When he was charting his career course, it’s unlikely that Mike Rowe thought about collecting owl vomit, making charcoal or turning the bones of dead cattle into useful products.
Rowe probably didn’t envision himself developing a passion for the Dirty Jobs TV show that enjoyed a seven-year run on the Discovery Channel. Life can be funny that way. Doors open unexpectedly and you walk on through. Or maybe you’re among the fortunate ones in a profession you’ve dreamed of since childhood.
In his 2016 video talk, Don’t Follow Your Passion, Rowe warns against the dangers of pursuing unrealistic goals and ignoring the practical demands of life. Wishes and desires, he explains, often are not aligned with talents and capabilities.
“Just because you’re passionate at something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it,” Rowe says.
He’s an economics instructor at the renowned Cambridge University. He’s served as a consultant to the World Bank and other prestigious financial institutions. He’s a fellow at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington and the author of several popular books.
If Ha-Joon Chang came across as a snooty intellectual you probably wouldn’t be shocked, though that would go against everything he believes. The South Korean argues that economics is not just for those with lofty IQ’s and fancy degrees; it’s accessible to everyone – which may explain why Chang’s 2016 video presentation, Economics is for Everyone, is one of the most popular video talks in getAbstract’s library.
Economics has always been an intimidating subject, Chang says, mainly because we defer to “experts” who complicate matters with thorny mathematical formulas and esoteric jargon and principles. Marxist, Keynesian, GDP, regressive tax, supply side, variable cost, etc., etc. Yuck. No wonder we can’t be bothered.
“Economics has been uniquely successful in making the general public reluctant to engage with its territory,” Chang wrote in his well-received 2014 book, Economics: The User’s Guide.
Chang’s point is that average people know plenty about economics. They’re in the trenches every day, working hard to support a family and hopefully move up the ladder. You’re entitled – strongly encouraged, even – to have an opinion about economics. You don’t need a master’s in political science to express your views on Obamacare or be a psychologist to weigh in on gay marriage, right?
Unlike physics or chemistry, with their immutable laws and theories, economics is a fluid, inexact science subject to society’s evolution and peoples’ behaviors. Neoclassical economics, for instance, the most popular of the nine major schools of economics, posits that people tolerate work to afford pleasure. But as we’ve seen in the age of high-octane consumption, making more money does not ensure happiness. Often it’s quite the opposite.
“Any subject studying human beings, including economics, has to be humble about its predictive power,” says Chang.
Economic insight, Chang explains, requires being receptive to contrary viewpoints instead of stubbornly clinging to a single philosophy. Every school of thought has its valid points and flaws. If you are just able to grasp the basics – don’t worry about the fancy terms – then economics will not seem so daunting.
Take it from an expert.
You’ve reviewed dozens of résumés, sorted out the best applications and invited a handful of qualified candidates for an interview. Now what?
Do you hire the person wearing orange? The one that wants a cup of coffee? Or the one with the strongest handshake?
These seem like inane questions, but no matter how objective hiring managers try to be, there are plenty of subjective factors that affect hiring decisions. Jacquelyn Smith and Shana Lebowitz offer an insightful list in their article 28 Surprising Things that Affect Whether You Get Hired.
Every year, the world-class editors at getAbstract read through the most inspiring, outstanding, and enlightening English and German nonfiction business literature available, and choose four recipients of the getAbstract International Book Award.
The competition is fierce as getAbstract assesses thousands of titles in the following categories: management, strategy, sales and marketing, human resources, economics, politics, finance and career development.
“We all know that the world of business is highly dynamic and competitive. Often, the smallest details – the right knowledge at the right time – can make the biggest difference,” says Patrick Brigger, Co-Founder and Chairman of getAbstract. “That’s why we don’t just compress knowledge, we also promote the authors and publishers who work tirelessly to give professionals the knowledge they need to stay ahead of the game.”
This year, the four winners were announced during the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. And the winners are:
The getAbstract International Book Award is now in its sixteenth year, and has carved a path of excellence and recognition for authors who are on the forefront of business insight and innovation. “I consider it a great honor to receive the getAbstract International Book Award 2016,” says Robert Tercek, author of Vaporized. “GetAbstract is the only organization that publishes detailed reviews of every business book, which means they are deeply knowledgeable about the entire competitive set of titles. The fact that my book Vaporized was chosen from such a broad collection of excellent work is a truly meaningful distinction.”
This year’s winners during the award ceremony at Frankfurt Book Fair
The four winners were chosen out of ten finalists that included Geoff Colvin, Robert M. Galford, Scott Malcomson, Werner Gleissner, Weert Canzler and Paul Schreyer.
For more information about getAbstract and the International Book Award, please go to www.getabstract.com/bookaward.
Have you ever wondered how Google and Starbucks stay ahead of the game? The answer might surprise you – they have great learning cultures.
In his book, Building an Innovative Learning Organization, Russell Sarder said it best, “You don’t know what you don’t know, and it’s what you don’t know that can lead to wasted resources and disappointing outcomes.”
