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March 1, 2017

New Releases: Business Books to Watch in March

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 10:00 AM – Filed under: Big Ideas & New Perspectives, Current Events & Public Affairs, Innovation & Creativity, Leadership & Strategy, Management & Workplace Culture, Marketing & Sales, Personal Development & Human Behavior, Publishing Industry

In order of their release date, here are some of the book we'll be looking at more closely in March.

The Transformational Consumer: Fuel a Lifelong Love Affair with Your Customers by Helping Them Get Healthier, Wealthier, and Wiser by Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Berret-Koehler Publishers

They are the most valuable, least understood customers of our time. They buy over $4 trillion in life-improving products and services every year. If you serve their deeply human need to continually improve their lives, they will eagerly engage with your brand at a time when most people are tuning out corporate messages.

They are Transformational Consumers, and no one knows them like Tara-Nicholle Nelson. Her Transformational Consumer insights powered her work at MyFitnessPal, which grew from 40 million to 100 million users in her time there.

Nelson takes readers on a hero's journey to connecting with customers in ways both profitable and transformational. After going inside the brains, emotions, and behaviors of Transformational Consumers, Tara issues a call to adventure: a rallying cry to leaders to shift their focus from simply making products to solving their customers' problems.

Nelson uses stories and cases studies from every industry to guide readers through this journey in five stages, shedding light on how to rethink their customers, their products and services, their marketing, their competition, and even their culture.

The key to growing a business today is not building an app or getting new social media followers. The key is engaging people over and over again by triggering their deep, human desire for growth and transformation.

When a company reorients every initiative to serve Transformational Consumers, it kick-starts a lifelong love affair with its customers—a love affair that results in unprecedented revenue growth, product innovation, and employee engagement.

The Crowdsourceress: Get Smart, Get Funded, and Kickstart Your Next Big Idea by Alex Daly, PublicAffairs

The crowdfunding expert known as "The Crowdsourceress"—who has some of the biggest and most famous Kickstarter campaigns in her portfolio—writes the definitive guide for anyone looking to raise money for a creative endeavor, product, or cause. 

In recent years, the crowdfunding industry has generated several billions in funding. But the harsh reality is that around 60 percent of Kickstarter campaigns fail. Enter Alex Daly, a crowdfunding expert who has raised over $20 million for her clients' campaigns. She has run some of Kickstarter's biggest projects—TLC's newest album, Neil Young's audio player, and Joan Didion's documentary. In this book, Daly takes readers deep inside her most successful campaigns, showing you how to:

  • Get fans and influencers excited about your launch
  • Build an appealing and powerfully designed campaign
  • Access proven video tips, pitching tactics, press releases, and rewards ideas
  • Avoid the most common headaches and pitfalls

Here you'll get tangible tools to run your own crowdfunding campaigns and fully connect with the crowd, get people to pay attention, and inspire them to act.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter, Penguin Press

An urgent and expert investigation into behavioral addiction, the insidious flipside to today’s unavoidable digital technologies, and how we can turn the tide to regain control.

In our lifetimes, behavioral addiction may prove to be one of the most important fields of social, medical, and psychological research. The very idea of behaviors being addictive is new, but the threat is near universal. We are only just beginning to understand that we are all potential addicts. Adam Alter, Associate Professor of Marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business, is at the cutting edge of research into what makes these products so compulsive, and he shows that the price for continuing blindly down the path we are on will be huge.

People have always formed addictions to harmful substances, but these days we are hooked on technologies such as Twitter, Netflix, and Facebook—inventions and devices we use in the hope of making our lives better and more enjoyable. Of course, these devices have amazing upside, but their extraordinary appeal isn’t an accident. Technology companies and marketers have teams of engineers and researchers devoted to keeping us glued to the screen. They know how to push our buttons, how to get us using without our knowledge.

