Books – Recently published books on innovation and technology include China, maverick CEOs versus unflappable venture investors, and the end of Silicon Valley.
Title:“The Oxford Handbook of China Innovations”
Authors: Xiaolan Fu, Bruce McKern en Jin Chen
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Oxford
Why you should read it: The latest state of play of China’s innovative ecosystem
This 800-page handbook aims to be the complete guide to the micro and business economics of the largest and also most feared country in the world. Featuring contributions from over 60 authors, the compendium takes on just about every aspect of China’s economy, grouped around the theme of innovation. It might raise the thought that Chinese government officials have also contributed to the book. But the fact is that China can only be properly understood in the context of the government policies that underpin its economic development. Innovation cannot be separated from the long-term vision of the Chinese government, as the three editors write in their introduction quite rightly.
Title: “The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future ”
Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Publisher: Penguin Press, Londen
Why you should read it: Salient stories about the relationship between start-ups and venture capitalists
Adam Neumann, the founder of WeWork, is known to have once sprayed a foam fire extinguisher all over an interested Chinese investor. Apparently no foam landed on his lips, as the deal went through anyway with this company that specializes in offering office space. These and other salient stories about the rocky relationship between investors and the often wayward CEO of a start-up can be read in this fun book by Mallaby. This English author discusses legendary deals made by venture capitalists who do not focus on safe investments, but instead want to finance risky companies. Most of these fail, but the point is to score a few successes that yield huge profits. Mallaby is not necessarily dismissive of this form of capitalism. The venture investors not only provide capital, but also good advice to start-ups.
Title: “Sustainable fashion. Responsible consumption, design, fabrics, and materials”
Author: Wearme Fashion
Publisher: Promopress, Barcelona
Why you should read it: introduction to eco-fashion
This book is a mishmash of information on eco-friendly and recycled fabrics and materials. It also features innovative entrepreneurs in fashion. As such, it serves nicely as a first insight into ‘sustainable fashion’, also known as eco-fashion. For example, Dutch entrepreneur Jeroen Muijsers of Flocus is put in the spotlight. His company specializes in a new application of kapok. This is a type of cotton that is normally used in pillows, but is nowadays supplied by Flocus to the clothing industry as spun yarn. Behind the book’s named author ‘Wearme Fashion’, is Vera Artemyeva, a Czech fashion activist.
Title: “The Year in Tech, 2022: The Insights You Need from Harvard Business Review”
Authors: Larry Downes, Jeanne Meister, David Yoffie and Maelle Gavet
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press, Boston
Why you should read it: Intriguing technology topics of the near future
Eleven chapters highlight the challenges that the world of technology is facing in the year 2022. We get to read that non-hackable encryption is on the horizon and also that the commercial aviation era is imminent. Even more intriguing themes the book covers: the age of tech giants is coming to an end and digital technologies could exacerbate environmental problems. This collection of articles, previously published by the Harvard Business Review, offers concrete recommendations for getting new innovations up and running.
Title: “Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism”
Author: Mariana Mazzucato
Publisher: Penguin (UK), Nieuw Amsterdam (NL), Campus (D)
Language: English, Dutch, German etc (translated from Italian)
Why you should read it: Making the case for the role of government in promoting innovation
In ‘Mission Economy’, this Italian professor, who is attached to University College London, looks at the major challenges of the day in a radically new way. She believes that we need to rethink the capabilities and role of government within the economy and society. The second part of the title refers to American efforts dating back to the early 1960s to combine public and private collaboration with the goal of going to the moon within 10 years. A decade of innovations like that will be possible again – if research institutes, companies and governments start working together effectively in a fresh way.
Feeling the urge? Order the books via your local (in this case, Dutch) bookstore!
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