Chinese Canadian Stories, a UBC Library and SFU Library initiative, is highlighted in a feature article in the Vancouver Sun. You can view the piece here.

Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon Histories from a Common Past is a collaborative project between the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and various campus and community-wide partners. This project will reshape the way all of us understand Canada, and reclaim the forgotten histories of peoples who have long been ignored in Canadian history. It is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Community Historical Recognition Program.

You can find out more about the project here.

The latest issue of the BCLA Browser, the newsletter of the British Columbia Library Association, features a UBC Library submission that highlights new spaces – including the Canaccord Learning Commons – and recent awards.

You can view the article here: BCLA – UBC Library

And you can view the issue’s table of contents here.

Find out more about the Canaccord Learning Commons here.

The Chung Collection, a designated national treasure, is covered in the Spring 2011 issue of Montecristo magazine. The story profiles Dr. Wallace Chung and his passion for collecting, and highlights his donations to UBC and the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

You can view the article here: Chung Collection

The Chung Collection was donated to UBC Library in 1999. It resides in the Chung Room, located in Rare Books and Special Collections on level one of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

You can find out more about the Chung Collection here.

Book reviews

This article is from Business in Vancouver March 8-14, 2011; issue 1115

The Intangibles of Leadership

By Richard A.Davis

Wiley, 2010

I found The Intangibles of Leadership a frustrating book at first. A practical, self-help reader on learning and attaining leadership skills, the book is packed with so many to-do lists, anecdotes and pieces of advice that it feels a little as if your parent is lecturing you. It reminds me of the golf instructor who tried to correct all of my golf- swing errors in one lesson, leaving me bewildered and unable to use the basic skills I had previously mastered. The answer to making this book a successful read, I discovered, is to take it slowly, read a chapter at a time, select skills to work on over the next month or so and then move on to the next chapter.

Davis – a licensed industrial/organizational psychologist who specializes in leadership studies and is a partner with the Toronto office of RHR International – delves into the qualities that set exceptional leaders apart from merely competent ones, and comes up with a selection that makes good, common sense.

For example, he notes that an essential quality is the ability to draw out opinions from colleagues and staff members and to truly listen to and hear what they say. Many executives are so focused on running the meeting and conveying the important messages that they fail to learn valuable information from their staff members.

“Even when you are the one leading the meeting, try to keep your antennae up so you can attend to signals that arise when you aren’t speaking,” Davis says. “The pace and flow of the discussion provide important clues as to what the group cares about the most, which topics it is comfortable with, and on which issues it needs the most guidance.”

Other chapters, such as the one on integrity, offer advice on qualities that are difficult to assess. Would-be executives should read this chapter, which debunks the mistaken idea that being nice or honest can make one finish last. The most successful organizations are run by leaders who, “at their core, are nice, genuine and thoughtful people who also stand firm in what they believe, are highly committed to excellence in whatever they do, and tactfully challenge others and the status quo.”

The chapter on fallibility conveys the all-too-often overlooked message that great leaders aren’t threatened by the excellence of their people. Not only does fostering creativity and innovation in your staff improve the product, it ensures that the best people stay because they are encouraged to follow and satisfy their creative and entrepreneurial instincts.

I would recommend this book to people at the beginning and middle of their careers, who aspire to acquire leadership skills. •

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

The Quants

By Scott Patterson, Random House, 2011 (also available in e-book and audio formats)

Scott Patterson’s book Quants reads like the script for Aaron Sorkin’s film The Social Network – and is equally fascinating and entertaining. Take some geniuses, some algorithms and formulas and lots of ego, and you’ve got a riveting, cautionary tale. Warren Buffett’s observation – “Beware of geeks bearing formulas” – plays out in these pages. The author coined the name “quants” in reference to the mathematicians and physicists who applied their mathematical techniques, first honed in casinos, to financial investments.

Throughout the book, alarming parallels are drawn between the game of poker and the strategies played out on Wall Street that led to the financial meltdown.

Reading about the players’ quest to see if the “Truth” (their theories) would work on Wall Street reminded me of reading about the Titanic (which was deemed unsinkable by its builders). We know, in the end, that the boat sinks – and that Wall Street experienced a historic crash. Both events rippled around the world and into our common history. The book includes a helpful list of the players and their backgrounds and a useful glossary for the uninitiated. •

The Procrastination Equation

By Piers Steel Random House, 2010

Given my score in the procrastinator’s diagnostic quiz early in the book (more quizzes can be found at, but don’t get sidetracked!), it’s a wonder I completed this review.

However, the score is helpful to know in order to apply the advice given in subsequent chapters. Since I scored in the top 10% to 25% and recognized scarily true portraits of my behaviour, I was curious to know how to stop dancing the “procrastinator’s polka.”

Steel, a leading researcher on the science of motivation and procrastination, outlines several practical action plans to help change your habits, and ultimately your life, for the better.

