The holidays…or any break for that matter…is always a time where I love to read and reflect on what is happening in our world. A few weeks ago, I had a chance to read a half-dozen interesting books that I’d like to share with you.
How to Create a Mind – Ray Kurzweil – This is a futurist who always makes me realize I should have paid attention more in school…..so I catch up now. As Ray describes how technology and our brain are becoming more symbiotic, it made me realize what the real power of the mobile phone will be in the years ahead and it’s major. Our brains can remember about 300 million patterns, whether it was the letter A looks like or how to recite the alphabet. That’s our limit. Our smart phones, which actually aren’t smart at all, will become smart as they access algorithms and harness big data in ways that matches up with the patterns we already know. So our 300MM limit may extend to 3bn patterns or more as the phone becomes a learning appendage of our brain. It’s really not that far off when we think of how we combine location-based insights with our own patterns of what we like online with what algorithms can do with data in the cloud. I know this book has changed my view of how mobile will evolve. Group On will look like the minor leagues pretty soon.
The System – Jeff Benedict & Armen Keteyian – I love understanding the inside of a sport. Jeff and Armen go inside college football and provide examples of what really happens as players are recruited and developed by their teams. Very cool to see our own Cleve Bryant, now building The Playing Field, for W2O Group, is featured in the book.
American Sniper – Chris Kyle – I have always been impressed by the patriotism and intensity that goes into being “the best” in the military. Chris Kyle shares what it is like to live the military life and what it’s like to develop expertise as the most prolific sniper in the history of the U.S. military. Whether you are pro or con on Iraq, it’s hard not to respect how much a person like Chris and many like him care about our country.
Going Clear – Lawrence Wright – The Church of Scientology is the topic here. I really enjoyed Lawrence’s book, The Looming Tower, about 9/11. This Austin-based author has written an equally compelling story about how the Church of Scientology was founded, how it evolved and where it is today. Like his other books, Wright shares all he knows without taking a personal stand on what is right or wrong. It’s a very interesting book.
Double Down – Mark Halperin & John Heileman – I love politics almost as much as sports. Mark and John have, once again, written the best narrative of the presidential election, this time looking at 2012. If you love politics, it’s a have to read.
The New Digital Age – Eric Schmidt & Jared Cohen – Eric Schmidt, as Executive Chairman of Google, speaks and we listen. This book takes more of a policy angle sharing insights on how the world may evolve related to technology. One great example relates to privacy and how countries will handle content within their borders over time. Americans often assume the world’s content will and should be free. But a growing number of country leaders believe other-wise. What will happen as some countries clamp down on content and access while others have unfettered access? It will impact how we reach customers worldwide, that is for sure.
Hope you enjoy one or more of these books in 14.
All the best, Bob