Archive 2012

How do brands like McDonald’s maintain growth? While it may seem that the chain of fast food restaurants is ubiquitous and already has saturated the global marketplace, McDonald’s executives see room for further expansion. In India, where the chain already has 271 outlets, McDonald’s will open the corporation’s first vegetarian restaurants to appeal to India’s large religious cohorts, whose followers generally either are vegetarian or avoid certain types of meat. McDonald’s new tactic in these markets is an example of “glocalization” – that is, globalizing while meeting local consumer demands.

The first McDonald’s restaurant to go veggie will open its doors in 2013 and will be located close to the Golden Temple in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, located near the India-Pakistan border. The consumption of meat is forbidden at this ancient religious site. McDonald’s will open a second vegetarian restaurant near the Vaishno Devi cave, a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir. The corporation plans to open a further 1,300 outlets around the world during the coming year.

Until relatively recently, corporations pursued growth at all costs. But multinational companies, including McDonald’s, the emblem of US hegemony, are now conscious of the repercussions of growth. As a result many large organizations have developed alternative strategies. To learn more about some recent trends in the pursuit of profits, take a look at these titles:

The Granularity of Growth

Smart Growth

Growth Gamble

Angela Merkel is the world’s most powerful women for the second year running, according to Forbes. The German chancellor, who is the leader of Europe’s largest economy and a protagonist in the euro crisis, is joined in the top five by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jill Abramson, executive editor of The New York Times. To view the full list, click here.

Forbes ranks the candidates by “dollars, media presence and impact.” These women lead other prominent females in influence over politics, culture, society and the environment. They inspire women to succeed without necessarily having to adopt aggressive, masculine characteristics to fit in and get ahead in a male-dominated world. If you need inspiration to break through the glass ceiling, take a look at these titles:

The Next Generation of Women Leaders

Through the Labyrinth

Why Women Mean Business

In some instances, strategically cutting corners is how to learn in today’s work environment. getAbstract Inc.’s CEO Michel Koopman explains in CLO Magazine some of these appropriate times to “hack work” and why companies must understand, accept and leverage this mentality.

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Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble’s idea of “reverse innovation” – the process by which firms create new products for and in emerging economies that they then sell in developed markets – has received a lot of press recently. Arunachalam Muruganantham, an Indian entrepreneur, added an extra step to this process: He innovated by adopting a Western idea, adapting it to the rural Indian market and sharing it with the rest of the world. Lesley Curwen researched his story on behalf of BBC World.

When Muruganantham wed, he noticed that his wife used unhygienic rags to absorb her menstrual blood because she, like 98% of rural Indian women, could not afford to buy Western-style sanitary napkins. Such rags put women in danger of contracting reproductive tract infections. Muruganantham wanted to develop a product to help these women, but in a country where menstruation is a taboo issue, he couldn’t get any women involved in his quest. He went solo and even developed an artificial uterus he could use to test his products by taking the rubber lining out of a football, filling it with animal blood and experimenting.

Muruganantham’s endeavor paid off: He developed a low-tech machine that is capable of producing affordable sanitary towels. He has sold his devices across India, South Asia and Africa. Each machine employs six women, and he believes his innovation could generate upward of one million jobs. “I am going to make India, my country, a place where 100% of women use sanitary napkins,” says Muruganantham.

Citizens of the developing world often know best how to solve their own most daunting problems; often, they just need the resources. To learn more about how to empower them to act, take a look at these titles:

The Power of Positive Deviance

Out of Poverty

Reverse Innovation

And coming soon: A Fistful of Rice

What do rapper Snoop Dogg, tech company Xerox and consulting firm Accenture have in common? They have all undergone name changes. In 1993, Snoop Dogg released the hit song What’s My Name? Little did his fans know at the time that the musician was unsure of the answer. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg announced this week that he will henceforth also go by the pseudonym Snoop Lion. The star, whose mother calls him Calvin Broadus, created the new persona to align with his artistic change in direction toward reggae.

Once upon a time, Xerox was known as the Haloid Company. The corporation changed its name to the catchier Xerox in 1961 as xerographic technology was taking off.

Andersen Consulting branched away from its parent firm, Arthur Anderson, in 1989. In 2000, following a decade of success, Andersen Consulting moved to break all ties with the accounting giant, and Accenture (accent on the future) was born. Critiques ridiculed the generic name at first, and the rollout cost the firm $100 million. But the change turned out to be a serendipitous move: In 2001, Arthur Andersen’s role in the Enron scandal became public and brought down that end of the business.

Creating or changing your firm’s established name is a task you shouldn’t take lightly. It requires considerable expense and a huge thoughtful effort. For some tips on the best way to proceed, take a look at these titles:

Build a Brand in 30 Days


Brand Portfolio Strategy

Lucerne, Switzerland – July 30, 2012 – Albert Einstein once said, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.” getAbstract concurs. Good authors recognize problems and break them down to their basic elements. Moreover, the very best writers even have some ideas about how to solve these inextricable dilemmas.