Tracing the very notion of addiction through history right up until the present day, Alter shows that we’re only just beginning to discover the tip of the iceberg of the epidemic of behavioral addiction gripping society. This goes to the core of who we are. He takes us inside the human brain at the very moment we switch on a game on our smartphones, or share a photo on Instagram in the hope of people “liking” it. But more than that, he heads the problem off at the pass, letting us know what we can do to step away from the screen. He lays out the options we have address this problem before it truly consumes us. After all, who among us hasn’t felt the terrible compulsive power of social media, video games, or simply checking your phone?

Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team's Productive Power by Michael C. Mankins & Eric Garton, Harvard Business Review Press

Managing Your Scarcest Resources.

Business leaders know that the key to competitive success is smart management of scarce resources. That’s why companies allocate their financial capital so carefully. But capital today is cheap and abundant, no longer a source of advantage. The truly scarce resources now are the time, the talent, and the energy of the people in your organization—resources that are too often squandered. There’s plenty of advice about how to manage them, but most of it focuses on individual actions. What’s really needed are organizational solutions that can unleash a company’s full productive power and enable it to outpace competitors.

Building off of the popular Harvard Business Review article “Your Scarcest Resource,” Michael Mankins and Eric Garton, Bain & Company experts in organizational design and effectiveness, present new research into how you can liberate people’s time, talent, and energy and unleash your organization’s productive power. They identify the specific causes of organizational drag—the collection of institutional factors that slow things down, decrease output, and drain people’s energy—and then offer a pragmatic framework for how managers can overcome it. With practical advice for using the framework and in-depth examples of how the best companies manage their people’s time, talent, and energy with as much discipline as they do their financial capital, this book shows managers how to create a virtuous circle of high performance.

A Little History of Economics by Niall Kishtainy, Yale University Press

A lively, inviting account of the history of economics, told through events from ancient to modern times and the ideas of great thinkers in the field.

What causes poverty? Are economic crises inevitable under capitalism? Is government intervention in an economy a helpful approach or a disastrous idea? The answers to such basic economic questions matter to everyone, yet the unfamiliar jargon and math of economics can seem daunting. This clear, accessible, and even humorous book is ideal for young readers new to economics and for all readers who seek a better understanding of the full sweep of economic history and ideas.

Economic historian Niall Kishtainy organizes short, chronological chapters that center on big ideas and events. He recounts the contributions of key thinkers including Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes, and others, while examining topics ranging from the invention of money and the rise of agrarianism to the Great Depression, entrepreneurship, environmental destruction, inequality, and behavioral economics. The result is a uniquely enjoyable volume that succeeds in illuminating the economic ideas and forces that shape our world.

The Spark and the Grind: Ignite the Power of Disciplined Creativity by Erik Wahl, Portfolio

From the world-famous graffiti artist, beloved corporate speaker, and bestselling author of Unthink, a provocative new book on how you can train yourself to become creative in your business and everyday life.

We’re conditioned to think in terms of dichotomies, especially when we talk about creative genius. Right brain versus left brain. Inspiration versus perspiration. Creativity versus discipline. And consequently, we believe that no one person can have both or be both: you’re either a suit or a creative.

But Erik Wahl, a professional artist who has learned to generate constant creative work, argues that success now depends on being able to harness creativity and discipline.

According to Wahl, creativity has two faces: the spark of inspiration and the grind of following through to make that idea a reality. Sparks of insight originate from passion—these are the moments that make your heart race in excitement, the moments in which you’re enthralled by possibility. The grind is the necessary work to take your spark from pie-in-the sky idea to execution.

Too often, we consider these elements separately, without thinking about how they interact. But the two are symbiotic; ongoing, original creativity requires both, as Wahl writes, “the initial flicker of hope, and the work to stoke it into something that changes the game.” Wahl offers practical advice about how to fan the sparks and make the grind more productive, including:

  • Immerse yourself in the unfamiliar: Consciously put yourself into uncomfortable situations to produce new and better ideas.
  • Converse with yourself and others: Subjecting your ideas to the crucible of criticism will clarify what’s really brilliant about them.
  • Rehearse creativity constantly: You need to commit to a steady practice of creativity, in what Wahl calls “a lifestyle of iteration.”

