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Crown Business Briefings Series

Found in Management
How Companies Lie by A. Larry Elliott and Richard J. Schroth
Bubbleology by Kevin Hassett
The Myth of Market Share by Richard Miniter

Crown Business Briefings Series : Titles in Order

Book 3
There are only two types of stocks: those safe from bubbles and those that are not. This is a fact of investing many discovered as they saw their fabulous gains whittled away by the extreme calamity of the Internet sector.

But what about the future? Is there a way for investors to capture the enormous potential for profit that exists at the frontier of the economy, the place where innovation and genius operate, without placing their fortunes in jeopardy? Is there a way to evaluate price increases—and declines—and identify whether they are happening for good or bad reasons?

Bubbleology makes it possible to separate the winners from the losers. It is a brilliant, practical, and original analysis of the stock market that bashes the conventional wisdom about bubbles, showing that such famous examples as Tulipomania were not, in fact, bubbles at all.

Bubbleology shows that the traditional way of evaluating risk—equating it with volatility—is inherently flawed and incomplete. If a stock fluctuates a lot in price it is regarded as risky. If the price is stable, then it is not. What this simplistic way of thinking leaves out is the simple fact that companies trying something completely new that may fundamentally alter the economic landscape are operating at the frontier. The stock of such a company swims in a sea of ambiguity, its circumstances uncertain, since there is little to provide guidance about the future. But when nobody knows for sure what will happen, pundits tell us again about Tulipomania, the South Seas Bubble, and now the debacle of the Internet to scare investors away from potentially enormous profits. To realize those profits, however, investors have to understand the role that uncertainty and ambiguity—the absence of reliable information about future events—play in the modern stock market. Those who equate ambiguity with bubbles will miss the great opportunities of the future.

Bubbleology provides a new way to observe what is really going on in the market, enabling you to understand whether a stock or a sector is suspicious—whether it is in a bubble and therefore something to be avoided. Finding bubbles requires knowing where to look and what to look for.

Bubbleology will help you avoid both streaming into speculative manias and shying away from perfectly good business opportunities. It tells you why you need to avoid both pontificating pundits and overconfident stock analysts. With this unique and forward-thinking book, you can inspect suspicious stocks, accurately discern risk, and diagnose a blossoming bubble before it vanishes along with your money.
Book 2
The questions investors need to ask . . . The answers corporate America must give about the true facts of corporate performance and value.

During the 2001 baseball season, when games were played at Enron Field in Houston, a typical reaction was: “What the hell is Enron and what do they do?” Now we know more about the executives and inner workings of today’s best-known rogue company than we ever imagined. But it turns out that Enron is just the most egregious case of a disturbing trend and the seemingly unstoppable tendency of some capitalists to destroy capitalism. Something like 50 percent of American households directly support the markets by investing in stocks and mutual funds. But some of the people entrusted with the responsibility for maintaining and managing the corporation—senior executives, boards of directors, auditing firms—have become engaged in what can only be called economic terrorism.

Enron, Sunbeam, Global Crossing, and Waste Management are but the tip of the iceberg. Luckily, there are ways for investors to spot corporate smoke and mirrors and challenge the players. Larry Elliott and Richard Schroth show investors the questions that need to be asked to get a handle on the performance reality of companies. The corporate world, in turn, needs a return to reality and authenticity in business operations, finance, accounting, and deal making. This need for performance reality is not an issue confined to a few companies who engage in unethical and illegal behavior. The technological pace of change, along with increasingly complicated business transactions, makes global markets more and more complex. The assumption, however, has always been that we have the management competence and rigor to ensure shareholder value. Enron is definitive proof that the way companies are run—the gap between what they say is reality and what is really the case—is frightening. And this gap has severe implications for millions of people who are employees of and investors in these companies.

Using Enron as the touchstone, Larry Elliott and Richard Schroth show investors how to think about and measure the candor of corporations, the Wall Street players, and their supporters.
Book 1
Richard Miniter skewers the sacred cow of market share and debunks the conventional wisdom that corporate profits rise as you grab more territory in the marketplace.

Market share is the fool’s gold of modern business. In reality, companies that maximize market share end up minimizing profits, while their smarter rivals earn higher returns. Three times out of four, on average, the most profitable firm is not the one with the largest slice of the market. Yet the myth of market share continues to hobble and kill great companies, while smaller competitors dig out real profits. Executives, entrepreneurs, investors, and regulators will learn why megamergers often fail, brand extensions wither, and stocks tumble. The Myth of Market Share also reveals a positive and proven strategy for transforming a company into a profit leader.

Richard Miniter recounts many cautionary tales of great companies that refused to change—and outlines the practical plans of those that changed and flourished. Managers and investors will profit from knowing why Dell prospers by treating market share as a benchmark, not as a goal. Executives and entrepreneurs can retool their strategies by examining the case studies in this book, including Ryanair, an upstart Irish air carrier that transformed itself into the world’s most profitable airline; International Paper, a manufacturing Goliath that tried to buy success; Boeing, the plane maker that pulled out of a steep dive by jettisoning its market share strategies; and DaimlerChrysler, the carmaker that stalled when it tried to be all things to all people.

By providing a road map for persuading doubtful colleagues and leading a company to profit leadership, The Myth of Market Share is an entertaining, historical review and leadership tutorial, delivering proven strategies for generating long-term profits and sustainable growth during these uncertain times.

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