Preface

I have been wanting to write this book for a while. But I could never find the time. It seems that we all have the same challenge. Our lives are so busy. Since the first of my three children arrived several years back, I have been in pursuit of what I believe is the ultimate quest: how do I work smarter, not harder? This way, I can spend my time doing the really important things in life.

This book is about getting closer to that pursuit. The target reader for Information Bombardment is the modern knowledge worker with several e-mail accounts, the latest smartphone and an insatiable appetite to know—that is, to consume all available information. Unfortunately, while we pursue all the bounty of the digital world, we fail to realize the accompanying negative consequences. Why can’t we sleep at night? Why do my fellow employees fail to collaborate with each other? Why can’t my organization tap into to all of its cumulative expertise? Why did it take so long to respond to Hurricane Katrina?

While there are numerous books that discuss the knowl­edge economy, mobile technology, knowledge management and even intellectual capital, this is the first practitioner-focused book to address why we yearn for information to the point of unhealthy and unproductive bombardment. More importantly, this book provides some guidance about what we can do about this problem moving forward.

A knowledge worker (i.e., the typical reader of this book) is defined as someone who is valued for her ability to interpret information like a lawyer, a nurse, a researcher or any office worker. She consumes at least three times as much information as a generation ago and, while working in front of a computer, she can multitask across thirty-six applications in an hour. She is not afraid of digital technology and is often the first to own the latest gadget, which she uses to collaborate with her online community. She is the subject of my analysis.

At the individual level, I am very interested in the impact of all of this information bombardment on her health, her brain and her relationships. At the group level, do her friends share everything with her or do they choose to hoard certain tidbits of information? At the organization level, how does her firm leverage her full intellectual capital potential? Finally, how can her knowledge-sharing behaviors influence institu­tions and society at large?

This book is divided into three parts. Part one addresses the context and issues related to information bombardment (chapters one through eleven). Part two provides implications of the impact of information bombardment at multiple levels of analysis: individual, group, organization and institutional (chapters twelve through sixteen). Finally, part three provides actionable prescriptions that you can follow for all levels of analysis (chapters seventeen through twenty).

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