Book Recommendations

Meet your next favourite book...

The Square and the Tower 

by Niall Ferguson

We have argued that we live in the connected age. So a book analysing how connectedness (networks) have influenced human history seems extremely relevant.

This book is a history of the west through the framing of networks (the town square) and hierarchies (the tower).

At times it seems to stretch to include significant events within this approach but it is largely successful. It also contains an excellent introduction to network analysis in general.

Buy The Square and the Tower now on Amazon.


Hit refresh

by Satya Nadella

Yet another Chief Executive explaining how they turned the company around. And it's quite soon to claim to have transformed Microsoft's fortunes

Even so, this is both interesting and highly readable. And Satya's focus on mindset and culture is right on the money for us.

Buy Hit Refresh: The quest to discover Microsoft's soul and imagine a better future for everyone. Now


Reset by Ellen Pao cover

by Ellen Pao

A really important book. On the face of it Ellen Pao's experiences in a Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm may not seem to have wider relevance. Sadly they do. If you care about organisational culture you must read this book.

Buy Reset: My fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change now

by Rutger Bregman

It is an extremely easy read. It makes a fluent case for universal basic income, substantial changes to the financial system and labour market reform including global free movement. Worth a read if you're interested in these sorts of things (and who isn't)?

Buy Utopia for realists now

by Dave Gray

This book is brilliant - a compelling read. Liminal thinking is about making change happen by changing underlying beliefs and mindsets. The book starts by explaining how beliefs shape everything, then explains what you can do with that knowledge to create positive change. Dave gives clarity to a complex subject through compelling storytelling and doodles.

Purchase Liminal Thinking at Amazon

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

by Ed Catmull

The best business book I have ever read. It's reaffirms everything we do though looks at things from a different angle. It's the story of Pixar and how they grew it and all the things they discovered along the way.

Purchase Creativity, Inc. at Amazon

The Service Startup. Design Gets Lean

by Tenny Pinheiro

In an age of lean startup culture Tenny makes a case for a shift from your typical MVP to the MVS (Minimal Viable Service). Hold off on that business model canvas, you need to spend longer in discovery phase, use empathy and look at needs before jumping right into the solutions, platforms and services with your MVP.  Links to lots of free tools too!

Purchase The Service Startup. Design Gets Lean at Amazon

Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy

by Amy Edmondson 

I really like this book. It's clear, it's well evidenced and it's packed with practical insights. If you are a manager in an organisation seeking to understand how you can help improve collaboration and effectiveness, this is a great work. It's very detailed, which might not work for everyone and, though it is clearly written it's not the most accessible book around. A serious book for serious folk.

Purchase Teaming at Amazon

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

by General Stanley McChrystal

Stan McChrystal has quite a story to tell and he tells it well. He took the Special Operations Command and turned it into a networked, lean organisation. As always with "how I did it" books we have to take his word for many of his successes.  Yet, if you're looking for a practical and accessible case study of how you might really do this "connect-age" stuff in your own organisation, this will give you that. 

Purchase Team of Teams at Amazon

The Connected Company

by Dave Gray and Thomas Vander Wal

This excellent book explains why organisations need to be adaptable in today's connected society (adapt or die!) and explains how you get there from here, including the first steps you can make to change on Monday morning. It applies to all types of organisation - not just the corporate world.  Miss it at your peril!

Purchase The Connected Company at Amazon

Turn this Ship Around

by L David Marquet

The story of a US naval officer charged with leading a nuclear submarine without detailed knowledge of the technical workings of the ship. It was the worst performing submarine in the US army. The book is jammed full of really practical things you can do as a leader to give autonomy to your team - leading by asking the right questions.

Purchase Turn this Ship Around at Amazon

Steal Like an Artist

by Austin Kleon

This quick (read it in one sitting) amusing read guides you on how to become more creative in your thinking. Nothing new, yet good if you're stuck with something.

Purchase Steal Like an Artist at Amazon

The Brand Gap

by Marty Nuemeier

Brand 101, this is a no nonsense investigation of how brand works on many levels. How do you get the brand right? with values in one hand and commercial reality to grow, reach new markets, diversify in the other hand. He builds the case for connecting your brand to emotion in order to create memories. Experience design with product and services can create a memory that means trust. Trust is everything.

Purchase The Brand Gap at Amazon


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