Matthew Budman

I'm author of the forthcoming Book Collecting Now: The Value of Print in a Digital Age. As an editor and freelance writer, I've spent my life immersed in words, and it's great to have a place to put many of them. Here are most of my post-college bylined articles, organized loosely by category, including a section with entire issues of The Conference Board Review, which I edited for six years.

Over the years at Across the Board and The Conference Board Review, I conducted several dozen Q&As, with thought leaders and authors, on everything from corporate failures to office romance to economic forecasts to Joe Montana's football career.

Men Not at Work: Q&A with Hanna Rosin

“For women, there’s still the question of diversity at the very top,” says Hanna Rosin, and indeed, articles and books continue to lament how few female CEOs and directors populate the corner offices of corporate America. But just a level or two down, women not only have achieved equity—in many industries and professions, they have surpassed men, and that fact has enormous implications for both employers and employees. Rosin’s new book, "The End of Men and the Rise of Women" (Riverhead), ventures far beyond the workplace, but that’s where the story begins: with male-dominated professions waning and men failing to adapt to new economic realities. The result is men losing power and authority both at work and at home. Even as ambitious women continue to struggle with “having it all” issues of balancing careers and family, men increasingly grapple with an unfamiliar feeling of dispossession.

Balancing Act: Q&A with Gen. George Casey, U.S. Army chief of staff

These are turbulent times for the U.S. Army, a massive organization that’s still not quite big enough to handle the extraordinary demands being placed on it. As chief of staff, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. is on the hook for recruiting, training, and retaining troops to fight two wars—and planning for any number of unforeseen crises—all while operating at a level of accountability and transparency that your average Fortune 500 CEO would find untenable.

Capitalism vs. America: Q&A with Robert Reich

Regardless of whether the U.S. economy is heading for recession or boom times, there's no question that today's consumers and investors are in many ways far better off than their parents: Just think of the ever-expanding product choices, the ever-widening investment opportunities, the ever-improving consumer technology. Under what Robert B. Reich calls "supercapitalism," Americans have gained tremendous economic power—and, partly as a result, lost their voices as citizens.

A Higher Consciousness: Q&A with Whole Foods co-CEO John Mackey

“Do you know how most corporations get their mission statement?” John Mackey asks. “They hire consultants who come in and write it for them. So it’s not authentic; it didn’t come out of the essence of what that business is.” Mackey, cofounder and co-CEO of Whole Foods, is severely critical of business as traditionally practiced. Basically, he’d like every company to be run as his own is: highly collaborative, egalitarian, empowering, green, and closely integrated with the community—in other words, conscious. Businesses that are so enlightened, he insists, will not only outperform competitors that look no further than the stock ticker—they will rescue society from its various ills. Mackey has spent the last thirty-plus years building a company epitomizing these values and the last several evangelizing to the world in speeches and at conferences; with "Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business" (Harvard Business Review Press), written with Raj Sisodia, he expands his thinking to book length. “We believe,” they write, “that the way forward for humankind is to liberate the heroic spirit of business and our collective entrepreneurial creativity so they can be free to solve the many daunting challenges we face.”

Flying the (Occasionally) Friendly Skies: Q&A with former Southwest CEO Jim Parker

Soft-spoken and self-deprecating, with a gentle drawl, James F. Parker doesn't fit the model of the hard-charging American CEO. And that role isn't one he ever intended to play: He served as Southwest Airlines' general counsel for fifteen years before flanlboyant co-founder Herb Kelleher tapped hin1 as his successor. A few months after taking the reins, Parker found himself facing the worst crisis in memory, as the September II attacks threw the airline industry into total disarray. He got Southwest through it, keeping the company in the black the whole time, and served another three years.

As the Bubble Pops: Q&A with Peter Senge

Peter Senge remains best known for co-authoring 1990’s The Fifth Discipline, but he has long since broadened his scope beyond what happens inside organizations. Today he hopes to help companies create “a future truly in harmony with a flourishing world.” It’s not as hippie-ish as it sounds, though: He believes that society is in dire straits, and that companies need to change what they’re doing—indeed, their reason for being—for the sake of the planet and its inhabitants.

