Team Human

Douglas Rushkoff, W.W. Norton & Company, 243 p., 2019


  • Sinn und Werte

In 'Team Human', Douglas Rushkoff explains in one hundred statements that being human means acting as part of a social group. In contrast to the frequently used concept of the Survival of the Fittest, evolution means not only competition and being against each other, but also cooperation. Not only individual and single being, but also community. Social organization and cooperation are what make us human.

The author underlines his point of view with comparisons from the animal and plant world, but the book also offers many possibilities for transfer to professional life and to our own corporate culture, as well as impulses for reflection: What is our corporate culture like? Do we promote a cooperative culture that moves us forward as a whole? Or are we devaluing people and merely using them as a resource for machinery?

Technical progress and the media are particular focal points. What image of humanity underlies our technological innovations? Do we use information technology to empower people and encourage them to achieve more beyond their own limits? Or do we see people as incapable and replaceable and program our algorithms with this attitude? Douglas Rushkoff sees the trend so far as the latter, but makes a clear case here for the former. In both cases, the attitude of the person producing the product shapes the product, which in turn shapes the way society treats it, and thus ultimately society itself. Rushkoff describes the evolution of how we interact with media over time and how they affect us, both personally and socially, providing many points of departure for our own reflection.

Sample passages:

Statement 15: "[...] We can only express our autonomy in relationship to other people. To have autonomy without interdependence leads to isolation or narcissism. To have interdependency with no autonomy stunts our psychological growth. Healthy people live in social groups that have learned to balance or, better, marry these two imperatives."

Statement 85: "[...] Only after humans emerged as individuals, with differentiated perspectives, conflicting beliefs, specialized skills, and competing needs could we possibly comprehend collectivism as an active choice. It is in that positive determination to be members of Team Human that we derive the power and facility to take a deliberate stand on our own behalf."

The book is concise and to the point, and the structure in statements allows an entertaining reading experience. It offers a basic course on the topics of the human image and innovation and is therefore recommended to all managers.

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