New eBooks by Darden Professor Ed Hess Show the Way To “Smart Growth”

19 March 2012

“Growth can create value, but if it is not properly managed it can destroy value,” said Darden Professor Ed Hess. “And in some cases, too much growth too fast can destroy a small or medium-sized business.”

Three new publications written by Darden Professor Ed Hess debunk the myths of business growth and set forth a research-based approach to grow small or mid-sized businesses. Two of the publications will be issued for the Kindle, propelling Darden Business Publishing and Stanford University Press into the digital books realm for the first time.

Hess’ new book, Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Entrepreneurial Businesses, tackles the challenges of growth from an entrepreneurial perspective. Grow to Greatness is for practitioners and entrepreneurs who have successfully survived the startup phase and the shakeups that go along with building a new company. The publication delves into the “gas pedal approach to growth” and outlines the 10 major growth challenges for young companies and how entrepreneurs have tackled them. The book shares 12 different company stories as well as CEO insights, workshops and key tools used in managing the early stages of business planning. Grow to Greatness will be released by Stanford University Press in late March.

Further dissecting the process of smart business growth is Hess’ DNA of Growth,the first eBook to be issued by Darden Business Publishing, is based on his widely acclaimed book Smart Growth: Building an Enduring Business by Managing the Risks of Growth. In the eBook, Hess describes the essence of smart growth, considers what we already know about this kind of growth from different industries and examines why everything we think we know about growth could be wrong. The book notes that, surprisingly, the process of business growth in many cases is modeled better by biology and complexity theory than by economics or finance.

Rounding out Hess’ projects is the first eBook to be released by Stanford University Press, co-authored with Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka. The Physics of Business Growth: Mindsets, Systems and Processes is an eBook that sets forth a new formula for growth that attacks the natural tendencies of individuals and organizations to be anti-growth. The Physics of Business Growth is different from the management theories that dominate many business organizations. It examines what it takes to win at growth from both a leadership and an organizational system perspective. The processes that create growth differ substantially from the processes that drive standardization, predictability and low variance command and control top-down business management structures. Simply put, The Physics of Business Growth is different from the physics of stability. The expected release date is mid-May.

Hess has been a driving force behind the concept of “smart growth”— an approach that advocates stepping back from unsupported assumptions about the imperatives of corporate growth and focusing instead on building enduring businesses.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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David Hendrick
Associate Director, Editorial & Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia