With final exams approaching, we hope that our students have taken an education from their midterms and class projects, and are prepared to match or exceed their efforts so far.
In business, the grading curve is somewhat steeper, and there are scant opportunities to wheedle a higher grade out of the professor. (I'm not sure whether the use of electronic mail makes for more wheedling, or less. It's easier to send a message, rather than lurk around the professor's office to "discuss" a grade, but it's also easier to send a quick "no.") Thus, some companies go out of business, and some companies adjust. The Renaissance of American Steel is about the companies, some legacy steel producers in the U.S. and Canada, some in other countries, that made the adjustment to the world economic recovery after World War II. It's an academic work, from Oxford University Press, but Book Review No. 10 recommends it anyway. The authors note both the tendency of Big Steel's management to leave well enough alone and to buy labor peace, and later to make use of all the management fads of the latter years of the twentieth century, without irony or overanalysis. The focus is on the success stories, including some startup companies, and it went into print in 1996, before the latest round of consolidations in the legacy steel companies. It's an instructive introduction to the recent evolution of an industry that was once basic to the rest of manufacturing, and remains useful in the so-called information economy.
(Cross-posted to Cold Spring Shops.)