Change ReadsJanuary 2, 2013 Leave a comment
One of the many things I love about the Interaction Institute for Social Change is that we are very much a learning organization, committed to sharing lessons from the work we are doing, as well as new ideas and concepts we discover through in-person and virtual interactions with a variety of thought leaders. This year, like any other, we benefitted from the writings of many, and I wanted to highlight five books that I found particularly valuable in 2012, and invite my colleagues to weigh in as well.
- Racing to Justice: Transforming Our Conceptions of Self and Other to Build an Inclusive Society by john a. powell. Scholar and social justice advocate john a. powell underscores the work that must be done to achieve the promise of an inclusive American democracy. This book pulls from a variety of powell’s writings on social justice and spirituality, including reflections on policy and healing approaches that foster relationships and a way of being that transcend separation.
- The Responsible Business: Reimagining Sustainability and Success by Carol Sanford. This unique book offers a new approach to doing business (including nonprofit business) that holistically integrates responsibility into all aspects of an organization. Sanford emphasizes the importance of learning how to think differently in order to yield better financial, social, and ecological returns.
- Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea by Carter Phipps. Phipps provides an historical and multi-disciplinary survey of the evolutionary worldview, which stands to provide us all with a more synergistic perspective and optimism for the future.
- Fair Food: Growing a Healthy Sustainable Food System for All by Oran B. Hesterman. Hesterman provides on overview of our current food system, describes four key principles a redesigned food system should embody, and offers a practical guide to how we can participate in action to create much needed change for our collective food security.
- Systems Concepts in Action: A Practitioner’s Toolkit by Bob Williams and Richard Hummelbrunner. This rich book gives an overview of systems thinking, its origins, and its major subfields as well as background information on a variety of methods to apply to different complex situations.
My 2013 reading list has a few titles on it, and I am eager to hear other suggestions in line with the themes of networks, community building, equity, evolution, collaboration, and the inner side of leadership:
- Finding Higher Ground: Adaptation in the Age of Global Warming by Amy Seidl
- Owning Our Future: The Emerging Ownership Revolution by Marjorie Kelly
- Reading the Room: Group Dynamics for Coaches and Leaders by David Kantor
Here are some of my highlights:
Future Perfect, by Stephen Johnson, one of the best articulations of “peer progressivism” and the new paradigm for social change
Good Strategy/Bad Strategy, by Richard Rumelt, which seems to come from an almost opposite perspective on strategy, and I like it precisely because it is such a clear articulation of such a different yet important perspective
Game of Thrones, by George RR Martin, simply brilliant! A close up look at the shadows of our nature and the mythical archetype that makes the hero possible. I can’t believe how vast a world a single human can create!
Here are two more books:
The Impossible Will Take a Little While – a citizen’s guide to hope in a time of fear, edited by Paul Rogat Loeb. When I need inspiration, a deeply personal example or wisdom from a leader, I dip into this wonderful collection of essays.
Slow Democracy – Rediscovering Democracy, Bringing Decision Making Back Home, by Susan Clark and Woden Teachout. On my 2013 list. The authors document the ways citizens are reinvigorating democracy in their communities. A place where people across the political spectrum can meet.