Business Books for the Beach
It’s time to leave behind your cell phone, laptop and email addiction, and do what some people always used to do on their vacation – read.

To make office withdrawal easier, Knowledge at Wharton has put together excerpts from four business books that are being published by Wharton School Publishing, a joint venture between Wharton and Pearson Education. These books are: The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits, by C.K. Prahalad; Will Your Next Business Mistake Be Fatal? Avoiding a Chain of Mistakes that Can Destroy Your Organization, by Robert E. Mittelstaedt, Jr.; The Power of Impossible Thinking, by Yoram (Jerry) Wind and Colin Crook with Robert Gunther, and Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures, by Scott R. Shane. In addition, the list includes an excerpt from a new book called The Business of Sports, edited by two Wharton faculty members, Scott R. Rosner and Kenneth L. Shropshire.

These excerpts don’t ring, beep, vibrate or light up; they don’t require batteries or chargers, and they don’t have Internet access or send and receive email. If you are indeed going on vacation, we hope it is a restful one. If you are still slogging it out in the office, at least it will be quieter than usual – an opportunity, perhaps, to take some breaks, put your feet up on the desk and read a good book.


The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits
For more than 50 years, the World Bank, donor nations, various aid agencies, national governments, and, lately, civil society organizations have all tried, but failed, to eradicate poverty. The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by the United Nations only underscores the reality that in the 21st century, poverty — and the disenfranchisement that accompanies it — remains one of the world’s most daunting problems. In The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, C. K. Prahalad argues that the typical pictures of poverty mask the fact that the very poor represent resilient entrepreneurs and value-conscious consumers. What is needed is a better approach to help the poor, an approach that involves partnering with them to innovate and achieve sustainable win–win scenarios. Collaboration between the poor, civil society organizations, governments, and large firms can create the largest and fastest growing markets in the world.


Will Your Next Business Mistake Be Fatal? Avoiding a Chain of Mistakes that Can Destroy Your Organization
This is not a book about crisis management. It is not about managing public relations, the victims, the lawyers, or the shareholders. It is about discipline, culture, and learning from the experiences of others to improve the odds that you can avoid the things we label as accidents, disasters, or crises altogether. In Will Your Next Business Mistake Be Fatal?,  Robert E. Mittelstaedt, Jr. argues that even if you do not totally avoid such situations, knowledge of the typical patterns that occur should help you create an organization that is observant enough to intervene early and minimize damage.


The Power of Impossible Thinking
Most of the time we ignore so much of the world around us. We are sleepwalkers in our own lives, relying upon crib sheets and lecture notes in place of the full spectrum of experience. We walk through the world and don’t pay attention to it. We see without seeing. We quickly classify others as “others” and don’t see them as individuals. We classify new ideas as “crazy” and don’t give them a second thought. In The Power of Impossible Thinking, Yoram (Jerry) Wind and Colin Crook explain how to realize the wonders and perils of operating outside our old mental models.


Finding Fertile Ground: Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures
Some industries are just better for starting new firms than others. This, of course, means that you need to understand the characteristics of industries that make some of them better for starting firms than others if you want to increase your chances of success. In Finding Fertile Ground, Scott Shane says research has shown that four different dimensions matter: knowledge conditions, demand conditions, industry life cycles, and industry structure.


The Business of Sports
The sports business is unlike any other. In traditional businesses, for example, cooperation among competitors is regarded as collusion and is illegal, but in the multi-billion-dollar sports industry, rivals must cooperate in order to make profits. In The Business of Sports, Wharton professors Scott R. Rosner and Kenneth L. Shropshire present a range of readings about such issues and highlight the unique challenges that leaders of the sports industry face.