In the order they happen to be on my shelf. Click on the icon for more information:
… it was the first thing I read of Alain de Botton’s. As someone else has said, it is doubtful he has written a boring sentence in his life. I was instantly hooked … and he re-kindled my love of good design.
… see above, and I was travelling a lot. This is wise and provocative like so much of de Botton’s stuff.
… brilliant, and at the time I was thinking a lot about how poorly we educate each other when it comes to areas of our expertise. So few experts know how to simplify their stuff and make it interesting.
… quite simply gob-smackingly brilliant in its scope and simplicity. Who would even presume to lay down a blueprint for good design on everything from toilets to global relations in the one framework!?
… because Hamilton was wrestling with important existential questions in a way that was immensely helpful for me.
… because voices like Kleins need to be amplified in my consumer heart.
… because Sachs helped me understand and believe that injustice can be overcome and is not, or should not, be the exclusive domain of hair shirt lefties.
… because travelling to Missouri to meet with the Stack tribe with Paul Steele ignited a conviction that business in any sector could be done differently.
… because amidst the plethora of attempts to understand social development and consciousness, spiral dynamics, while a bit ‘culty’ is thinking par excellence.
… because de Bono so brilliantly exposes the prevention of technical complexity as a symptom the absence of, rather than the existence of, real intellectual competency.
… the book that so brilliantly described the differences between the dying modern ethic and the emerging (at the time) political ideas of community sharing and openness (in their contemporary expression).
… the first book I read that excited me about the possibilities associated with business.
… because I love working.
… because I needed mentoring as I moved from the street protesting posture to being engaged in the boardroom.
… because it both inspired me to a particular kind of contribution and described what I was beginning to experience.
… the first business book on leadership I read that rightly described leadership as an art rather than a science.
… has there been a more influential business / personal development book?
… because I have given this book away more than any other.
… because it frames the sustainability imperative in ways that resonate with me deeply
… the first book I read that gave me hope that we could cultivate a new (capitalist) economy based on principles of sustainability, rather than just throwing stones at the decaying one.
… because it contains so many practical ideas to help develop the ‘Five Disciplines’ … a bit like the consultant’s bible.
… the most formative problem solving approach I’ve come across, even if the community around it is a bit odd-ball. (why is that so often the case?)
… because it liberated me as a facilitator … validating what made intuitive sense to me.
… see above. Had been doing this stuff, then discovered a whole set of protocol and principles to shape what felt a bit random and risky.
… if I had to choose just one book to keep, it would probably be this. Were there really people that asked questions of this scale and had an approach that offered hope? No other business book energised my soul like this one. “Human purpose and the field of the future.” What a subtitle!
… probably the most sophisticated and formative book (for me) on dialogue I have come across.
… because I was, and still am, intoxicated by the vision and possibilities, even if Adam’s thinking has evolved in subsequent years / books.
… because this was the book I wish I had written. So much overlap with what I had been working on … felt ripped off and relieved all at once.