Executive Times

Volume 7, Issue 12

December 2005


ă 2005 Hopkins and Company, LLC

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Thanks to revenue from Executive Times subscriptions, buyers of books through our amazon.com links, and clients of Hopkins & Company, we’ve continued our annual practice of making a donation to a not-for-profit organization as a special holiday thanks to our clients and friends. This year’s donation was made to Heifer International, a program whose goal is to help end world hunger and poverty through self-reliance and sustainability. If you’d like to join us in supporting this fine organization, you can send your contribution to:

Heifer Project International

P.O. Box 8058, Little Rock, AR 72203

You can check out this organization on www.guidestar.org. Guidestar is a national database of nonprofit organizations. You can also visit Heifer’s website at http://www.heifer.org.



This month we present our annual book issue, which many readers use to purchase holiday gifts through our online links to amazon.com. (Another gift idea is a subscription to Executive Times.) About 450,000 books were published in the English language over the past year, half of which were available in the United States. We read, reviewed and listed a total of 180 books in Executive Times during 2005, including recent reviews beginning on page 5. On pages 2 and 3, we recap the best and worst books we read this year. These books, plus five we read but did not review, close out our 2005 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2005books.html. There were 25 books we added to the 2005 Shelf of Reproach; these are the books we feel a little guilty for not reading. A few of those are listed on page 4. All of them are at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2005 Shelf of Reproach.html. We gave up entirely on 190 books this year for one reason or another and feel not a twinge of guilt. A few of those are listed on page 4, and all of them are at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2005 Shelf of Ennui.html. In memory of Peter Drucker who died in November, we’ve selected a few of his best books on page 4. We’ve filled our 2006 bookshelf with 113 books, including 39 added in November. A few of the ones we look forward to reading are on page 3, and all are at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2006books.html.


Happy Holidays!

Best Books of 2005

Title (Link to Review)



Review Summary


Hannah Coulter

Berry, Wendell

Living. Poetic writing and inspirational testament to living narrated by a woman who has welcomed the love and losses of life fully. Could be Berry’s best novel.

Confronting Reality

Bossidy, Larry and Ram Charan

Models. Blunt direction to executives to use a disciplined business model with three related elements: external realities, internal processes and financial targets.

Until I Find You

Irving, John

Longing. 850 well-written pages by a master of the long form of prose, reveals a three decade journey by protagonist Jack Burns, who searches for his father, his identity, and the truth. Unusual characters and situations with universal emotions and complex relationships.

Never Let Me Go

Ishiguro, Kazuo

Purpose. Novel set in 1990s describes a society in which clones are created for organ harvesting. Well-written exploration of discovering purpose in life during a time of restrictions on personal freedom when science outran ethics.


McEwan, Ian

Diurnal. Astutely structured novel presents a day in the life of London neurosurgeon Henry Perowne through finely written prose and a complicated plot that will satisfy readers who enjoy that which stimulates thinking.

A Whole New Mind

Pink, Daniel

Proficiency. A finely presented case for increasing proficiency in right-brain dominance, along with resources to help improve right brain aptitude.


Stewart, James B.

Dishonesty. Disturbing story of dysfunctional company and dishonest CEO who was rewarded highly despite colossal and costly mistakes.



Worst Books of 2005

Title (Link to Review)



Review Summary


Bonjour Laziness

Maier, Corinne


Arrętez. Nihilistic manifesto for workers to disengage quietly as a protest against management abuses. Neither comic nor provocative. Take a pass.

Bait and Switch

Ehrenreich, Barbara

Tiresome. Disappointing sequel to highly recommended 2001 book, Nickel and Dimed. This time around, Ehrenreich half-heartedly pursues a mid-level corporate job, pays for expensive transition advice which she usually ignores.

Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

Osteen, Joel

Nostrums. Preachy, simplistic, slogans and nostrums, packed with exclamation points and smiley face stories. Author influences wide audience, so you may find something here.

Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman

Reidy, Jamie

Slacker. Few readers need Reidy’s prescription: how to con your employer, not do your job and quit when on the brink of achieving success. Take a pass.


Selected Books for 2006

From http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2006books.html Click on jacket cover to purchase.



