Great news.  BusinessWeek named The Gridlock Economy as one of the top 10 business books for 2008 — putting the book in some mighty fine company!  Here’s the story in BusinessWeek.  They say:

“The Columbia University law professor explores how fragmented property ownership—whether in land, intellectual property, or the broadcast spectrum—too often allows people to block each other from optimizing a scarce resource.   Heller’s analysis covers a range of topics, from wireless policy to the control of urban sprawl.”


A reader tips me off to a great development:  The new CEO of the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is pledging (among other things) to “put any chemicals or processes over which it has intellectual property rights that are relevant to finding drugs for neglected diseases into a ‘patent pool,’ so they can be explored by other researchers.”   This is a radical shift for a Big Pharma company.  Will others follow?  The full story is available in the Guardian.

It’s been a while!

February 24, 2009

Lots of news on the gridlock front.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Time to catch up.

In a 1956 comic book,  Scrooge McDuck finds a deed to a square inch in his “Canny Brannie” cereal and heads to Texas to find his fortune.  When a prairie dog pops out of the inch with oil on his feet, Scrooge decides to buy millions of neighboring inches so he can drill.  He overcomes gridlock effortlessly, it being a cartoon, but then the oil is not what it seems.  “Faulty Fortunes” is a great gridlock tale!  Thanks to Noel Nyman for pointing me to this story.

Amanda Lang, host of “Taking Stock” on Canada TV’s Business News Network, interviews me about the book.  To watch the interview, click on the link, wait for the 10 second ad to play, then move the toggle switch under the video to the 18:50 min/sec mark.  The interview runs for about 7 minutes.

John Allemang writes an in-depth and wicked smart feature story about the book in Toronto’s Globe and Mail.  A brief quote:

Prof. Heller is that rare thing, a critic of the free-market economy from a free-market perspective. A skeptic in a world of economic true believers, he has looked upon the business model we’ve been following so fervently and spotted its basic flaw.

If you want to hear about The Gridlock Economy, check out my recent Authors@Google talk. Google does a wonderful public service posting their book talk series on the web for all to see. Serious discussion of new books is moving from book reviews and book store talks to places like Google and YouTube.

My colleague Tim Wu introduced me; I talk for about 30 minutes; then there are about 30 minutes of Q&A from Google staff. I hope you enjoy!