Digital Era Readings for Bookworms, and Instant Gurus for Busy People

In the age of digitalization, Smart Machines, Internet of Things and eCommerce, we quote books maybe more than ever. As we’re living in the turning point of the Industrial and Digital Age, we disseminate information on the web but the knowledge still has its origins in literature.

Most decision-makers in almost every field have a traditional education, which is based on learning by reading. I don´t think there is so much difference between them and the younger generations. In fact, I claim that the roots of our personal professional thinking are deep in the fertile soil of books.

Show your cards, unveil your bookshelf

A while ago we tweeted about Tuomas Bergström´s blog post “Please Mishandle – Thoughts on Tolerating and Leveraging Insecurity” and got an immediate response on Twitter saying, “I see that Tuomas has read his ‘Antifragile’“.

Can we understand each other better by asking what books one has read? Is it easier to create a common understanding with people who share the same reading and learning history? Are there separate book genres for waterfall model and agile people? In the beginning of a new project, should we ask what business and tech philosophy books people have in their bookshelf and tablets?

Reading the right book at the right time can be a pivotal factor.

I never asked Tuomas Bergström whether he had validated his insights about Agile organizations with Nicholas Taleb. I know I have been – not a victim – but a disciple of Mr. Taleb. My world view changed dramatically since reading his book “The Black Swan”. I can´t imagine my professional thinking without the tremendous influence this book had on me.

Reading the right book at the right time can be a pivotal factor. That´s why some business books and guides are black swans themselves. Their message is so contagious and sticky that it has an impact on businesses and people all over the world. Great books with visionary thinking can change business models, leadership, sales methods and working cultures. The web creates black swans and sudden flames. That is what all digital businesses are seeking, isn’t it? Messages spreading all over the web, gathering fans, likes, retweets and increased sales? Great business books have it all.

As I’m working in marketing and communications, I talk about contagious and sticky (see Malcolm Gladwell’s "The Tipping Point”) on weekly basis. I’ve heard the CEO of Qentinel, Esko Hannula, quoting Jeffrey Liker´s “The Toyota way” quite a few times.

Do we even realize how much digitalization is not happening “by the book” but driven by books?

There are several top listings available about world famous business books. This one was published in Business Insider:

How many books from the list above do you know? Have you heard people quoting them or know anyone following the principles presented in them? I bet you have. How many of these books have affected your personal professional thinking?

Who is your business guru?

Even when we don´t have time for books, we have time for web gurus. Typical digital age behavior is to browse through your Facebook or Twitter feed, click the like button when you see a witty quote, read a catchy headline and maybe stop at a provoking blog post. Book writers don´t only write books, they also write blogs, tweets, Facebook updates, articles, give TED speeches and make YouTube videos about their visionary ideas.

We all have gurus, even though we aren’t bookworms.

We, the rest of us, collect our digital age knowledge from different sources. Enthusiasm drives us to change our own work. We all have gurus, even though we aren’t bookworms.

When editing Sami Paju´s blog post for Quality Intelligence Hub, the same book came up again – "Antifragile". Is "Antifragile" going to do the same for digital business strategies as “The Fifth Discipline” did to systems thinking and learning organizations?

Let us know, what do you guys read and who do you follow? Do we have books lying around as stepping stones to digital future? Who are guiding us and by which philosophy as their lighthouse? Go to Twitter and help us to create a list of great books and influencers. List your books and tag your tweet with #QiHubInfluence.