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Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win [Hardcover]

By William C. Taylor (Author) & Polly G. Labarre (Author)
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Item Number 56214  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   336
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   1.4 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Sep 1, 2006
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0060779616  
EAN  9780060779610  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...

Meet the innovators and upstarts who are inventing the future of business. Their unconventional ideas and groundbreaking strategies can become your business plan for the twenty-first century a better way to lead, compete, and succeed.

Business as usual is a bust. In industry after indus-try, the old guard is cutting back and losing ground. Meanwhile, organizations that were once dismissed as upstarts, as wildcards or mavericks are making waves and growing fast. There is a reason: In an age of hypercompetition and nonstop innovation, the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for something truly original.

That's the lesson behind the companies, executives, and entrepreneurs you'll meet in Mavericks at Work.They are winning big in business by rethinking the logic of how business gets done. They have devised exciting new answers to the timeless challenges facing organizations of every size and leaders in every field: how you make strategy, how you unleash new ideas, how you connect with customers, how your best people achieve great results.

Who are these mavericks? They are break-the-mold business units inside giants such as IBM and Procter & Gamble, as well as high-profile innovators such as HBO and Pixar. They are Internet banks and gold mines, fashion retailers and advertising agencies, funky sandwich shops and hard-charging computer programmers. Together, they are creating an inspiring agenda that every business can put to work.

Their success demonstrates that:

  • Being different makes all the difference
  • Sharing values beats selling value
  • The company with the smartest customers wins
  • Nobody is as smart as everybody
  • Character counts for as much as credentials
  • Great leaders are insatiable learners

Whether you're a young professional setting out on your career, a senior executive looking to make your organization grow, or an entrepreneur building a company from scratch, Mavericks at Work will help you think bigger, aim higher, and win more decisively.

Outline Review
In Mavericks at Work, Fast Company cofounder William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre, a longtime editor at the magazine, give you an inside look at the "most original minds in business" wherever they find them: from Procter & Gamble to Pixar, from gold mines to funky sandwich shops. Want to stop doing business as usual? Then take some lessons from the 32 maverick companies Taylor and LaBarre profile.

Questions for William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre

Outline: Whom do you think this book will appeal to?

Taylor and LaBarre: This book should appeal to a wide "coalition" of business leaders and innovators--impatient, change-minded executives in big companies, senior leaders in smaller, entrepreneurial companies, young people with big dreams about their future and their careers. This book should inform and energize anyone and everyone who wants to do big things in business by shaking up the status quo and challenging the powers-that-be. One important point: We strongly believe that this book should appeal to women as well as men. It is not meant to be an uptight, starched-shirt type read--your typical all-male business book. The book doesn't target women executives per se, but we believe it will appeal to men and women alike.

Outline: Whats the story behind the book?

Taylor and LaBarre: In one sense, Mavericks at Work has been 18 months in the making. That's the amount of time that the two of us spent totally focused on the travel, research, interviewing, and writing to create Mavericks at Work. In another sense, this book reflects more than a decade's worth of learning, thinking, and writing about the best way to do business and the new cast of companies and individual leaders that represent the face of business at its best. First at that classic voice of the business establishment, Harvard Business Review, and then at the new-generation magazine that he cofounded, Fast Company, Bill Taylor has been traveling the world, visiting companies, and interviewing great business leaders. Much the same goes for Polly LaBarre--first at the venerable IndustryWeek magazine, and then as one of the original members of the Fast Company team, Polly has made it her speciality to discover, understand, and chronicle the most exciting and innovative leaders in business.

With respect to Mavericks, the book reflects our in-depth access to the 32 companies featured in the book. This is anything but an "armchair" business book. We logged tens of thousands of miles and spent countless hours visiting, conducting interviews at, and participating in meetings, training sessions, and events inside a wide variety organizations. We went deep inside these organizations, looking to understand the ideas they stand for and the ways they work. We participated in a filmmaking class at one of the worlds most successful movie studios. We attended a closed-to-the-public awards ceremony at Radio City Music Hall, where employees of what has to be the world's most entertaining bank sang, danced, and strutted their stuff. We sat in on a crucial monthly meeting (the 384th such consecutive meeting over the last 32 years) in which top executives and front-line managers of a $600-million employee-owned company share their most sensitive financial information and most valuable market secrets. We walked the corridors of a 120-year-old research facility where a team of change-minded R&D executives is transforming how one of the world's biggest companies develops new ideas for consumer products. We walked the streets of Manhattan with teams of employees from a hard-charging hedge fund, who were sizing up ideas about stock-market picks.