To succeed, your company needs a workforce that is well-informed and has access to relevant knowledge. And every employee needs to feel empowered to take charge of their own learning – your company has to become what Sarder calls a “learning organization.”
“Learning organizations are better able to compete because they are more able to innovate and respond quickly to change in a world where change is one of the few things we can count on,” says Sarder. This is exactly where getAbstract comes into play – we support your company’s existing learning culture or help you build one. Thousands of companies worldwide – including 40% of Fortune 100 companies – have already become learning organizations with getAbstract. Why not yours?
|Building an Innovative Learning Organization
A Framework to Build a Smarter Workforce, Adapt to Change, and Drive Growth
Before he became one of America’s most powerful and wealthiest businessmen and before he launched his presidential campaign in 1994, Ross Perot was arguably the greatest salesman in IBM’s history. He was so good, in fact, that one year he achieved his annual sales goals in January!
It’s reasonable to assume that Perot, even in his worst year, never experienced the anxiety of many B2B salespeople leading up to the holiday season. Q4, the fourth quarter, represents the home stretch for those striving to meet their yearly quotas. It’s a challenging time because buyers are often distracted, begin to take time off and may have exhausted their budgets.
Some salespeople offer large and intricate solutions that require months for a customer to finalize an agreement. In those cases, it’s best to focus on next year; you simply don’t have enough time to close. But it’s possible to reel in less complicated deals if your strategy is sound and you’re determined not to let the fish wriggle off the hook.
Time management is arguably the only topic on which you can get a consensus. Whether you’re a CEO, nurse, architect or studio musician, everyone agrees that it’s critical to use your time wisely. “I really enjoy racing to appointments, blowing deadlines, working overtime and missing meals and sleep,” is not something you hear in the break room.
Considering that 24 hours is our maximum daily allotment, time is a precious commodity. Once gone, it can never be recaptured. Some people seem to have the gift of organization while others are tossed about in a perpetual vortex of disorder. How compelling is our pursuit of effective time management? Well, getAbstract’s most downloaded book summary is Kevin Kruse’s 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management. The author interviewed billionaires, Olympians, scholastic achievers and entrepreneurs in an effort to identify common traits that enable them to be high fliers.
This fall, getAbstract is connecting readers with top business authors. Every #TakeoverTuesday, you’ll be able to talk to a new author, ask questions and learn more about the author’s upcoming projects. Join us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn – getting relevant business information has never been so easy!
The first author to take over is Lisa Earle McLeod, founder of McLeod & More and Sales Leadership expert for Forbes. We had a chance to talk to her first and ask some questions.
getAbstract: Lisa, what’s the one thing every business leader should ask?
Lisa Earle McLeod: The key question every leader needs to ask is do we have a Noble Purpose or do we just sell stuff? The answer is directly linked to your profitability. The data is clear, organizations with a Noble Purpose – a purpose that focuses on improving life for their customers – outperform organizations that are focused on hitting financial targets. I created the concept of Noble Purpose six years ago after my research with sales teams revealed that salespeople who sold with Noble Purpose – who truly wanted to make a difference to customers – consistently outsold the salespeople who were focused on sales goals and money.
getAbstract: That sounds counterintuitive. Shouldn’t a salesperson’s motivation be to “sell stuff”?
Lisa Earle McLeod: The words noble and selling are rarely seen together. Most people believe that money is the primary motivator for top salespeople and that doing good by the world runs a distant second. That belief is wrong. If you have a Noble Purpose, the odds are on your side. If you’re just selling stuff, you’re going to be in for a very tough time.
getAbstract: This might be the first time some of our readers hear about Noble Purpose. How popular is this concept?
Lisa Earle McLeod: Noble Purpose is catching on because it works. Early adopters like our clients Hootsuite, Flight Centre and G Adventures put the language into the business vernacular. For example, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes regularly talks about their Noble Purpose: “We help our customers transform their message into meaningful relationships.” During the time we worked with their firm, Hootsuite doubled revenue. Noble Purpose was the jumping-off point for a growth strategy that has delivered attention-getting results. The media is starting to cover it as well. In 2014, The Wall Street Journal quoted Merrill Lynch leader John Theil’s annual address to his team where he asked 13,700 financial advisers to “find their Noble Purpose.” In 2016, WSJ did a piece about how we (McLeod & More), use Noble Purpose to increase employee engagement. Purpose is not new. What’s new is the process we’ve created to take it from concept into tangible business strategies. Our clients are getting big results, that tends to get people talking.
Do you have more questions for Lisa? Connect with her on social media this #TakeoverTuesday.
Curious about our next author takeover? Don’t miss Jason Womack on October 4.
Regardless of how frightening or exhilarating the prospect, there’s no avoiding artificial intelligence. As we indicated in our last blog, AI marches inexorably forward, transforming our reality and challenging our imagination. Pandora’s technological box has been flung wide open and the possibilities appear mind-boggling.
AI developments often come in surprise packages. For instance, you might think Facebook is just an innocuous way of disseminating information and socializing with family and friends. In reality, Facebook is a technological juggernaut with vast financial resources that’s on a mission to overtake Google, Apple and Microsoft and emerge as the force in artificial intelligence. Though Facebook is a relative newcomer to the AI field compared with the Big Three, the company has identified its objectives and how to achieve them.