Wahl deftly synthesizes the wisdom of other artists, philosophers, scientists and business visionaries throughout history, along with his own striking personal story. The result is a guide to ensuring constant creativity in your everyday life, in and out of the office, that will push you to produce your most innovative work yet.

The Bully-Proof Workplace: Essential Strategies, Tips, and Scripts for Dealing with the Office Sociopath by Peter J. Dean & Molly D. Shepard, McGraw-Hill

Crucial tools and advice for dealing with bullies in the workplace and creating a productive, bully-free environment.

An alarming number of employees suffer from bullying at work. The cost of bullying is enormous—from the lost productivity, trust, and well-being among workers to the expense of replacing people who leave, increased healthcare, and litigation.

The Bully-Proof Workplace: Essential Strategies, Tips, and Scripts for Dealing with the Office Sociopath is designed to help alleviate this damaging workplace trend. This invaluable survival guide provides strategies, actionable advice, and sample dialogues to engage the different types of bullies, manage aggressive employees, and create a bully-proof environment.

Because of Sex: One Law, Ten Cases, and Fifty Years That Changed American Women's Lives at Work by Gillian Thomas, St. Martin's Press

A compelling look at ten of the most important Supreme Court cases defining women’s rights on the job, as told by the brave women who brought the cases to court.

Best known as a monumental achievement of the civil rights movement, the 1964 Civil Rights Act also revolutionized the lives of America’s working women. Title VII of the law made it illegal to discriminate “because of sex.” But that simple phrase didn’t mean much until ordinary women began using the law to get justice on the job—and some took their fights all the way to the Supreme Court. Among them were Ida Phillips, denied an assembly line job because she had a preschool-age child; Kim Rawlinson, who fought to become a prison guard—a “man’s job”; Mechelle Vinson, who brought a lawsuit for sexual abuse before “sexual harassment” even had a name; Ann Hopkins, denied partnership at a Big Eight accounting firm because the men in charge thought she needed "a course at charm school”; and most recently, Peggy Young, UPS truck driver, forced to take an unpaid leave while pregnant because she asked for a temporary reprieve from heavy lifting.

These unsung heroines’ victories, and those of the other women profiled in Because of Sex, dismantled a “Mad Men” world where women could only hope to play supporting roles; where sexual harassment was “just the way things are”; and where pregnancy meant getting a pink slip.

Through first-person accounts and vivid narrative, Because of Sex tells the story of how one law, our highest court, and a few tenacious women changed the American workplace forever.

The High-Potential Leader: How to Grow Fast, Take on New Responsibilities, and Make an Impact by Ram Charan with Geri Willigan, Wiley

Companies need High Potential leaders (Hi-Po’s) more than ever before to help them adapt to todays tumultuous, digitally-driven business environment. If you meet the Hi-Po criteria, you're in high demand—and this book explains how to fast-track yourself.

Criteria for Hi-Pos are changing markedly. In the past, fast-track leaders were tapped mainly because of their cognitive abilities, analytical skills, imagination, thoroughness in finding solutions and even perfectionist tendencies. In the new climate, other attributes will count more heavily: relationship skills, experience, judgment, abilities to engage, motivate, and draw out the best performance in others, strategic skills and even personal habits and behavior style. Above all, companies see Hi-Pos as people who have the capacity to grow quickly and step into new leadership roles competently. This book is a step by step guide to becoming a high potential leader.

Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities in a World That Can't See Clearly by Isaac Lidsky, TarcherPerigee

In Eyes Wide Open, Isaac Lidsky draws on his experience of achieving immense success, joy, and fulfillment while losing his sight to a blinding disease to show us that it isn’t external circumstances, but how we perceive and respond to them, that governs our reality.

