The Power of Pull

How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion

John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, Lang Davison

Basic Books, April 2010

In a radical break with the past, information now flows like water, and we must learn how to tap into its stream. Individuals and companies can no longer rely on the stocks of knowledge that they’ve carefully built up and stored away. But many of us remain stuck in old practices—practices that could undermine us as we search for success and meaning.

In this revolutionary book, three doyens of the Internet age, whose path-breaking work has made headlines around the world, reveal the adjustments we must make if we take these changes seriously. In a world of increasing risk and opportunity, we must understand the importance of pull. Understood and used properly, the power of pull can draw out the best in people and institutions by connecting them in ways that increase understanding and effectiveness. Pull can turn uncertainty into opportunity, and enable small moves to achieve outsized impact.

Drawing on pioneering research, The Power of Pull shows how to apply its principles to unlock the hidden potential of individuals and organizations, and how to use it as a force for social change and the development of creative talent.

The authors explore how to use the power of pull to:

  • Access new sources of information
  • Attract like-minded individuals from around the world
  • Shape serendipity to increase the likelihood of positive chance encounters
  • Form creation spaces to drive you and your colleagues to new heights
  • Transform your organization to adapt to the flow of knowledge

The Power of Pull is essential reading for entrepreneurs, managers, and anybody interested in understanding and harnessing the shifting forces of our networked world.

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About the Author

John Hagel III has more than 30 years experience as a management consultant, author, speaker and entrepreneur, and has helped companies improve their performance by reshaping business strategies and more effectively integrating them with operating, organizational and technology capabilities. Hagel currently serves as co-chairman of the Silicon Valley-based Deloitte Center for the Edge, which conducts original research into emerging business opportunities that should be on the CEO’s agenda but are not as yet.

Before joining Deloitte, Hagel was an independent consultant and writer. Prior to that, he held significant positions at leading consulting firms and companies. From 1984 to 2000, he was a Principal at McKinsey & Co., where he was a leader of the Strategy Practice. In addition, he founded and led McKinsey’s Electronic Commerce Practice from 1993 to 2000. Hagel has also served as senior vice president of strategic planning at Atari, Inc., and earlier in his career, worked at Boston Consulting Group. He is the founder of two Silicon Valley startups.

Hagel is the author of a series of best-selling business books, including Net Gain, Net Worth, Out of the Box,The Only Sustainable Edge and, most recently, The Power of Pull. Earlier in his career, he wrote two other books: Alternative Energy Strategies and Assessing the Criminal. He has won two awards from Harvard Business Review for best articles in that publication and has been recognized as an industry thought leader by a variety of publications and professional service firms.

John Seely Brown (JSB) is a visiting scholar and advisor to the Provost at University of Southern California (USC) and the Independent Co-Chairman of the Deloitte’s Center for the Edge. Prior to that he was the Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and the director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)–a position he held for nearly two decades. He was a cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning (IRL). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Education.

JSB is an avid reader, traveler and motorcyclist. Part scientist, part artist and part strategist, his views are unique and distinguished by a broad view of the human contexts in which technologies operate and a healthy skepticism about whether or not change always represents genuine progress.

His unofficial title has become Chief of Confusion focusing on helping people ask the right questions and make sense out of a constantly changing world.

Lang Davison has been Chief Content Officer of the Strategy and Technology Center of Deloitte LLP since May 2007. Davison was previously employed at McKinsey & Company, where he was Editor of its flagship publication, The McKinsey Quarterly since 2003. During his fourteen years at McKinsey, he served in a variety of senior communications, content and media roles, leading the development team for, which he edited from 1998 to 2003, and developing and taking to market the best-selling and critically acclaimed books Net Gain and Net Worth, both authored by John Hagel III, as well as more than 300 articles in the McKinsey Quarterly, Harvard Business Review, Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal by thought leaders like Stanford’s Robert Sutton, Harvard’s Pankaj Ghemewat, McKinsey’s Lowell Bryan and Eric Beinhocker and IMD’s Phil Rosenzweig. Davison holds a BA from Dartmouth College, an MFA from the Columbia University School of the Arts and an MBA from the Columbia Graduate School of Business.