From Library Journal
These two books, along with a third volume (the forthcoming Corning Through the Ages), were commissioned by Corning to mark 150 years in business. While such an endeavor is inevitably self-serving, the authors have been allowed to present both the accomplishments (and they are numerous) and the sticking points and warts. In The Generations of Corning, Dyer and Gross detail the history of the organization from its inception to the current day. From a business perspective, it is intriguing to learn how a company was able to take a fundamental material glass and both develop its particular formulation and engineer the industrial process to expedite manufacturing. This was true for the electric light bulb, fiber optics, and a host of other industrial and consumer products. The history also shows how Corning leveraged its competencies through large-scale partnerships. In Corning and the Craft of Innovation, history is subjugated to more specific topics. Hence, Gross and Shuldiner deal with glassmaking as both an art and a science, the realm of processes, and military applications. Perhaps the greatest value of the book is in showing how Corning came to embody what in today's jargon is a "learning organization." As a result, an organization that made its living off the mundane (e.g., the light bulb) was able to create the spectacular (e.g., the 200" telescope mirror). While each work covers much the same material, the scientist may prefer Craft and the social economist, Generations; both books are recommended. Steven Silkunas, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The popular image of Corning hardly puts the 150-year-old glassmaking company located in rural New York at the forefront of the information and telecommunications revolution. But the company has 40,000 employees, earned $7 billion last year, and is a leading producer of fiber-optic cable. In conjunction with its sesquicentennial celebration this summer, the firm commissioned this corporate history. Dyer and coauthor Daniel Gross focus on the family that led the company into the information age. Amory Houghton founded Corning and five generations of his clan served as chief executives from 1851 until 1996. The authors show how family connections and values put their imprint on Corning's character and culture. They also chronicle how the Houghtons came to specialize in both the art and science of glassmaking. With each chapter covering a successive generation, they tell Corning's story chronologically, and trace the generational pattern of organizational change as the company consistently developed new products and formed new partnerships. David RouseCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved