Date posted: 28/01/2020 8 min read

Ready for a revolution

Technology is reshaping the world, but are you ready for what’s ahead? Rethink your approach with these CA Library resources.

In Brief

  • In Total Rethink, David McCourt says to get the future we want, we should imagine already being there, and then look back to find the route
  • Other titles examine cyber risk and how to spot the signs of a failing company.
  • All CA library resources are free for CA ANZ members to borrow, excluding the costs of returning.

Reviews Alexandra Johnson

Total Rethink

Total Rethink

By David McCourt
(John Wiley & Sons)

Plastic seas, growing wealth inequality and political mayhem – we’re not doing very well are we? In Total Rethink, telco pioneer and investor David McCourt offers a pathway out of the mess.

If we think creatively, he says, we can bring the benefits of revolution to everyone, without bloodshed or the collapse of modern infrastructure.

But, he adds, people must avoid falling prey to fraudulent promises by politicians and business leaders who really just want to keep things the way they are. There’s no point changing the status quo unless we have something radically better to replace it with.

So what is McCourt’s remedy?

He says that on both a personal and societal level, we need to visualise the future we want, imagine already being there, and then look back to find the route. Being cautious may keep your career or business afloat, for example, but little else. Sticking to education norms and making young people conform is a waste of talent, he argues. The conformists have had their time in the sun and it no longer works.

McCourt covers a lot of ground, from transforming education to blowing up business models. Yet while he urges radical change, he is no Robin Hood. He believes the way to radically lift the living standards and future prospects of the world’s have-nots is not by taking from the haves, but by boosting opportunities and control in every area of everyone’s lives.

Part biography, part business blueprint, McCourt’s Total Rethink offers interesting ideas on preparing for the dramatic changes to come. This is not the time for cautious, incremental change, insists McCourt, but the moment for some revolutionary thinking.

Duty of Care

Duty of Care

By Alizabeth Calder
(John Wiley & Sons)

Cyber risk is a hot topic but a whopping 98% of organisations don’t believe their cybersecurity is up to scratch and 57% of companies don’t believe they would even detect a sophisticated cyber attack.

Seasoned technology strategist Alizabeth Calder believes some directors are asleep at the wheel, and that their ignorance could lead to billions of dollars in lost income. Her book, Duty of Care, offers those in governance some valuable lessons to help them make the right decisions.

Calder outlines basic tech vocabulary so directors can hold their own and ask the right questions. She looks at social, mobile, data and cloud technologies and gives board members the information and director-appropriate insight they need to understand the risks.

Duty of Care also has case studies, from Burberry to Volkswagen, to illustrate where a company board has either really messed up a decision or got it right.

Nicely set out to ensure readers grasp key takeaways, Duty of Care is a helpful resource to any directors who – when being honest with themselves – are all at sea in the slippery world of technology

The Visual MBA

The Visual MBA

By Jason Barron
(Penguin Books)

Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on an MBA, could you just read this book? It’s an appealing thought.

When digital product strategist John Barron started his MBA at Brigham Young University, he decided that instead of scratching down screeds of forgettable notes, he’d capture the main points through illustrations and key words, or ‘sketchnotes’.

What surprised him was the amount of interest his sketchnotes generated from his classmates.

Neuroscience has confirmed the power of images to improve comprehension and increase retention and retrieval. And researchers have found that 60% of people are visual learners and that our brains process illustrations 60,000 times faster than text.

Barron distilled his sketchnotes and what he’d learned in 516 hours of MBA lectures into The Visual MBA. His simplified concepts – complete with handy acronyms, flow charts, colour illustrations and diagrams – cover everything from decision-making techniques and strategic thinking to finance, operations and ethics.

The Visual MBA could be just as useful for seasoned hands as those starting out in business. It’s fun, succinct, and Barron’s sketchnotes go deeper than you might imagine. Anyone wanting to boost their understanding of business practices, or just looking for a little inspiration, will glean some valuable insights.

Also recommended this month

The Signs Were There

The Signs Were There

By Tim Steer
(Profile Books)

When a company is heading for a fall, the red flags are waving – if you know where to look. Tim Steer presents more than 20 forensic examinations of share price collapses to unpack how companies try to disguise their impending fate from investors.

Happy Money

Happy Money

By Ken Honda
(Penguin Random House)

Japan’s money guru Ken Honda examines the energy of money and how our attitude towards it affects whether we have it or not. He looks at the myth of scarcity, the power of gratitude, and how to have an abundant relationship with money.

The Future of Finance

The Future of Finance

By Henri Arslanian and Fabrice Fischer
(Palgrave Macmillan)

Finance is firmly in the firing line for disruption from technology. This e-book demystifies fintech, AI and cryptocurrencies, and offers insights into how these technologies will affect the finance industry.

Networking for People Who Hate Networking

Networking for People Who Hate Networking

By Devora Zack
(Berrett-Koehler Publishers)

Devora Zack’s field guide for introverts, the overwhelmed and underconnected is a lighthearted yet practical manual. It takes the sting out of networking by crushing myths and offering strategies to help you work to your strengths.


The Human Skills We Need In An Unpredictable World
TED Talks
(Run time: 16 mins)

Writer, entrepreneur and former CEO Margaret Heffernan offers an inspirational talk on why it’s our messy human skills, not technology, that will solve the problems we face in government, business and society.


Transforming for Humanity: How to put a company to the service of humanity
(Run time: 32 mins)

Strategy&’s David Lancefield talks with former Unilever CEO Paul Polman, who changed Unilever for the good of society by adopting a longer-term strategy with sustainability at its heart.

Available from the CA Library

All resources featured are available for members based in Australia and New Zealand to borrow from the Chartered Accountants ANZ Library. Electronic resources are available for all members to download from the library catalogue.

All library services, excluding the cost of returning books, are free to members. The CA Library also offers tools, templates and resources tailored to both public practitioners and members in the corporate sector.

Members can also use the CA Library to access EBSCO, an online journal database that includes accounting, business and management journals such as Harvard Business Review and Strategic Finance, and newspapers such as The Australian Financial Review.


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