SM picks the top 10 books from 2015

17 December 2015

Every year produces a harvest of absolutely essential – and thoroughly disposable – reading for supply chain professionals. Here are 10 books from the last 12 months that should be on your ‘to read' list.

Elon Musk: Tesla, Space X And The Quest For A Fantastic Future
Ashley Vance (Ecco Press)

Inheriting Steve Jobs’ mantle as the most charismatic CEO in corporate America, Musk is a relentless, daring innovator whose creations – PayPal, Tesla Motors, Space X and Solar City – are changing our world. Vance’s exhaustive biography is a compelling, rounded portrait of a dedicated, visionary and ruthless entrepreneur.

Food Supply Chain Management
Samir Dani (Kogan Page Books)

With the plethora of food scares in recent years, Dani’s award-winning tome seems exceptionally timely. Following the food supply chain from farm to fork, Dani shows companies how to stay ahead of the game by utilising the latest technology, making increasingly complex supply chains more efficient and learning from best practice across the globe.

The Innovators
Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster)

A succinct, enthralling account of the hackers, geniuses and geeks who created the digital culture that is transforming our world, Isaacson’s book stresses the importance of collaboration while giving loners such as Douglas Engelbart – who pretty much came up with all the technologies required for the modern PC 20 years before the first one hit the market – a deserved share of the limelight.

Leadership BS
Jeffrey Pfeffer (Harper Collins)

An astringent antidote to all those heartwarming, morally uplifting bestsellers, Pfeffer’s book draws on the reality of today’s workplace to remind us that “strategic misrepresentation isn’t as harmful as you think, that immodesty is frequently a path to success and that relying on the magnanimity of your boss is a bad bet”.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter (W.W. Norton & Company)

One of the most influential management thinkers of our time, Kanter issues a long overdue manifesto extolling the power of infrastructure to ease lives, ignite optimism and become an engine of growth. Given Kanter’s intellectual clout, her message – that with the right blend of innovation and technology, infrastructure could become a nation’s competitive edge – might just change policy.

The Powerhouse
Steve Levine (Viking)

Who would want to read a book about batteries, let alone write one? Luckily Levine defied his friends’ discouraging advice and persevered, chronicling the secret war between developers vying to perfect the technology that could be crucial, and lucrative, as the world strives for clean energy.

The Procurement Value Proposition
Gerard Chick, Robert Handfield (Kogan Page Books)

In an ambitious exploration of the globalised economy’s impact on the practice of procurement, Chick and Handfield examine how new business contexts, purchasing strategies, roles and responsibilities could change the profession, accurately describing the challenges ahead while making them seem manageable.

Rise Of The Robots
Martin Ford (Basic Books)

No job will be safe as robots become smarter, more adept and less expensive and, by tilting the balance in society in favour of the mega-rich, they pose a real challenge to the cohesiveness of society – that is the message of Ford’s disturbingly persuasive bestseller. Even if you think he’s wrong, this is essential reading.

Strategic Procurement
Caroline Booth (Kogan Page Books)

The revised edition of a 2010 book lauded for providing a “powerful and fresh perspective on what procurement really is” explores how to mitigate different kinds of supplier risk, analyses the discipline’s role in delivering successful mergers and acquisitions and encourages the profession not to fixate on the “nuts and bolts” and focus on the bigger picture.

Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner (Random House)

Famous for suggesting that “the average expert is as accurate as a dart-throwing chimpanzee”, Tetlock returned to the ancient art of divination in this book, focusing on a group of superforecasters who, polled by American spies, consistently got their predictions right. Some were maths professors, others were housewives – but they were all, in the famous categorisation by Sir Isaiah Berlin, foxes who understood the world was too complicated to be reduced to a slogan, rather than hedgehogs who focused on one or two problems.

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