By Kevin Maney

Hollywood studios have latched onto 3-D technology for roughly the same reason Bob Dole began taking Viagra. The main driver of the movie business — theatrical showings — has been going flaccid since the mid 2000s.

So says Kevin Maney in “Trade Off.” Maney uses that colorful metaphor to begin to explain his theory, which he calls the “Fidelity Swap.” Virtually every business must balance the quality of its offering with their ease of use.

The movie industry’s receipts have been declining because customers have found simpler ways to watch movies, either on DVDs sent through the mail or digital files, in their homes on ever-larger televisions.

Hollywood, realizing that it can’t make movie watching much easier, has taken a shine to Vince Pace and his technologically advanced version of 3-D viewing. Pace and producer John Cameron are deploying the technology to make the movie “Avatar.”

No word yet on how the former Kansas Republican senator is balancing quality with ease. Still, Maney offers several examples of ways executives have found the sweet spot within the fidelity equation.

Broadway Books, $22, 214 pages

The Silver Lining — An Innovation Playbook for Uncertain Times

By Scott D. Anthony

Too busy cutting costs and hoping for better times to see a silver lining in this economy?

Too bad. You are missing a critical opportunity to expand your business.

Scott Anthony, in “The Silver Lining,” says businesses cannot simply cut operations and try to move into new markets. Those steps might buy time or even eke out a bit more market share. But they will be no match for the market-changing forces affecting business today.

Businesses must transform the way they operate, stop what they are doing and begin doing something starkly different.

Take, for example, IBM in the late 1980s, when the company began facing intense competition from several angles. IBM responded in due course by changing much of what it does. Once a computer manufacturer, IBM now generates 60 percent of its revenue from providing services.

“Silver Lining’ offers many examples and a step-by-step guide for assessing your business model and starting to change it for a new day.

Harvard Business Press, $25, 210 pages

Love Leadership —The New Way to Lead in a Fear-based World

By John Hope Bryant

Growing up in Compton in Los Angeles County, John Hope Bryant was engulfed in fear. The author of “Love Leadership” talks about criminals who threatened his entire hardworking community, the pull of gang life and the death of his best friend, George —in the first three pages.

Bryant, at age 10, started a candy business and never looked back. Along the way he learned what he calls “bad capitalism,” or “ghettoized financial services.” All those enterprises succeeded by promoting fear.

Bryant says it took him 30 years to learn that to be successful a person must offer love as a product instead of fear. He founded Operation Hope, the nation’s first nonprofit social investment banking organization.

His guiding principles are:

  • Loss creates leaders. Difficulty in life can create opportunity.
  • Fear fails. Letting fear motivate your actions will lead to failure.
  • Love makes money. Lead with love, and people will follow you forever.
  • Vulnerability is power. Admit your weaknesses and own up to mistakes.
  • Giving is getting. Doing good for others pays off.
Jossey-Bass, $27.95, 203 pages

— Timothy Burn

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