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Humans Are Underrated: Proving Your Value in the Age of Brilliant Technology
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Humans Are Underrated: Proving Your Value in the Age of Brilliant Technology

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  685 ratings  ·  77 reviews
From the bestselling author of Talent is Overrated, an extensive look at the essential human skills that can never be replaced by technology.

In the economy of a few years from now, what will people do better than computers? Technology is rapidly invading fields that it once could not touch, driving cars better than humans do, predicting Supreme Court decisions better than
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by Portfolio (first published August 1st 2015)
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☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Seriously, if storytelling is such a large chunk of what humans can do, sign me up for robotification right now. I firmly believe that storytelling is an evil undertaking designed to waste shitloads of my time and highjack large pieces of projects just to tell some story every-fucking-one already heard is some version somewhere sometime.
Humans should be better at other stuff: intuition, thinking, imagination, inventing, being the masterminds behind the data-crunching macnines... Not making shit
Wynn Netherland
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A little slow to get started, Colvin spent so much time talking about how computers are putting us all out of work, I was expecting a pitch for basic income.

The balance of the book does a good job of showing the power of empathy in the new economy, especially for large, dynamic organizations. The latter chapters are thought provoking, especially for anyone leading distributed teams.
John Park
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Three and half stars.

Humans are Misunderstood might be a more accurate title, though "underrated" probably is more eye-catching. This is a piece of journalism, smoothly and brightly written, rather than an academic treatise; Colvin does list his sources, but few are primary, a lot are web pages and popular books, and his instances of "scientists believe" or "as X says" do leave room for suspicion that he is cherry-picking in the interests of making a case. But generally he makes his case well, p
Raz Pirata
“Infotech is doubling in power every two years. I am not - and I’ll guess you are not either.”

I remember walking down Houston St, about a quarter mile from FDR drive, when a gentleman of questionable sobriety appeared. He was howling at the heavens, “the future is here, the FUTURE IS HERE!”. (God I love New York)

I shuffled my step to give his prophecy space when a few knuckle heads on the corner started egging him on. “Where is it brother? I can’t see it. I must’ve gone blind, where is the futur
Sep 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
At times fascinating, but mostly the descriptions of what computers are able to do,or will be doing soon. I am a little doubtful that computers will be crowded out of "human" jobs - those emphasizing emotion and interaction. I suspect computers will be programmed for many of these activities too, and in some cases cost and accessibility may win out over our supposedly better bedside manner. Not all the time perhaps, but enough for there to be significant economic displacement And that is my grea ...more
Sasha Boersma
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you read a lot on the topic, not a lot new. What I did like was what the author brought to the book for those who hadn't already read a lot on the topic.

Right to the point - Humans are empathy machines who tell stories. Computers are logical and factual. Therefore the future jobs for humans are in empathy and storytelling.

Before I returned the book to the library, I wish I made note of one thing that hit me, and that was he was't referring to the current economic era as the knowledge era - be
Nigel Shenton
I think it took me from September to November to read because I was in so many other books and order so many and put all of them currently reading instead of when I open it. It really only took me 4 to 3 days of an hour here and there of reading to finish. Was a quick read and thoroughly liked what the author was saying. Rise of Human services it a new era cause from the technology revolution. Ok that was a bit dramatic but not sappy like oh man,,,, more like where is man?!?!
Wendi Lau
Oct 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
What?! A computer can do legal discovery, financial planning, and medical diagnoses?! Anything requiring drawing on a wealth of information to make an informed decision is now better done by computers. (I thought it was just McDonalds and WalMart cashiers). That friend who can organize and incentivize her co-workers to stick to a schedule and produce their best work – she’s the hot commodity now. Not you with your computer science and math degrees. Can you listen and predict how your teammates w ...more
Navneet Bhushan
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being more and more human is the skill, ironically, will be what is needed more and more as our economic world shifts to more and more intelligent machines. This is the basic premise of the book. To be human and to leverage human skills of empathy, deeper understanding of the complex ways in which other humans work, respond and operate in a world where not only most mechanical jobs are going to increasingly intelligent machines, the ability to collaborate with other humans and empathise with the ...more
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Awesome, insightful and thought-provoking with a highly readable style of writing. It definitely got me to re-appraise how I had been thinking of my own skills and competencies.
Dec 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books
This book puts us in a different perspective amidst the talk about technologies, computers and AI taking over our jobs. Technology is getting better every day and it is growing exponentially. A lot of things that we knew were not possibly performed by computers and machines are now becoming a reality. We should expect the trend to continue. However, instead of chasing to race against the machine, which for most tasks they will do better than humans, if not now but eventually, the author argues t ...more
Haur Bin Chua
Nov 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Book on man vs machine and how man continue to have the upper hand in the challenge. This book explores how as technology advances, there are limits to which technology can replace human ingenuity. Ultimately humanity problems require human solutions which artificial intelligence are unable to come out with. And human solutions require creativity, empathy, trust & relationship at personal level, all of which cannot (or at least have yet to) be coded.

Also highlighted as skills require to succeed
Kevin Eikenberry
Sep 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Geoff Colvin, the senior editor-at-large at Fortune wrote one of my favorite books of 2008 – Talent is Overrated. Now he’s written what will clearly be one of my favorites of 2015.

This book took me on more of an emotional roller coaster ride than any great novel or whodunit. The first two chapters were informative and scary – telling just how fast computers (and technology-cousins robots of all sorts) are improving – and what they can already do that you may not be aware of.

