01 Jun 2018

Ink: Alumni Books and Recommendations


Excerpt: Sweet Returns

Jeffrey Chokel’s (MBA 1970) new book, Lessons Learned After Harvard Business School: Wisdom Shared by the Class of 1970, includes the stories of 132 of his classmates, which the former Harbus editor collected over six years. Here, an excerpt from one those stories.

The climb of male HBS grads to the executive office was not easy, but for women still unwelcomed above the glass ceiling in the ’70s, getting there was especially difficult. … “She was one smart, sharp cookie,” says a classmate of Ellen Marram (MBA 1970), a marketing whiz who reshaped the food industry with the introduction in the early ’90s of low-fat cookies and other healthier snack foods under the SnackWell’s brand for Nabisco. … In the first year, SnackWell’s grew to a $400 million business. … Store managers had such a difficult time keeping them in stock that delivered boxes were often locked in the manager’s office and then sold to shoppers who had signed up for them.

About smaller companies, Ellen had these observations: “Successful founders and entrepreneurs have made every decision, both big and small, and believe that every decision they’ve made is the right one. As their companies get to a certain size, one person making all the decisions is no longer feasible. It’s really different when a business is bigger and a leader needs to build a team and manage through people. You can’t manage one-on-one in a large company. It’s also tough to acknowledge that, in certain areas, experts need to be brought in.” Her advice: “Sometimes leading is creating and communicating the vision, inspiring people, and then getting out of the way.”


What I’m Reading

Leader: Insights from Indian Mythology
by Devdutt Pattanaik

“This book helped me realize that at work and in life, we are often faced with situations where we have two options—do what’s right or do what’s smart. We often choose to do what’s right based on our values and selfesteem, but it requires more time from our busy schedules and possibly ruffles feathers along the way. When choosing the “smart” option, we may have to swallow our ego, but the decision may be better for the firm—and, in the long run, better for our personal and professional growth. If we are fortunate, our decisions can sometimes be both right and smart.”
—Karan Gupta (GMP 18, 2015), Karan Gupta Consulting


Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived
by Laurence Shames and Peter Barton (MBA 1982)

“This book is about a man on his deathbed (Barton) looking back at his life and appreciating the energy and enthusiasm with which he has lived it, and another man (Shames) comparing his own as he chronicles Barton’s life and death in real time. An inspiring story and a great reminder to fill every minute with 60 seconds’ worth of distance run.”
—Dimitri Dadiomov (MBA 2015), Principal Product Manager, LendingHome


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
by Greg McKeown

“Being an ‘Essentialist’ involves doing less but better so that you can make the highest possible contribution. My head had been spinning from being an investment banker, mother, wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law. I was trying to perform each role to perfection and was approaching burnout. The book illustrated that saying no to most requests was the key to joy. It doesn’t make you popular, but you’ll be happier.”
—Aishetu Fatima Dozie (MBA 2002), Founder, African HERstory

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 1970, Section B
Class of MBA 1970, Section C
Class of GMP 18
follow @kgc999
Class of MBA 2015, Section F
follow @dadiomov
Class of MBA 2002, Section G
follow @afdozie

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