The Shelf of Reproach 2005

Selected books we should have read, but didn’t, and feel a little guilty about, from http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2005 Shelf of Reproach.html


Title: Click to Purchase


The One Thing You Need to Know

Buckingham, Marcus

Alexander Hamilton

Chernow, Ron

102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the fight To Survive Inside the Twin Towers

Dwyer, Jim and Kevin Flynn

Strategy maps : converting intangible assets into tangible outcomes

Kaplan, Robert S. and David P. Norton

Fun Is Good : How To Inject Joy & Passion into Your Workplace & Career 

Veeck, Mike


 The Shelf of Ennui 2005

Selected books we didn’t read because we got bored, and don’t care, from

http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2005 Shelf of Ennui.html


Title: Click to Purchase


Why Geography Matters

DeBilj, Harm J.

Faith and Fortune: The Quiet Revolution to Reform American Business

Gunther, Marc


Jamison, Kay Redfield

The Best Years of Their Lives: Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon in 1948: Learning the Secrets of Power

Morrow, Lance

The Chrysanthemum Palace

Wagner, Bruce


Legacy: Best of Peter Drucker


Title: Click to Purchase

Title: Click to Purchase

The Effective Executive

The Practice of Management

The Essential Drucker

Managing for Results


Latest Books Read and Reviewed:

 (Note: readers of the web version of Executive Times can click on the book covers to order copies directly from amazon.com.  When you order through these links, Hopkins & Company receives a small payment from amazon.com.  Click on the title to read the review or visit our 2005 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2005books.html).


Title (Link to Review)



Review Summary


The City of Falling Angels

Berendt, John

Personality. Journalist presents the character of Venice through introducing readers to some of the people who live there and how they engage in the life of the place.

Man Camp

Brodeur, Adrienne

Rehab. Novel presents friends Martha and Lucy who strain to fix the sensitive Manhattan men they want in long-term relationships by sending them for masculinity improvements at Man Camp.

The Arrogance of the French: Why They Can't Stand Us--and Why the Feeling Is Mutual  

Chesnoff, Richard

Clash. Long-time Paris-based journalist for U.S. periodicals presents harsh rhetoric and specific examples of the problems in French-US relations, as well as some insight into the conditions that led to the current riots.

Slow Man

Coetzee, J.M.

Caring. Finely written novel in which a man loses his leg in a bicycle accident, struggles with life’s key questions, becomes infatuated with his nurse, and becomes cared for by a character from a prior Coetzee novel.

The March

Doctorow, E.L.

Sweeping. Well written historical novel of General Sherman’s destructive journey across Georgia and the Carolinas at the end of the Civil War. Multiple perspectives from ensemble cast of interesting characters, both real and imagined.

Apple Pie

Edge, John T.

Fruitful. Interesting people, places and recipes, all focused on the many varieties of apple pie. Second in a series on iconic American foods.

My Detachment

Kidder, Tracy

Diffident. Finely written memoir of experience in Vietnam: shy, introspective, reluctant and honest. All Vietnam books create some controversy; this one delivers great writing.

Mission to America

Kirn, Walter

Isolation. Two young missionaries from Montana cult leave their isolated community in search of converts to improve the gene pool, and along the way become enticed by temptation. Some good satire, but weak character development.

The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life

Leveen, Steve

Tips. Potpourri of suggestions on how to enjoy books, read more, and remember better what you’ve read.

Stop That Girl

McKenzie, Elizabeth

Unconventional. Nine short stories, each of which features Ann Ransom from childhood to adulthood, striving for a normal life but following her mother’s  unconventional example.

The Book of Proper Names

Nothomb, Amelie

Disorder. Protagonist overcomes tragic infancy, blooms in idyllic childhood, then withers in ballet school as the path to artistic perfection becomes consuming.

School Days

Parker, Jr., Robert B.

Hope. Spenser returns solo to help a grandmother’s hope that her grandson’s confession to a Columbine-style shooting spree had to be a misunderstanding or mistake.

Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile's Pilgrimage to the Mother Country

Queenan, Joe

Dull. Witty writer provides dull prose in this account of his 2002 trip to his wife’s homeland. What annoys Queenan is likely to bore most readers.


Salerno, Steve

Repercussions. Expose of the self-help and actualization movement showcases fraud and lack of empirical results. Alarming conclusions on the impact of quackery on health care, education and psychology.


Ullmann, Linn

Ending. Novel translated from Norwegian presents complex and troubling end-of-life issues, full of love and caring, with characters in ironic relationships.


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