Kurtzman, Joel 1947–
Kurtzman, Joel 1947–
PERSONAL: Born June 25, 1947, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Samuel (a dentist) and Roselle (a sculptor) Kurtzman; married Susan Gross (a literary agent), December 28, 1969. Education: University of California, Berkeley, A.B., 1971; University of Houston, M.S., 1979.
CAREER: Writer, novelist, economist, journalist, consultant, lecturer, educator, and financial professional. United Nations, New York, NY, staff economist, 1978–83; United Nations and World Bank, New York, NY, international economist, 1983–87; New York Times, New York, NY, business and financial reporter, 1987–93; Pricewaterhouse Coopers, global lead partner for thought leadership and innovation; Knowledge Universe (a private equity investment firm), partner; Kurtzman Group (a financial consulting firm), founder and chairman. Cable New Network (CNN), on-air book reviewer. University of Houston, adjunct professor; Rice University, research associate.
MEMBER: Authors Guild, Writers Guild West.
AWARDS, HONORS: Indira Gandhi Prize for negotiations between India and Union Carbide following Bhopal disaster; Eisner Prize, Eisner Memorial Fund for creative achievement, for Crown of Flowers.
Crown of Flowers (novel), Dutton (New York, NY), 1970.
Sweet Bobby (novel), McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 1974.
(With Phillip Gordon) No More Dying: The Conquest of Aging and the Extension of Human Life, J.P. Tarcher (Los Angeles, CA), 1976.
(Editor, with Ervin Laszlo) The United States, Canada, and the New International Economic Order, Pergamon (New York, NY), 1979.
(Editor, with Ervin Laszlo) Eastern Europe and the New International Economic Order: Four Representative Samples of Socialist Perspectives, Pergamon (New York, NY), 1980.
(Editor, with Ervin Laszlo) Western Europe and the New International Economic Order, Pergamon (New York, NY), 1980.
(Editor, with Ervin Laszlo) The Structure of the World Economy and Prospects for a New International Economic Order, Pergamon (New York, NY), 1980.
(Editor, with Ervin Laszlo and Toivo Miljan) Food and Agriculture in Global Perspective: Discussion in the Committee of the Whole of the United Nations, Pergamon, 1980.
(With Ervin Laszlo and A.K. Bhattacharya) RCDC (Regional Cooperation among Developing Countries): The New Imperative of Development in the 1980s, Pergamon, (New York, NY), 1981.
(Editor, with Ervin Laszlo) Political and Institutional Issues of the New International Order, Pergamon (New York, NY), 1981.
Futurecasting: Charting a Way to Your Future, ETC Publications (Palm Springs, CA), 1984.
The Decline and Crash of the American Economy, W.W. Norton (New York, NY), 1988.
The Death of Money: How the Electronic Economy Has Destabilized the World's Markets and Created Financial Chaos, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993.
(Editor) Thought Leaders: Insights on the Future of Business, Jossey-Bass Publishers (San Francisco, CA), 1998.
(With Glenn Rifkin) Radical E: From GE to Enron—Lessons on How to Rule the Web, Wiley (New York, NY), 2001.
How the Markets Really Work, Crown Business (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Glenn Rifkin and Victoria Griffith) MBA in a Box: Practical Ideas from the Best Brains in Business, Crown Business (New York, NY), 2004.
(With Glenn Rifkin) Startups That Work: The Ten Critical Factors That Will Make or Break a New Company, Portfolio (New York, NY), 2005.
Sloan Management Review, member of editorial board. Strategy and Business, founding editor.
Development Business, United Nations and World Bank, editor, 1983–87; Harvard Business Review, executive editor, 1993–.
Served as business editor and columnist for the New York Times and a columnist for Fortune.
Also author of screenplay, Bobby's Axe.
SIDELIGHTS: Joel Kurtzman is a multifaceted writer, educator, and journalist whose works include novels, business books, and economic treatises. A former economist with the United Nations and World Bank, Kurtzman is also a financial expert and the founder of Kurtzman Group, a financial consulting firm. The Death of Money: How the Electronic Economy Has Destabilized the World's Markets and Created Financial Chaos features Kurtzman's careful analysis of the fragile communications and electronic information networks that serve as the pipelines whereby billions of dollars in capital is transferred around the world every day. Kurtzman cautions how this complex but vital network can be subject to disruptions out of anyone's control, ranging from unexpected destruction of communications satellites to erosion of underground cables to computer crashes or virus trouble. He cautions clearly what could happen to international economies if the links between banks, corporations, and financial markets were to collapse, either by accident or design. "Kurtzman makes the point that money is no longer a thing, but a system," noted Cecelia L. Wagner in Mid-Atlantic Journal of Business, and that such a system can fail. "The message is this well-organized, lucidly written book should not be ignored," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Wagner called it "clear, concise, and well-written."
