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Wired for Innovation: How Information Technology Is Reshaping the Economy (MIT Press)

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0262013666
ISBN-10: 0262013665
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Editorial Reviews


Brynjolfsson and Saunders have written an important roadmap for future technology innovation. Anyone interested in the business and economics of information technology should read this book.

(Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief, Wired Magazine, author of Free: The Future of a Radical Price)

If you want to read just one book on digital economy, Wired for Innovation should be it. This easy-to-read, yet comprehensive and analytical handbook provides essential insights for understanding how and why information technology is transforming business and the economy. Anyone reading this book will come away understanding just how important and transformative the IT revolution has been, and will be in the future.

(Robert D. Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, author of The Past and Future of America's Economy)

This is the answer CIOs have been waiting for, scientific proof of the productivity and competitive advantage gained by investments in IT.

(Leo Apotheker, CEO, SAP)

Compact and insightful, Wired for Innovation provides a synthesis of the research on econometric analyses of information and communication technologies (ICT) that bear on organizational and industrial productivity.

(Steve Sawyer Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology)

If e-business had an oracle, Erik Brynjolfsson would be anointed.

(Business Week)

About the Author

Erik Brynjolfsson is Schussel Family Professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management and Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business. He is the coeditor of Understanding the Digital Economy: Data, Tools, and Research (MIT Press). Adam Saunders is a PhD. candidate in the Information Technologies Group at the Sloan School.

Adam Saunders is a Lecturer in the Operations and Information Management Department at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate at MIT's Sloan School of Management.


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Product Details

  • Series: MIT Press
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (September 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262013665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262013666
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,724,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on January 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Erik Brynjolfsson and Adam Saunders tackle the issue of information technology's impact on the economy in this book. The book's title is misleading, as this book is NOT about innovation, so people looking to read up on the subject should give this book a pass. Instead this book is intended to "provide a guide for policy makers and economics who want to understand how information technology is transforming the economy ..." page 11.

Information and IT in the economy is a complex and difficult subject and the authors provide a comprehensive view of the issue and where it stands from the perspective of academic research. This book is a good at covering the history of academic research on the topics of IT's contribution to the economy, measuring information in the economy, organizational capital and the like.

Recommended for readers who are comfortable reading academic research on macroeconomics, as I believe this is the intended audience. The 128 pages are well written and I was able to read the book on two short haul airline flights. As a book looking to straddle the economic and business world, the authors do a good job. The book centers on a `study of studies' than offering a new hypothesis and supporting research.

As a study of studies, the book seems comprehensive and does a good job of bringing in a range of research publications. There are a few things missing, for example David Teece's work on Dynamic Capabilities. One weakeness is that the book relies on 16 articles authored by Erik Brynjolfsson, by far the most commonly cited author.

As a business or strategy book, Wired for Innovation has some significant shortcomings. First the title is misleading; the book does not talk about innovation and cannot be recommended as an innovation book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brynjolfsson and Saunders have written a short, easy to read but cogent explanation of the mysterious productivity increase arising from IT. The book was intended to illuminate strategy and it did just that. They discuss at length how the IT revolution had to be merged with equivalent business processes before the value could be realized. Both IT and procedural changes are necessary. Organizational capital, not shown on the balance sheet, accounts for a great deal of productivity. I particularly liked the "seven pillars of the digital organization." Some firms get extraordinary value out of IT; others, spending just as much money, do not. Another point stressed is that a dollar of IT assets, with appropriate training, support and organizational change, can provide far more value than a dollar spent on plant and equipment. The author's assertions are backed up by copious hard dollar examples as well as references in the literature. If you are a fast reader, you can cover the material in 3-5 hours. This is a real contribution to the IT and business literature. Bill Yarberry, Houston Texas
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Format: Paperback
The biggest problem with this book is that it does not seem to know who its audience is. These relatively short MIT Press monograms are usually written for upper level Economics undergrads but most of the facts that are presented in here would not exactly be a revelation to those with such a background. For example the authors, Erik Brynjolfsson and Adam Saunders, point out that increases in GDP due to the use of information technology are hard to measure. They also point out that organizational changes need to occur to take advantage of such technology. They make the analogy with the application of dynamos in the past using the famous article by David (1990) showing that only after there were many other complimentary changes in factories, such as factory layouts, was this technology able to be properly and fully taken advantage of. None of this would really be a revelation, however, to such an audience.

Someone could counter, on the other hand, that this book is not really intended for such an audience but is, instead, targeted at laymen. However, laymen would not be really familiar with the many articles that the authors just mention (without a full length exposition) such as the David article mentioned above or the nobel prize winner Ronald Coase's work, early in his career, on firm and market size, vis-à-vis each other. These early articles of Coase imply that technology that enables firms to reduce communication costs and impediments (such as IT) would lead to less vertical integration within firms and more sub-contracting (i.e., use of markets as opposed to performing tasks within the firm itself). However, unless one is really very familiar with Coase's work this is not self-evident.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a little book on what you cannot measure. It starts with intangible benefits people enjoy (e.g., by Google and Wikipedia search) which do not show-up in GDP, which is more focused on tangible good. What then would be a reasonable way to measure total benefit to individual? After raising the question, the authors go on to the main topic of measuring the contribution of IT on productivity and economic growth. The issue is related to business practice and organizational capital which is also difficult to measure. It is clear that the authors raised important questions. But there is no answer available, just directions.
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