For the 12th time since 2001, getAbstract is proud to award a prize for the best business books of 2012 at the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair, on October 10, 2012. getAbstract ( assessed more than 10,000 English and German business books in the fields of leadership and management, strategy, sales and marketing, human resources, economics and politics, finance, and career development, and we have selected 10 finalists. The 2012 nominees are:


App-Economy by Ansgar Mayer – mi-Wirtschaftsbuch/Münchner Verlagsgruppe
Ausgegeizt by Uli Burchardt – Campus Verlag
Data Unser by Björn Bloching, Lars Luck, Thomas Ramge – Redline/Münchner Verlagsgruppe
Der amerikanische Patient by Josef Braml – Siedler/Random House Verlagsgruppe
Zerschlagt die Banken by Rudolf Hickel – Econ/Ullstein Verlage


Inside Apple by Adam Lashinsky – Business Plus/Hachette Group
Paper Money Collapse by Detlev S. Schlichter – John Wiley & Sons
Reverse Innovation by Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble – Harvard Business Review Press
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman – Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Too Big to Know by David Weinberger – Basic Books/Perseus Books Group

Two of the nominated titles from each language category will receive this well-established and, in the international publishing world, coveted business book award. The official awards ceremony will take place on October 10, 2012, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at Frankfurt Book Fair’s “Lesezelt” in Frankfurt am Main.

About the getAbstract International Book Award

This year, the award celebrates its 12th anniversary. When getAbstract launched its business book award in 2001, it was the first international award of its kind. Since then, getAbstract has presented the prize to such esteemed authors as George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Ian Morris, Benoît Mandelbrot, Malcolm Gladwell, Niall Ferguson, Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Sowell, Chris Anderson, Peter Sloterdijk, Gunter Dueck, Uwe Jean Heuser, Wolfgang Münchau and Hans-Werner Sinn.

For more details about previous award winners, please go to:

With the cost of formal education rising, informal learning can outperform traditional learning and reignite organizational development. getAbstract, Inc. CEO Michel Koopman discusses this in an article published by CLO Magazine:

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Even Google, the poster child for good employee retention, in not immune to having its workers snatched away. Yahoo has hired Marissa Mayer, Google’s first female technical engineer and one of its most famous executives, as its new leader. Mayer is stepping into the lion’s den at the troubled tech corporation: She will be Yahoo’s third CEO within a year. In September 2011, Yahoo fired Carol Bartz from the post; in May 2012, Scott Thompson resigned after it emerged that he had lied about his qualifications on his résumé.

Recruitment and training are an expensive business, so you need to avoid a high turnover rate. If other firms do manage to pilfer your workers, you’ll only have yourself to blame. If your employees are truly engaged, motivated and content with their work, they won’t even toy with the idea of leaving your firm. To hold on to your staff members, pursue these hiring and retention strategies:

Hire on a WHIM

Bareknuckle People Management

The Complete Guide to Recruitment

Stephen R. Covey has passed away at the age of 79 as a result of the injuries he suffered from a bicycle accident in spring. A life-management and self-development guru, Covey wrote the best-selling business book of all time, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since it was published in 1989. His seven easy steps resonated with people around the world and earned Covey a huge following. Covey is survived by his wife, Sandra, his nine children and his 52 grandchildren. His sons Sean Covey and Stephen M.R. Covey continue his legacy as business book authors.

To understand why Covey has a reputation as the master of business writing, sample some of his inspirational work:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 8th Habit

Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times

Social networks claim to bring people together, but they isolate individuals by dislocating users from real human connections, which exacerbates loneliness. As social media channels expand, friends and family grow further apart: Why call someone for a chat to hear their voice when you can Facebook them? Why reach out to friends and meet for a coffee when they can follow all your latest news on Twitter?

“You can be lonely in the desert or in Times Square,” says Jeff Ragsdale. Following a hard breakup with his partner in 2011, Ragsdale felt alone in the world. Rather than wallow in self-pity, he decided to reach out and make connections with people. He printed off thousands of fliers with this phone number and this message: “If anyone wants to talk about anything, call me, Jeff, one lonely guy.” His appeal went viral. He began receiving so many calls from all over the globe that he decided to record the messages. He eventually turned the story into a poignant book, Jeff, One Lonely Guy, which highlights the increasing need for interpersonal bonds in a digital world.

While today’s marketing literature tells you to develop your website, digital communications and mechanized systems to improve your customer service, don’t neglect your interpersonal interactions. All humans share a craving for connection. To learn more about reaching out to your customers in a personal way, take a look at these titles:

The Thank You Economy



getAbstract, Inc. CEO, Michel Koopman recently published an article on, a website that helps k-12, college and adult learners as well as the trainers, tutors and teachers that facilitate the learning. He shared the value in considering multiple approaches throughout your learning journey by integrating all three modes of development, including: formal training, coaching and informal learning.

Click here to read the full article.

RIP Rodney King


Rodney King, the figure at the center of the 1992 Los Angeles race riots, has died in an apparent drowning. In 1991, King was pulled over by police for speeding. Four LAPD officers proceeded to attack an unarmed King, kicking him, hitting him with their wooden batons and shooting him with their stun guns. The attack left King with brain damage. A passerby filmed the incident and released the now infamous footage. Despite the video evidence against them, the police officers involved in the attack were acquitted of any wrongdoing in 1992, which subsequently led to days of rioting on the streets of LA, leaving 54 people dead and more than two thousand people injured, and leading to $1 billion of damage to the city.

