Essential reading for innovators.

THE WIDE LENS

A NEW STRATEGY FOR INNOVATION

Adner (Strategy/Dartmouth Coll.) debuts with a valuable perspective on how to innovate successfully in an interdependent world.

Even the finest new product fails when consumers don’t have a chance to choose it, a situation that occurs when a company’s partners—the distributors, retailers and salespeople who make up a company’s business ecosystem—do not adopt the innovation. The path to market, writes the author, is just as important as the new product itself. Examples abound: In the late 1990s, Michelin’s launch of an innovative run-flat tire failed when the company could not convince enough service stations to adopt its repair system. In the 1980s, Philips Electronics developed a great high-definition television with superior picture quality, but HDTV cameras and transmission standards had not yet arrived, leaving Philips with a $2.5 billion write-down. In each instance, the company’s focus on execution created a “blind spot” hiding key dependencies critical to success. By taking a broader view of their business ecosystem, companies can identify challenges that might undermine success and act to reconfigure the ecosystem in ways that eliminate problematic bottlenecks. In richly detailed stories, Adner shows how this was executed by Hollywood studios in introducing digital cinema and by Amazon in developing the market for e-readers. He also describes ongoing efforts by a fascinating new company named Better Place, which has been considering holistically the ecosystem of obstacles preventing the introduction of electric vehicles into the mainstream consumer market. The author pays close attention to Apple’s successes of the past decade, during which it reconfigured ecosystems to achieve success in three markets: music players, smartphones and digital tablets. Apple’s “hidden point of differentiation has not been in its elegant products but rather in its approach to leverage its advantage from one ecosystem into the next.”

Essential reading for innovators.

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59184-460-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2012

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A welcome contribution from a newcomer who provides both a different view and balance in addressing one of the country's...

THE NEW GEOGRAPHY OF JOBS

A fresh, provocative analysis of the debate on education and employment.

Up-and-coming economist Moretti (Economics/Univ. of California, Berkeley) takes issue with the “[w]idespread misconception…that the problem of inequality in the United States is all about the gap between the top one percent and the remaining 99 percent.” The most important aspect of inequality today, he writes, is the widening gap between the 45 million workers with college degrees and the 80 million without—a difference he claims affects every area of peoples' lives. The college-educated part of the population underpins the growth of America's economy of innovation in life sciences, information technology, media and other areas of globally leading research work. Moretti studies the relationship among geographic concentration, innovation and workplace education levels to identify the direct and indirect benefits. He shows that this clustering favors the promotion of self-feeding processes of growth, directly affecting wage levels, both in the innovative industries as well as the sectors that service them. Indirect benefits also accrue from knowledge and other spillovers, which accompany clustering in innovation hubs. Moretti presents research-based evidence supporting his view that the public and private economic benefits of education and research are such that increased federal subsidies would more than pay for themselves. The author fears the development of geographic segregation and Balkanization along education lines if these issues of long-term economic benefits are left inadequately addressed.

A welcome contribution from a newcomer who provides both a different view and balance in addressing one of the country's more profound problems.

Pub Date: May 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-75011-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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