Then the book takes a
John Orr
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
I got very little out of this book. For me, it read too much like a middle school term paper. The author seems to think that providing a quote or clever anecdote provides sufficient evidence to prove his broad, sweeping economic predictions. Much of the book consists of the author making fairly mundane observations before leaping to conclusions that are either blindingly obvious or complete speculation. The idea that emotional intelligence is becoming more and more important in the modern world ...more
Bill Pritchard
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geoff Colvin has written an easy to read book that reads more like an essay - a call to the skills that this and future generations will need to refine and improve in order to better utilize the impacts of the improving technology around us. I found each chapter as a stand alone essay very thought provoking - it is the interactions and interpersonal skills between people and teams that will make for the greatest successes and improvements. It is an area that I don't excel in - and I consider it ...more
This is a book that I got from the library and now will be buying a copy of to foist on everyone I know. It is a great review of critical human skills that make our world better and will continue to, even as we increase our reliance on machines. Anyone wondering how they can improve themselves to be relevant in that not-so-distant future should read this. Has great commentary and examples of humans working in teams, for instance, and adding value through pure human social connection.
David R.
Colvin lays down some depressing news about the future of humanity vis a vis technology. Technology will commoditize almost all jobs now done by humans and only a narrow set of "relational" occupations will remain truly human. As to how all this will come about when technology is also disrupting human interrelationships is anyone's guess. ...more
Marco Morales
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: human
It has good insights about our future coexisting with machines smarter than us. I consider interesting how the author argues our brain evolved at this high cognitive level mainly because we needed to interact socially. I don't really think it is completely accurate but it makes you think. Although it is kind of redundant at the end, it is worth reading. ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely book,
There was common saying the technology going to outs the human employment.. In real the new invention eliminate the old one and not humans
Author explains why better technology required and how it helps the human evolution.. an interesting write to read.
Overall can Check it out..
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, to be short, this book ensures that humans cannot be 100% replaced by machines, especially, where team work is essential. And to my surprise: the best teams are only where there are women included but not the smartest men, because apparently empathy is EVERYTHING.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Human to human relationships will never be mimicked by computers well enough for people to prefer them. Okay time will tell Mr Colvin
Don Putnam
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
About a year after this book came out, I listened to a number of key note speakers from our IT management which left me feeling depressed (my job is in the IT sector). I've long suspected this and these speakers confirmed it. Automation, robotics and outsourcing IT work to India and other low-cost countries is the prevailing strategy of in-house IT. Other technology companies that actually produce software are probably in the same boat.

If you are a manufacturer laborer or in the IT or engineerin
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
For some reason, I didn't care for this book as much as I thought I would, given how connected I feel to the topic (having a liberal arts degree and being quite concerned about my ability to get a job, both now and in the future). I think it may be the tone of the book; it's not harsh, or cold, or unfeeling, or anything I can put a definitive negative term on, it just felt somewhat...offputting. Like, even though I can't point to anything Colvin wrote that sounded sketchy, at times I questioned ...more
Wally Bock
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the five best books I read in 2015

The key insight of this book is that human brains evolved for social interaction. What Colvin does is spin out the implications of that insight, with excellent real life examples. This book is a wonderful counterpoint to the books which attempt to predict the future and also to the ones who claim that computers will never be able to do what humans do. The strength of the analysis is that you will get an idea of how you might adapt effectively to a rapidly
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The world is changing fast. Computers are expanding their capacity to handle cognitive processes faster than humans have a chance of doing, and we can't keep up.

Geoff Colvin asks the question, "Why should we?" Were humans made to work that mimics and rivals computational power and processes, or is there some other kind of work that computers will never imitate?

This book focuses on the skills that computers are not able to recreate, and which not only will remain valuable in the changing economy
Rohit Tandekar
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A book that deals with the hot topic of technology disrupting organizations and AI taking over jobs. I recommend this book to everyone who's currently trying to understand what he or she is going to face in the future and how one can navigate through the uncertainties lying ahead.

The author tries his best to anticipate the reader's apprehensions about the facts and stories he states and successfully manages to douse every tiny flame of doubt or apprehension he might have and thus weaves a well
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sachbuch
By and large, I enjoyed reading this book. It's typical journalist-style (i.e., it usually relies more on anecdotes to "prove" its points than on empirical science), but it is entertaining and contains many an interesting observation. In my opinion not so much about the relationship between humans and AI but more about how we think, learn and cooperate.

Only the last chapter I found rather disappointing. Here, the author tries to make predictions for the future, which is always treacherous terra
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it

Interesting view on what will be the valuable skills in the upcoming age of technology doing everything.

Hardest things for Technology will be centered around people. Dealing with data and things will soon surpass humans in all jobs.

Empathy is the core valuable skill for this next age. This is something that men are intrinsically bad at, and likely will be worse at empathy than machines themselves. (That's not saying much). Skill in working in collaborative teams which understand each others stre
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book I had come across on this topic - eye opening. A quick read as well - would recommend it to friends and colleagues. I liked that the book went into the recent advancements in technology, notably IBM's Watson, and how these advancements had exceeded what people thought would ever be possible from a machine. The author provided a number of innate human strengths and clear examples of how humans used them to their advantage (he had a number of military examples). I thought t ...more
It's hard for me to say that this book is disappointing as I had low expectations coming in, but it fell below these. The book breezes over the technical aspects of AI, preferring to focus on the future social impact of AI and potential coping mechanisms. However, the author mostly just proposes one or two ideas and repeats them in different iterations. The lack of original thinking grows apparent very quickly as does the generally superficial level of the research. Midway through I thought I ha ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Geoff (Geoffrey) Colvin has a degree in economics from Harvard and an M.B.A. from New York University. He is an author, a broadcaster, and speaker. He is also Senior Editor-at-Large of Fortune Magazine.

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