I have been involved in formally leading change in a wide variety of educational settings for the past 20 years and inevitably following a guest lecture, webinar or conference presentation I am asked to recommend a book or two or three on change. The following list is a response to those requests.
I will not be numbering the list because I don’t want to rank the books because they have all played a special role in my development.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by Daniel Pink.
Pink’s summary of the power of intrinsic over extrinsic motivation is unmatched. He points to major and extensive research that reveals that autonomy, mastery and purpose are more powerful motivators than the carrot and the stick.
Leading Change, With a New Preface by the Author
by John P. Kotter.
Kotter points to many years of research that reveals that more than 70% of organization change efforts fail. His Eight Steps to Leading Change are the best way to insure that your change efforts will be successful.
A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix
by Edwin H. Friedman
Friedman makes the argument that the poorly self-differentiated leader at any level in an organization will undercut their subordinates because these types of leaders lack the courage and confidence in themselves to effectively lead. This is perhaps one of the most challenging and controversial leadership books because it calls for a leader to take responsibility for the emotional health of an organization.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
by Jim Collins
This has to be the contemporary research based classic on building a successful organization. Collins reveals that good isn’t good enough when you wish to build a great organization.
Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative
by Ken Robinson
Robinson makes the argument for why we need to promote creativity or, more importantly, create the environments were creativity can flourish. He points out how our educational systems overemphasis on Math, Science and related discipline has all but killed creativity in our schools.
Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns
by Clayton M Christensen, Michael B. Horn & Curtis W. Johson.
Christensen applies his well-researched theory of disruptive innovation to K-12 education and points to online learning as the disruptive catalyst that is about to finally change the educational system in North America. In the four years since the book has been published Christensen’s predictions are not only being realized, his time table for the culmination of this disruption may yet prove to be too conservative.
Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World
by Don Tapscott
Tapscott builds on the ideas he presented several years earlier in Growing Up Digital and Wikinomics and expounds on how the Net Generation thinks, learns and socializes differently and how we can leverage these differences to improve our society.
What Would Google Do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World
By Jeff Jarvis
Jarvis applies Googles way of thinking to: media, advertising, retail, utilities, manufacturing, service, finance, public welfare and public institutions and offers suggestions on how these industries need to change in order to survive in the age of the Internet.
The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion
by John Seely Brown, John Hagel III & Lang Davison
Seely Brown and colleagues point to the fact that the industrialized world has begun the move from assuming or estimating what we want and pushing out these products and services to a world where resources and services are pulled together in a just in time fashion to respond to our individual needs. The ability to build these powerful pull networks will be key to determining success in the digital age.
A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change
by Douglas Thomas & John Seely Brown
Thomas and Brown shatter the myth that teaching is necessary for learning to occur by revealing the power of learning environments that are all around us. They further upend the notion that learning only happens in the classroom or in a mechanistic fashion by pointing out learning is more often a messy, social, playful and constant activity that is more effective in an informal setting.
I can easily add another ten to fifteen books to this list but more is not necessary better when you are just starting out or if you are trying help your organization move forward in using technology as a tool to enhance the learning environment.