Thoroughly engrossing, with lots of examples, exercises and humorous quotes, this is a useful reference book for the procrastinators among us who seriously wish or need to change. •

Donna Kaye is an assistant trade buyer at UBC Bookstore.

A Province story on a digitization project at the City of Vancouver Archives also mentions UBC Library’s digital photo collection. You can view the article here.

An article about the digitization of photo archives from the Reach Gallery Museum appears in the Abbotsford News. This project received funding from the BC History Digitization Program, an initiative of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

You can view the article here, and find out more about the BC History Digitization Program here.

An editorial by Ingrid Parent, University Librarian and Henry Yu, UBC History Professor and Project Lead for the Chinese Canadian Stories initiative (, appears in the February 26, 2011 issue of the Vancouver Sun.

You can view the editorial, which is about the need for a Pacific Canada Heritage Centre, here.

Book Reviews

This article from Business in Vancouver January 11-17, 2011; issue 1107

Chocolate Wars: The 150-year rivalry between the world’s greatest chocolate makers

By Deborah Cadbury

Douglas & McIntyre, 2010

If you’re feeling in need of some choco-endorphins, read Chocolate Wars: The 150-year rivalry between the world’s greatest chocolate makers. Seriously, this is the business history book to sink your teeth into this year. Deborah Cadbury, scion of the famous Cadbury chocolate family, makes the story of the development of cocoa and chocolate into a page-turner that you can’t put down. And you’ll never look at a chocolate bar in the same way again.

Cadbury chronicles the fascinating development of the cocoa industry in Britain, where Quakers – maligned dissidents at the turn of the 19th century – were consigned to trade and kept out of the legal profession and higher education at Oxford and Cambridge. Quakers were astute businesspeople, who practised benevolent and patriarchal business methods that seem antiquated today. However, many of their principles – keeping debt low, treating workers well, paying debts back, taking modest salaries, growing businesses by dint of hard and persistent labour – are admired today as principles of corporate social responsibility.

Three Quaker families led the industry in Britain – Cadbury in Birmingham, Fry in Bristol and Rowntree in York. Today, all three have been absorbed by large food-processing conglomerates. Cadbury, the company around which the book centres, was acquired in a hostile takeover by Kraft Foods in 2009, after being energetically pressured by dissident shareholders to spin-off its Schweppes division, leaving the historic candymaker a prime takeover target.

This book weaves together several themes. The industrial revolution was a period of intense innovation and competition in the relatively new food-processing industry. Innovations in machinery and chemical techniques were keys to success, while unscrupulous manufacturers added strange ingredients such as red brick dust to make their cocoa easier to use. The slums and ill health of the poor made Quaker industrialists such as George and Richard Cadbury consider it their duty to improve the lives of the tenement dwellers of Birmingham. They built a new factory village with workers’ cottages and amenities outside Birmingham to provide workers and their families with fresh air and a place to grow vegetables. They personally taught classes in reading and writing after work to their labourers.

The book also examines the theme of the American 19th-century entrepreneur, including Milton Hershey, who built his chocolate fortune amid the cornfields of Pennsylvania.

Each technical innovation is described in fascinating detail, including Rodolphe Lindt’s discovery that leaving his cocoa bean roller mistakenly turned on during a vacation emulsified the beans and turned them into a better product than anyone had previously made.

The book ends with the bitter fight over Cadbury and the ensuing dismay across England that such a historic company had been taken over by an American conglomerate. It’s ironic to note that Kraft Foods had its beginnings in Canada, as did historic Canadian chocolate-maker Laura Secord, swallowed along the way by Cadbury itself. •

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


By Barbara Kellerman

McGraw-Hill, 2010

Barbara Kellerman’s book brings together leadership lessons from great men and women. Practical and enlightening, her commentary and analysis help the reader understand why she considers each selection essential reading for a well-rounded leader. The book is organized into three sections. “About Leadership” includes writings by Lao Tsu, Confucius, Stanley Milgram and others who speak to what leaders should learn. In the second section, “Literature as Leadership,” authors as differing as Betty Friedan and Karl Marx show that the pen is a powerful tool. In the last section, “Leaders in Action,” Kellerman draws lessons from powerful leaders. Gandhi, Vaclav Havel and Queen Elizabeth I are just a few of the lives she draws from. Reading Leadership was a bit like getting an undergrad degree without leaving my chair. •

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

A review of a recent talk about rare books at UBC Library appears in Artswire, the UBC Faculty of Arts newsfeed. The talk was presented by Ralph Stanton, Head of the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections division.

You can view the article here, and find out more about Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library here.

The latest issue of the BCLA Browser features contributions from four UBC Library employees: Joy Kirchner (“Sayeed Choudhury on establishing a university data management program”), Katherine Miller (“Burning Needs: ALPS LINK contest winners”), Glenn Drexhage (“Directing the Digital Agenda”) and Susan Paterson (“ALPS Yodeler”).

The first three articles are downloadable; the entire issue can be viewed here.

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