Famous Books by Famous Authors

In every field or profession there are some books, articles or authors you just gotta know about.

Every so often the Curmudgeon will actually read a book that is hot off the presses and that got some good reviews or the author is well known and respected in our field. For each of these must read books, we will take time to summarize some of its key findings, critique its recommendations or analysis, and place the book in some sort of theoretical context. Reading the review allows the time-pressed economic developer to target which books to read and when she/he read these books he/she has a framework and a perspective with which to make some judgements.

And if you don’t get to the book right away, our review will give you enough info that, just maybe, somebody else might think you actually read the book.

Please enjoy Famous Books by Famous Authors.

Articles in 'Famous Books by Famous Authors'

Use Three Wave History at Your Peril: Rediscovering Past American State and Local Economic Development

American state & local economic development enjoys a long and meaningful history yet is largely unknown to economic developers. Why? Our professional past has been collapsed into vaporous and ideological-laden “Three Waves”. Three Wave history polarizes and misinforms us about our three hundred year heritage/professional experience.
Isn’t it time we discover who we are as a profession?
The Four Eras of American state & local ED are an excellent start to appreciating the value of our professional history.

Main
Article
Executive
Summary

No Interrupting Peter Thiel: Zero to One

If entrepreneurialism, venture capital, and tech start up are your thing–this is exactly the kind of info you need to help evaluate proposals, perform due diligence on applications, understand tech business plans, and in general, familiarize yourself with technology business formation. Otherwise, this book can be a great crib sheet to follow the TV hit “Silicon Valley”. It is alleged by some that Thiel is the inspiration for the show’s character, Peter Gregory. I recommend Zero to One because it challenges our conventional principles about young tech companies, and introduces the reader to a new way of thinking and offers economic developers new ideas on how to evaluate potentially successful tech start up. Or if you prefer, it does make HBO’s Silicon Valley more hilarious.

Main
Article
Executive
Summary

Is Joel Kotkin Economic Development's Martin Luther?

The book jacket describes Joel Kotkin’s the New Class Conflict as a “call to arms and a unique piece of analysis about the possible evolution of our society into an increasingly quasi-feudal order”. The image of Kotkin as Martin Luther posting his famous 95 Theses came to my mind Using metaphors gleaned from the medieval world, Kotkin, the iconoclastic but extraordinarily insightful master of Curmudgeons, describes a new ruling class he believes dominate much of contemporary America. What has this got to do with economic development? Plenty! Kotkin’s description/critique of this New Class and its devastating consequences to our society and economy delivers a powerful blow to several prominent economic development strategies. Anyone in economic development can’t ignore this book–no more than the Pope could ignore the Protestant Reformation.

Main
Article
Executive
Summary

Are Economic Developers Still Held Hostage to the Mobility of Capital?

Economic development’s most deep-seated axiom is that capital is mobile, people can exit, and business can move to greener pastures. How do we get our collective hands around the sad fact nothing is tied down, and our job description/paycheck require us to wave some magic wand and make the problem go away? Paul Peterson’s classic City Limits (1881), questions whether a city can overcome the mobility of capital. Let’s update Peterson and see how things have changed.

Main
Article
Executive
Summary

You Think Working Where You Work is Bad? Try Working Here

Communities, even in the same state, want different things from economic development. They choose similar policies and programs sometimes, but “operate” their economic development programs in rather distinctive ways. And so, political culture enters into the day-to-day of economic development.

Main
Article
Executive
Summary

The Road Less Traveled: For Economic Developers who have the Courage to be Different

As an economic developer you’re not supposed to do it–pick winners, that is! Can’t really be done, we’re told–just like timing the stock market. This advice is a truism and like all truisms, it’s true up to a point. No doubt it is correct that one cannot consistently pick winners and avoid losers.  There’s one problem […]

Main
Article
Executive
Summary

The New Geography of Jobs (Enrico Moretti)

Enrico Moretti’s, The New Geography of Jobs (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, 2012). has been exceptionally well received by many of the economic development literari. Some commentators have described New Geography as the best economic development book of 2012. And if you don’t read New Geography, you would also miss reading the best, most readable explanation and defense of innovation, knowledge-based economics and their effects on the location of jobs in the United States. There is a lot going on in New Geography. You should read on because what lies below the thematic visible tip of New Geography and innovation economics is its frank and realistic understanding of what innovation economics can do and not do, and, perhaps more important, the linkage of innovation economics with American culture and society.

Main
Article
Executive
Summary

The Triumph of the City

An instant best-seller, Edward Glaeser”s, The Triumph of the City, is an unabashed love sonnet for the world’s largest cities. Triumph appears to be a clarion call and a focused strategy of ensuring these large central cities are able to maintain their cutting edge as the engines of world prosperity. But does Glaeser want to save all cities? Or just a chosen few?

Main
Article
Executive
Summary

The Great Reset

Richard Florida’s latest and greatest. Get his ideas on how we should deal with the “Opportunities” created by the New Normal and the Financial Crisis.

Main
Article
Executive
Summary