The Future is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives
Explore This IssueJune 2021
Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler
Simon & Schuster; January 28, 2020
Richard Thrasher, MD, managing partner of the ENT & Allergy Centers of Texas and past chief of staff of the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center–McKinney, is a strong proponent and early adopter of new and advanced medical technologies, going so far as to call himself a “technology geek.” It isn’t surprising that he strongly recommends The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives, a forward-leaning and broad-ranging exploration of the ways in which technology is impacting and reshaping the world.
ENTT: What drew you to this particular book?
RT: As a child, I was obsessed with a picture book about the “world of tomorrow,” in which I found one of my favorite quotes of all time, attributed to Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915): “The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it cannot be done is generally being interrupted by someone doing it.” Imagine time travelling to 4000 B.C. and then to 0 A.D. You’d likely not be impressed by how much the world had changed in terms of individual life over the course of 4,000 years. You might not even see much change 1,200 years later. However, if you then jumped only 500 years later to 1700, the changes would be remarkable. In half that time, travel to 1950 and the changes would be dramatic. Then, 50 years later in 2000, the changes would shock you. Humanity is forging ahead at such an unprecedented rate, and I don’t think we’re prepared to describe accurately what life will be like in the next 25 years. Nevertheless, this book tries to do just that.
ENTT: There are a lot of books on this subject. What is it about this particular one that makes it stand out?
RT: First, it speaks to a passion of mine—the cutting edge of innovation—and discusses it thoroughly in scientific, if not jargonized, language. Second, it frames those innovations in the context of improving our world for the better. Third, it steadily builds on each chapter’s innovations to show how the convergence of technologies allows for difficult-to-imagine changes to come faster than you think would be possible. If I were to put one word on it, it would be ‘inspirational,’ perhaps not in the motivational sense, but in the sense that it opens new doors to think about what’s possible in your own world.
ENTT: What particular significance do you think this book holds for today’s physicians?
RT: To me, this book opens up ways to think outside the limits that physicians might artificially place upon themselves in terms of what’s possible, and what we’re best educated to do: relieve suffering. It does this not just by providing ideas for surgical or medical innovation but also ideas to improve medicine, and even society as a whole, and to relieve suffering on a grander scale than the one-to-one interactions we generally consider as part of our daily work.
ENTT: What primary takeaway message did you receive?
RT: That we are an incredible species. And that we have the remarkable ability to not only change how we live but even who we are, how we behave, and how we can be an influence beyond our daily local environments. You don’t have to be a dreamer to enjoy this book, but it speaks to those who are. It’s an optimist’s book.
The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy
Wiley, May 18, 2009
In her demanding job as residency program director and professor of otolaryngology–head and neck surgery at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C., Sonya Malekzadeh, MD, is familiar with the complex and challenging role of leadership. She chose The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy for this month’s ENTtoday Book Club because it speaks to how a specific mindset can help leaders create a positive and healthy work environment, even under the most stressful circumstances.
ENTT: How did you happen upon The Energy Bus?
SM: Years ago, I attended an American College of Surgeons’ course called “Surgeons as Leaders.” The list of recommended readings included The Power of Positive Leadership, written by Jon Gordon. That book’s message resonated with me, so I researched the author and found his original publication, which was The Energy Bus. It’s a short and quick but a powerful and engaging read.
ENTT: What particular meaning does this book have for you?
SM: I found the book to be inspirational. It provides a thoughtful description of the basic principles of energy and positivity. I tend to lean toward a “glass is half empty’” outlook, and this book changed my mindset. It forced me to think about my own negative energy and its influence over how I might come across to others. More importantly, it made me think about how to inspire myself and others.
ENTT: How would you describe the book’s approach to leadership?
SM: While everyone encounters adversity and stress, it’s our response to these challenges that define us. The author maintains that when you respond with positive energy, challenges become opportunities. The Energy Bus offers 10 simple rules to recognize and understand principles of success that affect every aspect of our lives. One of the key principles discussed is “contagious leadership.” When a leader exerts energy with the intent to motivate and inspire others, it is contagious.
ENTT: What significance do you think this book holds for today’s physicians?
SM: Our healthcare teams are facing great change and uncertainty. Fear, coupled with low and negative energy, can fuel a toxic environment. By focusing on the positive, physician leaders can instill confidence, demonstrate individual value, and ultimately improve employee experience. This book provides the tools and strategies to bring out the best in ourselves and our teams, and to lead with purpose, enthusiasm, and spirit—all critical elements for individual and team success.