Fear has a tendency to give us tunnel vision—we fill the unknown with our worst imaginings and cling to what’s familiar. But when confronted with new challenges, we need to think more broadly and adapt. When Isaac Lidsky learned that he was beginning to go blind at age thirteen, eventually losing his sight entirely by the time he was twenty-five, he initially thought that blindness would mean an end to his early success and his hopes for the future. Paradoxically, losing his sight gave him the vision to take responsibility for his reality and thrive. Lidsky graduated from Harvard College at age nineteen, served as a Supreme Court law clerk, fathered four children, and turned a failing construction subcontractor into a highly profitable business.

Whether we’re blind or not, our vision is limited by our past experiences, biases, and emotions. Lidsky shows us how we can overcome paralyzing fears, avoid falling prey to our own assumptions and faulty leaps of logic, silence our inner critic, harness our strength, and live with open hearts and minds. In sharing his hard-won insights, Lidsky shows us how we too can confront life’s trials with initiative, humor, and grace.

There Are No Overachievers: Seizing Your Windows of Opportunity to Do More Than You Thought Possible by Brian D. Biro, Crown Business

A new book from management consultant and speaking guru Brian Biro about seizing and acting upon the WOO, or Windows of Opportunity, that present themselves in both our personal and professional lives.

In this inspirational book, Brian Biro, business speaker and former US swimming coach, reveals the secret to being energized and passionate about work and life—seizing the WOO. WOO stands for Windows of Opportunity—those precious, unrepeatable moments that can impact, redirect, and even reshape our lives if we recognize and choose to seize them. He encourages readers to ask “How can I recognize a WOO when I see one?” and “Why have I missed WOOs in my past?” and shows them how, by using our ability to network, create more energy, foster teamwork, and partner with others, we can create windows of opportunity that transform our careers and our lives.

There Are No Overachievers is designed to give readers the “aha!” moments and breakthroughs already experienced by over 400,000 attendees of Brian’s live presentations for top corporations and clients. Many chapters in the book are devoted to recounting personal stories as well as anecdotes from others that dynamically illustrate and underscore the importance of his key message. Through a conversational and relatable writing style, Brian Biro promises to reveal the ultimate secret to a rich and dynamic life, a successful and fulfilling career, and relationships that bring inexpressible joy.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott, St. Martin's Press

A simple but revolutionary approach to management.

From the time we learn to speak, we’re told that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. While this advice may work for everyday life, it is, as Kim Scott has seen, a disaster when adopted by managers.

Scott earned her stripes as a highly successful manager at Google and then decamped to Apple, where she developed a class on optimal management. She has earned growing fame in recent years with her vital new approach to effective management, the “radical candor” method.

Radical candor is the sweet spot between managers who are obnoxiously aggressive on one side and ruinously empathetic on the other. It’s about providing guidance, which involves a mix of praise as well as criticism—delivered to produce better results and help employees achieve.

Great bosses have strong relationships with their employees, and Scott has identified three simple principles for building better relationships with your employees: make it personal, get (sh)it done, and understand why it matters.

Radical Candor offers a guide to those bewildered or exhausted by management, written for bosses and those who manage bosses. Taken from years of the author’s experience, and distilled clearly giving actionable lessons to the reader; it shows managers how to be successful while retaining their humanity, finding meaning in their job, and creating an environment where people both love their work and their colleagues.

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth, Chelsea Green Publishing

From renegade economist Kate Raworth, a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy for a new generation of economic thinkers.

Economics is the mother tongue of public policy. It dominates our decision-making for the future, guides multi-billion-dollar investments, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times. Pity then, or more like disaster, that its fundamental ideas are centuries out of date, yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike.

