James W. Cortada

James W. Cortada is Senior Research Fellow at the Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota and the author of Information and the Modern Corporation (MIT Press) and other books. He worked at IBM for thirty-eight years in sales, consulting, managerial, and research positions.

  • IBM

    The Rise and Fall and Reinvention of a Global Icon

    James W. Cortada

    A history of one of the most influential American companies of the last century.

    For decades, IBM shaped the way the world did business. IBM products were in every large organization, and IBM corporate culture established a management style that was imitated by companies around the globe. It was “Big Blue, ” an icon. And yet over the years, IBM has gone through both failure and success, surviving flatlining revenue and forced reinvention. The company almost went out of business in the early 1990s, then came back strong with new business strategies and an emphasis on artificial intelligence. In this authoritative, monumental history, James Cortada tells the story of one of the most influential American companies of the last century.

    Cortada, a historian who worked at IBM for many years, describes IBM's technology breakthroughs, including the development of the punch card (used for automatic tabulation in the 1890 census), the calculation and printing of the first Social Security checks in the 1930s, the introduction of the P.C. to a mass audience in the 1980s, and the company's shift in focus from hardware to software. He discusses IBM's business culture and its orientation toward employees and customers; its global expansion; regulatory and legal issues, including antitrust litigation; and the track records of its CEOs. The secret to IBM's unequalled longevity in the information technology market, Cortada shows, is its capacity to adapt to changing circumstances and technologies.

    • Hardcover $45.00
  • Information and the Modern Corporation

    Information and the Modern Corporation

    James W. Cortada

    A guide to information as the transformative tool of modern business.

    While we have been preoccupied with the latest i-gadget from Apple and with Google's ongoing expansion, we may have missed something: the fundamental transformation of whole firms and industries into giant information-processing machines. Today, more than eighty percent of workers collect and analyze information (often in digital form) in the course of doing their jobs. This book offers a guide to the role of information in modern business, mapping the use of information within work processes and tracing flows of information across supply-chain management, product development, customer relations, and sales. The emphasis is on information itself, not on information technology. Information, overshadowed for a while by the glamour and novelty of IT, is the fundamental component of the modern corporation.

    In Information and the Modern Corporation, longtime IBM manager and consultant James Cortada clarifies the differences among data, facts, information, and knowledge and describes how the art of analytics has all but eliminated decision making based on gut feeling, replacing it with fact-based decisions. He describes the working style of “road warriors,” whose offices are anywhere their laptops and cell phones are and whose deep knowledge of a given topic becomes their medium of exchange.

    Information is the core of the modern enterprise, and the use of information defines the activities of a firm. This essential guide shows managers and employees better ways to leverage information—by design and not by accident.

    • Paperback $15.95

Contributor

  • Everyday Information

    Everyday Information

    The Evolution of Information Seeking in America

    William Aspray and Barbara M. Hayes

    An intimate, everyday perspective on information-seeking behavior, reaching into the social context of American history and American homes.

    All day, every day, Americans seek information. We research major purchases. We check news and sports. We visit government Web sites for public information and turn to friends for advice about our everyday lives. Although the Internet influences our information-seeking behavior, we gather information from many sources: family and friends, television and radio, books and magazines, experts and community leaders. Patterns of information seeking have evolved throughout American history and are shaped by a number of forces, including war, modern media, the state of the economy, and government regulation. This book examines the evolution of information seeking in nine areas of everyday American life.

    Chapters offer an information perspective on car buying, from the days of the Model T to the present; philanthropic and charitable activities; airline travel and the complex layers of information available to passengers; genealogy, from the family Bible to Ancestry.com; sports statistics, as well as fantasy sports leagues and their fans' obsession with them; the multimedia universe of gourmet cooking; governmental and publicly available information; reading, sharing, and creating comics; and text messaging among young people as a way to exchange information and manage relationships. Taken together, these case studies provide a fascinating window on the importance of information in the past century of American life.

    • Hardcover $60.00
    • Paperback $6.75
  • The Internet and American Business

    The Internet and American Business

    William Aspray and Paul E. Ceruzzi

    The effect of a commercialized Internet on American business, from the boom in e-commerce and adjustments by bricks-and-mortar businesses to file-sharing and community building.

    When we think of the Internet, we generally think of Amazon, Google, Hotmail, Napster, MySpace, and other sites for buying products, searching for information, downloading entertainment, chatting with friends, or posting photographs. In the academic literature about the Internet, however, these uses are rarely covered. The Internet and American Business fills this gap, picking up where most scholarly histories of the Internet leave off—with the commercialization of the Internet established and its effect on traditional business a fact of life. These essays, describing challenges successfully met by some companies and failures to adapt by others, are a first attempt to understand a dynamic and exciting period of American business history. Tracing the impact of the commercialized Internet since 1995 on American business and society, the book describes new business models, new companies and adjustments by established companies, the rise of e-commerce, and community building; it considers dot-com busts and difficulties encountered by traditional industries; and it discusses such newly created problems as copyright violations associated with music file-sharing and the proliferation of Internet pornography.

    Contributors Atsushi Akera, William Aspray, Randal A. Beam, Martin Campbell-Kelly, Paul E. Ceruzzi, James W. Cortada, Wolfgang Coy, Blaise Cronin, Nathan Ensmenger, Daniel D. Garcia-Swartz, Brent Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein, Thomas Haigh, Ward Hanson, David Kirsch, Christine Ogan, Jeffrey R.

    • Hardcover $53.00
    • Paperback $43.00