A valuable glimpse of a mecca of innovation.

SECRETS OF SILICON VALLEY

WHAT EVERYONE ELSE CAN LEARN FROM THE INNOVATION CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

Solid overview of the world’s “global innovation capital.”

Formerly a congressional staffer and lobbyist, Piscione moved to Silicon Valley seven years ago, started three media companies and became a zealous booster of the renowned high-tech region. In this brisk examination of the valley’s “ecosystem and culture,” she draws on interviews with innovators, venture capitalists and others to describe the genesis of this unusual creative hub, its main characteristics and how others can apply lessons learned there to innovative endeavors elsewhere. Named for the silicon-chip manufacturers who dominated the region in the 1970s, Silicon Valley is now the home for many leading global technology corporations (Apple, Google, etc.), which thrive in “a meritocratic culture that rewards innovative ideas, independent thinking, and hubris.” Piscione considers the major factors behind the region’s rise—Moffett Field, a former naval air station now owned by the NASA Ames Research Center; Stanford University, a force for innovation that has helped spawn 6,000 firms; the development of the electronics and semiconductor industries; and the availability of venture capital—the seminal roles of Stanford leader Frederick Terman and inventor William Shockley, and the convergence of engineers, scientists and people with an entrepreneurial mindset. Constantly adapting to new ideas, the region has long welcomed skilled immigrants—37 percent of the population is foreign-born, and most of those are from Asia. “Entrepreneurship is Silicon Valley’s sport, its religion, and there is no greater place in the world to be an entrepreneur,” writes Piscione. The author leaves few aspects of life in the valley unexamined; she even includes a rundown of hot spots like Buck’s of Woodside, a restaurant where entrepreneurs and venture capitalists meet.

A valuable glimpse of a mecca of innovation.

Pub Date: April 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0230342118

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

GOOD ECONOMICS FOR HARD TIMES

“Quality of life means more than just consumption”: Two MIT economists urge that a smarter, more politically aware economics be brought to bear on social issues.

It’s no secret, write Banerjee and Duflo (co-authors: Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, 2011), that “we seem to have fallen on hard times.” Immigration, trade, inequality, and taxation problems present themselves daily, and they seem to be intractable. Economics can be put to use in figuring out these big-issue questions. Data can be adduced, for example, to answer the question of whether immigration tends to suppress wages. The answer: “There is no evidence low-skilled migration to rich countries drives wage and employment down for the natives.” In fact, it opens up opportunities for those natives by freeing them to look for better work. The problem becomes thornier when it comes to the matter of free trade; as the authors observe, “left-behind people live in left-behind places,” which explains why regional poverty descended on Appalachia when so many manufacturing jobs left for China in the age of globalism, leaving behind not just left-behind people but also people ripe for exploitation by nationalist politicians. The authors add, interestingly, that the same thing occurred in parts of Germany, Spain, and Norway that fell victim to the “China shock.” In what they call a “slightly technical aside,” they build a case for addressing trade issues not with trade wars but with consumption taxes: “It makes no sense to ask agricultural workers to lose their jobs just so steelworkers can keep theirs, which is what tariffs accomplish.” Policymakers might want to consider such counsel, especially when it is coupled with the observation that free trade benefits workers in poor countries but punishes workers in rich ones.

Occasionally wonky but overall a good case for how the dismal science can make the world less—well, dismal.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-61039-950-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more