A different perspective that brings out commonalities between business competition and combat.

NINJA INNOVATION

THE KILLER STRATEGIES OF THE WORLD'S MOST SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSES

Lessons from the tactics and strategies of ninja warriors applied to international and domestic battles in consumer electronics.

Consumer Electronics Association CEO Shapiro (The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream, 2011) writes that his views of what constitutes a “successful person, company, and organization” are shaped by the discipline and habits of martial arts. The author provides an overview of many different fields of combat, and his narrative makes clear that the ninja model is not just a metaphor. The different battlefields are united by the rapid pace of technological innovation, which has driven the consumer-electronics business to $200 billion of U.S. factory sales in 2012 and worldwide sales in excess of $1 trillion. Shapiro recounts in detail the battles involving the development of HDTV, which required not only outpacing Japanese competition, but also uniting different domestic business and political interests behind the proposed solutions. Shapiro's approach is based on many of the tenets of the ninja: a commitment to victory, the development of resources for success through teamwork, a lack of fear about operating clandestinely and stealthily behind enemy lines. Their tradition is very different than the one the author attributes to the more rule-bound and feudalistic samurai warriors. The CEA is a trade group, not a lobby, organized around annual conventions and efforts to promote its members' businesses. These events have brought Shapiro into close contact with innovators like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, among others, and provided him with additional insight into business and its leaders. The author is a proponent of strengthening consumers' rights and an opponent of efforts to restrict innovation.

A different perspective that brings out commonalities between business competition and combat.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-224232-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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?

A quirky wonder of a book.

WHY FISH DON'T EXIST

A STORY OF LOSS, LOVE, AND THE HIDDEN ORDER OF LIFE

A Peabody Award–winning NPR science reporter chronicles the life of a turn-of-the-century scientist and how her quest led to significant revelations about the meaning of order, chaos, and her own existence.

Miller began doing research on David Starr Jordan (1851-1931) to understand how he had managed to carry on after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed his work. A taxonomist who is credited with discovering “a full fifth of fish known to man in his day,” Jordan had amassed an unparalleled collection of ichthyological specimens. Gathering up all the fish he could save, Jordan sewed the nameplates that had been on the destroyed jars directly onto the fish. His perseverance intrigued the author, who also discusses the struggles she underwent after her affair with a woman ended a heterosexual relationship. Born into an upstate New York farm family, Jordan attended Cornell and then became an itinerant scholar and field researcher until he landed at Indiana University, where his first ichthyological collection was destroyed by lightning. In between this catastrophe and others involving family members’ deaths, he reconstructed his collection. Later, he was appointed as the founding president of Stanford, where he evolved into a Machiavellian figure who trampled on colleagues and sang the praises of eugenics. Miller concludes that Jordan displayed the characteristics of someone who relied on “positive illusions” to rebound from disaster and that his stand on eugenics came from a belief in “a divine hierarchy from bacteria to humans that point[ed]…toward better.” Considering recent research that negates biological hierarchies, the author then suggests that Jordan’s beloved taxonomic category—fish—does not exist. Part biography, part science report, and part meditation on how the chaos that caused Miller’s existential misery could also bring self-acceptance and a loving wife, this unique book is an ingenious celebration of diversity and the mysterious order that underlies all existence.

A quirky wonder of a book.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6027-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more