First Monday: What's on tap for the business world in October

Home market took its toll

Bob Toll, CEO of luxury-home builder Toll Bros., has no excuses and freely concedes that he made some foolish deals in the years leading to the housing crisis. In the October edition of Condé Nast Portfolio, Toll talks candidly to reporter Andrew Rice about overbuilding and unwise land deals. As many other real estates executives have run for cover, Rice writes, Toll is reveling in the self-appointed role as spokesman for his beleaguered industry.

The Google phenomena

Call it the Google exodus, or the Google diaspora, or whatever. In almost any given week, blogs and business news sections perk up with news that key figures at Google are leaving. But that's because the corporate culture of Google has spawned a breed of in-house entrepreneurs who, after years at the tech hothouse, leave to put what some might call "iffy" ideas to the market test, says Esquire magazine.

Those who leave the company to launch start-ups have become something of a phenomena in Silicon Valley, reporter Luke Dittrich writes in the October issue.

Three such executives left in November to launch Merus Capital, a venture-capital firm in Palo Alto, Calif. Through the lens of Merus, Dittrich reveals the complex web that ex-Googlers are weaving around Silicon Valley. The new breed of Google graduates has already come up with a clever name to describe themselves: Xooglers. The founders of Merus are betting their connections to Xooglers will lead to big payoffs.

By Gary Rawlins, USA TODAY

WHAT I READ

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey is president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropy whose mission is improving health care.

A practicing physician, she still treats patients at a community health clinic in New Brunswick, N.J. Lavizzo-Mourey and her husband of 30 years have two adult children.

Her favorite books

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I really enjoy books about families — and history — and the struggle they go through. I think it helps us understand the vicissitudes of life.

Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, is a book about Lincoln's Cabinet and the ways in which this team of rivals had very different views on governing the country, but were absolutely determined to make this country a better place, and how Lincoln managed them. It shows how to bring together a team for a good purpose.

Reading tastes

I like books about the struggles and triumphs of families over time. That's my all-time favorite, as far as novels. I tend to read fiction and non-fiction. The non-fiction early in the morning when I'm focusing on the things that will be helpful to me in my daily work. Often I read novels in the evening or when I'm trying to relax.

Helpful career reading

A book that has helped a fair amount is Good to Great by Jim Collins. It is a book that helps not only individual leaders but organizations understand how they can be better. In philanthropy, we are always trying to create transformative change and at the same time make ourselves better.

Another one that has been very helpful is Clayton Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma. It is about the changes in the marketplace, human behavior that leads to future innovations. That is something we care a lot about. I have galleys for his new book, The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care, in my briefcase to read sometime soon.

Last book given as a gift

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