Books: New from SCU Faculty
BUSINESS: Plug in, earn the trust, and watch that liquidity
Advances in technology are changing the nature of our work at an accelerating pace. Relying on the skills and processes that worked in the past is no longer optimal. But how, then, does anyone keep pace with the need for constant change? This is the question explored in The Plugged-in Manager: Get in Tune With Your People, Technology, and Organization to Thrive (Jossey-Bass, 2011) by Terri L. Griffith. A professor of management at the Leavey School of Business, Griffith focuses on the way technology impacts people and organizations. Here’s the bad news: There’s no single program you can magically apply. Instead, the key is for managers at any level to deepen their observational skills and open their minds to what they see and hear. It’s important that this mindset be adopted not just by individuals, but by their companies and organizations, so they can create a flexible culture that can identify change, understand it, and adapt to it. The elements of this approach are easy to grasp: Observe closely (“stop-look-listen”), mix different approaches to create a balanced solution, and share information and insights throughout the organization. Griffith acknowledges that these are harder to put into practice, given that they require managers and organizations to let responses emerge from these observations, rather than imposing solutions based on their own beliefs or traditions. The book includes some helpful assessments and guides to getting started. Its best advice, however, is to just dive in, see what happens, start learning, and make course corrections. While mistakes might be made along the way, it gets managers and companies moving away from the far more fatal mistake of standing still. Chris O’Brien
Unusually Excellent: The Necessary Nine Skills Required for the Practice of Great Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2011) by John Hamm makes the case for enduring ideas. Hamm is a general partner at VSP Capital in San Francisco and a lecturer in management at the Leavey School of Business. He has also been a CEO, board member, executive advisor, and mentor. So his thoughts on leadership have been formed by experiencing it, observing it, and practicing it from several different perspectives. His overarching mission is to get readers to focus on basics; the nine skills are things we already know, and he drives home why they have stood the test of time. Plain-spoken attributes such as being “authentic,” “trustworthy,” and “compelling” are illustrated with strong anecdotes from Hamm’s own experiences and those of his colleagues. Plus there are fun lessons he draws from his status as a scratch golfer. Chris O’Brien
Brilliant investors, financial professionals, and fiscally savvy folks in pursuit of understanding how financial crises affect the economy will all find food for thought in The Global Economic System: How Liquidity Shocks Affect Financial Institutions and Lead to Economic Crises (Financial Times Press, 2011). Three of the four authors have SCU credentials: George Chacko is associate professor of finance; Carolyn L. Evans is associate professor of economics; and Hans Gunawan MBA ’09 is senior financial analyst at Skyline Solar. They cover at length the risks and shocks associated with liquidity, sharing lessons from the Great Depression, Great Recession, and Japan’s lost decade. There are lessons learned and some prescriptions on policy—since an ounce of liquidity prevention might be worth a gallon of cure. That said, they caution, “It may be the case that liquidity crises go hand-in-hand with an efficiently functioning economic system.” Steven Boyd Saum
Got milk? Pharmaceuticals? What about blood supplies? If it has an expiration date—or if it just decays over time—and you want to keep track of it, then it falls within the purview of Perishable Inventory Systems (Springer, 2011) by Steven Nahmias, professor of operations and management information systems. Nahmias has taught at SCU since 1979, and his books have been translated into Spanish, Hebrew, and Chinese. Steven Boyd Saum
Prophets, the liturgy, and mystical sensuality
Three recent books by faculty at the Jesuit School of Theology show that “catholic” belongs high on the list of adjectives describing the fields of study tackled by the school’s scholars.
Sandra M. Schneiders, a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM), is professor emerita of New Testament Studies and Christian Spirituality. Her recent Prophets in Their Own Country: Women Religious Bearing Witness to the Gospel in a Troubled Church (Orbis Books, 2011) began as essays published in the National Catholic Reporter in the months following the 2009 announcement of a Vatican-led Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States. (Schneiders prefers the term “Vatican investigation.”) This slim volume explains and defends the kinds of renewal that have taken place in communities of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States since the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s. Her arguments retain particular interest following the announcement in April 2012 by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that the “current doctrinal and pastoral situation of the [LCWR] is grave and a matter of serious concern.” The CDF cited deviations from official Catholic teaching and stated that the LCWR promotes “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” Individual nuns have expressed dismay at the report, saying that it misunderstands their work for social justice. Mitch Finley '73
With Standing Together in the Community of God: Liturgical Spirituality and the Presence of Christ (Liturgical Press, 2011), Paul A. Janowiak, S.J., aims to address the concerns of those who charge that the post–Vatican II reformed Catholic liturgy is devoid of mystery and has little spiritual depth. An associate professor of liturgical theology, Fr. Janowiak writes, “I believe a deeper appropriation of the trinitarian foundation of worship provides a way to speak to the hunger and thirst for a eucharistic spirituality in these times, especially acute among many young people today who long for the mystery seemingly so apparent in former ages.” Mitch Finley '73
East meets West in Perceiving the Divine Through the Human Body: Mystical Sensuality (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), co-edited by Thomas Cattoi, an assistant professor of Christology and cultures. Essays illuminate “how the teaching of the spiritual senses has shaped the spiritual practice of early Christian writers, medieval women mystics, followers of Daoism in China, and Tantric practitioners in India and Tibet,” Cattoi writes. The book may hold particular interest for those on the lookout for ways to overcome the body/soul dualism that early Christianity adapted itself to in Hellenistic culture, and that continues to have a significant impact on Christian spirituality today. Mitch Finley '73
High-spirited and hushed moments from Feb. 24: a day to talk about business, ethics, compassion.
Poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia argues that Catholic writers must renovate and reoccupy their own tradition.
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Marilynne Robinson speaks about grace, discernment, and being a modern believer.
Hossam Baghat, one of Egypt’s leading human rights activists, was awarded the 2014 Katharine and George Alexander Law Prize for his work defending human rights.
Scoring 40 points in one game. And besting Steve Nash’s freshman year.
A lab on a chip helps provide the answer—which is a matter of life and death when the question is whether drinking water contains arsenic.