Recommended Reading List

We’ve been reading a lot of books that have to do with culture building, nurturing, etc.  In particular, we are interested in every aspect of how to create a place where people feel respected.  Where they feel “safe” making mistakes and encouraged to make great stuff happen.

Stack of books

The list below is ordered chronologically, as we became aware of and read each book.  Whenever possible, we mention the person who recommended the book to us.

Have you read any interesting book about culture that you’d like to share with us?  Please, add your comment below.

What We’ve Learned So Far

There’s a lot of interest and energy around the issue of group culture.  They all seem to gravitate around similar concepts, even when one book emphasizes one over another.

A common theme is that people want more than “just a job.”  When they find “it,” they give it their all.  When a group of people find “it” together, they can accomplish some pretty amazing things.

Already Read

“The Seven Day Weekend” is the book that crystallized the whole thing for us; “Maverick” simply nailed it to the board.  We were already going in the direction of running the company as openly and democratically as possible, but Ricardo Semler’s books helped put a framework around it.

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Based on solid research, this book debunks a bunch of myths about where great ideas come from (“the lonely inventor in his barn… NOT!”).  From our perspective, it makes a really convincing argument for encouraging, and investing in, the genius of teams.  It also outlines a techniques for doing so.

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Chip Conley really nailed it by recognizing that Maslow’s work offers a great  organizing principle for this topic.

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So far, so good.  The authors make the argument that people tend to gather in groups or tribes.  Each tribe has a unique culture that can be characterized as “life sucks,” “my life sucks,” “I am great,”  “we’re great” and “life is great.”

Read more…

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