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Good Reads for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders

game-figure-598036_640 What management books should you be reading? How can you find inspiration to innovate, create and lead?

Asked to recommend their picks for future business leaders, faculty and administrators from the VCU School of Business and community leaders offered titles sure to inspire and engage. This short list represents the diversity of knowledge, skills and perspectives leaders needs to be successful now and into the future.

Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey
“It is the best book I know about how to think about profit when running a business.”
–Wallace Stettinius, Senior Executive Fellow

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Edwin Catmull
Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential in Us All by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
“Creative thinking and innovation have never been more important. Economies need growth. Businesses need ideas. People need inspiration.”
–Ed Grier, Dean, School of Business

Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink
“A fantastic foundational read for anyone interested in understanding some of the core
ways in which people are motivated to do their best work.”
–John Sarvay, Floricane founder and lead consultant

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton
“There is no better book for helping people in any kind of organization develop a framework for approaching organizations. Negotiation and conflict resolution skills are a key leadership capability.”
–Douglas Pugh, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Management

How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson (Related streaming video from Kanopy)
“A terrific source of inspiration. It provides longitudinal insight into how some of the most interesting innovations served as catalysts for even greater innovations and dramatic changes to the world we know.”
–Susan Coombes, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management

Leadership Is An Art by Max DuPree
“I have adapted a quote from the book that has guided me for over 20 years now; ‘To be a leader means having the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who permit us to lead.’ That quote literally sits on the wall directly behind me as a constant reminder to me and my team of the expectations I have of myself.”
–Doug Pick, CEO, FeedMore

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard
“Truly a classic and one that I hand out to every new manager. This simple story provides a framework for them to start and learn that so important task and joy of developing other human beings.”
–Doug Pick, CEO, FeedMore

Management of the Absurd: Paradoxes in Leadership by Richard Farson
“It introduces the complexity of leadership and discusses many of the paradoxes inherent in being a good leader. Leaders have to continually balance competing demands, and this book provides a very practical treatment of some of these demands so that they do not come as a surprise.”
–Christopher Reina, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Management

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
“This book provides an engaging framework for how to think about how to create valuable organizations.”
–Joseph Coombs, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Management

All of these titles are available from VCU Libraries. Search VCU Libraries for more titles and suggest a purchase for any of your favorites we missed.

By Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian, and Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head, academic outreach and business research librarian

Image: Creative Commons

Graduate student work featured in Scholars Compass

Book Cover 600x250Each student in the spring 2016 semester MGMT 641 Organizational Leadership and Project Team Management selected a book and created an academic book review. A collection of these book reviews was posted on Scholars Compass to make high-quality book reviews available to those who teach and research leadership topics. In two months, the reviews have been downloaded almost 100 times from locations across the globe, the vast majority from educational institutions.

Scholars Compass is a publishing platform created by VCU Libraries to provide wide and stable access to the intellectual output of VCU’s faculty, researchers, students and staff. The MGMT 641 Leadership Book Reviews join the growing number of submissions from the School of Business.

Contact us if you are interested in featuring your or your students’ work.

By Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian, and Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head, academic outreach, and business research librarian

WRDS: Data Research Platform for Business


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WRDS is one of the leading data research platforms for business. It allows faculty and graduate students to access comprehensive data sources from a single interface. Datasets include:

  • Historical stock prices from the Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP)
  • Company financials from Standard and Poor’s COMPUSTAT
  • Corporate governance data from MSCI (formerly KLD and GMI)
  • Audit and compliance research from Audit Analytics.

It has a powerful query interface and also works with PC-SAS, R, Matlab and STATA. Support is available from the WRDS community and a team of doctoral-level specialists.

Register for an account (account types include faculty, Ph.D students, research assistant, staff, visitor, masters students or class).

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By Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head, academic outreach and business research librarian

Image: Creative Commons

Investext Snapshot: Insight from Top Equity Analysts

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Mergent Online now offers Investext Snapshot. You can find authoritative analysis of companies, industries and markets from analysts at the top investment banks and research firms.  This “snapshot” of Investext offers up to three reports each day on 42,000 companies and two reports for over 100 industries. Reports are available 14 days after production and are updated daily making it a great source for current insight and forecasts.

To start reading reports, look for the Investext Snapshot tab in Mergent Online. You can search by company, country, contributor (Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, more) or industry.

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By Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head, academic outreach and business research librarian

Image: NYSE, thetaxhaven, flickr, creative commons

Creativity professor seeks inspiration


Inspiration and creativity are not bound by disciplines. Libraries provide a crossroads for the exchange of ideas and exploration of materials across subject matters. That thinking brought Berwyn Hung, who teaches creativity, and his students to James Branch Cabell Library.

“Students are very much in their own bubble,” says Hung. “They need as much outside exposure to things that can influence and inspire them as possible.” A professor of creative brand management at the VCU Brandcenter, a two-year portfolio school in advertising and communication, Hung is also a book artist.