Outline: What makes this book relevant today?

Taylor and LaBarre: We believe that this is the right book at the right time, with a set of messages and a collection of practices that will inspire business executives and entrepreneurs to bring out the best in their companies, their colleagues, and themselves. Why this book now? Because business needs a breath of fresh air. We are, after five long years, coming out of a dark and trying period in our economy and society--an era of slow growth and dashed expectations, of criminal wrongdoing and ethical misconduct at some of the world's best-known companies. But NASDAQ nuttiness already feels like time-capsule fodder, the white-collar perp walk has become as routine as an annual meeting, and the triumphant return of me-first moguls like Donald Trump feels like a bad nostalgia trip, the corporate equivalent of a hair-band reunion. Weve seen the face of business at its worst, and it hasn't been a pretty sight. This book is intended to persuade readers of the power of business at its best.

Which speaks to one of our major goals for Mavericks at Work--to restore the promise of business as a force for innovation, satisfaction, and progress, rather than as a source of revulsion, remorse, and recrimination. Indeed, despite all the bleak headlines and blood-boiling scandals over the last five years, the economy has experienced a period of transformation and realignment, a power shift so profound that were just beginning to appreciate what it means for the future of businessand for how all of us go about the business of building companies that work and doing work that matters.

In industry after industry, organizations and executives that were once dismissed as upstarts, as outliers, as wildcards, have achieved positions of financial prosperity and market leadership. Theres a reason the young billionaires behind the most celebrated entrepreneurial success in recent memory began their initial public offering (IPO) of shares with a declaration of independence from business as usual. "Google is not a conventional company," read their Letter from the Founders. "We do not intend to become one."

Nor does the unconventional cast of characters readers will encounter in this book. From a culture-shaping television network with offices in sun-splashed Santa Monica, California, to a little-known office-furniture manufacturer rooted in the frozen tundra of Green Bay, Wisconsin, from glamorous fields such as advertising, fashion, and the Internet, to old-line industries such as construction, mining, and household products, they are winning big at business--attracting millions of customers, creating thousands of jobs, generating tens of billions of dollars of wealth--by rethinking the logic of how business gets done.

Alan Kay, the celebrated computer scientist, put it memorably some 35 years ago: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it." We believe the companies, executives, and entrepreneurs youll meet in the pages that follow are inventing a more exciting, more compelling, more rewarding future for business. They have devised provocative and instructive answers to four of the timeless challenges that face organizations of every size and leaders in every field: how you make strategy, how you unleash new ideas, how you connect with customers, how your best people achieve great results.

Outline: Can you give us a brief summary of your book--in 250 words or less?

Taylor and LaBarre: This book is a report from the front lines of the future of business. It is not a book of best practices. It is a book of next practices--a set of insights and a collection of case studies that amount to a business plan for the 21st century, a new way to lead, compete, and succeed.

Our basic argument is as straightforward to explain as it is urgent to apply: When it comes to thriving in a hyper-competitive marketplace, "playing it safe" is no longer playing it smart. In an economy defined by overcapacity, oversupply, and utter sensory overload--an economy in which everyone already has more than enough of whatever it is youre selling--the only way to stand out from the crowd is to stand for a truly distinctive set of ideas about where your company and industry can and should be going. You can't do big things as a competitor if you're content with doing things a little better than the competition.

This book is devoted to the proposition that the best way to out-perform the competition is to out-think the competition. Maverick companies aren't always the largest in their field; maverick entrepreneurs dont always make the cover of the business magazines. But mavericks do the work that matters most--the work of originality, creativity, and experimentation. They demonstrate that you can build companies around high ideals and fierce competitive ambitions, that the most powerful way to create economic value is to embrace a set of values that go beyond just amassing power, and that business, at its best, is too exciting, too important, and too much fun to be left to the dead hand of business as usual.

Who are these mavericks? The core ideas in this book are rooted in the strategies, practices, and leadership styles of 32 organizations with vastly different histories, cultures, and business models. But all of them are business originals, based on the distinctiveness of their ideas and the power of their practices. They are rethinking competition, reinventing innovation, reconnecting with customers, and redesigning work. Together, they are creating a maverick agenda for business--an agenda from which every business can learn.

