A Summer Reading List for IR Pros: What We’re Reading and Why

We have pulled together a list of our must read books for investor relations professionals that our team is reading this summer.

Winning Investors Over: Surprising Truths About Honesty, Earnings Guidance, and Other Ways to Boost Your Stock Price

Baruch Lev—Harvard Business Review Press (November 15, 2011)

Description (Amazon.com): Pleasing Wall Street used to be easy for executives. Not anymore. The stock market is an uncertain place, and every day executives have to figure out what investors really want. There are right ways and wrong ways to do this. Get it wrong, and you risk alienating investors as well as employees, consumers, and suppliers—which can erode your earnings and stock price…..

Why we’re reading it

Professor Baruch Lev is the director of the Vincent C. Ross Institute of Accounting Research and the Philip Bardes Professor of Accounting and Finance at New York University Stern School of Business. He spoke at the June 2012 NIRI National Conference in Seattle, and we attended a special luncheon for senior investor relations practitioners where he discussed his new book. In our view, the subject matter he presents is fundamental to strategic, proactive investor relations execution, and we are delighted to see a new publication that outlines dos and don’ts for IROs and the C-suite. Based on editorial reviews we’ve seen, this book is sure to be a must-read for everyone involved in value-driven IR.

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck-Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen—HarperBusiness (October 11, 2011)

Description (Amazon.com): Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague, Morten Hansen, enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous, and fast-moving times.

Why we’re reading it

We’re always eager to read about corporate success stories – and even more eager to work with companies that make a difference and rise to the top! This book covers companies with standout patterns of creating shareholder returns over time, despite operating environments that are both challenging and ever-changing.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman—Farrar, Straus and Giroux (October 25, 2011)

Description (Amazon.com): Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of our most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound and widely regarded impact on many fields—including economics, medicine, and politics—but until now, he has never brought together his many years of research and thinking in one book…..

Why we’re reading it

Sure, we’ve seen Thinking, Fast and Slow on best-seller lists, but an article in CFO Magazine online caught our eye. The article, “The CFO in the Corporate Brain” puts the two types of thinking detailed in the book in the context of the roles of the CEO, CFO and Board. This may provide some interesting food for thought in analyzing how decisions are made within a company and how they should be communicated to various audiences.

Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company

Andrew S. Grove—Crown Business (March 16, 1999)

Description (Amazon.com): Under Andy Grove’s leadership, Intel has become the world’s largest chip maker and one of the most admired companies in the world. In Only the Paranoid Survive, Grove reveals his strategy of focusing on a new way of measuring the nightmare moment every leader dreads-when massive change occurs and a company must, virtually overnight, adapt or fall by the wayside….

Why we’re reading it

CNBC Senior Stocks Commentator Herb Greenberg and Jim Cramer agree that this might be one of the best business books ever. Why? All companies need to be prepared for that point in time when a convergence of forces can send the status quo sideways. Any strategic investor relations program should balance a proactive go-forward program with a contingency plan that factors in the what-ifs. While this book was originally published in 1999, we think the messages are likely relevant in any environment – and especially today.

One Report: Integrated Reporting for a Sustainable Strategy

Robert G. Eccles and Michael P. Krzus—Wiley (March 8, 2010)

Description (Amazon.com): “One Report” refers to an emerging trend in business taking place throughout the world where companies are going beyond separate reports for financial and nonfinancial (e.g., corporate social responsibility or sustainability) results and integrating both into a single integrated report. … Providing best practice examples from companies around the world, One Report shows how integrated reporting adds tremendous value to the company and all of its stakeholders, including shareholders, and also ultimately contributes to a sustainable society.

Why we’re reading it

Investor relations is all about providing transparency and accessibility to company stakeholders and building credibility through the practice of consistent, forthright communication. If a company is taking tangible steps to incorporate sustainability into its business practices, that should be communicated as part of an ongoing messaging campaign. Beyond sustainability reporting, why not incorporate these messages into quarterly conference calls with investor and analysts, financial and trade media relations, and press release strategies? We think there might be some great ideas in this book, recommended by Erika Karp, Managing Director and Head of Global Sector Research during an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) panel at the recent NIRI National Conference.