Date posted: 26/06/2020 5 min read

There is no issue that cannot be solved…

These CA Library resources nudge you to consider different routes to the best outcomes.

In Brief

  • In “What It Takes”, Blackrock founder Stephen A Schwarzman details his journey as an entrepreneur.
  • Other titles examine how to solve the world’s biggest problems and how to run a professional services business.
  • All CA Library resources are free for CA ANZ members to borrow, excluding the costs of returning.

Reviews Paul Robinson

Solved! How other countries have cracked the world’s biggest problems and we can too

By Andrew Wear (Black Inc)

Solved! How other countries have cracked the world’s biggest problems and we can tooAt a time when the doomsayers are having a field day and elected leaders appear reluctant to lead, Solved! reads like a much-needed ray of sunshine.

This is no keyboard warrior polemic. Having worked as a public servant and as a public policy adviser for the OECD, Andrew Wear knows his stuff.

His eureka moment occurred in a bookshop. Depressed by the unremitting pessimism on the politics shelves, he decided to apply the upbeat perspectives of self-help and business genres to political writing.

The formula was simple: pinpoint the country achieving the best global outcome on an issue; examine that country’s history and the policy interventions that led to its success; then decide what the takeaway is to help the rest of us sort that issue in our own societies.

Chapter by chapter, Wear examines the evidence. On Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, wind turbines and biomass boilers consuming straw make the region a world leader in green energy, where carbon emissions have been almost totally eliminated. The Danish experience shows the concept of baseload power is now redundant. If intermittent energy sources such as wind can be integrated successfully into the grid to provide stable electricity, there is no need for non-renewables.

In South Korea, average life expectancy will soon be the world’s longest. In 50 years, the country has transformed itself from being a war-ravaged basket case by using traditional diet, a universal healthcare system and top-level medical care.

Norway is on a mission to reduce inequality. Just 8.2% of Norwegians live below the poverty line (Australia is 12.1%, the US 17.8%, pre-COVID figures). Norway’s solution is Robin Hood simple: tax the rich, give to the poor.

Case by case it rolls – the growth of Indonesian democracy, multicultural Australia, tackling violent crime in the UK, gender equality in Iceland.

Each chapter ends with “Five things we can do now”. It’s an inspiring book. Wear makes a convincing case that if we want world-best outcomes, the solutions are there – all we have to do is take them on board.

What It Takes: Lessons in the pursuit of excellence

By Stephen A Schwarzman (Simon & Schuster)

What It Takes: Lessons in the pursuit of excellence

His mantra is “Don’t lose money!” and Steven Schwarzman’s obsession with learning from every mistake has made Blackstone – the company he chairs and co-founded with US$400,000 that now manages more than US$5 billion in private equity and real estate investments – the benchmark in alt investing.

As a CEO, his counsel is sought by presidents and heads of state. As a philanthropist, he bankrolls MIT research into the ethical implications of AI, partners with Oxford University in the study of humanities, and chairs the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC.

Schwarzman made his financial industry bones at Lehman Brothers, where at age 36 he was running the mergers and acquisitions practice. This is the story of an entrepreneur with innovative ideas, the drive to make them happen, an astute awareness of his place in the big picture and an almost fanatical appetite for challenge.

This considered contemplation of Schwarzman’s journey makes for fascinating reading. His opinions on risk and opportunity, leadership, ambition and scale are a practical template for success and this is one hardcore negotiator who could give a certain bombastic US president a few lessons in the real art of the deal.

How to Lead a Values-Based Professional Services Firm: 3 keys to unlock purpose and profit

By Don Scales & Fran Biderman-Gross (John Wiley & Sons)

How to Lead a Values-Based Professional Services Firm: 3 keys to unlock purpose and profitRunning a professional services business is about more than quality of service, say the authors of this guide to building a brand with purpose.

These days, clients want more than a transaction. They want to collaborate with organisations whose values dovetail with their own. They want to know what you stand for.

To really prosper, it’s imperative to know your “story” – what your business believes in, why it was created – and share those values and purpose with your team, your clients and stakeholders.

Co-author Don Scales is global CEO of digital communications company Investis Digital. Fran Biderman-Gross helped Investis rebrand, using her Three Keys methodology, beefing up its content development capacity and optimising that content for targeted impact. Renewed employee engagement was a welcome side effect and Scales was sold.

The pair explains the Three Keys framework in the first chapter – then you simply choose the chapters that best target your organisation’s needs. You’ll learn the principles of the topic and take away practical tasks to help you build a purposeful brand.

Whistleblowing: Toward a new theory

By Kate Kenny (Harvard University Press)

Whistleblowing: Toward a new theoryPeople who blow the whistle on unethical and illegal conduct in corporations are often vilified and their careers irreparably damaged. Kate Kenny relates the stories of some of the brave souls who have spoken out, explains why they are so poorly treated, and examines what can be done to protect them.

Don’t Fall for It: A short history of financial scams

By Ben Carlson (Wiley)

Don’t Fall for It: A short history of financial scamsFilled with sensational scams and financial fraud, Don’t Fall For It is a fascinating ride through the history of fraud and includes real-life stories and valuable insights to avoid being duped.

The Intelligent Leader: Unlocking the 7 secrets to leading others and leaving your legacy

By John Mattone (Wiley)

The Intelligent Leader: Unlocking the 7 secrets to leading others and leaving your legacyWhat makes a great leader? John Mattone says it’s someone who has explored their own motivations and vulnerabilities, so they can authentically inspire others. He offers methods to enrich your own life and the lives of others.

Spenditude: A life-changing attitude to money

By Paul Gordon and Janine Robertson (Wiley)

Spenditude: A life-changing attitude to moneyNeed some inspiration to improve your spending and saving habits? With no tedious budgets or coffee deprivation, Spenditude shows you how to tackle your attitude to money and take control of your goals and financial future.


LinkedIn Learning – Management tips

Project Management Institute
(Run time: 7h50min in total)

Todd Dewett delivers leadership tips – from how to manage a multigenerational workforce to how to drive a business forward – in 2-4 minute video bites to suit any time availability.


100 Side Hustles: Unexpected ideas for making extra money without quitting your day job

By Chris Guillebeau (Ten Speed Press – audiobook, run time: 7h)

Self-employment guru Chris Guillebeau offers 100 stories of regular people who have launched a successful side business. He explains how to identify an under-served market and get started.

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