Books to get for the digital executive left on your holiday shopping list


It’s that time of year again – when many of us begin our mad scramble to find gifts for our friends, family members, bosses and co-workers that can still be delivered before December 25th. If one of people left on your shopping list happens to be a digital executive, well, you’re in luck. I highly recommend each of these books from my personal reading list:

Seeing Digital: A Visual Guide to the Industries, Organizations, and Careers of the 2020s

The only book you’ll ever need to drag a Board kicking and screaming into the digital age. If the imagery does not get you, the prose will.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Once you have read Sapiens and Homo Deus…more intellectual pyrotechnics. Profundity as wordplay…”questions you cannot answer are far better for you than answers you cannot question.”

Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Markets, Speculation and the State

Bill Janeway is cursed with a deep understanding of economic history and investment strategy. I thought his insightful, nuanced analysis of the interdependence of government and markets would be rejected by both Left and Right commentators. I was wrong (as ever).

The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy

Who really creates value? Who just extracts value? Who actually destroys value? Don’t read this if you want to keep simplistically believing that Markets are good, Governments are bad. This book was shortlisted for the 2018 FT & McKinsey Business book of the year, although that award eventually went to Bad Blood.

New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You

In LEF’s words “The revolution will not be centralised.” Distributed technology is devolving economics…and politics. PC now stands for Platform Cooperatives?


And in this age of binge watching on an iPad by the pool, may I also suggest…

West World: Seasons 1 and 2

Aside from first class acting by Thandi Newton, Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris, we are taught the mechanisms of evolution; we witness the birth of consciousness and sentience; we see AI becoming human and humans losing humanity. We experience painful ethical trade-offs and observe the industrialisation of learning. With multiple timelines, complex narratives, flash forwards and flashbacks, this is a dance with enlightenment.

Bill Murray is a senior researcher and advisor for Leading Edge Forum (LEF), an independent, cross-industry think tank of DXC Technology. At LEF he researches and advises on digital strategy, platform businesses and the renaissance of the IT organisation. @billmurray500

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