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It’s World Book Day: Discover Great Books by Michigan Ross Alumni


Looking for your next favorite book? You may find it within the Ross School of Business global community of alumni. To celebrate World Book Day, we’ve compiled our annual roundup of excellent reads by accomplished Michigan Ross authors.

From faculty to entrepreneurs, consultants, and CEOs, Michigan Ross alumni all over the world have published interesting books and stories that span various genres, including business and finance, historical non-fiction, children’s books, and poetry.

Check out some highlights listed below, and see a more complete list of books from Ross alumni on the Kresge Library site.

The 12 Week Year

Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months

Author: Michael Lennington, MBA ’89

Genre/topic: Productivity

The 12 Week Year is a book about increasing the speed of execution for individuals, teams, and entire organizations. The book addresses problems arising from the unproductive annualized thinking and execution common in most businesses today.

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Uncommon Accountability

A Radical New Approach to Greater Success and Fulfillment

Author: Michael Lennington, MBA ’89

Genre/topic: Management and leadership

In Uncommon Accountability, best-selling authors and leadership strategists Brian Moran and Michael Lennington compellingly argue for a positive and affirming conception of accountability — one that stands for personal ownership of one’s goals, actions, and progress. The authors show you how to harness the power of accountability, with all of its built-in potential to enable growth and learning, improve well-being, reduce stress, and drive results.

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The Tech That Comes Next

How Changemakers, Philanthropists, and Technologists Can Build an Equitable World

Author: Afua Bruce, MBA ’11

Genre/topic: Business culture

Changing the way we use, develop, and fund technology for social change is possible, and it starts with you. The Tech That Comes Next outlines a vision of a more equitable and just world, along with practical steps to creating it, appropriately leveraging technology along the way.

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Define Yourself

A Guide to Identifying Your Life Principles and Creating Your Personal Compass

Author: Patrick Firlik, BBA ’14

Genre/topic: Happiness and fulfillment

Define Yourself is a short and simple blueprint to identifying and documenting your guiding principles. These principles will be a personal compass to guide you through life. Whether you’re graduating from college, hitting a quarter-life crisis, undergoing a major change, or just looking to sharpen your self-understanding, this guide will help you take control of your life and your happiness.

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Finding Free Speech

A British Soldier’s Son Who Became an Early American

Author: Eugene Procknow, MBA ’78

Genre/topic: Historical non-fiction

William Hunter, the son of a Revolutionary War British soldier, witnessed the terrors of combat and capture and penned the only surviving revolutionary account written by a child of a British soldier. Remarkably, Hunter immigrated to America and became a gutsy Kentucky newspaper editor and a prominent politician, businessman, and community leader.

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First Date Stories

Women’s Romantic and Ridiculous Midlife Adventures

Author: Jodi Klein, MBA ’93

Genre/topic: Relationships

First Date Stories is a collection of women’s true, hopeful, hilarious, and horrific tales, plus takeaway tips and inspirational quotes. This book, which Kirkus Reviews describes as “humorous and defiantly upbeat” and a “forgiving overview of modern dating,” reminds readers that not all first dates are created equal and that they can be the beginning of something long-lasting and wonderful.

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Practically Positive

Practices for Creating a Thriving Organization

Author: Richard Smalling, MBA ’93

Genre/topic: Management and leadership

Thriving organizations elevate humanity, yet many leaders struggle to create the conditions that allow all stakeholders to thrive. Doing so takes courage, patience, and dedication. It requires challenging the status quo and balancing many conflicting needs. Leaders who choose this path will create meaningful change in the world, starting in their own organization, and even in their own home. 

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A "Trip" to Strategic Leadership

A Heavy-Handed CEO’s Journey of Self-Discovery and the Principles of Strategy

Author: Mark Van Sumeren, BS(I&OE) ’79 / MBA ’83

Genre/topic: Fiction, management and leadership

This fictional novella conveys vital principles of strategy and leadership. A tale about Bill Ellis, a well-intentioned but heavy-handed CEO of a struggling medical device company. Facing consecutive years of stagnant revenues, Bill calls for a strategy retreat of his senior management team; only Bill doesn’t have any faith in the process, and his team knows it.

