Stan Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org), the best-selling author of Future Perfect (Addison-Wesley, 1997), and consultant Christopher Meyer (email@example.com), director of Ernst & Young's Center for Business Innovation, open their new book by inviting readers to join them in a dialogue about the changing world of business. Before jumping in, business conversationalists might want to brush up on their background reading. Here are some of the books that Davis and Meyer used to help them see past the blur.
Bionomics: Economy as Ecosystem
Michael Rothschild (Henry Holt, 1990). Why, in the world of business, biology is not just a metaphor.
Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain
Antonio R. Damasio (Putnam, 1994). Here's the neurological data that will resolve the mind-body split.
At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity
Stuart Kauffman (Oxford University Press, 1995). The "new science" that the metaphor-surfers rave about - explained by one of its creators.
Out of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization
Kevin Kelly (Addison-Wesley, 1994). In the neo-biological civilization, no one is in control - and it's better that way.
The Twilight of Sovereignty: How the Information Revolution Is Transforming Our World
Walter Wriston (Scribner, 1992). A chronicle of the shift of power from the nation-state to the global corporation.
The Diamond Age
Neal Stephenson (Bantam, 1994). Take the ideas of Kelly and Wriston, add a focus on education and values-based civilization, season with a pinch of nanotech, and stir.
Increasing Returns and Path Dependence in the Economy
W. Brian Arthur (University of Michigan Press, 1994). One of the most important works on economics in the past 50 years (somewhat obscured by a lot of technical stuff).
Intelligent Enterprise: A Knowledge and Service Based Paradigm for Industry
James Brian Quinn (Free Press, 1992). More nuggets on knowledge-based business than you'll find anywhere else.
Value Migration: How to Think Several Moves Ahead of the Competition
Adrian I. Slywotzky (Harvard Business School Press, 1995). Why value wanders from one business to another, and what that migration means for strategy.
A version of this article appeared in the April/May 1998 issue of Fast Company magazine.