Ranking the 29 best books I read in 2016

2016 was a bizarre year. Donald Trump won the Presidential election. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Uber grew its revenue and still lost $3 billion. It’s been 1,000 days since a major American suburb has poisonous water–and nothing has been done. General Electric re-made itself–again. A 74-year-old socialist almost won a major party’s Presidential nomination. The long-awaited digital… Continue reading

Book Review: Dawn of Innovation by Charles Morris

In Dawn of Innovation Charles Morris argues that America’s economic dominance wasn’t driven by science, technology or ingenuity, but our commitment to mass production (scale). “The dominating American characteristic across all major industries,” he writes, “was the push for scale—adapting the production methods, the use of machinery, and the distribution to suit the product.” Viewing… Continue reading

Jon Gerner’s The Idea Factory

Bell Labs, the world’s most innovative organization in history, had a simple view on innovation. Whatever improvement came out of their Murray Hill headquarters had to do the job “better, or cheaper, or both” than its predecessor. In thirty years, this philosophy allowed the company to develop semiconductors, lasers, fiber optics, solar panels, the Unix operating… Continue reading

At what cost was China’s development miracle?

In the span of forty years the China performed a development miracle. It transformed itself from an agrarian afterthought to the world’s second largest economy. This was in spite of pervasive attitudes and policies that ran contrary to most Western economic thought. In as recent as 1980, the country’s official dictionary defined “individualism” as “the… Continue reading