Your Favorite Books, in One Sentence

2 December 2013 at 11:51 am 12 comments

| Peter Klein |

Craig Newmark pointed me to this list of “15 Famous Business Books Summarized In One Sentence Each.” I don’t think highly of any of the books on the list except Innovator’s Dilemma, but it’s an interesting exercise. Care to try your hand? I’ll start:

Oliver Williamson, Economic Institutions of Capitalism: Be shrewd in your dealings with suppliers and customers; they may not do what they promised.

Edith Penrose, Theory of the Growth of the Firm: The more you do what you’re good at, the better you get at similar things that may surprise you.

Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy: Fixed rules are better than employee discretion when you’re producing stuff that isn’t bought and sold on markets.

Michael Porter, Competitive Strategy: Be efficient and productive, but pay attention to your rivals and partners, or they’ll eat you for lunch.

John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory: Chicken chicken chicken, chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Recommended Reading. Tags: .

Field Experiment in Multitasking ISNIE 2014

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. craignewmark (@craignewmark)  |  2 December 2013 at 1:49 pm

    That Craig guy does great work!

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  2 December 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Nice summary, but what’s the book? (BTW which one of you is the “other” Craig Newmark?)

  • 3. rmakadok  |  2 December 2013 at 6:49 pm

    The Bible:
    Trust God, and do good.

  • 4. James Hasik  |  2 December 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Why the dislike for ‘The Economic Institutions of Capitalism’? I very much liked that book, but I’m not that well-read in institutionalism.

  • 5. Peter Klein  |  2 December 2013 at 9:39 pm

    @James: What dislike? Williamson is a hero around these parts.

  • 6. James Hasik  |  2 December 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Well, I thought! Reread your post just now, I understand that you didn’t like Newmark’s list. Regrets about that.’

    I will say that the day after he and Elinor Ostrom won the Nobel, an economics professor here at Texas expressed to me almost total disbelief. Of Ostrom he had never heard; of Williamson, he said, “we all knew who he was, but it’s not like any of us read him in graduate school.”

    I often use that story as Exhibit A in what’s wrong with economics education today. So regrets about the question.

  • 7. Peter Klein  |  2 December 2013 at 10:01 pm

    No worries, I can see how a quick read might leave that impression. I certainly do love Williamson, Penrose, Mises, and Porter (Keynes, not so much). You can find a lot of Williamson stuff on this blog using the search box above. And here’s a post from the day of the Nobel announcement on Williamson and modern economics:

    http://organizationsandmarkets.com/2009/10/13/williamson-miscellany/

  • 8. Bob Wayland  |  9 December 2013 at 7:40 pm

    I confess that I don’t get the “chicken” play on the General Theory. Is there an in-joke I missed? (I am not a Keynesian)

  • 9. Peter Klein  |  9 December 2013 at 8:24 pm

  • 10. Archie45  |  9 December 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Hilarious. I will puzzle over the connection some more.

  • 11. Peter Klein  |  10 December 2013 at 9:44 am

    Nothing profound, just my conviction that Keyensianism is gobbledygook.

  • 12. James Hasik  |  10 December 2013 at 9:58 am

    I like that thought. Occasionally I describe Keynesianism as “fact-free science”, or to borrow a phrase from the Bush Administration, “a faith-based initiative”.

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