26 Nov 2008
Professor Thomas McCraw Honored by International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society

Professor Thomas McCraw

BOSTON — Thomas McCraw, the Isidor Straus Professor of Business History Emeritus at Harvard Business School, has received the biennial award from the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society (ISS) for his book Prophet of Innovation: Joseph Schumpeter and Creative Destruction (The Belknap Press, 2007). The prize was recently awarded at the Society's 12th conference, "Technological Innovation and Development," in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Prophet of Innovation is the biography of Harvard University 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 diaries and letters never before used, McCraw paints the full portrait of a magnetic figure.

As the book details, Schumpeter regarded "creative destruction" as the driving force of capitalism. According to this theory, 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.

McCraw's biography has also been honored by the Business History Conference and the History of Economics Society.

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

Founded in 1986, the International Joseph A. Schumpeter Society aims to further research in the spirit of Joseph A. Schumpeter, particularly the scientific study of the problems of development in advanced economies. Headquartered in Germany, ISS has 412 members from 40 countries. Additional information can be found here: http://www.iss-evec.de/

About Thomas McCraw
In addition to Prophet of Innovation, McCraw has authored 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,