That’s why it is time, says renegade economist Kate Raworth, to revise our economic thinking for the 21st century. In Doughnut Economics, she sets out seven key ways to fundamentally reframe our understanding of what economics is and does. Along the way, she points out how we can break our addiction to growth; redesign money, finance, and business to be in service to people; and create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design.

Named after the now-iconic “doughnut” image that Raworth first drew to depict a sweet spot of human prosperity (an image that appealed to the Occupy Movement, the United Nations, eco-activists, and business leaders alike), Doughnut Economics offers a radically new compass for guiding global development, government policy, and corporate strategy, and sets new standards for what economic success looks like.

Raworth handpicks the best emergent ideas—from ecological, behavioral, feminist, and institutional economics to complexity thinking and Earth-systems science—to address this question: How can we turn economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, into economies that make us thrive, whether or not they grow?

Simple, playful, and eloquent, Doughnut Economics offers game-changing analysis and inspiration for a new generation of economic thinkers.

The Spider Network: The Wild Story of a Math Genius, a Gang of Backstabbing Bankers, and One of the Greatest Scams in Financial History by David Enrich, Custom House

The Wall Street Journal’s award-winning business reporter unveils the bizarre and sinister story of how a math genius named Tom Hayes, a handful of outrageous confederates, and a deeply corrupt banking system ignited one of the greatest financial scandals in history.

In 2006, an oddball group of bankers and traders from some of the world’s largest institutions made a startling realization: Libor—the London interbank offered rate, which determines the interest rates on trillions in loans worldwide—was set daily by a small group of easily manipulated functionaries, and that they could reap huge profits by illegally nudging it to suit their trading portfolios. Tom Hayes, a brilliant but troubled math genius, became the lynchpin of a wild alliance that included a French trader nicknamed “Gollum”; the broker “Abbo,” who liked to publicly strip naked when drinking; a Kazakh chicken farmer turned something short of financial whiz kid; a broker known as “Village” (short for “Village Idiot”) obsessed with human-animal sex; an executive called “Clumpy” because of his patchwork hair loss; and a broker uncreatively named “Big Nose.” Hayes’s circle would produce the era’s greatest financial scandal—until it all unraveled in spectacularly vicious fashion.

The Spider Network is not only a rollicking account of the scam, but a provocative examination of a financial system that was crooked throughout, full of wheeler-dealers able to concoct elaborate connections between dollars and donuts but not their rapacious actions and the law.

Superfandom: How Our Obsessions are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are by Zoe Fraade-Blanar & Aaron M. Glazer, W.W. Norton & Company

An in-depth look at the influence of fans—society’s alpha consumers—on our lives and culture.

As fandom sheds its longtime stigmas of geekiness and hysteria, fans are demanding more from the celebrities and brands they love. Digital tools have given organizations—from traditional businesses to tech startups—direct, real-time access to their most devoted consumers, and it’s easy to forget that this access flows both ways. This is the new “fandom-based economy”: a convergence of brand owner and brand consumer. Fan pressures hold more clout than ever before as audiences demand a say in shaping the future of the things they love.

In Superfandom, Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron M. Glazer explain this new era of symbiosis. For producers, it can mean a golden opportunity: brands such as Polaroid and Surge, preserved by the passion of a handful of nostalgic fans, can now count on an articulate, creative, and, above all, loyal audience. Yet, the new economy has its own risks—it’s also easier than ever for companies to lose their audience’s trust.

Examining key cases that span a wide range of consumer markets, Fraade-Blanar and Glazer explain why some kinds of engagement with fans succeed and some backfire. Throughout, the authors probe fandom’s history, sociology, and psychology. From the nineteenth-century American Alice Drake, who bribed her way into the houses of her favorite European composers, to Hatsune Miku, the Japanese virtual celebrity whose songs are composed entirely by fans, the dynamics of fandom—the activities we perform to show we belong to a group of people with common interests—may be as old as culture itself.

