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Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-interest by Peter Block
This book emphasizes the need for all of us to view ourselves as stewards of our time. It highlights our responsibility as businesspeople to take care of our organizations and to leave them better than when we found them. It also highlights our obligation to contribute something positive to society. It's easy to give lip service to the concept of choosing service over one's self, and to simply tell our business students that that's what they should do. But the only way for them to truly experience this is to see it in action through example, or to do it themselves.
Leading Change by John P. Kotter
Kotter provides a well-balanced perspective on leadership and how successfully to lead change. He considers interesting historical, moral, and political issues. Leading change is a timeless challenge.
James DankoVillanova University
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don't by Jim Collins
Just like leading change, raising the bar within organizations is a challenge, and one that business students must understand as thoroughly as possible. The central point of the book, the all-too-common inclination of organizations to become complacent with being good without being motivated to become great, is important for business school leaders to consider along with our students.
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
I enjoyed this book, written by an orchestra conductor and psychologist, because it holds up a different lens through which to consider leadership. It's always interesting to analyze effective leadership within different contexts, such as athletics, family life, and, in this case, music. Although the Zanders' recommendation to "give everyone an A" at the outset and provide positive reinforcement and encouragement is often softer than the approach that can be taken within the real-world pressure and pace of business, there are beneficial insights in this book for business educators, students, and practitioners alike.
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser, and Nickel And Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Everyone at business schools -- at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels -- along with faculty and staff, should read these two excellent books and should revisit and discuss them often. They serve as a necessary reminder of our moral imperative as businesspeople and our responsibility to teach business students how to balance economics and profit with doing what's right.
Biographical info: James M. Danko was appointed dean of the Villanova School of Business on Aug. 1, 2005. Before joining Villanova, Danko served as associate dean at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth from 2000 to 2005.
Danko earned his bachelor's degree in religious studies at John Carroll University and spent the first 17 years of his career as a successful entrepreneur before beginning his work in academic leadership. After earning his MBA at the University of Michigan, Danko served as director of Executive Skills and the Multidisciplinary Action Project and lecturer of Corporate Strategy at Michigan; director of the MBA Program at the University of Washington; executive director of the MBA Program and lecturer at the University of North Carolina; and associate dean at the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Danko is also President of the MBA Roundtable, an international business school consortium established in 1995.