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Archive for the 'Columbia Business School Publishing' Category

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Jeanne Liedtka on the “Moses Myth” of Innovation

Solving Problems with Design Thinking

Today we continue our week-long feature of Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works, by Jeanne Liedtka, Andrew King, and Kevin Bennett and published by Columbia Business School Publishing. (And don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy of the book!)

In a September 2013 Bloomberg Businessweek article Jeanne Liedtka contests the “The Moses Myth” which suggests that “innovation is the miracle that results when a special person raises his or her hands to the heavens and the Red Sea parts, or the iPod (AAPL) is born.” Liedtka claims that companies should not wait for such a miracle man to make the innovation possible and that all managers can be inculcated with the right guidance to produce such “miracles” and bring forth innovation in their companies.

This is where Liedtka jumps into the concept of design thinking, “Design thinking gives us the ability to do just that in the form of a reliable set of processes and tools. Though it sounds mysterious, design thinking is just another approach to problem solving, an especially effective one if your goal is innovation.”

She supports this central idea by presenting a few examples of how design thinking supports innovation, as well as providing solutions to their business needs and problems:

IBM (IBM) reframed the challenge of transforming its trade show booths from traditional Las Vegas-style glitz—one-way monologues by which companies hawk their wares at attendees—to an environment that promotes a dialogue with potential clients. To accomplish this, the company garnered insights from conversations with a diverse set of outside experts (from Montessori’s founder to neuroscientists) and then tested the new concepts at a financial services show. The result: much deeper customer engagement leading to significantly more “hot leads” and higher revenue generation.

Suncorp (SUN:AU), one of Australia’s largest financial services companies, was able to speed up the post-merger integration of two very different cultures in the insurance industry. They did this by using the metaphor of a thriving city, inviting employees to design their own neighborhoods within it. Sounds wacky? Yes, but the exercise produced a more than 60 percent increase in employees’ understanding and ownership of the new strategy.

Liedtka concludes by suggesting that such an approach can make a remarkable difference in the way we do business, especially since it deals with the specific sets of tools and concepts that designers frequently use but is not very well-known as a means of innovation by business managers: “These tools emphasize attention to developing deep user-driven insights as the basis for envisioning new possibilities, engaging a broader group of stakeholders in co-creation, and then prototyping hypothesized solutions and testing these in small-scale experiments.”

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Design Thinking for the Financial Industry via “Solving Problems with Design Thinking”

This week our featured book is Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works, by Jeanne Liedtka, Andrew King, and Kevin Bennett. In the following excerpt from the book, the authors provide a case study of design thinking in the financial industry.

(And don’t forget to enter our book giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy of the book!)

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Book Giveaway: Solving Problems with Design Thinking

book

This week our featured book is Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works, by Jeanne Liedtka, Andrew King, and Kevin Bennett. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content about the book and its author here on our blog as well as on Twitter feed and Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Solving Problems with Design Thinking. To enter our Book Giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on October 4th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

August Turak Unplugged

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks

This week our featured book is Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning, by August Turak. Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, and award-winning writer. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Selling Magazine, the New York Times, and Business Week. He is also a popular leadership contributor at Forbes.com. His website is www.augustturak.com. Today we have a collection of some recent interviews by Mr. Turak. First, we have a short video in which he speaks about some of the ideas contained in Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks.

Next, we have an interview with Mr. Turak from WNYC’s The Takeaway, in which he tells us “why we should pay closer attention to the motivation behind our work and the business skills you can learn from examining the principles of Trappist monks.”

And finally, you can click here to watch Mr. Turak speaking with Jordan Goodman at The Money Answers Show on why success in business does not necessitate sacrificing ethics or happiness for profit.

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

August Turak: The Power of Trust

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks

This week our featured book is Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning, by August Turak. Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, and award-winning writer. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Selling Magazine, the New York Times, and Business Week. He is also a popular leadership contributor at Forbes.com. His website is www.augustturak.com. In today’s post, Turak provides some of the lessons on trust that he learned in his time with the Trappist monks of Mepkin Abbey, and he explains how trust is crucial to the success of both individuals and corporations in capitalism.

Be sure to enter our Book Giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks!

