Engaging the Future Faster:
If You Have a Passion for What You Don’t Know, Start Here

Blockchain and new cloud platform nodes are revolutionizing interactions and transactions. Entrepreneurs and developers of today’s technologies are rapidly and drastically disrupting industries, society, and daily life.

Today’s corporate entrepreneurs and entrepreneur/developers’ greatest challenges include defining competitive strategies, driving innovations, and pivoting rapidly to market.

Today, my clients’ businesses are either disrupting markets or initiating a stealth state of preparedness for disruptive competition.

How do we challenge ourselves to discover what we don’t know? How do we identify the right tools to expand our knowledge, innovate, and create new value today? How do we prepare clients for the steep learning curve to survive the future faster? Some answers include taking a power-packed Fintech course at MIT for enlightenment about future commerce and innovation, reading voraciously, and valuing collaborations above all. My personal pursuit of an elastic mind includes all of the above.

I will write further about my MIT Fintech–Future Commerce Capstone Project, and how our team’s business plan for a world class Fintech Cloud Platform and marketing innovation soared. Moreover, later look for my creative exploration of the elastic mind.

For starters, I strongly recommended 7-books from my most favorite authors today:

MARY OLSON’S 7-BEST BOOKS FOR ENGAGING THE FUTURE FASTER


ValueWeb: How Fintech Firms are Using Bitcoin Blockchain and Mobile Technologies to Create the Internet of Value

My friend and brilliant colleague, Mini Suri initially suggested Chris Skinner’s book to me. ValueWeb is one of the most important business books I have ever read. Skinner states, “The next generation Internet, the Internet of Things, cannot work without an Internet of Value. The Internet of Value ― or ValueWeb, for short ― allows machines to trade with machines and people with people, anywhere on this planet in real-time and for free. The problem is that our old system cannot work that way, as it takes days to process and costs a fortune. By using a combination of technologies from mobile devices, wearables, and the bitcoin blockchain, fintech firms are building the ValueWeb regardless. What does that mean for financial institutions, governments, and citizens?” This book provides the answers.


The Industries of the Future

In The Industries of the Future, Alec Ross shows us what changes are coming in the next ten years, highlighting the best opportunities for progress and explaining why countries thrive or sputter. He examines the specific fields that will most shape our economic future, including robotics, cybersecurity, the commercialization of genomics, the next step for big data, and the immediate impact of digital technology on money and markets.



The Social Organism: A Radical Understanding of Social Media to Transform Your Business and Life

Full disclosure – Michael J. Casey is one of my all-time favorite writers.

In The Social Organism, Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey offer a revolutionary theory: that social networks — to an astonishing degree — mimic the rules and functions of biological life. Memes are the basic building blocks of our culture, our social DNA. To master social media — and to make online content that impacts the world — you must start with the Social Organism.


Whiplash: How to Survive Our Future Faster

The future will run on an entirely new operating system. It is a major upgrade, but it comes with a steep learning curve. The logic of a faster future overturns the received wisdom of the past, and the people who succeed will be the ones who learn to think differently.

In WHIPLASH, Joi Ito and Jeff Howe distil that logic into nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period. From strategically embracing risks rather than mitigating them (or preferring “risk over safety”) to drawing inspiration and innovative ideas from your existing networks (or supporting “pull over push”), this dynamic blueprint can help you rethink your approach to all facets of your organization.

Filled with incredible case studies and leading-edge research and philosophies from the MIT Media Lab and beyond, WHIPLASH will help you adapt and succeed in this unpredictable world.


Frontiers of Financial Technology: Expeditions in Future commerce, from Blockchain and Digital Banking

David Shrier, Managing Director of MIT Connection Science and others answer questions like, How can you capitalize on the disruption that blockchain is introducing into the global financial system? What are the risks and opportunities that this new technology represents? What roles can government, academia, and private industry play in shaping the future that blockchain can enable?

Shrier’s book is the precursor to the MIT certification course, FINTECH: Future Commerce.


