Book Review – The Connected Age
Over the last few centuries, the quality of our lives have improved drastically. There have been new inventions and discoveries that we assumed would make our lives easier. Instead, we ended up degrading our environment and we have only become more prone to economic fluctuations. While we are stuck in the quagmire of our own making, where exactly did we go wrong?
The above paragraph and thoughts are mostly taken from Sudhakar Ram’s book ‘The Connected Age’. As he mentions in the book, the title could mislead us into thinking that it talks about technology. Instead, it gives us an insight into the connection between each other, the connection between us and the planet and most importantly, the connection with the self. It talks about how we limit ourselves by running in pursuit of wealth and by living a mechanical life.
Blurb of the Book
Layout of the Book
He has divided the book into four parts. In every part, he begins from the root of the cause. He has structured his thoughts very clearly as below:
- How it all began
- What happened from then until now
- The current scenario
- The flaws in the current scenario
- The solution: What it is and how to achieve it.
More often than not, people always point out the problems. Some of them do give us the solution too. How to implement the solution is what we need. And that is what Mr. Ram gives in his book. He has made a systematic compilation of different ideas from different people, adding his own view points to create a view of both what the world is and what it could be.
Part 1 describes how we evolved from the hunter Homo Sapiens who depended completely on nature to the capitalist, industrialist, civilized human beings! The author describes about what went wrong from then to now. The dysfunctions that are causing our destruction. How our thinking has changed and how to bring a transformation in our thinking. He discusses the ideals of the ‘connected age’ , the principles to achieve them and whether they are practically achievable.
He concludes the part with his vision – a highly realistic one – which would take a lot of time to accomplish since the change must begin with oneself.
In Part 2, deals with the Individual Changes that will pave way to the connected Age. In my opinion, apart from the long run benefits, these are a set of practical tips that could bring a positive change in our individual lives too. They could mold us into better people.
When the power is in a few hands and the rest feel powerless, they do not put in their maximum efforts. They feel disengaged. While the powerful think consider this to be good for them, it isn’t since the productivity and participation of the powerless will remain low. Now, a question. Are you engaged or empowered?
This question is definitely a food for our thoughts. If we are in fact powerless, he explains how each of us could develop the personal power. This power is what brings about the changes we desire.
This is followed by a detailed explanation about how we must think beyond success. One of the points that struck me was that, running behind success endlessly might become one of our regrets while dying. He has summarized the top 5 regrets of the dying which is not only an interesting read, but an eye opener to the harsh realities.
For those moulding themselves as per the requirements of the careers they are expected to follow, for those whose, talents are entirely different, Mr. Ram gives a step by step description as to how to discover their true calling. He talks about the education system, its evolution, the current state, its flaws and how it could be modified. With live examples of people who have applied and experimented new methods, he establishes the fact that the current education system of ‘One size fits all’ is not the right method to provide knowledge.
Moving from smaller areas to bigger areas, Part 3 discusses about the structural changes that are required. He talks about the organisational structure and its limitations. How they behave like machines and have no regards for their employees, customers, stakeholders and living beings as a whole. He points out 5 other flaws which are very much valid in the current scenario.
According to him, these organizations have to bring about a drastic change in their methods. He has beautifully laid out actions to be taken corresponding to the flaws he has pointed out. Also, how to implement these actions. He claims to have put these points into practice in his own organisation too.
Evolution of organisations alone wouldn’t suffice. He explains that the market and the government should also contribute to this change. Similar to other cases, he points out today’s scenario, the flaws, the solution and the methods for implementation.
In the final part, which is the Call to Action, he gives the summary of all that has been mentioned earlier. He lists down the necessary steps we need to take right now, to bring about the change. All the while, we have been waiting for a leader to take up this task and begin the change. Mr. Ram calls out to the young generation to act rather than wait for the leader.
Conclusion: He says that he addresses the youngsters who want to create a better world. In my opinion, the book is a must read for all the people, young and old who wish to make a difference. As I had mentioned earlier, nothing can be changed without changing oneself. I’m sure that implementing his ideas in each individual’s life will soon bring about a positive change in us, which would spread across our neighborhood, province, country and the world.
If you wish to make a change, this book is a must read.