Why did I pick this book ?

This came in as a recommendation from the news letter of AVC by Fred Wilson. I think you should also subscribe to this news letter.

What do I like about the book ?

This is without doubt one of the most engaging reads so far in the year.  Irrespective of where you are in your profession , you should buy this book and read. Also, if you can afford, you should give it to your team and have a discussion on the ideas presented in the book. The book presents nine principles , most of them which are derived from case studies at MIT media lab and other places and gives us fascinating insights about how we should realign our work place cultures to deal with our fast changing future. If not anything, I thought this book shed a lot of light on my increasing ignorance.

The Nine Principles are

  • Emergence over Authority
  • Pull over Push
  • Compass over Maps
  • Risk over Safety
  • Disobedience over Compliance
  • Practice over Theory
  • Diversity over Ability
  • Resilience over Strength
  • Systems over Objects

The ones highlighted in bold are some of my constant areas of debate as well and I intend to write about those in the coming weeks.

What is one interesting idea that I learnt ?

I found an answer to a very important question that I had for a long time. Why learn algebra ?

Here is a para from the book

“One girl asked me. ‘I’ m going to be a clothes designer. Why do I need to learn algebra ?’ I didn’t know what to tell her”. Hamilton called Dan Willingham, a cognitive scientist focused on education and asked him why high school students study algebra, since it so rarely applies to their lives. “First”, Willingham told him, “because algebra is gymnastics for the brain”. But he went on, there’s something more important. “Algebra is how teach the brain to apply abstract thought to practical things”. In other words, between the platonic world of idealized shapes and the messy ones we inhabit. Students — all of us, really — need that bridge

How long it would take ?

3-4 hours

Paras or Quotes that I liked

I found the entire book inspiring, but I found the MIT lab original motto of ‘Deploy or Die’ to be very apt in current circumstances. Incidentally they changed it to only ‘Deploy’ after the then US President Barack Obama, requested them to reconsider their messaging.

Enjoy Maadi (Have Fun)