Talent Wants to Be Free
Orly Lobel
Yale University Press, September 2013

This timely book challenges conventional business wisdom about competition, secrecy, motivation and creativity. Orly Lobel, an internationally acclaimed expert in the law and economics of human capital, warns that a set of counterproductive mentalities are stifling innovation in many regions and companies. Lobel asks how innovators, entrepreneurs, research teams and every one of us who experiences the occasional spark of creativity can triumph in today’s innovation ecosystems.

In every industry and every market, battles to recruit, retain, train, energize and motivate the best people are fierce. From Facebook to Google, Coca-Cola to Intel, JetBlue to Mattel, Lobel uncovers specific factors that produce winners or losers in the talent wars. Combining original behavioral experiments with sharp observations of contemporary battles over ideas, secrets and skill, Lobel identifies motivation, relationships and mobility as the most important ingredients for successful innovation. Yet many companies embrace a control mentality–relying more on patents, copyright, branding, espionage and aggressive restrictions of their own talent and secrets than on creative energies that are waiting to be unleashed. Lobel presents a set of positive changes in corporate strategies, industry norms, regional policies and national laws that will incentivize talent flow, creativity and growth. This vital and exciting reading reveals why everyone wins when talent is set free.

About the Author

Orly Lobel is the Don Weckstein Professor of Law and founding member of the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Markets at the University of San Diego. She is the author of three books and numerous articles on behavioral law and economics, innovation policy, human capital, regulation and governance. A world traveler and internationally acclaimed scholar, Lobel has taught at Yale, Harvard, Tel-Aviv and UCSD.