Idea Almanac

Daily update on new ideas and books so that you can grow each day

January 25, 2024

This Rewired: The McKinsey Guide to Outcompeting in the Age of Digital and AI delves into the intricacies of digital and AI transformation in the business world. It serves as a practical guide for organizations to build capabilities that outcompete others in the digital and AI era.

The book emphasizes the critical importance of leadership commitment and alignment around the value at stake in digital and AI transformations. It highlights the gap between the potential and actualized benefits of digital initiatives, with large companies globally capturing on average only 31% of the expected revenue lift and 25% of the expected cost savings from their digital and AI transformations​​. “To stay competitive and at the forefront of any industry, it’s clear that businesses must continuously adapt and evolve with technology. Rewired tackles the key question of how”​​.

The authors, Eric Lamarre, Kate Smaje, and Rodney W. Zemmel, provide valuable insights into how companies can rewire their approaches to harness the full potential of digital and AI technologies. This includes adopting new operating models, professionalizing product management, and creating a technology environment conducive to innovation​​. The book is instrumental for C-suite executives and business leaders looking to navigate the complex landscape of digital transformation effectively.

January 23, 2024

“It was when he tried to talk about ‘the boat’ that his words began to falter and tears welled up in his bright eyes. At first, I thought he meant the husky clipper – the racing shell that they had rowed out onto the Langer See to win the Olympic gold medal. But it wasn’t the boat, or not just the boat, he was talking about. It was the boys in the boat.”

Key Insight: The power of perseverance, unity, and determination in overcoming adversity.

The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown is a non-fiction narrative that delves into the true story of the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team and their quest for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The book primarily focuses on the experiences of Joe Rantz, a young oarsman, set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the rise of Nazi Germany.

January 22, 2024

In a world where technology is the new currency of power, we must be vigilant in ensuring it serves humanity’s best interests rather than becoming a tool for unchecked dominance. The greatest dilemma of the 21st century lies not in the creation of powerful technologies, but in managing their profound impact on society, politics, and individual lives.”


Central Subject Matter:The Coming Wave: Technology, Power, and the Twenty-first Century’s Greatest Dilemma” by Mustafa Suleyman and Michael Bhaskar delves into the profound ways technology is reshaping global power dynamics. The book analyzes the interplay between technological advancements and geopolitical shifts, focusing on how emerging technologies like AI, biotech, and digital platforms are redefining power structures and creating new ethical, social, and political challenges.

Key Insight: The central insight of the book is the urgent need for a deeper understanding and proactive management of the relationship between technology and power. It underscores the dual nature of technology as both a tool for empowerment and a potential source of unprecedented challenges, especially as nations and corporations wield these advancements to gain influence and control.

September 2, 2023

The Age of Prediction” by Igor Tulchinsky and Christopher E Mason delves into the transformative impact of predictive algorithms on various sectors, from genomics to political campaigning. The book identifies three major developments that have revolutionized predictive modeling: the explosion of Big Data, advanced statistical techniques, and the plummeting costs of computing power, exemplified by Nvidia’s V100 chip. While the book celebrates the advancements in fields like genomics, where DNA sequencing has become faster and cheaper, it also raises ethical and philosophical questions. The authors discuss the “privacy hazard,” where the more invasive algorithms become, the more people will conceal their data. They also ponder the implications for free will in a world where everything becomes predictable, asking whether predictive capacity is truly predictive or simply the elimination of alternative futures. The book suggests that while we are entering a new era of predictive capabilities, it also revives age-old questions about human behavior, morality, and free will.

August 26, 2023

The books “A War Made in Russia” by Sergei Medvedev and “Memory Makers: The Politics of the Past in Putin’s Russia” by Jade McGlynn offer penetrating insights into the Russian state and society post-Ukraine invasion. Medvedev criticizes Russia’s imperialistic tendencies and internal decay, while McGlynn focuses on the state-controlled manipulation of history. Both authors agree that Russia’s imperial mindset, inherited from its Tsarist and Soviet past, continues to influence its actions, both domestically and internationally. These works serve as a stark reminder of the dark path that Russia has taken under Putin’s regime, emphasizing the urgent need for change.

August 25, 2023

The Loom of Time: Between Empire and Anarchy, from the Medi­ter­ranean to China  by Robert D. Kaplan explores the shifting geopolitical landscape in the Middle East. Kaplan argues that the absence of world empires to maintain order has led to instability in the region. He discusses the rise of disordered, multipolar dynamics, highlighting shifts driven by outside powers. The author emphasizes the importance of understanding the region’s historical complexities and geopolitical influences. He touches on the concept of empire, suggesting that historical imperial rule sometimes brought stability. However, Kaplan’s proposal for a neo-imperial role for the US is met with skepticism, considering the destructive outcomes of recent interventions. Ultimately, he contends that the Greater Middle East will remain a zone of contention between various global powers, maintaining its political instability.

August 15, 2023

“AI is the most powerful technology that humanity has ever created. It has the potential to solve some of our biggest problems, but it also has the potential to create new ones. We need to be very careful about how we develop and use AI.” – Mustafa Suleyman

In The Coming Wave, Mustafa Suleyman argues that artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionize the world in ways that we can’t even imagine. He discusses the potential benefits of AI, such as its ability to solve complex problems and improve our lives in many ways. However, he also warns of the potential risks of AI, such as its ability to be used for malicious purposes.


August 14, 2023

“Technology is not destiny. It is a powerful tool that can be used for good or for ill. The choice is ours.” – Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson

In Power and Progress, Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson argue that the relationship between technology and prosperity is not always straightforward. They show that technological progress can lead to both greater inequality and greater prosperity, depending on how the benefits of technology are distributed. Acemoglu and Johnson argue that we need to find ways to ensure that the benefits of technology are shared more widely in order to achieve lasting prosperity.

August 13, 2023

“Good jobs are not a luxury. They are essential for a healthy economy and a thriving society.” – Zeynep Ton

In The Case for Good Jobs, Zeynep Ton defines good jobs as those that pay a living wage, offer opportunities for advancement, and provide meaningful work. Ton argues that companies that invest in good jobs are more profitable and more innovative in the long run.

  • JetBlue: JetBlue is an airline that has been praised for its commitment to good jobs. JetBlue employees earn a living wage, have access to affordable health care, and are given opportunities for advancement.
  • Zappos: Zappos is an online retailer that has been praised for its culture of happiness and employee empowerment. Zappos employees are given a lot of autonomy and are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work.

August 12, 2023

Tokens are the building blocks of the new economy. They are the way we will coordinate our activities, share resources, and create value in the future.” – Rachel O’Dwyer

Here are some key takeaways from the book:

  • Tokens are more than just digital currencies; they are also a new form of social coordination.
  • Tokens can be used to create new forms of value and exchange.
  • Tokens have the potential to change the way we think about money.
  • The rise of tokens is a sign of the growing power of platform capitalism.