Weekend Leadership Reading: 3/22/19

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Weekends are time when things slow down a little. Your weekend shouldn’t be two more regular work days. That’s a sure road to burnout. Take time to refresh yourself. Take time for something different. Take time for some of that reading you can’t find time for during the week.

Here are choice articles on hot leadership topics culled from the business schools, the business press and major consulting firms. This week there are articles look back at some history with lessons for business today.

From Ben Thompson: The End of Windows

“The story of Windows’ decline is relatively straightforward and a classic case of disruption:”

From Len Lewis: Rise of the Machines

“In 350 BC, a Greek mathematician named Archytas created the first robot, a wooden dove that flew 650 feet. In 1495, Leonardo Da Vinci is said to have built an armored robot with inner workings. In 1966, The Stanford Research Institute developed Shakey, which looked something like a stripped-down ATM and the first robot to incorporate logic and reasoning-a precursor to AI.”

From Bill Gates: What the plow and lab-grown meat tell us about innovation

“I was honored when MIT Technology Review invited me to be the first guest curator of its 10 Breakthrough Technologies. Narrowing down the list was difficult. I wanted to choose things that will not only create headlines in 2019 but captured this moment in technological history—which got me thinking how innovation has evolved over time.

My mind went to—of all things—the plow. The plow is an excellent embodiment of the history of innovation. Humans have been using them since 4000 BCE when Mesopotamian farmers used sharpened sticks to aerate soil. We’ve been slowly tinkering with and improving them ever since, and today’s plows are technological marvels.”

From Melissa Thomasson: Why Do Employers Provide Health Care in the First Place?

“In 2017, Americans spent $3.5 trillion on health care — a level nearly equal to the economic output of Germany, and twice as much as other wealthy countries spend per person, on average. Not only is this a problem for the people seeking care; it’s also a problem for the companies they work for. Currently, about half of Americans are insured through an employer, and in recent years companies have borne the financial brunt of rising costs. Frustrated, many employers have shifted the burden to workers, with average annual deductibles rising by more than 50% since 2013.”

From Harvard Business School Working Knowledge: The Delicious History of Hershey Chocolate

“Have you ever wondered how Hershey chocolate came to be so popular? Professor Nancy Koehn discusses the life and vision of Milton Hershey, the entrepreneur and philanthropist behind the Hershey chocolate bar, the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the Milton Hershey School.”

From James Allen, James Root and Andrew Schwedel: 3,000 Years of Business History in Two Minutes

“The idea of what a business is has evolved. Understanding this history can help businesses adapt in the coming era.”

Book Suggestions

The Story of American Business: From the Pages of the New York Times

From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives by Jeffrey E. Garten

The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King by Rich Cohen

Brand New: How Entrepreneurs Earned Consumers’ Trust from Wedgwood to Dell by Nancy F. Koehn

The Company: A Short History of a Revolutionary Idea by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge

Every week I share some recommendations of business books that I think are worth a look. Follow this link to the most recent list.

Every Monday, I do a blog post about business reading and business books. Follow this link to the most recent post.

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