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Michael Lewis, The Premonition and The Heart of Business by Hubert Joly – for the June 4, 2021 First Friday Book Synopsis (On Zoom) – In our 24th Year

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Randy Mayeux provides a thorough synopsis of the content of a useful, best-selling business book. He provides a comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout, that concludes with his own lessons and takeaways from each book he presents.FFBS, 6,2021

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For the June 4, 2021 First Friday Book Synopsis, Randy Mayeux will present synopses of two new books, both reviewed very favorably.

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis – W. W. Norton & Company (May 4, 2021)
and
The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism by Hubert Joly, with Caroline Lambert. Harvard Business Review Press (May 4, 2021)

Michael Lewis was recently interviewed on 60 Minutes about his new book, The Premonition.  It is a book with lessons learned and opportunities missed during the past year’s pandemic challenges.  It will be worth a careful look.

And, The Heart of Business was written by the CEO who turned Best Buy around.  I remember articles about the danger Best Buy was in.  They have come though their dangers to profitable and successful days. This book reveals the business strategy that Hubert Joly followed to lead .

I can’t wait to delve into both books.

We are continuing to meet on Zoom.  The Zoom info is below.

I will e-mail the link to download the two handouts the day before the event.

And, though there is no charge to attend, if you would like to participate financially, (maybe a $12.00 participation), you can do so through PayPal by clicking here.  Or, you can send money through Zelle at .

We had nearly 100 people join us on Zoom in May.  Please plan to be with us on June 4. And, please invite others to join in with us.

Let’s keep learning – there’s always the next new thing to learn.

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Here is the Zoom info:

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: June 4, 2021 – First Friday Book Synopsis
Time: June 4, 2021 07:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

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Reminder: you can purchase our synopses (comprehensive, multi-page handouts, plus audio recordings). Click on the Buy Synopses tab at the top of this page and search by title. Or, click here for our newest additions.

Download the two Synopses Handouts for May’s First Friday Book Synopsis, May 7, 2021 – Just Work by Kim Scott; and The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef

We are in Year #24 of our monthly gatherings.

FFBS, May, 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You are invited
First Friday Book Synopsis,
Friday, May 7, 2021, 7:30 am (Central Time),
on Zoom.
I hope you can join us!

{Note:
Karl Krayer will present a bonus synopsis presentation of Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis, at around 9:15 am.}

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Just Work, coverWell over 100 people have been joining us on our “Remote” First Friday Book Synopsis gatherings. We have had participants from all over the country. Please share this word far and wide — all are welcome!

This Friday, May 7, 2021 – Zoom
Two Book Synopses:
May 7, 2021 – Zoom
1. Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast & Fair by Kim Scott. St. Martin’s Press. 2021.

2. The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t by Julia Galef. Portfolio. 2021.

Randy Mayeux will present both synopses.

Where: on ZOOM
When: This Friday, May 7, 7:30 am (Central Time)
The presentation will conclude shortly after 8:30 am
Speaker: Randy Mayeux will deliver both synopsis presentations.

Click here to join in on Zoom:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86296404061?pwd=RXkwSUhUUkhHeU4vcTZueHpORllodz09

Meeting ID: 862 9640 4061

Passcode: 456017

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We are all set for Friday’s Remote First Friday Book Synopsis.

#1 — Download, and print both synopses handouts by clicking here.

If you have ever attended our event, you know that I am handout intensive. You really will be able to follow along better with physical copies of the handouts in front of you. So, if you have a printer, please print the handouts.

#2 — Come on in for conversation whenever you can. I have enabled the “enable join before host” button. You will arrive in the waiting room, and be let in quickly. So, you can come in, and talk to folks. I will plan to join the meeting around 7:00, and we will begin the program right at 7:30. And, I will not “end the meeting” for a while after, if you want to continue conversations with others after we officially conclude.

#3 — Here is the info, with the link to join the gathering:

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: May 7, 2021  – First Friday Book Synopsis

Time: May 7, 2021 07:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86296404061?pwd=RXkwSUhUUkhHeU4vcTZueHpORllodz09

Meeting ID: 862 9640 4061
Passcode: 456017

One tap mobile

+13462487799,,86296404061#,,,,*456017# US (Houston)
+16699006833,,86296404061#,,,,*456017# US (San Jose)

Dial by your location
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

Meeting ID: 862 9640 4061
Passcode: 456017

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kR6K8T4LB

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Reminder: The cost of this remote meeting is “free.”

