How I Paint

How I Paint: Secrets of a Sunday Painter

by Thomas S. Buechner

Paintings by Thomas Buechner (1926-2010) hang in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. This book is primarily about technique, featuring dozens of the author’s still lifes, landscapes, portraits, and figures along with commentary about the process. “One purpose of this book is to make looking at pictures, at the surface of the original work, a source of insight and pleasure.”

Continue reading “How I Paint”

How Finance Works

How Finance Works: The HBR Guide to Thinking Smart About the Numbers

by Mihir A. Desai

This is an outstanding book which presents some complicated topics in a clear, well-organized manner with real-world examples. The author, a professor of finance and taxation at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School, includes some sidebar commentary from two CFOs, an investment banker, and a hedge fund manager.

Continue reading “How Finance Works”

Does It Fart?

Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence

by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti, Illustrated by Ethan Kocak 

This book is about “flatology, or the study of flatulence.” The authors are postdoctoral researchers with expertise in ecology and zoology, although they note that their life’s work is not dedicated to fart science. The book features 80 animals, each with one page of engrossing (or just gross) facts about their digestive process, including whether or not they fart.  For example…

Continue reading “Does It Fart?”

Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World

Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World

by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall 

Conventional management practices are based on a mindset of conformity and control. The authors, in contrast, argue the key to optimum performance is encouraging individuals make the most of their idiosyncratic strengths. The authors study team performance and employee engagement for ADP Research Institute and Cisco respectively.

Continue reading “Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World”

When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency

When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency

by Roger L. Martin

Roger Martin, dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto from 1998 to 2013, writes about a fragile imbalance in the U.S. economy and the erosion of the middle class. Major themes include efficiency vs. resilience, reductionist thinking vs. complex adaptive systems, and gaming the system. He cites examples of companies where an obsession with efficiency was catastrophic, and conversely, where slack is the secret sauce. He offers policy solutions in such areas as antitrust, taxation, stockholder voting rights, and education.

Continue reading “When More Is Not Better: Overcoming America’s Obsession with Economic Efficiency”

Brand Naming

Brand Naming: The Complete Guide to Creating a Name for Your Company, Product, or Service

by Rob Meyerson

Which sounds more appetizing: Antarctic toothfish or Chilean seabass? Although they are the same thing, the latter sells much better. Likewise, a brand name can make a positive first impression or set the wrong tone. “‘Tronc to change name back to Tribune Publishing after years of ridicule,’ read one headline in June 2018… A mere 15 months after its announcement, Consignia was returned to sender, replaced by Royal Mail Group.”

Brand naming expert Rob Meyerson shares a process that balances creativity with discipline to avoid such disasters and arrive at “just one deliverable: a strategically optimal, legally available, linguistically viable, client-approved brand name.”

Continue reading “Brand Naming”

Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud

Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud

by Martin Gayford  

Art critic and author Martin Gayford sat for two portraits by Lucian Freud: a painting which took 40 sittings spanning eight months (November 2003 to July 2004) and an etching over a similar period of time (August 2004 to April 2005). Through the author’s observations and conversations with the artist over many hours working and dining together, this fascinating book describes the studio set up, the artist’s process and quirks, as well as Freud’s views on art and various other artists.

Continue reading “Man with a Blue Scarf: On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud”