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Ask a dozen people how they feel about technology and you’ll get a dozen answers. Some would say it’s kept them sane and connected throughout the craziness of 2020. Others would insist that without regular digital deprivation, tech wreaks havoc on mental health and social bonding. Regardless, though, tech is here to stay.
The key is figuring out how and where technology belongs in your personal and professional life. But to make that conclusion, you’ll probably want to get a broader understanding of how tech has changed and is continuing to change the human race. And you’ll find lots of insight from a decidedly offline source: books.
If you’re interested in delving into technology’s direction, pick up these noteworthy reads. They’ll give you a contemporary outlook on tech from unique and thoughtful perspectives.
1. Eric Pilon-Bignell — Surfing Rogue Waves
Humans are curious creatures. They can’t stop themselves from inventing and innovating. So is it any wonder that a futurist like Eric Pilon-Bignell believes our tenacity is bringing about the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Pilon-Bignell believes that what’s happening today with the rise in digitization is causing a tsunami of disruption in every fabric of the culture. As a result, he invites readers to make a deliberate choice: Sit back and watch the waves coming or take the bold step and begin Surfing Rogue Waves.
If you’ve wondered how to deal with the fast-paced world of tech-focused advancements or are worried about the purpose of AI, this book belongs in your library. You’ll enjoy not just a history lesson in how far we’ve come in such a short time, but a reminder that tomorrow is affected by what’s done today. You may never see technology in the same light after seeing digital through Pilon-Bignell’s lens.
2. Brian Paes-Braga — 8: Reflections on Building Business + Balance
This isn’t your average “coming of age” novel. Instead, it’s a memoir dedicated to author Brian Paes-Braga’s journey to achieve financial freedom by age 30, a journey that nearly devastated him. In 8, he lays out an honest look at why turning an impossible dream possible doesn’t always end up the way you planned.
Where does technology fall into the equation? For Paes-Braga, the digital world became both friend and foe. It allowed him to achieve his loftiest goals. And meeting those goals both thrilled and devastated him. Now, he’s on a mission to help others learn how to use technology to revive their spirits and set personal missions that offer fulfillment and true satisfaction. Never settle for a future of personal bankruptcy. Check out 8 to boost your resilience.
3. Doug Cartwright — Holy Sh!t We’re Alive: Now What?
Ex-Morman. Ex-millionaire. Unfilled. When those are the adjectives you’d use to describe yourself, you might end up taking chances. That’s exactly what happened for Doug Cartwright as he embarked on a series of adventures and adrenaline-filled journeys to find inner peace. Now a CEO, Cartwright peppers Holy Sh!t We’re Alive with the wisdom he’s gathered throughout his years of soul-searching.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you stepped away from the grind, from the devices, from reality, this is your must-read companion. Be prepared to hear about Cartwright’s use of mind-altering substances to help him see his former mistakes and avoid living anything but a purposeful life from this point forward. Though you might not want to repeat the choices he discusses in Holy Sh!t We’re Alive, you’ll come away with a new appreciation for a different way of dealing with the expectations and burdens of living in a fast-paced, always-on society.
4. AnneMarie Hayek — Generation We
The Generation Z digital natives are coming of age and they’re leveraging technology in unprecedented ways. From using social media to rally for equity and justice to leveraging the Internet to raise consciousness and hold companies accountable, they’re a powerful cohort. AnneMarie Hayek’s groundbreaking work, Generation We, outlines what makes Gen Z such an important force. Not only are they poised to inherit the earth, but they’re trying to save it as well.
As you pour over Hayek’s work, you’ll learn more about Gen Z’s vision and capabilities that represent what she calls their “hardened” realism. Not everyone is comfortable with what Gen Z brings to the international table, especially Millennials, Generation X members, and Baby Boomers who don’t understand. After reading Generation We, you’ll experience a clearer view of the most unlikely generation of social warriors — and you’ll understand why they need you as their ally both online and off.
Related: Stop Selling to Gen Z
5. Nick Shevelyov — Cyber War …and Peace
Is technology wonderful? Or is it menacing? Nick Shevelyov lays out a passionate take on how technology can be used in myriad ways. Growing up in Russia, he saw technological means used against his father. Yet, he didn’t push against technology or eschew all things digital. On the contrary, he embarked on a career in tech-related risk management.
Just when you thought that you’d never understand cybersecurity, Cyber War …and Peace is here to provide enlightenment. Through the work, you’ll enjoy a walk through history’s most enduring battles and find out how they can inform our digital decisions now. You’ll also hear how Shevelyov recommends that you begin building digital trust as an ethical entrepreneur.
6. Atul Minocha — Lies, Damned Lies, and Marketing
Have you ever had the sneaking suspicion that your digital marketing efforts are leading to nothing but dead ends? Atul Minocha understands. For more than three decades, he’s worked in the marketing field. In Lies, Damned Lies, and Marketing, he walks you through how to make the most of your online marketing dollars. Plus, he helps you finally crack the code and make your money work online.
Minocha pulls back the veil on some of the most misunderstood digital marketing concepts, from social media to creating content. Best of all, you’ll finally “crack the Google code” that’s been holding you and your company back from seeing honest-to-goodness results. One final note: While Lies, Damned Lies, and Marketing spends a lot of time talking about tech-related marketing, it dives into traditional marketing approaches, too. Therefore, if your organization dabbles in all forms of advertising, you’ll appreciate this book doubly.
7. Adam Coffey — The Exit-Strategy Playbook: The Definitive Guide to Selling Your Business
On the heels of his first book, The Private Equity Playbook, author Adam Coffey brings The Exit-Strategy Playbook to life. If you own a business today or plan on owning one soon, you’ll get a fast education on how to make your dream irresistible to buyers from day one. You’ll also hear how Coffey has used a mixture of art and science to grow organizations that fetch millions down the road. One of his secrets involves investing in and keeping up with the latest tech advances to woo bigger and better bids.
Even if you’re entirely in love with your business today, you never know when you’ll want a change of scenery. Having an exit strategy map on hand to inform your moves can help you sell fast and smart. Why lose all the value you’ve put into your company? Learn the insider details from someone who’s bought and sold more than 100 businesses.
Technology is a tool, no doubt about it. But, like any other tool, you need to figure out how to make it useful for your needs. So put down your laptop and grab a great read. Your email can wait.