From the January 1996 issue of Entrepreneur

Are Generation X employees a bunch of spoiled, complaining underachievers-or are they merely misunderstood? Author/Xer Bruce Tulgan argues in favor of the latter perspective in Managing Generation X: How to Bring Out the Best in Young Talent (Merritt Publishing, $22.95 paper).

"Too many Xers are being poorly managed and the costs are too high to leave this problem unremedied," Tulgan insists. "When managers fail to understand the needs and expectations of Xers and are therefore unable to manage Xers effectively, they diminish one of the most valuable resources at their disposal."

As Tulgan sees it, the youth of today are the beneficiaries of undue criticism-and he's determined to set the record straight. He's not going into the trenches alone, however: Managing Generation X is packed with personal horror stories out of the mouths of fellow Xers. In short, this is Generation X 101.

Unless you, too, were raised on MTV, you might want to put this tome at the top of your reading list. Don't let a generation gap divide your business and subtract from your success.

Microsoft Secrets

Few companies ever achieve the level of success Microsoft enjoys. So it hardly comes as a surprise that authors Michael A. Cusumano and Richard W. Selby have chosen to examine-thoroughly-the inner workings of the business that Bill Gates built.

Microsoft Secrets: How the World's Most Powerful Software Company Creates Technology, Shapes Markets, and Manages People (The Free Press, $30 cloth) is the fruit of Cusumano and Selby's labor. Granted open access to Microsoft for a period of several months, the authors clearly relished the opportunity to go where few have gone before.

"Although we are not the first authors to study Bill Gates and Microsoft . . . most of the many articles, academic case studies and popular books have focused on the history of the company and the personality of the founder," Cusumano and Selby write. "What remains largely a mystery are Microsoft's crown jewels: the key concepts that it has used to create technology, shape the markets in which it competes and manage the creative energies of thousands of highly skilled technical people."

Even if yours is not a software company, you're still apt to gain more than a byteful of knowledge from the detailed analysis the authors put forth. At the end, however, one question may remain: Why would Microsoft-the undisputed king of the software hill-consent to such scrutiny?

That's a secret we'll let you solve yourself.

Future In Sight

Imagine an increase of nearly 2 billion in the world's population. Imagine technology akin to Dick Tracy wrist radios becoming commonplace. Imagine consumers being able to shop for a new home at virtual reality centers. If Barry Howard Minkin's prognostications are on target, these are a mere sampling of what we can expect by 2030.

"As we accelerate into the next century, sharp eyes and quick reflexes are needed to navigate the turns in the road," writes Minkin in Future in Sight: 100 of the Most Important Trends, Implications and Predictions for the New Millennium (Macmillan, $22.95 cloth). "Bereft of a crystal ball, how are we even to look at the future? Life is complex now; it will become more complex. To contemporary eyes, how can the future be anything but a blur? But for those who know where-and ho-to look, the future begins to emerge, becoming clearer every day."

Admittedly, some of Minkin's predictions border on the predictable (no pun intended). But for every forecast of continued vigilance on environmental issues, there is a preview of, say, such technological marvels as shopping carts equipped with video screens.

The question is: Will you be prepared for the future-or will the future pass you by?

To order these books, please call (800) 96-BOOK-1 (ext. 3500)

Contact Sources

The Free Press, (800) 223-2348;

Macmillan, (800) 428-5331;

Merritt Publishing, (800) 638-7597, ext. 250.