Best Business Books 2017: Economics

Ten years after the first stirrings of the global financial crisis of 2007–09, economic historians are trying desperately to understand what has gone wrong. With remarkable frequency, writers and thinkers orient themselves and their stories around World War II, which seems entirely appropriate: What’s happening in the global economy and in politics certainly may feel like an unraveling of the postwar institutions and order. But … [ Read more ]

Common Purpose: Realigning Business, Economies, and Society

Today’s economic and political upheavals reflect an ongoing misalignment between business and economies (on the one hand) and acceptable societal outcomes (on the other). There is still time to adjust, if we are willing to reexamine some long-held assumptions.

Best Business Books 2016: Economy

It’s been a tumultuous 10 years. And the period has produced a bumper crop of excellent economics books by academics, journalists, and practitioners who have attempted to grapple with the extraordinary macroeconomic disaster. They have examined why it happened, how to fix it, what it means, and how to avoid a recurrence of anything even remotely as hellish.

But we may have arrived at a crossroads. … [ Read more ]

A Brief History of Finance and My Life at Chicago

An interesting essay by finance luminary Eugene F. Fama, which touches on some of the important events in the evolution of the finance field.

How Gary Becker Saw the Scourge of Discrimination

In the 1950s, few economists thought of phenomena such as racial discrimination as under their purview. That changed in 1957, when Gary S. Becker, Professor of Economics and of Sociology at the University of Chicago and at Chicago Booth before his death in 2014, published The Economics of Discrimination, a book based on his 1955 PhD thesis.

Becker’s analysis would extend the reach of economics, and … [ Read more ]

Management in the Second Machine Age

Future leaders will succeed by being entrepreneurial and by rethinking the balance between financial and social goals.

Management’s Three Eras: A Brief History

Even as old ideas remain in use (and are still taught), management as it is practiced by the most thoughtful executives evolves. Building on ideas from my colleague Ian MacMillan, I’d propose that we’ve seen three “ages” of management since the industrial revolution, with each putting the emphasis on a different theme: execution, expertise, and empathy.

The Enduring Management Wisdom of Lincoln

Headlines espousing the relative decline of the U.S. industrial base, despite a recent upsurge, have left American managers focused on today’s news and this quarter’s results. As a result, few have heeded the invaluable lessons of the country’s longest-running manufacturing success story. For nearly a century, the Lincoln Electric Company has consistently ranked among the most productive manufacturing enterprises in the United States, all while … [ Read more ]

Shedding New Light on Industry Shakeouts

Shakeouts are a common feature of nascent industries. IESE visiting professor Luís Cabral proposes a novel explanation for shakeouts based on sunk costs and technological uncertainty. Fearing they will back the wrong horse, firms initially invest conservatively, only expanding to their optimal capacity once the winning technology emerges, thereby triggering a shakeout.

The Messy Link Between Slave Owners and Modern Management

Harvard-Newcomen Fellow Caitlin C. Rosenthal studies the meticulous records kept by southern plantation owners for measuring the productivity of their slaves, some of which were forerunners of modern management techniques.

The Thought Leader Interview: Sylvia Nasar

The renowned author discusses how the great economists uncovered the basic truth about progress, prosperity, and productivity, and the reasons you should be careful which ideas you listen to.

The Forgotten Book that Helped Shape the Modern Economy

A British merchant’s long-forgotten work, An Essay on the State of England, could lead to a rethinking of how modern economies developed in Europe and America, and add historical perspective on the proper relationship between government and business. An interview with business historian Sophus A. Reinert.

Another Great Depression?

Just after the nation’s founding, Alexander Hamilton took on a banking crisis with eerie parallels to today’s,

No Creativity, Just Destruction

How capitalism killed the soul of Motorola.

A Brief History of the Corporation: 1600 to 2100

In its 400+ year history, the corporation has achieved extraordinary things, cutting around-the-world travel time from years to less than a day, putting a computer on every desk, a toilet in every home (nearly) and a cellphone within reach of every human. It even put a man on the Moon and kinda-sorta cured AIDS.

So it is a sort of grim privilege for the generations … [ Read more ]

Roots of Prosperity

The lessons of history suggest that if we want to reduce poverty in emerging markets, regulation reform and business success are prerequisites, not outcomes.

Why Management History Matters

The economic crisis has prompted many to call for a greater emphasis on studying the history of business and management. Morgen Witzel looks at the lessons that could be learned and why they are so important.

The House That Ogilvy Built

The legendary advertising innovator David Ogilvy created an enduring organization using culture, integrity, and charm.

The End

The era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over. Michael Lewis, who chronicled its excess in Liar’s Poker, returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong.

“Every Crisis Begins with a Shock”

Last year, on the 100th anniversary of their book’s subject, Robert F. Bruner and Sean D. Carr published The Panic of 1907: Lessons Learned from the Market’s Perfect Storm (John Wiley & Sons). A year later, as we weather a far greater financial storm, the book’s lessons are more relevant than ever. From their analysis of one of the worst banking panics in U.S. history, … [ Read more ]