RUSQ (59:3/4) Digital Supplement — Outstanding Business Information Sources 2021

This digital supplement to RUSQ 59:3/4 includes reviews of professional materials, reference sources and the BRASS outstanding business information sources reviews for 2020 and 2021 (view all digital supplements). We thank members of the BRASS Information Sources Committees for 2020 and 2021, our review editors, Anita Slack and Calantha Tillotson, and their reviewers for their work, and RUSA past-president, Courtney McDonald for putting together these supplements.

View current and back issues of RUSQ at https://journals.ala.org/index.php/rusq/index. In spring 2022, the RUSA Publications Taskforce will be releasing a set of recommendations about various RUSA communication tools, including RUSQ. Share your thoughts via our survey. — Barry Trott, editor pro tem, RUSQ.


Introduction

BRASS Business Information Sources Committee contributing members: Amanda Belantara, selections editor; Stephen Fadel; Ash Faulkner; Wayne Finley, selections editor and nominations coordinator; Kelly Janousek; Peter Z. McKay; Judith Opdahl, nominations coordinator; and Roberta L. Tipton.

Correspondence concerning this column should be addressed to Amanda Belantara, Instruction and Outreach Librarian for School of Professional Studies, NYU Libraries, New York, NY, USA, email: ab6477@nyu.edu, and Wayne Finley, Associate Professor/Business Subject Specialist Librarian, Northern Illinois University Libraries, DeKalb, IL, USA, email: wfinley@niu.edu.

Each year, the Business Information Sources Committee of the Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS) selects the outstanding business information sources published since May of the previous year. This year, the committee reviewed eight entries; of these, four were designated as “Outstanding,” three as “Notable,” and one as a “Notable New Edition.” To qualify for the award, titles are selected based on their ease of use, quality, and authority. Works are also examined for the following: reputation of the publisher, author, or editor; accuracy; appropriate bibliography; organization; comprehensiveness; value of the content; currency or timeliness; uniqueness; quality and accuracy of index or cited references; and quality and usefulness of graphics and illustrations.

In addition to meeting all of the standard criteria, some of this year’s selections acknowledge the long overdue need to address social and racial inequities both in business and in our work as information professionals and educators. We hope these books will inspire important conversations in our field and beyond and have ripples throughout the business information landscape.

Outstanding

The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations. Robert Livingston. New York: Currency, 2021. 368 p.  Hardcover $28.00 (ISBN: 9780593238561). Contact publisher for e-book pricing (ISBN: 9780593238578).

The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations is a valuable tool for making progress on racism in the United States, with a specific emphasis on anti-Black racism. In his timely and necessary book, Robert Livingston, a diversity consultant to Fortune 500 companies and professor at Harvard Kennedy School, lends his knowledge as a social psychologist whose expertise is based on investigating unconscious bias to the reader.

The title itself indicates the author’s objective of engaging in conversations as part of learning, understanding, empathizing, and eventual action toward social change for racial equity. The reader’s journey starts with problem awareness and works towards agreement of the question, “Do we all believe racism exists?” Livingston provides an examination on this and other questions by engaging readers with examples, illustrations, and supporting evidence from scholars. 

The structure of the book lends itself to the author’s success in promoting conversations about racism. The book is divided into three main parts: “Condition,” “Concern,” and “Correction.” Within each of the three parts are chapters that discuss the issues in further detail. “Condition,”with its seven chapters, examines the cause and problem of racism. “Concern”, chapters eight through ten, is centered on empathy, and, lastly, “Correction” has two chapters focusing on racial equity.

At the end of each part is a forum, where the conversation on racism can begin. These forums are ideal for facilitating meaningful dialogue for those reading the work with a small group, and, hopefully, will create movement and action toward change. The first forum, “How to talk about the problem?” provides readers with a framework designed by Livingston. Known as “PRESS,” the model moves individuals through steps to solve social problems. Also, in the first forum are four general considerations for having effective conversations that will result in learning and movement toward the goal of racial equity. Each of the three forums provides a series of “conversations starters” which are questions that may beused as written or can be adapted or modified to fit the needs of an individual or other groups of readers. Forum questions ask readers about their thoughts and, importantly, their feelings; learning and change requires this type of inquiry. Each forum also provides a “more food for thought, conversations in context” section with discussion on topics such as “taking a knee,” “my ancestors made it, why can’t yours,” “what is the path to peace,” etc. 