But, if you would like to contribute to participate, Randy would welcome you to send $12.00 directly to him through PayPal. Click here for a direct link to “donate” through PayPal.

(Note: you can also send money through Zelle, at Randy’s e-mail address).

(Randy’s e-mail address for PayPal, and Zelle, is ).\

Please help spread the word far and wide; help make this a success.

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You might want to read this post. It has a printable one-sheet reminder on how to make the most of your remote learning experience.

Remote Learning 101 – Read this before attending your learning session.

As the Pandemic may wind down, what will the next big challenge be?  Here’s a suggested reading list to help you get ready…

Radical CandorYes, yes, I know it is a cliché.  But the reality is that it is true.

“Leaders are readers.”

So, why is it true?  Because no leader knows enough.

Each leader has the challenge, and task, of keeping up, staying current, staying informed.  And, in this fast-changing era, woe to the leader who falls behind.

I have just finished reading the best-selling book by author Kim Scott: Just Work; her second.  Like in her first book, Radical Candor, if you keep a reading list of all the books she refers to and quotes, you would have a big enough reading stack to last you a long, long time.  Kim Scott reads books!

As do other leaders, and good writers.

So, what books should you read?  At this time, we all have some reading to do.

 

Books to add to your reading list:

#1 — On thinking about the next big problem.  After the dust settles on the pandemic, there will be the next “I did not see that coming” crisis to face.  Here are some books to help you think about getting ready.

the_black_swanThe Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.  Random House. (2007).

Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Random House, 2012)

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath. Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (March 3, 2020)

 

{#1a — About the pandemic specifically – here are a couple of books about the current crisis:

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria. W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (October 6, 2020)

Post Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity by Scott Galloway. Portfolio (November 24, 2020)}

 

#2 — On The Changing World – kind of “future-think” books.  The future is coming, and we are not ready.  I could provide  a long list of books for this area of concern.  But, here are a couple to get you started.Digital Transformation

2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything by Mauro F. Guillen.

Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction by Thomas M. Siebel. RosettaBooks (July 9, 2019).

 

Here’s the point.  Ask what issues you face.  Search for the best books to inform you, and teach you, to think about these issues.  Read the books.  Then, get back to work, better informed, better equipped..

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I have presented synopses of all of these (except Just Work, which I will present this Friday).  You can purchase my synopses.  Each synopsis comes with my comprehensive, multi-page handout, along with the audio recording of my presentation.  Click here to search by book title.  And click here for our newest additions.

DEI – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion – vs. Uniformity, Inequity, Exclusion – We’ve got work to do

Martin Luther King, LetterWe know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963.

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(Note from Randy:  there are so many groups that have been left out.  This post is not meant to include an exhaustive list; just a representative list).

DEI-graphicDEI MEANING
DEI stands for diversity, equity and inclusion. Diversity is the presence of differences within a given setting. Equity is the process of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Kate Heinz, WHAT DOES DEI MEAN IN THE WORKPLACE?

 

In case you have not heard, there are still plenty of ripple effects from the decades…the centuries… of racism in this country. (Not to imply that it has come close to fully going away).

And, the exclusion has not just been of Black people; it has been of every group that is a group of “the other.”  And, “the other” has been every group that was not the “white male group” for so very long.

Consider the descriptive words, and their antonyms:

Diversity vs. Uniformity
Equity vs. Inequity; Imbalance
Inclusion vs. Exclusion

In fact, for way too long — in work, in communities; in education – groups have for so very long been groups that were best described by the words Uniformity and Inequity and Exclusion.

Whenever one group experiences a hint of rejection by another group – a rejection of  “the other” – we have a failure of inclusion.

Whenever one group keeps out voices from their team discussions by building uniform teams of “all the same” people, then they lose the breadth and the creativity of the more diverse team that could be available; that would have so much to offer.

Whenever one group has to “fight” to get into THE group, then there is not equity.

We are clearly paying better attention to these concerns than we used to. In companies and organizations. And in our country overall.

But I wonder…as we give more attention o this, do we need to take a step back, and better learn from our history.

History provides a full accounting of the rigid hierarchies of who is in and who is out; who gets a chance, and who does not.

The groups that were kept out are many:  Native Americans; Black people, different groups of immigrants, all treated very differently.  Every step forward, by women, by people of color, by people form different countries, by LGBTQ people…by every member of an “out” group; by every group that was “the other” – had to work for and fight for every step forward.