He brought a dozen students to Special Collections and Archives, where they explored items–book art, comic arts and other materials– from the collection. “They really seemed to love what they saw. The art direction students [saw] different ways to think about how to create visuals for the ads and for branding. Even the writers got really inspired. I definitely will bring more students back.” VCU’s Book Art Collection is a teaching collection. “It is for touching and experiencing and learning from.”   

Librarians Pattie Sobczak and Bettina Peacemaker talked with Hung about his path from printmaker to book artist to faculty member and how he finds that creative spark.

What was your journey to the Brandcenter?
I have a BFA in printmaking and book arts from the University of Georgia and then an MFA from the University of the Arts at Philadelphia.  After grad school, I found I had this love for teaching. I ended up in Atlanta at The Creative Circus and The Portfolio Center, both two-year portfolio schools. They wanted me to teach about the creative process, but also production, how to make things, make things look real and make things look better than they were. That was my path into design and advertising.

I taught for 14 or 15 years before I got to the Brandcenter. Through that time, I’ve evolved myself. I’ve had my own letterpress business. I was doing my own artwork. I was also teaching people how to run a press from beginning to end. It’s my fourth year at VCU. Brandcenter students sometimes ask me what I did before I came here, but I never actually went to school for what they are going to school for. I tell them, you find your passion and you find where that takes you, and you just never know where that’s going to end up.

What is your creative process as an artist?
As a child I got bored easily and was always looking for the next thing when I mastered something; I liked to take things apart and modify them. (My nickname was the “modifier”.)
With my creative process, early on a lot of it was dealing with a lot of internal questions. I dealt a lot with family, growing up as a second-generation American and self-identity. I co-wrote a piece with an Italian-American friend, where we both wrote about our second generation experience, and there was one line that still resonates with me from that writing: I am a tourist in the country of my ancestry and a foreigner in the country of my birth.

Then, I started to think about more communications, how people look at the world. I was trying to look at the world and figure out why does something work the way it does. Do we do things just because we’ve always done things that way and don’t want change? Or, do we do things that way because it’s the right thing to do and the correct way to do it? I’m always challenging my assumptions and some of that comes out in my artwork and that definitely comes out in my teaching.

How do you approach teaching?
I push my students to challenge their assumptions and to think differently. I love teaching people in different disciplines. When students get outside their comfort zone they can come up with anything and the most interesting ideas come out of that.

I give my students a lot of projects that are very conceptual in nature. My job is to challenge their minds and the way that they think. I can help them with their skills, of course, but I prefer to push their minds and then as they work on it help them with their individual skills and bring their vision into reality.

How do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in observation, in identifying the “why.” I’ve always challenged not just society’s conceptions but my own conceptions of things. Whenever I’m exposed to something new, it starts a crazy new thought process, and sometimes that turns into art.

As a book artist and a teacher of communication in the digital age, what is next?
So, how do we look at what is the future of publications, specifically, and how do we still assign value to something that you have to pay for yet we feel like we get information freely or cheaply most of the time. There’s so many things you can do in an electronic world that adds so many different levels or layers of interaction but yet there is very deep emotional connection to paper and the words on the page that this generation still holds on to. But I think it might be a matter of time for the generations coming up to have that same appreciation. … The mass production of books may slow down but the beauty of the book as an object, as something beyond just words, will become more revered.

I went through a period of challenging what is an artist book. Does it have to be in codex form? Does it have to be true to the word book? When I was exploring it, I was thinking more about the book as figurative passing on of knowledge or ideas from one generation to the next and how does that take form.

Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library works with community groups, students and faculty members from all disciplines. The department’s staff collaborates with instructors to incorporate materials tied to courses or objectives to inspire innovation, creativity or raise cultural awareness. Holdings include the nationally significant Book Art and Comic Arts Collections, both popular sources for teaching, research, and inspiration. Contact: Yuki Hibben, assistant head and curator of books and art, Special Collections and Archives, (804) 828-8837.

By Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian, and Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head, academic outreach and business research librarian

Image: VCU Libraries

BCC Research: Global market intelligence

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Research global markets with current and in depth market intelligence. Reports include forecasts, statistical data, major players, market share and more. BCC Research covers 20 industries with a focus on science and technology:

  • Advanced Materials
  • Advanced Transportation Technologies
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemicals
  • Energy and Resources
  • Engineering
  • Environment
  • Food And Beverage
  • Fuel Cell and Battery Technologies
  • Healthcare
  • Information Technology
  • Instrumentation and Sensors
  • Manufacturing
  • Membrane and Separation Technology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Photonics
  • Plastics
  • Safety and Security
  • Semiconductor Manufacturing

Under each broad category, individual reports explore specific areas. For example, Food and Beverage includes reports on intelligent packaging, high energy supplements, organic food and food safety. Healthcare includes cancer testing and treatment technology, self-monitoring, medical devices and information technology. These are just a few examples of the full text reports available through BCC Research. Subscribe to their blog for up to date news and more market insight.

