Outstanding Academic Titles 2023: Business

Enjoy these five selections from the Choice Reviews 2023 Outstanding Academic Titles list. This week we highlight, Outstanding Academic Titles from the past year pertaining to business. A hearty congratulations to the winning authors, editors and publishers!

1. The digital mindset: what it really takes to thrive in the age of data, algorithms, and AI
Leonardi, Paul. by Paul Leonardi and Tsedal Neeley Harvard Business Review Press, 2022

Leonardi (technology management, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) and Neeley (Harvard Univ.) provide an engaging roadmap for embracing digital literacy—a prerequisite to leading in today’s digital age. By developing a digital mindset, readers can establish a practice for technology and data-driven decision-making and better identify opportunities to maintain competitiveness across almost every industry. The authors introduce the 30-percent rule as a marker to establish competency across the three areas of a digital mindset: collaboration, computation, and change. The first part of the book examines the intersection of how humans and machines interact. The authors urge embracing machines not as mere tools but as partners and collaborators. The book’s second part clarifies the nature of data and how data can translate into information for reasoning and making decisions. The third and final part of the book examines how a digital mindset is an essential driver for understanding and promoting change in today’s digital world. With great examples and case studies, this book is an excellent read for everyone—tech savvy or not—interested in challenging themselves to become better leaders, managers, and data-driven decision-makers. View on Amazon

2. The rise of blockchains: disrupting economies and transforming societies
Kshetri, Nir. E. Elgar, 2022

The blockchain is the complex foundational technology for cryptocurrencies, distributed contract management, and transaction support. Strong cryptographic algorithms ensure the content’s decentralization, immutability, transparency, and auditability. However, all of this has a high computational cost and also poses concerns about environmental impact. This book is both a fantastic introduction to the fundamental concepts of blockchains and a unique discussion of the business models impacted by the blockchain. Kshetri (Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro) provides an excellent sketch of the debate over using distributed ledgers to demonstrate business trustworthiness. The business cases Kshetri provides perfectly demonstrate the value offered by technology that uses strong cryptographic tools. One of the book’s best and most unique contributions is in its chapter on the synergies between artificial intelligence and the blockchain. The case studies from health care and other data-intensive industries offer invaluable details on data ownership management, privacy, data lineage management, and shared governance for users of blockchain and AI technologies. Kshetri also discusses emerging disruptive technologies, like the Metaverse, Web 3.0, and the Internet of Things. This is one of the best books on the subject and an excellent guide for readers of all levels. View on Amazon

3.Dirt persuasion: civic environmental populism and the heartland’s pipeline fight
Moscato, Derek. Nebraska, 2022

Moscato (journalism, Western Washington Univ.) provides an analytical case study of a multiyear struggle by Bold Nebraska, a statewide environmental organization, carried out to thwart the efforts of the TransCanada company (now known as TC Energy) to construct the Keystone XL Pipeline through Nebraska. Designed to transport oil from Alberta’s tar sands, the pipeline proposal elicited strong support from fossil fuel advocates and strong opposition from environmental activists. Moscato systematically presents the communication strategies of both Bold Nebraska and TransCanada, using this case study to illustrate and elucidate the scholarly literatures on environmental communication and activism. He argues convincingly that Bold Nebraska was successful because it reflected local values and focused on countering threats to the land and the Nebraskans who depend on it. His methods include a content analysis of information published over time on the Bold Nebraska website, conducting interviews with key actors, and exploitation of an impressive array of secondary sources. Readers will learn how one case of civil environmental populism evolved in a rural US context and, in so doing, will also gain an in-depth understanding of the existing scholarship on environmental communication. This exemplary book demonstrates outstanding, careful scholarship. View on Amazon

4. Contracting freedom: race, empire, and U.S. guestworker programs
Quintana, Maria. Pennsylvania, 2022

This book contextualizes the historical and political construction of the guest worker program process in the modern US. Labor historian Quintana (California State Univ., Sacramento) organizes her book into eight major critical chapters, focusing on how the US government created guest worker programs to prevent unionism in the agricultural fields. Quintana provides a passionate, in-depth review and analysis on this critical subject, by both adopting historical accounts and exploiting primary materials, making this book not only original but also organic. The impetus for the book emerges within the context of a new wave of scholarly literature that challenges the Mexican guest worker focus of prior published scholarship, and that recognizes the major impacts of other transnational guest workers. The consequence of this new scholarship will result in major contributions for future research and scholarship on this critical subject matter. Every library should obtain a copy of this work for their Chicana/o history and ethnic studies collections. View on Amazon.

5Ethics for capitalists: a systematic approach to business ethics, competition, and market failure Heath, Joseph. Friesen Press, 2023

This systematic approach to business ethics builds from the moral justification of market activity (jus ad mercatum) to develop just actions within the market system (jus in mercatum). Heath (philosophy, Univ. of Toronto, Canada) argues that the aim of business ethics is to distinguish inevitable moral flaws from flaws that form through institutionalization. Staged competition is necessary for this activity, and thus, “because some legitimate goals of owners or the firm are contrary to everyday morality, managers often find themselves obliged to act in ways that are contrary to everyday morality. … [A] firm may not permit what is forbidden, but can require what is permitted” (p. 169). Managers seek “moral constraints that require economic actors to refrain from adopting strategies that would advance their interests in a way that promotes unhealthy forms of competition” (p. 99). The moral good is to prevent market failure or at least prevent private interests from benefiting from such failure. The normative logic of the market is a cooperative system that allows everyone to benefit. Thus, rules must be applied with phronesis, not mechanically. This extraordinarily well-contended, well-sourced argument is a must for courses in business ethics. View on Amazon.

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