My Review of Thornton May’s New Book

A strong book for executives and data analysts alike, November 17, 2009

“Time and again I come back to the base reality that what we have to know – what society and the workplace says/thinks we have to know – has expanded past the point of what an unaugmented individual mind can know.” p 215.

This is, to me, the baseline theme of Thornton May’s new book on what the “New Know” is about. For those that don’t know Thornton, he is a Futurist in the IT space, and speaks at an alarmingly fast pace publicly. I think that’s why I enjoyed the text; his writing packs in a huge amount of insights, comparisons, and parallels into the book. One of Thornton’s goals is to try to expose the inner workings of the “data analyst” – us folks that try to learn from information, gathered from data. If you’re in that camp, the book will be a pep talk. If you’ve read several business intelligence strategy books, some of the information here will be known to you, but I found his presentation so energetic, I didn’t mind 🙂

For executives, it’s an excellent primer on how to think about the value (or non-value in some cases) of data for future businesses. If you’ve not read Competing on Analytics (Davenport, Harvard Press), you’ll get a ‘kick in the rear’ talking to in this book on using data to differentiate or lose out. (I recommend Competing on Analytics before or after reading this text.)

Many of us feel like we are in a state of, in Thornton’s words a “permanent state of attention deficit disorder” when it comes to digesting information. The New Know suggests a new way of filtering and understanding reality.


Jeremy Shapiro is an executive in HR at a leading financial services firm, working on talent analytics. Formerly a Senior Vice President of the Hodes iQ Talent Management Suite at Bernard Hodes Group and is a co-author of the HR metrics book Ultimate Performance. Jeremy has coached hundreds of companies in recruiting and HR technology solutions across industries and sizes. Jeremy is a frequent speaker and author on HR technology topics and HR Business Intelligence topics, such as SHRM, IHRIM, the Human Capital Institute, and more. He is a frequent contributor to articles and whitepapers on HR Business Intelligence. Jeremy holds a Masters of Science in Information Systems from NYU and a B.A in Economics from Rutgers University. Specific topics of research include HR metrics, talent management technology, and next generation recruiting technologies.

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Talent metrics and human capital analytics galore.                                                                        

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