Must-read books for the Summer of 2015 – Part I
Must-Read Book Review and Preview by Patrick Davidson
The longer days of summer and the change of pace offer some additional reading time. Every summer at least one book has inspired me and challenged me to think differently, or simply to focus more on the things that matter.
In the summer 2013 I was warned for geopolitical issues that took place shortly after that nice holiday, during which I had read The Next 100 Years by George Friedman. In 2014 I enjoyed Dave Eggers’ The Circle. I could not stop reading Eggers’ novel. Dutch writer Rutger Bregman’s De Geschiedenis van de Vooruitgang (The History of Progress) was my another source of inspiration last summer. When a historian writes in such a thrilling and accessible way, it’s much easier to learn from history.
For 2015 this brought me to the idea of preparing a list of books to read (which have been on my Tower of Guilt – the pile of books that never gets smaller even though I read a lot – for a while now).
In this first part I will briefly describe some of my favourite books of the past few months. The criteria? They inspire me and they deserve to be read by you, even on your holiday. Or especially on your holiday, a good moment to reflect on what you’re doing….
The books on my list all have in common that a new way of working, of collaborating, of running a business is required. And there’s no escape. In each of the books the need for purpose is evident. Should you think that purpose is not your cup of tea, then just learn to drink and appreciate tea. On the long run no organisation without a clear and inspiring purpose will be successful. Just read for yourself…
In Part II I will also share the books I will read myself.
I chose five books which all have the potential to give you a wake-up call.
The 5 must-read books for the summer of 2015:
The books on my list all have in common that a new way of working, of collaborating, of running a business is required. And there’s no escape.
In each of the books the need for purpose is evident. Should you think that purpose is not your cup of tea, then just learn to drink and appreciate tea.
About the 5 must-read books
I chose five books which all have the potential to give you a wake-up call. Whenever you think that your team can keep on doing what it’ doing without accelerating, or that disruptions will not hit your industry or your company then it’s time to read one of the following books. Keep in mind that this list is not specifically in order of preference.
- We’ll kick off with Exponential Organizations, written by Salim Ismail (ex Yahoo), Yuri van Geest & Michael Malone (New York Times). The book is a must-read for everyone involved in a business. The authors describe a transformation in business that hasn’t been seen in the last hundred years. Salim, Van Geest and Malone claim the future will be owned by this new breed of Exponential Organizations. To do so they interviewed about 70 visionaries, thinkers and entrepreneurs, performed their own research on 100 startups, and use the kernel of the most important books on innovations in the last decades. My book review will follow this week.
- The next book on the list is Peers Inc. Written by Robin Chase, the founder of Zipcar, this book gives interesting insights in the collaborative economy (airbnb, Etsy, Duolingo, etc). Like the third book on this list, Zero to One by Peter Thiel, Robin Chase describes how some fundamental beliefs in business have become outdated by recent developments.
- Zero to One has already been reviewed on betterday.nl before. It’s a great read, describing how to set up an organisation that can dominate its industry.
- Now it’s time to read some books that give you insights in what to do with your people, knowing that the world is changing at a higher speed than ever before. Scrum by Jeff Sutherland is a book that has inspired me over the past few years. Sutherland developed a very successful approach on running ICT projects is described. In my opinion everyone should apply the principles of Scrum. Together with Dutch author, and co-founder of betterday, Hans van der Loo, we developed a 90 Day Approach which aims to be for organizational development what Scrum (Agile) has meant for ICT.
- The fifth recommendation is called Unboss. In this book The Danes Lars Kolind & Jacob Botter explain a new way of thinking which ‘challenges everything you have learned at university or on your business school..’ Unboss explains how to develop a culture of trust in which autonomy is stimulated. Unbossing means transforming a company into a movement.