Every Friday, I serve up a list of five things worth knowing about -- and invite you to add more in the comments.
This week, as we all take off to enjoy the last long weekend of summer, the topic is great books about business and innovation, with strong Boston connections.
In no particular order:
- The Innovator's Dilemma, by Harvard Business School prof Clayton Christensen. Ever heard the term "disruptive technology"? Christensen coined it in this seminal book that explains why successful and established companies often miss the next wave of important innovation in their industries.
- Published online in 1999, The Cluetrain Manifesto laid out many of the important ways that the relationship between companies and customers, as well as between companies and employees, would change over the coming decade. Two of the manifesto's four co-authors, Doc Searls and David Weinberger, are fellows at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. They've just put out a tenth anniversary edition of their manifesto, with some new material.
- Evan Schwartz was a Brookline resident when he wrote The Last Lone Inventor, about the battle between Utah farmboy Philo T. Farnsworth and RCA executive David Sarnoff over a technology we still spend hours with every week: television. A riveting tale of the brilliant individual inventor up against the deep-pocketed corporation.
- Former Harvard Business School researcher Juan Enriquez predicted in As the Future Catches You that DNA will be "the dominant language and economic driver" of the 21st century. You'll find the book's unusual layout either maddening or invigorating. Enriquez now runs the Boston investment firm Biotechonomy. A valuable guide to the landscape of life sciences.
- The quest for The Billion Dollar Molecule, chronicled in Barry Werth's 1995 book, is still underway at Cambridge-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals, even though founder and primary character Joshua Boger stepped down as chief executive earlier this year. Great intro to the business of biotech.
What other books deserve a spot on this list? Do post a comment...
(Photo of Clay Christensen, above, is by Kerry Burke, BC Media Technology Services.)