As more and more business publishers seek mass-market success instead of ground-breaking knowledge, where would an innovative scholar find a publisher for a book about new thinking of interest to business leaders, managers, and policymakers? CK Prahalad, professor of corporate strategy and international business at the University of Michigan Business School, found himself in this situation and turned to a new player in the field to bring his book to market.
Prahalad’s newest book, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits, will be one of the first titles released by Wharton School Publishing, a new venture with Pearson Education, the international media company. Pearson Education business publishing includes Pearson Prentice Hall (PH-PTR), Financial Times/Prentice Hall, and Reuters imprints, as well as Pearson Addison Wesley. Wharton School Publishing will provide insights from academics and industry leaders through a portfolio of publications in print, audio, and interactive formats published in multiple languages.
Wharton School Publishing’s first title, The Power of Impossible Thinking: Transform the Business of Your Life and the Life of Your Business by Wharton marketing professor Jerry Wind and former Citigroup CTO Colin Crook, is scheduled to be released in July. In addition to being one of Wharton School Publishing’s first authors, Wind serves as Wharton’s editor for the imprint along with Tim Moore, Pearson’s editor-in-chief. Kathleen McClave, associate dean for marketing and business development, serves as managing director. The editorial board includes a cross-disciplinary group of 15 senior Wharton faculty members, chaired by David Schmittlein, deputy dean and professor of marketing. (A full editorial board list appears below.) Thirteen titles and a number of management tools are planned in the imprint’s first year.
In the interview that follows, the Wharton Alumni Magazine asked Wind about Wharton School Publishing—why it was created, what it would offer, and what this new venture means to the School and alumni.
Q: There seems to be a great number of business books out there. So, first of all, how will Wharton School Publishing be different?
A: Wharton School Publishing’s goal is to improve the quality of management. It is designed to be a trusted and consistent source of relevant insights and new thinking for thoughtful business people. The Wharton seal of approval is the reader’s guarantee that every title meets this high standard. Because our faculty are deeply involved with the research in their fields and understand how knowledge is applied in business, they can determine if a book meets this standard for quality. Equally important, they can identify the right topics and authors to ensure the imprint delivers on its promise to its readers.
We believe business leaders and policy makers need to understand the changing environment in which they operate and acquire new ways of thinking about business challenges and their application to strategy, management, and finance. The books and tools published by Wharton School Publishing help thoughtful executives stay on top of business in all three areas. In essence, we are creating a portfolio of relevant knowledge for executives, decision makers, public policy makers, and thoughtful readers. We think it will become a series that all senior executives and policy makers will want to collect and read just as the “Great Books” were two decades ago.
Some topics work better in one format or another and readers want choices in accessing information. Wharton School Publishing will not be confined to paper. We will introduce multiple audio and electronic formats to make it easy for readers to access our titles on their terms. We also will be creating analytical and management tools in an e-format.
Q: What kinds of tools, specifically?
A: Managers seek a reliable source for analytical models and tools that can be easily accessed on their desktops. Wharton School Publishing tools will enable readers to do such things as estimate the lifetime value of their customers, allocate R&D projects using real options, create a marketing and sales dashboard for managing their business, to name a few. In all, the addition of tools to the Wharton School Publishing platform will be an important added value.
Q: Why the partnership with Pearson?
A: Pearson is the leading global business publisher—they have deep expertise in all areas of business publishing, a broad distribution network with operations in 55 countries and in 27 languages, and a deep understanding of what is required to be successful in the business publishing market. With this alliance, Wharton can focus on developing a high quality portfolio of leading authors and topics with Pearson bringing world-class publishing and distribution talent and resources. Together we have a very strong value proposition and the capacity to execute on a global basis.
Q: Who will you publish?
A: We are seeking material from the best global business thinkers, academics and practioners. It’s not solely a venue for Wharton faculty—although we are currently in discussion with about two dozen Wharton faculty for development of books or tools. Among the initial authors are Wharton’s Robert Mittelstaedt and Larry Hrebiniak, and widely published authors CK Prahalad and Kenichi Ohmae.
