You can review the latest Business in Vancouver book reviews below, which feature contributions from UBC Library’s Jan Wallace and UBC Bookstore’s Treena Chambers.

Pulling back the curtain on Wall Street shenanigans

This article is from Business in Vancouver July 6-12, 2010; issue 1080

The Devil’s Casino: Friendship, Betrayal, and the High-Stakes Games Played Inside Lehman Brothers

By Vicky Ward, Wiley, 2010

On September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers, the famed 160-year old New York-based financial services firm, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It was the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history, following months of spiralling stock losses, client fund withdrawals and downgrading of the firm’s assets by credit rating agencies.

Ward is an investigative journalist working as a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, Bloomberg TV and other popular media outlets. She focuses on the company’s history, but even more so on the key executives who shaped and ran the firm.

Chris Pettit was the charismatic leader who pulled Lehman together as “one firm,” but ultimately was ousted by rivals. Dick Fuld is portrayed as the chairman and CEO who depended on the judgment of his lieutenants to run the company, and continues to assert that he made the best decisions possible at the time. Joe Gregory is depicted as the scheming Lehman president more focused on outward appearances than the dangers looming in the firm’s balance sheets and accounting manoeuvres. Mark Walsh was the real estate ace who invested massively in Lehman’s commercial real estate deals and loans, which ultimately became toxic assets.

From the wives to the mistresses to the jewels, vacations, mansions, limousines, staff parties, benefit dinners and colossal bonuses, Ward’s account is gossipy, intimate and ultimately engaging as she recounts personal comments from the many people she interviewed – on and off the record – about the firm’s demise. Even a psychic was consulted so that Ward could communicate with the dead Pettit to understand him better. Notably, Fuld and Gregory did not co-operate with the author.

Lehman has been split up and sold. Barclays Bank now owns its North American investment banking and trading divisions and New York headquarters. Nomura Holdings acquired Lehman’s franchise in the Asia Pacific region, as well as the investment banking and equities businesses in Europe and the Middle East. The investment management business, including Neuberger Berman, was sold to Lehman management in December 2008; it is now known as Neuberger Berman Group LLC. •

Jan Wallace is head of the David Lam Management Research Library at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

The Leader Who Had No Title

By Robin Sharma

Free Press, 2010

Top leadership coach Sharma reminds us that pursuing personal leadership should not be limited by your title or position. The Leader Who Had No Title is a powerful reminder that developing and growing leadership talent within your organization will always enhance your company. Don’t be deceived by how simple the message seems – sometimes the simple things add the most value.


By Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

Nation Books, 2009

Do you run your business like a soccer franchise? If you do, Kuper and Szymanski have some advice for you. In Soccernomics, they take the emotion out of their analysis of the business of soccer. The authors test soccer myths using statistical analysis, patterns and business models. French club Olympique Lyonnais makes an interesting case study. Using the skills of a long-term sporting director, it has won the French league seven times. And which country is the most soccer mad? If you guessed Norway, you’d be right.

Free: The Future of a Radical Price

By Chris Anderson

Hyperion, 2010

While his arguments are not without flaws, in Free, Anderson gives us all something to think about. He believes in the importance of “free” giveaways for businesses in the Digital Age. Yet any parent who has lived through a Webkins phase can tell you about the costs of free. While there is a free online world where kids can register and play with digital versions of toys, actual toys cost real money. There is also a certain irony in the fact that it’ll cost you $19.99 to read Anderson’s views. •

Treena Chambers is the marketing technology co-ordinator at the UBC Bookstore.

You can review the latest Business in Vancouver book reviews below, which feature contributions from UBC Library’s Jan Wallace and UBC Bookstore’s Treena Chambers.

Making sense of online and social media marketing

This article is from Business in Vancouver June 8-14, 2010; issue 1076

Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation

By Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones

Kogan Page, 2009

Are you a marketer struggling to understand how to harness micro-blogging? Search engine optimization? Site analytics? RSS? Pay per click and other marketing 2.0 concepts?

