cover image Opportunism: How to Change the World One Idea at a Time

Opportunism: How to Change the World One Idea at a Time

Shraga F. Biran, trans. from the Hebrew by Dan Gillon, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-374-17578-8

In a time when creativity and innovation, not manufacturing and industry, are creating real value, society must enable all citizens to lay claim to their ideas and benefit from them financially, argues this sprightly manifesto from Israeli entrepreneur Biran. Though opportunism—that cagey ability to take advantage of a fortuitous constellation of time, place, and one's own abilities—has a bad name, it's an essential tool for change, and our current economic climate has opened up opportunities that governments and individuals must investigate. The financial crisis allows enormous possibilities for societies to redistribute wealth and implement reforms to create an overhauled system of creativity encouragement through patents and intellectual property protection—"social privatization," passing the intellectual capital back to the individual. Though Biran has a number of valid points and certainly argues them passionately, he's stretched a decent argument too thin in book-length format, resulting in a great deal of repetition and padding. Those interested in intellectual property and its legislative overhaul will be fascinated; others may find it overly academic and strained. (Jan.)