Chemistry’s Long Tail

July 2, 2007

Taken together, three books describe a future for working chemists who will need something different from their professional society

William F. Carroll

Business-oriented books are notorious for starting as a 5,000-word magazine piece on a single good idea that somehow gets inflated to 250 pages and sells for $24.95. But the essential idea is still important. And when taken together, the central ideas of three books-“The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson, “Free Agent Nation” by Daniel Pink, and “The Flight of the Creative Class” by Richard Florida-paint an intriguing picture of the future of work for chemists and foreshadow a new value proposition for the American Chemical Society.

In “The Long Tail,” Anderson argues: “A. If you can dramatically lower the cost of production and distribution, you can offer far more variety; B. given more variety and the tools to easily organize it for individual taste, people will increasingly revel in their differences rather than settling for their commonalities as in traditional blockbuster culture.”

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