Q: What is the role of the editorial board?
A: The editorial board is a cross-disciplinary group of the School’s senior faculty members. They have set standards for the new imprint to ensure that the portfolio of titles are of the highest and most consistent quality and worthy of the Wharton School endorsement. In addition, they know who is breaking new ground so they can proactively attract the right authors and differentiate between what is truly thought leadership vs. the latest “fad” thinking.
Q: How does Wharton School Publishing fit into the School’s mission?
A: Wharton’s goal is to enhance its ability to effectively deliver on its mission – to impact the world through the generation and dissemination of business knowledge and to develop effective leaders of integrity. Wharton School Publishing extends Wharton’s reach globally and fills a gap in the School’s publishing capabilities while providing new options for the dissemination of business knowledge through multimedia capabilities. We are planning local market editions of books in about ten languages. The worldwide distribution and marketing will enable all Wharton community members—alumni, executive education participants, students, faculty and staff—to access the thought leadership Wharton School Publishing will provide. It will also complement and enhance other publishing activities at Wharton, such as Knowledge@Wharton. Wharton School Publishing will provide an additional connection for the world’s thought leaders to the School.
Q: How will alumni benefit from this?
A: Wharton School Publishing will enhance the recognition of the Wharton brand of thought leadership on a global basis—which is important to all Wharton stakeholders. Also, this is a great opportunity for alumni to find new ways to connect to the latest in thought leadership at the School. We will make special programs available to alumni for discounts for books and to the broader Pearson warehouse.
Q: Wharton School Publishing has a website <www.whartonsp.com>. What does it include?
A: The site includes information about our books and authors, submission information, and reviews, and it will serve as an online “showcase” for Wharton School Publishing offerings. Book chapters and other materials will be available free of charge on a rotating basis. Visitors to the site will be able to read and download books.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to tell alumni about Wharton School Publishing?
A: We’d love to hear from alumni readers for suggestions on topic areas or potential authors. So, buy the books, talk about them with others, and be sure to send us feedback.
Wharton School Publishing Titles
The Power of Impossible Thinking: How to Transform the Business of Your Life and the Life of Your Business
Yoram (Jerry) Wind, The Wharton School, and Colin Crook, former CTO of Citigroup
To change almost anything in organizations, our careers or our personal lives, we first need to change the way we think. This book offers a framework for challenging our mental mindsets, improving our skills in making sense of the world around us, and acting quickly on those new insights.
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits
CK Prahalad, University of Michigan Business School
Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid represents a unique idea and a genuine opportunity for companies to commit their energy and resources to a higher goal: a more inclusive capitalism that in a very real sense can help the disadvantaged of our world. The book will be endorsed by the U.N. Commission for Private Development and Poverty, heads of state and CEOs around the world.
Will Your Next Mistake Be Fatal? Avoiding the Mistake Chain That Can Destroy Your Organization
Robert Mittelstaedt, The Wharton School
An in-depth analysis of the phenomenon of multiple mistakes; whether it is a physical disaster, a political blunder, or a serious corporate mishap, readers discover the unique set of compounding errors which, if unchecked, could bring down companies and tools to keep this from happening.
Becoming the Best: What You Can Learn from the Top 25 Business Leaders of Our Times
Knowledge@Wharton and Nightly Business Report
Writers and editors from the online research and business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the most popular business television show in the U.S. collaborate to uncover the traits that make business leadership endure.
Making Strategy Work: A Guide to Effective Execution Throughout Your Organization
Larry Hrebiniak, The Wharton School
An essential work on strategy implementation. It raises the level of our understanding of what is required to apply a strategic view across large organizations.
Managing Your Customers as Investments: Are You Spending More on Your Customers Than They Are Worth?
Sunil Gupta and Donald Lehmann, Columbia Business School
This fresh approach to the study of valuing customer relationships examines the cost to acquire, retain, and grow your customer base, just like a company or a stock, over the long term, and presents the reader with strategies that develop from this methodology.
