08 May 2008
Professor Thomas McCraw Wins the Hagley Prize in Business History
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Professor Thomas McCraw

BOSTON — Thomas McCraw, the Isidor Straus Professor of Business History Emeritus at Harvard Business School, has received the Hagley Prize in Business History for his book Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction (The Belknap Press, 2007). The Hagley prize is awarded annually by the Business History Conference (BHC) for the best book in business history and consists of a medallion and $2,500.

Prophet of Innovation is the biography of Harvard Professor Joseph A. Schumpeter (1883 -1950), who made his mark as the prophet of incessant change and is arguably one of the most significant economists and business theorists of the past century.

McCraw's book chronicles Schumpter's tumultuous life spanning two world wars, the Great Depression, and the early Cold War. Drawing on all of Schumpeter's writings, including many private intimate diaries and letters never before used, McCraw paints the full portrait of a magnetic figure.

As the biography details, Schumpeter regarded "creative destruction" as the driving force of capitalism. In short, it stated that nearly all businesses fail, victims of innovation by their competitors. Businesspeople ignore this lesson at their peril; to survive, they must be entrepreneurial and think strategically. In Schumpeter's view, the general prosperity produced by the "capitalist engine" far outweighs the wreckage it leaves behind.

Read the HBS Alumni Bulletin's review of Prophet of Innovation: http://www.alumni.hbs.edu/bulletin/2007/june/schumpeter.html

Additional information about the Hagley Prize in business History can be found here: http://www.thebhc.org/awards/hagley.html

About Thomas McCraw
In addition to Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction, McCraw has written or co-authored a number of books, including American Business, 1920-2000: How It Worked (2000), The Intellectual Venture Capitalist: John H. McArthur and the Work of the Harvard Business School (1999), and Creating Modern Capitalism: How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions (1997). His book Morgan Versus Lilienthal: The Feud Within the TVA (1970) won the William P. Lyons Award. Prophets of Regulation: Charles Francis Adams, Louis D. Brandeis, James M. Landis, Alfred E. Kahn (1984) won both the Pulitzer Prize for History and the Thomas Newcomen Award, which is given for the best book on the history of business published over a three-year period. At Harvard Business School, McCraw served as a Director of Research (1984-86) and chair and co-chair of the Business, Government, and the International Economy Unit (1986-97). He was associate editor of The Encyclopedia of the United States in the Twentieth Century (1996), and has been a member of the Council of the Massachusetts Historical Society,