Book it: Best bets for board reading: From a roundup of new books, leadership insights on winning the career game, the dangers of denial, the new activism, director dilemmas, and memorable board moments.: Witness to a firestorm.

 
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From Thriving in the New Economy by Lori Ann LaRocco. Copyright 2010 by the author. Published by John Wiley & Sons Inc. (www.wiley.com).

WHEN THE MARKETS COLLAPSED in September 2008--and as one spectacular failure rode on the heels of another--people wondered when it would end. As we entered each weekend of that month, my CNBC show "Squawk Box" left the guest list loose. There was no sense in trying to fill up the show with guests for Monday when we had two entire days left between shows, and anything could happen. The weekends quickly turned into a "wait and see" of which company would fail and which one Uncle Sam would rescue. We would book our Monday morning news makers on Sunday.

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This market crisis took me back to my years as the nightside assignment editor at WFTV-TV in Orlando. The wildfires of the 1990s were consuming hundreds of acres in central Florida; the winds were picking up, and there was no rain in sight to quench the parched soil. Despite the fact that the flames were miles away, I can remember the dense, stifling smell of the forest fires hanging in the newsroom. Watching the images of flames several stories high swallowing up trees and homes in a...

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