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Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age (Agency/Distributed)

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Humility is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age (Agency/Distributed)


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Humility Is the New Smart

Your job is at risk-if not now, then soon. We are on the leading edge of a Smart Machine Age led by artificial intelligence that will be as transformative for us as the Industrial Revolution was for our ancestors. Smart machines will take over millions of jobs in manufacturing, office work, the service sector, the professions, you name it. Not only can they know more data and analyze it faster than any mere human, say Edward Hess and Katherine Ludwig, but smart machines are free of the emotional, psychological, and cultural baggage that so often mars human thinking.

So we can’t beat ‘em and we can’t join ‘em. To stay relevant, we have to play a different game. Hess and Ludwig offer us that game plan. We need to excel at critical, creative, and innovative thinking and at genuinely engaging with others-things machines can’t do well. The key is to change our definition of what it means to be smart. Hess and Ludwig call it being NewSmart. In this extraordinarily timely book, they offer detailed guidance for developing 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 machines but to excel at the best of what makes us human.

Edward D. Hess is a professor of business administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. His professional experience includes twenty years as a business executive and fifteen years in academia. His research and twelve books have a common theme: how organizations and individuals can be consistent high performers. His work has been featured in over 350 global media outlets.

Katherine Ludwig is a research, editing, and publishing associate at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Previously she was a corporate finance and securities lawyer and associate general counsel for a public technology company.


Introduction: Why You Should Read This Book 1

Part 1 A New Mental Model for the Smart Machine Age

1 The Smart Machine Age: A New Game Requires New Rules 15 

2 NewSmart: A New Definition of “Smart” 35 

3 Humility: The Gateway to Human Excellence in the SMA 59 

Part 2 NewSmart Behaviors 

4 Quieting Ego 79 

5 Managing Self: Thinking and Emotions 95 

6 Reflective Listening 115 

7 Otherness: Emotionally Connecting and Relating to Others 123 

8 Your NewSmart Behaviors Assessment Tool 133 

Part 3 The NewSmart Organization 

9 Leading a NewSmart Organization 153 

Your NewSmart Organizational Assessment Tool 183

Epilogue: Our Invitation to You 187

Notes 189

Recommended Reading 201

Acknowledgments 205

Index 207

About the Authors 212

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