Given the dwindling attendance in my courses, either the weather has become appreciably better, Midwestern style, or Professor Finkler is giving another macro exam. Both are sure signs that summer is just around the corner.  That means it’s time to unveil the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Reading Group‘s summer books.

The first book comes recommended from Professor Garth Bond, who offers us Moneyball: The Art of Winning and Unfair Game.  I’ll let him tell you about it:

It’s a bit off the beaten path, but it is a great  read and certainly raises questions about innovation in a decidedly different context: Michael Lewis’s Moneyball.  If you’re not familiar  with it, it’s basically a book about the sabermetric revolution in  baseball, focusing on Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s in the early 2000s.  It is decidedly about the difficulties involved in introducing  innovation into baseball, exploring where and how new ideas arose and  how they actually came to be implemented (and ultimately copied).  I  think it might be particularly interesting because many of us have a  hard time thinking of sports as just another industry, so that it can  challenge our abstract theories by applying them to matters of the  heart.  The other nice thing about the book is that it is extremely  approachable and short.

That is a clear winner.

If you are still on the fence after that, consider that Hollywood is (potentially) making a movie version of the book that will star Brad Pitt.  Here is a review — of the book, not the movie — from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The second book is The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Reaction in the American University by Louis Menand.  This is a provocative piece about why although academics tend to be liberal as a bunch, but institutional change within the academy is slow going.

Menand is a brilliant writer, and the book certainly adds much to the discussion of  “how can we at Lawrence be more innovative.”  Here is the review at Slate that tipped me off to the book.

Also a clear winner.

The tentative meeting date for the faculty group will be in late July.  You should be able to find out more right here on this blog, or on our group site on The Moodle. In early July, I will begin “live blogging” and posting some associated content. As was the case with the first book, any students interested in reading should let me know so we can get together to discuss it.

Those of you not interested in the I&E Reading Group might find some of these useful.