Welcome to the Ideas Factory
This is a place for us to share WHAT WE ARE READING, WATCHING AND LISTENING TO. We expect it will be an eclectic list which will grow and evolve so check back regularly.
The answer to how is yes; Acting on what matters, Peter Block
The key message of this book is captured on the opening page 'Transformation comes more from pursuing profound questions than seeking practical answers'.
I first read this book eight years ago, and it had a huge impact on the way I think about idealism, engagement and hidden cost of 'how-to' pragmatism. In picking it up again for this blog, I feel it is almost more relevant today than when it was written.
The book presents a guide to bringing life 'granting personal value into an indifferent or even hostile corporate landscape'. What the book points to is a conversation that is missing but genuinely needed in organisations and society.
In Peter Block's words,
"This might elevate the state of not knowing to being an acceptable condition of our existence rather than a problem to be solved, and we might realise that real service and contribution come from the choice of a worthy destination than from limiting ourselves to engaging in what we know will work"
Out of all the books, I have read this is the one I most recommend. Buy it, read it and pass it on.
Changing on the Job, Jennifer Garvey Berger
Those familiar with the work Diana and I do know we play with a number of models and theories, including Constructive Adult Development.
At its heart is the view we all make sense of the world in our heads (constructed) and our model for making sense can become more complex over time (developmental). Contemporary contributors to the theory include Robert Kegan, Bill Torbert, Susan Cook-Gretuer and many others. Then there is Jennifer Garvey-Berger.
Jennifer stands out for her ability to translate theory into language both understandable and applicable to non-academics trying to make progress in a complex world. In 'Changing on the Job'Jennifer takes profound ideas and shapes them into a digestible feast. Jenifer does not oversimplify the material typical of many management books but offers a broad understanding of Constructive Adult Development. The book might be short, but the ideas are dense. It is the type of book that demands reflection after every page.
This book is required reading for any current or aspiring manager as it has the power to change the way you think about thinking!
If you like this and would like a deeper dive then you might also want to check out:
The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis
First, let me say this is a book that doesn't need another review. Enter the title in your favorite search engine, and you will be overwhelmed by links to interviews with the author and thoughts on the book. You might have heard of Michael Lewis, some of his recent books including 'Moneyball' , 'The Blind Side' and 'The Big Short' have been the basis of successful movies.
He might not be the type of author you would expect to turn up on the blog of a self-confessed management nerd but "The Undoing Project' is a unique combination of storytelling and frame changing ideas. It is the management book for people who can't stand management books.
Lewis makes the work of Danny Kahneman and Amos Tversky on how we think and how our thinking might not be as rational as we might hope, accessible and enjoyable. It deals with powerful ideas presented with the flair of a master novelist.
The Undoing Project a must read for both established and aspiring managers and those interested in understanding how they (and others) think. Here's to making powerful ideas engaging!
For my first share, I would like to introduce you to the incredible resource that is THE BOOK OF LIFE (http://www.thebookoflife.org/) It the brainchild of UK-based Philosopher, Alain de Botton and seeks to teach atheists how to live a meaningful life.
From the ‘What is the book of Life’ section of the Website;
‘The Book of Life aims to be the curation of the best and most helpful ideas in the area of emotional life. Ultimately, life is only 700,000 hours long, so we have to make sure the ideas we need don’t get lost – or take too long to find’.
I have dived into the Curriculum chapter (http://www.thebookoflife.org/introduction-to-the-curriculum/) and am having a wonderful time spending time with the ideas of some of the world’s biggest thinkers.
If you are like me are curious about the great philosophers but have found their work difficult access, then you will love the lighter tone and distillation of ideas.
Of course, the Book has much more to offer, so I suspect it will be a constant source of thinking and reflection for some time to come.
Andrew Stevens is a Director and co-founder of the Uncharted Leadership Institute. He is passionate about the role leadership plays in making organisations, communities and even societies more productive, more human and more successful.