The Power of Trust
August Turak

Sooner or later every executive realizes that 99 percent of the people she depends on for success don’t report to her. The success of every CEO depends far more on vendors, stockholders, board members, regulators, politicians, strategic partners, the financial community, the media, and customers than it does on the relatively small number of paid employees that report to her either directly or indirectly. Leadership relies on persuasion and persuasion relies on trust. As another example, few people realize that the all-important corporate profit-and-loss statement (P&L) contains no cash or real money. It consists primarily of accounts receivable and accounts payable, which in turn are merely the promises that others make to pay us and the promises we make to pay others at some future date. Without the trust that underlies these promises commerce would grind to a halt.
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Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

August Turak: Why Being Selfless is Good for Business

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks

This week our featured book is Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning, by August Turak. Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, and award-winning writer. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Selling Magazine, the New York Times, and Business Week. He is also a popular leadership contributor at Forbes.com. His website is www.augustturak.com. In today’s post, Turak explains that the dichotomy between “higher purpose, putting people first, and looking out for the customer” and “‘profit’ and ‘bottom line’ considerations” is a false one. Instead, he argues that “the more successfully we forget our selfish motivations, the more successful we become.”

Be sure to enter our Book Giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks!

Why Being Selfless is Good for Business
August Turak

The current worldwide economic crisis is often blamed on the greed, selfishness, and unethical excesses of unbridled free-market capitalism. To a large extent, I agree with this analysis, even though as a businessman and entrepreneur, I love our free-market system. Most of us assume, however, that greed, selfishness, and unethical behavior are intrinsic to free markets, capitalism, and “profit.” And since capitalism has proved to be the most productive economic model the world has yet seen, this has led many to conclude that all we can do is manage a painful deal with the devil. Capitalism takes on the role of a wild and dangerous animal sharing our house; an animal we can live neither with nor without. This analysis assumes that this selfish beast can never be tamed, so it must be constantly restrained lest it suddenly turn on its master with the kind of disastrous consequences we have recently experienced.
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Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

August Turak: “The Economic Miracle of Mepkin Abbey”

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks

This week our featured book is Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning, by August Turak. Turak is a successful entrepreneur, corporate executive, and award-winning writer. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Selling Magazine, the New York Times, and Business Week. He is also a popular leadership contributor at Forbes.com. His website is www.augustturak.com.

Today we have an excerpt from “The Economic Miracle of Mepkin Abbey,” the first chapter of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks. In this chapter, Turak explains his interest in the Trappist way of living and of conducting business: “How do a couple dozen aged monks at Mepkin, working only part time and largely in silence, achieve such amazing business success? … How do monks compete so successfully in the open market while maintaining only the highest ethical standards and commitment to quality? And, most importantly, how can we apply these Trappist techniques to our secular corporations, nonprofits, families, and even our personal lives with equally explosive results?”

Be sure to enter our Book Giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks!

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Book Giveaway: Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks, by August Turak

Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks

This week our featured book is Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning, by August Turak. Throughout the week, we will be featuring content from and about the book and its author here on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed and our Facebook page.

We are also offering a FREE copy of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks. To enter our Book Giveaway, simply fill out the form below with your name and preferred mailing address. We will randomly select one winner on July 12th at 1:00 pm. Good luck, and spread the word!

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

An interview with Michael M. Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd in The Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

On Sunday, The Chronicle of Philanthropy ran an interview with Michael M. Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd, authors of The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving. In the interview, Weinstein and Bradburd explain how the Robin Hood Foundation makes grant-making decisions, and discuss why philanthropic foundations would be smart to learn how to better understand costs and benefits of projects they wish to pursue. Here are a few of the highlights:

Q: How does Robin Hood make its grant-making decisions?

Mr. Weinstein: We take each proposal and the first thing we do is identify all of the poverty-relevant benefits it might produce. What we count as poverty fighting are things that lift the living standards of low-income New Yorkers.

Once we’ve made that list, we assign a monetary value to each of those benefits, whether it’s gaining a high-school diploma, a health benefit, or a lower probability of criminality.

It’s a combination of a probability that the benefit will occur with the dollar value, if it does occur. We add them up and divide it by the cost.

