EXEcuTiVE BOOK REVIEW
Assessing the global impact of an aging population, solving
u.S. health-care woes, and more
by teresa tobat
If your nightstand is lonely for a few good books, we’ve got some ideas for you. Today, any bestseller list will include a book or two that studies an issue you deal with every day. From a prescription for revamping the nation’s health system to an in-depth review of the impact of the world’s aging population, the books
reviewed in this issue will bring new insights to even the most seasoned executive.
Shock of Gray, By Ted C. Fishman, Scribner, October 2010
Our population is aging rapidly, and futurist Ted C. Fishman argues that society must
take an active role in tackling the issues that come with it. In just
eight years, for the first time ever, 65-year-olds will outnumber
children under 5—and the shift will fundamentally change how
business is done worldwide, including how we pay for health
care and assisted living, he writes in Shock of Gray.
Author Fishman, whose work has appeared in The New York
Times Magazine and National Geographic, looks at how our elderly
population will influence nearly every relationship we have—
from the family table to a global scale. Fishman dives deep into
issues that will become increasingly influential in the near future.
Rx for America
The Healing of America: A Global Guest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care,
By T.R. Reid, Penguin Books, August 2010
The American medical system typically has more problems than answers. More than
20,000 Americans die each year from medical problems because they can’t afford
a doctor, government studies report. And the United States is
the only developed country that does not offer its citizens health
insurance. In the ultimate quest to find answers to the American
health-care system, Washington Post correspondent and author
T.R. Reid tracks his progress in The Healing of America as he
ventures abroad seeking treatment for an old shoulder injury
and a cure for the system.
Reid traveled to industrialized countries such as Japan, Germany, France, the U.K., and Canada, gathering
evidence from doctors, health-care experts, officials, and
patients to examine how foreign countries provide health care. Reid shows how the
United States has plenty to learn in providing health care that is affordable, universal, and effective. He tackles what he calls the myth of “socialized health care” and
shows that countries that supply universal health care, for the most part, provide it
in the private sector.
His quest also takes him to Switzerland and Taiwan, countries that have
recently undergone health-care reform and are addressing the moral question
that the American health-care system is currently debating: Is health care a
human right? ❏
WhAt’S ON yOuR
Rod Burkett, President
BMA Management Ltd.
"I’m reading Fierce Conversations: Achieving
Success at Work & In Life, One Conversation
at a Time by Susan Scott (Penguin Group/
Viking Studio, 2002). Fierce Conversation’s
message really began
to resonate with me
when we utilized
it as a resource
in our company’s
this ‘how to’ book will
help every reader get
more out of home and work conversations.
Scott illustrates that our businesses are
simply an extended conversation with
our customers, colleagues, partners, and
our environment. unfortunately, many
conversations don’t go as planned, and
many are plain failures.
“In its simplest form, a 'fierce
conversation' is one in which we come out
from behind ourselves, into the conversation,
and make it real,” Scott writes. While some
find it hard to deal with such real encounters,
it’s the unreal conversations that should
worry us the most, as they take the biggest
toll on organizations and individuals.
"I’m reading Scott’s second 'fierce' book
now: Fierce Leadership—A Bold Alternative
to the Worst ‘Best’ Practices of Business Today
(Crown Business, 2009). In her latest work,
she challenges execs to ask: Are we married
to business best practices that were created
40 years ago, at a time when the speed of
information and decision making was much
"Scott encourages readers to move from
360-degree anonymous feedback programs
to 365 face-to-face feedback. She also trades
the practice of holding people accountable
for a more modern concept of modeling
accountability and holding people ‘able.’"