Reading List: Get Big Things Done

Connectional intelligence is the ability to combine the world’s diversity of people, networks and disciplines to influence the greatest number of people “toward a loftier purpose—improving people’s lives, building sustainable societies and creating the futures we want,” declare Erica Dhawan, a teaching fellow and researcher at Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, and Saj-nicole Joni, Ph.D., the founder and CEO of Cambridge International Group, an advisory firm.

The authors’ message is that our ability to connect globally means that power and influence are more attainable than ever, and consequently we can achieve more than we previously imagined by working in conjunction with others.

To show how connectional intelligence works, Dhawan and Joni include examples of entrepreneurs such as Ben Kaufman, founder of the invention website Quirky, and Luis von Ahn, who helped create CAPTCHA (those distorted characters that websites make you enter to prove you’re a real person) and then applied the system to digitizing printed words and books for the masses.

While the authors of Get Big Things Done offer general pointers, they don’t quite deliver the promised road map so that just anyone can get big things done. Still, the profiles of social entrepreneurs who use connectivity as a conduit to do something good combines with the authors’ passion for global possibilities to inspire and motivate.

by Erica Dhawan and Saj-nicole Joni
February; Palgrave Macmillan; $28

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