Recommended Reading

BOOKS AND ARTICLES WE’D LIKE TO RECOMMEND
 
This is not all we’ve read! But when we come across work (in what can be an extensive but somewhat barren field) which really means something to us  and shapes our thinking we like to share the pleasure and insights we gain with our clients – and we continually add to our list.

Click on the book cover to get through to the associated Amazon (UK) page (opens in a new window)

 
 

 
Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl

This, of course, is not strictly a business book, but it is a book about meaning and purpose, a subject very dear to our hearts. It is pompous to suggest that Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning should be prescribed reading for anyone who has anything to do with other human beings - which means pretty much everyone - but for leaders and managers interested in how the human mind works and who to direct others and oneself, this book is mandatory.

 


 

Out of our Minds, Ken Robinson

Ken Robinson’s book deals intelligently and amusingly with the barriers to creativity, what can be done about them, and why doing something is essential to meet the challenges of the 21st century in almost every field of human endeavour. He draws widely and deeply from life in and out of academia and provides compelling arguments for the creation of the conditions necessary for creativity and innovation. This includes a fundamental rethink of education, leadership and professional development of any kind.




 
Descartes' Error, Antonio Damasio

In the world of macho, emotional but emotion-deriding excecutives, it is useful to consider (again) the paradox that without emotion, it is almost impossible to make a rational decision. Antonio Damasio's accessible style belies the serious rigour and command of his subject which underlies his throroughly-researched findings - that far from suppressing one's emotions when making rational decisions, one needs to recognise, accept, manage and exploit these influences in order to make better decisions for successful outcomes.


 
The New Psychology of Leadership, S. Alexander Haslam, Stephen D. Reicher and Michael J. Platow

This is exactly the book that you will wish you’d been given at the start of your management development programme. For any aspirant leader or individual who thinks they may already be a leader (and for HR executives who need to understand this material) this book will challenge and inform old mindsets and describe in accessible and robustly-researched detail why leadership is not for the fainthearted and why so few so-called leaders actually succeed.

Frames of Mind, Howard Gardner

Too many leaders and HR managers define talent by intelligence. She’s so bright or he’s not very smart is how people are often assessed and talked about in their companies. But what do people mean when they label others in this way? How do leaders and HR people understand intelligence? How do they understand the relationship between intelligence and how it’s applied? And what type of intelligence do they mean? Yet, on these "expert" judgements do careers rise, stall, and fall. In this now classic text, Howard Gardner works through these questions and suggests a broader, more thoughtful and less  gratuitous approach to intelligence labelling.


 
All the Right Moves, Constantinos Markides

Everything starts with strategy – but what is strategy? Markides sets out a very simple proposition that strategies and choices are synonymous. That’s it; strategies are just choices and the book follows this basic premise and lifts the veil of mystique which lesser academics and consultants would like us to believe strategy is covered by.
 


Talking from 9 to 5, Deborah Tannen

For anyone who has wondered why their gender diversity programme is going nowhere, this book by America’s foremost sociolinguist explains why you should look no further than the complications which arise out of the gender differences in language usage. Backed by a deep and broad knowledge of her subject and loads of practical case studies, Deborah Tannen will cause many an “aha” moment for those who have sought to understand the complex, complicated and hitherto unexplained gender dynamics which exist at all levels in the management and leadership hierarchy.
 
 

Managers not MBAs, Henry Mintzberg

This is Henry Mintzberg’s polemic in which he argues that while you can learn about management in a classroom, you cannot learn to manage there. That can only be learnt by, well, managing. He also insists that MBAs teach the wrong things to the wrong people at the wrong stage of their career. It made us think about management as the combination of craft, theory and science and that it’s the soft stuff that’s really hard.

 

Sumantra Goshal on Management, edited by Julian Birkinshaw and Gita Piramal

When your leadership become arrogant and pompous and value (and reward) management as a power base rather than as a force for good, give them this book to read. This collection of essays brings together a selection of some of Goshal’s most searing insights into and if it makes you and your colleagues uncomfortable – which it ought to – it will have succeeded in its task.

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