What to read this summer: your Corset Economy holiday Book Club
As we’re heading into our summer holidays we know this is a perfect time to sit back and catch up on some reading, and if you’re feeling like something a bit more enriching than your typical beach read here’s our list of summer reading material. In typical Corset Economy fashion they’re all interesting and thought-provoking subjects, but easy and engaging enough to relax with on your holiday. Let us know what you think!
The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann
We love this book with its two divergent paradigms – the Wizards who believe human ingenuity and innovation solve every problem and the Prophets who try and warn about the challenges the system is facing. We were introduced to the book by one of our clients who interviewed the author (check out his podcast episode here) and were immediately won over. It is the story of two men and the theories they started. Borlaug – the Wizard – is a Nobel-winning scientist who kickstarted the agricultural ‘Green Revolution’, while Vogt – the Prophet – laid the foundations for the modern environmental movement. Both (and their followers) had radically different views of the future of food and what humanity needs in order to feed future generations.
It is wonderfully written story, both captivating to read and easy to devour (a perfect combination for your holiday!). But the reason why it resonates so much for us is that the Wizard and Prophet divide goes much further than food. It affects the debates about climate change, AI and so many other big issues affecting the future. Every time, the two irreconcilable forces blocking meaningful change – one pushing for more innovation and progress, the other for curbing it. If you’re anything like us you’ll start seeing Wizards and Prophets everywhere!
Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership by Joseph Jaworski
Synchronicity is an autobiography, a personal development book, a spiritual vision and a futures handbook all in one – making it a perfect summer read. Jaworski is an amazing man who was a successful lawyer who had played hard and won big. When he got divorced he reassessed every aspect of his life. He was the son of Leon Jaworski, the Watergate Special Prosecutor, and his father’s sounding board through this tumultuous time. This led him to found the American Leadership Forum, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to improve the quality of leadership and civic collaboration in the United States.
We know Jaworski because he headed up the Shell Global Scenarios Programme in the 90s. The scenarios methodology we worked with at Shell was in part the product of his thinking. Jaworski was responsible for initiating the Mont Fleur scenarios, that were in part responsible for the peaceful transition from apartheid in South Africa. He believed that scenarios were not simply a tool to think about using the tool not only to predict and understand the future but also to create it. Jaworski’s story is an amazing and inspiring one and definitely worth a read!
Mindset by Dr Carol S. Dweck
Mindset is a book about our brains and why it is not always the people who start out smartest who end up smartest. Dweck, Psychology Professor at Stanford, identifies two mindsets—fixed and growth. Those with a fixed mindset need to prove that they are smart and talented, which means external validation. When failure strikes they are often unable to deal with it. In contrast, those with a growth mindset develop their talents through learning. They understand their own strengths and weaknesses and want to stretch themselves. When they hit an obstacle, their “special talent for converting life’s setbacks into future successes” enables them to adapt and change. The good news is that the growth mindset can be developed…something we at Corset Economy both believe and foster.
The book delves deeper, explaining how a system that breeds fixed mindset individuals also creates other challenges. For example, in business fixed mindset leaders disempower those around them, operating as a “genius with a thousand helpers”. Growth mindset leaders work collaboratively, looking for the most able people to help them improve themselves and the world around them. There are similar thought-provoking ideas around parenting, education and relationships. Well worth a read.