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Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age
Edward D. Hess and Katherine Ludwig

Retail Price: $27.95
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Format: Hardcover, 224pp.
ISBN: 9781626568754
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Pub. Date: January 16, 2017

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

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.


“I loved this book. Drawing from research on human cognition, the authors explain why all of us are ill-equipped to cope with the coming smart machine age. And they offer a path forward in the form of five NewSmart principles, which are profound and powerful. This is a book about new thinking—the kind of generous, curious thinking that will allow us to thrive in a world in which machines do so many things better than we ever will.”
—Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School, and coauthor of Building the Future

“This book has a very important message: new forms of relationships and a more humane attitude toward each other will become essential ingredients of a new way of being. Humility, more personal relationships, and collaboration will no longer be options but the key to health, productivity, and a sense of well being.”
—Edgar H. Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of Helping, Humble Inquiry, and Humble Consulting

“Machines will soon be smarter than we are and do most of our jobs. Hess and Ludwig provide valuable insights into the roles that humans will play and how we can adapt to the new realities. The values they prescribe are so uplifting for humanity that I wonder why we can't start now; why do the machines need to evolve before we do?”
—Vivek Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow and Professor, Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley

“Humility Is the New Smart challenges everything we think we know about a ‘good' education. Today, in the Smart Machine Age, it's no longer about how much you know but how you know—the questions you ask—and how you interact with others. A fascinating and challenging book for all educators.”
—Tony Wagner, author of The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators

“Fascinating and perceptive, Humility Is the New Smart is an excellent book for leaders and everyone who wants to remain employed in the Smart Machine Age.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World

“The forces of the Smart Machine Age are already upon us, and like time and tide they cannot be held back. Hess and Ludwig are out front with this insightful, practical, and compelling guide to navigating, transforming, and leading organizations for this new age in which the nature of work and the workforce will be dramatically different.”
—Admiral Gary Roughead, US Navy (Retired), former Chief of Naval Operations

“As a venture capitalist, I have a front-row seat to the way advances in robotics, sensors, and artificial intelligence are changing the way we work—and it's happening faster than you think. Once again, Ed Hess is out front in his research—this time on the skills and behaviors that will determine whether people and organizations succeed or fail as they adapt to the new reality of working side by side with machines. From CEOs to students, thus is a must-read.”
—Frank H. Foster, Managing Director, Frontier Venture Capital

“This book was a revelation to me. Who knew that the secret to survival in this intimidating new world of machine intelligence was for us to become more human? In both our business and our private lives, we can choose fear and ego and retreat into ourselves in the face of these challenges, or we can embrace collaboration and positivity instead. Hess and Ludwig show us how to make the life-affirming choice.”
—Jeanne Liedtka, coauthor of Designing for Growth and Solving Problems with Design Thinking

“An insightful, practical, enriching book for individuals and organizational leaders. NewSmart can be a key to unlocking immense organizational value, one human interaction at a time.”
—Sean Ryan, Senior Vice President, McGraw-Hill Education

“This book makes the compelling case that true competitive advantage requires human excellence. If you want to be an agile, adaptive, and enabling leader, this book is a must-read.”
—Marvin Riley, President, Fairbanks Morse Engine

“Original and counterintuitive, Humility Is the New Smart is essential reading for all who would prepare for the great transformation of employment and work that lies ahead.”
—Rashmi Prasad, Dean, College of Business and Public Policy, University of Alaska Anchorage

“This compelling book is about how we can succeed in the age of AI—by excelling at what differentiates us as humans. Leaders will have to be good at ‘not knowing,' quieting their ego and mastering their fears of looking bad and making mistakes. Instead of managing others, leaders will have to manage themselves to enable others.”
—Peter Rodriguez, Dean, Jones Graduate School of Business, Rice University

“Hess and Ludwig offer revolutionary approaches to self-management along with innovative and insightful leadership platforms for the Smart Machine Age. A powerful book!”
—Jeanette K. Winters, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer, Igloo Products Corporation

“How must our notions about individual and organizational excellence adapt to the Smart Machine Age? Hess and Ludwig offer insights that are perceptive, provocative, and powerful! Their ideas can help your organization and you adapt to the coming transformations spurred by big data, deep learning, artificial intelligence, and automation.”
—Robert F. Bruner, University Professor, University of Virginia

“Humility Is the New Smart is a must-read for business and political leaders, parents, teachers, and everyone interested in understanding the challenges and opportunities of the coming Smart Machine Age. The explanation of humility—its philosophical meaning and application to leadership—is the best I've ever read.”
—Fernando Mercé, President, Latin America and Caribbean, Nestlé Purina

“Hess and Ludwig crush it in Humility Is the New Smart. They introduce the compelling concept of NewSmart, which will help learners successfully navigate the coming Smart Machine Age. They want our young people to be adaptive lifelong learners, and embracing NewSmart is a path to learning for the future, not our past.”
—Dr. Pamela R. Moran, Superintendent, Albemarle County Public Schools, Virginia

“This fascinating examination of what it will take to thrive in the Smart Machine Age offers a compelling and profoundly humane manual on how to achieve our highest expressions of excellence, in business and in all our interactions.”
—Ming-Jer Chen, former President, Academy of Management, and Professor, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia

“Humility Is the New Smart provides a provocative view of the kinds of individual skills necessary to succeed in the future. Through their exhaustive interdisciplinary research, the authors give us practical advice on how we can best prepare ourselves to excel in the Smart Machine Age."
—Wally Walker, founder of Hana Road Capital and former CEO, Seattle Supersonics

“As a father and the leader of a school responsible for preparing students for their future, I embraced the authors' premise that we need to change our mindsets, skills, and behaviors for a more dynamic technology-based world. They provide compelling research and very practical tools to help us on our journey. Listen well—our futures and our children's futures depend on it.”
—G. Thomas Battle, Jr., Headmaster, Virginia Episcopal School

“I was incredibly impressed with how this book blends the importance of self-management and self-awareness with the reality of the new-age technology that will shape the way business is done in the future.”
—Sam Presti, General Manager, Oklahoma City Thunder

“Outstanding book with rock-solid arguments about why doing a ‘good job' will no longer be good enough in a smart machine world and how NewSmart beliefs and behaviors can help humankind master this challenge.”
—Kurt D. Bettenhausen, Chair, Digital Transformation Group, VDI, Germany

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About the Authors

Edward D. Hess is a professor of business administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. He is a thought leader and prolific author whose work has been featured in over 350 global media outlets. Katherine Ludwig, a former lawyer, is a research, editing, and publishing associate at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

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