cover image THE ATTENTION ECONOMY: Understanding the New Currency of Business

THE ATTENTION ECONOMY: Understanding the New Currency of Business

Thomas H. Davenport, John C. Beck, . . Harvard Business School, $29.95 (272pp) ISBN 978-1-57851-441-0

The most significant problem in today's business world is not competition, lack of skilled employees or an uncertain economy, but an attention deficit, declare two consultants affiliated with the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. Put simply, with all the noise from meetings, faxes, voice mail and e-mail, it's hard to get consumers', employees', stockholders' or executives' undivided attention anymore. The companies that will succeed in the future, the authors state, will focus their efforts on this problem, instead of on conventional approaches to time management. Using research from such fields as television programming, Davenport (a distinguished scholar in residence at Babson College and author of Mission Critical) and Beck (a professor at UCLA's Anderson School of Management) explain how to attack "organizational ADD" on both an individual and corporate level. In one example, the authors point to an executive who postponed certain technological initiatives, noting that there were already too many demands on the company's attention. Though some of the writing is pedantic, the authors accurately describe corporate life and deliver a worthy message, along with short, practical sidebars. (June)

Forecast:The authors' fresh message and an attention-getting jacket—along with a $100,000 advertising campaign (including ads in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Business Week and PW), 20-city radio satellite tour and author speaking engagements—will help this book capture the business world's attention.