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Tech Transfer: Science, Money, Love and the Ivory Tower Paperback – March 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450553680
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450553681
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,305,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Book Review, New York Times, May 25, 2010, By Nicholas Wade. ...hilarious first novel [by]  Daniel S. Greenberg ... a leading science journalist with a deep knowledge of the academic world and science policy.  
--New York Times, May 25, 2010

More About the Author

Daniel S. Greenberg is a Washington-based journalist who has recently turned to fiction after a long career writing about science policy and politics. He is the author of three non-fiction books, "The Politics of Pure Science," "Science, Money, and Politics," and "Science for Sale," all published by the University of Chicago Press. His novel, "Tech Transfer: Science, Money, Love, and the Ivory Tower," published in 2010, was described by the New York Times as "a hilarious" and "mordant satire about scientists and universities and how they do business." (NY Times, Science section, book review, May 25, 2010).
Greenberg has served as a reporter for the Washington Post, as news editor of Science magazine, and as a columnist for the New England Journal of Medicine and The Lancet. For many years, he wrote an op-ed column that appeared in the Washington Post and other newspapers, and contributed to many publications, including the New York Times, the Economist, Harper's, Smithsonian, Nature, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He founded and for 25 years edited Science & Government Report, an international newsletter which was acquired by John Wiley & Sons in 1997. Greenberg has held appointments as a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association, Visiting Scholar in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology at Johns Hopkins University and as a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and has been awarded research grants by the Carnegie Corporation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Born and raised in New York City, he is a graduate of Columbia University and served as a naval officer prior to beginning his career in journalism.

Customer Reviews

Yet that axe never falls, and without that chop there's no story.
Apikoros
It is not worth buying the Kindle edition until a new version is issued with these problems fixed.
Stuart M. Speedie
I'd like to say I read the entire book, but I made it only to page 72 before I had to stop.
Ulrich Mueller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven Salzberg on July 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because Nicholas Wade of the NYT, another science journalist, wrote a very positive review. The book is so poorly written that I have to conclude that Wade and Greenberg, both science journalists whose careers overlap, are buddies. The portrait Greenberg paints is supposed to be satirical, but every character is simply annoying. All of them are unethical, or lazy, or greedy, or all of these things. It seems that Greenberg just dislikes everyone associated with universities, from the president and deans down to the faculty. And he's not clever about it - his treatment is very heavy-handed, completely obvious. I'm reminded of the bad guys in Ayn Rand's novels, all of them also one-dimensional - only Rand made up for it by being a heck of a good writer.

Greenberg should stick to science journalism. He can't write fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Apikoros on November 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended in the New York Times, and like a fool I bought it. On Amazon it was described by the publisher (i.e. the author himself) and several glowing reviews as a funny takedown of the academic science establishment.

To succeed as satire, you need to have some insight into your quarry's motivations and thinking. But from the very first sentence of Chapter 1, it became clear to me that this author knows little about science and scientists beyond some buzzwords and Three Letter Acronyms. His human characters are just interchangeable paper targets. His real villain is the University itself, whose sins are repeatedly rehashed throughout this book-length screed. Greenberg clearly has an axe to grind against academia, and he slowly grinds it and regrinds and regrinds it again for the entire length of the book. Yet that axe never falls, and without that chop there's no story.

Everyone at Kershaw University, we are told, is venal and corrupt; but no one gets a comeuppance here. The long and repetitious setup takes us up to the last few pages, where the cast members are each rewarded out of the blue with what they most want. By the same logic, I should end my overlong critique by suddenly awarding Greenberg the prestigious Writing Prize and a movie deal. The End.

(Kinda unsatisfying, isn't it?)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharon on December 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
A mystery that lampoons the customs and affectations of universities is a GREAT idea, but it needs to be written like real fiction to maintain reader's interest. Greenberg is clearly knowledgeable, but his book reads like a 300-page journal article. Needs dialogue, shorter paragraphs, fewer main characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carol K. Haas on October 5, 2010
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I bought this after hearing it reviewed on the New York Times Book Review podcast. It is a satirical novel about acadame particularly research funding. As a college board of trustee member I found some of the outrageous parts of the book too close for comfort. This will not win anyone's "book of the year" award but it is a fast, fun read for those who care about science or what happens in higher education.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Walter E. Gillett on September 17, 2010
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I gave up on this book about 1/4 of the way into it and should have done so sooner. It's an over the top attempt at parodying university administration and ties to industry. But the characters are cardboard and the humor falls flat. There are many better ways to spend your time than reading this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karl W. Broman on August 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
I saw the review in the New York Times, and was looking forward to a bit of satire on academia, but this isn't satire; it's just a series of lame caricatures. I couldn't make it to the half-way point, and I feel bad for having read as much as I did.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Monica J. Kern VINE VOICE on June 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First off: Don't be fooled by the low average rating of this book. If you read the reviews, most of the 1-star reviews refer to technical issues with the Kindle version, not the quality of the novel itself.

Second point: Somebody needs to tell Greenberg that when you write a satire, you're supposed to EXAGGERATE the subject matter. When you merely describe what's going on, it becomes nonfiction, not satire.

That is (maybe) mostly a joke. But the truth is that the picture Greenberg portrays of the modern research university is so uncomfortably accurate it makes me (a faculty member in the social sciences at a flagship Research I university) want to squirm. Take, as one small example, this description of one character: "Hal was a characteristically cheerless member of the post-doc proletariat, recognizable by their pallor and depressed demeanor from long hours in the lab, minimum-wage life style, imperious bosses, and uncertain vocational prospects." A reader not from academia might chuckle softly at this passage, but the postdocs out there (if they are even able to get away from the lab long enough to read a novel) would merely nod their heads in weary recognition. Or, as another example, most lay readers would dismiss as hyperbole Greenberg's assertion on p. 152 that, "Over many years, the grading system for undergraduates had deteriorated to merely a record of class attendance as the criterion for successfully completing a course." Faculty--with varying degrees of outrage or acquiescence--will realize that this characterization hits way too close to home for comfort.
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