Reading List

Consulting is a learning business. You always have to look for new, disrupting ideas, understand them deeply, challenge them with your knowledge & experience and build new strategies upon them. To do so, you need an open, fresh mind and of course, a lot of inspiration, which I found in the following books.


Published: 18.03.2019


Defending Champion / Titelverteidiger

by Frank Riemensperger & Svenja Falk

Digital Transformation is massively changing Germany’s companies and presenting them with major challenges. They are still among the best in the world, but yesterday’s success formulas are often no longer valid today.

Platform autonomy, artificial intelligence, smart products, Big Data, Internet of Things, Blockchain and many other things: Frank Riemensperger and Svenja Falk not only thoroughly analyze the industrial location of Germany in the digital age. With many examples and recent studies, they also show that if companies capitalize on their strengths and bravely break with outdated traditions, they can continue to be successful – with technological intelligence, focusing on what’s possible and radically new digital value creation and business models.

The authors develop with Defending Champion nothing less than a vision for the digital location Germany and its companies. And they show: This is how Germany can defend its top spot.

Frank Riemensperger, Accenture Germany's CEO, and political scientist Prof. Dr. Svenja Falk, paint a realistic but not fearful picture of the German industry. I really like this positive approach and the vision, how digital transformation could be a significant differentiator and growth factor.

Bastian Dietz

Published: 25.09.2018


AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order

by Dr. Kai-Fu Lee

Dr. Kai-Fu Lee—one of the world’s most respected experts on AI and China—reveals that China has suddenly caught up to the US at an astonishingly rapid and unexpected pace.

In AI Superpowers, Kai-fu Lee argues powerfully that because of these unprecedented developments in AI, dramatic changes will be happening much sooner than many of us expected. Indeed, as the US-Sino AI competition begins to heat up, Lee urges the US and China to both accept and to embrace the great responsibilities that come with significant technological power. Most experts already say that AI will have a devastating impact on blue-collar jobs. But Lee predicts that Chinese and American AI will have a strong impact on white-collar jobs as well.

Is universal basic income the solution? In Lee’s opinion, probably not.  But he provides a clear description of which jobs will be affected and how soon, which jobs can be enhanced with AI, and most importantly, how we can provide solutions to some of the most profound changes in human history that are coming soon.

AI Superpowers puts AI in the context of different political landscapes. This is an important view, because AI rises fast, but especially in China it is on rocket speed and these implications are easily overseen in the Western world.

Bastian Dietz

Published: 20.03.2018


Human + Machine

by Paul R. Daugherty & H. James Wilson

Look around you. Artificial intelligence is no longer just a futuristic notion. It's here right now--in software that senses what we need, supply chains that "think" in real time, and robots that respond to changes in their environment. Twenty-first-century pioneer companies are already using AI to innovate and grow fast. The bottom line is this: Businesses that understand how to harness AI can surge ahead. Those that neglect it will fall behind. Which side are you on?

In Human + Machine, Accenture leaders Paul R. Daugherty and H. James (Jim) Wilson show that the essence of the AI paradigm shift is the transformation of all business processes within an organization--whether related to breakthrough innovation, everyday customer service, or personal productivity habits. As humans and smart machines collaborate ever more closely, work processes become more fluid and adaptive, enabling companies to change them on the fly--or to completely reimagine them. AI is changing all the rules of how companies operate.

Based on the authors' experience and research with 1,500 organizations, the book reveals how companies are using the new rules of AI to leap ahead on innovation and profitability, as well as what you can do to achieve similar results. It describes six entirely new types of hybrid human + machine roles that every company must develop, and it includes a "leader’s guide" with the five crucial principles required to become an AI-fueled business.

Human + Machine provides the missing and much-needed management playbook for success in our new age of AI.

This is a no-brainer. Paul and James paint the picture of a world, where Humans and Machines cooperate and help each other. A delightful counterpart to all the dystopianism out there. Their ideas are based on learnings, how real companies are already using AI today and they provide a comprehensive compass on how the changes can be used to build a better world.

Bastian Dietz

Published: 26.09.2017


Hit Refresh

by Satya Natdella

The New York Times bestseller Hit Refresh is about individual change, about the transformation happening inside of Microsoft and the technology that will soon impact all of our lives—the arrival of the most exciting and disruptive wave of technology humankind has experienced: artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and quantum computing. It’s about how people, organizations, and societies can and must transform and “hit refresh” in their persistent quest for new energy, new ideas, and continued relevance and renewal.

Microsoft’s CEO tells the inside story of the company’s continuing transformation, tracing his own personal journey from a childhood in India to leading some of the most significant technological changes in the digital era. Satya Nadella explores a fascinating childhood before immigrating to the U.S. and how he learned to lead along the way. He then shares his meditations as a sitting CEO—one who is mostly unknown following the brainy Bill Gates and energetic Steve Ballmer. He tells the inside story of how a company rediscovered its soul—transforming everything from culture to their fiercely competitive landscape and industry partnerships. As much a humanist as engineer and executive, Nadella concludes with his vision for the coming wave of technology and by exploring the potential impact to society and delivering call to action for world leaders.

“Ideas excite me,” Nadella explains. “Empathy grounds and centers me.” Hit Refresh is a set of reflections, meditations, and recommendations presented as algorithms from a principled, deliberative leader searching for improvement—for himself, for a storied company, and for society.

This is an awesome book. It gives you a glimpse into the life of Satya Nadella, but even more important, into the change at Microsoft. How did his team turn around the DOS/Windows/Office company from 1998 into the Azure/XBOX/Surface company of 2018? This is such a great story and you can learn a lot!
Bastian Dietz

Published: 02.02.2016


Industries of the Future

by Alec Ross

The New York Times bestseller, from leading innovation expert Alec Ross, a “fascinating vision” (Forbes) of what’s next for the world and how to navigate the changes the future will bring.

While Alec Ross was working as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the Secretary of State, he traveled to forty-one countries, exploring the latest advances coming out of every continent. From startup hubs in Kenya to R&D labs in South Korea, Ross has seen what the future holds.

In The Industries of the Future, Ross provides a “lucid and informed guide” (Financial Times) to the changes coming in the next ten years. He examines the fields that will most shape our economic future, including robotics and artificial intelligence, cybercrime and cybersecurity, the commercialization of genomics, the next step for big data, and the impact of digital technology on money and markets. In each of these realms, Ross addresses the toughest questions: How will we have to adapt to the changing nature of work? Is the prospect of cyberwar sparking the next arms race? How can the world’s rising nations hope to match Silicon Valley with their own innovation hotspots? And what can today’s parents do to prepare their children for tomorrow?

Ross blends storytelling and economic analysis to show how sweeping global trends are affecting the ways we live. Sharing insights from global leaders—from the founders of Google and Twitter to defense experts like David Petraeus—Ross reveals the technologies and industries that will drive the next stage of globalization. The Industries of the Future is “a riveting and mind-bending book” (New York Journal of Books), a “must read” (Wendy Kopp, Founder of Teach for America) regardless of “whether you follow these fields closely or you still think of Honda as a car rather than a robotics company” (Forbes).

I met Alec Ross some years ago in Munich when he still worked for the then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He has a global and political view on innovation and - not common for politicians - a very deep understanding of technology. If you want to learn about the drivers in tech and business for the future of globalization, read this book.
Bastian Dietz