Summary of The Shape of Things to Come

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The Shape of Things to Come book summary


8 Overall

8 Applicability

10 Innovation

5 Style


Author Richard W. Oliver argues that speed and customer responsiveness are keys to the new world of business. To stay alive, companies must flatten their corporate structures, do away with old roles, and embrace the technology that allows data mining and Internet-based purchasing. The author predicts that in the new century companies will sell directly to consumers, job descriptions will become more fluid, and smart cards and knowbots will become ubiquitous devices. This compelling, thoughtful book examines the trends shaping the global economy. While the book isn’t always organized clearly, it illustrates its points through examples of real companies which have changed their practices. recommends this book to any owners, executives, and managers who are involved in planning long-term strategies.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the information age has relegated traditional business practices to the dark ages;
  • Why globalization can render a stagnant business obsolete; and
  • Why companies have no choice but to embrace Internet-based purchasing and marketing.

About the Author

Richard W. Oliver is a professor of management at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. He has written widely on business strategy, new business and global marketing. His books include The Coming Biotech Age: The Business of Bio-Materials.



The Maturing Information Age
The information age began in 1947 with the development of the transistor. That innovation led to the computer chip. The information age peaked in the late 1980s and ended in 1993, with Marc Andreessen’s development of Mosaic, the easy-to-use browser that democratized...

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