For groupies of financier Warren Buffet and enthusiasts of Cards Against Humanity alike, the consumer relationship has been transformed. Superfandom is an essential guide for those who care about, contribute to, and live in our rapidly expanding fan-driven economy.

Boss Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Take Charge of Your Career by Nicole Lapin, Crown Business

A practical and inspiring guide for any woman who wants to enjoy the freedom and empowerment that come with being the boss of her own career.

The Urban Dictionary defines the term “boss bitch” as: A female that is extremely successful, stunting, and has plenty of power. So when Nicole Lapin talks about being a “boss bitch,” she isn’t talking about being like the Meryl Streep character in The Devil Wears Prada. She’s talking about being comfortable in our own skin and taking true ownership of our actions and our futures. She’s talking about rising to the occasion and owning our power. Because by this definition, being a boss bitch isn’t something to apologize for—it’s something to be proud of. That’s what this book is about.

Drawing on experiences from her own career, as well stories of some of the country’s most powerful females, Lapin breaks down what it means to be a “boss” in three easy steps. First, she shows how to embrace the “boss of you” mentality—and seize the power that comes from believing in yourself and your abilities. Next, she offers candid advice for how to succeed as a leader at work. And finally, for those who want to take the plunge as an entrepreneur—she lays out the nuts and bolts of how to go from idea to action: how to raise money, lay down a budget, hire a staff, scale responsibly, and deal with everyday leadership challenges, from sexism to work-life balance.

Ego Free Leadership: Ending the Unconscious Habits that Hijack Your Business by Brandon Black & Shayne Hughes, Greenleaf Book Group Press

Take your ego out of the equation, and watch your company thrive!

“I’ve got a solution,” Encore’s CFO tells Brandon, “but it’s unorthodox.” It’s 2005 and Brandon Black has just been promoted to CEO of Encore Capital, a company struggling to navigate an increasingly difficult business environment. Faced with a rapidly declining stock price and low workplace morale, Brandon knows he needs change—and fast. Following his CFO’s advice, he and his executive team start working with Learning as Leadership (LaL) and its president, Shayne Hughes. Through their partnership, Encore’s executive team learns to root out the unproductive ego habits that undermine collaboration and performance.

As they instill these more effective behaviors throughout the organization, Encore begins to solve problems collectively, prioritize resources without infighting, and focus on the initiatives with the greatest strategic value. When the financial crisis of 2008–09 forces 90 percent of its competitors out of business, Encore thrives, with its profits increasing by 300 percent and its stock price by 1200 percent. Told from two lively first-person perspectives, Ego Free Leadership brings readers along for Encore’s incredible success story. They’ll see a CEO overcome his unconscious resistance to modeling the change he wants in his team and discover a time-tested roadmap for eliminating the destructive effects of the ego in teams and organizations.

Gen Z @ Work: How the Next Generation Is Transforming the Workplace by David Stillman & Jonah Stillman, Harper Business

A generations expert and author of When Generations Collide and The M-Factor teams up with his seventeen-year-old son to introduce the next influential demographic group to join the work force—Generation Z—in this essential study, the first on the subject.

They were born between between 1995 and 2012. At 72.8 million strong, Gen Z is about to make its presence known in the workplace in a major way—and employers need to understand the differences that set them apart. They’re radically different than the Millennials and yet no one seems to be talking about them—until now. This generation has an entirely different perspective on careers and how to succeed in the work force.

Based on the first national studies of Gen Z’s workplace attitudes, interviews with hundreds of CEOs, celebrities, and thought leaders on generational issues, cutting edge case studies, and insights from Gen Zers themselves, Gen Z @ Work offers the knowledge today’s leaders need to get ahead of the next gaps at work and how best to recruit, retain, motivate, and manage them. Ahead of the curve, Gen Z @ Work is the first comprehensive, serious look at what the next generation of workers looks like, and what that means for the rest of us.

