The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
By Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor
Harvard Business School Press September 2003
320 pages, $29.95
In his 1997 book The Innovator's Dilemma, Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School, argued that by doing what they were supposed to do—satisfying the needs of their best customers—companies made themselves vulnerable to rapid changes in the marketplace. Here, aided by Raynor, a director at Deloitte Research, he tries to solve that dilemma. The trick? Reshaping how you develop new products and services so that they have more impact, making your company one of the firms that reshapes the marketplace. The authors then lay out a nine-step approach designed to do just that.
Why Not? How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small
By Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayers
Harvard Business School Press September 2003
256 pages, $27.50
The words "fun" and "business book" rarely go together. But this book, by two Yale University professors—Nalebuff teaches economics and Ayers teaches law—is the exception. The avowed purpose is to present ways, à la Edward de Bono (Lateral Thinking), to think more creatively. And they succeed by suggesting you ask yourself a series of questions: How would the richest man in the world solve the problem you face? Would turning an existing idea on its head help? What new product can be paired with an existing one? But the fun part is the products they create as examples: an insurance policy that protects your house from dropping in value; making telemarketers pay you to listen to their pitches; and having every ATM machine accept deposits for any financial institution.

Softwar: An Intimate Portrait of Larry Ellison and Oracle
By Matthew Symonds; commentary by Larry Ellison
Simon & Schuster, October 2003
528 pages, $28
The fascination with Larry Ellison continues. In a different attempt to try to satisfy it, Symonds, an editor at The Economist, was given unlimited access to Ellison himself—with the Oracle chairman and CEO getting a chance to make comments in the text (Ellison also wrote the forward). Not surprisingly, it is Ellison's comments that are the most intriguing. Example: "If you work in Silicon Valley long enough, you can't help noticing how much the technology industry resembles the women's clothing business. Both are fashion-driven. Fashionable ideas are hot, when others are not."

This article was originally published on 10-01-2003
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