Selbey Labs - Books of the Month (May 2023)

Selbey Labs - Books of the Month (May 2023)

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

In this month’s selection of books, we highlight authors who tackle issues ranging from resilience to identity to revolution, and from gender to fairness and friendship.

‘Certain Uncertainty: Leading with Agility and Resilience in an Unpredictable World’ by Des Dearlove

Certain Uncertainty is an urgent call to business leaders around the world. Its message is clear and simple: stop trying to control what can’t be controlled. Instead, learn to respond effectively and adapt quickly. This is an engaging and insightful exploration of a dynamic and ambiguous world that’s increasingly full of surprises. In it, Des Dearlove, a renowned management theorist, illuminates how to build resilience and agility into our lives and businesses. He does so by collecting advice and fresh thinking from accomplished business leaders to help managers and executives navigate contemporary markets.

‘The Authority Gap: Why women are still taken less seriously than men, and what we can do about it’ by Mary Ann Sieghart

Imagine living in a world in which you were routinely patronised by women, having your views ignored or challenged by them, people always addressing the woman you are with before you. Now imagine a world in which the reverse of this is true.

This is a brilliant manifesto explaining why women are still so underestimated and overlooked in today's world, but as a review in The Observer put it ‘this is an impassioned, meticulously argued and optimistic call to arms for anyone who cares about creating a fairer society'. The Authority Gap provides a startling perspective on the unseen bias at work in our everyday lives, to reveal the scale of the gap that still persists between men and women. Marshalling a wealth of data with precision and insight, Mary Ann Sieghart exposes unconscious bias in this take on how to address and counteract systemic sexism in ways that benefit us all.

‘The Future of You: Can your identity survive 21st Century Technology?’ by Tracey Follows

Understanding and defining ourselves is becoming confusing and chaotic and we are starting to lose control. “Who am I?” is one of the most fundamental questions we can ask. But it’s becoming increasingly difficult to answer as technology challenges our traditional concepts of identity and forces us to rethink every aspect of our selves. It’s time to reveal the future of ‘you’. This book argues that we must find a way to embrace this new era of transformation while preserving our autonomy from state authorities, tech platforms and emergent systems. We need to understand these vital issues today so that we might design the future of our identity tomorrow.

‘Four Workarounds: How the World’s Scrappiest Organizations Tackle Complex Problems’ by Paulo Savaget

Real-world problems need real solutions. Often 'perfect' isn't an option, and we need something easy, smart, and quick: we need a workaround. Oxford University professor Paulo Savaget shows how the most valuable lessons about problem-solving can be learned from four particular workarounds: ‘the piggyback, the loophole, the roundabout, and the next best’. Some of the world's most admired companies use Savaget's research to transform the ways they do business. And they can revolutionize how we approach the real challenges we encounter in our everyday lives. 

‘Win with Strategy: Strategy is the power to shape the future’ by Max McKeown

We are all strategic. Yet, some are more strategic than others and some are more successful with their strategies. Strategy is the power to shape the future. It is our ability to understand the game that is being played and then how to play it. This book gives practical guidance on how to create a winning strategy. It explores the strategies that have been used throughout history to beat the odds, break cycles of embedded behaviour, find the right levers to pull, angles to play, loopholes to exploit and reinvent the rules of the game. McKeown's experience, from more than fifteen years working as an industry-leading behavioural strategic coach, will help you learn from these models to develop your own strategies.

‘When machines become customers: Ready or not, AI enabled non-human customers are coming…’ by Don Schiebenreif & Mark Raskino

For thousands of years, customers have been individual humans, families or organisations. But soon, intelligent software and hardware machines will start to act as customers. First they will shop for us, later they will act for themselves. You can’t take them to dinner, and they won’t fall for your slogans, but they might help grow your market – if you know how. Companies are already being called on the phone by software that sounds like a person. Cars will buy their own fuel and tires. That smart speaker in every home can become the housekeeper and shopper for the family it serves. Get ready for the rise of machine customers. When Machines Become Customers is the first book to lay out this profound change to business in the 21st century. Treat it as a field guide and survival manual! 

‘Among Others: Friendships and Encounters’ by Michael Frayn

It isn’t only family who shape a person. Now, in his ninetieth year, the author reflects on the friends – some close, some passing – who shaped him and sometimes unwittingly provided portions of themselves for his novels and plays. It's the other people around you, he says, who make you what you are. In this book, Frayn looks back on a few of the people who have formed his own particular world. According to The Guardian “there is a generation of writers who were schooled by the Second World War and the more egalitarian freedoms of its aftermath, and who borrowed intellectual and moral authority from both. The author is a shining star in that firmament. This book, a collection of short essays on some of the other fixed points in his constellation, becomes a thoughtful and often moving portrait of a disappearing world in which a generous kind of bookish rigour and worldly wit created fleeting incandescence at the heart of British cultural life”. What’s not to like?

‘An immigrants Love Letter to the West: We should be grateful for where we live’ by Konstantin Kisin

For all the West's failings - terrible food, cold weather, and questionable politicians - it has its upsides. Konstantin would know. Growing up in the Soviet Union, he experienced first-hand the horrors of a socialist paradise gone wrong, having lived in extreme poverty with little access to even the most basic of necessities. It wasn't until he moved to the UK that Kisin found himself thriving in an open and tolerant society, receiving countless opportunities he would never have had otherwise. In this book, exploring race politics, free speech, immigration and more, Kisin argues that, despite all its ups and downs, Britain remains one of the best places to live in the world. After all, if an immigrant can't publicly profess their appreciation for this country, who can?

‘Revolutionary Spring: Fighting for a New World’ by Christopher Clark

There can be few more exciting or frightening moments in European history than the spring of 1848, when the political order that had held sway since the defeat of Napoleon collapsed. According to the Time Literary Supplement “Everything and everyone was in motion. Even before the revolutions this was a moment of dislocation. Nowadays a historian might call it a polycrisis…” Some rulers gave up at once, others fought bitterly, but everywhere new politicians, beliefs and expectations surged forward. The role of women in society, the end of slavery, the right to work, national independence and the final emancipation of the Jews all became live issues and a new and very different Europe emerged…

‘I thought I heard you speak: Women at Factory Records’ by Audrey Golden

Factory Records has become the stuff of legend. The histories of the label have been told from many perspectives, from visual catalogues and memoirs to exhibitions. Yet no in-depth history has ever been told from the perspectives of the women who were integral to Factory's cultural significance. The untold history of Factory Records is one of women's work at nearly every turn: recording music, playing live gigs, running the label behind the scenes, managing and promoting bands, designing record sleeves, making films and music videos, pioneering sound technology, DJing, and running one of the most chaotic clubs on the planet, The Haçienda. Told entirely in their voices, this book is an oral history that reveals the true cultural reach of the label and its staying power in the twenty-first century.

Selbey Labs
Selbey Labs
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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