The Must-Read Team and Personal Development Books for Summer

July 6, 2009 Max Isaac

I’d like to share some of my favorite books from my bookshelf.  These are some of the books that have influenced my thinking about building and managing teams, and allowing for the best possible learning within an organization.

1. People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts by Robert Bolton
This book identifies the common barriers to effective communication, and gives practical advice about how to be assertive, use listening skills, and resolve conflict.  Bolton also discusses how to engage in collaborative problem-solving with others.  It is an essential add-on to a knowledge of Belbin Team Role Theory.

2. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
In his new book, Gladwell (author of Blink and The Tipping Point) uses the term “outliers” to describe people who lie outside the norm and become successful.  He explains the secrets of success through case-studies of successful individuals such as Mozart, and Bill Gates.

This book is easy reading, and full of great trivia and ideas about our culture’s success stories — and how individual success can depend upon group contributions.

3. The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization by Peter Senge
Peter Senge is the founder of the Center for Organizational learning at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.  His book explains the benefits of a Learning Organization, and how to use his Systems Thinking Method to help your organization become a Learning Organization.

Senge’s work complements the Belbin Team Role Theory, through discussions of mental models (chapter 4 is all about mental models, and well-worth reading), ideas for personal development, and team learning.


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