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recommended reading

Crazy like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

Ethan Watters, 2010, Scribe

The majority of medical research, studies and cure trials are conducted in the west by western doctors on western patients in a western context. For physical illness such as small pox, typhoid and measles there are little or no cultural issues with the outcome of such studies. The problem Ethan Watters identifies is when the illness is primarily psychological (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anorexia, Depression) the causes and cures can have a cultural element. Results from western studies are recorded in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and then disseminated ..read more

Cultures and Organizations: Software for the Mind, Third Edition

Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, Michael Minkov, 2010, McGraw Hill

An astonishingly comprehensive analysis of cultures in over 70 countries conducted over a 40 year span. Hofstede suggests that our cultural imprint drives many of our values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Many of these operate at the unconscious level… until you travel overseas and experience a different culture. The book measures and compares cultures on 6 dimensions and in doing so provides amazing insight into how to operate when living and working in a culture that you did not grow up in. A must for anyone who works with people from different cultures...read more


Chip & Dan Heath, 2013, Crown Business, United States

If you make decisions for a living this book is for you .....read more

Edward de Bono’s Textbook of Wisdom

Edward de Bono, 1996 , Viking - ISBN 0670870110

An arrogant title… and it delivers! More about thinking and how to approach issues from a ‘lateral logical’ aspect. A little light on the interpersonal/emotional side. Still a fascinating read...read more


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, 1991, Harper Perennial - ISBN 0060920432

The Psychology of Optimal Human Experience This book is awesome. It looks at how people can get themselves into ‘the zone,’ the flow state. It is the culmination of years of research by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Yes that is the author’s name). It is not easy going but very rewarding...read more

Hardwired Humans

Andrew O’Keeffe, 2011, Roundtable Press

Homo sapiens emerged around 200,000 years ago and walked into an office about 250 years ago. As such it is no wonder that human instincts play out in the office. Using his significant expertise as a Senior Human Resources practitioner with a long list of blue chip companies, Andrew O’Keeffe concisely lists organisations’ ills, like silo behaviour, poor change management and gossip, and then observes… “Given that these experiences and many more are common to most organisations then they are not explainable at the organisational level. They can only be explained ..read more

Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization (Leadership for the Common Good)

Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, 2009, Harvard Business School Publishing

A wonderfully practical book that outlines one of the main reasons why people might not change their behaviours. It takes you through a process that has proved successful for the authors with a variety of business leaders. I love the part about conducting experiments to test the validity of competing objectives. Once again, however, it could have been said in half as many pages...read more

Learned Optimism

Martin E.P. Seligman, PH.D, 2002, Random House - ISBN 1400078393

Yes. Optimism is a skill and it can be learned. In this book there is a questionnaire to test you level of optimism and the results will probably shock you even if you like to think you are already a pretty optimistic person. There are also some clear principles that optimists use for you to learn...read more

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Chip Heath, Dan Heath, 2007, Random House

This book is a must for any one who is keen to communicate an idea and wants the idea to be remembered. I have read many books on presentation skills and story telling in my time and this would easily be one of the best. Chip and Dan Heath, show the science behind stories and ideas that stick. If you want to get your message across… read this first!”..read more

Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor E. Frankl, 1959, Beacon Press

A classic. In the first half of the book Viktor Frankl shows the power of purpose in his own life and its role in helping him survive 4 Nazi Concentration Camps. In the second half of the book Frankl outlines how he uses the power of purpose and his wonderful ability to reframe perceptions to help his patients. Well worth the read...read more