The Exponential Era

Much of what is driving our emerging future is the exponential pace of science and technology. When combined with the Convergence of building blocks that span multiple domains, it becomes easy to see why the world seems to be moving so quickly. In a recent book titled “The Exponential Era”, authors David Espindola and Michael Wright explore this phenomenon and present an approach for surviving in a future that is moving so fast. This story is about an overwhelming number of building blocks and the rate at which they are converging. As this happens, long-standing beliefs and institutions are rendered obsolete. I had the honor of providing a quote for the book jacket:

Continue reading

Are We Heading Towards A New World Order?

After World War Two, 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations gathered in the U.S. at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The Bretton Woods Conference aimed to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the war ended. Held from July 1 to 22, 1944, agreements were signed and ratified by member governments, establishing the institutions that represented a new world order. This led to what was called the Bretton Woods system for international commercial and financial relations.

Continue reading

Post Corona: From Crisis To Opportunity

“I begin with two theses. First, the pandemic’s most enduring impact will be as an accelerant. While it will initiate some changes and alter the direction of some trends, the pandemic’s primary effect has been to accelerate dynamics already present in society.” – Scott Galloway

That is a quote from a book I just finished. Scott Galloway is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, where he teaches brand strategy and digital marketing to second-year MBA students. In his new book, he looks at the world post corona. The book titled “Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity” has been added to my Book library. He points to remarkable things that have happened since the virus reared its ugly head, like: It took Apple 42 years to reach $1 trillion in value, and 20 weeks to accelerate from $1 trillion to $2 trillion (March to August 2020), and we registered a decade of ecommerce growth in eight weeks. Additionally, Tesla became not only the most valuable car company in the world, but more valuable than Toyota, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Honda combined.

Continue reading

Ten Lessons For A Post-Pandemic World

“There are decades when nothing happens and weeks when decades happen.” – Vladimir Lenin

That quote is highlighted in a new book by best-selling author Fareed Zakaria. In “Ten Lessons for a Post- Pandemic World”, Mr. Zakaria helps readers to understand the nature of a world that emerges after the pandemic: the political, social, technological, and economic consequences that may take years to unfold. He does this by focusing on ten lessons:

Continue reading

Non-Obvious Mega Trends

I just completed another book titled “Non-Obvious Mega Trends”. Author Rohit Bhargava focuses on seeing what no one else sees, and helping his readers do the same. Per the Amazon abstract, in the past ten years, his signature annual Non-Obvious Trend Report has helped over a million readers discover more than 100 trends changing our culture. The opening section focuses on the art of non-obvious thinking. From there, he explores the five mindsets of non-obvious thinkers, and reviews his Haystack Method for curating non-obvious Ideas.

Continue reading

Colliding Trends Reshape 2030

A recent book explores aspects of a broader Convergence story. The book – 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything – was authored by Mauro F. Guillen. In exploring a number of trends, he shows how the only effective way to understand the global transformations underway is to think laterally. Said another way, we need to think at the systems level. Understanding pieces in isolation blinds us to the combinatorial nature of change. The book abstract says it this way:

Continue reading

Organizing For Disruption

Back in 2015, I was looking at emerging organization models for a societal shift to a very different era. While organizations have experimented with many of these, the truth is, most still struggle with this critical structural change. One impactful model was positioned by Geoffrey Moore in his book titled Zone to Win. Given how relevant the topic is today, I am reposting my synopsis of the book below. In addition, here are three additional posts on the topic:

Continue reading

The New Map

I just finished another book and added it to my Library. Author Daniel Yergin explores the convergence of energy, climate change, and a world where an existing power is confronted by an emerging power. The New Map helps us understand global dynamics, historical perspectives, the entrenched role of oil and gas, the forces that are driving an energy transition, and the impact of a raging pandemic.

Daniel Yergin is a highly respected authority on energy, international politics, and economics, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling author. He is vice chairman of IHS Markit, one of the leading information and research firms in the world, a member of the board of the Council on Foreign Relations, a senior trustee of the Brookings Institution, and has served on the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board under the last four presidential administrations.

Continue reading

Geopolitics: A Complex Area Of Convergence

The critical need to understand the rapidly approaching future relies upon our understanding of various domains that are Converging. It is difficult enough to stay abreast of rapid advancements in science and technology, but Introduce societal factors, geopolitical, economic, and environmental considerations, and the task gets harder. Yet a high-level appreciation for these domains is necessary if we hope to understand the future and steer it in constructive directions.

