5 Timely Books for Summer 2023...and More

July 5, 2023

Summer is here! That means it’s time to recommend some relevant books, articles, blog posts, podcasts, and videos to make the most of your summer.

You’ll find an eclectic selection covering the key issues of the day. Books and other media on logistics, strategy, technology/AI, and the future are included.

These books, articles, etc., provide useful analysis, interpretation, forecasts, and perspectives covering industry news, business global affairs, economics, and policy/regulatory issues.

With that, you’ll get the most current information on topics that matter.

Our recommendations also provide another way to consume information to accommodate your busy schedule… even though it’s summer.

They offer a broad and balanced summer reading plan. With five books and 25 articles, blog posts, podcasts, and videos, there’s enough here to fill your summer.

Let’s dive into our summer book recommendations and why you should read them.

The Magic Conveyor Belt by Yossi Sheffi; 349 pages; (March 28, 2023)

Why You Should Read This Book: For starters, Yossi Sheffi needs no introduction. He’s an MIT Professor of Engineering Systems, an industry expert, and a prolific author on logistics. 

Sheffi’s title is an apt metaphor for how today’s supply chains function. He compares supply chains to conveyor belts. Namely, the supply chain represents a continuous flow of data, information, money, and products. So, flows/movement is a defining trait.

The “magic” refers to the uncanny way products find their way from the factory to the consumer. What’s uncanny is that these flows are almost seamless. Also, like conveyor belts, supply chains strive to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and improve safety.

Sheffi describes and unpacks the complexity of the supply chain process coherently by addressing:

  • Key technologies that will impact supply chains, such as additive manufacturing, IoT, and analytics
  • The move to and rising importance of data-driven decision making
  • New industry skills to deal with increasing automation and cyber attacks
  • The identification of six areas in which humans trump computers/technology

Overall, Sheffi covers the critical logistics and supply chain issues of the day. He keeps an eye on the future.

The Magic Conveyor Belt is available in paperback and Kindle formats. It is well worth reading!

The Art of War by Sun Tzu; 137 pp.; (5th century BCE)

Why You Should Read This Book: This is a historical book. Ancient, to be exact.

The Art of War applies not only to military strategy but also to business, politics, and even sports.

The infamous spy balloon episodes and China’s overtures to Cuba regarding the building of a Chinese military installation suggest deteriorating relations. That makes this book an appropriate recommendation.

The Art of War represents insight into how the Chinese government thinks and acts. The Chinese pursue conflict resolution (and trade) through strategic thinking. That entails a long-term view informed by knowing your strengths and weaknesses, understanding the competition, and the operating environment (ecosystem).

This book is considered a classic that features Chinese philosophy and strategy. And it’s not restricted to military strategy. The Art of War is beneficial for business leaders and has a direct application to the logistics industry.

This classic has significant relevance in today’s chaotic, and uncertain times. It’s also a quick and relatively easy read. You can find Deluxe Collection Edition on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.

Competing for the Future by C. K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel; 352 pp. (1994)

Why You Should Read This Book: This book is all about competing in an unpredictable environment like the one we find ourselves in today. Written almost twenty years ago, this book is germane to the logistics industry’s ongoing transformation.

The book’s value stems from the need to identify and understand trends.

As with The Art of War, Prahalad and Hamel take a strategic view of how trends shape the operating environment. Having foresight of upcoming trends will inform you about what to expect. More specifically, you’ll learn how to position your business for competitive advantage in the New Normal. 

In endorsing the book, Peter Senge stated that Competing for the Future is written by “…arguably the two most influential thinkers on strategy in the Western world.

With that resounding endorsement, we highly recommend you place this book near the top of your summer reading list.

I, Human: AI, Automation, and the Quest to Reclaim What Makes Us Unique by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic; 208 pp. (Feb 2023)

Why You Should Read This Book: This recommended book about AI focuses on humans rather than machines. It offers advice and insights that address the nefarious, hyper-claims of AI taking over our world.

Chamorro-Premuzic addresses how humans can shape AI. His perspective runs counter to the negative narrative dominating the internet and the news. That makes this book a noteworthy read.

That said, Chamorro-Premuzic does not ignore AI’s advertised negative aspects. However, he also sheds light on how to tame those negative effects and thrive. The author explains how to leverage this powerful technology to our benefit.

