Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein (Little Brown Spark, 2021)

Key Values: Balance, Sustainability

“System noise, that is, unwanted variability in judgments that should ideally be identical, can create rampant injustice, high economic costs, and errors of many kinds.”

Ideal Reading Conditions?

An isolation chamber. With episodes of your favourite show to stream between chapters. This one is super intense, so be prepared to reread some of the mathy bits, but even (especially!) the gritty bits are interesting to a process-geek. 

There’s a footnote at the bottom of page one in this book that says “Process is everything.” Nah, I’m just kidding. There’s no footnote. But there’s also no better argument for the importance of investing in and curating a quality workflow and process than the data and anecdotes presented here. Learn how to avoid the pitfalls recounted here (whether the insurance industry or health care) and reduce the noise all ‘round.

Fledgling by Octavia Butler (Grand Central Publishing, 2005)

Key Values: Compassion, Transition

Ideal Reading Conditions?

One of those alone-in-public places, maybe a cushioned seat in a museum entranceway or a bench along a well-travelled trail. Shori’s story explores solitude and community, belonging and othering, in the context of story, so that you don’t even notice how much Butler is making you think while she’s entertaining you the whole time. 

The foundation of any relationship, in work and in life, is trust. For executives, empower your team members so that in the course of their day-to-day work they are building a stronger community; for team members, learn when to reach beyond your role, effectively and appropriately, so that you are developing as an individual while you are contributing to your team’s success. 

“…Let them see that you trust them and let them solve their own problems, make their own decisions. Do that and they will willingly commit their lives to you. Bully them, control them out of fear or malice or just for your own convenience, and after a while, you’ll have to spend all your time thinking for them, controlling them, and stifling their resentment.”

Successful Aging A Neuroscientist Explores the Power and Potential of our Lives by Daniel J. Levitin (Penguin Random House, 2020)

Ideal Reading Conditions?

Sit somewhere different each time you pick up this book. Even small shifts in perspective can open new pathways for discovery. 

Key Values: Balance, Sustainability

“Don’t retire. Don’t stop being engaged with meaningful work. Look forward. Don’t look back. (Reminiscing doesn’t promote health.) Exercise. Get your heart rate going. Preferably in nature. Embrace a moderated lifestyle with healthy practices. Keep your social circle exciting and new. Spend time with people younger than you. See your doctor regularly, but not obsessively. Don’t think of yourself as old (other than taking prudent precautions). Appreciate your cognitive strengths—pattern recognition, crystallized intelligence, wisdom, accumulated knowledge. Promote cognitive health through experiential learning: traveling, spending time with grandchildren, and immersing yourself in new activities and situations. Do new things.”

There’s plenty of research emerging now about the value of building teams with members of varying ages; every age group has different strengths to offer to a group. In the tech industry, particularly in the start-up scene, there’s a tendency to hire cheap and hire young. Experience isn’t everything? Maybe not. But experience is something and, when it’s informed and in context, it’s valuable. 



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