Continue reading

The World

When we look into the future and try to understand its path, we must consider the geopolitical sphere as a key area of influence. The WorldTo that end, I just added another book to my Book Library. The World: A Brief Introduction was written by Richard Haass, an American Diplomat. Per the book abstract, The World is designed to provide readers of any age and experience with the essential background and building blocks they need to make sense of this complicated and interconnected world.

Continue reading

Why We’re Polarized

I have added a new book by Ezra Klein to my Library. The book titled “Why We’re Polarized” takes us on a fascinating journey to the past, helping us see that for all our problems, we have been a worse and uglier country at almost every other point in our history. Having said that, our current polarization has made it impossible to govern. I found his historical perspectives on the framing of our current political system very timely, and the notion that what works in one era fails in the next. The institutions, frameworks, and beliefs born in a vastly different era, struggle to keep pace in an era that looks very different.

Continue reading

The Ecosystem Edge

I just finished another book and added it to my Book Library. Ecosystem Edge was written by Peter J. Williamson and Arnoud De Meyer. Ecosystem EdgeThe move towards ecosystems as an organizing principle for market activity has been a foundational piece of my research on the future of business. You can find that research here. The book goes into depth on the what, why, and how of ecosystems. Anyone looking for detailed guidance on how to execute in this ecosystem world, this is the book for you. Supported by several real-world examples, the authors explore the different aspects of succeeding in the ecosystem world. I highly recommend the book. The abstract is included below.

Continue reading

The Rise Of Digital Currency

I just finished another great book: Beyond Blockchain: The Death of the Dollar and the Rise of Digital Currency. The Rise of Digital CurrencyI just added it to my Book Library and highly recommend the read. Author Erik Townsend has a great blend of financial and software expertise, making him uniquely qualified to talk on the topic. He explores a wide range of topics from the basics of money to global scale digital currencies.

Although launched in early 2019, the book is very timely given the current geopolitical environment. Mr. Townsend does a great job of describing various aspects of our financial system, thereby building a foundation of knowledge that makes the discussion of digital currency more impactful. Although a big proponent of cryptocurrencies and the values and motivations of the original inventors, he is a pragmatist and practical thinker – which I found very refreshing.

Continue reading

A World Without Work

I Just finished another great book. This one is titled A World Without Work authored by Economist Daniel Susskind. A World Without WorkThe author explores a phenomenon that we have discussed many times over the centuries: Technological Unemployment. Drawing on almost a decade of research in the field, Susskind argues that machines no longer need to think like us in order to outperform us, as was once widely believed. The book describes a world where more and more tasks that used to be far beyond the capability of computers – from diagnosing illnesses to drafting legal contracts, from writing news reports to composing music – are coming within their reach. Mr. Susskind tells a compelling story to support his conclusion: the threat of technological unemployment is now real.

Continue reading

The Future is Asian

While the 19th Century belonged to the BritishThe Future is Asian, and the 20th Century to the Americans, Parag Khanna believes the 21st Century belongs to Asia. In his recent book The Future is Asian, the author takes us on a journey to Asia’s past. Along the way, we learn about the historical events that shaped Asia, and the role that the western world played in that shaping. 

As Mr. Khanna shifts to the present, we learn about the fascinating stories unfolding across Asia – from all corners of the eastern world. From Saudi Arabia, Africa and Australia, to China, Vietnam, Russia, and Korea. The coming together of Asians as a people is a core theme. The author explores the prominent role that Technocracy played in Singapore, and holds it up as a model to be replicated. He compares and contrasts the progress made in the East, to the dysfunction of the West. As we witness the populist outbreak in the west, we see a coming together in the east. As it does so, the Post-War (One and Two) global order defined by the West gives way to a global order increasingly defined by the East.

Continue reading

Great Books to Consider

Several great books have informed my own personal journey towards our emerging future. The complex and uncertain nature of this future requires a level of system thinking that will challenge our ability to connect the dots that are emerging. Foresight analysis will be an iterative ongoing process, fueled by both human and machine-driven guidance.

Humans are investing considerable time in evaluating the path of many future scenarios. In various forums, I am often asked to recommend books that explore these scenarios. I have now added a Menu Item that lists a number of great books along with an Amazon link.

I hope your journey is as fascinating as mine has been to date.

Early 2018 Reading List

Update January 22nd: I am adding a book just released to this short list – Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution

I’m often asked for book recommendations that aid with future thinking exercises. A good source in 2018 for this type of exercise is Fast Future Publishing, whose goal is to profile the latest thinking of established and emerging futurists, foresight researchers and future thinkers from around the world, and to make that thinking accessible to the widest possible audience. Their innovative publishing model bypasses most traditional publishing channels and accelerates time to market. Two books that I’d recommend for early 2018 are described below, and a new book due out in the spring is also included.

Continue reading