Review: Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford

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In the early 1960s, a coalition of academics, journalists, technologists, including Nobel Prize Winners Linus Pauling in chemistry and Gunnar Myrdal in economic sciences, submitted a report to President Lyndon Johnson that described a “triple revolution.” “Two of the revolutionary forces identified in the report — nuclear weapons and the civil rights movements — are indelibly woven into the historical narrative of the 1960s,” writes Martin Ford in Rise of the Robots. “The third revolution, which comprised the bulk of the document’s text, has largely been forgotten.” In their report to Johnson, the authors warned of an economy based on machines, not humans, with the result being, Ford writes, “massive unemployment, soaring inequality and, ultimately, falling demand for goods and services as consumers increasingly lacked the purchasing power necessary to continue driving economic growth.”

The central thesis of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, is that the world can no longer afford to ignore this third revolution. It is here, now. In his detailed, wide-ranging book, Ford, a software entrepreneur and writer, points to the economic markers that bolster his pessimistic vision of the future. For example, starting in the 1970s and contrary to all that had happened before, increase in productivity stopped translating into increased wages — just one of seven deadly economic trends that Martin attributes to advances in information technology.

Creative destruction may be a comforting hypothesis, writes Ford — yes, the horse-and-buggy industries disappeared, but they were replaced by the massive automobile industries. The new companies of the digital industry…….(click here to read the full review)

Book Review: Winning with Transglobal Leadership

By Sharkey, Razi, Cooke and Barge

There’s little doubt that it takes a special kind of leader to be successful in today’s global economy. Unfortunately, as the book Winning with Transglobal Leadership points out, the type of talent needed to win in the global marketplace is scarce. The reasons why this is the case, and what your organization can do about it, are explored in the Soundview Executive Book Summary, now available for download in multiple digital formats.

Written by Linda D. Sharkey, Ph.D., Nazneen Razi, Ph.D., Robert A. Cooke, Ph.D., and Peter Barge, Winning with Transglobal Leadership does an excellent job of framing the problem created by a lack of transglobal leaders. The issue of a lack of simplicity and uniformity in leadership competency models will register with executives who struggle with this concern in their own organizations. The authors’ viewpoints are backed up with intensive research efforts and a combined resume of experience with top levels of the academic and corporate sectors. Sharkey, for example, served in senior HR positions at Hewlett-Packard and GE Capital, where her work was named a “best practice” by then-CEO Jack Welch.

Executives leading companies that aren’t multinationals may have reservations about the book’s applicability to their organization. They should not allow this to prevent them from picking up the book. The nature of the global economy means that nearly every business will need the skills discussed in the book, whether it applies to vendor relationships or customer-building efforts. This need for global awareness on the part of leaders plays directly into the authors’ discussion of transglobal diversity, a concept that is gradually replacing thoughts about traditional diversity in organizations.

With a convenient assessment tool and a guide to creating an action plan for change, Winning with Transglobal Leadership is a great first-step for your company to ensure its current and future leaders are ready for the world that awaits.