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Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it)

What Is It?:  In Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours, authors Salim Ismail, Michael Malone and Yuri van Geest distinguish an exponential organization — one that grows 10x over a shorter period by leveraging new technologies and organizational techniques while using less resources — from linear organizations. The book discusses the technological trends behind the growth of exponential firms, and how organizations, whether a startup or a mid-sized and large company, can become an exponential organization.

What Does It Mean?:  In the information age, exponential companies like Waze, Uber, Airbnb, Google and Amazon tap on technologies such as algorithms and tools widely accessible today like sensors, smartphones, social networks, Internet and cloud computing  to provide services and reach a global audience, growing bigger and better at a speed unparalleled for organizations with linear models. With the Internet and smartphones, the marginal cost to acquire new resources, capital, supplies and customers have diminished. Companies with lean organizations experiment with new ideas, tapping on the community and crowd, while organized for autonomy to commercialize new products faster. A massive transformative purpose (MTP) that far exceeds the traditional corporate mission and vision drives exponential companies and engages employees, who use internal dashboards to measure their performance while course-correcting in real-time driven by data. In exponential organizations, the five-year plan is considered obsolete and is supplanted by one-year plans that enables teams to be more agile at tackling market opportunities.

Why It's Recommended:  Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours presents a necessary paradigm and organizational shift for today’s companies looking to grow their businesses. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to think big from the start and aim to grow their businesses or industries exponentially, leveraging technologies and the crowd to be ten times better and faster. Companies will benefit from the Exponential Quotient quiz at the end to gauge their exponential organization scores and learn from dozens of companies from various sectors and company sizes who have successfully transitioned their firms into exponential organizations. The book is heralded by Frost & Sullivan as Business Book of the Year for 2014.

Date Published: 
2014
Author: 
Salim Ismail, Michael S. Malone, Yuri van Geest
 

The Age of Oversupply: Overcoming the Greatest Challenge to the Global Economy

What Is It?:  In The Age of Oversupply: Overcoming the Greatest Challenge to the Global Economy, investment banker and author Daniel Alpert tackles the reason for America's sluggish growth, citing an oversupply of labor and cheap capital coming from rising developing nations, among other factors.

What Does It Mean?:  Ever since China, Russia and other developing nations opened their markets to trade, the world's labor force has doubled in just two decades. In addition, productivity has been boosted by the Internet, a tool which has increased participation in the global economy. Futhermore, the world's rising middle class has also added more capital to the global economy as it has embraced new opportunities to earn more. Yet, while all of this has been unfolding, household incomes in developed nations have stagnated.

Why It's Recommended:  The Age of Oversupply provides a bold approach to solving America's economic woes. Alpert calls for fiscal stimulus, investments in infrastructure and a private debt reduction plan. The US is in debt and Alpert provides key insights to the economics at the heart of the problem. There is a connection, he says, between global oversupply of labor and a lack of domestic investment and growth. This book will also enable readers to see the economic connections between what is happening overseas and what is going on in the US. All told, Alpert usefully lays out policy initiatives that focus on the ongoing challenges the US economy faces and provides a path for renewed growth for developed nations.

Date Published: 
2013
Author: 
Daniel Alpert
 

Makers: The New Industrial Revolution

What Is It?:  Chris Anderson takes readers on a tour of the new industrial revolution that is currently unfolding in his book, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution.

What Does It Mean?:  New entrepreneurs are using open source design and 3D printing to manufacture custom, do-it-yourself products. With so much potential being unleashed from a million garage DIY enthusiasts, a resurgence of American manufacturing will occur, according to Anderson. The new generation of "Makers" will drive the next big wave in the global economy, powered by new technologies that enable anyone to invent and develop their own prototypes.

Why It's Recommended:   Makers: The New Industrial Revolution is particularly geared for those who wish to understand how technology will transform the process of invention. It also provides a feasible blueprint for reinvigorating US manufacturing, according to Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla Motors and CEO of SpaceX.

Date Published: 
2012
Author: 
Chris Anderson
 

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era

What Is It?:  In Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era, documentary filmaker and author James Barrat discusses the possible negative effects of the Singularity to humankind.

What Does It Mean?:  Singularity is a time postulated by futurist Ray Kurzweil when machine intelligence will supersede human intellect. If machines become self-aware, more intelligent and more powerful than humans, how will humans co-exist with them and will humans still feel safe? Barrat looks at the risks and profiles tech visionaries, industry watchdogs and groundbreaking AI systems in order to start a controversial but important conversation of a future of man and machine.

Our Take:  The book gives a dose of reality to the implications of human-like machines. It will be the twenty-first century's most pressing problem and understanding its risks will be to the readers' benefit.

Date Published: 
2013
Author: 
James Barrat
 

Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life

What Is It?:  In Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life, J. Craig Venter takes a thougt provoking look at the question, "what is life?" and "how can life be created or recreated?" in the rising field of synthetic genomics.

What Does It Mean?:  In 2010, the author, along with his team of scientists, was the first to successfully create "synthetic life." The implications of this development place mankind at an exciting phase in biological research. Writing the genetic code of new species that will help man to adapt and evolve for long-term survival is just one of the myriad possibilities. Synthetic life is sure to impact human existence, including such disparate areas as energy generation, healthcare, clean water and food production, environmental control, and even our evolution.

Why It's Recommended:  Venter presents an authoritative study on the subject of synthetic life, discussing its origins, current challenges and controversies.  Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life is filled with a masterful vision of this new era of biological engineering.

Date Published: 
2013
Author: 
J. Craig Ventner
 

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