Everything Connects | Book Review

How do we stay centered, or just afloat, in a rapidly changing, turbulent, technology-driven environment?

Faisal Hoque’s (with Drake Baer) Everything Connects has broad appeal to managers, leaders, entrepreneurs, or anyone pausing and noticing how rapidly events frequently overtake us. The author’s citations and recommended reading list (pages 249-253) indicate deep reflection, ranging from Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren’s How to Read a Book (1940), also including multiple references to Clayton Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma), to musings about Leonardo Da Vinci’s unparalleled observations.

Everything Connects is organized into three parts. Part 1: When, Who and How are You? – Similar to an Academy Leadership Excellence Course (LEC) day one (Know Yourself). Part 2, Personal Experiences, Shared Cultures, and Other Rhythms is analogous to an LEC day two (Know Your People), and Part 3, Flowing Ideas, Grounded Decisions, and Long-Burning Value resembles an LEC day three (Know Your Stuff). This review captures key points in each part and relates them to Academy Leadership teachable points of view and related workshops.

Part I | When, Who and How are You? | Know Yourself

The strongest section of the book, Part 1 challenges our thinking and point of view, offering the definition of Entrepreneurship (p. 18) as taking ownership of one’s economic well-being. Enabling Technology: The Game Changer (pages 22-28) weaves our Energize2Lead™ (E2L - 75% of people are different than us) awareness with new social media constructs into a powerful, motivational story. An extended call for meditation reminds us of our need for reflection via our journals, as well as long-term cultivation of a personal and professional partnership ecosystem via consciousness (energy) management. In short, category two (important not urgent) focus.

Part II | Personal Experiences, Shared Cultures, and Other Rhythms | Know Your People (Organization)

Part 2 is a deep dive into organizations, with profound observations (starting with Conway’s Law – page 107) cautioning us that static processes and thinking often prevent agility while connectivity and clusters of diverse talent predict success. Chapter 7 is a gem, combining E2L (respect individuality – p. 153), motivation (reference to Dan Pink’s Drive, p 154), and a great coaching example on page 160:

“And, also, can I give you a growth path into something you would like to be in two or three years?”

Part III | Flowing Ideas, Grounded Decisions, and Long-Burning Value | Know Your Stuff

Before we can be creative, the authors indirectly remind us of Maslow (p. 177 – financially, professionally and spiritually stable), afterward invoking the power of curiosity and observation referencing Leonardo da Vinci. Upon observing, we are reminded again of our journals (p. 197, reference to Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow, creating a decision notebook. Reinventing the Mailbox (pages 202-208) illustrates the points well. Chapter ten summarizes the effects of positive, long-term value creation (citing Apple as an example on p. 218) achieved employing the three parts of the book, concluding that success is the knowledge that everything connects (p. 233).

For Review

For easy review, chapter takeaways are listed on pages 29, 54, 75, 96 (part 1); 125, 148, 168 (Part 2); 193, 214 and 234 (Part 3) for chapters 1-10, respectively.

In summary, this is a very good book, especially for anyone embarking on a new path or fearful of rapid change.

JE | May 2014