Think of Jason Jennings’s new book, Less Is More: How Great Companies Use Productivity as a Competitive Tool in Business (Portfolio), as the In Search of Excellence for cynical times. Jennings launched an intense research project that zeroed in on eight "great" companies. Then he made sure that there were no Enrons in the mix by using an unimpeachable set of criteria for judging productivity.

Productivity, it turns out, is not a product of systems and analysis — it’s the byproduct of great leadership. And great leaders are driven by a single killer question: WTGBRFDT? That translates to “What’s the good business reason for doing this?” It’s the kind of simple-but-not-easy approach that defines the way these companies work — and reason enough to read this fresh take on the business of producing real results.