Here’s a suggestion for your own DEI efforts.  Start with some history lessons.  Only when we see what we were like can we see what we could, and should, become.

I have presented synopses of numerous books that do a good and through job of presenting such history.  Contact me, and let’s talk about a few synopses of such books to add to your DEI initiatives.

Click on image for full, printable view

Click on image for full, printable view

Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo – Here are my seven lessons and takeaways

Mediocre• For now, let’s journey through the creation of the white male America we are living in today. • Let’s look at how today’s results come from our past decisions.
• Let’s look at how the glorification of white male aggression brought about the brutality of westward expansion, how the disdain of women workers exacerbated the Great Depression, how the fear of racial integration drove the Great Migration, and many more examples of how white male America was built and solidified at a devastating cost.
• “Works according to design.” This is a comment that I and many of my fellow racial justice commentators have made when truly horrible things happen, just as they were intended to. …Although the phrase may seem alarmingly coldhearted, it is our way of reminding ourselves that the greatest evil we face is not ignorant individuals but our oppressive systems. It is a reminder that the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland are not isolated cases.  
• Blatant racial terrorists — while deadly and horrifying — have never been the primary threat to people of color in America. It’s more insidious than that.  
• Our entire society is built to ensure that white men hoard power.
• The rewarding of white male mediocrity not only limits the drive and imagination of white men; it also requires forced limitations on the success of women and people of color in order to deliver on the promised white male supremacy. White male mediocrity harms us all. 
• This is not a benign mediocrity; it is brutal.   
• White male identity is not inborn — it is built.   
• I worked backward. I started looking for their earlier incarnations, through each generation, at every turn of our country’s past. …I started to see how time and time again, anything perceived as a threat to white manhood has been attacked, no matter how necessary that new person or idea may have been to our national progress.
• These are traits that we tell our children are bad, but when we look at who our society actually rewards, we see that these are the traits we have actively cultivated. …How it attempts to perpetuate itself — in our education system, our sports teams, our businesses, and our politics.
Ijeoma Oluo, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

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I have a problem.

I have recently read a book that was difficult to read. I don’t mean hard, as in I didn’t understand it, or get it.  I mean difficult as in this was painful to admit and deal with.

And, I know that the very title itself turns off many readers.

But…my problem…I really think you should consider reading this book.  How do I get you to do that?

The book is Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo.  I presented my synopsis of this book at the April, 2021 Urban Engagement Book Club.  It is a book about…racism…sexism…hierarchies.

It is a book about a relatively small circle of inclusion surrounded by large circles of excluded people and groups.

There are a lot of books reinforcing the views of this book in one way or another.  The one that first jumps to mind is Caste: The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson.  (See my blog post for that book here).

But this book, Mediocre, tackles the story with a plenty-broad brush, and with some very pointed criticisms of white males especially.

Before I share its key points, let me state this:  before you dismiss the book, thinking it is unfair to white men, please consider reading it.  It is worth reading.  And, it might make you think that yes, America has been too partial to white men in positions of simple participation, to positions of influence and leadership.

And, here is one thing that jumps out at you about this book:  it speaks of the mistreatment of every group in America that is not the dominant group of white men.  Native Americans; women; Black people; other people of color; other groups in the minority.  They all were harmed, overlooked, and in many ways abused by the dominant view that white men alone should run things; should run everything.

And, if you love sports, especially football, this book has quite a section about how violent football was (and; is), and how racism kept Black players out of American football for so very long.

As always, in my synopses, I ask What is the point?  Here is the point of this book:  Because people of color, and women of all ethnicities, are kept out of so many places and jobs and responsibilities, we are deprived of their offerings, and we are “stuck” with the medicore white men that fill those roles and places.

Why is this book worth our time?

#1 – This book is a comprehensive short history of the exclusion and horrific treatment of:  Native American people, Black people, women… of everyone except white men.
#2 – This book is a reminder that until this is truly changed, we have a substantially dysfunctional government, which is deprived of great wisdom and great talent that could help things improve for the good of all.
#3 – This book does not provide a quick and easy solution; but it does point to steps that we can take to make things truly better.

