In Thomas A. Stewart’s bestselling first book, Intellectual Capital, he redefined the priorities of businesses around the world, demonstrating that the most important assets companies own today are often not tangible goods, equipment, financial capital, or market share, but the intangibles: patents, the knowledge of workers, and the information about customers and channels and past experience that a company has in its institutional memory. Now in his new book, The Wealth of Knowledge, Stewart--widely acknowledged as the world’s leading expert on working with intellectual capital in today’s knowledge economy--reveals how today’s companies are applying the concept of intellectual capital into day-to-day operations to dramatically increase their success in the marketplace.
Arguing that companies can make untold millions of dollars by managing knowledge more effectively--and save millions more--Stewart offers executives and managers compelling accounts of how leading companies around the world are successfully tackling the practical issues involved in today’s knowledge economy. The heart of the book is a revolutionary 4-step preocess that shows how to put intellectual capital to work to improve performance and profitablity, as well as manage knowledge processes. He goes on to discuss how companies can better utilize their current assets and enhance their knowledge resources for the future. Questioning many of the assumptions that have ruled business in the twentieth century, he addresses such critical and fundamental issues as why companies exist, how they should be organized and how people should be compensated. With his customary fearlessness and foresight, he plunges into the thick of the controversial arena of measuring and accounting, as well-an increasingly difficult task when a corporation’s assets are intangible.
The Wealth of Knowledge not only sets out the latest thinking in creating and managing knowledge assets, but provides a detailed course of action for corporations trying to navigate their way in the world of knowledge economy.
A century ago, business corporations were identified by their physical assets: real estate, buildings and machinery. Over the course of the next hundred years, management and investor attention shifted toward businesses' intangible property: brand names, patents, business relationships and employee culture. Stewart, Fortune columnist and author of the bestselling Intellectual Capital, argues this trend will continue through the 21st century, even as business law, practice and attitudes often ignore the intangibles in favor of concrete but less relevant physical assets. While not groundbreaking, his latest book offers a broad survey of business from the intellectual capitalist's perspective, from the basic economics of knowledge and business organization theory and management to selling and accounting for knowledge. Stewart could have fit this subject into a serious business magazine article; in expanding it, he simply adds a relentlessly upbeat mix of grand metaphors and detailed examples. Each chapter is packed with provocative, insightful material. The book's weakness is its dearth of theory and impatience with alternative views, and the chapters manage to logically follow one another without ever cohering enough to become more than the sum of their parts. The author's considerable rhetorical gifts also hide the fact that entire sections of the book do not really relate to the main thesis.