Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

Summer semester (ODKM program at George Mason University) has officially come and gone.  As you are pulling together your summer reading list, maybe I can recommend a few gems from my own recently read list.

In no particular order:

1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl  – when I first saw this as an assigned text for the Leadership class, I was confused about the relevance, but after reading Frankl’s beautiful work, I think it should be read by all future leaders.

2. Flawless Consulting by Peter Block – this tome is a must read for would be consultants.  I also bought the fieldbook and companion, but I would not recommend it unless you get a great deal on the pair.  Also, I have heard there is a new edition coming out this Fall, so you might want to wait till then to purchase it.

3. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins – Perkins drove me crazy with his ego and money lust, but he has a great story to tell and a lot of thought provoking commentary.  I chose to buy this one as an e-book, which worked well.

4. Organizational Consulting by Edwin Nevis – Old school OD.  This is the most theory heavy text that we read this semester.  It is a short book, but packed with challenging ideas.  If you need to read this for class, start early and take breaks to absorb the ideas.

We also read a tree’s worth of articles.  I will try to pick out a few to highlight in a future post.


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Person holding a lot of books

Photo Illustration by Doung Sundin/WINONAN

So I’m starting to freak out a little bit because I went a smidge overboard in my ordering and pursuing of reading since the semester ended. I of course ordered the books we are required to read this semester, but I also ordered a bunch of the recommended readings that I found for great prices at half.com.

In addition, I’m continuing to read Malcolm Gladwell and finished the book that Jay was given at Thanksgiving. All this is to say that I am writing this blog post if for no other reason than to account for what the heck I’ve been reading and remind myself that I need to actually put my attention on the school assigned books.


What I’ve Finished Reading Lately:

Matthew B. Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work.

Shop Class is a must read for anyone who has ever uttered any of the following jargon:

“knowledge worker” “knowledge economy” “the creative class” “collaborative team environment” “right brain thinking”

or anyone that has a son or daughter that is is interested in a skilled trade.


Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self Interest. by Peter Block
This one I got from the library on Audio Book and listened to on my way to New York. It is a quick listen and definitely thought provoking.

What I’ve started reading but haven’t finished:

Wikipatterns (assigned book)
Seems like a good read for information on how to understand and set up wikis.


Catalytic conversations: Organizational Communication and Innovation (assigned book) by Ann Baker
This is my professor’s new book, hot off the presses.  So far I like it because it is helping me to understand some of why we do things the way we do them in the ODKM program.


The Answer to How Is Yes: Acting on What Matters by Peter Block
I’m on a Peter Block kick at the moment.  Luckily all of his books are pretty quick reads and they build on one another.


What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
I can’t say I would strongly recommend this one. It is just Gladwell getting more money out of the same content that he has already published in the New Yorker .. much of which was material for his other books and will seem like old news.


Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block
I am referencing this book for my work with the Community Volunteer Network.  This is my favorite of his books so far.  If you are interested in community work / social work / volunteer engagement, I would recommend this title.  It is very similar to Better Together by Robert Putnam (another book I started reading and never finished).


A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink
I think Pink needs to read Matthew Crawford’s book and get back to me.

Things I have bought but have not even begun to read:

CompanyCommand (assigned)


Images of Organization (assigned)


Learning Through Knowledge Management (assigned)
The Knowledge Evolution: Expanding Organizational Intelligence (assigned)


The World Cafe


Storytelling in Organizations


Appreciative Intelligence: Seeing the Mighty Oak in the Acorn

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Apparently several days off with no planned activities = lots of reading.  So here are a few more readings to add to the list:

First off I finished Starfish and the Spider.  I would recommend this book if you are looking at the attributes of a decentralized organization.

Next I read Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin.  This is a small book that reads more like a string of catch phrases and parables.  It is thought provoking, but does not add to much to the readings that it references (Godin reference Gladwell’s books, Age of Heretics, and Here Comes Everybody).

Today I finished Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.  Although my least favorite of his three, it is still a worthy read.  I read the acknowledgments before reading the book and I think that made it even more interesting.  Basically, Gladwell had the experience of being stopped by police and questioned about looking a lot like a rapist that they were looking for.  In actuality the only thing he had in common with the rapist was his hairstyle, which he kindly and carefully pointed out to the police officers when they showed him the sketch.  Gladwell uses that experience as a jumping off point for looking at our snap judgements and examining ways in which they serve us well and ways they do us a disservice.

I am also listening to A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink on CD.  I am interested that Pink defines “knowledge workers” in a different way than they have been described in Mark’s class.  He seems to be making a lot the same main points as Mark, but using a different lens to examine the issues.  He focuses quite a bit on the argument that “knowledge work” (which he describes as left-brained professions such as accounting, law, medicine, etc) is being outsourced or replaced by machines.  He uses that assessment to assert that the new area of job possibilities will be for right-brained professionals in careers that require creativity, emotional intelligence and design.

In addition, I just started Freakanomics on CD as well as Matthew B. Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work, which is a very thought-provoking read by a PhD in philosophy who left a Washington think tank to run his own motorcycle repair business in Richmond, VA.

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