The Excellence Dividend

The Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last

by Tom Peters

Tom Peters makes a renewed call to excellence in the context of an increasingly data-driven and dehumanized world. His “putting people first” mantra is even more on point than it was when his seminal work In Search of Excellence was published in 1982.

“The primary defenses against AI-driven job destruction are widespread, relatively unconstrained creativity and novel organizational arrangements designed to produce products and services that will stand out in an automated world. I unequivocally believe that such creativity is antithetical to algorithmic optimization of human affairs.”

“So what is this Excellence Dividend? In short, businesses that are committed to excellence in every aspect of their internal and external dealings are likely to be survivors. They are better and more spirited places to work. Their employees are engaged and growing and preparing for tomorrow. Their customers are happier and inclined to spread tales of their excellence far and wide. Their communities welcome them as good neighbors. Their vendors welcome them as reliable partners. That in turn translates directly into bottom-line results and growth. And, AI and robotics notwithstanding, it translates into jobs that last and the likely creation of new jobs as well.” Continue reading

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The Art of Seeing

the-art-of-seeing

The Art of Seeing: An Interpretation of the Aesthetic Encounter

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Rick E. Robinson

This book explores the enjoyment of viewing art within the framework of flow, the psychology of optimal experience. Flow is an intrinsically rewarding feeling of total involvement in an activity. To be fully engaged in a state of flow, one must be skilled and challenged. The author studied museum professionals as a proxy for the more general art viewing population.

“The experience is one of an initial perceptual hook followed by a more detached, intellectual appreciation that returns the viewer to the work with a deeper understanding.”

“The best examples of objects containing such challenges are works whose meaning appears to be inexhaustible.” As one respondent put it, “‘A good painting will never be used up.’”

Four dimensions of aesthetic experience are explored: cognitive, perceptual, emotional, and communicative.

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Team of Teams

team-of-teams

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

by General Stanley McChrystal with Tantum Collins, David Silverman, and Chris Fussell

When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2003, he was fighting a 21st-century war with a 20th-century military. This engaging book is about the reconfiguration which  led to faster decisions and greater results. McChrystal’s mission was to defeat Al Quaeda in Iraq (AQI), but his leadership insights are applicable to business as well. Continue reading

The Myths of Creativity

the-myths-of-creativity

The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas

by David Burkus

“Creativity is the starting point for all innovation, and most organizations rely on innovation to create a competitive advantage.” In this interesting book, management professor David Burkus debunks 10 myths of creativity, citing academic research and examples from business. Continue reading

What You’re Really Meant to Do

what-youre-really-meant-to-do

What You’re Really Meant to Do: A Roadmap for Reaching Your Unique Potential

by Robert Steven Kaplan

“The key to achieving your aspirations lies not in ‘being a success’ but rather in working to reach your unique potential… Remember, lots of people will tell you what you should do and what you should want, but they don’t have to live your life. Chances are, moreover, that they’re not very happy with their own lives.” Continue reading

Good Business

good-business-mihaly-csikszentmihalyi

Good Business: Leadership, Flow, and the Making of Meaning
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Good Business is about enjoyment of work and productivity. It is based on the author’s research on flow, the psychology of optimal experience.

Flow is “a deep sense of enjoyment.” To be fully engaged in a state of flow, one must be skilled and challenged. “Basically, the more a person feels skilled, the more her moods will improve; while the more challenges that are present, the more her attention will become focused and concentrated.” Continue reading