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MIT Sloan faculty insights: 8 books from 2018

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Environmental Law, Policy, and Economics: Reclaiming the Environmental Agenda

By Nicholas A. Ashford, professor and director of MIT's Technology & Law Program, and Charles C. Caldart

Bolstered by a clear editorial argument — that stringent legal requirements are necessary to bring about meaningful environmental change — this volume goes beyond traditional topic areas to address knottier matters, such as the information-based obligations of industry, market-based alternatives to traditional regulation, and technological innovation and diffusion. 

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything

By Michael J. Casey, senior lecturer in global economics and management, and Paul Vigna

As once-trusted institutions are ever more brazenly compromised, Casey and his co-author lay out a case for blockchain, citing its potential to restore control over data, assets, and personal identities; disrupt industries from finance and tech to legal and shipping; and grant billions of people access to the global economy.

Further reading: Blockchain’s applications reach further than you think

Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life

By Hal Gregersen, senior lecturer and executive director of the MIT Sloan Leadership Center

To unlock answers to your thorniest problems, start by changing the question. That’s the premise behind Gregersen’s book, which argues that a carefully constructed question holds the power to dissolve barriers to creative thinking and open accelerated pathways to solutions.

Further reading: How these leading CEOs use questions to drive success

An Introduction to U.S. Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations (fifth edition)

By Thomas A. Kochan, the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management at MIT Sloan, Harry C. Katz, and Alexander J. S. Colvin

In addition to covering traditional labor relations, this comprehensive textbook addresses emerging forms of collective representation and movements that address income inequality in novel ways. Also covered: labor rights issues associated with the global supply chain, the growing influence of NGOs, and cross-national unionism.

Further reading: Alt-labor, explained

Biological Economics

Edited by Andrew Lo, professor and director of the MIT Laboratory for Financial Engineering, and Zhang Ruixun

Following on the success of last year’s “Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought,” Lo, aided by research affiliate Zhang Ruixun, has curated this two-volume set of key publications at the intersection of biology and economics. Areas of coverage include sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, behavioral ecology, behavioral economics and finance, neuroeconomics, and behavioral genomics.

Further reading: Adaptive behavior, markets, and what it means for curing cancer

Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together

By Thomas W. Malone, professor and founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence

How can people and computers be connected so that — collectively — they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer? Using dozens of examples and case studies, Malone shows how computers can help create more intelligent “superminds” fueled by artificial intelligence and hyperconnectivity — connecting humans to one another at massive scalesand in rich new ways.

Further reading: In ‘Superminds,’ an argument for calm about robots, AI, and jobs

Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust

By Edgar H. Schein, professor emeritus, and Peter A. Schein

As organizations face more complex interdependent tasks, leadership must foster an open, trusting communication style that sparks collaborative problem-solving and innovation. The Scheins (father and son) call for a reimagined form of leadership that dovetails with emerging trends of relationship building, complex group work, diverse workforces, and psychologically safe work cultures.

What's Your Digital Business Model? Six Questions to Help You Build the Next-Generation Enterprise

By Peter Weil, research scientist and chairman of the Center for Information Systems Research, and Stephanie Woerner, CISR research scientist

In the rapidly changing digital economy, many leaders still lack a common language to help them assess their digital business progress. The authors provide a straightforward framework that has been field-tested globally by senior management teams, setting forth six probing questions to help executives attain a higher-value digital business model.

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