Tag Archives: #businessbookoftheyear

Here is the New York Times list of Best-Selling Business Books for January, 2021 – Atomic Habits by James Clear again/still at Number One

The New York Times has published its list of best-selling business books for January, 2021.Atomic Habits

And, yet again, during this great pandemic, Atomic Habits is at the #1 spot.  This book has been on the top spot for many of the months of the pandemic.

Of the ten books on this month’s list, I have presented synopses of six of them at our monthly event in Dallas, the First Friday Book Synopsis.  And, my former colleague, Karl Krayer, presented one other.  So, we have featured seven of the ten books on this month’s list.

Of the ten books, there is only one written by a woman author; Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead.  It is common for women authors to be underrepresented on this list, but only one woman-authored book for the month is quite a low point.

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic WorldOf the seven we have presented, I presented my synopses of:  #1, Atomic Habits; #3, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World; #4, Dare to Lead; #6, Extreme Ownership; #8, Post Corona; and #9, Range.  I chose Range as my selection for the best business book of the year in 2019.  Please read my blog post: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein is my Business Book of the Year for 2019 – (Loonshots by Safi Bahcall is runner-up).

In addition, my former colleague Karl Krayer presented his synopsis of Thinking, Fast and Slow quite a few years ago.

Worth noting:  plenty of the books on this month’s list have been around quite a while. But both the Zakaria book and the Galloway book, dealing with the pandemic, are quite new.  I presented my synopsis of each of them pretty much right after they were published.

Here is the list of the ten best-selling business books on the New York Times list for January, 2021.  Click over to their site for links to NY Times’ reviews of three of the books.

#1 – Atomic Habits by James Clear
#2 – Pappyland by Wright Thompson
#3 – Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria
#4 – Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
#5 – Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
#6 – Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
#7 – Edison by Edmund Morris
#8 – Post Corona by Scott Galloway
#9 – Range by David Epstein
#10 – I Will Teach You to Be Rich, Second Edition by Ramit Sethi

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We make our synopses available to purchase.  Each synopsis comes with the audio recording of our presentation, plus the comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout.  Click on the buy synopses tab to search by title.  And click here for our newest additions.  (My synopsis of Post Corona will be uploaded in the site in a couple of week).

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath is my Business Book of the Year for 2020

It has been a strange, and truly challenging year.

Each year in recent years, I have made my selection for the business book of the year.

First, my constraints:  I select my book of the year from the books I have presented during the year at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas (now in our 22nd Year).  This year, I presented synopses of 22 business books. (We had a guest presenter for one book this year, and in April, our first month on Zoom, I made only one book synopsis presentation, which gave us our total of 23 book synopses presented – 2 books a month, every month, for the other months.  By the way, we are in our 23rd year of our monthly First Friday Book Synopsis gatherings.

(Scroll down to see all the books I presented in 2020).

Next, when I choose my selection for book of the year, I normally ask myself:  which book really did break new ground; ground that I do not remember being covered in earlier books?  In this great pandemic year of 2020, I think the need is slightly different.  Let’s try this: Which book do we wish we had read, and heeded, before the pandemic hit?  And for that, there is a clear choice.

A brief but connected aside:  I teach Speech, and did my graduate work in rhetoric.  There is a famous academic journal article in the field called The Rhetorical Situation by Lloyd Bitzer, written in 1968. Springboarding from that article, I created a list of six elements of a successful communication encounter (like a presentation; or a book):

The right speaker
Speaks the right message
To the right audience
In the right way
At the right time (the right circumstance)
With the right result/outcome.

This year, more than ever, the right time/right circumstance element stands out as most important.

UpstreamSo, my selection for the best business book of the year is Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath. (Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster. March 3, 2020).

This is the first book that Dan Heath has written alone. But I have presented a number of other books by him with his co-author, his brother, Chip Heath.  Those books are: Switch; Decisive; Made to Stick; The Power of Moments. 

It’s not that this book is better than the others.  It is just more timely.  It is a good book.  But it has a great message; a critically important message.

The message is this:  the next BIG problem is coming.  It is better to head it off – upstream – than wait until it overwhelms you when it is overflowing the banks downstream.

