Ruling The Waves

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Overview

Beginning with the development of the compass, Ruling the Waves examines a series of technological revolutions that promised, in their time, to transform the world's politics and business. With Debora Spar's gifted storytelling, each chapter reads like an adventure tale as she recounts the histories of the printing press and maps; of the telegraph, radio, and satellite television; of software, encryption, and the advent of digital music. At each of these junctures Spar suggests that invention led to both a wave of commerce and of chaos.
Entrepreneurs such as Samuel Morse and Rupert Murdoch carved new markets from the emerging technology and proclaimed that the old rules no longer applied. And for a while, they were right. But eventually—and inevitably—even cowboys need rules: rules of property, rules of coordination, rules of competition. The erstwhile pioneers thus turn to government, lobbying for order and setting the stage for the next wave of discovery.
A fascinating history of business, Ruling the Waves is also an original, thought-provoking analysis of the parallels between past innovations and inventions and our own tumultuous times.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR RULING THE WAVES

"[An] intriguing and well-crafted new book . . . Truly illuminating."—The Washington Post Book World

"Engaging capsule histories of the growth and eventual control of (maritime) piracy, independent radio broadcasting, encryption, and use of the Internet."—USA Today

"A beautifully written book . . . Spar puts cyberspace in its place."—The Economist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156027021
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/7/2003
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 412
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Debora L. Spar is a professor at the Harvard Business School and is the youngest woman in the school's history ever to receive tenure. A political scientist by training, she teaches the politics of international relations there. She lives in Boston with her architect husband and two small sons.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The View from Partenia 1
Chapter 1 The First Wave 23
Chapter 2 The Codemakers 60
Chapter 3 Radio Days 124
Chapter 4 BSkyB and the New Wave of Television 190
Chapter 5 Last Stand of the Cypherpunks 244
Chapter 6 Trusting Microsoft 287
Chapter 7 Space Music 327
Chapter 8 Surfing the Barbary Coast 367
Selected Bibliography 385
Acknowledgments 391
Index 393
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