Five reading tips, directly from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Alternative worlds, new perspectives: paper or digital, reading is a great way to open up new horizons while remaining seated in your living room . In addition to the well-known Bill Gates, who had proposed some readings here for the summer 2021, the CEO of Microsoft must also think so Satya Nadella, who entrusted her reading advice to the pages of Fast Company .

A short list but full of interesting ideas for those looking for a new volume to venture into, even if only for try to understand which readings stimulate the curiosity and therefore the vision of a person who works at very high levels in the field of innovation; Nadella had already expressed herself in the past on the coexistence of AI and on the need to prevent a future for “1984”. The topics are varied, and to some extent have helped shape his leadership style at Microsoft. Here they are:

1. PHILOSOPHER OF THE HEART: THE RESTLESS LIFE OF SOREN KIERKEGAARD ​​by Clare Carlisle

Selected as Book of the Year in the literary supplement of the Times, is a biography that tries to remove the figure of Soren Kierkegaard from the strictly scholastic vision and manuals for show the relevance of the theories applied to contemporary life.

The famous Danish philosopher, celebrated as the father of existentialism , was described by his contemporaries as a “philosopher of the heart”: for about a decade in the 1840s and 1950s he wrote analyzing love and suffering, the courage and anxiety, desire and religious challenge, forging a new philosophical style rooted in the inner drama of the human being.

His restless creativity was stimulated by his own failures : his relationship with the young woman he promised to marry, then left to devote himself to writing, haunted him throughout his life. Though haunted by the pressures of celebrity, he deliberately lived in a crowd in Copenhagen, where he died at 42 years without having stopped investigating the question of existence: living as a human being in the world.

2. UTOPIA OR OBLIVION: THE PROSPECTS FOR HUMANITY by Buckminster Fuller

Reprint of the original edition of 1969, the book is a provocative blueprint of the future, a complete volume consisting of essays following the lectures that Fuller gave around the world in the 1960s.

Fuller, who was an inventor, architect, designer, philosopher , US writer and television host argues that humanity, for the first time in history, has the opportunity to create a world where its needs are met to the 100%. As the author himself says: “This is what man tends to call utopia. It is a rather small world but not suitable for describing the extraordinary new freedom of man in his new relationship with the universe. Its opposite is oblivion “.

3. THE ALIGNMENT PROBLEM: MACHINE LEARNING AND HUMAN VALUES by Brian Christian

The alignment problem referred to in the title is that which concerns the distance between our expectations and the actions of automatic learning systems , with an eye for the potential ethical and existential risks associated with this issue. This is the fulcrum of Brian Christian’s story, where reality is governed by automatic learning systems that turn out to be fallacious.

Here then is that algorithms decide bail and freedom supervised and appear to rate black and white defendants differently. It can no longer be assumed that the mortgage application, or even medical tests, will be seen by human eyes. In a blend of history and field reporting, Christian traces the explosive growth in the field of machine learning and examines its current frontier.

The problem of alignment offers a reckoning with humanity’s prejudices and blind spots, unspoken assumptions and often contradictory goals. An interdisciplinary work that examines not only technology but also the culture that governs it.

4. THE DIFFERENCE: HOW THE POWER OF DIVERSITY CREATES BETTER GROUPS, FIRMS, SCHOOLS AND SOCIETIES by Scott E. Page

A book which talks about how we think as a group and how collective wisdom exceeds the sum of the parts . Why can teams of people find better solutions than brilliant people working alone? And why are the best group decisions and forecasts those that draw on the same qualities that make each of us unique? According to Scott Page the answers lie in diversity: not aesthetic, but of inner personal resources.

According to The Difference Progress and innovation may depend more on the outcome of a brainstorming of a group of people than on lone thinkers with huge IQs. Going beyond politics, explains why difference beats homogeneity , whether we are talking about citizens in a democracy that of scientists in the laboratory.

Examines practical ways to apply the logic of diversity to a range of problems offering concrete examples, from the redesign of the Chicago subway to the truth about where we store ketchup. In short: how to exploit the potential of diversity, how to understand and avoid its traps and how to benefit everyone.

5. THE POWER OF CREATIVE DESTRUCTION by Philippe Aghion, Celine Antonin and Simon Bunel

By one of the world’s leading economists and his co-authors, an analysis of what drives economic growth and a blueprint for prosperity under capitalism . Crises unfold, inequality is on the rise, growth is stagnant, the environment is suffering and the COVID pandemic – 19 has exposed the cracks in the system.

Faced with proposals for radical change, including the overthrow of capitalism, the authors argue that the answer is not revolution , but the creation of a better capitalism that harnesses the power of creative destruction to innovate.


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