ABD's September Book Recommendations

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Back-to-School, back-to-work, while September marks the beginning of Fall it generally signals a new school year and the last quarterly push before we close the books for the year. Basically, we are three quarters into 2019 and 2020 is around the corner. 

Where are we on our various learning goals? We have curated a list of books and articles that are related to artificial intelligence, technology and their applications in business and life that should ignite the curiosity. Hope this can help you jump start your reading goals. 

Category 1: Get Inspired

Best for: General business or technology audience with a wandering mind and interested in philosophical debates concerning machines and humanity

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence, by Max Tegmark

Purchase: Amazon


It is always refreshing to listen to a true physicist to explore both the universe and the intelligence of minds. Recommended by the former US President Obama to Elon Musk, Life 3.0 is definitely on many people’s must-read list. The book illustrates the scenario when one day machine intelligence surpasses humans or when the machines can learn and redesign its internal systems. The author warns us that we just see the tip of the intelligence iceberg that can either help us flourish or flounder. 

As we understand that you might be short of time, we found a video clip of an interview with Dr. Max Tegmark talking about his vision of Life 3.0. You can fast forward to 30:38 to watch the concise summary of this important debate on human and machine super-intelligence. 


The AI Advantage: How to Put the Artificial Intelligence Revolution to Work, by Thomas H. Davenport

Purchase: Amazon

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In spite of recent hype on AI, “the AI Advantage” reminds us that the biggest benefits of AI might not come from so-called ‘moonshot’ projects but from boring ones. According to Davenport, adding all the small boring initiatives together--taking the ‘low-hanging-fruit’ approach--can make things become very interesting. Experimenting technologies that augment repetitive human tasks can outline the strategies for big corporations to become a cognitive organization. 

Category 2: Get Down to Business

Best for: Business executives who want to grasp some examples of how to leverage analytics in the creation of business value or evolution of business models. These articles are quick guides that one could pick up in time for their next strategy meeting without reading through an entire book.

Collaborative Intelligence: Humans and AI are Joining Forces, by H. James Wilson and Paul R. Daugherty

Article: HBR

If you don’t have time to read the full book “Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI”, you can definitely get a quick overview from this article. Two senior executives at Accenture echo the similar message that the most significant performance improvement comes from the value of collaboration between machines and humans. Training, explaining and sustaining are the identified three areas whereas humans help machines to amplify, interact and embody; all of that allow us to reimagine business with flexibility, speed, and scale.

Category 3: Get into the Details of How

Best for: Inspired data scientists who want to speak the business language and see the end-to-end strategy plan for what they do all day. Or, traditional business audiences who just want to get a bit more advanced on explaining what data and analytics can do in a tangible way

Thinking, Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman

Purchase: Amazon

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 “Thinking, Fast and Slow” is not an analytics or AI centered book but it makes the list because of its in-depth discussions on how our brain functions, providing invaluable insights to data practitioners to better design analytical solutions. This book is published by Nobel laureate,, Daniel Kahneman, summarizing his decades of research on cognitive biases and prospect theory. The author teaches us when we can trust our intuitions and when we can really take advantage of slow thinking. 

Stitch Fix's CEO on Selling Personal Style to the Mass Market, by Katrina Lake

 Article: HBR

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"Stitch Fix's CEO on Selling Personal Style to the Mass Market" illustrates a lively real life business case of building a data ingrained company. Stitch Fix is not a typical Silicon Valley story and in fact, it relies heavily on holding large quantity of inventory in order to own the data from end-to-end. Stitch Fix integrates advanced analytics with personal stylists to create this winning formula: just as the author said in the end "a good person plus a good algorithm is far superior to the best person or the best algorithm alone."

We hope you enjoy this month’s reading recommendations. Please share your comments below or on our social media. We would love to listen to what you are reading as well. 

This blog was written by Michelle Liu, formatted by Julia McKeown.

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