Summer is finally in full swing and vacation countdowns have begun. While we look forward to getting away from the office, it’s also prime time to catch up on reading – for business and life. No matter your career path or title, staying in tune with the trends impacting the world is critical to growth, personal and professional. Business books can be an important element in building your knowledge and your thought leadership – as an individual, executive or academic, or as a brand.
Here are four suggested business books from our communications and speakers client rosters that promise to provoke thought and inspire action (once you get back to the office).
Adapt to the new demands of the digital world.
Rapid leaps in artificial intelligence (AI) are transforming entire professions and industries. Travel agents are all but extinct thanks to flight-tracking algorithms; IBM’s Watson may soon displace accountants; even journalism – a profession based on human interaction and inquiry – is at risk. But it’s not all doom and gloom, say the authors of “What to Do When Machines Do Everything” (Wiley). Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig and Ben Pring of Cognizant and its Center for the Future of Work also see huge opportunities created by the AI revolution – if companies are willing to seize them and adapt to the new demands of the digital world.
Prepare for what’s next.
Do you know what’s coming? Amy Webb does. Founder of the Future Today Institute, Webb focuses exclusively on how emerging technology and science will disrupt business, transform the workforce and ignite geopolitical change. Her best-selling and award-winning book, “The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe is Tomorrow’s Mainstream” (PublicAffairs), explains how leaders and organizations can predict technological change – AI, self-driving cars, bots, Internet of Things – and prepare for how they’ll affect our lives and our work.
Harness the power of technology.
In 2008, Anindya Ghose predicted the smartphone would ultimately be the most transformative consumer device – ever. Today, nearly a decade later, the foremost expert on mobile economics points to plenty of evidence proving his prediction is now reality. In fact, he says the technology is changing life and business even more rapidly than we might have guessed only a few years ago. And it’s profoundly changing industries and economies. In his new book, “Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy” (MIT Press), Ghose welcomes us to the mobile economy of smartphones, smarter companies and value-seeking consumers – and how we can harness its power.
Above all, ask good questions.
Most of us spend our entire life looking for the right answers. Success, in our minds, is measured by them. But James Ryan says we should focus on the quality of questions instead. Askingi good questions is as critical to finding your own passion as it is to succeeding in business. Dean of Harvard’s School of Education, Ryan posed his five essential questions last year in a viral commencement address, which he’s since expanded into The New York Times’ best-selling book, “Wait, What? And Life’s Other Essential Questions” (HarperOne). Read the book or watch the video to learn more about how questions can unlock understanding and connections.
Whether you’re planning to be poolside, camping in the wild or staying close to home, make sure you add these titles to your tablet or Kindle queue this summer. Or for those of us who still can’t give up turning a paper page (raising my hand), throw a hard copy or two into your bag. Not only are they interesting and easy enough reads for the beach, but they’ll also help you be at the top of your professional game come strategy season in the fall.
What business books top your summer reading list? Share your favorites with us @sternstrategy.