'What Matters Now' by Seth Godin is a collection of new ideas that matter (now) to society, culture and progress. It begins with the author's view on generosity, where he observes the rather unnatural proclivity of getting rewarded for being generous, even when the chips are down. Hence, the more you give, the more you get.
Then follows a stream of abstractions like, fear, dignity, meaning, being connected, enrichment, excellence, autonomy, and ripple. In each of these, a distinct way of thinking, a useful method to focus and the energy to turn the game is presented.
The collection of micro-essays is inspirational, motivating, but most of all a realization for ourselves. I could see a new and different side to all that I was comfortable with. For example, the book's take on management mentions that "after a decade of truly spectacular under-achievement, what we need now is less management and more freedom – fewer individual automatons and more autonomous individuals". Or about the dramatic shift to 'thank you economy' being ushered in by social media.
This perhaps can tell us how to make the most of the information we're served daily by TVs, social networks, blogs and how not to get caught in the trap and lose ones focus.
I felt each and every essay as an eye opener, and I saw things I knew, in an entirely different light. I found greatly challenged by Tim O'Reilly's idea for Government 2.0, Daniel Pink's views on Autonomy, Gay Kawasaki and Evangelism, and Derek Sivers' thoughts on passion.