Sunday, June 3, 2007

Compelling Reading (Part 1)

For years now, I have been a very avid reader. In fact, as time marches on, I think that I crowd more hours of my day consuming the written words of others than I do anything else. In fact, I have to; it's my job, after all, to stay one step ahead on the information flow that can impact my clients and the people I care for. And so, I consume and consume and consume. Whether it is from the WSJ (arguably the most comprehensive biz newspaper on the planet) or from Gentlemen's Quarterly (which keeps me hip, even at 32yo), I love taking in information, be/c the best part of that is digesting all of it for "re-application"...I guess that is why Bridget calls me a sponge.

Over the years, I have read a lot of books and articles that have been the catalysts for reshaping my perspective, and from time to time, I have managed to share a few of them with my friends. Well, now I am going to list my favorites here.

I hope that you will dig up these articles, or order these books, and then actually take the time to read them. It would genuinely interest me to know what impressions these works leave on many of you.

Let's start with the articles:
  • "The Coming Anarchy" by Robert Kaplan, published in The Atlantic Monthly, February, 1994. (Kaplan contends that the world "faces a period of unprecedented upheaval, brought on by scarce resources, worsening overpopulation, uncontrollable disease, brutal warfare, and the widespread collapse of nation-states..." The sad thing is, his predictions are coming to pass.)
  • "Leadership Run Amok: The Destructive Potential of Overachievers" by Scott Spreier, et al., published in Harvard Business Review, June, 2006. (If only I had read this in 2004...)
  • "I.Q. Wars" by Jeffery Young, published in Forbes ASAP, December, 1995. (If brains do beat brawn, how will we compete for the world's smartest citizens?)
  • "Technofascism" by Michael S. Malone, published in Upside (defunct magazine), June, 1998. (Welcome to the age of the ultra-smart, the instantly connected--and the rest. Malone posited a new form of discrimination that could make the Victorians and Darwinists look like, well, angels.)
  • "The Soul of Silicon" by George Gilder, published in Forbes ASAP, June 1998. (All hail the might computer chip and the brilliant capitalists who will use them to conquer the world.)
  • "The Sociology of the Gene" by Jeremy Rifkin, published in Phi Delta Kappa, May, 1998. (This was a thought-provoking articles on the possibilities of genetics, the ethical implications of biotechnology, and the education of children.)
  • "The Organization Kid" by David Brooks, published in The Atlantic Monthly, April, 2001. (Brooks argues that, in order to become successful adults, our kids are going from wildly curious individuals to authority-accepting workhogs.)
  • "Why the Future Does Not Need Us" by Bill Joy, published in Wired, April, 2000. (Careful, you ambitious folks--lest you can inadvertently create the instruments of our own destruction.)
  • "Are You Deciding on Purpose?" by Alan Webber, published in Fast Company, February, 1998. (The title says it all...Definitely worth reading!)
  • "Big Thinking" by A.J. Vogl, published in Across the Board, January, 2004. (This is an interview with scenario-planning expert Peter Schwartz. He talks about Turkey, terror, drug, Saudi Arabia, "the long boom", and so on...)
  • "Can We Be Good Without God?" by Glenn Tinder, published in The Atlantic Monthly, December, 1989. (This is a profound and high-minded piece on the political meaning of Christianity.)
  • "Cloudy With a Chance of Chaos" by Eugene Linden, published in Fortune, January, 2006. (Re climate "flickering")
  • "Schools and the G Factor" by Linda Gottfredson, published in The Wilson Quarterly, June, 2004. (This is an interesting look at the role of intelligence in the mission to educate our youngsters.)
  • "Shock Wave (Anti) Warrior" by Peter Schwartz, published in Wired, November, 1993. (This is what happens when two of the smartest men in the country--one a paradigm visionary, the other a scenario expert--get together in the same room.)
  • "The Capitalist Threat" by George Soros, published in The Atlantic Monthly, February, 1997. (Our problem, Soros argues, is our own failure to appreciate the openness of our own society.)
  • "How Digital Is Your Company?" by Adrian Slywotzky, published in Fast Company, February, 1999. (The race is on. Is your enterprise ready to compete?)
  • "Thriving Locally in the Global Economy" by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, published in Harvard Business Review, 1995. (The perfect guide to meeting globalization head on.)
  • "The Promise: Married at 11, a Teen in Niger Returns to School" by Roger Thurow, published in the Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2005. (A sad, but compelling, story about the hell faced by young African girls.)
  • "America's New City: Megalopolis Unbound" by Robert Fishman, published in The Wilson Quarterly, 1990. (This is a great description of the new America.)
  • "Shelter and the Storm" by Katherine Boo, published in The New Yorker, November, 2005. (Okay, c'mon. I'd be dumb not to do a little bit of self-promotion here. LOL. It's still an awesome article.)

Next time, we will take a look at my favorite books...


Anonymous said...

Nice list. It's an honor to not only be included as an author, but, as editor of Forbes ASAP, I also assigned and edited the Gilder piece and (if memory serves)the Jeffrey Young piece as well.

Mike Malone

Digger said...

Well, G-man, I have took a look at this list earlier in the week, and I have been working diligently to read a few of the articles listed here. I am starting with the Anarchy article and the g factor one...I will keep you posted.

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