Whether you’ve just graduated from school or you’ve had it up to here in your current position, looking for a job can test the limits of your patience. It can actually be downright discouraging. Your well-written, error-free cover letters rarely solicit a response. On those rare occasions when you’re granted an interview, you show up on time wearing nice, conservative clothing and generally make a strong impression. The interview goes well and you’re certain you’ll hear from the company.
Days go by … and nothing. Self-doubt starts to creep in. Maybe you’re not as qualified as you think.
In fact, you may very well be an ideal candidate, but computer programs designed to evaluate information gleaned from job applications, personality tests and social media unceremoniously reject you. A growing number of organizations are depending on algorithms to help shape their hiring practices, yet some observers believe it’s a mistake to rely so heavily on technology.
Congratulations, you made it to the finish line!
We had a great time with you on social media and hope to hear more from you in the future. The reading challenge is over, but your journey toward a more efficient you is just beginning – and we’ll be there with you, every step of the way. Keep reading and stay focused on your goals.
And now the winners: You read, you liked, you shared, you commented and you won! Congratulations!
getAbstract had the opportunity to talk to information technology professional and Data Crush author, Chris Surdak, and ask a few questions about big data, what companies actually do with the data they collect and how your company can succeed in this new information age.
getAbstract: Is everything we do online really being monitored all the time? How much data do people produce daily?
Chris: Absolutely everything that we do online is being monitored all of the time, although not all companies are doing this. It should be obvious which companies do capture our data. They are organizations that provide us with services without charging us for them. Think of Facebook, Google, Amazon, Waze, etc. These companies provide us with tremendous capabilities, apparently for free. However, the real costs to us is our privacy. These same companies are worth hundreds of billions of dollars because we give them our data, and they turn it into value and, eventually, money.
We all go through ups and downs at work. It’s normal to have unproductive days and days when you don’t seem to get anything done. But when does it become a problem? How can you turn things around?
getAbstract had the opportunity to talk to performance expert and Love It, Don’t Leave It author, Beverly Kaye, and ask a few performance questions every employee wants the answer to.
getAbstract: What are the top skills every employee should have to improve job performance?
Beverly: For starters, communication seems like common sense, but the truth is, common sense is not common. Verbal, written and listening (often not included) are key to building relationships and improving performance. Knowing what to say, when to say, and how to say is truly a science. Employees who take the time to learn the art of both public speaking, as well daily communication will find it helps dramatically to change the dynamic of a position. Due to technology, written communication has become the new first impression. Find programs that double check grammar! Employees should never fear to start over to retrain their written skills. The most important, and often forgotten form of communication, however, is listening. The old saying “We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason” has never been truer. Every employee should have the ability to listen…not just to what is said but to the words between the words.
Awareness is another rarely considered, but critical skill for employees. Employees should be aware of time, of areas for self-improvement and the changing climates of their industry.
Finally, patience is integral to employee success. Everyone succeeds on their own time schedule, and in unique ways. Employees need to plan for future success but be flexible to the reality that life does not always go as we planned.
Has “reading more” also made it into your list of New Year’s resolutions? If so, how do you make sure you’re not only reading more, but also the most relevant books?
We might have an idea for you: Start with the “Top 10 Summaries”, the 10 most downloaded getAbstract summaries in 2016, and stay informed and connected to the most current and relevant business information – in just 10 minutes.
Have a look at the most popular summaries from the past year!
When you think of the next 12 months, do you think of projects you want to start or changes you’d like to make?
If your answer is yes, keep reading. getAbstract had the opportunity to chat with professional development gurus Jason and Jodi Womack. They explain how to get unstuck, Get Momentum and take that first step to success.
getAbstract: We all have many goals we want to achieve. How do you prioritize?
Jason and Jodi: The definition of “goal” simply means “the object of a person’s ambition or effort.”
Our book, Get Momentum, helps people make consistent progress on their big, ambitious goals by focusing their effort productively.
In reality, you can only have ONE priority at a time. The most important thing is what you’re choosing to do right now.
In his new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, Bill Treasurer doesn’t mince words. Leadership is hard, and sooner or later every leader faces a situation that is literally a kick in the behind. Throughout the book, he drives home one point: If you want to become a better leader, you have to learn from those situations – you have to learn from your mistakes.
getAbstract had the opportunity to sit down with Bill and discuss his new book.
getAbstract: The moment we read the title of your new book, we were intrigued. Why did you call it A Leadership Kick in the Ass?
Bill: Even before I wrote Leaders Open Doors, I pitched an idea to my publisher of a book called Leadership is Freaking Hard. And it resonated. There are a lot of books that give you the idea that leadership is all this flowery attractive stuff, but if we get real about leadership, it’s freaking hard. As we were talking about that title, we thought it was too playful, and so we changed it to A Leadership Slap in the Face. Leadership is often a wake-up call; leaders go through startling experiences that are humbling – you fail, you mess up, you have a giant misstep. Those events are critical to the formation of you as a leader. They give you the seasoning, experience and wisdom you need.
As we were shaping the book, we shared experiences and we’d often say, “You know, I was facing this situation and I’ll tell you it was a real kick in the ass.” After a while we thought, “Why don’t we just call it what it is, A Leadership Kick in the Ass.”
I did get permission from my 80-year-old mother. [Laughs] I said, “Mom, we’re thinking about calling the book A Leadership Kick in the Ass, what do you think?” And being a New Yorker she said, “You know, Bill, ass isn’t really much of a swearword. You even hear it in PG movies.” So, we thought it was edgy enough to get attention but tame enough that readers will know our aim isn’t to offend them in any way.
Who doesn’t identify with the following scenario? A restaurant hostess escorts several young adults to a table. Literally seconds after being seated, they whip out their smartphones like Ninja warriors with throwing stars. Uh-oh, must be urgent. My goodness, someone else wants to be your Facebook friend! Wow, Beyonce’s new hairdo is blowing up Twitter! Holy cow, the Yahoo account you just checked three minutes ago has two more emails!
Those of you fretting over the future consequences of artificial intelligence may want to note the unsettling robotic behavior of present day flesh-and-blood human beings. If you’re not scared, you ought to be.
Prof. Sherry Turkle, director of the Initiative on Technology and Self at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is clearly alarmed by technology’s effect on people. Her video talk, Humans First – Technology Second, offers a pessimistic assessment of the current state of interpersonal relationships.
“Technology makes us forget what we know about life,” says Turkle, whose research revealed that the majority of people prefer texting to talking – even though they acknowledge that it damages the interaction.
getAbstract: How did you conclude that fear is the number one obstacle to managing change effectively?
Stott Steinberg: The fact that we’re all capable of successfully innovating our way to the top – and all it takes is one simple shift in mindset to do so. Research shows the leading barrier to ongoing business success isn’t time, money, or resources: It’s resistance to change, and lack of risk tolerance. As fast-moving and unpredictable as today’s world is though, we’re all forced to adapt on a daily basis. Haven’t taken a good look at your shifting schedule or priorities lately? Surprise – chances are, you’re successfully changing and innovating every day already. If everyone is capable of innovating, the only thing stopping you from getting ahead consistently is your own sense of perspective. As we discovered, fear comes in seven flavors. Learn to conquer them and you’ll soon find out – the possibilities are endless.
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