Some 40 years ago, a long-running series of iconic TV commercials featured the E.F. Hutton investment firm. Typically in a crowded setting like a party or on an airplane, someone would mention that his broker was E.F. Hutton. Suddenly there was dead silence; no one moved a muscle. “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen,” the announcer intoned.
When it comes to computer science, we tend to pay particularly close attention to those we regard as experts and visionaries in the field. So it’s significant that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates would endorse a couple of books that address the most fascinating and controversial topic of our time – artificial intelligence.
We’ve all had conversations with individuals who weren’t really “there.” You know the type; they appear to be paying attention but their eyes are darting all over the place. Or how about the people who in mid-conversation feel their cellphones vibrating and whip them out of their holsters – sorry, pockets — like gunslingers at high noon? Heaven forbid they should miss a Facebook notification.
Hundreds of computer apps. Countless TV channels. Twenty-four-hour programming. Twitter. Blogs. YouTube. Instagram. No wonder many of us have the attention span of a flea. OK, we’re exaggerating. Would you believe a goldfish? According to author Phil Simon in Message Not Received, a goldfish’s average attention span was nine seconds in 2013; the average American’s was eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000!
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by technology. Innovation occurs so rapidly that you sometimes wonder whether machines – not people – are best suited to adapt. But there’s hope for us humans if we play to our strengths – intellect, empathy, enthusiasm, intuition, tolerance, and on.
That’s one of the unifying themes among the five English finalists for the 16th getAbstract International Book Award. Two nominated titles from the English and German language categories will receive the award in an official ceremony on October 19 at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
When the getAbstract International Book Award launched in 2001, it was the first international prize of its kind to honor outstanding works in the field of business literature. This year, getAbstract assessed more than 10,000 English and German business books in the fields of leadership and management, strategy, sales and marketing, human resources, economics and politics, finance, and career development.
The five English nominees:
Humans Are Underrated, Geoff Colvin, Portfolio, PRH/Nicholas Brealey Publishing
Yes, computers already have taken over many job duties. And it’s impossible to halt the evolution of technology. Yet our ability to interact and relate is what separates us from machines. Colvin believes that human beings will never become obsolete as long as we practice empathy and mutual understanding.
Invisible Influence, Jonah Berger, Simon & Schuster
Though the American culture, in particular, values uniqueness, we are still products of social conditioning. It’s unavoidable – other people influence our choices, behaviors, likes and dislikes. Berger suggests that while we strive for individuality, we also unconsciously seek acceptance.
Simple Sabotage, Robert M. Galford, Bob Frisch, Cary Greene, HarperOne/HarperCollins Publishers
Even employees with noble intentions can create chaos in the workplace. In referencing a 1944 U.S. intelligence service field manual, the authors demonstrate how to disrupt an organization from within. Simple things like excessive e-mailing and long presentations can create confusion and hinder productivity.
Splinternet, Scott Malcomson, OR Books
Many people believe the atomic bomb was the seminal innovation of World War II. In fact, it was the computer. Malcomson explains how the U.S. military industrial complex actually spawned the Internet and also how the roots of venture capitalism can be traced to WWII.
Vaporized, Robert Tercek, Life Tree Media
Amazon has no stores and Uber has no cars, but they dominate their markets. Any company has the potential to go digital in the age of “vaporization.” Tercek believes that understanding this technological phenomenon can help businesspeople make the transition and remain relevant.
You can’t tuck them into your wallet or pocketbook. You can’t use them in a parking meter or to pay your bar tab. Casinos won’t exchange them for chips. You can’t even hold them in your hand, yet people invest in them and their value is increasing.
Welcome to the fascinating and often shadowy world of bitcoin – a completely electronic currency that isn’t backed by anything physical, like gold. Though you may have heard of bitcoin, the concept is tricky to grasp, especially for those of us who find it challenging to replace the AA batteries in our TV remotes. Even technologically savvy individuals could find terminology such as “public and private key cryptography, blockchains and mining pools” a tad unsettling.
It’s always fascinating to see what summaries getAbstract subscribers find most interesting. In examining the list of the top 10 downloads for the first half of 2016, it’s clear that our readers are focused on self-improvement and increasing workplace efficiency, both individually and collectively.
Considering that a large part of the week is spent in the office, it’s not surprising that we want that experience to be enjoyable, fulfilling and promising. You’re sure to find inspiration in these fine reads.
Will robots take all our jobs? Not even the most fervent prophets of digitalization would claim that. What they do say, though, is that to thrive in the future economy, we’ll have to focus on the strengths that separate us from our ever-smarter digital colleagues. Over the last year, those uniquely human “soft skills” were the subject of many business books. You’ll find the most interesting among them on our shortlist – along with other highlights from the year.
getAbstract is proud to present the getAbstract International Book Award to the best business books of 2016. This year, getAbstract assessed more than 10,000 English and German business books in the fields of leadership and management, strategy, sales and marketing, human resources, economics and politics, finance, and career development. We have selected 10 finalists.