I'm wired a little different than that limited version of self-improvement, so we had actual books in our library in addition to the 50 lineal feet of catalogues.
An Office Reading List helps you create a culture and a common way of thinking and expressing yourselves.
To be honest our library got started by the firm buying books that I wanted to read that were at least remotely related to either architecture or business management. Things change at a glacial pace in education, so I think I am safe in saying that most architects still graduate without any exposure to business concepts. Since I was now in business it seemed like a good time to find out how it worked.
I think the idea for a firm's reading list came from the book, The Great Game of Business. The idea was that if we all understood how our actions affected the firm's financial performance then we had a better chance of moving in a positive direction.
Another book that impacted how we worked was by Edward de Bono, The Six Thinking Hats. This is a very simple book with a really big idea. You can read the book in an hour and immediately start practicing a more useful way of thinking.
After those two books we started an Office Reading List. The main idea of the list was to share a common view or build a culture we shared. Here were the books in our Office Reading List.
Our Office Reading List
- Six Thinking Hats, by Edward de Bono
- The Great Game Of Business, by Jack Stack
- The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
- Project Management, by Andy Bruce and Ken Langdon
- How To Win Friends And Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
- De Bono's Thinking Course, by Edward de Bono
Once you have a common background in some fundamental ideas it is easy to communicate ideas framed by that mutual understanding. De Bono describes this in Six Hats.
"The symbolism of the six different hats provides a very convenient way of asking someone to switch gears."
These categories are fairly self-explanatory, but 'The Big Picture' might be obscure. By The Big Picture I mean topics that give you an insight into what it is all about - the world, universe, life, you know, the big picture.
My Office Reading List*
So far this is what I have.
* If you want to see more about these books, use my affiliate links to Amazon (the title) or to Apple iBooks. I get a small commission if you buy, and that helps me support the Architekwiki site.
- Six Thinking Hats, by Edward de Bono Apple iBooks
- The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey Apple iBooks
- How To Win Friends And Influence People, by Dale Carnegie Apple iBooks
- Project Management, by Andy Bruce and Ken Langdon No iBook
- A Manual of Construction Documentation, by Glenn E. Wiggins, AIA No iBook
- The Architect's Portable Handbook, by Pat Guthrie No iBook
The Big Picture
- A Brief History of Everything, by Ken Wilber Apple iBooks
- The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle Apple iBooks
- Chaos, by James Gleick Apple iBooks
- The Great Game Of Business, by Jack Stack Apple iBooks
- Good To Great, by Jim Collins Apple iBooks
- Out of the Crisis, by W. Edwards Deming No iBook
It is most likely that your list would be very different. If you haven't built a list, feel free to adopt mine until you form your own ideas about what should be on your office reading list.
If you have books you would like recommend, share them in the comments.
SUBSCRIBE to Architekwiki