Q: How does Robin Hood manage risk?

Mr. Weinstein: We have a board with a large number of hedge-fund traders and financial types who are used to risk and don’t mind it.

I joke that if the program staff reported to the board that every grant we had made the previous year succeeded, we’d all be fired. If nothing fails, you’re not taking any chances.

We look at the ideas that excite us the most and then we impose a hard constraint—one year from today, we will have the data that tell us whether we’re succeeding or not.

Mr. Bradburd: Philanthropy has adopted a standard of cost-effectiveness. There’s a difference between lean and mean, and starving and stupid.

Donors should be focusing on the overall benefit per dollar of expenditures, not on just what percentage of total revenues is being spent on administration. Donors should ask the people who are asking them for money how they’re measuring the benefits of what they’re spending.

To read the interview in its entirety, click here.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving and Adventures in Quantitative Philanthropy

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart GivingThis week two different stories looked at the ideas at the center of The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving , by Michael Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd.

In his post, Adventures with quantitative philanthropy, Felix Salmon, examines the Robin Hood Foundation approach to giving and its “relentless monetization” framework. Salmon explains how the Robin Hood Foundation seeks to monetize the benefits of philanthropic giving to make sure it is effective and helps those it is intended to help.

An article for the Fast Company blog, Co.EXIST, also explores the Robin Hood method. The book’s coauthor, Michael Weinstein explains how the Robin Hood foundation developed its approach and the various factors it considers when trying to establish a cost-benefit analysis for giving money.

Increasingly, as the article points out, the Robin Hood Foundation method is being adopted by other philanthropic organizations, such as The Gates Foundation, and it is winning many adherents among donors in the financial industry.

The article concludes with Weinstein’s reflections on the aims of The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving:

Weinstein hopes that the book pushes even more people to consider Robin Hood’s techniques. “We wrote the book for two reasons. One reason is that donors, other foundations, and philanthropists are often asking us to advise them, to share what we’re doing,” he says. “The second reason is the opposite. We hope that by laying it out in black and white, we get feedback that tells us how to do things better. We already know our 170 equations [for monetization] are wrong. We’d love for people to say we have another wrong way to monetize interventions, but we have a less wrong way to do it.”

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

News from Columbia Business School Publishing

Columbia Business School Publishing

It’s been a good past few days for titles from Columbia Business School Publishing with several notable reviews:

Success recently wrote about the soon-to-be-published Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity, by August Turak. In the article, it lists four valuable lessons from the book:

1. Always honor your promises—even small or trivial ones. People will gauge your reliability on the big things by how you handle the little ones.

2. Keep promises to yourself because doing so correlates with willpower and self-control, virtues that are essential to trustworthiness. Willpower is like any other muscle; it needs daily exercise to stay in shape.

3. Under-commit and over-deliver. Only make promises that you know you will be able to keep. The quickest way to lose respect is to bail on your promises.

4. Protect your personal brand. Get in the habit of asking yourself, “How will this decision affect my personal brand?” In the long run, your reputation is your most valuable asset.

Forbes joins the chorus of admirers (Warren Buffett, etc.) for Howard Marks’s The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor. In a review they write:

This isn’t yet another “how to invest” book or a tired rehashing of received investment “wisdom” that looks more like something found in a fortune cookie and which rarely seems to hold up in practice.

Instead, Marks gives us the insightful thoughts of a man who struggles with his own investing decisions on a daily basis. There are no shortcuts, formulas or easy tricks. But there is a wealth of experience and thoughtful contemplation from a real “in the trenches” investor who has been doing this a long time.

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Friday, May 17th, 2013

The Robin Hood Foundation: An Introduction

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

Today, we will finish up our week featuring The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, Michael M. Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd, with a post explaining what the Robin Hood Foundation is and how it attempts to address the problem of poverty in New York City. (Don’t forget to enter our Goodreads book giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy!)

The Robin Hood Foundation finds, funds, and partners with programs that have proven they are an effective way to combat poverty in New York City. Robin Hood employs a rigorous system of metrics and third-party evaluation to ensure grantee accountability. The board pays all administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of donations goes directly to helping New Yorkers in need build better lives. The foundation also works closely with grantees to help make them more effective, ensuring that they will assist even more people.

