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6 Books by Sloanies from 2021


While discussing his recent book, From the Basement to the Dome: How MIT’s Unique Culture Created a Thriving Entrepreneurial Community, with MIT News, Jean-Jacques Degroof, SF ’93, PhD ’02, said “the involvement of alumni is particularly key” when it comes to fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem in a university setting.

The same can be said for alumni involvement across all disciplines at MIT Sloan. From entrepreneurship and innovation to sustainability and leadership, Sloanie contributions to these discourses and others continuously help to enliven the pursuit of knowledge by the school’s cutting-edge faculty and students—as well as their fellow alumni.

Here are six notable books by MIT Sloan alumni from 2021 that demonstrate the Sloanie community’s ongoing commitment to creating, testing, and applying ideas made to matter to the world:

From the Basement to the Dome: How MIT’s Unique Culture Created a Thriving Entrepreneurial Community

By Jean-Jacques Degroof, SF ’93, PhD ’02

According to a 2015 report, MIT alumni have founded at least 30,000 then-active companies employing 4.6 million people and generating $1.9 trillion in revenue. These numbers have undoubtedly increased in the past six years, and according to the author, this is due in large part to the Institute’s prolific entrepreneurial community. But how did such a community come about in the first place?

This is precisely the question Degroof sets out to answer in From the Basement to the Dome: How MIT’s Unique Culture Created a Thriving Entrepreneurial Community, which MIT Press published in September. Throughout the book, Degroof digs into the history of entrepreneurship at MIT, which initially sprang up in student clubs, school forums, and Institute-wide competitions. These extracurricular activities were eventually adopted and sponsored by MIT, resulting in course offerings and the eventual founding of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.

Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

By Alex Edmans, PhD ’07

Just over a year and a half after its initial publication, the updated and revised paperback edition of Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit debuted in November. Researched and written by Alex Edmans, PhD ’07, professor of finance at the London Business School and academic director of the Centre for Corporate Governance, the updated book endeavors to demonstrate how companies can both earn a profit and serve a greater purpose.

In Grow the Pie, Edmans provides an actionable roadmap for company leaders to put purpose into practice and overcome the hurdles that hold many back; explains how investors can discern which companies are truly purposeful and engage with them to unleash value for both shareholders and society; and highlights the crucial role citizens can play—as employees, customers, and investors—in reshaping business to improve our world.

Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance

By Erica Dhawan, MBA ’12

As Zoom, Slack, and other communications technologies revolutionized workplace interactions for an increasingly hybrid—if not fully remote—world, “Zoom fatigue” set in just as quickly. Workers and managers were already tiring of new avenues of communication as soon as they were popping up. Enter Erica Dhawan, MBA ’12, and her new book, Digital Body Language: How to Build Trust and Connection, No Matter the Distance.

“We’re living in a digital communications crisis, where the reaction is to connect more instead of connecting intelligently,” Dhawan told MIT Technology Review. However, she said, those who can successfully navigate this new space will “know to never confuse brevity with clarity, that reading carefully is the new listening, and writing clearly is the new empathy.”

Mommy Goes to Work

By Jossy Lee, MBA ’12

When her son compared her work presentation to one of his classroom “show and tell” activities, Jossy Lee, MBA ’12, was inspired to create the Mommy Goes to Work book series, which gently guides young children through the end of maternity leave and makes mom’s workday fun and relatable. The series began with a single book, which Lee tested with over 100 people—many of whom have connections to MIT Sloan. She intends to expand it across multiple titles and subjects.

“We are going to develop Mommy Goes to Work in different places—in the hospital, in the labs, in the courts, in outer space, in the White House, in the army,” Lee recently told the Sloanies Talking with Sloanies podcast. “We want to do a series of books celebrating different working mothers and strengthen bonds between their families.”

Skills: The Common Denominator

By Asha Aravindakshan, SF ’17

The majority of professionals do not follow a linear career path. Instead, their trajectory is filled with twists and turns that sometimes involve periods of stagnation, great leaps, and occasional lateral moves into new careers altogether. In Skills: The Common Denominator, Asha Aravindakshan, SF ’17, writes about 25 notable stories of such career pivots.

In the book, Aravindakshan uses the stories she collects—six of which are about her fellow Sloanies—to outline advice for readers who may be considering their own career pivots. Whether you are trying to identify your transferable skills, build (or rebuild) your professional brand, leverage digital tools, or cultivate your network, Skills offers advice for these and other best practices.

Doubling Down: The Secret Sauce for Dual-Career Families

By Ilene Gordon, SB ’75, SM ’76, and Bram Bluestein

It is not impossible to balance successful career advancement with a loving family life. So goes the argument of Doubling Down: The Secret Sauce for Dual-Career Families, a mixture of memoir and playbook co-authored by Ilene Gordon, SB ’75, SM ’76, one of the first female CEOs of a Fortune 500 company, and her husband Bram Bluestein, a senior leader at global consulting firms.

Gordon and Bluestein write that one’s relationship—be they married or committed life partners, gay or straight—can have a significant impact on their professional success. As such, the authors offer a mix of personal stories about, practical advice for, and research into methods for simultaneously sustaining loving relationships and successful careers.

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