Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Some Great Books I am Reading this Summer

This has been quite the eventful (and wonderful) summer. After a glorious month at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden we returned to Amherst and, in just the past few days, we took part in the Isenberg Business Leadership Awards gala in Boston and also celebrated my doctoral student's Dong "Michelle" Li's completion of her PhD and acceptance of a tenure-track Assistant Professorship job offer. Michelle had 3 such job offers and made her decision after careful deliberations.

I am so proud of Michelle, who is my 18th PhD student, whose dissertation committee I have chaired. Below we are together after our dinner celebration at Judie's this past Monday evening.

This summer, in addition to spending a month in Sweden, doing research, co-organizing a conference in Greece, which takes place next week, and making preparations for the EURO conference, plus the fact that I am also writing a book, I have had the pleasure of reading some great books (all nonfiction and appearing in the photo below).

And to the authors and editors of these books there is a neat "connection."
All the volumes in the photo above I received from the author or editor, except for the first one, The Handbook of Global Logistics, edited by James H. Bookbinder, which I got from the publisher, Springer, since I had the pleasure of reviewing this 21 chapter handbook for the European Journal of Operational Research, and the review is now in press. Bookbinder's inspiration for the handbook came out of a special issue of  Transportation Research E, volume 41(6), 2005, on Global Logistics, that he guest edited. I admit I had a  paper in that special issue: Global Supply Chain Network Dynamics with Multicriteria Decision-Making Under Risk and Uncertainty,, Anna Nagurney and Dmytro Matsypura, Transportation Research E 41: (2005) pp 585-612. I did not, however, have an invited contribution in the handbook that I reviewed.

I read Bookbinder's magnum opus cover to cover and prepared the review of it while in Sweden (working many hours on it). I enjoyed the handbook a lot since the theme is of great interest to me and I also teach a course on Transportation and Logistics. The chapters are by different authors, some of whom I know very well.

The book, Forecasting Urban Travel, by Davie E. Bouce and Huw Williams, I am now reading and I have read several chapters. It is over 600 pages and is a historical rendition of transportation forecasting over a sixty year period from US and UK perspectives. It is a massive, extensive piece of scholarship. The book is my nightly reading now as a reward for a good day. I am eagerly looking forward to Chapter 7 on Transportation Network Equilibrium. Transportation Network Equilibrium is a topic that was my first research passion (and that my dissertation advisor, Stella Dafermos at Brown University, contributed so much to). It was  one of the themes of my dissertation at Brown University. I did get a preview of Chapter 7, since David Boyce, who has been a mentor and friend for many years, wanted my comments and feedback on it. This chapter, alone, I believe, is worth buying the book for since so many operations researchers and transportation scientists are noted there and their contributions. I am so honored to be cited in this book!

The book, Telecommunications Network Economics, I am taking with me on my upcoming European 3 week sojourn. Patrick Maille, one of the authors (with Bruno Tuffin), sent me a complimentary copy. Given that my great collaborator, Tilman Wolf, and our Co-PIs on a big NSF grant, Jim Griffioen, Ken Calvert, Rudra Dutta, and George Rouskas, with our students, have been working on the Future Internet Architecture project known as ChoiceNet, for 4 years, now, this book should be a great read. And, yes, I peeked -- I am cited - specifically, my Supply Chain Network Economics book is, which I wrote while at Harvard.  Patrick Maille  is an Associate Professor at Telecom Bretagne (part of Institut Mines-Telecom) in France. This year he is visiting Jean Walrand’s team at UC Berkeley (I am a huge fan of Walrand's work). Maille has asked me to serve on his habilitation (Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches, in French)  committee, that he will defending  in Rennes, France in October. I have agreed.

A habilitation, according to Wikipedia, is the highest academic qualification a scholar can achieve by his or her own pursuit in many countries in Europe, Central Asia, and Egypt... Earned usually after obtaining a research doctorate, such as a PhD, the habilitation requires that the candidate write a professorial thesis (or habilitation thesis) based on independent scholarship.  I will also be reading his habilitation thesis this summer!

The book, Innovation Spaces in Asia, edited by Maurren McKelvey and Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen, I received as a gift from Maureen McKelvey at a lunch in Sjobaren in Gothenburg, Sweden 2 weeks ago. Maureen is a great friend and an exceptional scholar and served, for several years,  as the Dean of the Graduate School at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg. Her fellow co-editor, Sharmistha, was also a Visiting Professor at the school with me. Given the excitement surrounding innovation and entrepreneurship (and the Isenberg School received a gift of $10 million to fund the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship, for example), this book I will be reading after returning from Europe.

You may have noticed that the bottom set of three books featured above in the photo has a Swedish connection. I already mentioned the book co-edited by McKelvey, which I carried back from Gothenburg less than 2 weeks ago. I also carried the volume edited by Jonas Floden, Sustainable Intermodal Biofuel Transport, and the dissertation, Essays on Performance Management Systems, Regulation and Change in Swedish Banks, by Viktor Elliott, who successfully defended his dissertation while I was in Gothenburg and I went to the party. The defense itself was in Swedish so I waited in my office for it to be over with and then we celebrated with champagne (see photo below)!
I have read parts of both of these books and have enjoyed them a lot. Jonas and I are obsessed with sustainability and supply chains and we have co-authored several papers together. At the EURO Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in July I will be presenting our paper, Fashion Supply Chain Network Competition with Ecolabelling, Anna Nagurney, Min Yu, and Jonas Floden, Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain Management: From Sourcing to Retailing, T.-M. Choi and T.C.E. Cheng, Editors, Springer (2015) pp 61-84. Viktor's friendship I will always value. He was always ready and willing to give me lots of advice during my 4 year tenure as a Visiting Professor at the University of Gothenburg (including great restaurant recommendations) and for that I thank him!

Congratulations to all the authors and editors of the above books as well as to the contributors of the edited volumes! There is nothing like a great book!

Happy Summer Reading!

And to those who are writing book, Happy Writing!