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Reading List 2017

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It's time for next year's reading list :)

    Whiplash

    "The future," as the author William Gibson once noted, "is already here. It's just unevenly distributed." WHIPLASH is a postcard from that future. The world is more complex and volatile today than at any other time in our history. The tools of our modern existence are getting faster, cheaper, and smaller at an exponential rate, just as billions of strangers around the world are suddenly just one click or tweet or post away from each other. When these two revolutions joined, an explosive force was unleashed that is transforming every aspect of society, from business to culture and from the public sphere to our most private moments. Such periods of dramatic change have always produced winners and losers. The future will run on an entirely new operating system. It's a major upgrade, but it comes with a steep learning curve. The logic of a faster future oversets the received wisdom of the past, and the people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently. In WHIPLASH, Joi Ito and Jeff Howe distill that logic into nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period. From strategically embracing risks rather than mitigating them (or preferring "risk over safety") to drawing inspiration and innovative ideas from your existing networks (or supporting "pull over push"), this dynamic blueprint can help you rethink your approach to all facets of your organization. Filled with incredible case studies and leading-edge research and philosophies from the MIT Media Lab and beyond, WHIPLASH will help you adapt and succeed in this unpredictable world.

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    A Sense of Urgency

    Most organizational change initiatives fail spectacularly (at worst) or deliver lukewarm results (at best). In his international bestseller Leading Change, John Kotter revealed why change is so hard, and provided an actionable, eight-step process for implementing successful transformations. The book became the change bible for managers worldwide.Now, in A Sense of Urgency, Kotter shines the spotlight on the crucial first step in his framework: creating a sense of urgency by getting people to actually see and feel the need for change.Why focus on urgency? Without it, any change effort is doomed. Kotter reveals the insidious nature of complacency in all its forms and guises.In this exciting new book, Kotter explains:* How to go beyond "the business case" for change to overcome the fear and anger that can suppress urgency* Ways to ensure that your actions and behaviors -- not just your words -- communicate the need for change* How to keep fanning the flames of urgency even after your transformation effort has scored some early successesWritten in Kotter's signature no-nonsense style, this concise and authoritative guide helps you set the stage for leading a successful transformation in your company.

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    Thank You for Being Late

    A New York Times Bestseller A field guide to the twenty-first century, written by one of its most celebrated observers We all sense it―something big is going on. You feel it in your workplace. You feel it when you talk to your kids. You can’t miss it when you read the newspapers or watch the news. Our lives are being transformed in so many realms all at once―and it is dizzying. In Thank You for Being Late, a work unlike anything he has attempted before, Thomas L. Friedman exposes the tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today and explains how to get the most out of them and cushion their worst impacts. You will never look at the world the same way again after you read this book: how you understand the news, the work you do, the education your kids need, the investments your employer has to make, and the moral and geopolitical choices our country has to navigate will all be refashioned by Friedman’s original analysis. Friedman begins by taking us into his own way of looking at the world―how he writes a column. After a quick tutorial, he proceeds to write what could only be called a giant column about the twenty-first century. His thesis: to understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces―Moore’s law (technology), the Market (globalization), and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)―are accelerating all at once. These accelerations are transforming five key realms: the workplace, politics, geopolitics, ethics, and community. Why is this happening? As Friedman shows, the exponential increase in computing power defined by Moore’s law has a lot to do with it. The year 2007 was a major inflection point: the release of the iPhone, together with advances in silicon chips, software, storage, sensors, and networking, created a new technology platform. Friedman calls this platform “the supernova”―for it is an extraordinary release of energy that is reshaping everything from how we hail a taxi to the fate of nations to our most intimate relationships. It is creating vast new opportunities for individuals and small groups to save the world―or to destroy it. Thank You for Being Late is a work of contemporary history that serves as a field manual for how to write and think about this era of accelerations. It’s also an argument for “being late”―for pausing to appreciate this amazing historical epoch we’re passing through and to reflect on its possibilities and dangers. To amplify this point, Friedman revisits his Minnesota hometown in his moving concluding chapters; there, he explores how communities can create a “topsoil of trust” to anchor their increasingly diverse and digital populations. With his trademark vitality, wit, and optimism, Friedman shows that we can overcome the multiple stresses of an age of accelerations―if we slow down, if we dare to be late and use the time to reimagine work, politics, and community. Thank You for Being Late is Friedman’s most ambitious book―and an essential guide to the present and the future.

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    A Guide to the Good Life

    One of the great fears many of us face is that despite all our effort and striving, we will discover at the end that we have wasted our life. In A Guide to the Good Life, William B. Irvine plumbs the wisdom of Stoic philosophy, one of the most popular and successful schools of thought in ancient Rome, and shows how its insight and advice are still remarkably applicable to modern lives. In A Guide to the Good Life, Irvine offers a refreshing presentation of Stoicism, showing how this ancient philosophy can still direct us toward a better life. Using the psychological insights and the practical techniques of the Stoics, Irvine offers a roadmap for anyone seeking to avoid the feelings of chronic dissatisfaction that plague so many of us. Irvine looks at various Stoic techniques for attaining tranquility and shows how to put these techniques to work in our own life. As he does so, he describes his own experiences practicing Stoicism and offers valuable first-hand advice for anyone wishing to live better by following in the footsteps of these ancient philosophers. Readers learn how to minimize worry, how to let go of the past and focus our efforts on the things we can control, and how to deal with insults, grief, old age, and the distracting temptations of fame and fortune. We learn from Marcus Aurelius the importance of prizing only things of true value, and from Epictetus we learn how to be more content with what we have. Finally, A Guide to the Good Life shows readers how to become thoughtful observers of their own life. If we watch ourselves as we go about our daily business and later reflect on what we saw, we can better identify the sources of distress and eventually avoid that pain in our life. By doing this, the Stoics thought, we can hope to attain a truly joyful life.

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    Grit

    Why do naturally talented people frequently fail to reach their potential while other far less gifted individuals go on to achieve amazing things? The secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a passionate persistence. In other words, grit. MacArthur Genius Award-winning psychologist Angela Duckworth shares fascinating new revelations about who succeeds in life and why. Based on her cutting-edge research, Duckworth shows how many people achieve remarkable things not just by relying on innate natural talent, but by practising what she calls grit. She then offers a Grit Formula to help anyone to become more gritty, focusing on six key factors: hope, effort, precision, passion, ritual and prioritisation. She reveals: why people who test high for talent often fail to achieve their potential, and why people who do not test high for talent often "overachieve" what others expect them to do; how grit can be learned, whatever your IQ or circumstances; why stubbornness is a key characteristic of gritty people; when to be stubborn and when giving up is the grittiest thing you can do; how gritty people found their passion, and you can find yours; how gritty experts practise, and how you can do the same in your own life; what the people who care about you can do to boost your grit when you need it most; and, how grit is cultivated in the highest-performing sports teams, companies and schools. Leaping past cliches such as 'success is all about hard work', Grit offers a fresh and motivating way to climb to heights far beyond what natural talent would predict.

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