Finding Fertile Ground: A Guide to Identifying Extraordinary Opportunities for New Ventures
Scott Shane, Case Western Reserve University
An essential book that provides the framework for assessing the potential of new age, cutting-edge business ventures. It provides the entrepreneur with the understanding and tools for starting the next big thing and the concepts and key issues that will make or break these projects.
Failsafe Strategies: Exploiting Great Opportunities with Little or No Risk
Sayan Chatterjee, Case Western Reserve University
Today’s technologies and issues pose distinctive challenges and require unique solutions. Chatterjee helps the reader think through the risks of a business model as it is being designed along one of two tracks: a commitment to a deliberate approach to strategy vs. an opportunistic, first-mover approach.
Conflict and Consensus: Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer
Michael Roberto, Harvard Business School
Drawing on case studies and interviews of participants in the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Bush Administration during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, and the infamous failed expedition to the top of Mt. Everest that spawned the book Into Thin Air, this distinctive work shows how great leaders cultivate constructive conflict to improve their decision-making.
The Chinese Century: The Rise of Chinese Business and Its Effect on the World Economy, the Balance of Power, and Your Job
Oded Shenkar, The Ohio State University
A far-reaching examination of the rise of the Chinese economy to super-power status, and what it means for businesses and people throughout the world and the implications for the balance of political power in the world to come.
The Real World Order
Kenichi Ohmae, former Managing Director, McKinsey and Company
This analysis of the economic, social and political changes we have experienced since the pivotal mid-1980s helps us determine the proper course of action required to operate a successful business in the 21st century global economy.
Capitalism at the Crossroads
Stuart L. Hart, Cornell University
An optimistic assessment about how to build shareholder value by creating competitive strategies that solve social and environmental problems. It envisions a central and expanding role for commerce, particularly multinational corporations, in moving toward a more sustainable world in the coming decade.
Wharton School Publishing Editorial Board
Dr. David C. Schmittlein
Ira A. Lipman Professor
Professor of Marketing
Deputy Dean, The Wharton School
Chair of the Editorial Board
Dr. Yoram (Jerry) Wind
The Lauder Professor, Professor of Marketing
Director, The Wharton Fellows
Director, SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management
Wharton Editor, Wharton School Publishing
Dr. Franklin Allen
Nippon Life Professor of Finance
Professor of Economics
Co-Director, Financial Institutions Center
Dr. Peter Cappelli
George W. Taylor Professor of Management
Director, Center for Human Resources Dr. Thomas Donaldson
Mark O. Winkelman Professor
Dr. Richard J. Herring
Jacob Safra Professor of International Banking
Professor of Finance
Co-Director, Financial Institutions Center
Dr. John C. Hershey
Daniel H. Silberberg Professor
Professor of Operations and Information Management
Dr. Paul R. Kleindorfer
Anheuser-Busch Professor of Management Science
Professor of Decision Sciences, Economics, and Business and Public Policy
Co-Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center
Dr. Ian C. MacMillan
Fred R. Sullivan Professor
Professor of Management Director, Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center
Dr. Andrew Metrick
Associate Professor of Finance
Dr. Olivia S. Mitchell
International Foundation of
Employee Benefit Plans Professor
Professor of Insurance and Risk Management and Business and Public PolicyExecutive Director, Pension Research Council
Director, Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Research
Dr. David J. Reibstein
William Stewart Woodside Professor
Professor of Marketing
Kenneth L. Shropshire
David W. Hauck Professor
Professor of Legal Studies
Dr. Harbir Singh
Edward H. Bowman Professor of Management
Co-Director, Mack Center for Technological Innovation
Dr. Michael Useem
The William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management
Director, Center for Leadership and Change Management
Kathleen C. McClave
Associate Dean, Marketing and Business Development
Managing Director, Wharton School Publishing
Timothy C. Moore
FTPH/Wharton School Publishing/