Date posted: 14/04/2021 5 min read

Stay up to date with the big shifts

The times they are a-changin’ … Use these CA Library resources to keep pace with the big shifts in business and society.

In Brief

  • In Unapologetically Ambitious, former MetricStream CEO Shellye Archambeau shares her practical strategies for success. It was rated one of the best business books of 2020.
  • Other titles include Limitless by brain coach Jim Kwik and Cult Status, which describes how to build a business that people adore.
  • All library services, excluding the cost of returning books, are free to CA ANZ members.

Reviews Paul Robinson

Unapologetically Ambitious

Unapologetically Ambitious

By Shellye Archambeau (Hachette), also an audiobook

One of Silicon Valley’s pioneer female African-American execs, Shellye Archambeau had been an executive at IBM and Blockbuster before she was recruited as CEO of MetricStream in 2003.

This shaky start-up became a world leader in integrated risk, compliance and governance software, and Archambeau went on to join the boards of Fortune 500 companies Okta, Roper Technologies, Verizon and Nordstrom.

Archambeau used her experience in turning around the struggling tech company to write Unapologetically Ambitious, a blueprint for effective leadership. Fortune magazine rated it as one of the best business books of 2020.

For Archambeau to take MetricStream from the brink of bankruptcy to a company valued at US$400 million required clarity around the company’s goals
– and accepting there would be risk. The lesson? If you try to dodge risk, you’ll end up with a mediocre company, at best.

The challenges she faced, both in her initial career and then navigating the boom/bust terrain of Silicon Valley in the early 2000s, saw her develop practical strategies. These included: developing financial literacy and a long-term plan, building a network and establishing a reputation, being assertive rather than aggressive, taking charge of her own career – and taking the occasional risk.

So don’t resign yourself to a supporting role, and don’t apologise for your ambition.

Just Money: Misadventures in the great Australian debt trap

Just Money: Misadventures in the great Australian debt trap

By Royce Kurmelovs (Queensland University Press), also an ebook

For Royce Kurmelovs, a car accident in 2018 was a catalyst. Uninsured and with a sizeable student debt, he joined the millions of Australians who juggle the demands of loans, mortgages and credit cards in a country where household debt reached 121.4% of GDP in 2020.

His A$23,000 burden wasn’t major by corporate standards, but to someone from a migrant family, it was the ultimate shame. “And if debt was bad, to be a debtor was worse… It meant having to stay in a shitty job as long as it took to pay off what you owed… Debt made you powerless and submissive.”

As his own experience dragged him into the spider’s web of modern finance, Kurmelovs chronicled his journey. He discovered the debt business is booming and that, for many, indebtedness is a quicksand from which the financial services industry has no commercial interest in extricating them.

On the contrary, as personal indebtedness increases, banks, insurers and credit card providers transform the debt into an investment asset they can on-sell. Ultimately, it becomes more profitable for investors to speculate on debt rather than on the products and services that initially incurred it.

It’s called financialisation and Kurmelovs contends it’s a big social justice problem – 2007 US sub-prime crisis, anyone?

Kurmelovs interprets some fairly opaque concepts in real speak, interweaving the experiences of ordinary people with wider socioeconomic analysis.

Cult Status

Cult Status

By Tim Duggan (Pantera Press), also an audiobook and ebook

The relationship between companies and the communities they service is evolving. Consumers are changing and businesses must think hard about their social impact, which means questioning corporate values, purpose and sustainability. So how do you build a business people adore in the 21st century?

Author Tim Duggan has put in the hard yards to discover what successful entrepreneurs have in common. He reckons the founders of brands such as footwear retailer Toms (Blake Mycoskie) and skincare producer Go-To (Zöe Foster Blake) have built up the kind of passionate community that makes a brand a sustainable success. Conveniently, Duggan then sets out a seven-step guide to building your own business with cult status. Key is the balancing act between profit and purpose.

Also recommended

Humankind: A hopeful history

Humankind: A hopeful history

By Rutger Bregman (Bloomsbury Publishing), ebook and audiobook

Rutger Bregman draws on some of the world’s most famous events and studies to provide a new perspective on the past 200,000 years of human history, arguing that instead of being selfish, basic human nature is altruistic and cooperative. He reveals a new way to think about humanity and offers hope for the future.

Limitless: Upgrade your brain, learn anything faster, and unlock your exceptional life

Limitless: Upgrade your brain, learn anything faster, and unlock your exceptional life

By Jim Kwik (Hay House), also an audiobook and ebook

Brain coach Jim Kwik offers strategies to increase productivity, transform brainpower and achieve more personal and professional success. Using science-based practices, he lets you in on how to harness your mindset, boost motivation and adopt positive life-changing habits.

Digital Business Transformation: How established companies sustain competitive advantage from now to next

Digital Business Transformation: How established companies sustain competitive advantage from now to next

By Nigel Vaz (John Wiley & Sons), ebook

This ebook offers practical advice and a framework to help established businesses achieve their digital potential. Transformation specialist Nigel Vaz covers a lot of ground, from how to decide what to retain and what to discard, to how to lead people through significant change.


The Genius of Women: From overlooked to changing the world

By Janice Kaplan (Dutton), audiobook

Why has the brilliant work of so many women been brushed aside? Janice Kaplan paints the inspiring stories of both historical and contemporary women geniuses, and interviews women at work in the world today to reveal how they broke down barriers.

Everyday Creative: A dangerous guide to making magic at work

By Mykel Dixon (Wiley), audiobook and ebook

Despite creativity being touted as crucial to business growth and personal fulfilment, it is generally stifled. Musician and speaker Mykel Dixon reveals what’s holding us back from our full creative potential and what we need to do to foster creativity in ourselves and in our teams.


Making Business Videos for Customers

(Linkedin Learning) Run time: 47 minutes

Despite the fact that business videos increase customer engagement, profits and online exposure, many small businesses put it in the too-hard basket. This LinkedIn course is a succinct and practical guide to creating a video that customers will engage with.

CA Library: A wealth of information in a single location

Did you know the CA Library offers services and on-demand resources to members at no charge?

The titles featured here are available to download directly from the library catalogue along with technical and soft-skill ebooks, audiobooks, articles and online resources.

Members can also access the online database that includes journals such as Harvard Business Review and newspapers including The Australian Financial Review.

Need help finding resources? Simply get in touch with the Library’s research librarians with your query and they will provide a list of relevant resources.

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