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August 4, 2008

News & Opinion: The Gridlock Economy and The Age of Heretics - Reviewed

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 2:47 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Since posting the book review roundup, some of the August issues of big business magazines have started tricking in. Two of them--Forbes and BusinessWeek--have wisely devoted full pages to a really outstanding book, with Forbes having an original article from the author. The book is The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives and the author is Michael Heller. Heller coined the phrase " the tragedy of the anticommons" a decade ago to describe the negative effects too much ownership has on our economy and lives. He focuses his Forbes article on this phenomenon as it relates to the pharmaceutical industry and drug development, writing:
Now, more than ever, biomedical invention requires assembling scattered bits of intellectual property. That's expensive and complex. Simply to determine ownership of intellectual property used in a small lab studying a rare ocular disease, the University of Iowa reportedly had to contact 71 entities. Academic scientists routinely respond to gridlock by becoming patent pirates, just like their students who are illegally downloading music.
If you're interested in more on issues of patents and drug discovery, check out this excerpt from the book itself. Olga Kharif's review for BusinessWeek gets quite a lot out of one page, covering a wide range of issues, from Quaker Oats' Klondike "Big Inch" promotion of the '50s, to the gridlock in drug discovery and real estate, and even touching on the Chesapeake Bay "oyster wars." We'll have more from Michael Heller on "the tragedy of the anticommons" on Wednesday. Also deserving mention today is the "skimmer's guide" to The Age of Heretics from the August issue of Inc. Magazine. First released in 1996, The Age of Heretics has been rereleased as part of Wiley's Warren Bennis Signature Series.