Books I’ve read – November 2009
A fair number of people who read my blog posts also end up consulting the list of books I’ve read in recent years. Based on their reaction, I’ve come to realize that the organization of my virtual bookshelf could be improved. Moving forward, I will publish a monthly post on the books I’ve read during the previous month – this is the first of such posts.
In preparation for our Strategic Café I read the following two books. I’m working on a post describing the process which should come out in the next few weeks.
A few words on this book: This is a great book if you are looking to start meaningful conversations on topics that are close to people’s heart. The book covers the requirements to organize a successful World Café.
The World Café is a flexible, easy-to-use process for fostering collaborative dialogue, sharing collective knowledge, and discovering new opportunities for action. World Café originators Juanita Brown and David Isaacs outline seven core design principles and provide practical tips and tools for convening and hosting “conversations that matter,” even with very large groups. Each chapter features actual stories of Café dialogues from business, education, government, and community organizations across the globe, demonstrating how the World Café approach can be adapted to many different settings and cultures. Based on living systems thinking, this is a proven approach for fostering authentic dialogue and creating dynamic networks of conversation around your organization or community’s real work and critical questions––improving both personal relationships and people’s capacity to shape the future together.
A few words on this book: Margaret Wheatley wrote the foreword to the The World Cafe book and as such I assumed this book would be a good complement. Unfortunately, this book focuses much more on “restoring hope” than it does on initiating conversations. From my perspective, the book is more about the soft side and the philosophical aspect of conversations.
“I believe we can change the world if we start talking to one another again.”
With this simple declaration, Margaret Wheatley proposes that people band together with their colleagues and friends to create the solutions for real social change, both locally and globally, that are so badly needed. Such change will not come from governments or corporations, she argues, but from the ageless process of thinking together in conversation.
Leadership and Stewardship
A few words on this book: Although I listened to Peter Block’s audiobook a few months ago, I decided to invest another 3 hours to better understand the philosophical aspects behind stewardship. My friend François told me he listened to this audiobook 6 or 7 times and he has been greatly influenced by it.
The words of Peter Block convey the essence of his revolutionary message. On “The Right Use of Power,” this bestselling author and distinguished management consultant fast forwards us to the business model of the future: a self-governing, accountable organization where power is shared equally and work has meaning far beyond conventional measures. Join this business visionary as he explores:
The “community” of workers and how faith, service and communication redefine success
How to retain the best co-workers and why it has little to do with money
The “high control, low adaptive” organization and its roots in the parent-child relationship
What the philosopher-artist can teach us about pure motivation
The “controlling” boss: the surprising truth about why they do it
Spirituality in the workplace and the hidden strengths of our co-workers
Performance appraisal: obsolete artifact or necessary evil?
Breaking the cycle of “unfulfillable expectations” in the workplace through the partnership model
The “Great Questions” technique for building skillful communications and trust at work
If we redistribute power do we have to redistribute wealth, too?
Compelling real-life examples of the power of stewardship, gained from Peter Block’s years of work in both the public and private sectors
Concluding with a tough question-and-answer session with Peter Block, “The Right Use of Power” will help prepare you for the changes, challenges and rewards coming in the new era of business — an era that has already begun.
A few words on this book: I read this book in 2002 a few months after it came out. After listening to The Right Use of Power I wanted to go back to Collins’ book to find if there were any similarities between the concepts brought forward in these 2 books – and there are. I will document them further in an upcoming blog post.