Category: Books

Recent Read: Geoffrey West’s “Scale” and the Physics of Corporate Life and Death

Recently, a colleague of mine recommended I read Scale, the new book by Santa Fe Institute physicist, Geoffrey West. At 448 pages, West’s book certainly does its subject credit, and it will reward anyone who completes it with a wide-ranging and very interesting analysis of how systems as diverse as a human body and a giant

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Must Read: “The Future of the Professions”

In 1540 a legendary union took place in England, in which the Guild of Surgeons agreed to merge with the Guild of Barbers to form the Company of Barbers and Surgeons and so give birth to the first professional association in the West. Since that moment, it has been commonplace for “professionals” to try to find each other and

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My Reading Year Topic for 2016 Is “Light.” What’s Yours?

When I was in grad school, one of the more interesting traditions I was forced to complete was known as the “Reading Year.” It was the beginning of the process for selecting a dissertation topic, and it involved working through a list of books many pages long. In general, it took most people about one academic year to get through the list, whose purpose was to expose the student

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Recent Read: “The Design of Business” by Roger Martin

Business thinkers and writers are, if nothing else, a wide-ranging bunch. There is almost no subject, from engineering to chemistry to the lives of historical figures, that they won’t use to make a point about how to be a better manager or executive. Today’s business leaders can sort through countless books and articles brimming with lessons drawn from subjects as diverse as ancient civilizations to

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Recent Read: “Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives”

What do a harried college student trying to finish a paper at the last moment, a poor farmer in India trying to survive until the next harvest, and a lonely German man on a dating web site all have in common? The answer to this intriguing question, according to Sendhil Mullainathan (a Harvard behavioral economist)

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Recent Read: “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity In A Time of Brilliant Technologies.”

I was really looking forward to reading Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee’s The Second Machine Age. It’s a NYT best seller, and it was hyped in many reviews as a great survey and analysis of the emerging innovations in robotics, analytics and machine to machine collaboration. Unfortunately, while the book does a nice job of laying out, in

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Must Read: “Capital in the 21st Century” by Thomas Piketty

Well, I finally finished the most talked-about economics book in the last decade, and my overall opinion is that it is worth all the praise and attention that it has received. Piketty has written a serious, well-researched, and well-argued that needs to be read carefully by anyone who cares about the future of Western democracies

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Piketty and the Paradox of “Human Capital” in the 21st Century

I am now about two-thirds of the way through Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, and so far I have been struck not just by his arguments about inequality (which are getting all the press) but also about his insights on the importance of old-fashioned capital in the internet age. In his chapter entitled “The

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ProjectSyndicate: “The Right’s Piketty Problem”

J. Bradford DeLong has a witty take on the criticism thrown at Thomas Piketty’s controversial new book, Capitalism in the 21st Century, over on Project syndicate.com An excerpt: To be sure, everyone disagrees with 10-20% of Piketty’s argument, and everyone is unsure about perhaps another 10-20%. But, in both cases, everyone has a different 10-20%. In other

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