Selbey Labs - Books of the Month (July 2023)

Selbey Labs - Books of the Month (July 2023)

Selbey LabsForesight & Innovation
Selbey Labs - Books of the Month (July 2023)

In our latest Books of the Month recommendations, we’ve selected a series of dynamic titles that illuminate subjects including cybercrime, competitive intelligence, applied psychology, technological transformation, understanding consciousness, calling-out prejudice, conformity bias, the global waste industry, and ‘redirecting our attention as an act of resistance’. Therefore, wherever you find yourself this summer, we hope there’s something in this list for you! And, of course, we welcome your feedback.

‘Fancy Bear Goes Phishing’ by Scott Shaipro

Hacking, espionage, war and cybercrime as you’ve never read about them before. In this new title, Scott Shapiro (Professor of Law and Philosophy at Yale) shows that hackers don’t just abuse code – they exploit the philosophical principles of computation. Noting how the question of trust is increasingly central to computing, he explains how our information society works, the ways our data is stored and why it is so subject to manipulation. This book, which details the dark history of the information age in five extraordinary hacks, exposes the secrets of the digital age…

‘Inside the Competitors Mindset’ by John Horn

When every move matters, staying a step ahead of the competition is critical… When it comes to competitive strategy, knowing what your competition is doing is good; understanding why they do what they do and predicting what they are going to do next is best. Leading companies invest a lot of resources into competitive intelligence, so why are they still caught off guard by the actions and reactions of their competitors? This book shares proven techniques to help businesses think like the competition and understand why they act the way they do. The keys to unlocking this mindset are cognitive empathy and a strategic approach to competitive insight that focuses on the "why" of a competitor's move, and not just on "what happened”.

‘The Matter with Things’ by Iain McGilchrist

In this landmark new book, Iain McGilchrist addresses some of the oldest and hardest questions humanity faces - ones that, however, have a practical urgency for all of us today. Who are we? What is the world? How can we understand consciousness, matter, space and time? Is the cosmos without purpose or value? Can we really neglect the sacred and divine? In doing so, he argues that we have become enslaved to an account of things dominated by the brain's left hemisphere. He suggests that in order to understand ourselves and the world we need science and intuition, reason and imagination, not just one or two; that they are in any case far from being in conflict; and that the brain's right hemisphere plays the most important part in each. And he shows us how to recognise the 'signature' of the left hemisphere in our thinking, so as to avoid making decisions that bring disaster in their wake.

‘Seeing what others don’t by Gary Klein

A unique perspective on insights – a term that has been abused and misused for far too long in data & business circles – is delivered by this book, which was praised in a review by non-other than Daniel Kahneman, who said that “Gary Klein is a living example of how useful applied psychology can be when it’s done well”. Klein believes that we often unwittingly build barriers to seeing what is in front of us. Both as individuals and organisations we can hold on to flawed beliefs and conform to established processes that can interfere with our perceptions. Having clear insight can transform the way in which we understand things, the decisions we make and the actions we take. He therefore demonstrates five key strategies for spotting connections and contractions to ensure you too can see what others don't.

‘Hags’ by Victoria Smith

This is an examination of the torrent of ageism and misogyny. The Observer stated that this dynamic book (about the demonisation of middle-aged women) ‘could not be more necessary’. As the author points out “What is it about women in their forties and beyond that seems to enrage almost everyone?” In the last few years, as identity politics have taken hold, middle-aged women have found themselves talked and written about as morally inferior beings. In response, Victoria Smith has written a book that is absorbing, insightful, witty and bang on time. (In her review, the deeply admirable journalist Janice Turner wrote “The greatest joy of Hags is its lively erudition. This eloquent, clever and devastating book describes the last remaining acceptable prejudice…”

‘Collective Illusions’ by Todd Rose

This book opens our minds to how much of thinking is based on false assumptions. It draws on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology research to help us understand how our desire to fit in can harm society. The author believes that as human beings, we continually act against our own best interests because our brains misunderstand what others believe. A complicated set of illusions driven by conformity bias distorts how we see the world around us. We routinely copy others, lie about what we believe, cling to tribes, and silence people. The question is, why? Todd Rose delivers an empowering explanation for how we can bridge our inference gap and make decisions with a newfound clarity.

‘The Future of the Professions’ by Richard & Daniel Susskind

Or ‘how technology will transform the work of human experts’ in which the authors challenge the ‘grand bargain’ – the arrangement that grants various monopolies to today’s professionals. With a new preface exploring recent critical developments, this book explains the decline of today's professions and introduces the people and systems that will replace them. In an internet-enhanced society, we will neither need nor want doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, lawyers, and many others, to work as they did in the 20th century. Instead, the authors believe that increasingly capable technologies - from telepresence to artificial intelligence - will place the 'practical expertise' of the finest specialists at the fingertips of everyone, often at no or low cost and without face-to-face interaction…

‘Wasteland’ by Oliver Franklin-Wallis

This book illuminates the dirty truth about what we throw away, where it goes, and why it matters. Just as everything we consume comes from somewhere on earth, so too everything we produce must go somewhere on earth – even if we don't want to think about it. An eye-opening journey through the global waste industry, the author introduces us to the people on the frontline of our waste crisis – both those being exploited, and those determined to make a difference. On the way, we discover the corporate greenwashing that started the recycling movement; the dark truth behind our second-hand donations; and come face to face with the 10,000-year legacy of our nuclear waste. An urgent, probing and endlessly interesting investigation into our staggering wastefulness and the environmental crisis this is creating right under our noses. This book wills you see the world quite differently than you did before.

‘The Illusion of Choice’ by Richard Shotton

Every day, people make hundreds of choices. These may appear to be freely made, but psychologists have shown that subtle changes in the way products are positioned, promoted and marketed can radically alter how customers behave. The Illusion of Choice identifies the 16½ most important psychological biases that everyone in business needs to be aware of today – and shows how any business can take advantage of these to win customers, retain customers and sell more. Richard Shotton draws on academic research, previous ad campaigns and his own original field studies to create a fascinating and highly practical guide that focuses on the point where marketing meets the mind of the customer.

‘How to do Nothing’ by Jenny Odell

The author, a Stanford professor, questions what we perceive as productive and makes the case for redirecting our attention as an act of resistance and a way to live a more meaningful life. In a world where addictive technology is designed to buy and sell our attention, and our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity, it can seem impossible to escape. But in this inspiring field guide to dropping out of the attention economy, artist and critic Jenny Odell shows us how we can still win back our lives. She sees our attention as the most precious - and overdrawn - resource we have. And we must actively and continuously choose how we use it. The book is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism.

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Foresight & Innovation

Selbey Labs, part of the Selbey Anderson Group, is a foresight and innovation practice focused on helping brands see and respond to opportunities and threats.

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