As the home life extends in January, I started picking up on some new books. Not in any particular order, I would recommend these three this month:
Modern Monopolies: What It Takes to Dominate the 21st Century Economy
This is not another business book. It started with stories like why former tech giants like Nokia and BlackBerry failed in their rival competitions with Apple and missed out on making critical transitions to keep up with the ever-changing market. It’s not that their products are not good enough, it’s the negligence on understanding platform-based business and its networking effects.
When we look into Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Uber, their businesses never stand on a single leg — relying on a set of products to meet demands. Rather, they focus on build networks that connect consumers with producers to facilitate the core transaction where goods and values are exchanged. It’s a refreshing viewpoint as designers may naturally overweigh one product or service as our eyes are dawn on crafts, and neglect a collateral comparison between different types of services, where underlying similarities are the driving force.
Tech ethics is not a new topic. The Social Dilemma released last year invited us to rejoin this wide discussion of persuasive technologies. In a socially distanced reality, we are all socially connected to each other, consuming and fighting against distractions at the same time. It’s an interesting parallax, where success and optimization can be overused to justify unethical means, while ethical experiments thrive to wedge their way in a variety of testing grounds. This book sparks more thinking on alternatives over judgments, speculations over tangibles. As you flip through the last page, this book may leave you with no answer. Or, you see through new eyes.
Nomad: Designing a Home for Escape and Adventure
This last book is an easy read. Lots of pictures. I found it quite inspiring because each nomadic dweller the author interviewed in this book has a unique prompting moment for letting go of their stationary life. Some of them suffered from tough breakups and burnouts, while others intended to seek a simpler existence and prioritize experiences over things. Whether it’s a camper van, a boat, or a tiny home, a curated living space speaks so much to each inch-wide detail. Not to overdress with a staged, photographed glossy layer, preparing for downsizing belongings can be quite a challenge. How is it possible, to live with a fridge that offers almost zero space for ice-cream?
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