Good Is the New Cool: Market Like You Give a Damn

Afdhel Aziz’s book is the social conscience blueprint for every new marketing endeavor. No new business plan is complete without a focus on best serving and sustaining the world through our work.

Aziz advises, “We are at a crossroads: Either we can try to prop up the old, broken marketing model, or we can create a new paradigm, one that evolves from a business mission statement that shows you can market like you give a damn.”


Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Jonah Berger’s Contagious provides a set of specific, actionable techniques for helping information spread—for designing messages, advertisements, and content that people will share. Whether you are a manager at a big company, a small business owner trying to boost awareness, a politician running for office, or a health official trying to get the word out, Contagious will show you how to make your product or idea catch on.


MARY OLSON / BRAND INTELLIGENCE

I recently completed the MIT certificate course, FINTECH: Future Commerce to pivot my design and strategic communications company to support collaborative Fintech breakthroughs, build new brands, introduce new narratives, and help establish new markets. We are the first agency of its kind to be Fintech certified.

Our advisory of strategists, designers, and developers understands the language of Fintech, complete with today’s toolsets to evolve your new strategic mission and speed you to market.

CONTACT MARY OLSON: LinkedIn | Email

15 BEST BOOKS OF 2014

Here are my 15 BEST BOOKS OF 2014-15 beginning with Jim Signorelli’s brilliantly inventive StoryBranding 2.0 to America’s master writer Laura Brown and How To Write Anything: A Complete Guide; to Thomas Nazario and Renée C. Byer’s searing stories and groundbreaking photojournalism in Living on a Dollar a Day, The Lives and Faces of The World’s Poor; to Kellmereit and Obodovski’s account of The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things; to Marc Gobe’s Emotional Branding; to Joey Reiman’s The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy; to Kent Calder’s Asia in Washington: Exploring the Penumbra of Transnational Power; to Paul Taylor’s The Next America; to Jaron Lanier’s Who Owns the Future? to Charlotte Beyer’s Wealth Management Unwrapped, to Blyth’s Zen and Zen Classics; and Noah Horowitz’s Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market.

I recommend that you sign-up for Smile.Amazon.com. Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. My favorite charity is The Forgotten International.

Please enjoy my 15 most current reads:


Al-Qaeda: From Global Network to Local Franchise (Rebels)

by Christina Hellmich (2012)

Related information:
Reading University, Faculty Directory

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Dr Hellmich is a specialist in the Middle East politics (especially Yemen and the Arab Gulf) with a particular research interest in Political Islam, International Security and Global Health. During fieldwork in Iraq and the Yemen she has conducted extensive research into the role of Islamic preaching in the process of radicalization as well as gender relations and women’s health. Her recent work examined the contested nature of Al-Qaeda and changing notions of the Pan-Islamic ideal.


Art of the Deal: Contemporary Art in a Global Financial Market

by Noah Horowitz (2014)

Social:
LinkedIn

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Horowitz exposes the inner workings of the contemporary art market, explaining how this unique economy came to be, how it works, and where it’s headed.


Asia in Washington: Exploring the Penumbra of Transnational Power

by Kent E. Calder (2014)

Related information:
Johns Hopkins Faculty Directory
Wikipedia

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In Asia in Washington, longtime Asia analyst Kent Calder examines the concept of “global city” in the context of international affairs. The term typically has been used in an economic context, referring to centers of international finance and commerce such as New York, Tokyo, and London. But Calder extends the concept to political centers as well—particularly in this case, Washington, D.C.


Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People

by Marc Gobe (2010)

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Emotional Branding explores how effective consumer interaction needs to be about senses and feelings, emotions and sentiments. Not unlike the Greek culture that used philosophy, poetry, music, and the art of discussion and debate to stimulate the imagination, the concept of emotional branding establishes the forum in which people can convene and push the limits of their creativity.


How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class

by John Hope Bryant (2014)

Social:
LinkedIn

Related information:
Operation HOPE
Blog

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Business and political leaders are ignoring the one force that could truly re-energize the stalled American economy: the poor.