The Robin Hood Foundation is one of the premier poverty-fighting nonprofit organizations focused on combating poverty in New York. This aim leads the foundation to support more than 200 programs in the city, ranging from education reform to stable housing, from food availability to literacy, and from health insurance and healthcare availability to disaster relief.

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Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Video: The Robin Hood Foundation Approach

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

This week our featured book is The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, by Michael M. Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd, published by Columbia Business School Publishing, an imprint of Columbia University Press. Enter our Goodreads book giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy!

Today, we have a couple of videos from the excellent Vimeo channel of the Robin Hood Foundation. In the first video, Michael Weinstein explains the Robin Hood Foundation approach, and in the second, he explains “benefit-cost ratios.”

Our Approach from Robin Hood on Vimeo.

Michael Weinstein Benefit-Cost Video from Robin Hood on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Michael M. Weinstein – The Robin Hood Foundation and “Relentless Monetization”

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

This week our featured book is The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, by Michael M. Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd, published by Columbia Business School Publishing, an imprint of Columbia University Press. Enter our Goodreads book giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy!

Today, we have a guest post from Michael Weinstein, in which he explains how The Robin Hood Foundation decides what to fund when there are so many important programs that need funding.

The Robin Hood Foundation and “Relentless Monetization”
Michael M. Weinstein

We philanthropists face gnarly decisions. To fight poverty, do we train chronically unemployed women to drive commercial trucks or instead pour money into pre-kindergarten programs for poor youngsters? Do we train male ex-offenders to serve as drug-abuse counselors for adolescent boys or fund charter schools? We can’t afford to do everything.

In The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, Ralph Bradburd and I set forth a framework for making the right choices — spending philanthropic dollars with maximum impact.

Our framework, which we dub “relentless monetization,” uses the workhorse of modern economics, benefit-cost analysis, to help funders decide which grants to make. Spending dollars on programs with the highest benefit/cost ratios puts dollars where they do the most good. For example, taking dollars out of one project and spending them on a project whose benefit/cost ratio is twice as high amounts to raising and spending twice as many philanthropic dollars.

The framework does indeed bite hard. Here’s one of many examples.

At the Robin Hood Foundation, we once proudly funded what we saw as the best permanent supportive housing residence in the city. The grantee takes in homeless families, provides them excellent mental-health and other services, and keeps them safely, permanently housed. Using representative numbers, Robin Hood might have spent $300,000 a year to help house 60 families. We say this residence was best because none–not one–of its families returned to the streets. Case closed: great grant.

Or was it? Once our metric algorithms were in place and staff did the arithmetic, the benefit/cost calculation came in low—indeed, very low. Did we immediately pull the plug? No. Perhaps our algorithms were wrong and were missing key benefits. Perhaps our equations were right but our numbers were wrong. We did eventually pull the funding plug, but we did so only after two years of scrutiny. The answer was that permanent supportive housing is a frightfully expensive way to fight poverty. Here, Robin Hood would spend $300,000 a year to save the same 60 families year in and year out. We do that nowhere else. At our schools, the students in the sixth grade change each year. In our carpentry-training program, the trainees change each year. In our micro-lending programs, borrowers change each year.

Our point is not to criticize permanent supportive-housing programs. They pursue an inspiring and important mission. But for Robin Hood in particular, the strategy is not cost-effective. We can spend the $300,000 in other ways that lift significantly more poor New Yorkers out of poverty over any defined period.

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Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Michael Weinstein and Ralph Bradburd: “An Overview of Relentless Monetization”

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

This week our featured book is The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, by Michael M. Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd, published by Columbia Business School Publishing, an imprint of Columbia University Press. Enter our Goodreads book giveaway for a chance to win a FREE copy!

Today, we have an excerpt from the first chapter of The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving: “An Overview of Relentless Monetization.”

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Book Giveaway: The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

“The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving is a must read for all ‘do-gooders,’ including the donors who give money and the nonprofits that spend it. The authors have a marvelous way of conveying complex concepts in simple English, including one of the best explanations of benefit-cost analysis that I have ever read. This book is a true gem.” — Sheldon Danziger, University of Michigan

This week our featured book is The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, by Michael M. Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd, published by Columbia Business School Publishing, an imprint of Columbia University Press.

