Doing More With Less:
The New Way To Wealth
By Bruce Piasecki
Wiley • 256 pages
After recent business scandals and financial busts, many powerful interests and influential people are striving to do more with less. Both governments and multinational corporations seek this realignment in hopes of regaining their balance. Doing More with Less is an actionable call to arms, with global insights — of immediate application to professionals in any industry — into new ways to align money, people, and rules.
Bruce Piaceski convincingly lays out the case for a return to frugality, providing relevant examples from his 30 years of experience as a management consultant and change agent. Piaceski deftly explains how this approach to competition is relevant, and provides readers with the framework to look at what’s next without tottering toward failure.
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Doing More With Teams: The New Way to Winning (2016)
By Bruce Piasecki
Square One Publishers • 192 pages
From instincts as ancient as our hunter-gatherer stages, human beings have worked in teams. But what have we really learned about what drives us to cooperate and collaborate with each other? Does all of the selfishness and scandal in business and government today suggest we have spilt the special sauce of teamwork?
Doing More With Teams explores what can be done to encourage a new form of competition so that organizations complete the challenges before them to drive growth and get results. It offers a new premise for the idea of teamwork and challenges the perception that individualism is the only way to wealth. Through real-life and historical examples of teams that have inspired awe, this book lays out a solid set of principles that work for all kinds of teams, including:
How aging teaches us the value of teams as a source of meaningfulness in life
How to establish clear principles that call for shared responsibility throughout an organization
How to avoid individual motivators that undermine the importance of teams
The costs of an excessive expectation of ceaseless victory
Why the best team captains are those who quickly and accurately assess team members’ capabilities — and figure out how that affects the group
Doing More With Teams enlightens the world to a new, more ethical, more collaborative way forward and shows us how best to tap into the magic of teamwork.
A New Way to Wealth:
The Power of Doing More With Less
By Bruce Piasecki
BookBaby• 192 pages
What is Wealth? What is Enough?
The path to success and the full glory of wealth is doing more with less! In this book, Piasecki urgently calls for a new era of restraint, public mindedness, and social purpose in capitalism. This homage to historical financial leaders allows an understanding between self-determination and self-actualization in a time of capital constraints.
This book helps you understand which attributes lead to the accumulation of wealth and using that wealth responsibly. Piasecki breaks open the differences between self-determination and self-actualization in a time of capital constraints.
Inspired by the wisdom of Ben Franklin―and his competitive insights into frugality, Bruce Piasecki incorporates his knowledge of corporate governance, energy, product, and environmental strategy.
Ben Franklin’s The Way to Wealth is what inspired Bruce Piasecki.
2040: A Fable
By Bruce Piasecki
BookBaby• 244 pages
From Thaddeus Rutkowski's five page introduction to 2040: "According to one defination, a fable is a story that conveys a moral. In this book, there are numerous lessons about what is valuable (friends, family, and the freedom to work as one wishes). This ability to work as one dreams is well dramatized in the final parts of this book. There are also warnings about what can devalue our lives (a reliance on exclusive technological communications, a bowing to the ever-watchful State). As with all good fables, these lessons apply to all of us." "As with most speculative fiction, Piasecki is not writing about some strange future worlds; he is offering ideas, through metaphor and storylines, taht apply directly to our present world. This remarkable projection to 2040 is absolutely a stunningly sustained technique to help us see through today." The book entertains you in 10 chapters, totally 224 pages, with 22 woodcut illustrations of the characters as rendered by a world famous artists of the recent past.
Wealth and Climate Competitiveness:
The New Narrative on Business and Society
By Bruce Piasecki
To be released by Rodin Press.
Over the last century and more, there has been a tense relationship between business and society, and how they interact with each other. A set of prejudices on both sides lead to a general understanding that business and society were at odds, especially when it came to our planet and the effects of climate change.
However, by the end of the 20th century, a new social contract began to emerge. Business and society, wealth and the commonwealth, began to be perceived as intimately related. With this change, I believe that we have reached a turning point toward a better future, which is rooted in a new concept: climate competitiveness.
What is climate competitiveness? At its core, climate competitiveness is about using your business, with all the tools of capitalism, to address and respond to large social demands.
Preorder September 2024.
