5 Must-Read Week(day) Reading

Because I am a bit heads-down working on my 2nd book title (for Harvard Press, out in the fall), I have only a few words of my own to spare. Instead, here are some words and ideas from others… 5 that I find worth sharing.

Openness Matters.

Thomas Friedman wrote a column in Sunday’s NYT on the book “Why Nations Fail”. The book argues that institutions that promote access to economic activities also have greater income equality, and that benefits everyone – individuals, institutions and the culture at large. Nations thrive when they develop “inclusive” political and economic institutions, and they fail when those institutions become “extractive” and concentrate power and opportunity in the hands of only a few. Reminds me of the underlying theme of Auserwald’s Book.
More here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/opinion/sunday/friedman-why-nations-fail.html

Clarity of Purpose Precedes $

An article on great businesses: “Our most striking findings was that of the entrepreneurs we surveyed who had a successful exit (that is, an IPO or sale to another firm), about 70% did NOT start with a business plan.  Instead, their business journeys originated in a different place, a place we call the Heart. They were conceived not with a document but with a feeling and doing for an authentic vision. Clarity of purpose and passion ruled the day with less time spent writing about an idea and more time spent just doing it.”
More here: http://blogs.hbr.org/tjan/2012/05/great-businesses-dont-start-wi.html

New Metaphors Needed
One measure by which one can measure impact is whether it starts an important dialogue. Philip Granof of Protobrand makes an important point – it’s not that marketing is dead; It’s that the metaphor we use in marketing needs to be revamped.  In his words: “People enter a culture-language field that encourages the blinking away of certain aspects of reality in order to focus on others. In their seminal book, Metaphors We Live By, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson revealed the ability of ordinary language through metaphor to shape our reality. Metaphor is the autofocus for what linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf called the “kaleidoscopic flux of impressions” of our world. To demonstrate their point, Lakoff and Johnson dissect the language of argument, for which they show the dominant metaphor in Western culture to be war:

Your claims are indefensible.
He attacked every weak point in my argument.
His criticisms were right on target.
I demolished his argument.
I’ve never won an argument with him.”

More here: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/05/marketing_needs_a_new_metaphor.html


The Hierarchy of Innovation
A provocative post that I think nails an important issue by Nicholas Carr: “There has been no decline in innovation; there has just been a shift in its focus. We’re as creative as ever, but we’ve funneled our creativity into areas that produce smaller-scale, less far-reaching, less visible breakthroughs. And we’ve done that for entirely rational reasons. We’re getting precisely the kind of innovation that we desire – and that we deserve.”
More here
: http://www.roughtype.com/archives/2012/05/the_hierarchy_o.php

Information is Food

And back to important metaphors, JP Rangaswami (whom I read via his blog, ConfusedinCalcutta; twitter handle: @jobsworth), compared information to food in a TEDx talk. “Information, if viewed from the point of view of food, is never a production issue. … It’s a consumption issue, and we have to start thinking about how we digest it, much like we think of a regimen of diet exercise for the body.” He makes a great quip around FOXNews and the movie SuperSizeMe. As I mentioned already on Twitter, this would have to be in my top 5 TEDTalks of all time.



3 Responses:

  1. Kenneth Lange. May 22, 2012 at 9:30 am  |  

    Thanks Nilofer for sharing these great links!

    PS. I loved “The New How” so I’m very curious about what will be the subject of the new book you mentioned in the beginning of your post? Can you reveal anything yet?:)

    • Nilofer Merchant. May 22, 2012 at 10:05 am  |  

      What a nice comment to leave here…

      Where #newhow was written to help organizations be more collaborative inside their organizations to unlock tacit innovation capabilities… this next idea is about the fundamental shift in how value is created in the 21st century. From closed to open, the shift reflects the ways in which organizations can organize/ create / distribute entire differently by using social constructs. This book is building on the ideas released already on the 5-part series of the Social Era — first published over at Harvard’s blog and double-published here on this blog. More on all of that soon.

  2. Amy J.. May 23, 2012 at 3:09 pm  |  

    JP Rangaswami’s TEDTalk was fantastic. Thanks for suggesting it!

    I am in the middle of The New How and finding it an excellent resource. I have read your series on the Social Era on HBR, so I am really looking forward to your next book.

    So glad I subscribed to your newsletter.


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