Friday, November 30, 2012

On my reading list: Winter 2012

I've been enjoying the following books lately. Still find myself reading a lot of "print" books with the occasional Kindle book thrown in. The balance hasn't shifted for me yet!

Make Haste Slowly: Growing effective intercultural communication, by Donald Smith. Great little book about simple things that make complex situations (i.e. commmunicating cross-culturally) more understandable. Originally written in 1984, this was revised last year with some new examples, but the principles (i.e. 12 signal systems, the cultural onion (levels of culture), stimulating change, etc.) are timeless. Humanitarian relief and development groups are talking more and more about "theories of change" and "social norm change" these days. They would do well to learn from the experience (and, yes, a few mistakes) of faith-based organizations.

Uprising: How to build a brand -- and change the world -- by sparking cultural movements, by Scott Goodson. Just started this one, but looks good. Has a brief history section and plenty of examples from corporate America. Would love to see a book like this written by an African or Asia thinker. I do think that movements (think the "Occupy", "livestrong", etc.) and the different ways to create them is very important to analyze.

Free: The future of a radical Price, by Chris Anderson. I like this guy (Wired mag editor) and both his thinking and writing. Lots of great examples of how to make yourself or your organization more valuable by strategically giving stuff away. I think the principles and ideas here are especially important for non-profits who want to add value and attract a new kind of donor.