Books This Weekend: Alternate thinking, corporate crime, learning to cope


New Delhi–Learn from a powerful rejoinder to corporate group thinking and an indispensable resource for leaders and innovators who want to stand out from the pack; flick through an interesting story about an e-retailer taking an unprecedented gamble; get insights on living without the sadness of depression, the fear of anxiety or the pain of fractured relationships.

The IANS bookshelf has varied fare for this weekend.

1. Book: Sensemaking; Author: Christian Madsbjerg; Publisher: Little, Brown; Pages: 216; Price: Rs 599

Based on his work at some of the world’s largest companies, including Ford, Adidas, and Chanel, Christian Madsbjerg’s “Sensemaking” is a provocative stand against the tyranny of big data and scientism, and an urgent, overdue defense of human intelligence.

Humans have become subservient to algorithms. Every day brings a new Moneyball fix — a math whiz who will crack open an industry with clean fact-based analysis rather than human intuition and experience. As a result, we have stopped thinking. Machines do it for us.

Madsbjerg argues that our fixation with data often masks stunning deficiencies, and the risks for humankind are enormous. Blind devotion to number crunching imperils our businesses, our educations, our governments, and our life savings. Too many companies have lost touch with the humanity of their customers, while marginalizing workers with liberal arts-based skills. Contrary to popular thinking, Madsbjerg shows how many of today’s biggest success stories stem not from “quant” thinking but from deep, nuanced engagement with culture, language, and history. He calls his method sensemaking.

In this landmark book, Madsbjerg lays out five principles for how business leaders, entrepreneurs, and individuals can use it to solve their thorniest problems. He profiles companies using sensemaking to connect with new customers, and takes readers inside the work process of sensemaking “connoisseurs” like investor George Soros, architect Bjarke Ingels, and others.

Both practical and philosophical, “Sensemaking” is a powerful rejoinder to corporate groupthink and an indispensable resource for leaders and innovators who want to stand out from the pack.

2. Book: Saboteur; Author: RV Raman; Publisher: Hachette; Pages: 325; Price: Rs 399

MyMagicHat, a high-value, supercharged Bengaluru based e-retailer is about to take an unprecedented gamble that will forever change the country’s e-commerce market. But, suddenly, things start to go awry just as the company unexpectedly runs out of cash. To make matters worse, a massive data theft follows, causing panic among investors.

Is someone trying to kill the company?

When Inspector Dhruvi Kishore is brought in to investigate the incidents, she finds that in the dog-eat-dog world of e-retailing, crime, too, is driven by technology. Hidden in mountains of data and unverified claims lie clues that lead her to unearth a massive fraud one that justifies anything. Even murder.

3. Book: Healing Room; Editor: Reena Nath; Publisher: Harper Element; Pages: ; Price: Rs

Problems happen to all of us at some time or another. It can happen to people who are strong, capable, successful and normal. Emotional difficulties can cause pain that affect rational thoughts and decision-making, leading to conflicts in relationships and in the capacity to work and enjoy life. But while pain might be inevitable, suffering need not be. This book is about hope, the hope that we can live without the sadness of depression, the fear of anxiety, the pain of fractured relationships.

Psychotherapy can heal these and other challenging situations that can wreck a person’s life. But how does one find a psychotherapist? What does a therapist do? And, very importantly, what type of psychotherapy should one choose that best suits one’s needs? “The Healing Room” is a collection of essays put together by noted psychotherapist and systemic family therapist Reena Nath that sets out to act as a bridge between the person seeking help and professionals from various branches of psychotherapy.

Nine eminent practitioners share their experiences and insights into their fields of expertise.


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