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Three Insightful Books for Your Summer Reading List

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If you still have room on your summer reading list, here are three books that will familiarize you with concepts and tools that I think you might find very useful in both your personal and professional lives.

Judging from both my experience and that of colleagues at PIMCO, each of these books is highly insightful, accessible and powerful. Together they provide theoretical and practical approaches to deal with today's fluid and complex world.

Unconscious bias: Even "good people" can fall hostage to unconscious bias. Indeed, there are sound scientific reasons for this. As a result, we end up with blind spots that undermine our ability to make consistently good decisions, especially in a rapidly changing world.

In a brilliant book called Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald provide valuable insights about the causes and consequences of unconscious biases. They also provide us with a framework to identify costly blind spots, and with tools to minimize their risks and negative influences.

Cognitive diversity: We are all familiar with inclusion and diversity efforts based on gender, culture, race, sexual orientation, etc. But did you know that identity diversity maps in an important way to cognitive diversity; and that such cognitive diversity is essential for good decision making, especially in a changing world?

Scott Page provides a convincing discussion of the issue in The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies. Combining solid theory with practical and accessible examples, the book provides us with a thorough understanding of what it takes to maximize the probability of sustainably sound group decision making.

Active inertia: The importance of these two concepts are highlighted by the third: Repeated evidence that companies, governments and individuals can easily fall into the trap of simply doing more of the same rather than adapt to the world's changing circumstances. Indeed, this is one of the main reasons why some highly successful and accomplished entities/individuals have failed to maintain their track record.

In a powerful little book called The Upside of Turbulence: Seizing Opportunity in an Uncertain World, Don Sull takes us through the behavioral implications of paradigm changes. He provides us with insights to minimize the trap of active inertia and, thus, increase the probability of benefiting from structural shifts rather than falling victim to them.

I believe that you will find each of these three books instructive and relevant. Together they offer a set of conceptual approaches and practical tools that are applicable to a world that is full of rapid technological change, re-aligning economic relationships and changing geo-political interactions -- that is to say, today's global reality.

Have a wonderful summer.