• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Books to read this weekend

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Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Taking the reader on a journey from Dale Carnegie’s birthplace to Harvard Business School, from a Tony Robbins seminar to an evangelical megachurch, Susan Cain charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal in the twentieth century and explores its far-reaching effects. She talks to Asian-American students who feel alienated from the brash, backslapping atmosphere of American schools. She questions the dominant values of American business culture, where forced collaboration can stand in the way of innovation, and where the leadership potential of introverts is often overlooked. And she draws on cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to reveal the surprising differences between extroverts and introverts.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed. Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.

Imagining India by Nandan Nikelani

The premise of this suave and unabashedly free market overview of the New India—the rising economic powerhouse—is that ideas lead economic and social policy rather than the other way around. It’s not a consistently held position, however, as Nilekani, co-chairman of the board of directors of Infosys Technologies (a leader in India’s burgeoning IT sector), refers in the same breath to a longstanding (postindependence) antipathy to teaching English reversed by its economic advantage in a global market. Theoretical consistency aside, the author makes a bid for a centrist position in the globalization debate. His focus rests on India’s particular domestic and international advantages in such areas as population, English proficiency and information technology.

The Break Out Nations: In Pursuit of the next Economic Miracle by Ruchir Sharma

After a decade of rapid growth, the world’s most celebrated emerging markets are poised to slow down. Which countries will rise to challenge them? To identify the economic stars of the future we should abandon the habit of extrapolating from the recent past and lumping wildly diverse countries together. We need to remember that sustained economic success is a rare phenomenon.