Understanding Digital Marketing gives you a quick introduction to the latest language, tools and savvy to understand marketing 2.0 and engage consumers in a variety of ways online. This how-to book targets marketers, media analysts and public relations practitioners, and covers selling products online, web marketing, the rules of new media and ways of reaching new generations of digital consumers.

I chose to review this book because I thought it would give me a deeper understanding of my customers at UBC – the so-called millennium generation and generation X. However, examining these consumers is not the book’s primary purpose. Instead, it serves as a reference guide for marketers on very specific aspects of online marketing in web 2.0 land.

Some of the initial content is basic – choosing a website host and designer, for example. But mostly the book provides detailed advice and instructions about marketing online. How do the various types of social media benefit me as a marketer? How can I make the best use of these? What’s the etiquette surrounding social media? What are the best ways of distributing press releases online? What’s affiliate marketing and what are some of its pitfalls? As more and more of the marketing budget moves online, it’s essential to understand these topics. Case histories also help illustrate the concepts.

Many people prefer to ignore the blandishments of the social media milieu, such as Twitter and YouTube. This book successfully makes the case that, used well, social media can have a huge impact on business success.

As one Twitterer puts it, “Yes, social media is noise, noise, noise . . . but if you’re not listening you’re never going to hear the important stuff.” •

Jan Wallace is head of the David Lam Management Research Library at UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

Wars, Guns, and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places

By Paul Collier

Harper Perennial, 2010 (reprint)

Many people equate an election with democracy. In Wars, Guns, and Votes, Oxford economist Collier argues that voting alone does not guarantee true democracy, and that by ignoring sham voting processes we contribute to worldwide violence and instability. Using empirical data versus intuitive reasoning, he lays out his thesis in a clear and accessible way. Looking at ethnic politics, war, coups and state building, he outlines what he sees as practical measures of foreign policy success. He puts his research where his mouth is and welcomes people to check his website for more statistics than I could ever understand. You Are Not A Gadget

You Are Not a Gadget

By Jaron Lanier

Knopf, 2010

You don’t have to agree with Lanier, but his opinions in You Are Not A Gadget regarding the digital world are well thought out. As the web moves from exclusivity to inclusivity, Lanier – one of its creators – worries about its direction. Looking at open source, creativity, the effects of free culture, and mob behaviour at times experienced online, he contemplates the relationship between people and their computers. As a pioneer in the field of virtual reality his conclusions are valuable, but his argument sometimes seems flawed. The book is a collection of his musings from Discover and Think magazines, as well as open letters, so it covers much ground in its critique of Internet life.

Gandhi, CEO

By Alan Axelrod

Sterling, 2010

In today’s workplace, people look for leaders with both moral and strategic authority. They look for people to admire. Axelrod taps into lessons from Mohandas Gandhi and re-fashions them into 100 lessons that can help overcome business challenges. Laid out in 14 chapters and using situations from Gandhi’s life, Axelrod’s book shows us how we can be leaders in a global business world. In Gandhi CEO, Axelrod’s writing is engaging and convincing. •

Treena Chambers is the marketing technology co-ordinator at the UBC Bookstore.

The Victoria Times Colonist recently published an article on the Colonial Despatches project, which involved the digitization of letters between Vancouver Island and the Colonial Office in London.

This project was supported by the B.C. History Digitization Program, an initiative launched by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre in 2006.

The article also pays tribute to Ike Barber and his contributions to digitization efforts in B.C.

You can view the piece here.

The latest instalment of “From the Archives” is now available in the Grad Gazette, a monthly e-newsletter published by UBC Alumni Affairs.

“From the Archives” is a regular feature provided by UBC Library that highlights noteworthy aspects of UBC’s history. This latest piece, written by Archivist Erwin Wodarczak, examines the UBC Book of Remembrance.

You can view the article here.

The new issue of the BCLA Browser features a story on UBC Library’s strategic plan.

Links to the article, and other pieces about BC’s library community, can be found here.

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