The Shape of Things to Come: Seven Imperatives for Winning in the New World of Business Summary

The SQUEEZE: The future of business will require companies to adopt strategies that will ensure their survival in a changing environment. Throughout history, there have been significant breakthroughs that changed the face of business. For example, the Information Age offered insight into how humans could conquer time. Today, the Bio-Materials Age suggests that we must revolutionize commerce and change the way the organization aligns itself. It is within this context that Richard W. Oliver’s book “The Shape of Things to Come: Seven Imperatives for Winning in the New World of Business” gains significance. Richard W. Oliver prescribes simple, but comprehensive methods for companies to stay competitive within an environment subject to fluctuations. Oliver suggests that companies delete the traditional, standard hierarchy; embrace those technologies that will provide data mining solutions; and sell directly to the consumer. Oliver’s book provides case studies of real companies that have changed their practices. It is a must-read for business owners, executives, and managers.

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Notable Endorsement: “Oliver is a management professor specializing in corporate strategy, global marketing, and new business creation at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management. Like many other authorities, he cites rapid globalization and technological change as causes for the "chaos" we face in "the new world of business." Also like many others, he refers to this "new world" as a "global village." What is original about Oliver's scenario is his contention that we are at the end of the information age. He compares information to energy; both are essential but neither is any longer "the engine that drives and shapes the . . . economy." Instead, we are about to enter the "age of bio-materials." Oliver predicts how organizations, products, markets, and strategies will change in a new era shaped by biotechnology and the new materials that it will create.” David Rouse

Common Q’s Answered by this Book:

  • What are the seven tactics for success?
  • What are the profiles of seven twenty-first century companies?
  • What are the seven products and technologies to leverage in a 21st-century environment?
  • What is the “age of bio-materials”?
  • What was the role of the Information Age? What did it accomplish?


About the Author: Richard W. Oliver is the CEO of American Graduate School of Management and is also an adjunct professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. The titles of his books include the following: “The Coming Biotech Age: The Business of Bio-Materials” and “The Eagle and the Monk: The Seven Principles of Successful Change.” Oliver contributes articles to multiple business journals which include Managerial & Decision Economics, Marketing Management, and Journal of Services Marketing. Oliver graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a master’s degree from the University of Delaware, and a doctorate from the State University of New York. For more information about his current projects, visit:


Book Vitals:

Publisher: McGraw-Hill (January 2002)

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