The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional by Agustín Fuentes, Dutton

In the tradition of Jared Diamond’s million-copy-selling anthropology classic Guns, Germs, and Steel, a book that overturns widely held misconceptions about race, war and peace, and human nature itself, providing a profoundly new answer to an age old question: what made humans so exceptional among all the species on earth?

Creativity. It is the secret of what makes humans special hiding in plain sight. Agustín Fuentes argues that your child’s finger painting comes essentially from the same place as creativity in hunting and gathering millions of years ago and throughout history in making war and peace, in intimate relationships, in shaping the planet, in our communities, and in all of art, religion, and even science. It requires imagination and collaboration. Every poet has her muse, every engineer, an architect, every politician, a constituency. The manner of the collaborations varies widely, but successful collaboration is inseparable from imagination, and it brought us everything from knives and hot meals to iPhones and interstellar spacecraft.

Weaving fascinating stories of our ancient ancestors creativity, Fuentes finds the patterns that match modern behavior in humans and animals and those that don’t. This key quality has propelled the evolutionary development of our bodies, minds, and cultures, both for good and for bad. It’s not the drive to reproduce, nor competition for mates, or resources, or power, nor our propensity for caring for one another that have separated us out from all other creatures.

As Fuentes concludes, to make something lasting and useful today you need to understand the nature of your collaboration with others, what imagination can and can’t accomplish, and finally just how completely our creativity is responsible for the world we live in. In a final short section of the book, he sets out a guide for how to use this view of human nature. In a nutshell his two-step signature of a creative human life? Embrace diversity; welcome failure. Agustín Fuentes resounding multi-million-year perspective will inspire readers—and spark all kinds of creativity.

Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm by Christian Madsbjerg, Hachette Books

Based on his work at some of the world's largest companies, including Ford, Adidas, and Chanel, Christian Madsbjerg's Sensemaking is a provocative stand against the tyranny of big data and scientism, and an urgent, overdue defense of human intelligence.

Humans have become subservient to algorithms. Every day brings a new Moneyball fix—a math whiz who will crack open an industry with clean fact-based analysis rather than human intuition and experience. As a result, we have stopped thinking. Machines do it for us.

Christian Madsbjerg argues that our fixation with data often masks stunning deficiencies, and the risks for humankind are enormous. Blind devotion to number crunching imperils our businesses, our educations, our governments, and our life savings. Too many companies have lost touch with the humanity of their customers, while marginalizing workers with liberal arts-based skills. Contrary to popular thinking, Madsbjerg shows how many of today's biggest success stories stem not from "quant" thinking but from deep, nuanced engagement with culture, language, and history. He calls his method sensemaking.

In this landmark book, Madsbjerg lays out five principles for how business leaders, entrepreneurs, and individuals can use it to solve their thorniest problems. He profiles companies using sensemaking to connect with new customers, and takes readers inside the work process of sensemaking "connoisseurs" like investor George Soros, architect Bjarke Ingels, and others.

Both practical and philosophical, Sensemaking is a powerful rejoinder to corporate groupthink and an indispensable resource for leaders and innovators who want to stand out from the pack.

Fast/Forward: Make Your Company Fit for the Future by Julian Birkinshaw, Jonas Ridderstråle, Stanford University Press

The leading companies of the past twenty years have all harnessed the power of information to gain competitive advantage. But as access to big data becomes ubiquitous, it can no longer guarantee a leg up. Fast/Forward makes the case that we are entering a new era in which firms that understand the limits of 1s and 0s will take the lead.

Whereas the industrial age saw the rise of bureaucracy, and the information age has been described as a meritocracy, we are witnessing the rise of adhocracy. In uncertain, rapidly-changing times, adhocracic organizations scan the horizon for winning opportunities. Then, instead of questing after more analysis, they respond with agility by making smart, intuitive decisions. Combining decisive action with emotional conviction, future-facing firms seize the day.

Fast/Forward paints the big picture of a new approach to strategy and provides the necessary playbook to make your company fit for the future.