People

Amar Bhidé is a Visiting Professor at Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Thomas Schmidheiny Professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts. He is teaching a new elective course, ‘Lessons from Transformational Medical Advances,’ at  HBS in Spring 2021. The elective draws on his ongoing research on the nature and development of practical knowledge (including  medical advances).

Previously the Laurence D. Glaubinger Professor of Business at Columbia University, Bhidé has has been studying innovation and entrepreneurship for more than thirty years . He served on the faculties of HBS (from 1988 to 2000) and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. A former Senior Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company and proprietary trader at E.F. Hutton, Bhidé served on the staff of the Brady Commission which investigated the stock market crash of 1987.

Bhidé is a founding member of the Center on Capitalism and Society and spearheaded the launch of its journal, Capitalism and Society in 2005 which he edited (with Prof. Edmund Phelps) until 2017. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), and serves on the board of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust (an FTSE 100 company that invests in high tech companies mainly in the US and China) as an independent director.

His 2008 book, The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World, (Princeton University Press) won the Association of American Publishers’ PROSE Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence in Business, Finance, and Management, and was in the “Best of 2008” lists of the Economist, BusinessWeek and Barrons. Bhidé’s 2000 book, The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses (Oxford University Press) has been translated into Spanish, Chinese and Tibetan. He is also author of A Call for Judgment: Sensible Finance for a Dynamic Economy (Oxford 2010)  and Of Politics and Economic Reality (Basic Books 1984).

His ten Harvard Business Review articles — the first published in 1982 — include “Hustle as Strategy” (1086),  “Bootstrap Finance: the Art of Start-ups (1992),””How entrepreneurs craft strategies that work (1994),”  and “The Judgment Deficit” (2010). His work on financial markets and governance includes “The Hidden Costs of Stock Market Liquidity” in the Journal of Financial Economics. He has written numerous articles, dating back to 1981 in the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, The New York Times, Quartz, Project Syndicate, Bloomberg Opinion, POLITICO Europe, BusinessWeek, Forbes, and The LA Times.

Bhidé earned a DBA (1988) and an MBA with high distinction as a Baker Scholar (1979) from Harvard. He received a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology in 1977.

News

Publications

  • A Call for Judgment

    Amar Bhidé
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    A Call for Judgment clearly explains how bad theories and mis-regulation have caused a dangerous divergence between the real economy and finance. In simple language Bhide takes apart the so-called advances in modern finance, showing how backward-looking, top-down models were used to mass-produce toxic products. Thanks to excessively tight securities laws and loose banking laws, anonymous transactions have displaced relationship-based finance. And Bhide offers, tough simple rules for restoring relationships and case-by-case judgment: limit banks-and all deposit taking institutions-to basic lending and nothing else.

    A Call for Judgment is both a primer on the role of finance in a dynamic modern economy, and a cautionary tale about the pitfalls of banks functioning as highly centralized, mechanistic entities. It is essential reading for anyone interested in bringing the economy back to a point at which decisions can be made that foster organic economic growth without the potentially disastrous risks currently accepted by modern finance. (Oxford University Press)

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  • The Venturesome Economy

    Amar Bhidé
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    Many warn that the next stage of globalization--the offshoring of research and development to China and India--threatens the foundations of Western prosperity. But in The Venturesome Economy, acclaimed business and economics scholar Amar Bhidé shows how wrong the doomsayers are.

    Using extensive field studies on venture-capital-backed businesses to examine how technology really advances in modern economies, Bhidé explains why know-how developed abroad enhances--not diminishes--prosperity at home, and why trying to maintain the U.S. lead by subsidizing more research or training more scientists will do more harm than good.

    When breakthrough ideas have no borders, a nation's capacity to exploit cutting-edge research regardless of where it originates is crucial: "venturesome consumption"--the willingness and ability of businesses and consumers to effectively use products and technologies derived from scientific research--is far more important than having a share of such research. In fact, a venturesome economy benefits from an increase in research produced abroad: the success of Apple's iPod, for instance, owes much to technologies developed in Asia and Europe.

    Many players--entrepreneurs, managers, financiers, salespersons, consumers, and not just a few brilliant scientists and engineers--have kept the United States at the forefront of the innovation game. As long as their venturesome spirit remains alive and well, advances abroad need not be feared. Read The Venturesome Economy and learn why--and see how we can keep it that way. (Princeton University Press)

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  • The Origin and Evolution of New Businesses

    Amar Bhidé
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    In a field dominated by anecdote and folklore, this landmark study integrates more than ten years of intensive research and modern theories of business and economics. The result is a comprehensive framework for understanding entrepreneurship that provides new and penetrating insights. Examining hundreds of successful ventures, the author finds that the typical business has humble, improvised origins. Well-planned start-ups, backed by substantial venture capital, are exceptional. Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Sam Walton initially pursue small, uncertain opportunities, without much capital, market research, or breakthrough technologies. Coping with ambiguity and surprises, face-to-face selling, and making do with second-tier employees is more important than foresight, deal-making, or recruiting top-notch teams. (Oxford University Press)

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