Humility Is the New Smart | Edward D. Hess

Summary of: Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age
By: Edward D. Hess


Welcome to the fascinating world of the Smart Machine Age (SMA) as elucidated in Edward D. Hess’s insightful book, ‘Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age’. As the SMA unfolds and machines threaten to replace up to 47% of US jobs within the next two decades, we must adapt by embracing a NewSmart mindset. This introduction will explore the pivotal skills needed to thrive in the SMA, including quieting the ego, managing self, reflective listening, and mastering otherness. All this hinges on the power of humility and the ability to adjust our mental models in order to complement and collaborate with the evolving machine era.


The Smart Machine Age (SMA) is approaching, and it is set to reshape the job market and human decision-making processes. With technological advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and genetic engineering, humans need a new approach to thrive in the SMA. This new approach is known as NewSmart. To avoid job loss, humans must complement the work of machines by engaging in critical thinking, emotional engagement, and creative practices. Collaboration is the key to achieving this since it enhances greater critical thinking, emotional engagement and creativity. Therefore, humans need to learn how to collaborate effectively to acquire the necessary skills to thrive in the SMA.

Flourishing in the Smart Machine Age

To succeed in the Smart Machine Age, it is crucial to develop four key skills. The first is the ability to quiet one’s ego, which involves being open-minded and objective. Secondly, managing oneself is essential as it helps to foster control over one’s thoughts and feelings. Reflective listening is the third skill that requires a deeper understanding of people’s ideas and thoughts. Lastly, mastering otherness is crucial to establish and maintain strong connections with others. Developing these skills helps to embrace critical and creative thinking, which is necessary for human collaboration in the Smart Machine Age.

Transform Your Beliefs

To succeed in the SMA, you need to update your mental model by embracing humility, which allows you to perceive the world accurately and meet people genuinely. The mental model comprises your ideas, beliefs, and perceptions of the world, shaped by your background and education. However, most mental models are based on a worldview that was, not the new world that is to be. Therefore, success means changing your mental model by embracing humility, which is not about being submissive or meek but operating in a self-accurate, open-minded way that focuses on others’ needs.

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