The attack on King was not an isolated case, but the film offered incontestable evidence for the first time of the LAPD’s brutality against the city’s black community. The incident highlighted that America still had a long road to travel before it achieved civil rights for all. It triggered an overhaul of the LAPD and generated a national debate on race issues.

America has come a long way since the King trial, but discrimination – if more covert – still exists. To understand racial prejudice and wipe it out of your organization, take a look at these titles:

Black Faces in White Places

The Cultural Intelligence Difference

Making Diversity Work

Science fiction and fantasy master Ray Bradbury died Tuesday, June 5, in Los Angeles, but his visions of the future will keep him ever alive in the minds and libraries of his fans. The settings for his fantasies ranged from Mars in The Martian Chronicles to someplace just a block or two from your house in his story collections, notably Dandelion Wine and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury often used storytelling to reveal the impact of some semimagical hidden side of the human character. Just read I Sing the Body Electric and you’ll understand. Or to see tattooing in a very different way, read The Illustrated Man.

Bradbury’s compelling portrait of a book-banning, book-burning society in Fahrenheit 451 is an engrossing warning against totalitarianism, marked by the loss of autonomy and privacy. It ends with the indelible image of ordinary book lovers hiding in the woods, fugitives from a society where the firefighters are black-booted officers who burn secret libraries full of hidden books. Each person in the forest refuge is responsible for committing one book to memory and teaching it to someone else. If you want an impassioned evening with your friends, just start a conversation about which book each of you would take to Bradbury’s forest of furtive readers.

Fahrenheit 451, which Bradbury wrote in 1953, imagined a home where life centered on a pervasive, wall-sized screen. His obituary in USA Today notes that the book also foresaw “iPods, interactive television, electronic surveillance and live, sensationalized media events, including televised police pursuits.” So perhaps it is appropriate to honor Ray Bradbury, the unbeatable storyteller of a vivid imaginary future, by taking a look at some books about the future’s potential, from Mars to the ways climate, business and science could evolve:

The Case for Mars

Physics of the Future

The New North: Our World in 2050


The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer ­– an inadvertent side effect of modern times, right? In his celebrated book Animal Farm, George Orwell wrote, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” According to Chuck Collins’s book 99 to 1, the richest 1% of America’s citizens rigs every aspect of the system, which would make Orwell’s statement truer than ever.

Facebook’s recent IPO has highlights this dichotomy. In the roadshow leading up to the IPO, three lead underwriters – MorganStanley, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs – all revised their earning forecasts for the company downward. According to Aaron Task and Henry Blodget at Yahoo Finance, this in itself is unusual. But more striking is that the firms didn’t publicize this information. John and Jane Investor weren’t privy to this vital insight. Instead, the three analyst firms, which had privileged access to information about the management and finances of Facebook, apparently chose the path of “selective dissemination”: They shared their revisions with just their top-dog investors, the hedge fund holders, giving them an unfair advantage over everyone else. So much for the perfect market and the free flow of information.

As Collins points out, even US tax law favors the rich. Since the 1980s, the tax rate for the superrich has dropped from 55% to 35%. Despite that, he says, mega corporations still avail themselves of every loophole in the book to avoid taxes. The superrich hire lobbyists to petition for their interests in Congress; they own large segments of the media, which allows them to influence public discourse; and they have political connections in high places – in fact, they are in those high places, including the ranks of the powerful people who make economic decisions. To learn more about growing income disparities, take a look at these titles:

99 to 1


Corporations Are Not People

What do US vice president Joe Biden, celebrity chef Robert Irvine and former Notre Dame coach George O’Leary have in common? They are all guilty of telling porky pies regarding their qualifications. In 1987, when Biden was running for president, he declared he attended Syracuse University College of Law on a full academic scholarship and graduated in the top half of the class. However, he actually received a partial scholarship based on financial aid and finished 76th in a class of 85. Irvine alleged that he designed Princess Diana’s wedding cake. In fact, he was a student at the school that created the cake, but he had no role in its design. O’Leary was forced to resign for lying about graduating with a master’s degree in education from New York University. Yahoo’s newest ex-CEO Scott Thompson is the latest high-profile perpetrator of job forgery: He contended that he had a bachelor’s degree in computer science and accounting when, in fact, his degree was just in accounting – a barefaced lie he blamed on an executive recruiting firm.

According to Scott Reeves of Forbes, “A résumé isn’t a legal document, but a job application is. So if you don’t repeat the lies on the job application, you’re immediately unmasked as a fraud. But if you do, you could be shown the door after a background check.” Coming across as a opportunistic liar is not the first impression you want to make. Thus, honesty is the only way. To learn how to shine a positive light on your qualifications and experience – and even on the gaps in your résumé – without resorting to lies, take a look at these titles:

Top Notch Executive Résumés

Indispensable by Monday

How to Land Your Dream Job