Book Notes: "The Light and Fast Organisation: A New Way of Dealing with Uncertainty" by Patrick Hollingworth

The Light and Fast Organisation: A New Way of Dealing with UncertaintyThe Light and Fast Organisation: A New Way of Dealing with Uncertainty by Patrick Hollingworth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Patrick Hollingworth signed my copy of this book after his presentation at the NSW Taxi Council Annual Conference. In his presentation, he mentioned the old-style website where the developers controlled everything, changes took months, and results were professional but poorly-timed and laborious. This resonated with me so I decided to give the book a go. While reading it, I was disappointed by the journalistic-style short paragraphs, use of contractions, and rather shallow references to other work I was mostly familiar with, and I had to become comfortable with the TED-style approach (I am not a fan of TED talks). But his approach to understanding the contemporary world fits with how I try to think and act, and it was only as I entered the second half of the book that I began reflecting and learning, taking notes, ordering other books, and began to see how my other reading fits in with Hollingworth's theme. In particular, the concept of antifragility, gleaned from my regular reading of The Art of Manliness, struck a chord. One area that I am grappling with is the concept of the anti-alpha. I have been alpha for so long it is second nature, but my MBTI scales have slowly centred from extreme ENTJ to now flicking between INTJ and ENTJ depending on my mood. I once scored ISTJ when I was particularly tired. So maybe there is hope for me yet. This book has set me off on further reading, but it parallels many of the concepts i have been teaching in my undergraduate leadership course, which I have changed significantly based on Clawson's ideas about Level Three Leadership. I read this while conducting my annual reflection on the year past, and it was quite timely. Truth be told, I focused on this as a quick way to reduce the number of books that I have half-finished so that I can clear the decks for a more focused reading schedule in the new year. Nevertheless, I gained much from Hollingworth's approach, and having heard him speak, and observed the audience's reaction to his approach, to borrow from Ryan Holiday, only my ego can get in the way of what I can get out of this work. A very timely read, and while my own ideas about good work cloud so much of what I read, it is clear that Hollingworth does his fair share of reading, and I daresay the influence of his wife (who was completing a PhD while the book was being written) kept the work honest, and therefore a worthwhile addition to the literature on leadership and change in uncertain times.

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