Collapse: Q&A with former Circuit City CEO Alan Wurtzel

When a company is cruising along, earnings and share price high, every move seems like the right one, inexorably leading to success, as though it were planned that way. On a downward trajectory, every strategic shift looks disastrous—in retrospect, obviously so. Circuit City enjoyed a run as a good company before becoming a great company, one worthy of a Jim Collins profile in his 2001 bestseller "Good to Great." And then, after fifty years in business, everything went to hell. The reason wasn’t a hostile takeover, an accounting scandal, a class-action lawsuit, or an act of God—it was, simply, that the consumer landscape shifted and Circuit City failed to keep pace, leaving room for Best Buy to become the default place for people to buy TVs and audio cables and DVD players and videogames.

Who's Winning the Hunger Games?: Q&A with Michael Moss

For years, New York Times reporter Michael Moss has been delivering the inside story on what we eat, and the result hasn’t always made readers hungry—in 2010, he won a Pulitzer Prize for “relentless reporting on contaminated hamburger and other food safety issues.” Two words: pink slime. In his new book, "Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us" (Random House), Moss writes about far more appealing grocery items: Lay’s Potato Chips and Dr Pepper and Snickers and Hot Pockets and Chips Ahoy! and Pop-Tarts and Capri Sun and Frosted Mini-Wheats. As much as we know we should bypass those colorful packages—really, we should skip those store aisles altogether—most of us can’t help being sucked in. Why? After years of manufacturers’ loading up processed foods with salt, sugar, and fat, we’re hardwired to crave those ingredients.

American Pastoral: Q&A with Louise Mozingo

Once upon a time, big corporations put offices downtown and factories outside of town, and that was pretty much it. Then, beginning in the 1940s, as expanding roadways and cheaper cars and housing sent middle-class Americans to new suburban neighborhoods, companies began purchasing enormous tracts of land, with rolling hills and sparkling ponds and piney woods. And upon that land they built gleaming complexes of concrete and glass, situating their white-collar workers in the most desirable locations imaginable. Of course, there’s more to the story, says Louise Mozingo, author of "Pastoral Capitalism: A History of Suburban Corporate Landscapes" (MIT). Corporate campuses might be lush and verdant, but they’re expensive, inaccessible to many or even most workers, and incredibly resource-consumptive. “The idea,” she says, “is that you’ll look out your window and see green. I’m not saying it’s not appealing. I’m saying it might not be appropriate for a workplace in a post-peak-oil world.”

Good Leaders, Bad Leaders: Q&A with Bob Lutz

Bob Lutz has spent close to half a century working for and alongside the men running much of the auto industry—and he’s kept track of what strategies work and which don’t, which leadership strategies are effective and which aren’t, which CEO foibles are irritating and which are fatal. For him, there’s nothing theoretical about leadership—it’s embodied by real-life people tasked with getting things done and inspiring followers.

Change of Heart: Q&A with Ed Humes

Wal-Mart keeps you guessing. Sure, we’re talking about the same union-busting steamroller that still bends entire national economies to its will and dictates the agenda for thousands of suppliers the world over. Its low-price-no-matter-what business model hasn’t changed a bit. But over the last several years, everything has changed for Wal-Mart—at least when it comes to environmental issues. And the ramifications are enormous: The world’s largest retailer is looking toward the next generation of shoppers through green-tinted glasses, making sustainability a cornerstone of the company’s future. And Wal-Mart, with its mammoth size and influence, is aggressively driving everyone to follow suit. “This company with such scale and power and reach, a company able to move markets and direct suppliers to do its will—for the first time that power is being used to do something other than crush local businesses or gain an advantage in a way that can be perceived as negative,” Ed Humes remarks. “The company is using its power to advance the cause of sustainability.”

Think Horizontal: The case for organizing your company in teams.

No, top executives aren’t omnipotent—not even you. Having authority, a dedicated assistant, and a lovely window view don’t make you an expert on everything on which you need to make decisions. You can rely on your managers, but even you can’t peer inside their hearts to see if their counsel is impartial and comprehensive. One answer: teams. In Great Business Teams: Cracking the Code for Standout Performance (Wiley), management consultant Howard Guttman lays out guidelines for bringing together small groups, with members holding each other accountable for results, and best using their recommendations.
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