Doing More with One Life: A Writer’s Journey through the Past, Present, and Future
By Bruce Piasecki
Prospecta Press • 240 pages
In Doing More with One Life, best-selling author Piasecki explores the life-shaping moments in his personal history and imagines what is to come next in a series of well-wrought vignettes. Bruce’s journey to becoming a writer is spiritual and practical, as he discovers and uncovers what is truly valuable in a life. As well as being a writer, Piasecki is also an environmentalist, a speaker on climate and society, and AHC Group founder. He has also founded the family- endowed Creative Force Foundation.
Readers and followers of Bruce Piasecki’s expansive career in environmental and community issues will be deeply moved by his tales of loss and his determination to make himself—and his world—into something profoundly better.
Bruce Piasecki’s collected Bibliographies, Great Contemporaries
By Bruce Piasecki
By Paul Grondahl
Bruce Piasecki has studied the genus Chief Executive Officer the way that acclaimed Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov studied butterflies. It was Nabokov, a world-renowned lepidopterist best remembered as a novelist and the author of Lolita, who discovered and named the Karner blue butterfly species in 1944. It is an endangered species found in my backyard, the Pine Bush Preserve on the outskirts of Albany. It got its name because Nabokov found it in the pine barrens in the hamlet of Karner between Albany and Schenectady, through which Karner Road runs today.
I offer this Nabokovian detour because it seems apropos of the way Bruce Piasecki’s fertile mind works. When it comes to CEOs, Piasecki has studied their habitats and traits and characteristics with passionate devotion and granular detail. Much the same way that the acclaimed novelist Nabokov devoted himself to the study of butterflies, organized the butterfly collection at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, and became an internationally renowned lepidopterist, Piasecki has turned his career as a business consultant into a laser-focused observer of the CEO in situ, as it were, those occupying the original landscape of the C-suite.
Over the course of four decades, Piasecki, founder of the AHC Group, has worked as a management consultant with roughly 200 CEOs and 150 corporations – including several Fortune 500 companies. To say he knows what makes CEOs tick is an understatement. Piasecki’s research has been so intentional and longitudinal that he may know more about the zeitgeist of CEO culture than the CEOs themselves.
In his penetrating new study, Great Contemporaries, Piasecki compresses forty years of close study of CEOs into a highly readable narrative that focuses on seven corporate leaders who span a wide range of industries, from capital investment to women’s fashion. What Piasecki offers in these pages are sharply observed, highly detailed, and remarkably insightful profiles that amount to small-scale biographies. They are right-sized sketches for today’s hyper-busy, multi-tasking, over-subscribed business person looking to climb the corporate ladder, perhaps, or just a general reader who does not wish to spend an entire summer slogging through an 800-page tome on a titan of industry.
Piasecki’s modus operandi, as well as the title of his collection, is an homage to that extraordinary world leader and esteemed man of letters, Winston Churchill, who wrote a collection of twenty-five short biographical essays about notable people that he titled Great Contemporaries. Churchill’s much-praised collection was originally published in 1937 with twenty-one essays, and four were added in a subsequent edition. Churchill profiled literary luminaries such as George Bernard Shaw, archaeologist T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”), and political figures Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Adolf Hitler. Churchill called his book “essays on Great Men of our age.” He wrote, “Taken together they should present not only the actors but the scene. In their sequence they may perhaps be the stepping-stones of historical narrative.”
Taking his cue from Churchill, Piasecki has succeeded in one of the most challenging assignments facing a non-fiction writer: writing well by writing short.
It is far easier, in my experience, to write a 150,000-word political biography, as I have done, compared to the compression and rigorous selection required for a compelling 1,500-word magazine profile of a political figure. I speak from forty years’ experience as a journalist, non-fiction author and, since 2017, as the Opalka Endowed Director of the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany.
Since Pulitzer Prize-winning Albany author William Kennedy, my mentor, founded the Writers Institute in 1983 with seed money from his MacArthur “genius grant,” we have hosted more than 2,500 of the world’s greatest writers in all genres, including fourteen recipients of the Nobel Prize and more than 200 winners of a Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award. We are recognized as one of the pre-eminent literary presenting organizations in the nation.
In terms of biographers, we have welcomed some of the finest practitioners of the craft, including Robert Caro, author of The Power Broker, an exhaustive biography of Robert Moses that spans 1,344 ages and is widely considered to be one of the greatest contemporary biographies in American letters. Other highly acclaimed biographers that we have welcomed under the Writers Institute banner include Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals), David McCullough (Truman), and Ron Chernow (Hamilton).
