As an extension of this year's Academic Book Week* theme, 'The Environment,' we asked our book authors who have published research in related fields to share their thoughts on the future of the academic book as it relates to climate change, how they engage with audiences beyond their scholarly circle to make an impact, and much more.
Read our interview below with Satyajit Bose, co-author of The Financial Ecosystem: The Role of Finance in Achieving Sustainability.
A book demands a longer attention span, and book readers are a self-selected group of interlocutors who signal their commitment to sustained engagement. Some arguments simply cannot be made in shorter formats. Persuasion requires immersion and time. In the academic incentive system which rewards the number rather than the depth of publications on a CV, books are quaint and quixotic endeavours for the researcher, but absolutely essential for the maturation of thought.
A book is a waste of resources if it is not expected to be useful a decade from publication. There are two ways to keep content current. The first is to outline a framework that anticipates and transcends short-term variability in knowledge and to use the current situation as an example that illustrates and interrogates the longer-term framework. The second is to continuously update the content. There is no future for books where the publisher’s strategy is to continuously update content (such as textbooks intended to be revised every other year). There will always be a future for books that are written to avoid planned obsolescence and outlast the vicissitudes of fashion.
I would like to see it affect the thinking of doubters in the world of finance and economic development who have yet to engage with the importance of environmental, social and governance factors in the investment management and capital allocation process.
Since reading a book is a significant commitment, it is essential to let the reader understand what the experience might feel like before requiring purchase. Being able to access sample chapters and especially the index and bibliography is critical for me before I choose to buy an academic book. Too often, publishers make only the first few pages, or random pages available, but often the most important signals of quality are in the back of the book.
Academic research and publication is very expensive and highly subsidized, by students, taxpayers and society at large. For it to be beneficial to those groups, it must be entangled in continuous interaction outside the ivory tower. All my research is conceived as a result of interactions with stakeholders outside of academia. If I cannot visualize a specific class of decision-maker with whom I have interacted who might use the results of my research in their day-to-day work, I do not embark upon it. Once the research is completed, I listen to the concerns of such decision-makers and insert the results of my research whenever appropriate.
About Satyajit Bose
Satyajit has experience in investment banking, asset management, financial restructuring and automated weather risk management. He was a mergers & acquisitions banker, directed quantitative trading strategies at a convertible arbitrage hedge fund managing $1.5 billion in assets and developed machine learning algorithms to optimize weather-based decision tools. Satyajit Bose holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University.