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Welcome to the FT Business school newsletter, a weekly serving of management wisdom, reading recommendations and business-related challenges. FT subscribers can sign up here to receive the newsletter by email every Monday. If you have any feedback about FT Business school, please email email@example.com.
Bracken Bower Prize
Are you under 35 years of age with an idea for a book that tackles emerging business themes? Submit a proposal for The Bracken Bower Prize by September 30. In the meantime, find out which titles have made it to the longlist for the FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2017.
Andrew Hill's challenge
During our brief summer break, Donald Trump has kept reporters and commentators busy. Last week, the US president opened an unbridgeable rift with executives on some of his business advisory councils after failing to condemn white nationalist protestors adequately.
Does this mean business advisory councils should be scrapped permanently? I think not, as I argue in this week's column. Apart from anything, political leaders need expert advice. So for this week's challenge, please suggest better ways of keeping channels of communications between business and politics open. One-to-one meetings? Crowdsourcing? Or a refinement on existing advisory councils? A reminder that I am looking for concise answers: please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before the break, I asked for examples of sporting leadership with a lesson for business. Scott Wallace and Jim Boere both picked rugby union. Scott pointed out how the Welsh rugby team had instilled the "growth mindset" in its players. Jim singled out the 1995 World Cup-winning South African team and its captain Francois Pienaar, "modest, but motivating the entire team". He recommend the film Invictus — which recounts the famous victory — as "mandatory viewing material for middle managers and CEOs."
If you have time after digesting the longlist for this year's Business Book of the Year Award, I recommend as further reading, John Lanchester's penetrating and powerful article for the London Review of Books where, on the pretext of reviewing three recent books, he takes issue with the expansion of Facebook and others. "For all the corporate uplift of its mission statement, Facebook is a company whose essential premise is misanthropic," he writes.
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
Executives take a quiet turn away from globalisation Gillian Tett describes how some US companies have shifted production from international to home markets. Important aspects of globalisation include moving production and investment to low-cost places and areas with greatest sales potential. But there appears to be a trend towards localisation, because when some US companies take all costs into account, it is cheaper to produce at home. The important point is to look at the data on, and practice of, globalisation to best understand its likely future course.
China and the EU forge an unlikely love-in over climate James Kynge highlights how climate change is being led by a China-EU partnership. Closing in on global climate calamity has focussed minds to preserve and create the international institutions and cooperation needed to tackle the crisis. Surely increased and improved international trade will ultimately follow? As well as providing some pretty useful Chinese slang, Mr Kynge’s lesson is that globalisation is alive and can promote economic growth. The importance of the article is to remind us that some global problems can only be solved with global solutions.
The rise of China’s tech firm in five charts Five big technology companies that are getting bigger, richer and innovative might lead a reader to assume this is another article on Silicon Valley. The writers of this article suggest China’s tech leaders Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, JD.com and Weibo have the scale to compete on a global stage and challenge Silicon Valley groups. It is worth keeping an eye on these Chinese companies. The lesson is that the locus and promoters of globalisation in the future are likely to be from Asia, and specifically China.
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Compiled by Wai Kwen Chan — firstname.lastname@example.org