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The Mantra of Efficiency: From Waterwheel to Social Control Hardcover – February 1, 2008
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"This concise, scholarly study will not only encourage reflective analysis of historical events but also offer insight into potential future applications and change."(Choice)
"I find this to be the finest study I have ever read and likely will ever read on the evolution of 'efficiency' as an intellectual concept and, simultaneously, on its many applications over time. Alexander's book has remarkable depth, detail, coverage, and insight. Her work is most impressive in its tracing of efficiency from its origins as an obscure philosophical concept through the present, as a popular social and personal ideal."(Howard Segal, University of Maine, author of Technology in America: A Brief History)
"Alexander skillfully interprets a broad spectrum of sources spanning three centuries, three languages, and several academic disciplines. She packs a wealth of information into a slim and readable volume, carefully exploring the nuances of each case without straying too far from the central focus on efficiency's intellectual heritage."(Eric S. Hintz Enterprise and Society)
"A thought provoking study... Widens our understanding of how ideas of efficiency began, how efficiency has been experienced in different historical circumstances."(Peter Sutton Reviews in History)
"A very provocative book."(Larry Stewart American Historical Review)
"An ambitious book that... largely succeeds."(William J. Ashworth Canadian Journal of History)
About the Author
Jennifer Karns Alexander is an associate professor in the Program in History of Science, Technology, and Medicine and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota.