By @SimonCocking, review of 7 Skills for the Future: Adaptability, Critical Thinking, Empathy, Integrity, Optimism, Being Proactive, Resilience, by  Emma-Sue Prince. Available here.

Our world is changing – so fast, so furiously, so ferociously – that to stand out you need to tap into your own resources and competencies. Doing so puts you firmly back into the driving seat of your own life, enabling you to be happier, find and do work you love and have a true sense of purpose. But what are the key competencies that you need? 

7 Skills for the Future sets the scene for seven new soft skills that will propel you forward. Through a combination of scientific research, no-nonsense advice, practical exercises and case studies, this book shows you how to understand, develop and use:

  • Adaptability – respond better to opportunities and change by being flexible and agile
  • Critical thinking – think smarter, more resourcefully, creatively and collaboratively
  • Empathy – nurture all your relationships by learning how to listen and be present
  • Integrity – trust, values and honesty are the name of the game now as is authenticity
  • Optimism – be the most positive person you know
  • Being Proactive – respond rather than react and learn to reinvent yourself
  • Resilience – make mistakes, bounce back, learn from experience and move on to the next challenge

By learning how to tap into these essential skills, and understanding how to put them into practice each day of our lives, we can be happier, more effective and abler to cope with change in an uncertain and exciting future.

The future of work is already upon us. The life / work skills that we need to see us through the next few decades are already radically different from those that we learned in school twenty plus years ago. It could also be argued that even what they are learning in school now might not necessarily be the right skills they need to be acquiring to prepare them for working life in the 2020s and beyond. This is the second edition of Prince’s book, and she has honed in on the key skills necessary to succeed in the new global, multilinked economy. Adaptability, and being proactive make clear sense, then empathy and integrity make a lot of sense as our digital footprint also because our digital exhaust trail, by which people will make assessments about us. Resilience is certainly a popular buzzword but it is equally a useful attribute for sure, and a useful counterbalance to the concern that too many of the millennial generation are snowflake-esque in their approach to adversity.

Overall we found this to be a smart, logical book, with a lot of good insights, uncommon-common sense, and certain passages we even wanted to underline (page 261, 3rd para) and force feed to our own teenagers. Maybe that is too strong an approach, but this is certainly a useful book for everyone to read, both people in their 40s and beyond assessing how to stay relevant, and also teens and 20 somethings working out how to embrace this new and much changed world of work.


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