Leaders in business will find the frameworks developed by Livingston a tool for organizational change as workers communicate and move toward racial equity. Academic libraries’ addition of Livingston’s work will benefit readers seeking to make meaningful movement toward anti-black racism. The Conversation sits beside other works such as Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, making Livingston’s work a suggested addition to anti-racist reading lists and to works on issues of racism.—Judith Opdahl, California State University San Marcos


The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment. Linda M. Scott. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020. 384 p. Hardcover $28 (ISBN: 9780374142629). Contact publisher for e-book pricing (ISBN: 9780374720353)

In The Double X Economy: The Epic Potential of Women’s Empowerment, author Linda M. Scott lays out in clear, and at times, brutally honest fashion, what she calls “the Double X Economy.” A University of Oxford emeritus professor and Royal Institute of International affairs senior consulting fellow, Scott defines the Double X Economy as “…a shadow economy unique to females,” composed of economic inequalities and cultural constraints which systematically prevent women from fully participating and thriving in the global economy. Throughout her work, Scott draws on her own primary research and well-documented statistics to outline the numerous social and economic hurdles faced by women around the world.

The book begins with the example of the author’s research project in Ghana, which set out to see if providing free female hygiene products could help reduce the dropout rate of girls in rural schools. Scott then examines a multitude of topics associated with the suppression of women in the economy, including the inherent bias of male-dominated economics, and the gender inequalities of universities and boardrooms. Scott further examines the exclusion of women globally from participating in the marketplace due to the inability to receive financing, lack of property ownership rights, pay inequity, and cultural and societal forces, to name a few. Along the way, Scott uses data and logic to shatter many of the myths and stereotypes surrounding women, their work, and their place in the economy.

Despite the seemingly unending list of economic impediments faced by women she presents, the book is not without hope. Throughout, potential solutions are discussed. And in the Epilogue, entitled “Next Steps,” Scott presents a clear road map for what can be done to help advance the status of women in the global economy. The author gives clear and detailed priorities for change in the United States and throughout the world, and provides readers with guidance for individual actions they can take to help advance “one of the most important causes of our time, perhaps in history.”

Well-documented and researched, and thoroughly indexed, The Double X Economy would be a welcome addition to the collections of any public or academic library; would work as a supplemental book in business, economics, and gender studies classes; and would lead to excellent book club discussions. The timeliness of Scott’s work could not be more relevant given the ongoing public conversation inspired by the Me Too movement. As an information resource for understanding the problems faced by women in the world of business and economics and their potential solutions, The Double X Economy is truly outstanding.—Wayne Finley, Northern Illinois University


The Handbook of China’s Financial System. Edited by Marlene Amstad, Guofeng Sun, and Wei Xiong. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2020. 504 p. Hardcover $85 (ISBN: 9780691205731). Contact publisher for e-book pricing (ISBN: 9780691205847). 

Four of the five largest banks worldwide are Chinese. [1] Yet, China’s financial system remains a mystery to many outside of it. This new title should help fill the information gap that exists for readers who are unfamiliar with the workings of this important financial system. 

Editors Marlene Amstad (Professor in Economics and Finance and Co-director of the Shenzhen Finance Institute’s FinTech Center), Guofeng Sun (Director General of the Monetary Policy Department of the People’s Bank of China), and Wei Xiong (Dean of Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Management and Economics), organize the book into different parts that cover Banking and Monetary Policy, Bond and Money Markets, Financial System and the Real Economy, Ongoing Reforms, Stock Market, Asset Management, Pension System, and New Developments. The editors gathered together material from thirty international scholars and practitioners. 

The text is well organized, fully documented, and easy to understand. Each chapter takes readers through an introduction to a more nuanced understanding of various aspects of the Chinese financial system. For example, “The Development of the Chinese Stock Market” leads readers through a review of China’s stock exchanges with descriptions of market products, market regulations, regulatory agencies, integration with global markets, Chinese market characteristics (e.g., many individual investors, high-turnover ratios), and past crises and future reforms. Chapters include endnotes and a list of reputable current references, most of which are journal articles and working papers. Chapters also display many graphics; there are more than two hundred illustrations, over sixty tables, and three maps. 

The authority, currency, and scope and depth of coverage is what makes this title outstanding. Sources such as the Routledge Handbook of the Chinese Economy (Routledge, 2015) and the two-volume Sage Handbook of Contemporary China (Sage Publications, 2019) are either older and/or broader in scope and lack the finance focus available in this Princeton title. The Handbook of China’s Financial System would be of interest for academic libraries of any size as well as large public libraries and special libraries with a business focus.—Stephen Fadel, California State University Monterey Bay


Refinitiv Workspace for Students. Refinitiv. Online database. Contact publisher for pricing that is based on the number of accounts.

Refinitiv Workspace for Students (RWS), formerly known as EIKON, is a full-featured financial, data, news, and analytics service, now owned by the London Stock Exchange Group. RWS is Bloomberg’s top competitor with 22% of the market, more than 40,000 customers, and 400,000 end users across 190 countries2. Traders, investors, financial analysts, and wealth advisors use RWS to trade securities, research investments, economies, and markets, and monitor business news worldwide. RWS covers the global business and financial markets — stocks, bonds, currencies, indexes, commodities, futures, mutual funds, ETFs, public companies, private companies, private equity and venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, ESG scores, and more. 

