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Mind over matter and artificial intelligence: building employee mental fitness for organisational success
Athota V., Palgrave Macmillan, New York, NY, 2021. 78 pp.  Type: Book (978-9-811604-81-2)
Date Reviewed: May 30 2022

In six dense chapters, Athota’s Mind over matter and artificial intelligence digs deep into the technological changes affecting workplaces and workers that trigger the need for different approaches to managing the workforce. He looks under the hood of root changes that have been observed or are emerging, including the penetration of artificial intelligence (a possible blessing or a curse for humanity!) and different approaches to conditioning the workforce to be effective in these new environments with various tools to affect the mindset, commonly referred to as the ability to understand the relationship between technology and work functions. The book sets itself to focus on “the power of the human mind and the role of artificial intelligence in the digital age through creating new jobs and training new employees” while acknowledging and strongly emphasizing that artificial intelligence (AI) is driven by human intelligence.

The first chapter, “Why Mindset Matters in a Digital Age,” establishes the context in which the text discusses the significance of mindset in the age of AI. As the Digital Age is transforming the way we work, a growth mindset in the organization is necessary to support its symbiosis with humane AI. A balance must be found between giving too much importance to AI and our human ability to think and reason. The author establishes psychological fitness as an existential prerequisite of organizations in the Digital Age.

Chapter 2, “Personality at Work in a Digital Age,” investigates psychological theories and models, personality traits and behaviors at work, as well as how personality traits can promote goodness and a growth mindset.

In moving away from the person and toward organizational considerations, chapter 3, “Impact of Fixed and Growth Mindset in Organizations,” emphasizes case studies of growth mindset promotion in Microsoft and IBM, and studies the relationship between leadership, mindset, and the digital age.

The fourth chapter, “The Language of Leaders with a Growth Mindset,” discusses the impact of language and empathy on the employees, the leaders’ followers.

In chapter 5, “Learning from Failures,” the author identifies failures as opportunities for learning and growth. The question of how a leader’s existential, self-actualization struggles relate to success is yet another question succinctly discussed here.

The last chapter, “Conclusion: Building Transformed Growth Minded Organization,” briefly reinforces the pivotal topics in the book and its flow.

One may be surprised to see a 61-page, single-spaced text incarnated as an artifact with hardcovers. However, perhaps the point of view it summarizes justifies the binding. The essay presents well-known and researched topics in a unique context, making connections between the worker, leader, and the organization in a world where humans and AI come together. In this world, the individual’s physical fitness stands behind the successes or failures in organizations.

The essay touches on theories and models that are generally well known and pulls them into a new, down-to-earth, non-sci-fi context, posing new questions and inviting new lines of inquiry.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “mind over matter”: “used to describe a situation in which someone is able to control a physical condition, problem, etc., by using the mind.” The book stays true to its title. It is a one-sitting, page-turning read that evokes a cozy, satisfying feeling of interacting with a scientific text far removed, by its nature, from our guilty pleasures in “For Dummies” literature.

Reviewer:  Goran Trajkovski Review #: CR147448
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