Reading List

If you like what you read here, then you might be interested to read some of the books that have inspired me.


“Out of the Crisis”, W. Edwards Deming
Publisher: MIT Press; 1st MIT Press Ed edition (2 Oct 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0262541157
ISBN-13: 978-0262541152
When you read this book, you’ll wonder why modern businesses maintain, what Deming calls management by numbers.   Deming sets out his 14 principles to managers for transforming their businesses. He uses the phrase “Substitute with leadership” numerous times to encourage us to replace outdated management tools. This was published back in 1986, so I wonder why this isn’t common practice in all businesses yet!


“Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us”, Daniel H. Pink
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd (13 Jan 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 184767769X
ISBN-13: 978-1847677693

Daniel Pink is a genius!  He has written down everything that I thought to be true about motivating people.   Dan suggests three thinks that motivate us: autonomy, mastery and purpose.  You’ll notice that money isn’t one of them!  Being in control, with a clear goal and being able to get better and better are more important than financial reward are more likely to motivate us in our jobs than financial incentives.  You may like to see the animated summary of a Dan Pink talk at RSA.  Click here to see it.


“Abolishing Performance Appraisals – why they backfire and what to do instead”, Tom Coens and Mary Jenkins
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 Oct 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1576752003
ISBN-13: 978-1576752005

This is the book that I had been trying to find for my entire career in the corporate world.  I knew that the annual ritual of performance review, goal setting and pay review didn’t work, but I thought that it was only me that it didn’t work for.  Having read this book, I now know that it is the same for others!  This book, as the title says, explains what businesses should do instead of annual or semi-annual performance reviews:  use real leadership and coaching to maintain delivery from all staff! This along with “Drive” should be compulsory reading for all managers and all HR professionals.


“First break all the rules”, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
Publisher: Pocket Books; New edition edition (20 Jun 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416502661
ISBN-13: 978-1416502661

This is a very interesting book that shows you that great managers understand the strengths of their staff and use these strengths to best effect. This was the first book that showed me what I knew: not everyone can be good at everything. The book shows, with lots of examples, that great managers do not focus on the weaknesses of their staff, trying desperately to fix the problems, but instead, play to individual’s strengths. Having read this, I went on to but a second book, Now, Discover Your Strengths: How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage, by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton.

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