Tales of terrorWhen you examine them closely, most of the fairy tales we tell children are pretty terrifying - a fact that would be worth remembering as you dip into Business Fairy Tales. There are no happy-ever-afters here, as the book chronicles a long string of accounting scandals, from Sunbeam and Cendant to WorldCom and, of course, Enron. The "fairy tales" of the title are the companies' financial reporting, which is described in what reads like a series of horror stories. The Grimm-style moral is obvious, but author Cecil W. Jackson goes further, equipping the reader with the skills to spot the 20 most common forms of corporate impropriety, and hopefully avoid this kind of nightmare in the future.
One way to take your mind off the horror stories mentioned above is to plunge into some complex, highly technical topic, and for that you could hardly do better than SAP Foreign Currency Revaluation: FAS 52 and GAAP Requirements. While primarily written for SAP implementations, it offers detailed coverage of the statutory requirements for currency revaluations, and would be of use to anyone involved in an FAS 52 compliance project - or who is looking to forget about the state of business ethics in the early 2000s.
John Wiley & Sons
Archimedes thought that with a lever and a place to stand, he could move the world, but you can't carry a long stick into most business negotiations, and in any case, you usually don't want to move the world, just the jerk across the table. Roger Volkema's Leverage: How to Get It & How to Keep It in Any Negotiation is the Archimedes' lever of business: a set of rules and insights that will let you identify, gain and sustain the intangible leverage you need.
As you would expect, the levers you're working here are mental and emotional, and Volkema provides exercises, mini-cases and simulations to help you learn how to recognize the indicators of where leverage lies, how to manage both your own emotions and those of the other party, and even how to gain leverage in cyberspace. By the end, you may not be able to move the world, but you'll feel like you can.
Time for a sit-down
As squirm-inducing as the old "birds and bees" talk was, demographics and medical advances have created an even more embarrassing discussion for children to have with their parents: What are we going to do when you get old? The Parent Care Conversation, noting the approaching retirement of the Baby Boom generation and its members' freakishly long expected lifespans, makes the point that an unprecedented number of adults will find themselves caring for their parents, and lays out strategies for dealing with the subject in a comfortable, effective and efficient way. It turns out that there are actually six conversations you'll need to have: on the big picture, money, property, their house, professional care and their legacy. Kind of makes you nostalgic for the days when all you had to talk about with your parents was sex.
As there is with immigration, reality TV and Paris Hilton, there is a great deal of hype and foolishness surrounding outsourcing, particularly when it comes to that narrow slice of it called offshoring. In the second edition of Outsourcing, prolific author Steven M. Bragg cuts through the nonsense to offer a clear and comprehensive guide to when and what a company should outsource, and how to manage the process to get the most benefit out of it.
The fact of the matter is that there is money to be saved (and made) by outsourcing, and efficiencies to be gained, and the use of these services is expected to grow enormously. Bragg's book allows managers to make fully informed, rational decisions on the subject. Now if only he could do the same for Paris Hilton.
John Wiley & Sons
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