May 15, 2022 11:14 am

Break time: ten books for an executive summer

The last two years were a tsunami in every way: we were afraid of the pandemic, afraid of losing our jobs, afraid of getting infected and dying. We change the way of working, the way of sharing time with family, with friends, with colleagues. In this critical time that the context imposed, we had time to reflect on what life we ​​want and what things we do not want to repeat or do again. The proposal for readers for this summer has to do with everything that happened and with the need to deepen and reflect on people and organizations.

The prominent journalist Hugo Alconada Mon, known for his investigations, wrote Pause 2 (Planet, 2021), the continuation of Pause published the previous year. In this book, Alconada Mon faces twenty-five interviews with the greatest global references in the most diverse disciplines. Characters of the stature of Paul Auster, Greta Thunberg, Ferran Adria or Alain Tourain were summoned. Their objective? Learn from them. The premise? May they help us reflect on this uncertain present and glimpse the future that awaits us. According to the author himself, the impact of the pandemic was on everyone, including companies and entrepreneurs. “If something is clear from the interviews that make up Pause 2, is that the pandemic is like a marathon. Both at the level of people and countries, not to mention for companies. This is a period that invites you to meditate very well on the next steps. If some companies -or even entire sectors of the economy- are ‘zombies’, as Jacques Attali puts it, because they are dead, even if they don’t know it, what to do? Innovate? How? That saying that every crisis is an opportunity is a hackneyed cliché… but this pandemic is on a planetary scale.”

Continuing with the reflections on today, there is a book that was recommended by the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates. The Code of Life (Debate, 2021) by Walter Isaacson. There is a prodigious technology that would allow us to cure diseases, defeat viruses and have healthier children. At its head is the recent Nobel Prize in Chemistry Jennifer Doudna. Although a high school teacher warned her that girls could not be scientists, Doudna was instrumental in the most important advance of the last century: the development of Crispr technology, a genetic tool capable of editing DNA and, therefore, transforming the world. This is something that opens up a new world of medical “miracles” – curing diseases; defeat viruses and have healthier children – but also moral issues. For Bill Gates “Crispr is one of the greatest and perhaps most important scientific advances of the last decade”.

For those interested in the local context, the book Capitalism or Poverty (Sudamericana, 2021) by the political leader Miguel Ángel Pichetto and the journalist Carlos Reymundo Roberts, is a dialogue between two referents where under the baton of Roberts, Pichetto is encouraged to describe the backstage of power: corruption, the Kirchners, the Pope, the errors of macrismo and a theme that is recurrent in the country and is deepened in the book: the culture of poor people. ANDhe book is an easy-to-read treatise on power, a history of the tumultuous last decades, in which Pichetto was a leading figure. And, above all, it is a stark x-ray of the country where businessmen have to survive.

Two books allow us to reflect on the new challenges that people face in their private and professional lives. to something else (Granica Essays, 2019) by Sven Birkerts tells us about the modification of our daily lives as a result of the digital revolution, to such an extent that we could no longer think of ourselves without the assistance of a screen, telephone and internet access. The crashes of the network or WhatsApp alter us as we never imagined. The book analyzes how virtual bombardment affects the ability to create and also leaves some recipes to live better. On the other hand, in What would you do if you werent afraid (Debolsillo 2021) Borja Vilaseca offers some tools to reinvent ourselves professionally so as not to become obsolete and out of the market. Overcoming the fear of change, staying in our comfort zone is, for the author, a kind of professional suicide. A book of reflection for those who want to analyze their career development.

The world of organizations and people was disrupted by Covid-19 and some authors highlighted the emotional slide that this meant for everyone. In world post covid (Granica, 2021) Diego Quindimil focuses on the psychology of work after the pandemic and its modes of organization. The author knocks down the followers of the “happycracy”, or dictatorship of happiness in companies, as he himself describes. On the individual psychology side, José Eduardo Abadi and colleagues wrote And the world stopped (Grijalbo, 2021) where the reader can delve into different topics that have affected him in the pandemic, such as uncertainty, anguish, death, loneliness, education and schooling, among others. The reader can read the subject they want without losing the common thread of the book.

Two surprising books that tell us about technology and organizations arrived this year to stay on the market. Steven Johnson con Wonderland (Essays Granica, 2021) takes us on a journey through time and civilizations where the history of fashion, department stores, the spice trade, instruments, typewriters, optical aberration devices and parks of amusements pass through this book that delves into the playful aspects of technology. Ideal for those curious about little-known stories of things we already know.

Eugenio Marchiori, on the other hand, wrote The Market of Salvation (Granica, 2021), a book that focuses on business strategies shared by companies and religions. This work teaches us that ancient organizations, such as the religious ones presented in Marchiori’s work, have influenced, and greatly influence, the history of companies as we know them today: managerial priests, home visits by priests or cosmetics saleswomen. , lay outs of churches and supermarkets. Everything is intermingled in a work overflowing with parallels and similarities. Marchiori believes that the book “is written with people in mind who want to understand the strategies and devices used by successful organizations to spread their culture among their members and among their current and potential customers. It scratches the surface to understand, in a practical way, what it is that disposes the spirit of people to be “evangelized”, techniques that religions have known very well for thousands of years”.

For the end there is a book that is not about organizations or managers but that any manager should read. the dark lady (Plaza & Janés, 2021) by the journalist Cristina Pérez is the editorial surprise of the year. It is not just a novel, it is a story of the odyssey of a woman Aemilia Bassano Lanyer in Elizabethan times in contemporary England to whom Shakespeare would leave sonnets mentioning her as the dark lady. The book is not only captivating as a novel, but in addition to the historical recreation that Cristina Pérez makes as a scholar on the subject, it is the backdrop to talk about how a woman corseted by the limits of the English Renaissance, managed to be ahead of her time as a pioneer of the modern and free woman. A book that, due to its theme, is relevant to the role of women in organizations today.

“Aemilia Bassano Lanyer is ahead of her time. As a woman, she published the first book by a professional author in English literature, neither more nor less than in the golden age of that language. She must overcome enormous difficulties for this and break paradigms while making her decisions. In that book she consigns two concepts that she asks to be valued in a woman: virtue and merit in parity with men and in freedom of men. Before reaching that, Aemilia goes through a life with enormous adversities that she solves and accepts with pragmatism and standing up again and again. His support in life is the training he has received and it is with that training that he makes his way in the midst of prejudice. He is also free in his emotional life and faces the pain that comes with it. Otherwise, perhaps I would not have known love, which at that time was neither free nor accepted as we know it”, explains the author.

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