This list of some of the books I’ve enjoyed reading over the last few years is taken from my previous website (with some new additions). I deleted the list in an update and someone emailed to say it was useful and would I put to back – so here it is (with some new books added) ………
Better Library and Learning Space – projects, trends and ideas, Les Watson (Ed), published in 2013. You can see an independent review here
Imagination and Participation – Next Steps in Public Library Architecture, Joyce Sternheim and Rob Bruinzeels, this is an excellent new book that is a pleasure to read. Joyce and Rob are members of the Dutch consultancy ‘The Ministry of Imagination’ and are good friends of mine. The book makes imaginative use of graphics, images and colour that invite the reader to explore the text and follow their own path through it. The book builds the case for new typographies for libraries with new work processes and clearly presents them using real world examples. There are interviews with famous architects that provide holistic perspectives from their considerable experience. All of this will give librarians who find themselves involved in whole building or space planning projects great confidence. If you are involved, or even just interested, in the work of libraries in any way whatsoever then read this book!
Fierce Conversations , Susan Scott
The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins – Enjoyed this but also read
Religion is not a Delusion, Peter Thompson, Guardian Saturday 11th August 2007.
The Experience Economy, B. Joseph Pine & James H. Gilmore – the progression is from products to services to experiences, believe it!
The Black Swan, Nassim Nicholas Taleb – It’s the unexpected that we should worry about. I love the message that we (as Tom Peters says) don’t plan, plan, plan – play, play, play
The Laws of Simplicity, John Maeda – Beautifully simple.
The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg – The original – Ray Oldenburg invented the idea of the Third Place that in thinking about libraries and the learning society over the years.
The Long Tail, How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand, Chris Anderson – Although this labours the point a little it does give food for thought about the deep socio-economic impact of new connected technologies and makes you think about the possible consequences for your industry.
Presence, Exploring Profound Change In People, Organization and Society, Peter senge, C. Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, Betty Sue Flowers – Like no other management book that I have read. Humanising and connecting are two key themes that made me reflect on how badly, in management generally, we do things now and how we could do it better. Well worth reading.
Dialogue and the art of thinking together, William Isaacs – This is an insightful book on communication that fits with curremt thinking on conversational learning. Great book.
Nanotechnology, A gentle introduction to the next big idea, Mark Ratner, Daniel Ratner – The coming thing (at least when I read it!) – well worth reading
How to Get Rich Quick, Felix Dennis – Well I thought I would but according to Dennis I’ve left it a bit too late! (Both reading the book and trying to get rich)
How Buildings Learn – What happens after they’re built, Stewart Brand – A great book that is really readable and full of useful insights.
The Clock of the Long Now, Stewart Brand – Covers some key ideas about preservation and the need to establish some degree of balance between speed and longevity, froth and substance, and the importance of cultural transmission into the future
Information Anxiety, R.S.Wurman – I read this ages ago. If you are worried about, or perplexed or terrified by the torrent of information we are subjected to then read this. It might help
Out of our Minds, Ken Robinson – critiques traditional educational provision and emphasises the importance of creativity
Making Sense of Strategy, Tony Manning – really great concise book on strategy.
Images of Organization, Gareth Morgan – Classic text on organisations.
Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras – Great book on what makes organisations endure.
Good to Great, Jim Collins – Good is not good enough
Creative Destruction – From Built to Last to Built to Perform, Richard Foster and Sarah Caplan – Good on the balance between disruptive and constructive change
It’s Alive, Christopher Meyer & Stan Davis – Considers the convergence of Information (technology), Biology, and Business. Interesting and thought provoking.
Jamming. The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity – Great title with some good ideas and new perspectives.
Funky Business, Ridderstrale & Nordstrom – great ideas, good fun
Circle of Innovation, Tom Peters – I haven’t read much Tom Peters but this is a great fun book full of endless truth and sound advice.
Re-Imagine!, Tom Peters – and this builds on COI in some ways but has a much broader content. Great book with stimulating layout.
Leadership, inspire, liberate,achieve, Tom Peters – If you’re not doing it and can’t find time to go on that leadership course then read this – NO better still go on the course and read this or just read this – it’s short and angry.
Strategy Safari, Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, Lampel – Really good on the variety of ways of conceptualising strategy
Simplicity, The New Competitive Advantage, Bill Jensen – Simplicity, if only we could. Lots of practical advice.
Finding Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – I really like the ideas in here
Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – and here
Good Business, Leadership, Flow and the Making of Meaning, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – and here applied to business
Creativity, Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – and here in relation to creativity
The Innovator’s Dilemma, Clayton Christensen – insights into why organisations find innovation so difficult
Oversold and Underused, Larry Cuban – good critique of why we’ve failed with IT in education
The Flickering Mind, Todd Oppenheimer – highly critical of the use of computers in education
Personalizing Learning, Transforming Education for Every Child, John West-Burnham & Max Coates – I saw a glowing review and recommendation of this book by Tim Brighouse in the Times Educational Supplement. It gives a great summary of the case for personalized learning and is good on IT in education too.
The Design of Everyday things, Donald A. Norman – Great book on the ubiquity of design and its importance
The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, Richard P. Feynman – some of the thoughts, lectures and writings of Feynman. Full of useful insight.
Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell – I think everybody must have read this now. The way the book connects information and ideas is great.
Blink, Malcolm Gladwell – I always thought I trusted my intuition too much but not according to Gladwell. Great to have the reassurance.
Einstein’s Dreams, Alan Lightman – Great title. Explains some of Einstein’s ideas in a fun and understandable way.
The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz – All we hear about is more choice nowadays but apparently its not good for us.
The Medici Effect, Frans Johansson – Majors on interdisciplinarity and in particular the greater chance of insight, innovation and discovery at the intersection of current knowledge domains. Well worth a read.
The Imagineering Way, Ideas to Ignite your Creativity, The Imagineers – The way it’s done at Disney.
Six Thinking Hats, Edward De Bono – If you haven’t read this then do. It can give you the power of multiple perspectives.
Simplicity, Edward De Bono – He does simplicity simply.
New Thinking for the New Millennium, Edward De Bono – You need to read this.
Breakpoint and Beyond, George Land and Beth Jarman – Emphasises the importance of being driven by your envisioned future rather than forensic examination of the past.
Teacher Man, Frank McCourt – Another Tim Brighouse recommendation. Great human story on the trials and tribulations of teaching
Parallel Paths to Constructivism, Susan Pass – Examines the work and lives of Piaget and Vygotsky and compares their theories and beliefs
The Development and Education of the Mind, Howard Gardner – This is a career long collection of selected words by Gardner. If you’ve always wanted an insight into his theory of multiple intelligences and didn’t know what to read then this would do the job
Intelligence Reframed, Howard Gardner – This would also do and it extends some of the ideas into leadership and business
Metaphors We Live By, George Lakoff and Mark Johnson – Fascinating book about the power of metaphor and its centrality to our understanding
The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki – I always thought I knew better than the rest. Looks like I was wrong collectively everybody knows better than anyone.
Unleashing the Idea Virus, Seth Godin – What’s behind viral marketing. Good read.
The World Cafe, Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter, Juanita Brown and David Isaacs