Livres en sciences sociales: comptes rendus (oct. 2011) (2)

Source: Library Journal, 15/10/2011

Si vous souhaitez suggérer l’achat d’un ou plusieurs ouvrages à la BSPO, une seule adresse:

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Dahlvig, Anders. The IKEA Edge: Building Global Growth and Social Good at the World’s Most Iconic Home Store. McGraw-Hill. Dec. 2011. c.212p. ISBN 9780071777650. $26. BUS
Readers hoping this book chronicles the history of IKEA, the Swedish-based furniture company, will be disappointed. Other books—Elen Lewis’s Great IKEA! A Brand for All the People and Johan Stenebo’s The Truth About IKEA—better cover the story of the company. Rather, Dahlvig (former president and CEO, IKEA) wrote this book to “use IKEA as an example of good corporate citizenship.” Citing such business values as its vision statement (“to create a better everyday life for the majority of people”) and the benefits of having a strong owner with long-term perspective, he argues for IKEA-based business concepts at companies worldwide. Though Dahlvig makes a strong argument for IKEA’s values, he admits areas where the company could have done better, like obtaining all its wood from responsibly managed forests. Since his voice is the only one heard in this book, the arguments are all one-sided; including other IKEA employees’ voices would have only strengthened Dahlvig’s case. VERDICT Though excessively verbose at times, this volume is best for readers interested in what makes IKEA tick and those who want to learn more about ­general business principles.—Leigh Mihlrad, National Inst. of Health Lib., Bethesda, MD

Garon, Sheldon. Beyond Our Means: Why America Spends While the World Saves. Princeton Univ. Nov. 2011. c.480p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780691135991. $29.95. ECON
While Garon’s (history, Princeton; Molding Japanese Minds: The State in Everyday Life) study is comprehensive (with hundreds of notes and a large bibliography), his subtitle is slightly misleading. He explains savings programs in Western Europe and Southeast Asia but not why America spends. Although the U.S. government has not promoted savings as much as other nations have, the 1910 U.S. savings rates surpassed those of all other countries except Germany—a trend that changed after World War II. Garon examines the past two centuries of world history to determine “how rival cultures of savings and debt came to be.” Savings campaigns, some intrusive or compulsory, utilized advocacy groups, propaganda, patriotism, innovative institutions, and government incentives. Rationales were not always that “growing economies required savings for capital formation” but also that savings campaigns discouraged revolts and minimized welfare costs. However, some countries with government safety nets still have high savings rates. Garon provides five suggestions for increased rate of savings: easier bank access, government encouragement, tax incentives, youth programs, and more financial inclusion. VERDICT This book will prove most informative for social policy gurus, bankers, politicians, and economically minded citizens.—Joanne B. Conrad, Geneseo, NY

Horn, Tammy. Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us About Local Trade and the Global Market. Univ. Pr. of Kentucky. Nov. 2011. c.376p. bibliog. ISBN 9780813134352. $29.95. ECON
Horn (apiculture, Eastern Kentucky Univ.; Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation) finds her starting point in Egypt, with the first recorded instance of bees. The book then follows the migration of honey bees and the development of beekeeping from Africa to India, the rest of Asia, Europe, North America, Australia, and finally South America. Along the way, Horn covers the culture, religion, and history of each area as it relates to beekeeping and women’s roles in apiculture. Political and economic forces that affect women and apiculture in each country are traced in this quotation-heavy, densely footnoted text. Factual sidebars often give additional information on topics of interest. Women important to the development of beekeeping in their respective countries are also frequently highlighted. The book is at its most interesting when it addresses unusual or little-known facts about apiculture. VERDICT Best for those passionate about beekeeping or women’s rights; casual readers may find it a bit too technical and dry to take in.—Bonnie A. Tollefson, Cleveland Bradley Cty. P.L., TN


