On my reading list

It’s been head down these last couple of weeks preparing my final portfolio for the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (www.tavinstitute.org) Practice Certificate on Consulting and Change and also facilitating the first of a series of four discussion forums on organisational resilience with heads of HR and OD from the public and private sectors, on behalf of the Whitehall and Industry Group (www.wig.co.uk).

As a consequence the reading matter is just piling up.  I thought I’d share what’s on my immediate list (the books I’ve started, or just bought and am particularly looking forward to).  I can’t give much insight into the books themselves right now, but if you’ve read them, or have other reading suggestions around diversity, inclusion and organisational change, do let me know.  And tangential is good, at least as far as provoking new thinking goes.

First up, Rising Stars: Developing millennial women as leaders, by Elisabeth Kelan, Associate Professor in the Department of Management at King’s College London and published by Palgrave Macmillan.  I’m interested to read this account of how gender and generation intersect in the workplace through the eyes of millennial women (also known as Generation Y, those born after 1977) and the implications for employers wanting to recruit, hold onto and develop women of this generation.  I’ll particularly be looking out for ‘what’s new here?’ that will help change practice for women and for employers.

Next, Great by Choice, by Jim Collins and Morten T Hansen, published by Random House.  I never read Jim Collins’ Good to Great so I’ve nothing to compare it with, but this book interests me because of its promise to explain how it is that some companies thrive in chaos and complexity, and others don’t.  This in turn touches on a couple of favourite topics of mine – consulting to clients in a turbulent environment, and organisational (and individual) resilience.  I’m doing quite a lot of thinking about resilience at the moment, and diversity, and how these connect, will come back to the subject another time (probably more than once…).

Third, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death and hope in a Mumbai slum, by Katherine Boo, published by Portobello.  I bought this because it was described in the FT as ‘an interview-based narrative in which the interviewer never appears’ and I like reading factual books that tell stories; because it’s twenty years since I went to India, and I want to understand better how things have changed, or not; also because it’s described on the back cover as ‘a beautiful account, told through real-life stories, of the sorrow and joys, anxieties and stamina, in the lives of the precarious and powerful in urban India whom a booming country has failed to absorb and integrate’.  Wow.  Incidentally the FT’s list of Best Books for 2012 itself is superb.  I’ve bought quite a lot of presents for other people from it (and like the Boo book, presents for self too).  Here’s the link: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/88bdb3c0-37cf-11e2-a97e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2EdfAX9HG

Also on my list is Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ, by Daniel Goleman, published by Bloomsbury.  A classic, and the bits I’ve read have been very relevant to current discussions around unconscious bias in the workplace.  It’s not as readable as I thought it would be but I’m going to hang on in there and finish it.

Last but definitely not least, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (the beautiful new paperback Penguin English Library edition).  I can’t believe I’ve never read this.  I saw the film with my son a couple of weeks ago, and I loved it.  Now I can’t wait to read the book.

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