Throughout the week, we will be featuring the book and its authors on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed, and on our Facebook page.

We are also offering TWENTY FREE copies of The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving through a book giveaway at Goodreads. To enter our book giveaway, simply click here and follow the instructions for entering. The giveaway runs through May 27th, so enter today for your chance to win!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving by Michael M. Weinstein

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

by Michael M. Weinstein

Giveaway ends May 27, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

“This is a great book for both non-profit funders and non-profit leaders. The book’s “relentless monetization” concept — if widely deployed — would dramatically boost the impact of the independent sector. Now let’s get right to work and act on this great advice.” — Mark Tercek, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Howard Marks, Author of The Most Important Thing, Featured in Barron’s

Howard MarksThe most recent issue of Barron’s features Howard Marks, author of The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor. The book is an update of his his best-selling The Most Important Thing but the new edition includes comments, insights, and counterpoints of four renowned investors and investment educators: Christopher C. Davis (Davis Funds), Joel Greenblatt (Gotham Capital), Paul Johnson (Nicusa Capital), and Seth A. Klarman (Baupost Group), as well as a foreword by Bruce Greenwald.

The article discusses the three commentators’ respect for Marks’s investment strategy and philosophy as well as remarkable success and that of his fund Oaktree Capital Management. The company consistently has high scores, prompting Warren Buffett to praise Marks’s famous memos to investors as must-reads. In 2007, Marks sensed the dangers of the sub-prime mortgage market and invested and prepared accordingly, providing his clients with another solid return amid the chaos in the wake of the financial collapse in 2008.

Marks grew up in Rego Park, Queens, the son of an accountant, whose investment philosophy was borne not only from his experience on Wall Street and his MBA from the University of Chicago but also his interest in Japanese culture:

Marks was particularly struck by the Buddhist concept of mujo, which holds that life and human affairs are a ceaseless process of transience and change to which the wise adjust. “Isn’t this the essence of investing?” he asked in one of his memos.

His experience investing for Citicorp in the 1970s provided for a crystallization of what is crucial for investing:

Perhaps most trenchant in Marks’ investing philosophy is his insight into investor behavior. Investors, in his opinion, tend to be lazy and superficial in their investment decisions, embracing rosy scenarios when optimism reigns and end-of-the-world despond when markets sink. Classic manic-depression, in other words, and not the wisdom of crowds. These swings cause markets to move in a pendulum motion around fair value, rather than in the linear direction most observers assume. That means investors must be astute, both in determining fair value and judging the amplitude of each emotional wave.

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Friday, January 11th, 2013

VIDEO: William Duggan on intuition and creative strategy

Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation

This week our featured book is Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation by William Duggan. Enter by 1 PM today for a chance to win a FREE copy of Creative Strategy. Professor Duggan is senior lecturer in business at Columbia Business School, where he teaches creative strategy in graduate and executive courses. Today, in the final day of our book giveaway, we are featuring a video taken of Professor Duggan teaching his well-known creative strategy class at Columbia, and reflecting on how common ideas of brainstorming don’t reflect our modern understanding of how the mind works.

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

VIDEO: Professor William Duggan on the science of strategic intuition

Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation

This week our featured book is Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation by William Duggan. Enter today for a chance to win a FREE copy of Creative Strategy. Professor Duggan is senior lecturer in business at Columbia Business School, where he teaches creative strategy in graduate and executive courses. Today, we have a short video of Professor Duggan explaining how recent discoveries in mind science have changed the way that we should view the process of innovation.

Video Platform Video Management Video Solutions Video Player

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

William Duggan — From Mind to Method

Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation

This week our featured book is Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation by William Duggan. Enter today for a chance to win a FREE copy of Creative Strategy. Professor Duggan is senior lecturer in business at Columbia Business School, where he teaches creative strategy in graduate and executive courses. Today, we are featuring an excerpt from the introduction and the first chapter of Creative Strategy. In the chapter, “From Mind to Method,” Duggan explains how the human mind creates solutions to problems and then translates the solutions into a series of formal steps to be taken.

Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation — William Duggan by Columbia University Press