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“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.” Charlie Munger

When I was in college (1984) my father gave me Alvin Toffler’s “The Third Wave” to read. It explained the change in economic history that was occurring at the time. It explained how the economy was evolving from farming to industrialization to an economy based on information. The lesson, that has stayed with me, is progress moves on and one must adapt.

Many, including myself, believe that we are in a new age of robots/artificial intelligence. We can fight and lose or adapt.

There are a couple books I have recently read, in fact I have read them both two times. They do a great job of explaining where are economy and jobs are heading and how to adapt. They are highlighted below.

This is the time for graduates to start cultivating a habit of reading, for growth,  30 minutes a day. It will set them apart. That is why I am recommending the following books for high school and college graduates.


Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age

There may be parts of the book that involve working in a company that the graduate may not relate to. But this is a must read in my opinion. It is my 2017′ “The Third Wave.”

Below is from the description on Amazon:

We are on the leading edge of a Smart Machine Age led by artificial intelligence that will be as transformative as the Industrial Revolution was for our ancestors. Smart machines will take over millions of jobs, and not just factory work. White-collar jobs, including the professions, also will be automated. Not only can smart machines store more data and analyze it faster than any mere human, say Edward Hess and Katherine Ludwig, but also they’re free of the emotional, psychological, and cultural baggage that so often mars human thinking.

So when it comes to smart machines, we can’t beat ’em and we can’t join ’em. To win, we have to play a different game. Hess and Ludwig offer us that game plan. The key is to change our definition of what it means to be smart. We need to excel at critical, creative, and innovative thinking and emotionally engaging with others—things machines can’t do well. Hess and Ludwig call it being NewSmart. In this extraordinarily timely book, they offer detailed guidance for developing five NewSmart attitudes and four critical behaviors that will help us adapt to the new reality.

The crucial mindset underlying NewSmart is humility—not self-effacement but an accurate self-appraisal: acknowledging you can’t have all the answers, remaining open to new ideas, and committing yourself to lifelong learning. Drawing on extensive multidisciplinary research, Hess and Ludwig emphasize that the key to success in this new era is not to be more like the robots but to build on the best of what makes us human and to excel at doing what technology can’t do well.


Rise of the Robots

In Rise of the Robots, Ford details what machine intelligence and robotics can accomplish, and implores employers, scholars, and policy makers alike to face the implications. The past solutions to technological disruption, especially more training and education, aren’t going to work, and we must decide, now, whether the future will see broad-based prosperity or catastrophic levels of inequality and economic insecurity. Rise of the Robots is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what accelerating technology means for their own economic prospects—not to mention those of their children—as well as for society as a whole.

Here are a couple non- robot related recommendations:


Pebbles of Perception

Charlie Munger’s book “Poor Charlie’s Almanac” was the inspiration for this book.  “Pebbles” is a series of short chapters that give introductions to some valuable lessons . In fact,  I gave my millennial children this book past Christmas.

Here is a the table of contents:

PART I CURIOSITY 17 Chapter One: Is There a Better Question? 19 Chapter Two: Lifelong Learning 25 Chapter Three: Listening 33 Chapter Four: Incentives 39 Chapter Five: Consider the Context 45 PART II CHARACTER 51 Chapter Six: Start by Considering the End and the Opposite 53 Chapter Seven: Emotional Intelligence 59 Chapter Eight: Fear 67 Chapter Nine: Know Yourself, Be Yourself, Mind Yourself 75 Chapter Ten: Be Kind to Your Parents 83 Chapter Eleven: Sales, Negotiation and Influence 87 Chapter Twelve: Adversity 99 Chapter Thirteen: Be


Boys in the Boat

I can’t say enough about this book.

—the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant.

We think we have it tough. The main character in this true story was abandoned at age 15 by his dad and step mom and worked his way through college by dangling from ropes with a jack hammer and chipping away at stone to build the Grand Coulee Dam.

This will give any graduate perspective on how good they have it and what real grit is!