Erik Brynjolfsson and Adam Saunders tackle the issue of information technology's impact on the economy in this book. The book's title is misleading, as this book is NOT about innovation, so people looking to read up on the subject should give this book a pass. Instead this book is intended to "provide a guide for policy makers and economics who want to understand how information technology is transforming the economy ..." page 11.
Information and IT in the economy is a complex and difficult subject and the authors provide a comprehensive view of the issue and where it stands from the perspective of academic research. This book is a good at covering the history of academic research on the topics of IT's contribution to the economy, measuring information in the economy, organizational capital and the like.
Recommended for readers who are comfortable reading academic research on macroeconomics, as I believe this is the intended audience. The 128 pages are well written and I was able to read the book on two short haul airline flights. As a book looking to straddle the economic and business world, the authors do a good job. The book centers on a `study of studies' than offering a new hypothesis and supporting research.
As a study of studies, the book seems comprehensive and does a good job of bringing in a range of research publications. There are a few things missing, for example David Teece's work on Dynamic Capabilities. One weakeness is that the book relies on 16 articles authored by Erik Brynjolfsson, by far the most commonly cited author.
As a business or strategy book, Wired for Innovation has some significant shortcomings. First the title is misleading; the book does not talk about innovation and cannot be recommended as an innovation book. The book is concerned with macro economic issues such as measuring IT, information and intangible goods in calculating GDP rather than focusing on individual firms. This requires the reader look hard between the lines to begin to draw information and ideas that would be applicable to any one company.
The book does contain some thought provoking data and the description of economic issues is clear, but I found myself glad I had a background in economics while reading the book. Non-economists will get value from the book, but they will often have to step back and translate the author's intend into their experience and knowledge to have it make sense.
In the end this is a good book that bridges the academic and macro business community. There are other policy oriented books that offer more insight and impact such as Zitrain's "The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It" or Beckler's "The Wealth of Networks"
Four stars as an academic/economic book, three stars as a business oriented book and three stars overall. I am glad I read the book and I have many notes in the margin, but that is more from taking an economic outlook rather than one as a business executive looking to understand the role and value of information and IT in their firm and the economy.