Interesting reads…

I’ve been overwhelmed with interesting books to check out, which complement all the leadership books I’ve been reading thus far.

Amongst the most often name-dropped is [Emergence]( by Steven Johnson. I was happy to have read some of his work before — I read “Interface Culture” when I was doing my Master’s. It wasn’t on the reading list that my advisor gave me, but I found it a relevant and very interesting book on the evolution of the computer desktop. Stepháne and Goran were talking about this book, as were many other people at FlashForward. When Tim O’Reilly starts talking about emergence in software application, and everyone around me starts talking about *emergence*… well, I can take a hint 🙂

*Emergence* is a field of thought that is grapples with how new behavior emerges out of smaller units. For example, there is no gene for a hive of bees or colony of ants, but the behavior of the nest emerges from them. Some people are using cellular automata as a means of explaining higher order behavior. You’ve probably heard me say this a thousand times, but I maintain that millions of people hanging out on the Internet, blogging about themselves (ahem) and reading into what’s going on in the lives of others is not just making us all connected — it’s making us more hive like.

When you look at the amount of money that Democrats were able to raise in the last election by tapping into the community of would-be activists who surf the web and blog, you can start to understand the potential of a hive-like mentality. You can start to see how quickly a hive is able to think and take action, with collective intelligence, rather than relying on the relay race that traditional organizations depend on.

At any rate, *emergence* as a field of study is much bigger than I understand, and this book will likely leave more questions unanswered than it addresses — but Steven Johnson is a really good writer and if you’re interested in “big brain” stuff without wanting to take vocbulary lessons, it’s a good first read on the subject.

I’m looking forward to my Amazon shipment.