Sweet April showers do spring May flowers. — Thomas Tusser
April is a promise that May is bound to keep. — Hal Borland
April is the cruelest month. — T. S. Eliot
Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever. — Charles Lamb
Business Books – April Releases
The month of April, with its promise of warm weather and flowers, has inspired many writers over the centuries. This year, the month also brings with it many new book releases. Here are five new business-related books for you to consider adding to your library.
Business Books – Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Dan Lyons (Hachette Books, April 5, 2016)
It is the stuff of fiction: a 52-year-old journalist who has been laid off from his magazine job, goes to work for a start-up software company. Given the vague position of “marketing fellow,” he is twice the average age of his co-workers and is offered a hammock to read in and big orange ball to sit on instead of an office chair.
However, this is not a work of fiction. Disrupted is the true story of former Newsweek technology writer Dan Lyons and his year working at HubSpot. Enlightening and a bit unsettling, Lyons paints an unflattering picture of Nerf Gun fights, push-up clubs, partying, social climbers and age discrimination.
Favorite quote: “Dogs roam HubSpot’s hallways, because like the kindergarten decor, dogs have become de rigueur for tech startups. At noon, Zack tells me, a group of bros meets in the lobby on the second floor to do push-ups together. Upstairs there is a place where you can drop off your dry cleaning. Sometimes they bring in massage therapists. On the second floor there are shower rooms, which are intended for bike commuters and people who jog at lunchtime, but also have been used as sex cabins when the Friday happy hour gets out of hand.”
Business Books – Quench Your Own Thirst: Business Lessons Learned Over a Beer or Two by Jim Koch (Flatiron Books April 12, 2016)
Beer has always been big in America, but currently craft beers are enjoying huge popularity. According to the Brewer’s Association, the United States currently has more styles and brands of beer to choose from than any other market in the world.
As the founder of The Boston Beer Company, Jim Koch knows a thing or two about beer, and in this interesting book, he shares his first-hand knowledge of the beer business. Koch left a consulting job to start a brewery with the 19th century beer recipe that introduced Samuel Adams beer, which is now one of the most successful American beers.
Koch offers business and life lessons he has learned along the way that can apply to any business and any entrepreneur.
Favorite quote: “I decided to look at every place we spent money. I found money everywhere! … Occasionally, it was as simple as asking for a lower price. Usually, it required that I be a better customer. For example, I had sixty-day terms with our contract brewery because I needed the extra time to pay, but once we were profitable, I asked for and got a 5 percent lower price by paying in five days. I found a way to use lighter-weight bottles of equal strength, and that saved 15 percent on bottles. We got our wholesalers to contribute twenty-five cents a case to help support the salespeople we put in their market. The list went on and on, and a year later, we were making twenty cents on every dollar of sales. By learning to make money when we bought the goods, we doubled our profit.
Business Books – The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future by Steve Case (Simon & Schuster April 5, 2016)
Case co-founded America Online (AOL) in 1985 when only three percent of Americans were online. At the company’s peak in the 1990s, more than 50 percent of American consumer Internet traffic used AOL.
When Case steered the AOL-Time Warner merger, he became chairman of the largest communications empire in the world. In this new book, Case contends we are entering a third wave of the Internet, in which the Internet will transform other aspects of our daily lives, including transportation, energy, education and even food.
He cautions that this new wave will require different strategies and new skill sets.
Favorite quote: “After a couple years of working at P&G in Cincinnati, I moved to Kansas to join Pizza Hut as Director of New Pizza Development. To this day, I’ve never had a better title… At the time, one of the concepts we were testing was home delivery. This was 1982, and though pizza was popular, delivery wasn’t yet universal. We were also working on ways to take pizza more convenient and more portable. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out if calzones or pocket pizzas could work as a carryout option for people on the run. It’s funny to think, looking back on that year, that the things we were focused on-convenience and portability-would become such crucial parts of the company I would later help build. So would our desire to keep things simple and focus on the basics.”
Business Books – Door to Door: The Magnificent, Maddening, Mysterious World of Transportation by Edward Humes Harper (April 12, 2016)
In this fascinating book, the author of Garbology reveals surprising behind-the-scenes facts about America’s transportation system. Humes asserts that we are overdue for a big overhaul in the way we —and our things – move, and the disruption of these impending changes will have far-reaching implications on daily life.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Humes uses research, data, interviews and visits to transportation centers and other first-person examples to explore U.S. transportation’s yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Favorite quote: “Unprecedented amounts of transportation are embedded in every trip we take and every click we make. Just keeping the average American family moving, eating and working is like building the Great Pyramid, the Hoover Dam, and the Empire State Building all in a day. Every day.”
Business Books – Good for the Money: My Fight to Pay Back America by Bob Benmosche (St. Martin’s Press, April 12, 2016)
As president and CEO of American International Group, Inc. (AIG) from 2009 to 2014, Robert Benmosche is credited with turning that company around after the recent recession. In this, his first book, Benmosche shares some of the bold strategies that enabled AIG to rebound from the brink of bankruptcy and to repay its debt to the U.S. government with interest.
The book offers leadership lessons and a glimpse into 21st century battles between business leaders and politicians from someone who was there on the playing field.
Favorite quote: “My ideas ran counter to those of some in the upper echelons of the firm. This faction wanted to unload huge portions of the company as fast as possible, at what I knew to be ridiculous, fire-sale prices. They had the backing of the Wall Street bankers who had made a fortune—$100 million at least—in consulting fees working for AIG and who were poised to make a lot more through commissions on the rapid sell-offs. Adding to the absurdity was that these were the very Wall Street vultures who had sold AIG the toxic derivatives to begin with! I have spent a veritable lifetime in the financial industry, so when I say that the buzzards were circling, ready to swoop in on AIG’s highly prized insurance entities and real estate holdings, I know of what species I speak.”