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68 November/ December 2014 BizEd bookshelf TH E FOU NTAI N OF KNOWLE DG E AUTHOR: Shiri M. Breznitz PUBLISHER: Stanford Business Books, US$60 IN 1993, the biotech industry in New Haven, Connecticut, consisted of six companies; in 2013, there were 70. Most of those new companies spun out of Yale University, which in 1993 saw a changeover to leaders who promoted investments in technology transfer and local economic growth. Breznitz of the University of Toronto presents two case studies—one on Yale, and one on Cambridge University in the U.K.—to learn what role the university can play in the economic development of a region and what factors shape the university's pursuit of that goal. "When we examine some of the most economically successful regions in the world…we find a university," she notes. But she also raises one of the key questions in the perennial debate between rigor and relevance. "Should universities, which were created to sup- port the unbounded world of ideas, focus on applied research?" She believes universities can choose to commercialize inventions in a way that benefits their regions—but warns that not all strategies will have positive outcomes. TH E S MALL B IG AUTHORS: Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein, and Robert B. Cialdini PUBLISHER: Business Plus, US$28 DOCTORS, HAIR STYLISTS, and restaurateurs lose billions of dollars every year from clients who miss appointments. Business owners can improve the odds of people show- ing up as scheduled by asking for verbal commitments, even if that just means having clients repeat the times and dates of their appointments, and by asking clients to write down the appointment details, rather than hand- ing them completed cards. These simple strategies can have huge consequences, write the authors—Martin, a business col- umnist; Goldstein, a business and psychology professor at UCLA; and Cialdini, a psychology and market- ing professor at Arizona State— because they encourage the use of "persuasion science" to influence people. "A small change in the set- ting, framing, timing or context of how information is conveyed can dramatically alter how it is received and acted upon," they write. Not only can "breathtakingly slight" changes in a message spawn enor- mous effects, they add, but these changes rarely "require large invest- ments in time, effort, or money." TH E Z E RO MARG I NAL COST SOCI ETY AUTHOR: Jeremy Rifkin PUBLISHER: Palgrave Macmillan, US$28 IS THE CAPITALIST system almost obsolete? Thought leader and Wharton lecturer Rifkin thinks it will largely disappear by 2050. Continuous product upgrades and the swift peer-to-peer communica- tion enabled by the Internet have driven production costs down to almost zero in fields like music and publishing, and virtually every other industry is being radically over- hauled. On the rise is the Collabor- ative Commons, where networks of individuals share goods, food, and intellectual property—all at low or no cost—with the goal of improv- ing the lives of everyone. Rifkin points out that "social commons" communities have existed from feu- dal times onward, and that today's nonprofits and NGOs are part of the long tradition. He's thrilled with the possibilities: "Markets are begin- ning to give way to networks, owner- ship is becoming less important than access, the pursuit of self-interest is being tempered by the pull of collaborative interests, and the tra- ditional dream of rags to riches is being supplanted by a new dream of sustainable quality of life." Stay tuned. LEAD I NG D IG ITAL AUTHORS: George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee PUBLISHER: Harvard Business Review Press, US$30 STARBUCKS IS A Digital Master. It's launched proprietary apps that even if that just means having clients repeat TH E FOU NTAI N OF KNOWLE DG E AUTHOR:

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