Leadership & Management

What Does “Catalyst” Mean to You?

Stanford GSB faculty suggest books and articles related to the theme.

September 14, 2018

| by Jenny Luna
Bumble Bee. Credit: Eiko Ojala

How do you define “catalyst”? | Illustration by Eiko Ojala

The theme for the Summer issue of Stanford Business magazine is “catalyst.” Merriam-Webster defines the word as “an agent that provokes significant change,” but we felt the term had more depth and nuance than that, especially when it comes to businesses and their impact on society. In an attempt to further flesh out the concept, we asked several faculty members at Stanford Graduate School of Business to recommend books, articles, films, reports, and other media related to theme. Here are their recommendations.

Anat R. Admati, the George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics

Dirty Money, Netflix documentary series, 2018

‘We feel like our system was hijacked’: DEA agents say a huge opioid case ended in a whimper,” by Lenny Bernstein and Scott Higham, Washington Post, Dec. 17, 2017

Zuckerberg’s Dilemma: When Facebook’s Success Is Bad for Society,” by Christopher Mims, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 7, 2018

Attention Merchants: The Epic Battle to Get Inside Your Head, by Tim Wu, 2017

Bart Bronnenberg, professor of marketing

“How Digitization Has Created a Golden Age of Music, Movies, Books, and Television,” by Joel Waldfogel, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2017

Bestseller Lists and the Economics of Product Discovery,” by Alan T. Sorenson, Annual Review of Economics, April 2017

Is streaming bad for artists? Yes and no. The future of music, explained,” by Kelsey McKinney, Vox, December 2014.

Doug Galen, lecturer in management

4 Steps to an Epiphany, by Steve Blank, 2013

Life 3.0 and Being Human in the age of Artificial Intelligence, by Max Tegmark, 2017

“Hack the Future of Development Aid,” a report by Sustania, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Coinify, December 2017

Hau Lee, the Thoma Professor of Operations, Information and Technology

Agriculture for Development,” World Development Report by the World Bank, 2008

Rebecca Lester, assistant professor of accounting

Taxing Ourselves: A Citizen’s Guide to the Debate Over Taxes, by Joel Slemrod and Jon Bakija, 2017

A Fine Mess: A Global Quest for a Simpler, Fairer, and More Efficient Tax System, by T.R. Reid, 2018

The Missing Wealth of Nations: Are Europe and the U.S. Net Debtors or Net Creditors?” by Gabriel Zucman, Quarterly Journal of Economics, August 2013

Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao, the Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources

New Species of Trouble: Explorations in Disaster, Trauma, and Community, by Kai Erikson, 1994.

Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery, by Daniel Aldrich, 2012.

Controlling Ourselves, Controlling Our World: Psychology’s Role in Understanding Positive and Negative Consequences of Seeking and Gaining Control,” by Deane H. Shapiro, Carolyn E. Schwartz, and John A. Astin, American Psychologist, December 1996.

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