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ness—and then they demolish the excuses. For instance, they write, some leaders are convinced that all great workplaces offer specific benefits, such as healthcare coverage, that their own companies can't afford. But it's not true, they say: Only 14 percent of companies on FORTUNE's 100 Best Companies to Work For list offer fully paid health benefits. These companies are great because they craft their own unique approaches to employee satisfaction. Robin teaches at Bradley University and both authors are affiliated with the Great Place to Work Institute—and both of them believe leaders have a real incentive Don't Miss "TRUST RULES just about everything you do," observe Santa Clara University's Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner in their contribution to Trust Inc., a collection of essays edited by Barbara Brooks Kimmel. More than 30 other authors explore topics such as "The Business Case for Trust," "Practicing Trustworthy Behavior," and "Rebuilding Trust in the Financial Markets." According to consultant Linda Locke, "To earn trust, a company must go beyond the … simple facts of the situation and demonstrate that it understands the concerns of its stakeholders." Only then can a company generate goodwill, retain customers, and hone its competitive edge. (Next Decade, US$27.95) IN THE FIRST FOUR ages of work, humans were first hunter-gatherers, then farmers, then factory workers, and finally, masters of the information economy. In The Fifth Age of Work, according to Andrew M. Jones of Texas State University, they'll largely become freelancers who ditch the monolithic corporation so they can work from home or in shared office spaces that offer camaraderie and support. He examines how corporations can replicate these coworking spaces to encourage innovation and collaboration, and he showcases companies like Best Buy and Capital One that already offer such setups. He provides research that suggests workers who have freedom and flexibility are better, happier employees—which means everybody wins. (Night Owls Press, US$15.95) ANOTHER GLIMPSE at the future of work—this one up-close-and- personal—comes in The Year Without Pants by writer and speaker Scott Berkun. He offers an account of the year he spent leading a team at the hyper-transparent and extrapolates lessons about what work will look like when internationally distributed teams of contract employees interact almost exclusively online. Berkun is entertaining and insightful as he talks about everything from the importance of corporate culture to how an online company really earns revenue. It's a case study of what the next incarnation of the corporation might look like, and it's a good one. (Jossey-Bass, US$26.95) to make their organizations tremendous workplaces. They write, "There is no more certain avenue of increasing productivity, managing employee engagement, or creating the conditions for collaborative creativity than to create a great place to work." CAN CH I NA LEAD? AUTHORS: Regina M. Abrami, William C. Kirby, and F. Warren McFarlan PUBLISHER: Harvard Business Review Press, US$35 MANY BUSINESS AND political observers believe China is poised to lead the world, but Abrami, Kirby, and McFarlan are doubtful. Unless the Chinese Communist Party loosens its hold over everything from education to government, they write, "the China 'miracle' as we have known it is coming to an end." Although all three authors are from Harvard, they bring different perspectives: Kirby is a historian, Abrami a political economist, and McFarlan a general management expert. They insist that anyone wanting to do business in China first must study its long and complex history to understand its myths, its realities, and its current political structure. Only then will it be clear what China might—or might not— achieve in the future. The authors write, "In the absence of change in the political arena, we believe that China will remain a formidable competitor in global markets for both goods and ideas, but not the dominant one." BizEd January/February 2014 67

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