Weekend Reading: January 2018

Weekend Reading: January 2018

Happy 2018! We’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month for you to browse and enjoy this weekend.

In 2013, Google conducted a study called Project Oxygen to determine its top employees’ most important qualities. The idea was to test its hiring algorithms, which were set at the time to sort for elite computer science students from top universities. The study concluded that STEM expertise – widely revered at Google – was the least important quality of the eight discovered. Founding director of the Futures Initiative Cathy N. Davidson elaborates in The Washington Post:

“The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.

Those traits sound more like what one gains as an English or theater major than as a programmer. Could it be that top Google employees were succeeding despite their technical training, not because of it?”

“What helps you thrive in a changing world isn’t rocket science,” Davidson continues. “It may just well be social science, and, yes, even the humanities and the arts that contribute to making you not just workforce ready but world ready.” Technical skills and soft skills are critical to a healthy and productive workforce – and at Books@Work, we believe that organizations flourish when each person has a chance to share and practice what they know.

Elsewhere on the Internet:

John Sutherland reviews two recently-published books for The New York Times on the social and historical role of literature. As author Martin Puchner writes, literature “has shaped the lives of most humans on planet Earth.”

Is a team of experts headed for certain success? Riitta Katila explores the downfall of too much expertise for the Harvard Business Review.

Brandon Taylor writes a passionate defense of the short story for Literary Hub: “When you’ve understood a story, you know it, because it changes your very relationship to the world.”

There is no workforce diversity without inclusion. Forbes looks at the five ways leaders can embrace inclusion in their companies.

Our community wellness programs with staff and faculty at Case Western Reserve University are in full swing – and you can hear straight from participants in a video interview in The Daily.

Image: Tahir Salahov, For You, Humanity!, 1961, [Fair Use] via WikiArt.org

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Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan is a Development Communications Associate at the Cleveland Orchestra and a part-time member of the Books@Work team. She continues to write posts for our blog.