I always include many Quotes and Excerpts from the book – the “best of” Randy’s highlighted Passages.  Here are quite a few of the best from this book:

• This book is dedicated to Black womxn: You are more important than white supremacy. 
White men lead our ineffective government with almost guaranteed reelection.  …This is not a stroke of white male luck; this is how our white male supremacist systems have been designed to work. 
• The “male supremacy” in white male supremacy has been in place in white culture since before white people thought of themselves as white. 
• “Lord, give me the confidence of a mediocre white man.” When writer Sarah Hagi said those words in 2015, they launched a thousand memes, T-shirts, and coffee mugs. The phrase has now become a regular part of the lexicon of many women and people of color—especially those active on social media. The sentence struck a chord with so many of us because while we seemed to have to be better than everyone else to just get by, white men seemed to be encouraged in—and rewarded for—their mediocrity.  
• Rather than risk seeming weak by admitting mistakes, white men double down on them. …white men repeat that a change in leadership is somehow “too risky” to entrust to groups that they have deliberately rendered “inexperienced.”   
• What I do know is that the impact white men have been having on my life and the lives of so many others is not new.   
• The rise in popularity of Muscular Christianity in the United States and Europe during this time gave white male elites a religious mandate to conquer both rugby fields and battlefields. This fear of the “feminizing” of young American elite men led to calls for stories of “strong, brutal men with red-hot blood in ’em, with unleashed passions rampant in ’em, blood and bones and viscera in ’em.”   
Health care discrimination, job discrimination, the school-to-prison pipeline, educational bias, mass incarceration, police brutality, community trauma—none of these issues are addressed in a class-only approach. A class-only approach will lift only poor whites out of poverty and will therefore maintain white supremacy. 
• And yet we are told that our struggle for inclusion and equity—and our celebration of even symbolic steps toward them—is divisive and threatening to those who have far greater access to everything else than we can dream of.
• By the time Southern leaders changed tactics and decided to improve working and living conditions for Blacks instead of antagonizing them, it was too late. The Southern cotton industry was in shambles.
• Black people, as slaves, were property. We were wealth. And like any other form of wealth in a capitalist system, we were hoarded by the elite few.
• When Black people migrated North, whites forced them into areas of concentrated poverty and misery. Then they pointed at the conditions Black Americans were living in—pointed at their desperation—and harnessed it to justify further discrimination. 
• The definition of success for a middle-class family was a man who earned enough money outside the home to support the wife, who raised his children.
• Hostility toward women workers and workers of color did not start during the Great Depression, but even during that white-man-made disaster, white men diverted a sizeable amount of time and resources to ensuring that women and people of color understood that the American workplace—whether it be factories, plants, or offices—was only for white men.
• College aid was offered to Black veterans, but it was moot; the vast majority of US colleges and universities refused to accept Black students, and those that did accepted so small a number that most Black veterans were unable to use the tuition benefits. …Homeowner’s assistance was of even less use to Black vets, since banks refused to work with Black buyers, and cities redlined Black families into neighborhoods designed to keep the return on their investments as low as possible. 
• The hard truth is, the characteristics that most companies, including boards, shareholders, managers, and employees, correlate with people who are viewed as “leadership material”—traits most often associated with white male leaders—are actually bad for business. The aggression and overconfidence that are seen as “strength and leadership” can cause leaders to take their companies down treacherous paths, and the attendant encounters with disaster could be avoided by exercising caution or by accepting input from others. 
• Twenty-seven percent of people who were killed by cops in 2015 were Black, even though Blacks make up only 12 percent of the overall population. In addition, cops are four times more likely to use force in their encounters with Black people than they are with whites.

Here are few of the other points and lessons I included in my synopsis:

