What's been on my reading list during the lockdown
The books I'm reading in lockdown.
Yes I still have a lot of work to get through during this time, but I've also found a lot of time to catch up on my reading.
This is what I've made my way through, book wise, and what I'm still planning to tackle over the next couple of weeks:
Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick [link]
This book was prescribed to us as part of the reading list for my master degree at Stellenbosch. Unless you are a big fan of chaos theory, the history of science or are seriously bored I wouldn't recommend it. I find it really fascinating, but it's a heavy read.
The book covers the evolution of discovery surrounding the study of chaos. complexity and the maths of turbulence. As a say - ignore this unless winning a maths olympiad was the highlight of your life in high school.
Out of the crisis by W. Edwards Deming [link]
Again, this isn't Fifty Shades of Grey, but if you are a fan of Deming or of how Japan became the greatest industrial powerhouse on the face of the planet, then this seminal book by Deming is kind of like a right of passage.
It's written pretty much like Deming speaks, which reminds me a lot of Yoda. The points are well made, the wisdom...evergreen. Not recommended for those looking for an entertaining tome for Bookclub.
The Prosperity Paradox: How innovation can lift nations out of poverty by Clayton Christensen [link]
This was the last book that the great Clayton Christensen published before his death this year and is require reading for any innovator that finds themselves living in a country that isn't Singapore or Norway.
The book presents the thesis that in order for economies to produce a level of equitable wellbeing that benefits the vast majority of its citizens - innovators need to deliver market-creating innovations that pull-in infrastructure development from the resulting marketplace in order for this progress to be sustainable and drive the kind of grow needed by so many developing nations around the world.
It's a super easy read and I found it insightful and inspiring.
Tao: The Watercourse Way by Alan Watts [link]
I felt that I needed a bit of spiritual refresh and read this Alan Watts book over the weekend. It's a nice easy and relaxing read, written in a reflective, humourous way. If you are new to Taoism and the philosophies of the East, then this is a nice introduction to some of the basic concepts and ideologies.
Scaling up: How a few companies make it and the rest don't by Verne Hamish [link]
This is a must read for those tasked with organisational leadership and organisational design - because this is what I do professionally - I gave myself a refresher of some of the concepts.
Antifragile: Things that gain from disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb [link]
Again, this was on my prescribed reading list at Stellenbosch University, but I just didn't get around to fully absorbing it at the time; so I'm retrospectively going back and ticking the box now.
As you would expect from Taleb, it's self-indulgent and dense, but you cannot ignore the brilliance of the guy. The writing in the book is so small, I needed to download the Kindle version. Perfect for leaders navigating companies through this time in history.
Creative Thinking: Putting your imagination to work by Michael Michalko [link]
I bought Thinkertoys 25 years ago and loved the tools and techniques outlined there. Because I facilitate analytical teams to think creatively using the techniques of systems and futures thinking - I chose this book to see what additional tools a frameworks, offered by Michalko, I could incorporate into my work. It's jam-packed with ideas, stories and techniques that I can see as being really useful for people in my line or work, but it's not exactly a relaxing work of fiction.
If you're fanatical about thinking and changing the way you do it - buy it.
That's my list for covid-19 shutdown for now; I'll update it if the shutdown carries on, or if I finish reading all of them before the end of the prescribed period.