Enormous changes are occurring in the world, from the endless technological revolution to crises of leadership in global business and politics. To craft and implement a coherent business strategy that takes all these pressing challenges into account, there are eight books the curious practitioner should make sure are included in their personal library.
New season. New perspectives. New opportunities. Here’s to an eye-opening season of change ahead!
The Promises and Perils of Technology
In this New York Times bestseller, social psychologist and MIT Professor Sherry Turkle delves into the implications of relying on technology for all our interactions, warning of the threat to human empathy and intimacy. She shows organizations how to differentiate themselves in a digital, impersonal world by embracing the power of face-to-face conversation in a business setting.
“Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together” (Little, Brown and Company, May 2018)
MIT Professor Thomas Malone argues that all great human achievements have been the products of numerous individuals working together; today, computer technology can connect humans with one another (and with AI capabilities) to a never-before-seen extent. Malone also offers insights on how the future of work will not be displacement of humans by machines, but enhanced human-computer collaboration.
Dynamic Leadership in a Changing World
“The Challenge Culture: Why the Most Successful Organizations Run on Pushback” (Public Affairs, September 2018)
Former CEO of Dunkin’ Brands Nigel Travis has seen the ups and downs of disruptive transformation at numerous companies and concluded the survivors are brands that operate on the principle of “pushback.” In this upcoming book, the global retail executive gives a first-hand account of what NOT to do in business, outlines his approach to management and explains why rigid hierarchy is the enemy of innovation.
To discover how companies promote a culture of dynamic entrepreneurialism, business expert Amy Wilkinson interviewed more than 200 of the most successful startup founders in history. She provides a practical framework for approaching idea generation, risk and implementation, as well as successfully engaging and retaining a valuable talent pool. The result is this groundbreaking book, which crystallizes Wilkinson’s core findings into six skills for both startups seeking to grow and large firms that want to be more dynamic.
Building a More Sustainable Economy
“The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy” (Penguin, April 2018)
Is your company’s concept of value outdated? Yes, argues economist Mariana Mazzucato. While many companies believe they “create” value through rent-seeking and price hikes, they also remain dependent on public money to innovate and grow. In this book (the US version will be released next month), Mazzucato reveals why short-term profits are not accurate measurements of companies’ long-term ability to produce, innovate and thrive. Mazzucato’s insights are research based as well as practical: she is currently an advisor to the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation and is helping to found Scotland’s regional innovation bank.
On the Horizon
Hal Gregersen’s “Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life” will propose a radical new approach to engineering innovative ideas within companies. Based on the premise that executives need to ask questions rather than search for answers, Gregersen tackles the ingrained biases of the corporate world and urges leaders to embrace what he calls the “Question Burst Method” for soliciting ideas and feedback from employees.
Nathan Furr’s “Leading Transformation: How to Take Charge of Your Company’s Future,” co-written with Kyle Nel and Thomas Zoega Ramsoy, is a guide to how business leaders can take their firms from stagnation to the cutting-edge of progress. Furr argues that companies fail to innovate when they only focus on the existing state of affairs. Rather, they must proactively and creative imagine the future, and use new insights and technologies to get there before the competition does.
Innovation experts Bob Moesta and Michael Horn will address the ongoing challenges of making higher education fit for purpose in “Choosing College: How to Help People of All Ages Make Better Decisions About School” (Wiley, fall 2018). Employing the revolutionary “Jobs To Be Done” theory to higher education, Moesta and Horn will show students, universities/colleges and employers how to flip the lens on learning, viewing education as a job being hired to achieve a desired outcome.