  • About Ijeoma Oluo
  • a Black American woman, with a father from Nigeria, and a mother from Kansas (the mother is white).She was born in Denton, TX, and is based in Seattle.
  • A thought from Randy about this author, and this book…
  • Trevor Noah, in an interview with the author, described her books as: “they don’t come from a place of hate, but rather a place of determination; a place of forcefulness where something needs to happen…”
  • Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman candidate for president.
  • She stood for women’s rights, ending the war in Vietnam, campaign finance reform, environmental protections, congressional term reform, the protection of individual rights against government surveillance, police reform, veterans’ benefits, minimum family income, and more.
  • Not only was Chisholm Black, but she was dark-skinned, broad-nosed, and she dressed like, well, a Quaker schoolteacher.
  • Almost immediately, the racist tone was set when a campaign worker traveling with boxes of campaign flyers received them back from airport security with the words “Go home nigger” scrawled across them.
  • Whereas Chisholm’s candidacy had been ridiculed and dismissed, the white male candidates (McGovern and Nixon) ended up making history for their embarrassing levels of incompetence and corruption.
  • The problem:
  • Government is not working well.And, white men have been, and are, in charge.  Therefore… mediocre white men rise to power, stay in power; and government continues to be ineffective.
  • These injustices are not passed down by God; they are not produced by any entity greater than ourselves. These oppressive systems were built by people—with our votes, our money, our hiring decisions—and they can be unmade by people.
  • It is that many white Americans are so invested in the political exclusion of people who are not white men that they will actively work against any political change that would meaningfully enfranchise women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and disabled people
  • The myth of meritocracy:
  • This country’s wealth was built on exploitation and violence… Much of this country’s early infrastructure, for example, was built with slave labor. Those who profited off that labor did little more than be born with a whip in their hand. But nevertheless we crafted a story of greatness around them.                            
  • Many of these are not nice men…
  • Studies have shown that the traits long considered signs of strong leadership (like overconfidence and aggression) are in reality disastrous in both business and politics. — The man who never listens, who doesn’t prepare, who insists on getting his way—this is a man that most of us would not (when given friendlier options) like to work with, live with, or be friends with. And yet we have, as a society, somehow convinced ourselves that we should be led by incompetent assholes.
  • The wealth gap:
  • The average Black household in the United States has one-thirteenth of the net financial worth of the average white household; the average Hispanic household has one-eleventh.
  • Gradualism has not worked…
  • How often have you heard the argument that we have to slowly implement gender and racial equality in order to not “shock” society? — So for whose benefit do we need to go so slowly?
  • So many racist tools were put to use…
  • housing covenants; red-lining; open discrimination (no Blacks allowed into our universities; our neighborhoods; our workplaces….)
  • (Portions of) The Book:
  1. Cowboys and Patriots: How the West Was Won – Wild Bill Cody (Buffalo Bill), “Indian scalps,” and American “leaders” destroying the tribes of Native Americans. — In Cody’s show, white men were noble and brave. They fearlessly tamed animals and fought savages. – And, a horrific chapter in Mormon history, killing (massacring) Native Americans (the Paiute people).
  2. For Your Benefit, in Our Image: The Centering of White Men in Social Justice Movements — e.g., Joe Biden is both for, and later against, busing.  …The Ivy League and the Tax Eaters: White Men’s Assault on Higher Education —  It is altogether inadvisable for a colored man to enter Princeton.—Woodrow Wilson, president of Princeton University, to a Black man inquiring about admission.   …But until recently, Princeton didn’t talk much about the less savory aspects of Wilson’s legacy. The fact is that Wilson was a racist. He refused to allow a single Black student into Princeton during his tenure.  – The SAT was created by an advocate for and researcher in Eugenics… – The GI Bill was basically not available for Black people.
  1. Fire the Women: The Convenient Use and Abuse of Women in the Workplace — For centuries, Western society has tried to keep women out of the workplace. Men have ruled over government, offices, mills, plants, cubicles, and more—the domains of power—while women worked at home.
  2. Go Fucking Play: Football and the Fear of Black Men – (Brutal football) The Smithsonian detailed some of the injuries recorded during a particularly brutal college game in 1905: “Four concussions, three ‘kicks in the head,’ seven broken collarbones, three grave spinal injuries, five serious internal injuries, three broken arms, four dislocated shoulders, four broken noses, three broken shoulder blades, three broken jaws, two eyes ‘gouged out,’ one player bitten and another knocked unconscious three times in the same game, one breastbone fractured, one ruptured intestine and one player ‘dazed.’ …There is no more difference in compromising the integrity of race on the playing field than in doing so in the classroom. One break in the dike and the relentless seas will rush in and destroy us. — Georgia Governor Marvin Griffin, 1956
  • Some thoughts from Randy:
  • Maybe less arrogance, a touch of humility, and genuine empathy, and active work for those who are “different,” might go a long way… But…it will also require policy changes; and true systemic change.
  • Some lessons and takeaways:

#1 – White supremacy – white male supremacy – is at the center of the entire discussion.  (The belief that:  White men are more capable than any other group, and they alone deserve to be at the top of any hierarchy).
#2 – Racism is real, and ever-present. (And sexism; and…)
#3 – Racism and sexism are more than personal, individual wrongs; such wrongs are society-wide, systemic wrongs.
#4 – This racist and sexist reality deprives us of genuinely talented people, and burdens us with too many mediocre white men.
#5 – Since white men never quite say or acknowledge (or even grasp) “I am primarily working for the benefit of white men,” then this has to be identified and called out.
#6 – Since white men primarily work for the benefit of white men, why is it not ok for women of color to work primarily for the benefit of women, and men and women of color?
#7 – We simply have to make things better by inclusion, denouncing the ever-present exclusion. White men can no longer be allowed to have all of the top spots in every arena.  This has to change.