In my synopsis handout, I included these thoughts:

From the book:

Downstream actions react to problems once they’ve occurred. Upstream efforts aim to prevent those problems from happening.
That’s one of the main reasons I wrote this book. Because, while we have a wide spectrum of available options to address the world’s problems, we’ve mostly confined ourselves to one tiny stretch of the landscape: the zone of response. React, react, react.
My goal in this book is to convince you that we should shift more of our energies upstream: personally, organizationally, nationally, and globally.

What is “Upstream?”
• In this book, I’m defining upstream efforts as those intended to prevent problems before they happen or, alternatively, to systematically reduce the harm caused by those problems. — I prefer the word upstream to preventive or proactive because I like the way the stream metaphor prods us to expand our thinking about solutions.

  • The problem(s)
    • we are so very busy fixing the problems in front of us; we’re too busy to do the upstream work. 

We now know that THE story of the year, and longer, is the pandemic.  It has impacted every single element of life, including all aspects of our business life.

And we know we had warnings. From George W. Bush reading the book The Great Influenza by John Barry, and issuing orders about how to get ready, to Hans Rosling’s warning in Factfulness, to TED Talks and other communications from Bill Gates, we knew something like this pandemic was coming.  And we did not get ready. Not ready enough. We did not go upstream. In fact, we kind of took steps backwards in our preparedness. And now, downstream, it has been a true disaster..

And the costs have been immense, in lives lost, and in economic woes across the country, and across the world.

In my seven lessons and takeaways in my synopsis, note especially these three:

#1 – There will be more problems to face; big problems.
#3 – But…if we could stop the bad from happening, we could save money, and lives. It really is a challenge to keep the bad from happening before it happens.
#7 – And, always be on the lookout for the next upstream challenge.

So, Upsteam is the book to read again and again.  Because, if we ever get past this pandemic challenge, there will be another whopper coming our way.  We really should – we really must – get ready.  We must learn to deal with these upstream, before they happen.

I consider Upstream by Dan Heath the Business Book of the Year for 2020.

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You can purchase my synopses for all of my synopsis presentations from the “buy synopses” tab at the top of this page.  Each synopsis comes with my multi-page, comprehensive handout, along with the audio recording of my presentation recorded live at the First Friday Book Synopsis event in Dallas. Click here for our newest additions.

Apology:  because we were just starting out on Zoom when I presented Upstream, somehow, due to my incompetence, I did not record the presentation of the Upstream synopsis. I am so very sorry.  But, click here to download the synopsis handout at no cost.

And, if you use the search box on this page, you can find my blog post, with my lessons and takeaways, on just about all of these books I presented in 2020, and many more from earlier years.


Note:  you will notice that there are four books dealing with race relations.  I presented these because of the needs that arose this year related to such issues.
My synopses of all of these are available to purchase.

(And, sorry about the poor alignment of this section).

January, 2020

  1. Trailblazer: The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change– October 15, 2019 by Marc Benioff and Monica Langley. Currency (October 15, 2019).

2. Stillness Is the Key by Ryan Holiday. Portfolio (October 1, 2019).

February, 2020

      1. Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual by Jocko Willink. St. Martin’s Press (January 14, 2020).
      2. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About Itby Michael E. Gerber. Harper Business; Updated, Subsequent edition (October 14, 2004).

March, 2020

1. The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives (Exponential Technology Series) by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. Simon & Schuster (January 28, 2020)

2. Comeback Careers: Rethink, Refresh, Reinvent Your Success–At 40, 50, and Beyond by Mika Brzezinski and Ginny Brzezinski Hachette Books (January 14, 2020)

April, 2020 – Note; Remote/Zoom meetings this month, and the rest of the year.

1. Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath. Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (March 3, 2020)

May, 2020 –

1. The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business one Crazy Idea at a Time by Jim McKelvey.New York: Portfolio; Penguin Publishing Group. 2020.

2. The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind by Jonah Berger. Simon & Schuster (March 10, 2020)

June, 2020

1. Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life by Ozan Varol.  PublicAffairs (April 14, 2020).

2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz. Harper Business (March 4, 2014).

July, 2020

1. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger. Random House (September 23, 2019).

2. Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (National Book Award Winner) by Ibram X. Kendi. Bold Type Books; Reprint edition (August 15, 2017).

August, 2020

      1. The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People’s Economyby Stephanie Kelton. PublicAffairs (June 9, 2020).

2. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, Foreword by Michael Eric Dyson. Beacon Press. 2018.

September, 2020

      1. Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them by Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini. Harvard Business Review Press (August 18, 2020).

2. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein.  Liveright. 2017.

October, 2020

1. Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: Using the Power of Questions to Communicate, Connect, and Persuade by Trey Gowdy. Crown Forum (August 18, 2020).

      1. How to Be an Antiracist– August 13, 2019 by Ibram X. Kendi. One World; First Edition (August 13, 2019).

November, 2020

      1. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez. Harry N. Abrams; First Printing Edition (March 12, 2019)
      2. Uncharted: How to Navigate the Futureby Margaret Heffernan. Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (September 8, 2020)

December, 2020

1. Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy by Patrick Bet-David Gallery Books (2020) – (Delivered by Karl Krayer)

    1. Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria. W. W. Norton & Company; 1st edition (October 6, 2020).

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez – Here are my six lessons and takeaways

2019 Business Book of the Year

2019 Business Book of the Year

The stories we tell ourselves about our past, present and future. They are all marked–disfigured–by a female-shaped ‘absent presence’. This is the gender data gap. …These silences, these gaps, have consequences.
Invisible Women is a story about absence–and that sometimes makes it hard to write about.
The point of this book is not psychoanalysis. This book cannot provide ultimate proof for why the gender data gap exists. I can only present you with the data…
Private motivations are, to a certain extent, irrelevant. What matters is the pattern.
I will argue that the gender data gap is both a cause and a consequence of the type of unthinking that conceives of humanity as almost exclusively male.
Invisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity. It is an exposè of how the gender data gap harms women when life proceeds, more or less as normal. In urban planning, politics, the workplace. …It’s when women are able to step out from the shadows with their voices and their bodies that things start to shift. The gaps close. And so, at heart, Invisible Women is also a call for change.
In such a framing, women are set up to be forgettable. Ignorable. Dispensable–from culture, from history, from data. And so, women become invisible.
The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars and pestilences, in every page; the men so good for nothing and hardly any women at all – it is very tiresome. Jane Austen
Caroline Criado Perez; Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men 

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There are times when I read a book, and I almost want to…if not give up, at least wonder if these authors have put in all this effort, and it makes no difference at all.

I struggle with these feelings when I read books on racial issues.  And, also, when I read books dealing with women in modern life – in business life, and in society in general.

I certainly struggled with this when I presented Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men last Friday at the November First Friday Book Synopsis.

Invisible Women was the Business Book of the Year for 2019; it is an acclaimed, and valuable book. And, yet, after I presented my synopsis of this book, one woman said that it was just so depressing.  Because, she said, she knew it was true; and that nothing had ever really changed.  She spoke from painful experience.

Caroline Criado Perez, the author, among other efforts, led the campaign to keep an image of a woman (other than the Queen) on British Currency.  Jane Austen is now on the back of the £10 note, thanks to the effort she led.  This book was the Business Book of the Year of 2019, selected by McKinsey and The Financial Times.

And, note:  this book is truly international in its stories and illustrations.

In my synopses, I always ask What is the point?  Here is my answer for this book:
Because the default is male, in every arena, in every region, then women are ignored, not taken into account, invisible…  There is a serious, very, very long-term, data shortage about women. 

And I always ask Why is this book worth our time?  Here are my three answers for this book:

#1 – This book is a sweeping history and international overview of the “invisibility” of women. You will learn much.
#2 – This book is filled with “I never thought of that” insights.  You will stop and think much.
#3 – This book provides plenty of “call to action” examples.  You might think about actions you can take.

I always include a few pages of Quotes and Excerpts from the book – the “best of” Randy’s highlighted Passages.  Here are the best of the best that I selected from my highlights from this book:

