Josh Bernoff, author of several books, and editor of The Fourth Transformation has agreed to serve as Editor for AI Century: When Machines Get Smarter Than Us, my recently announced new book with Irena Cronin.
He started today, by delivering a gentle, but firm, backhand to our draft Introduction and Table of Contents, sending us back to the Drafting Table to start all over again.
A little background: I first became aware of Josh Bernoff as co-author of Groundswell, the book that eclipsed Naked Conversations as the best-selling tech business book on social media.
So you would think there might be some rivalry, and perhaps there was on one level, but on another, I knew we would have to be outsold by someone sooner or later, and Groundswell was an extremely well-written, well-structured, informative and useful tech business book.
So I became a bit of a competitive fanboy and that continued as he wrote several more books as did I. When he opted to leave Forrester where he was a top-tier analyst, to become a writer and editor, I contracted him to be Editor for The Fourth Transformation.
He did a superb job, always encouraging changes through observation and coaxing rather than slamming and hammering.
He was the obvious pick for my new project with Irena, but when we thought we were ready to announce the new book, Josh was off vacationing in Vermont. An unavailable to take a first look before Irena and I leaped announcing in social media and to thousands of people who have opted in to our mail lists.
The result is that, so far, the response has been tepidly polite, but most certainly, we failed to create the sort of groundswell that Josh had written about so many years earlier in his first book.
When Josh got back last week, he also pointed out that we had failed to make clear who this new book is for, why they will need to read it and what they will walk away knowing that they do not already know and cannot get by reading any of the hundreds of other books on AI that have already come out.
That was in the first five minutes of our conversation. The remainder of the hour was spent with him advising us how to make it a better book.
In fact, the book he was talking about was the book we want to write, but as often happens with many writing projects, we didn’t nail it on the first try and we moved ahead to fast.
The result is that Irena and I will rewrite both documents, making it clear that this book is intended for business decision makers who are trying to grapple with the complexities of Artificial Intelligence.
We will use many case studies to inform business readers what is being done with AI today in the Enterprise and consumer marketplaces, in healthcare, training, the military and government. We will look at robots, bots and drones and explain how they will make businesses more efficient and their customers happier.
We will also explain how AI will change corporate cultures and the way people will operate in warehouse, home offices, labs and universities too, 20 and 50 years from today.
People who read this book, will walk away understanding how to get started in their work immediately, so that they can keep current and on course for an immediate future.
As has been the case, for my seven previous books, we will be as transparent as we possibly can as often as we can possibly be, sharing with you our writing, thinking, interview notes, and failures, so that we can write a better book, not only with the awesome wisdom contained in Josh as our editor. but with you as part of the community behind the book as we move into the AI Century.
We would appreciate you helping us to make this a better book. I have started a Friends of AI Century mail list. If you sign up, you will get early looks at interview notes, early chapter drafts and various extracts prior to our publishing them elsewhere. Just email me and I will add you to our list.