I have been presenting synopses of one book a month, every month, for over fifteen years, for the Urban Engagement Book Club, sponsored by CitySquare.  Currently we are meeting over Zoom.  Though some of the books were better than others, it is the accumulation of what we are learning that has made the difference.  America has been racist; and has been tough on many groups of people, including poor people.  And those realities are still omnipresent.

We’ve got much work to do!

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Click here to see the line-up of books for the rest of the year.  The Urban Engagement Book Club meets on the third Thursday of every month at 12:30pm (Central Time) over Zoom.  Come join us.

2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything by Mauro F. Guillén – Here are My Five Lessons and Takeaways

2030• That familiar world is rapidly vanishing as we encounter a bewildering new reality driven by a new set of rules. Before we know it there will be more grandparents than grandchildren in most countries; collectively, middle-class markets in Asia will be larger than those in the United States and Europe combined; women will own more wealth than men; and we will find ourselves in the midst of more industrial robots than manufacturing workers, more computers than human brains, more sensors than human eyes, and more currencies than countries. That will be the world in 2030.
• I worry not only about the future state of business but also about how workers and consumers might be affected by the avalanche of change coming our way. 
• This book offers a road map to navigate the turbulence ahead.
• The basic point is this: every finale signifies the dawn of a new reality replete with opportunity—if you dare to dig beneath the surface, anticipate the trends, engage rather than disconnect, and learn how to make effective decisions for yourself, your children, your partner or spouse, your future family, your company, and so forth. Everyone will be impacted. 
• As I have aimed to show throughout the book, demographic, geopolitical, and technological forces are all in motion, whether we like it or not, and inextricably intertwined.  How we deal with them will be one of the defining tests of this new world to come.
• I worry not only about the future state of business but also about how workers and consumers might be affected by the avalanche of change coming our way.
• Simply put, the world as we know it today will be gone by 2030.
• The rules are changing – forever.
Mauro F. Guillén, 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything

——————-

It’s been years – OK; decades — since I have read Megatrends (1982).  And The Popcorn Report (1991). And a few other books that tried to point us clearly to what was coming next.

I’ve always liked reading these.  They got a lot right.  Like:

The Popcorn Report:
Cocooning. (this certainly accelerated during the pandemic).
Small indulgences.

Megatrends:
So many…
From a predominantly national economy to one in the global marketplace.
From hierarchies to networking.

And I’ve read plenty of books in recent years that hint at coming changes:  Get There Early (this is the book that intruduced me to the VUCA world); Rise of the Robots; The New Leadership Literacies: Thriving in a Future of Extreme Disruption and Distributed Everything. And others, like: Digital Transformation; The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future.  The list is long, and always growing.

In other words, trying to figure out what’s coming next is big in the business books arena.  It is fun to think about.  And, no matter how much we try to guess, or forecast, or predict, we’ll miss some, and get a few things right.

Well, time for a new volume to put in this mix.  For the April First Friday Book Synopsis, I read another one of those “here’s what might be coming” books.  I prenseted my synopsis of 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything by Mauro F. Guillén.  (Mauro F. Guillén, the Wharton School, holds the Zandman Professorship in International Management and teaches in its flagship Advanced Management Program).

There was a lot I appreciated about this book. One thing was this:  it deals with international realities; and brings in data from throughout the world.  In other words, some of what he says is coming is definitely based on the numbers.

In my synopses, I always begin with “What is the point” of the book.  Here it is for this book: The world will be different, in many ways, by 2030.  We will need to learn to make peace with, and embrace, such differences.

And I ask Why is this book worth our time?  Here are my three reasons for this book.

#1 – This book teaches us that global trends will truly matter.
#2 – This book captures the demographic shifts happening throughout the world.
#3 – This book beckons us to embrace the complexity of the era; it beckons us to develop lateral thinking skills.

