., Performance Persistence in Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital. (Success of First-time Entrepreneurs). Journal of Financial Economics, 2010.

    Gompers, P., Sahlman, W., Entrepreneurial Finance: A Casebook, Section 4, Chapter 35 (Renewal /Dell Ventures), 2001.

    Gorman, M., Sahlman, W., What do venture capitalists do? (Venture Capital and Portfolio Company Questionnaire), Journal of Business Venturing, 1989.

    Higgins, Robert C., Analysis for Financial Management, 3rd edition, Part 2 (chapters 3 and 4 on Planning Future Financial Performance / Managing Growth), 1992.

    Kremer, C., Rizzuto, R., and Case, J., Managing By The Numbers: A Commonsense Guide To Understanding And Using Your Company’s Financials, Chapter 10 (Managing for Optimum Performance: Return on Assets), 2000.

    Leach, J. Chris, Melicher, Ronald W., Entrepreneurial Finance, 3rd edition, Part 5, Chapters 11, 12, 13 (Structuring Financing for the Growing Venture), 2009.

    Roberts, Michael J., Sharpe, James M., Eric Weston Harvard Business School case study (product 813045-PDF-ENG) (Financial discipline with focus on bankruptcy), 2013.

    Rogers, S., Entrepreneurial Finance: Finance and Business Strategies for the Serious Entrepreneur, Chapter 5 (Financial Statement Analysis), 2009.

    Smith, Richard L, Smith J., Entrepreneurial Finance, Chapter 7 (Methods of Financial Forecasting), 2003.

    Stoller, Gregory L., Strategies in Entrepreneurial Finance, Part III (chapters 8 and 9 on Managing Growth / Performance Monitoring), 2006.

    A few interesting web sites / articles have been located, as well, with notes on ‘important contribution’ included for each, as well some relevant content.

    Structuring Financing for a Growing Venture (accessed December/ 2013).  Research on the different roles of financing in early and late venture capital rounds.  Author wrote: The objective of the first round is to provide capital to a cash-constrained entrepreneur.  After this first round, an agency relationship is established between the entrepreneur and the investor or between inside and outside investors.  Follow-up rounds are intended to mitigate the agency costs associated with this relationship.

    How to Grow a Venture Capital Ecosystem (accessed December / 2013).   Probing the uneven distribution of venture capital.  Author wrote: Money knows no boundaries, the saying goes.  Apparently, no one bothered to tell venture capital.   Despite the fact that money can theoretically go almost anywhere in the world, venture capital to fuel growing companies is still strongly correlated to geography.  And most regions have little to none.

    Planning Future Financial Performance / Financial Forecasting for your Small Business (accessed December / 2013).  By comparison, the importance of Pro Forma statements even for small businesses.  Author wrote: In order to do a good job of financial forecasting for the small business firm, the owner should develop a comprehensive set of projected financial statements.  These projected financial statements, called pro forma financial statements, help forecast future levels of balance sheet accounts as well as profits and anticipated borrowing.  These pro forma financial statements are the small business owner’s financial plan.

    Product Life Cycle Citations

    Product Life Cycle Citations

    In connection with a recent case study I completed, listed here are references that provide background on the product life cycle, along with sources on new product development and product longevity, and could additionally be assigned as supplemental reading for use of the case in a graduate-level course (listed alphabetically by author).

    Grantham, Lisa M., “The Validity of the Product Life Cycle in the High-tech Industry.” (Marketing Intelligence and Planning). June 1997.

    Grieves, M., Product Lifecycle Management: Driving the Next Generation of Lean Thinking: Driving the Next Generation of Lean Thinking, Chapter 9 (Developing a PLM Strategy / Plan for Bridging the Gap), 2005.

    Gruenwald, G., New Product Development: Responding to Market Demand. (Changes in Product Demand) NTC Business, 1995.

    Hedden, C., “From Launch to Relaunch: The Secret to Product Longevity Lies in Using the Right Strategy for Each Stage of the Life Cycle.” Marketing Tools. September 1997.

    Rink, David R., Roden, Dianne M., and Fox, Harold W., “Financial Management and Planning with the Product Life Cycle Concept.” Business Horizons.  September 1999.

    Ryan, C., Riggs, Walter E., “Redefining the Product Life Cycle: the Five-Element Product Wave.” Business Horizons.  September/October 1996.

    Stark, J., Product Lifecycle Management: 21st Century Paradigm for Product Realisation (Decision Engineering), Chapter 3 (Product Pain), 2011.

    A few interesting web sites / articles have been located, as well (with notes on ‘important contribution’ included for each, as well some relevant content).

    Product Life Cycle – type, benefits, cost, Introduction, Growth, Maturity, Decline (accessed November / 2012).  Comparing and contrasting idea validation, conceptual design, specification / design, prototyping and manufacturing. Author wrote: Marketing departments can choose from four strategies at the commercialization stage.  The first is known as “rapid skimming.”  The rapid refers to the speed with which the company recovers its development costs on the product—the strategy calls for the new product to be launched at a high price and high promotion level. High prices mean high initial profits (provided the product is purchased at acceptable levels of course), and high promotion means high market recognition.  This works best when the new product is unknown in the marketplace.

    Enhancing Innovation Capability Maturity through Knowledge Conversion (accessed November / 2012).  Published research focused on knowledge conversion and acquisition, and how to investigate organizational support as companies go through growth and maturity.  Author wrote: The competitiveness and survival of the modern enterprise are reliant on its ability to innovate, providing a strong argument that innovation should not be apportioned to only the final levels of organizational maturity.  The notion of innovation goes as far back as 1934 in the works of Schumpeter.  In 1939, Schumpeter (1939:48) directly addressed the vague concept of innovation, defining it as encompassing the entire process, starting from a kernel of an idea, continuing through all the steps to reach a marketable product that changes the economy.

    Product Life Cycles: Development, Design and Beyond (accessed November / 2012).  Consideration of the product life cycle, not just as a 4-part sequence, but also in terms of ancillary development and design issues.  Author wrote: The maturity stage is the time when sales increase at a decreasing rate.  New consumers decrease, and the existence of too many competitors can also cause problems with over-saturation of the marketplace.  Service and repair of products also become a way to gain extra revenue.  Some companies try to come up with new versions to create new demand for the product.  Others try to use very aggressive promotion to stay in business. Many companies end up dropping production, and by the end of the maturity stage, only a few remain.