An inevitable collaboration

Like it or not, those now preparing for a career in business — or have only recently begun one — must develop the skills required by an inevitable collaboration with with one or more of these technologies: artificial intelligence (AI); sensors and the Internet of Things (IOT); autonomous machines — robots, cobots, drones, and self-driving vehicles; distributed leaders and blockchains; virtual, augmented, and mixed reality; and, connecting everything and everyone: 5G networks and satellite constellations.

Long ago (1970 in Future Shock), Alvin Toffler made a prediction that includes all workers: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

In Shocks, Cr!ses, and False Alarms: How to Assess True Microeconomic Risk, (published by Harvard Business Press on July 9, 2024), Philipp Carlsson-Szlezak and Paul Swartz explain that their book aims to deliver on two objectives at once:  “First, a HOW objective — giving readers the analytical instruments to assess a broad range of macroeconomic risks. Second, a WHAT objective — articulating our perspective on key risks and the future of the microeconomic system, that is, the question of whether good macro will persist.”

The material created by Carlsson-Szlezak and Swartz does not focus on how to collaborate with one or more of the aforementioned technologies. Rather, they provide an abundance of information, insights, and counsel in order to explain what it would take for true crises to happen — “not simply on the question of whether they will happen…So, it is true that macroeconomics lacks the elegance of a solo performer, like physics. But it plays well in a band. We must bring in a broader set of perspectives and methods to make it shine…Leadership is about navigating uncertainty. If the future were readily predictable, there would be nothing special about leading — it would be mere execution. Assessing microeconomic risk is no different. It involves a mix of knowledge, skill, and experience. — in short, judgment.”

Carlsson-Szlezak and Swartz hope their readers will achieve high-impact within the following dimensions

1. Develop new analytical skills.
2. Navigate the macroeconomic risk landscape with confidence.
3. Think like a rational optimist.
4. Hear our views [and others’, especially if they are unfamiliar or contrary to your assumptions.

I urge you to pre-order this book, then absorb and digest its material before your competitors do.

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