In 2020, our faculty published 14 books that dive into their research and pull from their professional experiences on topics including the future of capitalism, managing time, how AI is transforming work, the power of experiments, a professor's reflection on 40 years of teaching, creating an edge for yourself, how buildings can have an impact on our health, and how leaders can have an impact on today's biggest issues. A list of the titles, authors, and their abstracts are included below.

American Business History: A Very Short Introduction

by Walter Friedman

By the early twentieth century, it became common to describe the United States as a "business civilization." President Coolidge in 1925 said, "The chief business of the American people is business." More recently, historian Sven Beckert characterized Henry Ford's massive manufactory as the embodiment of America: "While Athens had its Parthenon and Rome its Colosseum, the United States had its River Rouge Factory in Detroit..." How did business come to assume such power and cultural centrality in America?

Capitalism at Risk: How Business Can Lead

by Joseph L. Bower, Dutch Leonard and Lynn S. Paine

Who should take the lead in fixing market capitalism? Business—not government alone. The spread of capitalism worldwide has made people wealthier than ever before. But capitalism's future is far from assured. Pandemics, income inequality, resource depletion, mass migrations from poor to rich countries, religious fundamentalism, the misuse of social media, and cyberattacks—these are just a few of the threats to continuing prosperity that we see dominating the headlines every day. How can capitalism be sustained? And who should spearhead the effort? Critics turn to government. In their groundbreaking book, Capitalism at Risk, Harvard Business School professors Joseph Bower, Herman Leonard, and Lynn Paine argue that while robust governments must play a role, leadership by business is essential. Read the full abstract.

Competing in the Age of AI

by Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani

In industry after industry, data, analytics, and AI-driven processes are transforming the nature of work. While we often still treat AI as the domain of a specific skill, business function, or sector, we have entered a new era in which AI is challenging the very concept of the firm. AI-centric organizations exhibit a new operating architecture, redefining how they create, capture, share, and deliver value. Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani show how reinventing the firm around data, analytics, and AI removes traditional constraints on scale, scope, and learning that have constrained business growth for hundreds of years. Read the full abstract.

Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage

by Laura Huang

Having an edge is about gaining an advantage, but it goes beyond just advantage. It's about recognizing that others will have their own perceptions about us, right or wrong. When you recognize the power in those perceptions and flip them in your favor, you create an edge—and your hard work works harder for you.

Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments

by Stefan Thomke

Don’t fly blind. See how the power of experiments works for you. When it comes to improving customer experiences, trying out new business models, or developing new products, even the most experienced managers often get it wrong. They discover that intuition, experience and big data alone don’t work. What does work? Running disciplined business experiments. And what if companies roll out new products, customer experiences or business models without doing so? They fly blind. That’s what Harvard Business School professor Stefan Thomke shows in this rigorously researched and eye-opening book. Read the full abstract.

Fit to Compete: Why Honest Conversations About Your Company's Capabilities Are the Key to a Winning Strategy

by Michael Beer

Is silence killing your strategy? In his thirty years of working in corporations, Harvard Business School professor Michael Beer has witnessed firsthand how organizational silence derails strategic objectives. When employees can't speak truth to power, senior leaders don't hear what they need to hear about their company's fitness to compete, and employees lose trust in those leaders and become less committed to change. In Fit to Compete, Beer presents an antidote to silence—principles and a time-tested innovative process for holding honest conversations with everyone in your organization. Read the full abstract.

Healthy Buildings: How Indoor Spaces Drive Performance and Productivity

by John D. Macomber and Joseph Allen

By the time you reach 80, you will have spent 72 years of your life indoors. Like it or not, humans have become an indoor species. This means that the people who design, build, and maintain our buildings can have a major impact on our health. Ever feel tired during a meeting? That’s because most offices and conference rooms are not bringing in enough fresh air. When that door opens, it literally breathes life back into the room. But there is a lot more acting on your body that you can’t feel or see. From our offices and homes to our schools and hospitals, the indoor spaces where we work, learn, play, eat, and heal have an outsized influence on our performance and well-being. They affect our creativity, focus, and problem-solving ability and can make us sick—dragging down profits in the process. Read the full abstract.

Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 20

by Josh Lerner and Scott Stern

The chapters in this twentieth volume of Innovation Policy and the Economy present research on the interactions among public policy, the innovation process, and the economy. One explores changes in the ability of the US to attract talented foreign workers and the role of sponsoring institutions in shaping immigration policy. Another explains how the division of innovative labor between research universities and corporate labs affected productivity growth and the transformation of knowledge into new products and processes. A third reviews different innovation policies and their performance in the pharmaceutical sector. Next is a chapter on the effects of competition policy on innovation, “creative destruction,” and economic growth. A fifth chapter studies how experimental policy design can be a cost-effective way to attain program goals. The last chapter examines geographic disparities in innovation, joblessness, and technological dynamism and studies how reallocation of grants and geographically targeted entrepreneurship policy could affect labor supply and welfare.

