Family Business Recommends

Our publishers and editors have hand selected the following books for you to consider adding to your library. Happy reading.

Kelin A. Gersick, John A. Davis, Marion McCollom Hampton and Ivan Lansberg

Generation to Generation presents one of the first comprehensive overviews of family business as a specific organizational form. Focusing on the inevitable maturing of families and their firms over time, the authors reveal the dynamics and challenges family businesses face as they move through their life cycles. The book asks questions, such as: what is the difference between an entrepreneurial start-up and a family business, and how does one become the other? How does the meaning of the business to the family change as adults and children age? How do families move through generational changes in leadership, from anticipation to transfer, and then separation and retirement? This book is divided into three sections that present a multidimensional model of a family business. The authors use the model to explore the various stages in the family business life span and extract generalizable lessons about how family businesses should be organized.

Kelly LeCouvie and Jennifer Pendergast

Drawing on original research, case studies, and white papers, this book offers a comprehensive look at family business continuity planning, which is critical to the success of every family business.

Lloyd Shefsky

Visionaries are business superstars as rare as pop divas—and richer, too. But instead of using natural talent, they learn their craft: one that powerfully impacts segments of our lives, often in ways that we don’t even recognize. And their cunning is accessible, once defined. In Visionarie$ Are Made Not Born, retired Kellogg School of Management Professor Lloyd Shefsky illustrates the concrete steps you can take to achieve, explain and use visions to lead your business to a successful future.

Shefsky lays out five elements of visions and explains how to use them in your own ventures. He uses the stories of successful business visionaries, in addition to his expert insight, to demonstrate how those elements have been effectively used in the past. 

The 19 business visionaries include:
•Ross Perot and Ross Perot Jr., founders of EDS, Perot Systems and Jr.’s inland duty free port on his Dallas land.
•Fred Smith, teen-aged crop duster who was to found Federal Express
•Kay Koplovitz, who created USA network in her 20s.
•Robert Walter, who founded the massive Cardinal Health on “spaghetti” thin cash.
•Rocky Wirtz, rescued the limping, over-the-hill Chicago Blackhawks with a $40 million bet that struck Stanley Cup gold 3 times

He gives special attention to the added complexities of family businesses, which account for over half the U.S. GDP and where family visions and business visions often collide and conflict. He explains that listening is often a key to vision, and points out that being a visionary doesn’t consist of time travel or magic. After all, vision has no presence in the future; it merely envisions the future in the present.

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries and Randel S. Carlock with Elizabeth Florent-Treacy

The challenge faced by family businesses and their stakeholders, is to recognise the issues that they face, understand how to develop strategies to address them and more importantly, to create narratives, or family stories that explain the emotional dimension of the issues to the family. The most intractable family business issues are not the business problems the organisation faces, but the emotional issues that compound them. Applying psychodynamic concepts will help to explain behaviour and will enable the family to prepare for life cycle transitions and other issues that may arise.

Mark Casella with Jenny Luken

This book was written to share what I've learned on my own journey. From my 35 years of professional experience and my personal perspective as a second-generation member of a business-owning family who's married to someone from the third generation of such a family, I'll show you what you can do to help your own family create a legacy that lasts.