The Age of the Unthinkable- Book Review

The Age of the Unthinkable is a thought provoking book written by Joshua Cooper Ramos and published by Little, Brown. Anyone who has been surprised by change or the speed of change in recent months in matters economic, political or technology should have a look in at least once of this beautiful, with remarkable case studies  painstaking culled and gathered from all parts of the world and cultures.

The book has an easy to read style, with real life incidents with which we can associate with. It look at creative innovation as a process which is analogous to sand particles piling on to one another, and sudden change being the point at which the sand pile has a flattening avalanche. It learns from examples of how highly centralized systems in Communism collapsed while highly autonomous organizations like Hezbollah flourished as they kept learning and adapting in the face of a bigger enemy. or how creative designers at Nintendo changed the paradigm of video games to invent the Wii Fit to help make video games that help people stay fit, which was un-thought of earlier using inexpensive video chips. And how a little known company in Brazil cut costs by empowering bottoms up cost cutting than top down cost thinking.

The book talks of things like mashup and the speed at which change is unleashed at us. Lastly it offers us lessons in which leaders may help embrace change and thus help themselves or they are changed inevitably by external forces.

Change being a process as sure as death and taxes- it compares and contrast people who change willingly internally to people who are changed externally. An entertaining and informative book- I recommend it (see Amazon link to the right margin) for anyone and everyone who have had a ” Oh, we are  idiots” moment as they were surprised by rising taxes for bailouts, powerful armies that failed to keep them safe or big cash rich corporations that failed to keep them employed.

For the technology or scientifically trained people, this book would be an eye opener.


Author: Ajay Ohri

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