Three good books you may want to read: Innovation, business leadership and energy futures

Here's what's on the bedside table at the moment. All three books are rather different but all worth a read:

1) The Entrepreneurial State: Dubunking Public vs Private Sector Myths

This controversial book by Mariana Mazzucato is fascinating. It attempts to debunk the myth that Government cannot spark innovation. It may sound like a left wing diatribe, but it's far more nuanced than that. Really interesting. If only some politicians with a long term outlook could read it...

Just as maximising shareholder value turned out to be a myth as an effective business paradigm, so might be the idea that only companies can create and develop innovation. As with so many vitally important issues, it's not black or white but many shades of complex nuanced grey.

Here's a short video about the book from the FT

Mariana Mazzucato: History can teach us lessons

2) Everybody's Business - The Unlikely Story of How Big Business Can Fix the World

This book, by Jon Miller and Lucy Parker, is a decent tour of where we are today with some large, leading companies on global sustainability and partnership/innovation issues. For any seasoned observer the case studies will be familiar, but you can always learn, and this is well written book by two respected figures who are not career CSR cheerleaders but taking a look from the outside. It's a little wide-eyed in places but a good book to dip into for up to date case studies. I helped the authors a little with some ideas and case studies.







3) The Energy of Nations - Risk blindness and the road to renaissance

Jeremy Leggett, campaigner and solar pioneer, looks at the risks we are taking with energy futures: Climate change, carbon bubbles, shale gas and peak oil. He calls it risk blindness and paints a bleak picture of potential collapse in some areas of energy in the coming years. This will present an opportunity to create a more sustainable society, he suggests, but things will get worse before they get better.

It's a decent read, accessible with some amusing rants in places and a focus on facts and science rather than energy company PR which often dominates the debate. Worth a read, it's a good primer on a potential near future that looks increasingly likely.

Here's a short video on the book.
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