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What people are reading... the ELC edition

One of my favorite parts of conferences is I get to hear about the books people are reading -- books that might help us do our jobs better, think differently, or help us manage more effectively. So I pulled together the books that I heard about during the sessions I was at during ACT/ IAC's Executive Leadership Conference down in Williamsburg, Va. last week.

In true social networking form, I have collected these books in the Delicious social bookmarking site. (If you don't know what social bookmarking is, I posted about it here.)

So the links of books and articles that I heard about at ELC can be found at http://del.icio.us/cdorobek/ELC2007. Books that I am watching/reading/interested in can be found at http://del.icio.us/cdorobek/FCWbooks.

So...among the books I heard discussed at ELC:

Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
by Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams

Anthony Williams, vice president and executive editor of New Paradigm, the Toronto management consulting firm, was a speaker at ELC. Regular readers of FCW will be familiar with New Paradigm. FCW editors named New Paradigm as an organization worth watching earlier this year. Williams' co-author, Don Tapscott, was at FCW's CIO Summit in May. In the issue at the Summit, we included an interview with Tapscott. During the Summit, he met OMB's Karen Evans, at which point Evans and Tapscot started a discussion. Tapscott then attended the CIO Council's off-site meeting. All of that resulted in OMB and the federal CIO Council participating in New Paradigm's Government 2.0 study. I have read this book -- parts of it several times -- and it is one of the most quoted books at conferences these days -- note quite up there with Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat, but....If you haven't read it -- either one, frankly -- both are worth a few hours.

And... speaking of Friedman... yes, the book was mentioned at ELC...

The World Is Flat [Updated and Expanded]: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman

And as long as I'm mentioning Friedman...

There was some discussion of the National Academy of Science's publication, Is America Falling Off the Flat Earth? by Norman R. Augustine, Chair, Rising Above the Gathering Storm Committee, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine of the National Academies


The aviation and telecommunication revolutions have conspired to make distance increasingly irrelevant. An important consequence of this is that U.S. citizens, accustomed to competing with their neighbors for jobs, now must compete with candidates from all around the world. These candidates are numerous, highly motivated, increasingly well educated, and willing to work for a fraction of the compensation traditionally expected by U.S. workers.

If the United States is to offset the latter disadvantage and provide its citizens with the opportunity for high-quality jobs, it will require the nation to excel at innovation—that is, to be first to market new products and services based on new knowledge and the ability to apply that knowledge. This capacity to discover, create and market will continue to be heavily dependent on the nation’s prowess in science and technology. Indicators of trends in these fields are, at best, highly disconcerting.

While many factors warrant urgent attention, the two most critical are these: (1) America must repair its failing K-12 educational system, particularly in mathematics and science, in part by providing more teachers qualified to teach those subjects, and (2) the federal government must markedly increase its investment in basic research, that is, in the creation of new knowledge.

Only by providing leading-edge human capital and knowledge capital can America continue to maintain a high standard of living—including providing national security—for its citizens.


Other items mentioned at ELC...

We Are Smarter Than Me: How to Unleash the Power of Crowds in Your Business
by Barry Libert (Author), Jon Spector (Author), Don Tapscott (Foreword)

This book was actually written by collaboration:


This book is the result of an unprecedented wiki-based collaboration bringing together leading experts on social networking and communities at Wharton Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, and more than 4,000 business innovators from around the world, all of whom have generously contributed their extraordinary knowledge, insights, and personal experiences.


Forget telework -- think a 24-7 workplace...
* Smashing The Clock [BusinessWeek]
No schedules. No mandatory meetings. Inside Best Buy's radical reshaping of the workplace

And, of course...
* The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
Surowiecki, who also spoke at a CIO Summit, argues that all of us are smarter then any one of us.

I hadn't heard of this one:
* A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink

From Publishers Weekly


Just as information workers surpassed physical laborers in economic importance, Pink claims, the workplace terrain is changing yet again, and power will inevitably shift to people who possess strong right brain qualities...the warning that people who don't nurture their right brains "may miss out, or worse, suffer" in the economy of tomorrow comes off as alarmist. But since Pink's last big idea (Free Agent Nation) has become a cornerstone of employee-management relations, expect just as much buzz around his latest theory.


More related to the world being flat, this book...

The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us by Robyn Meredith (Author)

As I mentioned, I have pulled ELC items together at del.icio.us/cdorobek/ELC2007.

If you attended ELC and have items to add, let's add them.

Posted on Oct 30, 2007 at 12:17 PM


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