OrangeReviewStar.2(Original Import)Wooldridge, Adrian. Masters of Management: How the Business Gurus and Their Ideas Have Changed the World—for Better and for Worse. HarperBusiness: HarperCollins. Dec. 2011. c.464p. index. ISBN 9780061771132. $29.99. BUS
Wooldridge and John Micklethwait’s 1996 history of management theory, The Witch Doctors, became a best seller lauded for its open-eyed analysis of prevailing methodology. Wooldridge (management editor, the Economist) has completely revised and updated the book to include events from the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s to the current recession. The core of the book is a solid examination of the effects of entrepreneurship, globalization, and the free-agency economy on corporate governance. Wooldridge offers a balanced look at how business schools have spawned a guru industry that offers a gamut of theories on learning, innovation, and strategy. Peter Drucker, Tom Peters, and the “Journo-Gurus” (Thomas Friedman, Malcolm Gladwell, and Chris Anderson) receive focused attention as the main influences in contemporary theory. VERDICT This is one of the best overviews of management theory in the 20th century. It is written in a clear and accessible style that will appeal to both MBA students and the general reader. Highly recommended.—John Rodzvilla, Emerson Coll., Boston

Sciences politiques

Coyne, Amanda & Tony Hopfinger. Crude Awakening: Money, Mavericks, and Mayhemin Alaska. Nation: Perseus. Nov. 2011. c.288p. index. ISBN 9781568584478. $26.99. POL SCI
Politics is said to be a volatile, sticky, primordial, black muck. So is oil. Coyne and Hopfinger (cofounders, AlaskaDispatch) give us the rundown, via three particular Alaskans, on the murky politics of oil in Alaska, a state that refuses to tax its citizens, instead obtaining 80 percent of its revenue from its oil industry. Despite its image as a land of self-reliant folks à la Thoreau, Alaska is really the land of leveraging “other people’s money,” which, the authors argue, breeds thievery. The book portrays a gang of state legislators who jokingly called themselves the “Corrupt Bastards Club” happily accepting oil industry bribes and cozying to their sugar daddies. Bits of their story seeped into the national consciousness as background to the rise of Sarah Palin. The authors complete the canvas. Exposed by the FBI, down went U.S. Senator “Uncle Ted” Stevens and other kleptocrats—most to jail (Stevens was convicted, but the indictment was dropped because of prosecutorial misconduct). The alleged Stevens corruption catapulted Sarah Palin into the governor’s mansion as a reformer in 2006. VERDICT Ably and temperately told by authors who know Alaska (where this reviewer has lived), this is a valuable study to understanding the Last Frontier, the oil business, or Palin—particularly if she gets into the 2012 race.—Michael O. Eshleman, Kings Mills, OH

Schmidt, John R. The Unraveling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad. Farrar. 2011. c.320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780374280437. $27. INT AFFAIRS
Schmidt (Elliot Sch. for International Affairs, George Washington Univ.) traces the rise of radical Islam in Pakistan and analyzes its implications for regional and international security. The author served at the U.S. Department of State for 30 years, including a stint as a senior U.S. political analyst in Pakistan. He provides here a succinct history of Pakistan and examines, in highly readable and informative prose, how the country became a haven for jihadist groups and describes the genesis and development of those jihadist movements in Pakistan. He also explains how the current dangerous and complex relationship between the country’s leaders and the jihadists emerged. Although with U.S. support Pakistani leaders initially promoted jihadist movements as a tool against the Soviet Union and its occupation of Afghanistan as well as against their regional adversary India, Schmidt argues that this Machiavellian policy has now put Pakistan on the brink of disaster and has led to political uncertainty and instability in the region. He presents a number of what-if scenarios, e.g., what if the jihadists succeed in seizing power in Pakistan, and analyzes what the U.S. response should be. VERDICT Because of Schmidt’s years of inside foreign policy experience, his book contains distinct details and observations that outsiders writing cannot offer. Recommended to all serious readers interested in a policymaker’s perspective. —Nader Entessar, Univ. of South Alabama, Mobile

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