How to Write Anything: A Complete Guide

by Laura Brown (2014)

Social:
LinkedIn

Related information:
howtowriteanything.com
laurabrowncommunications.com/about/

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Grounded in a common-sense approach, friendly and supportive, How to Write Anything is Internet-savvy, with advice throughout about choosing the most appropriate medium for your message: e-mail or pen and paper. At once a how-to, a reference book, and a pioneering guide for writing in a changing world, this is the only writing resource you’ll ever need.


Living on a Dollar a Day, The Lives and Faces of The World’s Poor

by Thomas A. Nazario and Renée C. Byer (2014)

Thomas A. Nazario:
LinkedIn
Foundation Website
Personal Website

Renée C. Byer:
LinkedIn
Twitter

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Living on a Dollar a Day shares the personal stories of some these poorest of the poor, honoring their lives, their struggles, and encouraging action in those who can help. In making this beautiful and moving book a team traveled to four continents, took thousands of photographs, conducted numerous interviews, and researched information on the agencies around the world that strive to help the destitute.


StoryBranding 2.0 (Second edition) Creating Stand-Out Brands Through the Purpose of Story

by Jim Signorelli (2014)

Social:
LinkedIn

Related information:
eswstorylab.com/storybranding

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StoryBranding 2.0 is an innovative approach to marketing’s biggest challenges, making it an indispensable book for professionals, academics, and beginners alike.


The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown

by Paul Taylor (2014)

Related information:
Pew Research

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Drawing on Pew Research Center’s extensive archive of public opinion surveys and demographic data, The Next America is a rich portrait of where we are as a nation and where we’re headed—toward a future marked by the most striking social, racial, and economic shifts the country has seen in a century.


The Silent Intelligence: The Internet of Things

by Daniel Kellmereit and Daniel Obodovski (2013)

Daniel Kellmereit
LinkedIn

Daniel Obodovski
LinkedIn

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the existing Internet infrastructure. These devices are will usher-in automation in nearly all fields. The Silent Intelligence identifies and explores the ecosystem of Connected Cities, Connected Homes, Connected Health and Connected Cars.


The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy

by Joey Reiman (2012)

Social
LinkedIn
Facebook

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A proven methodology for building a purpose-powered organization
Some ideas are bigger than others, and the Master Idea—your company’s purpose—is the biggest. Whether addressing communication between leadership and associates, suppliers to manufacturers, sales force to customers, or brand to consumers, The Story of Purpose details a proven methodology for businesses, small to large, how to build a purpose-inspired organization to positively impact employees, customers, and the bottom line.


The Taliban Revival: Violence and Extremism on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier

by Hassan Abbas (2014)

Social
LinkedIn

Related information
School webpage

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Abbas traces the roots of religious extremism in the area and analyzes the Taliban’s support base within Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas. In addition, he explores the roles that Western policies and military decision making— not to mention corruption and incompetence in Kabul—have played in enabling the Taliban’s resurgence.


Wealth Management Unwrapped

by Charlotte B. Beyer (2014)

Social
LinkedIn

Related information
wealthmanagementunwrapped.com

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In her new book, Wall Street veteran and Institute for Private Investors (IPI) founder Charlotte Beyer sheds light on the complex wealth management industry, outlines the responsibility that all investors have as ‘CEOs’ of their own wealth, and equips them with the tools to effectively manage their money.


Who Owns the Future?

by Jaron Lanier (2014)

Related information
jaronlanier.com
Wikipedia
Article

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Jaron Lanier is the father of virtual reality and one of the world’s most brilliant thinkers. Who Owns the Future? is his visionary reckoning with the most urgent economic and social trend of our age: the poisonous concentration of money and power in our digital networks.


Zen and Zen Classics, Vol. 5: Twenty-Four Zen Essays

by R. H. Blyth (1966)

Related information
Wikipedia

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R. H. Blyth Books

This 5th volume of the series on Zen is a step forward in the direction of a universal Zen, a Zen which will include Chinese and Japanese Zen, and not omit that of Christian and Islamic mysticism, of Dante, Eckhart, Wordsworth, and Thoreau.


Click here to nominate your Book of the Year 2014.