The home page displays a dashboard of panels that run both in-house and volunteer third-party applications. Each app can be expanded to display more detailed information. The AI-powered Smart Search enables both keyword and natural language searching, which works well across all content to find the most relevant results. Students can customize their home pages, build templates, save searches, set alerts, use screeners to build portfolios, monitor investments and markets, and build Excel models with live feeds without data download limits.

RWS can be accessed in multiple ways — Web, Desktop (Windows and macOS), and mobile devices. RWS has a sequence of eight training videos designed for students. A Quick Start Guide covers the essentials: installation, navigation, searching, layouts, settings, charts, and using the formula builder in Excel. Students can earn a Refinitiv Certificate by completing a series of on-demand training modules and passing a test. Site administrators can create accounts, assign licenses, expire users, change user passwords, and reassign accounts. Students self-register for personal accounts. Single-sign-on is available.

The interface is complex, due in part to the multiplicity of apps that can be combined and displayed on a single screen. Unlicensed third-party data is unavailable – Dow Jones, Russell, Nikkei, FTSE, and S&P Sector Indexes, for example. The support materials are scattered across the platform, making them difficult to locate. RWS lacks a feature similar to that of Bloomberg’s help function. Technical support requests must be made by the local administrator. There is no direct support for students. RWS is outstanding for its scope and depth of content, its ability to provide data in real time, its ease of access, and its degree of customization. Even though RWS is marketed to the academic community, this resource gives students valuable real-world experience with a resource used widely within the finance and investment community.—Stephen Fadel, California State University Monterey Bay, and Peter Z. McKay, University of Florida

Notable

The Art of Business Valuation: Accurately Valuing a Small Business.  Gregory R. Caruso. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2020. 432 p. Hardcover $60 (ISBN: 9781119605997).  Contact publisher for e-book pricing (ISBN: 9781119606017).

The Art of Business Valuation stands out among other books on valuation for its focus on small businesses. Most US businesses have revenues of less than $10 million and qualify as microbusinesses. The general lack of detailed documentation and financial information makes the valuation of small businesses more challenging than larger business entities. Furthermore, valuations are often rendered in adversarial contexts such as lawsuits or divorce cases, the rules of which vary by jurisdiction. Care must be taken to present a valuation consistent with the laws of a specific jurisdiction within the rules of a specific situation.

The initial chapters lay out the theoretical underpinnings of business valuation, the difficulties and importance of working with small businesses, and the author’s approaches to market, income, and asset valuation. Each approach is then covered in detail in its own chapter.  Following the procedural section of the book are chapters about small business accounting, how to work with buyers and sellers, and how to read and evaluate a valuation written by someone else. Suggestions for additional information sources are included throughout.

Although the detailed core chapters are specialized and aimed at business valuators, this book is of interest to anyone who owns a small business, would like to start or buy a business, or intends to invest in a business. Gregory R. Caruso, JD, CPA, CVA, is a business broker and valuation expert. His approach is practical and, in many cases, readable for the nonspecialist with some business background. Caruso’s mantras, repeated throughout the book, are memorable: “I would rather be approximately right than perfectly wrong.”; “Does this make sense?”; “Who is the buyer and who is the seller?”; and “Value is not price.” This book is recommended for academic, public, and special business collections.—Roberta L. Tipton, Rutgers University-Newark


Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles. William Quinn and John D. Turner. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2020. 296 p. Hardcover $24.95 (ISBN: 9781108421256). Contact the publisher for e-book pricing (ISBN: 9781108367677).

Bubbles have proven to be a topic of enduring interest in finance. The stories are filled with both drama and tragedy.  In Boom and Bust: A Global History of Financial Bubbles, authors William Quinn and John D. Turner walk readers through a brief exploration of a number of the major bubbles “from the birth of stock markets through to the present day.” Essential to the rest of the text, the book begins with a foundational chapter exploring the essential ingredients of bubbles including marketability, money/credit and speculation, and points out that while bubbles can have severe economic effects, they are not necessarily without their potential positive impacts as well. While the authors acknowledge that their list is not exhaustive, subsequent chapters cover: the Mississippi Bubble, the South Sea Bubble, the Windhandel Bubble, Railway Mania, the Australian Land Boom, Bicycle Mania, the Roaring Twenties, the Japanese Bubble, the Dot-Com Bubble, the Subprime Bubble and more, covering a date range from 1719 – 2015. Each chapter explores the potential causes of financial bubbles, and even how certain bubbles may have played into the formation of subsequent bubbles.