Buy Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win by William C. Taylor & Polly G. Labarre from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780060779610 & 0060779616

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More About William C. Taylor & Polly G. Labarre

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! William C. Taylor is a cofounder of Fast Company and coauthor (with Polly LaBarre) of Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. A graduate of Princeton University and the MIT Sloan School of Management, he hosts a blog on being "Practically Radical" on HarvardBusiness Online. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with his wife and two daughters.

William C. Taylor was born in 1959.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Being a Business Hero for Being an Original  Mar 17, 2007
Think Richard Branson of Virgin, Fast Company, and Pixar and the common theme is visionary... this book delves into the how and why. Being a maverick need not hold you back if you play the strengths properly in the world of work.

Another wonderful book is One Nation Under God.....
This book will change how you see yourself  Feb 3, 2007
If you think you or your organization is already exceptional, get this book. It will increase what you think is possible and will definitely make you aim higher! I HIGHLY RECOMMENDED IT!
Excellent information backed up with solid, real-world examples  Jan 28, 2007
I generally rate business book by two factors: How many pages I've highlighted by folding them over and whether it causes me to stop and think about how the content applies to my world. Mavericks at Work scores very high on both points.

Here are some of the more interesting excerpts I flagged as I read this one:

* Southwest didn't flourish just because its fares were cheaper...Southwest flourished because it reimagined what it means to be an airline.

* If you want to renew and re-energize an industry...don't hire people from that industry.

* If your company went out of business tomorrow, who would really miss you and why?

* The most effective leaders are the ones who are the most insatiable learners, and experienced leaders learn the most by interacting with people whose interests, backgrounds and experiences are the least like theirs.

* We must begin all things in ignorance...otherwise we never start at the beginning.

* The next frontier for making products more emotional is to turn them into something social -- to create a sense of shared ownership and participation among customers themselves.

* Why would great people want to work here?

You could (and probably should!) spend hours thinking about the answers to those two questions (If your company went out of business... and Why would great people want to work here?). I also found the authors' thoughts on the use of ad-hoc teams to build new products/services within an existing business, and thereby avoid The Innovator's Dilemma, to be very helpful.

The authors have a very readable style and provide loads of examples from companies and executives they interviewed for the book. Highly recommended.
Nice gift for the men in your life.  Jan 15, 2007
I read portions, but I gave this as a gift and it was enjoyed by all.
Recommended reading for business people  Jan 8, 2007
(Also available as CD)

Anytime I hear the word "Maverick," I think either Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun (before his couch-jumping days on Oprah) or a rebellious outcast in the workplace--so of course I was drawn to this book. The lime-green cover calling to me from the airport bookstore didn't hurt either.

Authors Taylor and Labarre, former editors of Fast Company magazine, encourage us to "think bigger, aim higher, and win more decisively" by following the maverick methods of 32 organizations including Southwest Airlines, Cranium (makers of popular board games), Commerce Bank, Craigslist, and others highlighted in this book. Their goal for Mavericks At Work is to open the reader's eyes, engage his imagination, and equip him with the tools to act boldly by sharing "next" rather than "best" practices relevant for the 21st century. After reading this book, I believe they've succeeded.

In 12 chapters, the authors discuss the value of disruptive points of view. By shunning traditional strategies, maverick companies like Cranium and Southwest Airlines have completely revitalized mature industries in order to reconnect with customers. The authors also highlight the value of open-source innovation in helping companies like Goldcorp tap into new ideas from external sources. Subsequent chapters emphasize the importance of innovation networks, continuous learning, emotional branding, and the power of people. The Appendix offers valuable resources for follow-on reading.

The writing is engaging and upbeat although I found it very difficult to follow the flow of the content and organization of this book. Chapters didn't transition smoothly so I had to re-read previous sections in order to figure out how the next chapter applied. It's possible that this follows the "maverick" style the authors are promoting. In other words, the authors are practicing what they preach by challenging the reader through a non-linear and original thought process. Still, Mavericks At Work is the treatise on how to be unique and profitable in a sea of copycat competitors.

This book is for corporate executives, entrepreneurs, or anyone desiring to break the mold by applying unconventional ideas and unusual strategies in order to reshape an industry, revitalize products and services, or even reinvent one's own perspective.

Armchair Interviews says: Highly recommended.

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