I always include a few pages of Quotes and Excerpts from the book – the “best of” Randy’s highlighted Passages.  Here are quite a few of the best highlights from this book:

• Fewer babies in most parts of the world means that we are steadily marching toward a rapidly aging population. 
• The whole point of mental compartmentalization is to keep things apart so that we are not overwhelmed by the interactions among them. 
• For their part, technologies alter old habits and lifestyles, bringing forth new ways to think about and engage with everything from homes and offices to cars and personal items. This, in turn, will lead to alternative conceptions of money that are more distributed, more decentralized, and easier to use. 
• Let me offer you an example. In addition to the electric lightbulb, the telephone, and the car, one of the great inventions of the late nineteenth century was the concept of retirement. …We inherited from that century a concept of life as a progression of distinct stages—childhood, work, and retirement—that we, hopefully, enjoy along the way.
• “The interaction between quantity and quality of children,” he wrote, “is the most important reason why the effective price of children rises with income.”  …“We want to invest more in each child to give them the best opportunities to compete in an increasingly unequal environment.”  From this perspective, children are investment projects, with net present values and rates of return. It is striking to note that the average American family may end up spending well in excess of half a million dollars on each of their children.
• Some people may find a future in which robots will take care of senior citizens and children an aberration. Frankly, we have no alternative, for two reasons: not nearly enough babies are being born today to take all the caregiving tasks that will be required, and there’s an effort, pushed by governments around the world, to halt the flow of immigration, which as I’ve shown has typically provided the workers to fulfill this role in the past.   
• One key distinction between middle-class and working-class values is the individualism of the former and the communitarianism of the latter. A middle-class upbringing emphasizes individual choice and independence, while the classic ethos of the working class is all about solidarity and interdependence.
• In 2015, the Pew Research Center announced that the combined numbers of poor and rich households in the United States had, for the first time in two generations, exceeded the number of middle-class households. In 1971, there were 80 million middle-class households (compared to 52 million either above or below). By 2015 there were 120.8 million middle-class families, compared to 121.3 million in the two other groups.
• The middle class is shrinking in Europe and the United States not just because people are losing well-paying jobs to global competition or automation but also because the young cannot gain access to stable jobs in the first place; there are just fewer of those jobs to go around.
• “There’s no such thing as a glass ceiling for women,” argues author Laura Liswood. “It’s just a thick layer of men.”
• Any city, however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich. – PLATO 
• In The New Urban Crisis, Richard Florida notes the dualistic nature of cities: “Are cities the great engines of innovation, the models of economic and social progress, that the optimists celebrate, or are they the zones of gaping inequality and class division that the pessimists decry? The reality is that they are both.”  
• Creative destruction is … the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. — JOSEPH SCHUMPETER, ECONOMIST
• The iPhone had launched in 2007, and the App Store opened a year later with an initial 500 apps available. (R.M., Note:1.82 million apps 3/28/2021). 

Here are quite a few of the points and lessons and insights from the book: 

  • Can I just say – 2030 is only nine years from now. Nine years!
  • The clock is ticking. The year 2030 isn’t some remote point in the unforeseeable future.
  • Remember, it’s all unfolding in our lifetime, and it’s right around the corner.
  • The world as we know it is coming to an end
  • maybe the world of so much private ownership; maybe the world dominated by “married with children”; maybe the world of dominance by the US; maybe the world of money and banks…
  • Consider Airbnb
  • Airbnb wouldn’t be so successful if it weren’t for a number of converging trends: declining fertility, longer life expectancy, doubts about the future viability of public pensions, expanded use of smartphones and apps, and a growing interest in sharing rather than owning.
  • By 2030 nearly half of our spending will be in the form of “collaborative” or “shared” consumption, which will include cars, homes, offices, gadgets, and personal items of all sorts. Owning is out; sharing is in. 
  • Here it is in a nutshell: By 2030, a new reality will take hold, and…
  • There will be more grandparents than grandchildren
  • Population aging is becoming the norm in America and Western Europe.
  • The middle-class in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa will outnumber the middle-class in the US and Europe combined
  • The global economy will be driven by the non-Western consumer for the first time in modern history
  • There will be more global wealth owned by women than men
  • There will be more robots than workers
    • There will be more computers than human brains
  • There will be more currencies than countries

And…

  • We are getting too big (physically; we weigh too much) – everywhere, and especially in the US
  • The sheer population of China and India means that much will change
  • Cities, especially along the coast, are in for some real challenges related to climate change
  • The wealth gap is an ongoing problem; and not getting any better – especially within cities
  • We will have a “sharing” economy” – Millennials are spearheading the sharing economy (while eschewing ownership)…
  • AI (artificial intelligence) will finally arrive
  • Alan Turing, who led the effort to break Germany’s Enigma secret code during World War II and helped pioneer the computer itself, declared in 1951 that AI would “outstrip our feeble powers” and “take control.” Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking added his two cents by saying that it “could spell the end of the human race.” …Apocalypse aside, there is little doubt that AI will bring about epochal change.
  • Think self-driving cares:  Current experiments with autonomous vehicles indicate a bright future because human beings are sloppy and unreliable. We can get distracted, bored, or tired.