The strength of this work lies in the engaging and accessible tone of the text and the ability of the authors to explain a complex topic in layman’s terms. Though the topic of bubbles has been well covered in financial texts, the use of a ‘fire triangle’ metaphor to explain bubble formations provides a new perspective. The exploration of why some bubbles result in a post-bubble financial crisis and others do not adds additional context. The ‘fire triangle’ is positioned as a predictive tool for future bubbles, though the authors admit prediction is still difficult, as the initial ‘sparks’ are often hard to discern.  Overall, this is a good book for both public and academic library finance collections, appropriate for any reader with an interest in the subject.—Ash Faulkner, Ohio State University


Launching While Female: Smashing the System that Holds Women Entrepreneurs Back. Susanne Althoff. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2020. 208 p. Hardcover $25.95 (ISBN: 9780807042977). Contact the publisher for e-book pricing (ISBN: 9780807043035).

In this award-winning book, Susan Althoff, a Boston Globe reporter and Emmerson College professor, interviewed over one hundred women and nonbinary entrepreneurs to expose the challenges they faced during their entrepreneurial experiences. By highlighting these challenges, the author shows that the system can change and can be made more accessible to all.

The book begins by providing a history of entrepreneurship and the struggles women have faced while participating in the entrepreneurial sphere. Thereafter, the chapters take a deep dive into the problems and their potential solutions. For example, in chapter three, “The Boys’ Club,” the author illustrates the difficulty female entrepreneurs have when attempting to obtain venture capital.  Specifically, the chapter highlights the struggle faced by Arlan Hamilton (author of It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated Into Your Greatest Advantage and founder of Backstage Capital) while trying to get source funding. This chapter exhibits the authors’ approach in sharing information on how small private companies can succeed through real-life stories.

Chapter four, “You Can’t Be What You Can’t See,” documents the need for female entrepreneur role models, especially women of color, and shows examples of successful mentorships. Chapter five, “Sleazy Texts, Late-Night Meetings,” exposes the sexual harassment and sexual/sexist comments various entrepreneurs have experienced, especially in Silicon Valley. Althoff does an excellent job relating this to the #MeToo movement and demonstrating how it affects male entrepreneurs who did not call out the behavior for fear of retaliation. This leads into chapters six and seven which examine macroaggressions and confidence. Chapter 8, “A Shoulder to Lean On,” concerns support groups. Althoff juxtaposes the back story of famous male entrepreneurs’ use of mentors/supporters to move themselves forward to show how the low number of female mentors is a problem. Finally, chapter nine, “Entrepreneurship’s Potential,” looks at how emerging industries/businesses will be the way to level the playing field and provides examples of how this is currently happening in the cannabis industry.

The book includes a six-page bibliography and it is an engaging read due to the real-life stories the author shares with readers.  Given its timely content and unique and readable format, librarians from both public and academic libraries would find Launching While Female as a valuable addition to their collections.—Kelly Janousek, California State University, Long Beach

Notable New Edition

Strauss’s Handbook of Business Information: A Guide For Librarians, Students, and Researchers, 4th Edition. Hal P. Kirkwood. Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited, 2020. 402 p. Hardcover $100 (ISBN: 9781440851308). Contact the publisher for e-book pricing (ISBN: 9781440851315).

The latest edition of this quintessential business handbook provides a comprehensive overview of reputable business information sources. While previous editions are well known as indispensable guides for new business librarians, this text is also valuable for students or anyone conducting business research. Kirkwood builds on the structure and content of previous editions, adding new chapters that cover sources for entrepreneurship, competitive intelligence, and corporate social responsibility. The expanded appendices list sources related to topics and resource types not covered within the main text, including business information literacy, selected library blogs and reviews of popular business books. Useful introductory explanations and definitions at the start of each chapter provide context and help orient new business librarians, students or practitioners.

The first part of the book explores general business reference sources that are useful for any field of business including directories, handbooks, newspapers, sources for company and industry information, government information and finally statistics and economics. The second section introduces popular sources specific to different areas of business including marketing, investments, accounting, real estate and entrepreneurship, making it easier for readers to identify the chapters most relevant to their needs. 

Although the book is useful to a wide range of business researchers, it is focused heavily on the US and on more traditional industries and business practices. While the new chapters address more current topics in business, it does not include a section that covers sources related to business and social justice initiatives and/or inclusive business practices. Overall, the handbook offers a thorough introduction to business sources and helps readers navigate the breadth of sources available for business research.—Amanda Belantara, New York University


References

[1] “The World’s 100 Largest Banks, 2021,” S&P Global, April 23, 2021. https://www.spglobal. com/marketintelligence/en/news-insights/research/the-worlds-100-largest-banks-2021

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