What I have learned from meeting each of those titans of biography, along with many others who practice the biographer’s art at a high level, is that it requires an immersion and commitment of uncommon proportions. McCullough toiled for more than a decade to bring Harry Truman to life on the page, including countless hours of research with primary documents in the Truman Library archives, interviewing more than 125 then-living Truman contemporaries and spending an entire day chronicling the trees in Minor Park in Kansas City so he could describe what Truman’s forebears saw when they relocated from Kentucky to Missouri in the frontier days.
That daylong first-person research foray yielded this sentence in the opening chapter of McCullough’s bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Truman: “They counted hickory, ash, elm, sycamore, willow, poplar, cottonwood, and oak in three or four varieties. “Walnut, the most prized, was the most abundant. Entire barns and houses were to be built of walnut.”
I can remember having drinks with Kennedy and McCullough (who died in 2022 at 89) after a Writers Institute talk and the writer telling me that he chose his biography subjects like Truman because he is drawn to people who were underestimated or ridiculed, and who overcame obstacles and unlucky breaks. An editor suggested he write a Picasso biography, which he abandoned after just a few months.
“I decided this fellow and I shouldn’t be roommates,” McCullough told me. “He was an immediate success and that’s not very interesting. I’ve always stuck to an old writers’s adage: ‘Keep your hero in trouble.’ ”
I can remember hanging out with Doris Kearns Goodwin, who talked about her book Team of Rivals, essentially a multi-cast biography of President Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet, as “my guys.”
“I loved learning everything I could about my guys,” she told me. “If you’re going to write a biography and end up spending several years with your subject, you don’t have to love them, but you at least have to find them compelling. Or your readers won’t find your biography interesting.”
What Piasecki offers in his version of Great Contemporaries is a smorgasbord of varied delights, each chapter a self-contained portrait of a compelling CEO. There is John Streur, president and CEO for Calvert Research and Management, which specializes in responsible and sustainable investing across global capital markets. Piasecki writes: “John Streur is gregarious and outgoing. You get the impression in meeting John that despite his powerful voice and standing in the industry, he still needs to be heard. He wants to be heard. In the first dozen times you meet John, one thing is clear: his life enables money, as opposed to money enabling his life. That is what stands out as remarkable.”
Piasecki describes what he describes as “the quiet genius” of fashion designer Eileen Fisher, who has created a timeless and elegant luxury women’s fashion brand that focuses on eco-friendly fabrics and is committed to sustainable clothing. He notes “an atmosphere of contemplative privacy around her” and he highlights a question she asks often: “What is enough?” Piasecki adds, “And she means it. Her legends rests on opposing aspirations, a set of beliefs far more uncommon and complex...What motivates Eileen and her talented staff is best thought of as a creative enterprise, first and foremost.”
There is much to learn here in Piasecki’s illuminating essays on Linda Coady, Jack Robinson, Steve Percy, Frank Loy, and William Novelli.
As this book and his voluminous published writings attest, Bruce Piasecki is a polymath. His interests, skill sets, and knowledge base covers a wide range of topics and themes, with special focus on the environment, sustainability, good governance, best practices in business and wide swaths of literature, history, the arts, and culture.
As Buckminster Fuller – a polymath himself who was an architect, systems theorist, writer, designer, inventor, philosopher, futurist, and creator of the geodesic dome – might say, Bruce Piasecki likes to “think crooked.” By that, we mean Piasecki has a restless and boundless mind that contains multitudes.
Since I started this introduction with Vladimir Nabokov, let me circle back to the lepidopterist and literary man. Here is a quote from Nabokov that is apropos for the remarkable lives that Piasecki puts on display in Great Contemporaries. Nabokov writes: “A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.”
Thankfully, as you will see in these pages, Bruce Piasecki possesses both.
Paul Grondahl is the Opalka Endowed Director of the New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany, an award-winning journalist, and the author of several books, including political biographies of Teddy Roosevelt an Albany Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd.
Preorder January 2024.
Giants of Social Investing: John Streur and Jack Robinson
By Bruce Piasecki
Bookbaby• 90 pages
Like the case books by Sigmund Freud and Winston Churchill before him, Bruce Piasecki explores with explosive insights these exemplar lives. The work, while popular and easy to read, documents the historic significant in these money matters. The content explains how new world companies and new world investors are outdistancing the past. You see why firms like Apple, Tesla, NextEra, and Unilever are massively changed organizations along these ESG investment grade changes.
The book is one based on case-work, yet it is filled with a seasoned sense of principles on how the best corporate performers today are attracting new capital as the world changes. Piasecki has used the articulation of key principles to make a book that will prove timeless, and lasting, in a world of constantly reassessed stocks.
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