• One of the most important things to say about the gender data gap is that it is not generally malicious, or even deliberate. Quite the opposite. It is simply the product of a way of thinking that has been around for millennia and is therefore a kind of not thinking. A double not thinking, even: men go without saying, and women don’t get said at all. Because when we say human, on the whole, we mean man.
• The female-specific concerns that men fail to factor in cover a wide variety of areas, but as you read you will notice that three themes crop up again and again: the female body, women’s unpaid care burden, and male violence against women.  
• “What were the females doing while the males were out hunting?” Answer: gathering, weaning, caring for children during ‘longer periods of infant dependency’, all of which would similarly have required cooperation.  This knowledge, the ‘conclusion that the basic human adaptation was the desire of males to hunt and kill,’ objects Slocum, ‘gives too much importance to aggression, which is after all only one factor of human life.’   
• When in 2017 the first female head of London’s Fire Brigade, Dany Cotton, suggested that we should replace ‘fireman’ with the now standard (and let’s face it, much cooler) ‘firefighter’, she received a deluge of hate mail.   
• Former doctor Peter Davison expressed ‘doubts’ about the wisdom of casting a woman in the role of Doctor Who. Colin Baker, the body into whom the Peter Davison doctor had morphed, disagreed with his predecessor. Boys have ‘had fifty years of having a role model’, he argued.   
• The history of humanity. The history of art, literature and music. The history of evolution itself. These facts have been lying to us. …and if the past few years have shown us anything it is that how we see ourselves is not a minor concern. Identity is a potent force that we ignore and misread at our peril. 
• The truth is that white and male is just as much an identity as black and female. 
• The reporting rate is even lower in New York City, with an estimated 96% of sexual harassment and 86% of sexual assaults in the subway system going unreported, while in London, where a fifth of women have reportedly been physically assaulted while using public transport, a 2017 study found that ‘around 90% of people who experience unwanted sexual behaviour would not report it’.  
• I am invariably faced with the comment, ‘But, surely, it’s getting better? 
• In other words, they held workshops to encourage women to be more like men. 
• Recent research has emerged showing that while women tend to assess their intelligence accurately, men of average intelligence think they are more intelligent than two-thirds of people. This being the case, perhaps it wasn’t that women’s rates of putting themselves up for promotion were too low. Perhaps it was that men’s were too high.   
• Article 8 of the legally binding Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union reads, ‘In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men and women.’ Clearly, women being 47% more likely to be seriously injured in a car crash is one hell of an inequality to be overlooking. 
• For millennia, medicine has functioned on the assumption that male bodies can represent humanity as a whole. As a result, we have a huge historical data gap when it comes to female bodies, and this is a data gap that is continuing to grow as researchers carry on ignoring the pressing ethical need to include female cells, animals and humans, in their research. … Women are dying, and the medical world is complicit. It needs to wake up. 
• (When) a woman speaks loudly in parliament she is “shushed” with a finger to the lips, as one does with children. That never happens when a man speaks loudly’.
• Analysis of 182 peace agreements signed between 1989 and 2011 demonstrated that when women are included in peace processes there is a 20% increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least two years, and a 35% increase in the probability of an agreement lasting at least fifteen years. 

Here are a few of the key points I included from this book in my synopsis:  

  • Because women are invisible, women are not “valuable…” (they have little to no “worth”)
  • None of this means that the Bank of England deliberately set out to exclude women. It just means that what may seem objective can actually be highly male-biased… …The fact is that worth is a matter of opinion, and opinion is informed by culture.
  • So much missing data…
  • But when your big data is corrupted by big silences, the truths you get are half-truths, at best.
  • The male-unless-otherwise-indicated approach to research seems to have infected all sorts of ethnographic fields.
  • So much missing data, because…women are not in the room.
  • in the conference rooms
  • in the political committee rooms
  • in the leadership seats
  • in the disaster planning rooms
  • in the technology company planning rooms
  • When women are in the room, they are:
  • not listened to; sometimes not even seen (they are …invisible)
  • interrupted; talked over
  • not called upon
  • and…harassed (in word and action)
  • when women “act male” (forceful; assertive; confident; ambitious)
  • they are ridiculed; rejected…
  • interrupting simply isn’t viewed the same way when women do it….So telling women to behave more like men – as if male behaviour is a gender-neutral human default – is unhelpful, and in fact potentially damaging.
  • Yes, we do need more women in public office
  • As little as a single percentage point rise in female legislators was found to increase the ratio of educational expenditure. The presence of women in politics makes a tangible difference to the laws that get passed.
  • The first is that when you exclude half the population from a role in governing itself, you create a gender data gap at the very top. 
  • What do women need to do about this?
  • Sheryl Sandberg’s approach for navigating hostile work environments, outlined in her book Lean In, is for women to buckle up and push through. And of course that is part of the solution. I am not a female politician, but as a woman with a public profile I get my own share of threats and abuse. And, unpopular as this opinion may be, I believe that the onus is on those of us who feel able to weather the storm, to do so. …So, to a certain extent, it is an ordeal that our generation of women needs to go through in order that the women who come after us don’t.
  • The better way…
  • There is a better way. And it’s a pretty simple one: we must increase female representation in all spheres of life.
  • The solution to the sex and gender data gap is clear: we have to close the female representation gap. When women are involved in decision-making, in research, in knowledge production, women do not get forgotten. …All ‘people’ needed to do was to ask women. 

