Books worth reading

Madeira. photo by schan
Madeira. photo by schan

Here’s a selection of books that I have delved into to learn more about knowledge-sharing and to inspire my own maverick approach.

‘Learning to Fly’ by Chris Collison and Geoff Parcell  Easy to read and digest, practical guide on implementing knowledge management, based on the authors’ own experience. It is a good place to start if you are unfamiliar with knowledge management as a discipline and you want to read a book on how to implement it in the workplace. This video is an example of what you will find within the book.


‘Knowledge is Beautiful’ by David McCandless  This book is full of great infographics on a range of topics. You don’t want to put it down. McCandless is a journalist who found he had a talent for taking raw data and transforming them into meaningful stories through the use of infographics.

‘Looptail: How One Company Changed the World by Reinventing Business’ by Bruce Poon Tip This is the founder of G Adventures, the socially responsible tourism company, based in Canada. It is the first business book to be endorsed by The Dalai Lama. It is a great read and offers a different view of the management structure, where instead of a hierarchy, there is a flatter more inter-related, inter-dependent structure.

‘A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future ‘ by Daniel Pink  He looks at how creativity offers a competitive advantage, honing in on six senses:

  1. Design – Moving beyond function to engage the sense. “Design today has become business’s fundamental literacy. …. Design thinking can save lives.” Pink recommends that everyone should become more literate about design. Get yourself a notebook to capture the design decisions that are all around you.
  2. Story – Narrative added to products and services – not just argument. Best of the six senses.
  3. Symphony – Adding invention and big picture thinking (not just detail focus). “Best predictor of star performance in the workplace.”
  4. Empathy – Going beyond logic and engaging emotion and intuition. “Standing in someone’s shoes. Empathy is hard to outsource.”
  5. Play – Bringing humor and light-heartedness to business and products.
  6. Meaning – the purpose is the journey, give meaning to life from inside yourself.

See Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Daniel Pink (part 1 and part 2) talking about ‘A Whole New Mind’. “It’s all about conversation.”

‘The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right’ by Atul Gawande This is a surgeon who is also an excellent writer. He shows that experts need checklists, literally, written guides that walk them through the key steps in any complex procedure. He talks of how each member of the team has a vital role in maintaining safety, not just the leader. In his book, he writes of Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger and his crew on United Airlines Flight 1549 who, in the incident that became known as “the miracle on the Hudson River“, adhered to their training and safety checklists.

‘Collaboration’ by Morten T Hansen This is the book that talks about T-shaped managers.

A new kind of executive, one who breaks out of the traditional corporate hierarchy to share knowledge freely across the organization (the horizontal part of the “T”) while remaining fiercely committed to individual business unit performance (the vertical part).

Harvard Business Review

‘Organisations Don’t Tweet, People Do’ by Euan Semple  This book provides managers in all sorts of organizations, from governments to multinationals, with practical advice, insight and inspiration on how the Web and social tools can help them to do their jobs better.

‘The Social Animal’ by David Brooks  The book discusses what drives individual behaviour and decision-making. The book uses two fictional characters ‘Harold’ and ‘Erica’ as examples of how people’s emotional personality changes over time.

‘Knowledge Works’ by Christine van Winkelen and Jane McKenzie This book is a collection of projects that were developed over a decade at Henley Knowledge Management Forum. It takes a practical approach, supported by academic rigour.