I’m heading out on vacation this week, which means summer is getting a little long in the tooth.
There’s still plenty of time, though, to put together your vacation reading list, and I’m here to help. Here are my picks for some truly inspirational, frequently future-ready, occasionally mindless summer reading.
1. Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, by Thomas Friedman
A Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist, Friedman takes an in-depth look at the ways in which three groundbreaking disruptions — technology, globalization, and climate change — are accelerating at once, dovetailing, and transforming everything from politics and the economy to our workplaces and communities. The result is an eye-opening, occasionally frightening, and always fascinating commentary on the chaotic state of our world today. If you only have time to read one book this summer, make it this one.
2. The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, by Richard and Daniel Susskind
As Oxford professors and father-and-son thought leaders, the Susskinds examine the coming decline of today’s professions, then offer suggestions on how professionals like CPAs can remain relevant in an age of automation. The first step is to accept that the first thing to change will be our technology, and that it will evolve beyond anything we can currently imagine. That means that as we try to imagine how our profession will evolve, we must accept that when it comes to technology, almost anything will be possible. There’s some deep stuff here.
3. The Industries of the Future, by Alec Ross
What does the future hold? And which nations will thrive in that new reality? Ross says some of the most inspiring lessons in innovation are coming from the unlikeliest of places — Estonia, for instance. A country that was on the brink in the early 1990s is now a trendsetter in Internet-based and high-tech education. Estonia’s “willingness to actually do things differently” is a blueprint for the rest of the world to follow. Ross’s book is full of examples like this — and the lessons they teach us.
4. Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future, by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe
The basic premise here is this: What got you here won’t get you there. “The logic of a faster future overturns the received wisdom of the past,” Ito and Howe write, “and the people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently.” Ito (director of the MIT Media Lab) and Howe (assistant professor and founding director of the Media Innovation program at Northeastern University) offer up nine principles for thriving in an era of tumultuous change. This is undoubtedly one of the best future-focused books you’ll read this year.
5. It, by Stephen King
This is the Big Mac on my reading list — it’s not good for me, but man, does it taste good. Five kids who battled a demonic monster (often camouflaged as a clown) in the 1950s return as adults to try to put the monster down for good. I first read this mammoth novel (it checks in at 1,138 pages) in high school. I’m reading it again now because a film reboot will hit theaters this fall. I’m hoping the movie will be good … but it could never touch the book.
What are you reading this summer?