And, here are my six lessons and takeaways

#1 – Don’t have meetings; don’t build teams; without full participation by women.
#2 – If you are male – quit interrupting! Especially, quit interrupting women.
#3 – Read more books; study more about gender ignorance, and gender bias…
#4 – Recognize that if (since) this is true about women, ask: which other groups do we leave out of our “default” understandings?
#5 – Intentionally read more about the accomplishments of women.
#6 – Maybe, make your work decisions — about which products to buy, and which companies to interact and do business with — based on how they value and treat women.

I have presented synopses of many books focusing on issues of women in the workplace. I could recommend a number of them. But my new recommendation would be this:  start with this book.  It provides the data about the missing data.  This is a foundational book; a foundation worth knowing, and grasping, and then acting upon.

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You will be able to purchase my synopsis soon from the “buy synopses” tab at the top of the page.  Each synopsis comes with my comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout, plus the audio recording of my presentation. Click here for our newest additions.

We have many, many synopses available. You can search by title on the “buy synopses” tab.

Here is the video of my synopsis presentations of Invisible Women and Uncharted from the November First Friday Book Synopsis

Nov. 6 FFBSHere is the video of my synopsis presentations of Invisible Women and Uncharted from the November First Friday Book Synopsis

(Scroll through this blog for videos from other months, with other book synopsis presentations).

Before you watch, click here to download the synopsis handouts.

 

 

 


You will also be able to purchase my synopses of these two books, along with many other books for over the years, from the “buy synopses” tab at the top of this page.  Each synopsis comes with the comprehensive, multi-page handout, plus the audio recording of the presentation.  Click here for our newest additions.

Download the two Synopses Handouts for tomorrow’s First Friday Book Synopsis, November 6, 2020 – Invisible Women and Uncharted

PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT OUR ZOOM EXPERIENCE:

In our October session, we had some “Zoom bombers.” It was not polite, and we have had to come up with a plan. You can help!

First, we have implemented the Zoom “waiting room” feature. Someone will let you in when you arrive. This should be quick and easy.

Now, please follow these steps:
#1 — Please make sure you have updated your Zoom software.
#2 — Please use your real, full name in your Zoom profile, and not “iPhone,” “Sam’s iPad,” “abcxyz,” “Zoom Security,” or something else that’s non-descriptive.

  • If you do not wish to be on video, please have a Zoom photo and your full name in your profile.
  • please avoid using pictures of objects or animals as your Zoom photo
  • you will automatically be on mute — (You will be able to unmute yourself).

#3 — BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT YOUR CAMERA. We’ve even had some “regular participants” have their camera follow them unwisely. Please be careful

  • BUT — still invite others to attend. We do not want to exclude anyone who wants to learn with us.

{Note: Special thanks to Leticia Ferrer, Jim Jameson, Peter Sorenson, and Taylor L. Cole Longacre for helping with very good suggestions, and forming our “Zoom Team.” Be sure to thank them tomorrow in the chat}.

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Click on image to download handouts.

Click on image to download handouts.

Well over 100 people have been joining us on our “Remote” First Friday Book Synopsis gatherings. We have had participants from all over the country. Please share this word far and wide — all are welcome!

Friday, November 6, 2020 – Zoom, 7:30 am (Central Time)

Two Book Synopses:
Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men
by Caroline Criado Perez
and
Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future by Margaret Heffernan.
Where: on ZOOM
When: This Friday, November 6, 7:30 am (Central Time)
The presentation will conclude shortly after 8:30 am
Speaker: Randy Mayeux
Click here to join in on Zoom:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85612817839?pwd=RzBwbzBmRWJpNkdlL2srNkltRW9pZz09
Meeting ID: 856 1281 7839
Passcode: 117623

https://app.box.com/s/xatvx337l2ti9g98nh8fcjufliymcmnm

Click on image to download handouts.

