Bontis (Business/McMaster University) offers a broad overview of the information explosion and intelligent advice on how to avoid being suffocated by it.
As a technophile, Bontis feels the pain of those suffering from the excessive, indiscriminate need to consume today’s flood of information because he knows that information contains knowledge and in our knowledge-worker economy, knowledge is what we have to sell as employees. Still, too much information can be debilitating physically, emotionally and in our social and familial lives. The trick is to filter the important stuff from the noise. Bontis, who writes in what is essentially a comfortable speaking voice, takes a leisurely and anecdotal approach to the issue of information bombardment. He paints the historical and technological background of the problem; draws attention to its manifestations on individual, group, organizational and institutional levels; provides numerous examples of his points; and then tenders quality prescriptions to control and facilitate the gathering of applicable knowledge. Readers could simply jump to the last few chapters for Bontis’ toolkit, but his tour of the information highway is entertaining and instructive, gently meandering into neuroanatomy, Anglophonic pitfalls and more—at one point offering a dramatization of how a car crash might play out in the techno-soaked future—as he explores the reasons behind such knowledge-management snafus as the response to Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. “In essence, we need to refine the amount and type of information pulled to us and pushed toward us at every instance…. Choosing which information arrives at your mental desktop is a conscious choice.” He achieves his goal through a combination of software and social networking. The software includes e-mail-rule wizards, push alerts that garner targeted information and Wikinomics tools. He combines these with the human interactions of knowledge cafes (something like show-and-tell), knowledge auctions (rewards for sharing information) and alumni networks to keep all that accumulated knowledge capital in the flow after retirement. As a final piece of advice, he suggests learning to speed read.
Thorough, practical and optimistic—stress relief for the info deluged.