The Algorithmic Leader
How to Be Smart When Machines Are Smarter Than You
By Mike Walsh
About the BookThe greatest threat we face is not robots replacing us, but our reluctance to reinvent ourselves.
We live in an age of wonder: cars that drive themselves, devices that anticipate our needs, and robots capable of everything from advanced manufacturing to complex surgery. Automation, algorithms, and AI will transform every facet of daily life, but are we prepared for what that means for the future of work, leadership, and creativity? While many already fear that robots will take their jobs, rapid advancements in machine intelligence raise a far more important question: what is the true potential of human intelligence in the twenty-first century?
Futurist and global nomad Mike Walsh has synthesized years of research and interviews with some of the world’s top business leaders, AI pioneers and data scientists into a set of 10 principles about what it takes to succeed in the algorithmic age. Across disparate cultures, industries, and timescales, Walsh brings to life the history and future of ideas like probabilistic thinking, machine learning, digital ethics, disruptive innovation, and de-centralized organizations as a foundation for a radically new approach to making decisions, solving problems, and leading people.
The Algorithmic Leader offers a hopeful and practical guide for leaders of all types, and organizations of all sizes, to survive and thrive in this era of unprecedented change. By applying Walsh’s 10 core principles, readers will be able to design their own journey of personal transformation, harness the power of algorithms, and chart a clear path ahead—for their company, their team, and themselves.
“Provocative, powerful, and full of actionable wisdom. The Algorithmic Leader is a tour de force of ideas and insights from global pioneers who are challenging the status quo and reinventing organizations. Mike Walsh has produced a must-read for every leader and entrepreneur in this digital age.”
—Daniel Hulme, Founder & CEO of Satalia
"This book first made me deeply uneasy, and then deeply inspired. Like you, I wrestle with how best to thrive as our world grows increasingly complex and confusing, a world where the simple rules just don’t work anymore. Mike Walsh’s ten principles, distilled from real-life experience and deep thinking, point the way forward."
—Michael Bungay Stanier, author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller The Coaching Habit
“Great companies are built on culture. Mike Walsh’s prescient vision of the algorithmic company of the future is no robot army of soulless analytics dashboards, but a living, breathing organism—a community of humans who respond to motivation beyond compensation; purpose and impact; decision-making and autonomy; location and collaboration. A worthy read.”
—Brian Halligan, Founder & CEO of Hubspot
“Mike Walsh provides an interesting and informative look at our future, which will be defined by algorithms and artificial intelligence. The underlying technologies may seem complex, but the message for business leaders is simple: use the new tools to enhance your skills—or become roadkill.”
—Vivek Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow, Harvard Law School, Labor and Worklife Program and author of The Driver in the Driverless Car
“Mike Walsh’s years of talking to the world’s technology leaders have given him unusually deep insight into the ways in which technology will change our world. Now he has written a powerful book that enables the rest of us to gain that insight. This book will change the way you think. Full of rich examples and great quotes, it is like a hyperspeed trip into the future that will give you a whole new perspective on your industry and career.”
—Melissa Schilling, author of Quirky and Strategic Management of Technological Innovation
“Mike Walsh’s The Algorithmic Leader is an intelligent and timely look at leadership in the digital age. If the twentieth century was governed by leaders of people, the twenty-first will be governed by leaders who understand the relationship between people and the technologies that define the modern workplace. Walsh exposes not just opportunities, but also potential pitfalls, ultimately leaving today’s leaders smarter and better prepared for the coming rise of algorithms and big data.”
—Adam Alter, author of the New York Times bestseller Irresistible and Drunk Tank Pink
“I have read many thousands of pages about the impact of algorithms and automation on our lives, and Mike Walsh’s The Algorithmic Leader stands out from the crowd. It is honest in its complexity, practical in its lessons, and profound in its analysis of the future of work. It’s a must-read for anyone contemplating how smart humans can collaborate with smart machines.”—David Epstein, author of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene and Range
“The Algorithmic Leader is brilliant and scary. The scale of change that AI is bringing into our lives can be bewildering. In this timely book, Mike Walsh provides (often counterintuitive) ideas and fascinating insights into what the coming decades will bring. Read it twice, or to be safe, three times. This is an essential book.”
—Efe Cakarel, founder & CEO of MUBI
“We are at the dawn of the artificial intelligence era. Mike Walsh offers a succinct guide for leaders to understand the secrets of the new algorithmic age, and how they apply in a disruptive and diverse global context. You cannot grasp the future of AI without considering Asia. Understanding leaders like Jack Ma and Masayoshi Son is as important as learning from Jeff Bezos or Reed Hastings. Whether you are working in San Francisco or Shanghai, The Algorithmic Leader is a cognitive tool kit for changing the way we think, how we work, and what it takes to win in an increasingly uncertain future.”
—Porter Erisman, former Alibaba vice president and author of Alibaba’s World
“Mike Walsh has always been a fine teller of the future’s stories. But this book is different. It offers not just a way of thinking about the future, but also a set of pragmatic and practical frameworks for navigating them. Oh yeah, and the stories are great too.”
—Genevieve Bell, director of the 3A Institute, Florence Violet McKenzie Chair, distinguished professor at the Australian National University, vice president and senior fellow at Intel Corporation
“If you want to start asking the right questions about the future, then Mike Walsh’s new book is the best place to start. In an age of artificial intelligence, we all need to reconsider ideas around privacy, privilege, power, equality, and even truth. The Algorithmic Leader provides strategies, frameworks, and importantly, provocations designed to wake us up to the fact that our world may look the same, but all the rules have changed.”
—Sean Gourley, founder & CEO of Primer
“Mike Walsh is challenging the old models of management. He paints a future for leadership that has a lot more in common with the art of gardening than the art of war. Great gardeners start with a great vision and then focus on creating an ecosystem that understands, nourishes, and tends, allowing all to become their strongest, no matter what uncertainties they face, until they brilliantly fruit and blossom. Walsh’s principles tell us how it should be done, but then he passionately shows that it is not the ‘how’ that matters but the ‘why’: to make our world a better place for all of humanity to flourish.”
—Ali Parsa, founder & CEO of Babylon Health