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We are all set for Friday’s Remote First Friday Book Synopsis.

#1 — Download, and print both synopses handouts by clicking here.

If you have ever attended our event, you know that I am handout intensive. You really will be able to follow along better with physical copies of the handouts in front of you. So, if you have a printer, please print the handouts.

#2 — Come on in for conversation whenever you can. I have enabled the “enable join before host” button. You will arrive in the waiting room, and be let in quickly. So, you can come in, and talk to folks. I will plan to join the meeting around 7:00, and we will begin the program at 7:30. And, I will not “end the meeting” for a while after, if you want to continue conversations with others after we officially conclude.

#3 — Here is the info, with the link to join the gathering:

Randy Mayeux is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Nov. 6, 2020 First Friday Book Synopsis
Time: Nov 6, 2020 07:30 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 856 1281 7839
Passcode: 117623

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Reminder: The cost of this remote meeting is “free.”

But, if you would like to contribute to participate, Randy would welcome you to send $12.00 directly to him through PayPal. Click here for a direct link to “donate” thorugh PayPal.

(Note: you can also send money through Zelle, at Randy’s e-mail address).

(Randy’s e-mail address for PayPal , and Zelle, is ).

Please help spread the word far and wide; help make this a success.

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You might want to read this post. It has a printable one-sheet reminder on how to make the most of your remote learning experience.

Remote Learning 101 – Read this before attending your learning session.

Invisible Women and Uncharted; reading in progress – What books are you reading?

Nov. 6 FFBSInvisible Women is the story of what happens when we forget to account for half of humanity. It is an exposè of how the gender data gap harms women when life proceeds, more or less as normal. In urban planning, politics, the workplace.
Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men

The future is uncharted because we aren’t there yet.
Margaret Heffernan, Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future

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Let me start with a reminder.  This is a very good time to be reading books.  We are inside more; at home more.  And there are so many good, and important, books to read.  What books do you have on your reading stack right now?

I’m in the midst of reading my two books for the November 6 First Friday Book Synopsis, our monthly gathering that focuses on two books each month.  (Currently on Zoom). These two books are quite different, and both worth our time.

For the books I present, I read every book in full; every page of every chapter.  And, I read these books slowly.  I highlight passages – literally hundreds of passages.  And I do my best to create synopsis handouts that are thorough, and capture the key elements of the books I present.

2019 Business Book of the Year

2019 Business Book of the Year

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez won the 2019 Business Book of the Year award from McKinsey and The Financial Times.  It is a deserving selection.

Though it is a good and comprehensive, thought-provoking book, it is mainly…correct.  Women are invisible in too many ways, in too many arenas:  in their daily life, in their work life, in the architecture and structures that they navigate.  So many of the decisions of the world have been made by men, and only men, while only thinking about men, for too long.  That is the finding of this very good book, and it explains why this was a worthy recipient of the Business Book of the Year award.

(Note:  this is the third such book I have presented.  An earlier Business Book of the Year was Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford; a significant book.  I presented my synopsis of this book at the February, 2016 First Friday Book Synopsis. And, I have also presented my synopsis of Capital by Thomas Pikkety, another recipient of this award, at another book gathering that I speak at: the Urban Engagement Book Club, sponsored by CitySquare).

Here’s the problem with books such as Invisible Women.  First, not enough people read the books, in spite of their popularity.  Second, even though the problem it highlights and addresses is so pervasive, people still cannot quite grasp the breadth of the problem with only an occasional book to remind them of it.  This book needs a very, very big megaphone.

Uncharted: How to Navigate the Future by Margaret Heffernan is my second book selection for November.  Ms. Heffernan is also the author of Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril, which I presented at the August, 2014 First Friday Book Synopsis. This book states, clearly, that there is so very much about the future that we do not know; cannot really ever know.  And in this Global Pandemic time, this is a good and needed reminder.

I love reading good books.  These are both good books to read.  I think my synopses will be useful.

What will you be reading this month?

——————–Rise of the Robots

Here are my earlier blog posts on a couple of the books that I mentioned:

But Where will the Demand Be? – My Lessons and Takeaways from Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford

Here are My Takeaways from Margaret Heffernan’s Willful Blindness – a Remarkable Book