Book Reviews: The Innovator's Solution and The Art of Happiness at Work

Dilemma and Solution

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

By Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor

Harvard Business School Press, 2003, $29.95

It was only in 1997 that this book’s predecessor, The Innovator’s Dilemma, became a best-seller and made Clay Christensen an academic star—but it seems like an eon ago. And in a sense, that was indeed a different age. Innovation has taken a backseat now that survival is the game. It’s therefore unlikely that The Innovator’s Solution will re-create the splash of its predecessor. And yet, it’s just possible that Christensen and his coauthor, a former student who is now a Deloitte consultant, have anticipated the next wave, during which interest in innovation will revive.

If so, this book addresses an important question that its precursor left maddeningly unanswered, namely, how to innovate successfully. The authors have spent several years researching what they call "the black box" of innovation. They found that innovation’s key is the process by which organizations shape new ideas and shepherd them up the decision-making line. Dilemma demonstrated that companies tend to reject disruptive ideas—those that don’t appeal to established customers or markets—in favor of sure bets and predictable outcomes. In Solution, the authors focus on the issues that managers must consider when thinking about how to grow new businesses, and thereby either overtake the market leaders or fend off would-be disrupters.

-Edward Prewitt

The Pursuit of Happiness

The Art of Happiness at Work

By His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler

Riverhead Books, 2003, $24.95

Since we spend so much of our time at work, it’s only natural that we strive for balance between the hours of 9 and 5. In The Art of Happiness at Work, psychiatrist Howard Cutler presents the unique perspective of Tenzin Gyatso, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, on the interface—or clash—of work and personal happiness. The 1998 collaboration between Cutler and the Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, was a more general look at how people can approach all of life’s challenges. This follow-up book deals exclusively with the topic of work. Ultimately, the Dalai Lama’s approach to happiness at work, which is explained in a series of conversations with Cutler, is much like his approach to happiness and fulfillment in life. Acting with kindness and compassion in everything we do and doing what we can to help others—those are the cornerstones of the art of happiness, both in life and in work.

-Lafe Low

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CIO Best-Seller List

5 The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

By John C. Maxwell

Thomas Nelson, 1998 4 Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results

By Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen

Hyperion Press, 2000 3 Now, Discover Your Strengths: The Revolutionary Program That Shows You How to Develop Your Unique Talents and Strengths—And Those of the People You Manage

By Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton

The Free Press, 2001 2 Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done

By Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

Crown Publishing Group, 2002 1 Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don’t

By Jim Collins

HarperCollins Publishers, 2001

Source: Sept. 4, 2003, data, compiled by Borders Group, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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