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5 books to help you understand (and profit from) global trends Guest contributor Peter Vander Auwera - September 26, 2021

World Earth Above The Lunar Surface D6B14E659275375C8302265313Aff541

The time that we could organize our companies without acting too much on global evolutions lies long behind us. Leaders understand more than ever that tackling world challenges not only creates a better context for all of us to live in but also presents fantastic business opportunities. It’s why am thrilled to be one of the curators of nexxworks’ Mission NXT program, designed to help leaders turn global trends into opportunities.

For those who are truly passionate about fostering this type of outside in vision, here are five (zero bullshit) books that fundamentally changed and formed my thinking in the matter over the years.

Benjamin Bratton - The Revenge of the Real (2021)

The pandemic showed us that we are completely unprepared to cope with our current deeply entangled world. According to Bratton, we need a "positive biopolitics" and an AI-based instrumentation of the world. He offers a refreshing way of thinking about sensors which is quite different from the worn out song about the surveillance state.

Ann Pendleton Jullian and John Seely Brown - Design Unbound (2018)

Read this if you want to understand how you can design for emergence in the Never Normal. You’ll need your full attention (it’s not a ‘light reading’ project), but in return you’ll receive two volumes of unique and well researched insights to help you better see what is and what can become. This is truly one of the most important business books I ever read.

Bruno Latour - Down to Earth (2018)

Latour calls for a third way in climate politics which is left nor right: a path between libertarian globalism, and leftist localism. One that is anchored in planet earth. Read this if you want to get to know one of the most important philosophers of the 21st century.

Jenny E. Sabin and Peter Lloyd Jones - LabStudio (2017)

Sabin and Lloyd Jones tackle the concept of the research design laboratory in which funded research and trans-disciplinary participants achieve radical advances in science, design, and applied architectural practice. The book demonstrates new approaches to more traditional design studio and hypothesis-led research that are complementary, iterative, experimental, and reciprocal.

Christopher Alexander - The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth: A Struggle Between Two World-Systems (2012)

This real life story of American architect Christopher Alexander designing and building the Eishin university campus in Japan serves as an analogy for the battle between two fundamentally different ways of shaping our world. One system places emphasis beauty, on subtleties, on finesse, on the structure of adaptation that makes each tiny part fit into the larger context. The other system is concerned with efficiency, with money, power and control, stressing the more gross aspects of size, speed, and profit. This second, "business-as-usual" system is incapable of enabling the emotional, whole-making side of human life, according to Alexander, who then goes on to present a new architecture.

Petervan
Guest contributor Peter Vander Auwera

Petervan is a tinkerer, creator, and sensebreaker, working as a freelancer from his studio in Aalst (BE). He writes...