Teaching by Heart: One Professor's Journey to Inspire

by Thomas J. DeLong

The best teachers are leaders, and the best leaders are teachers. Teaching by Heart summarizes the author's key insights gained from more than 40 years of teaching and managing. It illustrates how teachers can both lift people up and let them down. It proposes that the best teachers are also leaders, and the best leaders are also teachers. In examining how to lead and teach, renowned Harvard Business School professor Thomas J. DeLong takes the reader inside his own head and heart. Read the full abstract.

The Ends Game: How Smart Companies Stop Selling Products and Start Delivering Value

by Marco Bertini and Oded Koenigsberg

How some firms are rewriting the rules of commerce by pursuing “ends”—actual outcomes—rather than selling “means”—their products and services.

The Power of Experiments

by Michael Luca and Max H. Bazerman

In The Power of Experiments: Decision-Making in a Data Driven World, Michael Luca and Max Bazerman explore the value of experiments, and the ways in which they can improve organizational decisions. Drawing on real world experiments and case studies, Luca and Bazerman show that going by gut is no longer enough—successful leaders need frameworks for moving between data and decisions. Experiments can save companies money—eBay, for example, discovered how to cut $50 million from its yearly advertising budget without losing customers. Experiments can also bring to light something previously ignored, as when Airbnb was forced to confront rampant discrimination by its hosts. Read the full abstract.

Time Smart: How to Reclaim Your Time and Live a Happier Life

by Ashley V. Whillans

There's an 80 percent chance you're poor. Time poor, that is. Four out of five adults report feeling that they have too much to do and not enough time to do it. These time-poor people experience less joy each day. They laugh less. They are less healthy, less productive, and more likely to divorce. In one study, time stress produced a stronger negative effect on happiness than unemployment. How can we escape the time traps that make us feel this way and keep us from living our best lives? "Time Smart" is your playbook for taking back the time you lose to mindless tasks and unfulfilling chores. Author and Harvard Business School professor Ashley Whillans will give you proven strategies for improving your "time affluence." The techniques Whillans provides will free up seconds, minutes, and hours that, over the long term, become weeks and months that you can reinvest in positive, healthy activities. "Time Smart" doesn't stop at telling you what to do. It also shows you how to do it, helping you achieve the mindset shift that will make these activities part of your everyday regimen through assessments, checklists, and activities you can use right away. The strategies Whillans presents will help you make the shift to time-smart living and, in the process, build a happier, more fulfilling life.

Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time

by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Thinking inside the building—using the authority of position—can work in corporate settings but not when you have to work with, through, or around people with independent power bases and within challenging cultural and political situations. Kanter's insight into advanced leadership is an important and original contribution, one that transcends conventional practice. The book illustrates how purpose-driven people united in their conviction that positive change is possible can have real impact on some of today’s biggest problems, from climate change to gun safety to inequality to racial issues. Kanter provides candid narrative accounts of their successes and near stumbles. A former Trader Joe’s executive, for example, navigated across business, government, and community sectors to deal with poor nutrition in inner cities while reducing food waste. A concerned European banker used the power of persuasion, not position, to find novel financing for improving the health of the oceans. A Washington couple enticed global partners to join an Uber-like platform to match skilled refugees with talent-hungry companies. A visionary journalist-turned-entrepreneur closed social divides by giving 50 million social media users access to free local education and culture. Read the full abstract.

Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You

by Frances X. Frei and Anne Morriss

When leaders and aspiring leaders seek out advice, they're often told to try harder. Dig deeper. Look in the mirror and own your natural-born strengths and fix any real or perceived career-limiting deficiencies. We offer a different worldview. We argue that this popular leadership advice glosses over the most important thing you do as a leader: Build others up. Leadership isn’t about you. It’s about how effective you are at empowering other people—and making sure that this impact endures even in your absence. We show through inspiring stories from ancient Rome to Silicon Valley, the origins of great leadership are found, paradoxically, not in worrying about your own status and advancement, but in the unrelenting focus on other people’s potential. Unleashed​ provides radical advice for the practice of leadership today. Showing how the boldest, most effective leaders use a special combination of trust, love, and belonging to create spaces where other people can excel, we offer practical, battle-tested tools—based on our work in companies such as Uber, Riot Games, and others—along with interviews and stories from our own personal experience to make these ideas come alive. This book is your indispensable guide for unleashing greatness in other people...and, ultimately, in yourself.

This post originally appeared on the HBS Newsroom.