New Perspectives For The Year: Life Is Short, Humans Are Dumb, Careers Are Your Responsibility, and We Need More Heretics
These books set the tone for my perspective in this new year.
A Short History of Nearly Everything (Bill Bryson) emphasizes that, as humans we rarely know what we're doing – our existence as a species on this earth is a tiny fraction of time, but we continue to kill ourselves while obliterating other species and our environment. This book was also a great reminder that the greatest innovators and inventors are individuals with a burning passion – not individuals with a laundry list of formal qualifications.
The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century (Thomas L. Friedman) argues that, we can't accept complacency in our jobs or careers – the world has changed and you'll be left behind. Bureaucracy on every level may save your job today, but this won't be the case in an increasingly global world. As individuals our careers and future are solely our responsibility – we should be versatilitsts, not specialists.
The Age of Heretics: A History of the Radical Thinkers Who Reinvented Corporate Management (Art Kleiner, et el) demonstrate that, most corporations / business / organization don't really know what they're doing (MBA theory is based on the past, and not entirely relevant for the future). Many successful businesses have been run by heretics – people who understood the system around them, then push the limits of these systems to provide more value, innovate, and become successful. Also, that success is almost entirely dependent on people, teams, integrity, honesty, and the relationships that ensue.
The Last Lecture (by Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow), is a sober reminder that living life to the fullest and living a good life are what really matters. Also, that: “engineering isn't about perfect solutions; it's about doing your best with limited resources” – Randy Pausch.
Cheers to another great year as we continue to gaining broader perspectives, seek out a better quality of life, get out and do more things, meet new people, and cultivate existing relationships. :)