Booklist: Tackling Competition in a Global Market

Selections offered by Dianna Brodine, managing editor
Plastics Business

Knowing we’re operating in a global market and understanding the implications of that market are two different things. Whether working with overseas suppliers, dealing with competition from China or Mexico, or looking to expand your own operations to another country, an international knowledge base is a foundational necessity. Following are four books that offer perspectives on global trade, carving out competitive space and recognizing cultural characteristics that may impact business practices.

The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power and Politics of World Trade

Author: Pietra Rivoli
Release Date: Nov. 24, 2014 (2nd edition)
The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy is a critically acclaimed narrative that illuminates the globalization debates and reveals the key factors to success in global business. Tracing a T-shirt’s life story from a Texas cotton field to a Chinese factory and back to a US storefront before arriving at the used clothing market in Africa, the book uncovers the political and economic forces at work in the global economy.

Along the way, this fascinating exploration addresses a wealth of compelling questions about politics, trade, economics, ethics and the impact of history on today’s business landscape. The new printing of the second edition includes a revised preface and a new epilogue with updates through 2014 on the people, industries and policies related to the T-shirt’s life story.

The China Factor: Leveraging Emerging Business Strategies to Compete, Grow and Win in the New Global Economy

Author: Amy Karam
Release Date: June 13, 2016
Editor’s Note: Reviews were not available at the time of press as the book had not yet been released.
When it comes to globalization, the rules have changed: What once was nice-to-know now is need-to-know, and this book lays it out in a clear, no-nonsense style. Based on customers in over 50 countries, you will learn why a premium product, though domestically successful, may not be well received in foreign markets, and you’ll discover the critical factors that contribute to success in both established and emerging markets. Disruptive competitors are transformed from threats to examples as you learn to recognize opportunities for re-evaluation, and shift your strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

The China Factor equips Western businesses with a practical framework for competing successfully in today’s ever-changing global markets. Written by a 20-year expert in competitive strategy and global market expansion, this book is packed with insights gained through first-hand experience leading competitive programs at a high-tech multinational corporation and customers across 50 countries. Karam has worked with companies including Cisco, Apple and CapitalOne, as well as start-ups, and is a corporate instructor of Stanford courses, as well as her own.

The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business

Author: Erin Meyer
Release Date: May 27, 2014
Whether you work in a home office or abroad, business success in our ever more globalized and virtual world requires the skills to navigate through cultural differences and decode cultures foreign to your own. Renowned expert Erin Meyer is your guide through this subtle, sometimes treacherous terrain where people from starkly different backgrounds are expected to work harmoniously together.

When you have Americans who precede anything negative with three nice comments; French, Dutch, Israelis and Germans who get straight to the point (“your presentation was simply awful”); Latin Americans and Asians who are steeped in hierarchy; Scandinavians who think the best boss is just one of the crowd – the result can be, well, sometimes interesting, even funny, but often disastrous.

Even with English as a global language, it’s easy to fall into cultural traps that endanger careers and sink deals when, say, a Brazilian manager tries to fathom how his Chinese suppliers really get things done, or an American team leader tries to get a handle on the intra-team dynamics between his Russian and Indian team members.

In The Culture Map, Erin Meyer provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business. She combines a smart analytical framework with practical, actionable advice for succeeding in a global world.

Blue Ocean Strategy, Expanded Edition: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

Authors: W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
Release Date: Jan. 20, 2015 (Expanded Edition); Feb. 3, 2005 (Original)
This global bestseller, embraced by organizations and industries worldwide, challenges everything you thought you knew about the requirements for strategic success. Now updated with fresh content from the authors, Blue Ocean Strategy argues that cutthroat competition results in nothing but a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating “blue oceans” – untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.

Blue Ocean Strategy presents a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant and outlines principles and tools any organization can use to create and capture their own blue oceans.

Book summaries provided by the publishing entity.