The best books introduce you to unexpected new ideas that can impact the choices you make in life and work. I’ve been actively seeking out these types of reads, particularly ones involving the future of business and innovation. In the P.E. world, where tremendous investment is being put into new ideas and businesses across sectors, understanding the state of the country, the future of tech and artificial intelligence, plus the shift in politics, economics and mindset, will be beneficial to any investor. Here are three of the best books for 2022 that should be on your current reading/listening list.
AI 2041 by Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan
How will artificial intelligence change our lives? The authors rely on short stories to show different ways artificial intelligence could radically transform and upend our world within 20 years. The authors believe that AI will generate new and unbelievable wealth, transform medicine and revolutionize education among other major impacts. They forecast that AI will change the social order and structure of our society.
The authors Kai-Fu Lee, the former President of Google China and novelist Chen Qiufan worked together at Google. They re-united to co-author the book and stories are based on realistic assumptions of how technology will advance.
The stories incorporate current technologies like fintech and cover topics like how we learn, live in cities, entertain ourselves, travel and evolve as humans. Some are cautionary tales, and others are hopeful but they all are entertaining.
The book is a fascinating read for anyone, but for current and aspirational PE backed executives and firms investing in new companies in healthcare, technology, education and commerce – the insights in this book will be particularly riveting.
Wildland: The Making of America’s Fury by Evan Osnos
Author Evan Osnos is a staff writer at The New Yorker and in his book Wildland, he suggests we are living in a time when people are on edge. The book’s title comes from the term used by firemen when the woods are about to be set off in a terrible fire – Osnos believes this is an apt analogy for current times. Osnos combines his experience as a foreign correspondent with his Pulitzer-Prize-winning investigative reporter’s approach to writing.
The idea for the book came after a decade abroad when Osnos returned to a country that felt like it had undergone a seismic shift. The fundamental ideals that he felt the country was built on – rule of law, truth, and the right of equal opportunity for all – were all in peril. To better understand what is happening in the country, he went to three towns in the U.S that he formerly lived in – Greenwich, CT; Clarksburg, WV; and Chicago, IL. From the politically rightward movement of the top 1% in Greenwich, to the social infrastructure collapse in the coal mining town of Clarksburg, to gun violence in Chicago, Osnos examines how the issues facing each area capture the nation as a whole.
For those hoping to lift up and help solve some of these issues, Osnos books should be required reading. For those doing business around the country, it provides invaluable insight into the current state of the country.
by George Packer
America is more polarized than it has ever been. To understand the root of our division, Packer identifies four sectors of American society. He dives into these four perspectives and each group adopted those ideologies.
Interestingly, by examining American divisions, Packer looks for – and finds – powerful commonalities. He sees those uncovered common beliefs as offering hope for the future of the country. Packer is also the author of The Unwinding, as well as his many articles for the Atlantic.
Anything that touches on politics can be a lighting rod for an argument but the book tries to showcase different perspectives and that can drive a better collective understanding of our country. As we have been able to prove mathematically, diverse perspectives drive better results and I found Packer’s perspective enlightening.
For those who want to better understand the current state of the nation and the options for the future, the book provides invaluable insight. To maximize our professional success, we should be looking for a more complete understanding of how our businesses affect others and those from different backgrounds, locations, upbring etc. This book offers one way to deepen this understanding.