It’s Not Complicated: The Art and Science of Complexity in Business
by Rick Nason
This book may fundamentally change the way you think. Or it may give you a framework to understand why you intuitively know that conventional management practices are sometimes incongruent with reality.
“This book is about systems thinking, and more specifically the important distinction between simple, complicated, and complex systems as applied to common business problems… The world of business is usually complex rather than complicated. That may seem like word play, but the difference between ‘complicated thinking’ and ‘complexity thinking’ is profound. This important distinction is well accepted in the scientific community but is virtually unknown in business.” Nason explains, “The ability to manage complexity is the key to competitive advantage.”
“In my years of teaching, I have found that the greater obstacle… is not the acquiring of technical proficiency… but in accepting the need to design for real people… It took me years as a working designer to realize the importance of identifying a real living customer and recognizing what he or she will and won’t wear. Far from being anti-creative, it was for me the beginning of true creativity. For what is creativity if it isn’t to take something existing in one’s head and give it relevance in the real world?”
Alfredo Cabrera has taught and critiqued at Parsons The New School for Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Pratt Institute. Here’s a sampling of the insights he shares in the book.
“Simple clothes aren’t simple to design. When superfluous design elements are eliminated from a garment, more subtle considerations—proportion, line, fit—are magnified. This calls for a refined understanding of anatomy (e.g. how the neckline sits in relation to the clavicle), geometry, balance, positive and negative space, and the harmony of parts to whole.”
Psychologist Daniel Crosby tells it like it is in this book about the numerous ways human nature can work against us, not the least of which is egoistic self-absorption (solipsism).
“The biggest finding to emerge from the self-esteem movement was that praise did not predict self-esteem, accomplishment did… Many of the theories about self-esteem that had impacted policy were simply junk science.” Continue reading →
Intellectual Property Law: Legal Aspects of Innovation and Competition
by Kurt M. Saunders, J.D., LL.M.
Intellectual Property Law covers trade secrets, patents, copyrights, trademarks, the right of publicity, protecting intellectual property internationally, and best practices for the handling of unsolicited ideas. Selected cases illustrate the legal theory with real-world conflicts, and explain the legal precedents established by the courts.
Although written as a business-school textbook, this book would also be a pertinent reference for professionals in a range of industries in the knowledge economy. Awareness of the law can help executives protect their rights and stay out of trouble.
In a global economy, how do you fight counterfeit products? What can you do about gray market sales? The chapter on international aspects explains the relevant treaties, notably the TRIPS Agreement, as well as the role of the WTO and the ITC.
What happens when a small business, which has been using a common law trademark for 50 years, is sued for infringement by a newer company which has registered the trademark with the USPTO? The answer is that concurrent use is allowed until the federal trademark owner competes directly. One of the purposes of trademark law is to prevent confusion in the mind of the consumer as to the origin of the product. Continue reading →
One Little Spark! Mickey’s Ten Commandments and The Road to Imagineering
by Marty Sklar with introductions by Richard M. Sherman and Glen Keane
Marty Sklar was hired by Walt Disney in 1955, prior to the opening of Disneyland. He rose through the ranks to president of Imagineering, the group responsible for Disney’s theme parks worldwide. He retired in 2009 after a 54-year career with the company.
The first part of the book explains Mickey’s Ten Commandments, guiding principles developed by Sklar in 1983. The second half of the book consists of career advice from 75 Imagineers. The most prominent recurring theme in this book is storytelling. Continue reading →
People use the term “think out of the box” in reference to creativity, innovation, or unconventional approaches to solving a problem. I suspect many people who use this cliché have no idea where it came from.
The term was popularized in 1995 by the book Think Out of the Box. The box is a puzzle.
This concise booklet was first published in the 1940s by James Webb Young, who became vice president of the advertising firm J. Walter Thompson and the first chairman of The Advertising Council. He wrote it in response to the question, “How do you get ideas?”