I’m a sucker for books. The dead-tree kind of books. Not the e-versions. Feeling, smelling, turning pages, scribbling notes … nothing a Kindle or iPad can replace. But although I try to maintain a healthy 3-books-a-month average, I hardly ever meet my own goal. Holidays are a great time for catching up.
The books I’m taking with me this short holiday break:
- ‘Cultures and Organizations‘ (Hofstede, Hofstede, Minkov) and ‘Allemaal andersdenkenden’ (Hofstede and Hofstede). My first minor culture shock came a few years ago when my colleagues at Trendwolves (at that moment) ordered beers and wine over lunch. As a Dutchman, I’m used to have milk, some crappy cheese-sandwiches and fruit over lunch, but not so much to order a bottle of wine. How could one ever be productieve the rest of the day after having alcohol over lunch?! Being engaged with a Flemish girl confronts me with cultural differences every day. And over the last years I have been working more and more with international teams to craft global digital strategies and implement them in local countries. It makes me realize that being Dutch isn’t always that great; we tend to be noisy, arrogant, loud, too direct, not sensitive enough and too liberal. Let’s say it wouldn’t hurt for me to catch up on other cultures 🙂
- ‘The Audacity of Hope‘ (Obama). I actually bought this four years ago, just before Clinton and Obama went head-to-head in the DNC primaries. With the likely Romney-Obama race coming up towards november, it’s time to finally read what Barack has to say.
- ‘The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World‘ (Reichheld and Markey). I really don’t know what to do with the NPS concept. It is a widely accepted, easy to becnhmark, easy to measure and easy to understand way of having a hunch how enthousiastic customers are about your product or service. But … it only measures customer intention, it seduces people to focus on the negatives and the correlation with business impact is indirect. More than enough reasons to see what the two godfathers of NPS have to say about that.
- ‘De Conversation Company’ (Van Belleghem) my former colleague and mentor Steven Van Belleghem wrote another masterpiece about integrating customer centricity and conversations in organizations. In the 10 months I worked at Insites Consulting, I spent quite some time with Steven, Elias, Dennis, Dado and Sam working on the early thoughts behind the book. Can’t wait to read what came from that.
- ‘The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work‘ (Amabile and Kramer). I strongly believe in small steps (creating momentum) to change companies to be less about ads and more about acts. Companies and people need time to change and to find their own path to customer centricity. Curious to see what Amabile and Kramer can add to the discussion.
- ‘Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management‘ (Imai). I wasn’t familiar with the kaizen and gemba kaizen concepts until a few weeks ago when a senior manager at Carglass was generous enough to introduce the basics behind it to me over dinner. Kaizen is so much as ‘philosophy or practices that focus upon continuous improvement of processes in manufacturing, engineering, game development, and business management‘. Again, small continuous changes to change a company. I was intrigued enough to buy the book.
Any books I should be reading? Let me know!
I have a yearly reading week, go to France just to catch up on business reading and relax a little. Working holidays, should be an extra holiday every year 🙂
Last year I was very impressed by Shift, the future of work by Lynda Gratton. Also Outliers from Malcom Gladwell (read it before that holiday) was impressive and of course Society 3.0 by Ronald van den Hoff. I assume you already read ‘de prooi’ and ‘ drama ahold’, since both give such a great insight into the problems with big companies. Doorbraak! from Niels aalberts is a very nice read too, and smell, an evening’s worth.