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By Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head, academic outreach and business research librarian

Image: 1492, ptwo, flickr, Creative Commons

Markets of the Future: Explore next generation markets

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Euromonitor offers in-depth analysisGraph With Stacks Of Coins of the business environment and consumer markets for next generation markets including Africa, Cuba and Iraq. Comprehensive reports cover more than 50 consumer categories and extensive brand share data, as well as key economic, demographic and infrastructure factors. The research allows for real-life decision making and strategies for identifying new opportunities in geographic areas not covered in traditional sources.

How to use it? Login to Passport GMID, select any page under Industries, Economies or Consumers and look for Markets of the Future Reports.

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By Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head, academic outreach and business research librarian

The Business of Bicycles: Industry research resources


With the UCI Road World Cycling Championships in the RVA and excitement building about all things bicycles, VCU Libraries offers resources to help those who are interested in learning more about the business of bicycles and bicycling. You can find out about…

The sport

The local impact

The industry

  • According to IBISWorld, cycling events account for just over 16 percent of industry revenue for athletic event organizers in the United States. Find more analysis on related industries including bicycle manufacturing, bicycle dealership and repair and sporting goods stores. Find It
  • Research more than 26,000 companies in the Richmond area in Hoover’s. Build a list and limit the industry by NAICS: 336991 Motorcycle, Bicycle, and Parts Manufacturing, 423910 Bicycles merchant wholesalers or 811490 Bicycle repair and maintenance shops. Find It
  • Search for articles Business Source Complete on the bicycle industry from major trade and business publications. Find It
  • More sources for company and industry research. Find It

The consumer

  • According to Mintel,  those shopping for adults are more likely to purchase from a local bike specialty shop than a mass retailer.  Get insight on bicycles, outdoor enthusiasts and more.  Find It
  • According to Euromonitor, the Netherlands, Finland and Sweden are the top countries for bicycle ownership. Explore more global markets with Passport GMID. Find It
  • More sources for consumer research. Find It

The opportunity

  • According to the Census, more than 2,000 Richmonders bicycle to work. Use Simply Map to find identify specific markets in the United States with the census and data from Simmons, Nielson PRIZM and Dunn & Bradstreet.  Find It
  • Use Privco to find information on over 100 private market investors in Virginia. Find It
  • Research start up and small business trends at the local and national level in Bizminer. Find it
  • More source for entrepreneurs. Find It

By Bettina Peacemaker, assistant head, academic outreach and business research librarian, and Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian

Best Bets for Business: Eight choices for avid readers

Stay knowledgeable on all things business with this compilation of business reads:

  • The great workplace how to build it, how to keep it, and why it matters by Michael Burchell, 1967, 2011
    What is the business value of creating a great workplace? As organizations grapple with the complexity and challenges of leveraging human capital in today’s hyper-competitive work world, this resource remains a key source for understanding the essential ingredients in and trends of great places to work. Find It
  • Teaming: What leaders must do to foster organizational learning by Amy C. Edmonson, 2012
    Continuous improvement, understanding complex systems, and promoting innovation are among the learning challenges today’s companies face. Based on years of research, this book shows how leaders can make organizational learning happen by building teams that learn. Find It
  • Mastering turbulence: The essential capabilities of agile and resilient individuals, teams and organizations by Joseph McCann, 2012
    Rapid and disruptive change threatens the adaptive capacity of organizations, along with the individuals and teams leading them. Based upon more than a decade of global research and consulting, Joseph E. McCann and John W. Selsky outline five capabilities of agile and resilient systems. Find It
  • Grounded: How leaders stay rooted in an uncertain world by Bob Rosen, 2013
    A provocative, personal approach to leadership based on in-depth research with hundreds of executives around the world Confronted by disruptive change and economic turbulence, many of today’s leaders find themselves ill-equipped to manage the hazards they now face. They must contend with chronic uncertainty, cynical employees and personal burnout. Few have seen alternatives, until now. Find It
  • From smart to wise: Acting and leading with wisdom by Prasad Kaipa, 2013
    Drawing on inspiring experiences of historical and contemporary wise leaders such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and even Mahatma Gandhi, the authors identify six characteristics of wise leaders and offer a practical framework to help readers develop their own style of wise leadership that is functional and smart. Find It
  • CaseBase: Case studies in global business, edited by Andrew Ashwin, 2012
    Most of these case studies describe business in an international context, providing an overview of key issues from a global perspective, free of specific country bias. Considering different perspectives helps to develop a broader understanding of the business environment. Find It
  • Capital in the twenty-first century by Thomas Piketty, 2014
    Piketty analyzes a unique collection of data from 20 countries, ranging as far back as the 18th century, to uncover economic and social patterns. He shows that modern economic growth and the diffusion of knowledge have allowed us to avoid inequalities. Find It

Compiled by Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian

Image: Elisabeth Leysen