I would not be as successful and satisfied professionally or personally without great resources over the years. I’ll highlight the ones that I have found most valuable, however feel free to send me an e-mail if you’re interested in going deeper or farther on a particular topic.
My office bookshelf is crammed with good titles (some I’ve honestly not gotten around to reading yet!) but most of us in business love a good non-fiction book that provides us with practical wisdom. I’ve narrowed this list down to ten of my favorites, and I've had the pleasure and priviledge to study with almost all of these authors:
Organizational Culture and Leadership — by Edgar H. Schein. Jossey-Bass, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0470190609
Not light reading, but a fabulous tool to understand the complexities and opportunities in working with and within organizations and their leaders. One of the few business books that is now in its fourth edition, so you know it has lasting value. My business name was inspired by Schein’s work.
Process Consultation Revisited: Building the Helping Relationship — by Edgar H. Schein. Addison Wesley Longman, August 22, 1998. ISBN-13: 978-0201345964
Probably the most technical explanation of what I do, and a vaulable guide for anyone who wants to understand how interpersonal and group dynamics operate at a deeper level.
The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship – by David Whyte. Riverhead, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1594484353
I am extremely fortunate to consider David a mentor and business associate (The Institute for Conversational Leadership). While his poetry is profoundly inspirational, this book is a fluid exploration of the dance we all do in the mutiple facets of our lives. Be sure to check out David's other work - and particularly his audio recordings, at his web site (davidwhyte.com).
[Three flavors of conversations . . . take your pick! All of these are good at breaking down the specifics of our communication so that we can see our contributions and how to change them.]
1. Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most — by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, & Sheila Heen. Penguin Books, 1999. ISBN-10 014028852 X
2. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High (2nd Ed.) – by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler. McGraw-Hill, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-0071771320
3. Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time – by Susan Scott. Berkley, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0425193372
Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way (Revised Ed.) – by Rick Carson. Quill. 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0060520229
A light-hearted look in the mirror at our best friend and worst enemy - ourselves.
What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful – by Marshall Goldsmith. Jossey-Bass, 2007. ISBN-13: 978-1401301309
Marshall is considered one of the leading excutive coaches, and he provides yet another valuable toolbox as we attempt to see our blind spots and turn those into opportunities.
True to Yourself: Leading a Values-Based Business – by Mark Albion (part of the Social Venture Network book series). Berrett-Koehler, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-1576753781
This is one of those books that I wish I would have written - it's a great map for combining who you are with what you do.
Awake at Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work's Chaos – by Michael Carroll. Shambhala, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-1590302729
I love cracking open Michael's book to any chapter, because I know I will experience a shift in my perspective that will leave me more centered.
Executive Coaching: Developing Managerial Wisdom in a World of Chaos – by Richard R. Kilburg. American Psychological Association, 2000. ISBN-13: 978-1557986481
Another "technical" book, but one that goes in to depth about how carefully and clearly creating the "container" of coaching can provide lasting individual and organizational change.
The overwhelming majority of my business clients come from the networking I have done with the four following organizations. Not only do I get to hang out with potential business prospects, I am continually inspired, supported, and challenged by the folks who show up in these places.
Social Venture Network (www.svn.org): The Social Venture Network is over 26 years old, and is a diverse and energetic group of around 600 national progressive businesses. I attend as many of their events as I can, and am always amazed and inspired at the ways in which creative SVN members are truly changing the world through their efforts.
B Lab (www.bcorporation.net): B Lab runs the non-profit certification process for becoming a Certified B Corp (I became one in 2011) and working with state legislators to change incorporation laws so that they respect the multiple bottom line approach to business. These folks are adding new B Corps on a weekly basis, and you will hear and see more of this important initiative and its brand.
1% for the Planet (www.onepercentfortheplanet.org/en): a growing global movement founded by Yvon Chouinard from Patagonia of almost 1,400 companies that donate 1% of their sales to a network of 2,673 environmental organizations worldwide. Their motto is “Keep the earth in business” and I’m always happy to chip in my 1%.
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (www.vbsr.org): VBSR is the largest organization of socially-responsible businesses in the country, and provides education, advocacy, and networking with over 1,100 members. I spent nine years (2002-2011) as a Board member, and am happy to answer any questions you have about this great organization or how to get involved.
The Esalen Institute: www.esalen.org - The "grandparent" of North American retreat centers, and for many years carried the torch as the primary center for the "human potential movement." Besides its storied history of thought leaders (Joseph Campbell, Alan Watts, Fritz Perls, Ida Rolf, to name a few) and the artists and musicans who have hung out there, the dramatic scenery, the awesome permaculture gardens, the internationally known massage school, and the natural hot springs overlooking the ocean make this place a jewel and a treat. You should check it out, and put it on your bucket list if you have one.
Hollyhock: www.hollyhock.ca - Hollyhock is on Cortes Island, way up the British Columbia coast from Vancouver, but once you're there it's just delightful. Local salmon and oysters plucked from the surrounding ocean, to deep forests, to gourmet food, Hollyhock is run by my good friends Dana Bass Solomon and Joel Solomon. I go every year - maybe you should too!
Breitenbush Hot Springs and Retreat Center: www.breitenbush.com - This place is unique for several reasons. First, it is a worker-owned cooperative that is completely off the grid - they generate their own low-power electricity from a small-scale hydro plant, and they pump geothermally heated water to all the cabins and lodges for heat. Spending a few days in the Cascade Mountains, outside the reach of cell phones, with natural hot spring pools and a steam sauana, and you'll connect with nature and youreself.
The Whidbey Institute: www.whidbeyinstitute.org - Although the smallest of the four centers listed here, Whidbey has a large heart, and a wonderful facility. Highlights include small cabins inthe woods with surprise woodcarvings on the interiors, and a log cabin wood-fired sauna built by the original Finnish settlers to the land back in 1921.
More resources to come . . . stay tuned!