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>  News Releases >   2003 >   January

Recent books by Dartmouth authors

Posted 01/20/03

The Power of Corporate Communication: Crafting the Voice and Image of Your Business

By Paul A. Argenti Professor of Management and Corporate Communication at the Tuck School of Business, and Janis Forman

McGraw-Hill 2002

Reviewed by Andrew Bailey '03

The corporate world has come under increased scrutiny from the public and is forced to reexamine many of the tactics on which it has depended for survival. The Power of Corporate Communication addresses one of these, communication, to demonstrate its importance in the corporate world. With cable channels, network news programs, and the Internet making it easier than ever for incidents to become scandals, Argenti and Forman explain how to craft an effective voice and image in order to thrive in the media-saturated "Age of Transparency." The book dissects examples like the recall of Firestone tires in 2000 in explanations of communication strategy and crisis management. This corporate identity is shaped in the public's eye by many things: symbols, advertisements and slogans; but nothing has as much impact on the public as do personal interactions. The burden for all of this lies on everyone in the corporation, from the CEO down to the entry-level employee, as shown in the excerpt below:

Constituents may have a different perception of the organization after a single interaction. One bad interaction with a Verizon operator can destroy a relationship for a lifetime with a customer. One aloof salesperson at Bergdorf Goodman in New York could turn a shopper off to a line of clothing forever. That's why your organization must be so concerned about the quality of each and every communication. The goodwill and credibility that your company acquires through the repeated application of consistently excellent behavior will determine its image in the minds of constituents in a much more profound way than a one-shot corporate advertising campaign.

A Yankee Century: A Celebration of the First Hundred Years of Baseball's Greatest Team

By Harvey Frommer, Professor in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program

Berkeley Books 2002

Reviewed by Andrew Bailey '03

Winning more regular season games than any other franchise in the history of baseball, including 38 American League championships and 26 World Series, no team both defined and dominated the sport of baseball in the 20th century as did the New York Yankees. A Yankee Century captures the wonder and mystique that surrounds the team in a detailed album of stories, statistics, biographies, quotes and pictures. Harvey Frommer, a longtime Yankees fan, recreates the frequent highs and few lows of the franchise in an entertaining and accessible manner, relying on countless interviews with the players and coaches that made the Yankees great. The book is divided into a number of diverse sections detailing different aspects of the Yankees, including timelines, memorable moments, rosters, stadiums, and a 100-question quiz. An account by fan Barry Deutsch gives an example of both the power that the Yankees held and the passion that they inspired in their fans throughout the century:

When I was a kid growing up in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, there was no television. You saw occasional glimpses of baseball games in newsreels. You traded baseball cards. But mainly, you listened to the radio and envisioned what was going on. My becoming a Yankee fan had a lot to do with hearing Mel Allen on the radio. I liked his mellifluous voice, the way he described the game and talked about the players. Listening to Mel Allen was my first exposure to baseball, so to me, the Yankees were baseball…. Since those days, I have traveled quite a lot and lived in a number of places outside the United States, and it strikes me as significant that wherever I am, if I mention the Yankees, almost everyone seems to know who they are.

Vicious Cycle: Presidential Decision Making in the American Political Economy

By Constantine J. Spiliotes, Assistant Professor of Government

Texas A&M University Press 2002

Reviewed by Kate Siber '02

Bridging the gap between disciplines of political economy and presidential studies, Constantine Spiliotes presents the reader with an economically centered model of presidential decision-making in Vicious Cycle. Evidence from the terms of Presidents Reagan, Carter, Johnson and Eisenhower help identify reasons behind actions, from the pull of electoral and partisan objectives to temporal and institutional responsibilities. Spiliotes concludes that presidents are increasingly willing to sacrifice electoral and partisan goals in order to satisfy the needs of a fluctuating economy within their position's institutional mission. For example, in 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson chose to respond to public and congressional concerns over the possibility of a tax increase instead of his advisors' suggestion that raised taxes would aid the "overheated economy:"During the midterm election year of 1966, he refused to raise taxes and instead relied on tight monetary policy by the Federal Reserve to cool the economy. Not only did LBJ reject a Democratic focus on unemployment in order to deal with inflation but he did so in a way that suggests a decidedly Republican stabilization policy logic (even though a Democratic option was presented to him). Johnson clearly linked success in the midterm election as being contingent upon his ability to cool the economy in a responsible manner. His pursuit of Democratic electoral objectives was clearly filtered through the lens of institutional responsibility.

Hidden Worlds: Hunting for Quarks in Ordinary Matter

By Timothy Paul Smith, Research Professor

Princeton University Press 2003

Reviewed by Jeremy Presser '04

Humanity's understanding of quarks is paradoxical: though no one has ever seen a quark, physicists know much about their properties and behavior. In Hidden Worlds, Timothy Paul Smith introduces us to the subatomic particles that make up everything we know in the universe. Smith introduces the concept of quarks by describing their modern history: from when their existence was first proposed in 1964 through the present. Smith describes how these subatomic particles are drawn together to create all matter in the universe. Using examples from sports, music and theatre intertwined with scientific prose, Smith explains what scientists know about quarks. The particles are unimaginably small: Smith's book alone is made up of approximately 20 x 1027 quarks — that's a 2 with 28 zeros. Still, each quark can be divided by 'color,' 'flavor' and 'spin.' Smith shows how scientists use massive accelerators to perform experiments on particles that play a role in everything from our own Milky Way to a star billions of light years away. In describing the uniqueness of quarks in the book's first chapter, Smith notes:

No matter how you study quarks, one of their most distinctive properties makes investigating them a peculiar and difficult exercise: quarks are always hidden, buried deep within some larger particle. No one has ever been able to isolate a single quark. It is not just that we have not been clever enough to build a "proton smasher," or some better machine or experiment. Rather, nature has contrived its laws in such a way that not only have we never seen an isolated quark — but we never will!

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