Employee ownershipHenry Ford believed his employees should be able to own one of his cars, but he would probably have been horrified at the notion of them owning some of his company.

Then again, just because Henry was horrified by something doesn't mean it's bad, and employee ownership has gained a lot of advocates in recent years, with the rise of stock ownership plans, profit-sharing and 401(k)s. The authors of Equity: Why Employee Ownership Is Good for Business make a compelling case for the belief that it can boost growth, profitability, resilience and competitive advantage.

The key principles, they claim, are making sure that employees' stakes are significant enough to matter, building a culture that makes employees feel and think like owners, and creating a shared understanding of key disciplines and a commitment to pursuing them. It sure beats busting strikes.

Price: $27.50.
Harvard Business School Press

All in the family

While the title of Keep Your Business Close ... and Your Family Closer is a reference to the Corleone family's famous advice to "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer," Larry Hollar is not suggesting that you have your family whacked - during a christening, or at any other time. Instead, Hollar, who helms a seed company that has been in his family for three generations, shows you how to run a family business without resorting to rowboat assassinations and trash-can-lid beatings. Having started in the family business when he was five, Hollar is a believer in the advantages such a structure offers - and knows how to avoid the pitfalls that lead to murder.

Price: $14.95.
Pinon Publishing

Nothing succeeds like it

Success is a small book on a big subject, a collection of quotes, aphorisms and advice from people who have achieved it for those who haven't. Of course, it's easy for Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and the like to talk about success; for them it's hindsight. There is valuable stuff here, however - not always witty, or beautifully phrased, or immediately accessible, but definitely worth dipping into and mulling over. Please note, though, that the book does not come with a "success or your money back" guarantee. After all, as Lily Tomlin says, "The road to success is always under construction." Get working.

Price: $14.95.
Random House

'Resilience at Work'

If we could keep our heads while all about us are losing theirs, we wouldn't need a book like Resilience at Work. In it, psychologist Salvatore Maddi and Deborah M. Khoshaba make the interesting claim that success isn't about intelligence, experience or hard work - it's about rolling with the punches.

More important, this kind of resilience in the face of stressful circumstances can be learned, and the book offers a host of lessons on dealing with change, managing and resolving conflicts, problem-solving, building a good work environment, and increasing positive attitudes. And even if it doesn't make us more successful, it should help us deal with our many, many failures.

Price: $22.00.
Amacom Books
(800) 714-6395

Plain English planning

Retirement Planning in Plain English is not for your clients. Nothing will ever make the complexities of this kind of planning clear or plain to them. The book is, instead, designed for you and your fellow practitioners, with everything you need to know about qualified and nonqualified retirement plans, and planning for individuals. It includes information on the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 and many of the notices, rulings and regulations that followed that law, with plenty of worksheets, flowcharts and sample elections to help make it all clear and easy for practitioners to understand.

Price: $65.
Kleinrock Publishing
(877) 728-9776

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