I only worked in three other firms besides my own. The closest thing to a reading list that I encountered had just two items: Graphic Standards and Sweets Catalogues.
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.
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
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.
I have given some thought to how I would expand the Office Reading List. First I would create four categories of books - Sharpening The Saw, Architectural Practice, The Big Picture, and Business. Then I would list the three most valuable books that I know of in each category. Over time I would add another tier of three books in each category, then another and maybe one last tier so that there were twelve books in each category. As I added each tier, it would be legitimate to move books up or down in the tiers.
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.
Sharpening The Saw
The Big Picture
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.
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