Three professors recently reviewed my latest book, Mind Over Matter: Why Intellectual Capital is the Chief Source of Wealth, in the July/August 2008 issue of The Journal of Corporate Accounting & Finance.
The authors also review another book that looks rather interesting: Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower, the story of the Chief Audit Executive at WorldCom.
I was actually surprised that one of my books would be reviewed in an accounting academic publication, let alone by professors. The review is quite fair, especially considering how hard the book is on the current accounting paradigm. I actually pose the question of whether or not the accounting profession could go the way of the scribes? Not a popular thought among accounting academics.
The book also discusses why the current accounting paradigm is flawed, as it can only record value after the fact, and does not take into account at all the value of intellectual capital. Nor do I think it can be modified to do so.
I also take on Sarbanes-Oxley, which I truly believe is one of the worst pieces of legislation to emerge from Congress in decades. I’m sure this runs counter to the views of the reviewers, since in the review of the other book they claim that corporate governance and regulatory deficiencies created the need for SOX. This is highly debatable, especially if you read the literature coming out of the think tanks, especially Cato Institute and the joint American Enterprise Institute-Brookings Institution project on regulatory studies. The former is a conservative think tank, while the latter is a liberal one. Both conclude that SOX has major deficiencies and the costs outweigh the benefits.
The reviewers say one of the major insights of the book is the concept of negative intellectual capital. In my opinion, examples of negative IC include timesheets, cost-plus pricing, and Taylorite management techniques being mindlessly applied to knowledge workers.
They also say the book is difficult to categorize (good!), and could have benefited from more extensive editing, citing my inclusion of a ten-page Ronald Reagan speech and extensive quotes from other thinkers.
This is a fair comment. I would just like to say that the fault is not with the editors at Wiley, it’s with me. I write things because they interest me. I also acknowledge that I’m standing on the shoulders of giants who’ve come before me, whose ideas I am building on. One of the major objectives I start with in writing a book is not to bore the reader. By exposing other ideas, books, and thinkers I’m hoping to inspire the reader to further their own research, but the trade-off is a longer book. It may very well be a cost not justified by the benefits.
I would like to thank David M. Cannon, Joseph H. Godwin and Stephen R. Goldberg for both reading and reviewing the book. I appreciate your perspectives and comments.