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Regulators will get the blame for the stupidity of crowds

Just as dammed water finds new channels of escape, crowdfunding seems to provide a way around the blockage.

Technology’s crystal ball offers only a hazy view of the future

Knowledge is more than additive. What we learn when we bring two bodies of knowledge together may be much more than the sum of each alone.

Sometimes the best that a company can hope for is death

Humans have always found it hard to cope with the idea that every individual has a lifespan even as life itself goes on. The idea of a natural life cycle for a business, or industrial centre, is even more difficult to accept.

Enduring lessons from the legend of Rothschild’s carrier pigeon

Why do we devote more resources to training carrier pigeons and building fibreoptic links than to understanding military and business strategy?

Fair value is not the same as market price

The growth of the trading culture has encouraged the belief that the only measure of value is what someone is willing to pay. But this is a mistake.

New York’s wonder shows planners’ limits

If unplanned social interactions are the key to a vibrant city, they are also the key to a vibrant organisation.

Why Sony did not invent the iPod

Narratives of industry evolution often represent fairy tales constructed by corporate financiers, or ambitious chief executives. They relentlessly seek rationale, however spurious, for the next deal.

Publishers badly need a new Sir Thomas Bodley

As the commercial market is being transformed, anyone who thinks that the policy challenge is to restrict internet piracy has missed the point.

Why you can have an economy of people who don’t sweat

The books that Britain exports have long been made from trees grown abroad. Then globalisation meant the paper was also made abroad, and increasingly the printing took place overseas. Soon selling a book will involve no physical objects. The division of labour becomes ever finer and generally increases the wealth of all involved in the production process.

How to make money without trying

It is particularly sad for me that James Black, the Nobel prize winning chemist, should have died in the same week that my latest book, Obliquity, is published. I am indebted to Black for helping to frame the idea – and for proposing the term “obliquity” to describe it.