This week’s book review is The Second Machine Age by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson.
The authors take us through a great history of social development and chart the relentless and accelerating progress of technology. They do a great job of explaining how technology has impacted society, is impacting society, and will impact society moving forward. Besides the technology itself, they cover the impact that the second machine age will have on politics, economics, social upheaval, income inequity, and more.
My takeaway from this book is that our future will be very different that our current world and that the rate of change is accelerating. The best way for us and our businesses to stay ahead of this change is to:
There are people who shy away from challenges and then there are people who are energized by attacking challenges and “defeating” them!
There are pros and cons to both approaches. However, I am not aware of any great accomplishment or breakthrough ever happening because someone was running away from a challenge!
All major technology, medical, literary, artistic, or other societal impacting breakthrough has happened because someone identified a challenge, took it on, and solved it!
I was reminded of this by my grandson Jett. He is going through a phase where scaring him does not result in him running away. Rather, he turns towards the “threat” and runs directly at it. He is challenging the threat!
This does not mean that he is always successful in “defeating” the threat. In fact, most of the time he fails . . . but this does not deter him or keep him from trying again!
And, as business leaders, this is what we all should be doing!
Things You Can Count On By Taking on Challenges
The book review for this week is Right Away and All at Once by Greg Brenneman.
Brenneman is a highly respected and experienced CEO who has led the turnarounds of many large corporations like Continental Airlines, Home Depot and Burger King (see this past post for more details). He provides some amazing business and personal insights in this book as well as revealing the foundation for his successful business philosophy.
My takeaway from this book is;
A few months ago a friend and I were discussing a new leadership role that he recently stepped into. Although he is really successful and likes his new role, he told me that the thing he misses most about his old role was that he isn’t moving piles of dirt anymore. When I asked him what he meant, he said that his old role was much more tactical and at the end of the day he could clearly see what he had accomplished. It was like moving piles of dirt. There was an instant acknowledgement that he was making or had made some progress and achieved something. In his new role as a leader, he is much more strategic and much less tactical. It can be weeks, months or years before the true value of a strategy pays off and he sees results and “the pile of dirt” has moved!