What to worry about in the 21st century?
Climate change, terrorism, emerging technologies, political threats, and more. Without any doubt, there are a lot of serious problems we are facing as human kind. In his bestselling book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century Yuval Noah Harari reveals some provoking thoughts on those challenges. It is a must read not only in context of business.
Sure, we are all worried about the challenges we face as human kind. The huge intersections with the many aspects in live are tremendous and, thus, make it to put our thoughts in order. What are the most urgent, chronic challenges we face? What are the impacts? What is the role of religions, businesses, politicians, and our societies? What are potential solution? How to live as an individual under this circumstances without getting lost?
21 Lessons for the 21st Century is not panacea, but it provides great food for thoughts and widens the mind. Still, I would not agree with each and any single statement in the book, but there are many I would sign off without any doubt. For instance, one statement I completely agree with is:
"Since there is no answer to the problem of global warming, some nationalist politicians prefer to believe the problem does not exists."
Among others Yuval Noah Harari also concludes that behavioural economists and evolutionary psychologists have shown that most human decisions are based on emotional reactions and heuristic shortcuts rather than on a rational bias. However, while our emotions where a true benefit in Stone Age when fleeing from enemies, they are inadequate in the 21st Century. This is even more tremendous as our view is all too often determined by group-thinking rather than individual rationality. We would not abandon it because of loyalty.
Alas, I agree that many leaders, be it politicians, CEOs or others, are forever on the run. Yet, if you are always in a hurry how would you find the time to have a valuable look at the roots of problems? Sure, they would have their consultant do the job on their behalf, but still, also they are busy. In many cases, even in the lower management levels, people spend a lot of time talking and taking decisions, but they very rarely take the time which would be needed to understand the true roots of the problem. Doing so, they would need to go into scientific readings and operational discussions, which might be time consuming, but still unavoidably to make rational decisions.