2018 reading list

2018 reading list

It’s a new year, which means it’s time for a fresh reading list!

Cracking open a new title each month is an opportunity to step back from our own projects. To get away from screens, dive deep into a topic, explore alternative perspectives and build up our library of frameworks and actionable tactics for approaching change in complex systems.

The theme of the 2018 reading list is anticipating the future and proactively creating the enterprises and world we want, even in the face of uncertainty, complexity, and limited resources.



Betterness: Economics for Humans by Umair Haque

We’ll kick off the year with this short read that invites us to rethink our definition of business success.



The Innovation Blind Spot: Why We Back the Wrong Ideas And What To Do About It by Ross Baird

Baird, an investor, argues that our current innovation economy allows poor ideas to rise to the top while ideas that solve important problems go unnoticed. Since many internal portfolio programs act the same way as traditional venture capitalists, his advice should be applicable to many settings.




The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream by Amy Webb

Written by a futurist, this book promises to help us identify which trends are worth paying attention to and how to adapt our portfolio ahead of time so we’re not constantly playing catch-up.



The Inversion Factor: How to Thrive in the IoT Economy by Linda Bernardi, Sanjay Sarma, and Kenneth Traub

In this read, the authors will share how companies can evolve their product and portfolio approach to design new experiences in an internet of things (IoT) world.



The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation by David Robertson

Are you on Team Incremental Improvement or Team Disruption? Robertson offers an alternative approach for injecting more innovation into your portfolio.



The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World by Nilofer Merchant

I enjoyed reading Merchant’s thoughts on creating actionable strategy in her book “The New How” so I’m interested to hear more about what she has to say about mobilizing others and scaling your impact without traditional status or authority.



A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It’s Everyone’s Business by Adam Morgan & Mark Barden

Working with a big budget and a blank slate would be great, but most of us don’t have that. This book promises to show some practical tips for leveraging constraints to make our businesses stronger.



Dual Transformation: How to Reposition Today’s Business While Creating the Future by Scott D. Anthony, Clark G. Gilbert, and Mark W. Johnson

The other books in this list discuss how to identify future trends or create your own vision, including tips on how to decide what to focus on. This book promises to help us think about dual transformations in our business: improving our existing business while building the future one.



Creating Great Choices: A Leader’s Guide to Integrative Thinking by Jennifer Riel and Roger L. Martin

Portfolio management is all about managing trade-offs and deciding where to invest and where to cut resources. This book looks like a great tool for those times when none of the available choices seem attractive.



The Art of Explanation: Making Your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand by Lee Lefever

Coming up with the vision, initiative, product, or service is hard enough. But even valuable ideas can get overlooked without a clear explanation. The tips in this book may help us move our change initiatives along a little faster.



Herding Tigers: Be The Leader That Creative People Need by Todd Henry

Exploring, creating, and delivering the future requires a team of creative people. I’m a fan of Todd Henry’s other books “Die Empty” and “The Accidental Creative” as well as his podcast, so I’m interested in reading what he has to say about creative leadership.



Gamification is trendy but I wanted to add this book to the list because it goes beyond the typical tactics to help us build products and services that are more engaging.


Looking for more books to add to your to-read pile? Check out the 2017 and 2016 reading lists. What else is on your reading list for 2018?



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