Every day we are bombarded with confident statements from enthusiastic technologists. Software is eating the world. AI will dominate the world. Everyone should learn to code. No wonder then that we develop a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). TechProof Me is an antidote to that FOMO that envelops both techs and non-techs from time to time.
The book aims to improve the technological quotient of the reader and succeeds in its mission.
It is an insightful commentary on several technology topics such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, internet of things, and quantum computing. There are no deep dives, but Siddharth gives you an idea of how these complex technologies work and their potential impact. All this in simple English without any jargon. It’s hard to pull off, but Siddharth is doing a good job here.
Another distinguishing factor is that technology and global trends are contextualized for the Indian audience. Usually, Indian readers have to read tech books aimed at Western audiences and try to understand their relevance in India.
You will find multiple references to economic theories, personal anecdotes and spiritual reflections throughout the book. After all, making sense of complex terrain requires many different lenses. The perspective is balanced and without hype.
Siddharth is not shy about discussing difficult topics or tough questions, all aimed at getting you thinking and adapting to change, such as:
· Is the gig economy creating a permanent new underclass of workers?
· Middle managers: retraining or retirement?
· Parents putting their kids in programming classes: These skills may be obsolete.
· Citizens: isn’t it better to give your data to governments rather than companies?
Section 2 of the book deals with how the current form of the modern organization came into being. This will be familiar to B school graduates. Siddharth’s contribution here is to extend this construction to offshoring and explain how the Indian IT services industry has become an integral part of global organizations.
Techproof Me is not a research-oriented or academic book, but a book written by an expert practitioner for other practitioners. Drawing on his own experience, Siddharth serves up a bit of strategy consulting with a side of spiritual self-help. What’s the success mantra for staying on top of tech trends? Know yourself, know your audience, and articulate with precision. The book is peppered with examples and thinking tools that Siddharth himself used in his career.
According to Siddharth, there are four typical roles – Soldier, Initiator, Leader, and Experience Designer – for leveraging technology in our organizations. Instead of thinking of them as separate roles, it’s also helpful to think of them as different hats that you’ll have to wear at different times.
Reading Techproof Me is like sitting down with an experienced older brother who generously shares lessons and thoughts. Each chapter has several interesting detours, which readers can explore further.
A list of resources and further reading would have been helpful. TechProof Me is not an introduction to today’s trending technologies, but a glossary and an appendix with short explanations of the technologies would have been a nice addition.
Software programmers who know the details of their craft but want the big picture will find this book useful. Managers and future managers would benefit most from this book.
So, to be Techproof, do we all have to learn to code? The answer is no. But everyone should have a better understanding of key technological developments and their impact on a personal, professional and societal level.
(Kashyap Kompella is an industry analyst, author, educator, and AI advisor. He is the co-author of the bestselling Amazon Practical Artificial Intelligence.)
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About the book
Techproof Me: the art of mastering constantly evolving technology
Random Penguin House,
₹399; 187 pages
July 14, 2022