What We’re Reading from the Nov. 15, 2011, Issue of CIO Magazine

Books, blogs and research about IT, management and leadership

Users Not Customers

Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business

By Aaron Shapiro

Book While most businesses are trying to get closer to their customers, Shapiro says you should first cozy up to users. Same thing, no? Shapiro’s strategic shift makes the distinction that although many users are customers, users are really the key influencers. They create perceptions and share critiques about brands, thereby affecting how customers act. With stories from Mint.com and Best Buy, Shapiro outlines how to realign your business and refine the user experience. Portfolio Penguin, $26.95

Nanovation 

How a Little Car Can Teach the World to Think Big and Act Bold

By Kevin and Jackie Freiberg and Dain Dunston

Book The story of how Tata Motors created a car that changed India carries broader implications for innovation strategies, say the authors. Nanovation is a tale of souped-up innovation and how the people behind the Nano achieved what competitors said was impossible: unprecedented products, fully motivated employees and worldwide recognition. Tata’s Nano managed to make a more energy-efficient family car for the price of a motor scooter by embracing failure and never assuming anything. Thomas Nelson, $24.99

The Future of Value 

How Sustainability Creates Value Through Competitive Differentiation

By Eric Lowitt

Book One may not expect that organizations can gain a competitive edge through sustainability, but this author shows how companies have done just that. He says that creating truly sustainable processes can accelerate overall business performance. Lowitt has developed a model that he says helps companies develop and assess successful sustainability plans. It incorporates five management practices, including top- and bottom-line improvement approaches, governance structures, and value chain activity adjustments. Wiley, $32.95

@RalphLoura 

By Ralph Loura

Twitter  The CIO of Clorox posts links to relevant technology news, blogs and research, along with his own evaluations of business and customer service. He tweeted an article in favor of continuing to support BlackBerrys and said, “I could disagree more.” Loura also posted a complaint about the failure of a mobile boarding pass: “Gate doesn’t have me as checked in. Gave away my seat!” @ralphloura

Passion and Purpose 

Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders

By John Coleman, Daniel Gulati, and W. Oliver Segovia

Book These crowdsourced stories from young MBAs (the book is also written by three MBA graduates from Harvard Business School) may provide encouragement to business leaders struggling with millennials in the workplace. The books says these young up-and-comers can bring valuable experience to top-notch companies, highlighting young people who have launched startups, fought for gender equality in the workplace and taught in the Middle East. To balance the generation gap, the book also includes perspectives from the CEOs of McKinsey and Pandora. Harvard Business Review Press, $25.95

Follow Editorial Assistant Lauren Brousell on Twitter: @lbrousell.

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