He suggests that humans have a decision to make. We can embrace and adapt to AI, or we can succumb to AI’s potentially destructive influences.

Shaping the AI future landscape is well within our means. Chamorro-Premuzic makes the case that we have the wherewithal to shape the future AI landscape. But it won’t happen automatically. Instead, shaping the AI landscape must be deliberate and purposeful.

It is important to embrace AI as soon as possible, as the impacts on humanity may surpass the impacts of the industrial revolution. With huge stakes like these, humankind should address AI head-on.

That should make for a quick read.

The Exponential Age: How Accelerating Technology is Transforming Business, Politics, and Society by Azeem Azhar; 352 pp.; (Sep 2021)

Why You Should Read This Book: The book’s author, Azeem Azhar, is a prominent technology analyst. He hosts the Exponential View podcast, offering a new model for understanding how technology is evolving so fast, and why it fundamentally alters the world.

This book examines the impact of exponential technologies on different aspects of human life. Technological development has been occurring at a breakneck pace — at an exponential rate, affecting how we live, work, and relate to one another.

Azhar uses the term "exponential technologies" to refer to artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The author explains the new dynamic landscape. He addresses how accelerating technology is reshaping the world, highlighting opportunities and challenges. It examines exponential technologies’ risks and benefits. He also explains how individuals, businesses, governments, and society can manage this dynamic and disruptive technology successfully.

This book comes in hardcover, Kindle, and audio formats and is available on Amazon.

Articles, Blog Posts, Podcasts, and Videos

If reading books consumes too much of your time, don’t worry. We’ve provided a variety of topical information in a variety of convenient formats to suit your preferences.

Sources: Here’s a list of some of the authoritative references we selected to cull the best industry news, data, and advice.

They include Businessweek, Inbound Logistics, Journal of Commerce, Supply Chain Brain, MIT Technology Review, and Sloan Management Review, to name a few.

Articles and Blog Posts


US Boosts Enforcement of Export Controls to Contain China, Russia

Why Prospect of US-China ‘Decoupling’ Is Getting Serious

Inbound Logistics

Hurricane Season – 11 Questions to Ask Yourself

3 Strategies for Supply Chain Resilience

Reshoring Moves Beyond the Drawing Table

Journal of Commerce

Lackluster north-south demand, rates to rebound in Q3: forwarders

US House bill aims to cap further growth in ship emissions

NVO share of US imports from Asia growing in post-COVID ocean market

MIT Technology Review

AI Is Helping Companies Redefine, Not Just Improve, Performance

Sloan Management Review

The Future Workplace Depends on Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Balance

What, Me Worry?

Supply Chain 24x7

How the Leaders Are Tackling Global Trade Management


Council of Supply Chain Professionals (CSCMP)

Todd Bulmash of CSCMP's Transportation Center of Excellence

Supply Chain in the Fast Lane: Responding to the labor crisis

Exponential View

What is the Exponential Age? Macro Hive Expert Explainers: Azeem Azhar

Azeem on AI: Where will the Jobs Come from After AI?

Supply Chain Brain

The Ever-Evolving Truckload Transportation Market

Wall Street Journal

China Plans New Military Training Site in Cuba

Fed Rate Hikes, But Signals More to Come

Special Reports


CSCMP’s Annual State of Logistics Report

CSCMP Report: Companies shorten supply chains, boost tech investments

Supply Chain Brain: The Circular Supply Chain Is Driving Corporate Decarbonization

YouTube Videos

Supply Chain Brain

The Cost of a Bad Connection: A Drain on Automation Gains

Flexible Automation and the Future of the Human Workforce

We hope you find our eclectic mix of books, articles, blog posts, etc. informative and entertaining.

Whether you need ideas and advice on trends, risks, the new world of work, or supply chain digitization, you’ll find what you need in our list of recommendations.

Summer is an opportune time to consider your strategic direction for the rest of the year and beyond. Our expert team can help you adapt and compete in the new competitive landscape.

American Global Logistics can help you position your business for competitive advantage as your business transforms into the New Normal.

As you assess where you are and where you want to be, contact American Global Logistics today. Together, we can help you meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.

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