Intellectual Capital

Book Review: Intellectual Capital by Thomas Stewart

Dave Kinnear1-On Leadership, Book Reviews

Intellectual Capital by Thomas A. Stewart. It is popular wisdom that Information is the capital of this new era. But what does that mean to the management of people? How does the rise of the Knowledge Worker change our company cultures? What challenges does this age of Intellectual Capital mean for our clients. This book, long on my “to read shelf,” finally made it to the top of the pile, so here are my thoughts.

Some of what Stewart had to say seemed self-evident to me, but I should make allowances for having spent the whole of my professional life in high-technology business. So the idea that traditional employment salaries and compensation are based on the “difficulty to replace” a worker is not new to me and the idea that “knowledge workers” are among the most difficult to replace and so command the higher compensation is, as I said, rather self-evident. Still, the way Stewart works this, and other characteristics of the new age worker into a complete understanding of the trends in employment were fascinating and compelling.

Thus, while the whole of this book is of use and provides excellent working definitions of Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Workers, and nurturing business environments for the new workers, the most affirming part of Stewart’s work for me was near the end. Chapter 12, Your Career in the Information Age is the best summary of the trends in employment, especially in those companies that invent or use new technologies, that I have seen to date. The new career model that Stewart lays out is very much in keeping with my observations of what is happening in our workforce today. And it show exactly why we, as a society, will need a different approach to the unemployment challenges we face.

Intellectual Capital is a must read for those who want to understand what is happening in our global business environment, what our prospects for employment will be, and how we might arm ourselves to be successful in the Information Age.

Click to see it at Amazon.