WSJ review

How Labor Is Liberated

On the Bookshelf

OCTOBER 16, 2009

At a time of economic distress, it is all too easy to imagine that supposedly wise leaders and elite experts—usually, for some reason, residents of Washington, D.C.—should take charge of major decisions and put things right, imposing order and correcting the errors of a chaotic free market. In “Freedom, Inc.,” Brian M. Carney (a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board) and Isaac Getz take aim at such command-and-control thinking and its smug presumption. Their focus, however, is the corporation, where a rigid, top-down management style too often makes workers miserable, stifles innovation and, not least, leads to economic distress for employees and stockholders alike. Messrs. Carney and Getz offer portraits of chief executives who have guided their businesses to prosperity by freeing up talent—allowing individuals at every level to solve problems, make decisions and come up with fresh ideas. Some excerpts:

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