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All the Places We Call Home

Author: Patrice Gopo, MBA / MPP ’07

Genre/topic: Picture book

In her first picture book, author Patrice Gopo illuminates how family stories help shape children, help form their identity, and help connect them with the broader world. Her lyrical language, paired with Jenin Mohammed's richly textured artwork, creates a beautiful, stirring portrait of a child's deep ties to cultures and communities beyond where she lays her head to sleep.

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The Savings Solution

A Conversation About Living for Today While Saving for Tomorrow

Author: Michael Rubin, BBA ’94

Genre/topic: Personal finance

Through witty dialogue and actionable recommendations, quickly change your perspective and financial life. You’ll discover:

  • Why budgeting is completely unnecessary 
  • How to reach the Promised Land of Savings 
  • When and how to buy a house and a car 

You’ll also receive unexpected answers to questions like: 

  • Is your problem Starbucks? 
  • Can a telemarketer save you money? 
  • Are organic foods worth it? 
  • Could saving money ruin your life?

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Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck

A Conversation About Income, Wealth, and the Steps in Between

Author: Michael Rubin, BBA ’94

Genre/topic: Personal finance

Actual dialogue that guides you on your journey from income to wealth. With honesty, humor, and a touch of sarcasm, Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck will empower you with the tools necessary to reach financial success. You might not only survive, but also thrive, on the very income you earn today. Have the conversation you never had while learning the financial planning basics you were never taught.

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Managerial Applications of Multivariate Analysis in Marketing

Author: Gary Mullet

Genre/topic: Marketing and sales

Using actual data sets, sometimes disguised for confidentiality, this book shows how multivariate statistical analyses were performed, and outlines how the results were used by marketing management.

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Make Someone’s Day

Becoming a Memorable Leader in Work and Life

Author: Howard Prager, MBA ’80

Genre/topic: Management and leadership

The most powerful words someone can say to you are “You made my day!” You haven’t just committed an act of kindness when you hear those words. You have done something at the right time and in the right way that may turn someone’s day or even life around, inspire and motivate them, or get them unstuck. As a leader, it’s a powerful tool for inspiring your colleagues and staffers, leading to greater motivation, productivity, and retention. As a person, it’s heart-lifting and impactful to those around you. With many examples and short exercises, Make Someone’s Day teaches you how to make people feel like VIPs.

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Arrive and Thrive

7 Impactful Practices for Women Navigating Leadership

Author: Lynn Wooten, PhD ’95

Genre/topic: Human resources and personnel management

Arrive and Thrive showcases the power of courage, resilience, and authenticity, and highlights seven practices to empower leaders in any stage of their career. The book brings together the three co-authors’ insights from rich careers in business and academia, as well as research and advice from some of the world’s most successful leaders.

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Grains of Sand

Author: Colton Babladelis, MBA/MS (expected May 2022)

Genre/topic: Poetry

Babladelis’ debut book of poetry reflects the lyrical inspiration of his ancestral land, Greece, and time spent traveling through the United States and Latin America. This collection of poetry is an exploration of timeless questions about our place in nature and the nature of love. It gives agency and voice to the world around us, to the things that we interact with but never speak to.

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Gifts and Other Small Things

Author: Colton Babladelis, MBA/MS (expected May 2022)

Genre/topic: Poetry

Babladelis’ second installation of poetry is an ode to love poems, both classic and modern. These love poems are eight years in the making, and compiled to document life’s transition between two people, from dating to marriage. Relationships and feelings change and evolve through the years, collecting gifts along the way, making their own inside jokes, singing their favorite songs, and watching the seasons turn. This is a snapshot of those moments, told through the author's eyes.

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