Most importantly, computers can communicate with other computers. …By contrast, a self-driving car, in tandem with other cars in its vicinity, can collectively manage traffic flow (and reduce accidents) in a coordinated manner.

  • The number one challenge from this book: — learn to Think Laterally!
  • (R.M. – remember that everything is “overdetermined.” – I learned this from M. Scott Peck. – In other words, there is no one cause; there is no one solution.Everything is complex; and interrelated).
  • You might be perfectly capable of coping with the changes if you keep each of them separate from the others.
  • Anthropologists and sociologists have long established that we reduce the complexity of the world by breaking it into categories. …Companies and organizations also think this way. They compartmentalize everything.
  • Lateral thinking can be further augmented through “peripheral vision.” “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for” — they’re blind to the unexpected, the unusual, the periphery.
  • Facts and Figures
  • Percentage of the world’s wealth owned by women in 2000: 15. Percentage of the world’s wealth owned by women in 2030: 55.
  • Worldwide, the number of people who went hungry in 2017: 821 million. Worldwide, the number of people who will go hungry in 2030: 200 million.
  • Percentage of Americans projected to be obese in 2030: 50.
  • Percentage of the world’s land occupied by cities in 2030: 1.1. Percentage of the world’s population living in cities in 2030: 60.
  • The largest middle-class consumer market today: United States and Western Europe. The largest middle-class consumer market in 2030: China.
  • The number of people currently in the middle class in the United States: 223 million. The number of people in the middle class in the United States in 2030: 209 million.
  • The big trends…
  • We need to develop a true global perspective.
  • The middle class is shrinking; the wealthy, and the poor, are both growing.
  • We have to be more open — Compartmentalizing, however, blinds you to new possibilities.
  • Breakthroughs occur not when someone works within the established paradigm but when assumptions are abandoned, rules are ignored, and creativity runs amok.
  • The reality is that by 2030 we will be facing a baby drought.
  • The change in women’s roles in the economy and in society more generally is the single most important factor behind the decline in fertility worldwide.
  • Women are surpassing men in educational attainment: Back in the fifties about 7 percent of women between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-nine had a college degree, half the rate of men. Nowadays, the proportion of women with a college degree is nearly 40 percent, while for men the figure is only 32 percent.
  • The US needs immigrants.
  • If we dive into the data on specific occupations, we find more evidence that most immigrants do not compete for jobs with locals. The top three occupational groups among immigrants in the United States without high school diplomas are maids and housekeepers, cooks, and agricultural laborers. Meanwhile, native-born workers without a high school diploma are more numerous among cashiers, drivers of trucks and other vehicles, and janitors. Head-to-head competition for jobs between immigrants and natives is rather limited. The United Nations calls it “replacement migration.”  …The American economy will need a larger influx of immigrants to cover the demand for dozens of occupations, from nursing assistants and home health aides to construction laborers, cooks, and software developers.
  • By 2030, more than half of these and other jobs in the United States will be occupied by foreign-born workers.
  • When the US is truly rivalled by China and India, things might look different…
  • In other words, the largest markets write the rules of the game—simply because they are large and influential. …I’m ready to bet my entire pension fund that, alongside FCC and CE logos, our smartphones will also carry a Chinese, and possibly an Indian, regulatory stamp of approval.

And here are my five lessons and takeaways:

#1 – People – including you and I – will resist every change more than we realize…  But maybe it is time to jettison our resistance to change. We are pretty much going to have to learn to embrace change.
#2 – It does not matter if you “don’t like it.” The changes are coming.
#3 – Recognize that the middle class is endangered.
#4 – Develop a greater concern for the people in need.
#5 – Expand your understanding horizons.  The global world is here to stay.  Try to better understand people from other cultures.

The value of this book, and others like it, is this:  it makes you stop and think; and say to yourself:  “I haven’t even thought of that.”  And, with other insights, it reinforces what you thought might be coming.

This book is not just some guy in your neighborhood thinking about the future.  This is a highly educated man; doing plenty of research, and saying to us all, yet again:

The future is coming.
We are not ready. 
We’d better get ready; and soon.
Because we don’t have long before that new future arrives.


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