In MBA in a Box: Practical Ideas from the Best Brains in Business, written with Glenn Rifkin and Victoria Griffith, assembles a collection of practical advice and guidance on business concepts, strategies, and procedures based on real-world perspective. "Not so much a nuts-and-bolts guide to business, this volume focuses on ideas and takes readers through the process of innovation" and the fundamentals of finance, sustainability, strategy, and management, commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Kurtzman includes material from a number of prominent business leaders, such as the inventor of the Segway, Dean Kamen; Harvard Business School dean Kim Clark; 3COM founder Bob Metcalfe; and Michael Milken, all providing information and suggestions based on their particular area of specialization. Kurtzman stresses the importance of areas such as human resources, marketing, communication, and learning from mistakes. The book is "loaded with thoughtful hints," noted Denis Jensen in Sales & Marketing Management. Booklist reviewer David Siegfried observed that "all the pieces are both pointed and concise."
Startups That Work: The Ten Critical Factors That Will Make or Break a New Company contains a "meticulous and instructive analysis" of 350 startup companies and the ten most important elements that made 300 of them successful, commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. Kurtzman looks at companies such as Web services provider Akamai and the prominent online job search service Monster.com. He identifies specific actions that a fledgling business can take to help ensure its greatest chances of success, including assembling a capable team of managers, properly managing cash flow, accurately estimating market size, and assembling a board of directors with the knowledge and insight to offer strategic suggestions and business guidance. Kurtzman also makes suggestions such as ensuring a marketing or sales professional is on the founding, and starting with an existing product rather than a revolutionary, untried idea. Kurtzman's "thorough volume will arm entrepreneurs with more than just common sense," the Publishers Weekly critic concluded.
Kurtzman once told CA: "I want to be involved with my subject, I want to know how my characters breathe and move, what it looks like to see through their eyes. While researching and writing Sweet Bobby," a novel about a young man severely traumatized by adolescence and war, "I worked in the violent wards of two mental hospitals. I needed to know my subjects firsthand." Kurtzman has more recently written nonfiction on scientific and economic subjects. He feels that "science is the true philosophy. The facts we know about the universe tell us both about where we live and about the human mind. Knowing about quarks and stars confirms Plato. The true dialectic is the equation between matter, energy, and mind. With nonfiction writing, I am interested in occupying the space between the actual and the possible. I want to observe things as they become. With fiction I want to straddle that point where the cosmos touches the heart."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, April 1, 2004, David Siegfried, review of MBA in a Box: Practical Ideas from the Best Brains in Business, p. 1337; October 15, 2004, Brad Hooper, "Top Ten Business Books," review of MBA in a Box, p. 387.
Journal of Leadership Studies, winter-spring, 1999, Jane Whitney Gibson, review of Thought Leaders: Insights on the Future of Business, p. 155.
Library Journal, May 1, 2002, Steven J. Mayover, review of How the Markets Really Work, p. 115; March 15, 2004, Stacey Marien, review of MBA in a Box, p. 86.
Mid-Atlantic Journal of Business, December, 1994, Cecilia L. Wagner, review of The Death of Money: How the Electronic Economy Has Destabilized the World's Markets and Created Financial Chaos, p. 306.
PR Newswire, January 7, 1993, "Joel Kurtzman Named Executive Editor at Harvard Business Review."
Publishers Weekly, February 22, 1993, review of The Death of Money, p. 76; April 5, 2004, review of MBA in a Box, p. 52; July 25, 2005, review of Startups That Work: The Ten Critical Factors That Will Make or Break a New Company, p. 59.
Sales & Marketing Management, October, 2004, Denis Jensen, "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover," review of MBA in a Box, p. 50.
Kurtzman Group Web site, http://www.kurtzmangroup.com/ (November 1, 2006), biography of Joel Kurtzman.
Leading Authorities, http://www.leadingauthorities.com/ (November 1, 2006), biography of Joel Kurtzman.