For some months, I have been exploring new things – stretching the bounds of my learning to other areas. Those who know me can testify that I like sharing; I do most sharing privately. Whenever I read things, the next big thing that I think of – apart from how to put into action the new learning – is who else I can ‘share this with’.
I have had the privilege of peeping into the future and learning from some great minds. Here is a list – not an exhaustive one though – of some books I read in 2016 and highly recommend.
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely
I have had this book since 2015; read it and went back to it in 2016.
This book delves into the science and art of decision making, further stretching concepts like the truth about relativity, the ‘cost of zero cost’, the problem of self-control and procrastination, the high price of ownership, the power of price, the effect of expectations, the context of our character – and several other realities.
Sometimes, you aren’t always at the driver seat as you think, often times, we are swayed by the perception of our desires than reality. The chapters in the book describe forces that influence our behavior, while we mostly underestimate these forces or completely ignore them.
It is a good read for anyone interested in understanding human behavior, providing enterprise-based solutions to problems and contributing to (economic) policy development. I recommend for social entrepreneurs, policy makers and citizens who intend to see beyond perceptions.
Why Nations Fail
This is one of the best books on governance I have come across by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. I share in the school of thought that no nation can ever rise beyond the quality of its citizens (citizens, not just leaders).
Why do you think nations fail? It isn’t just lack of knowledge, but a combination of several factors. Leadership should be intentional.
Abundance: The Future is Better than You Think
I got to know about Peter Diamandis some years ago, while following the works of the Heretic’s Pascal Finitte. Some years later, I was reading Richard Branson’s adventures in Business Stripped Bare and saw a reference to his work again. Fortunately, I laid hold of the book – Abundance – in 2016.
This book by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler is about improving global living standards both in the developed countries and developing world, tackling global challenges, revealing solutions and embracing / harnessing the strength in evolving exponential technologies. With the myriad of challenges faced in the world today, one basic solution is to raise global standard of living.
We tend to see scarcity often and respond by ‘cutting our coats using austerity measures’. However, one of the better responses to the threat of scarcity is not to try to slice our pie thinner – rather it is to figure out how to make more pies. We are within a generation where we are able to provide goods and services once reserved for the wealthy few, to any and all who need them, or desire them. Through technology, Abundance for all is within our grasp.
I agree that we live in a world of abundance; the thoughts shared in the book relates with some of the thoughts we had talked about when I hang out with some colleagues. The concept of global citizenship, or should I say ‘global solutions making’ is such that ‘solving problem anywhere, solves problem everywhere’. Devoid of what the media wants us to believe, the world is more peaceful than it was a century ago, there is a global reduction in violence and increase in safety, the world is experiencing increasing happiness and equality. AND the future can be better than now.
I have been studying the rise of exponential technologies and the shift to the fourth industrial revolution. The question I ask is how these improvements will translate into better access to personalized education, productive human capital, affordable housing, accessible energy and improved governance for Africa and the billions of people at the base of the pyramid. Studying Abundance further strengthened my resolve to engage these technologies in solving challenges in the areas of education, governance and human capital development.
What other books do you think should be here?