There is no time like autumn for old thinking to fall away to make room for fresh perspectives. This reading list features four of our current favourite big idea books in the technology and business realms. The books on the list are thought-changing books, and, having had the opportunity to hear each of the authors speak about their book in the past year, we think a dinner party with these authors would be pretty fascinating.
1. Childhood Under Siege, by Joel Bakan, Allan Lane Canada, 2011
Childhood Under Siege is a must-read if: (i) your business markets or offers goods and services to children or (ii) you are interested in how technology is changing childhood. The first three chapters are particularly eye-opening as they cover the waxing and waning of child protection laws, the rise of marketing to children and the addictive design of social media and games. From a branding perspective, this book interests us since truly great brands could be built differentiating against the tactics exposed in the book (and the books extensive end-notes).
2. You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier, Knopf, 2010
Fascinating reading about how the programming choices from the early days of the Internet got “locked in” and how those decisions have had profound impacts on the Internet, technology and culture.
3. The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity by Richard Florida, Random House, 2010
Richard Florida considers the economic, technological and urban geography changes which followed the Great Panic of the 1870s and the Great Depression of the 1930s. With this historical lens, he considers the long road ahead of major changes in the wake of the world wide economic downturn.
4. Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage by Roger Martin, Harvard Business Press, 2009
Roger Martin outlines how businesses have focused on analytical thinking at the expense of intuitive thinking. This analytical focus has resulted in innovations building incrementally on past-innovations and, using Jaron Lanier’s terms, suffering from being “locked in” to the decisions embodied in earlier technology. Roger Martin sets out management approaches to the hard work of building design thinking into your organization.