top of page
  • Toby Sinclair

Summary: The Coming Wave by Mustafa Suleyman, Michael Bhaskar

⭐ Toby's Rating: 8/10

Quit by Annie Duke Summary Image

Why read this? 📚

"Everything is about to change. Soon you will live surrounded by AIs... None of us are prepared".

This book will get you prepared. But it might also get you scared!

3 Big Ideas from The Coming Wave by Mustafa Suleyman, Michael Bhaskar 💡

Here are three big ideas that business leaders can apply to lead their business and team more effectively:

  1. The Future and Implications to Leadership: The Coming Wave by Mustafa Suleyman underscores the urgency for everyone to understand the profound changes AI and bio-technologies will bring. We’ve obviously all heard about AI but bio-tech was something I hadn’t appreciated. In the context of synthetic biology, a single person today likely “has the capacity to kill a billion people.” The workplace of the near future will be deeply integrated with AI systems, from decision-making processes to operational efficiencies, requiring leaders to adapt to a world where AI powers their business. There will be big changes in how organizations are led, managed, and even created.

  2. Navigating the Containment Problem: For workplace leaders, the containment problem translates into finding the balance between leveraging technological advancements for competitive advantage and ensuring ethical, responsible use. Leaders must advocate for and implement safeguards, ethical guidelines, and regulatory compliance in their organizations, preparing for the risks associated with AI, such as job displacement and privacy concerns.

  3. Embracing the Democratization of Technology: As technology becomes more accessible, leaders must consider its implications for power dynamics within and outside their organizations. This calls for fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptability among employees, ensuring equitable access to technological tools, and addressing the ethical implications of widespread technology use.

2 Best Quotes From The Coming Wave 💬

“Over time, then, the implications of these technologies will push humanity to navigate a path between the poles of catastrophe and dystopia. This is the essential dilemma of our age.”

“Within the next couple of years, whatever your job, you will be able to consult an on-demand expert, ask it about your latest ad campaign or product design, quiz it on the specifics of a legal dilemma, isolate the most effective elements of a pitch, solve a thorny logistical question, get a second opinion on a diagnosis, keep probing and testing, getting ever more detailed answers grounded in the very cutting edge of knowledge, delivered with exceptional nuance. All of the world’s knowledge, best practices, precedent, and computational power will be available, tailored to you, to your specific needs and circumstances, instantaneously and effortlessly. It is a leap in cognitive potential at least as great as the introduction of the internet. And that is before you even get into the implications of something like ACI and the Modern Turing Test.”

Toby's Top Takeaway From The Coming Wave

“The coming wave is defined by two core technologies: artificial intelligence (AI) and synthetic biology.”

I love technology. I enjoy experimenting and exploring the latest trends.

I know this love for technology is not always shared.

I must admit too, I’m a little fearful of what the future holds. Even more so after reading The Coming Wave by Mustafa Suleyman. In particular, the threat that biotechnology brings to the planet is a risk I had not even considered before reading this book.

Specifically for leaders this coming wave brings several challenges. Leaders must champion initiatives that balance innovation with ethical considerations, ensuring that the march toward technological advancement benefits both their organizations and society at large. This involves a strategic approach to technology governance, talent development, and ethical leadership, preparing for a future where AI and biotechnology are central to every aspect of the workplace.

Turn Your Knowledge into Action 🛠️

Here is an exercise you can do based on the lessons from The Coming Wave:

Exercise: Fear-Setting

Objective: To confront fears, particularly those blocking you from taking action, through a structured exercise called Fear-Setting. This process is designed to outline the worst-case scenarios associated with a decision or action you're considering, enabling you to rationalize fears and create actionable plans to mitigate potential downsides.


Define Your Fear:

  • Identify a decision or action you're hesitating to take because of fear.

  • Write down in detail what exactly you are afraid of happening if you pursue this action. Be as specific as possible.

Prevent and Repair:

  • For each fear, write down answers to the following questions:

    • What could I do to prevent each of these fears from happening?

    • If they were to happen, what could I do to repair the damage or who could I ask for help?

Benefits of Attempt/Partial Success:

  • Reflect on the potential benefits, even if you achieve partial success. What skills might you develop, people you might meet, or personal growth you might experience?

The Cost of Inaction:

  • Imagine the impact of inaction in the short term (3-6 months), in a year, and three years. How might your life be worse if you do nothing?

Taking Action:

  • Based on your reflections, decide on the smallest step you can take right now toward your goal. This step should be something that moves you forward but feels manageable.

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours

Outcome: A detailed analysis of your fears, strategies to prevent or mitigate them, and an understanding of the benefits of taking action and the costs of inaction. This exercise culminates in identifying a concrete step you can take immediately, breaking the inertia of fear.

This exercise leverages the principle that often, our fears are more paralyzing in our minds than in reality. By methodically breaking them down and planning for the worst-case scenarios, we empower ourselves to take action despite fear, equipped with a rational plan to navigate potential obstacles.

📹 Prefer Video?


Arthur Davido
Arthur Davido

A huge thank you to SOP Services for their support with my teacher statement of purpose. Their comprehensive guide provided clarity and direction, making the writing process much smoother. I also found their sample SOPs to be incredibly helpful for understanding the structure and tone expected. I highly recommend their services to anyone tackling their own SOP!

bottom of page