Here are a few books that are currently influencing our thinking (they're the ones piled up on Lisa's desk). Check back for additions and let us know what you're reading! Click on the book or title to go right to Amazon and get it!

The Experience Economy: Work is Theater and Every Business a Stage
B. Joseph Pine, James H. Gilmore, B. Joseph Pine II (Harvard Business School Press, 1999)

This is an important account of how to move our thinking beyond products and services. What people want (and buy) are experiences. The authors suggest some key principles that make or break the quality of customer experience in any business context. Lots of ideas that resonate with our thinking about ambiance, the staging/production aspect of presenting services, and scripting of customer experience.

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction
Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, Murray Silverstein (Oxford University Press, 1997)

Alexander and his colleagues have identified more than 200 patterns associated with environments that are satisfying, environments that really WORK. This perspective answers questions like why is it that some building courtyards are uninviting and full of dead plants while others are magical retreats. Although these patterns are about physical space, they have a lot of implications for designing virtual spaces.

Deep Play
Diane Ackerman (Vintage Books, 2000)

Diane Ackerman is a writer and poet. She describes "deep play" as "that more intensified form of play that puts us in a rapturous mood and awakens the most creative, sentient, and joyful aspects of our inner selves." This book provides a new way of integrating what we know about the role of play in human development with how we think about life and work. This book stimulates thinking about rituals and games and group process.

Serious Play: How the World's Best Companies Simulate to Innovate
Michael Schrage (Harvard Business School Press, 1999)

Schrage provides a compelling account of the role of prototyping in innovation. He describes a variety of different prototyping approaches and makes the case for companies having a conscious prototyping strategy. Although much of this book is focused on products, much is relevant to any kind of group collaboration and creativity.

Making Movies
Sidney Lumet (Vintage Books, 1996)

This is a fascinating first-hand account for anyone who loves movies. Lumet's include Twelve Angry Men, The Pawnbroker, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, The Verdict, and many others. It's interesting to us because movie making is a great example of a very complex collaborative project. Lumet also shares how he thinks as a director about what he wants to evoke from the audience (participants) and how all the elements - lighting, music, story - come together to create the feeling.

Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives
Theodore Zeldin (Hidden Spring, 2000)

"Conversation is not just about conveying information or sharing emotions, not just a way of putting ideas into people's heads. Conversation is a meeting of minds with different memories and habits. When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, engage in new trains of thought. Conversation doesn't just reshuffle the cards: it creates new cards. That's the part that interests me." - Theodore Zeldin

Me too!

Jamming : The Art and Discipline of Business Creativity
John Kao (Harperbusiness, 1997)

I bought this book initially because I loved the title. It resonated with a lot of interest in jazz as a metaphor for team work. It turned out that what's inside is great too! Jamming provides a lot of ideas for managers who want to create the conditions for creativity in their organizations (and eliminate creativity-killers).

The Cluetrain Manifesto: the end of business as usual
Christopher Locke, Rick Levine, Doc Searls, David Weinberger (Perseus Press, 2000)

"Markets are conversations." That's the first of 95 theses and provides plenty to think about even if you never get to #2 (though #21: "Companies need to lighten up and take themselves less seriously. They need to get a sense of humor." is another favorite).We think conversation is a core business process and Doc Searls has had a big influence on how we think about supporting conversation online.

Terms of Engagement: Changing the Way We Change Organizations
Richard Axelrod (Berrett-Koehler, 2000)

Dick Axelrod has identified the principles that many of the best group processes share. He presents an "engagement paradigm" that can spark creativity and create capacity for change. Dick is one of the most experienced and respected consultants and practitioners of organization change work and this book is a rich source of learning from his experience.

Computers as Theater
Brenda Laurel (Addison-Wesley, 1993)

This is a classic. Totally blew me away the first time I read it. Laurel is talking about interface design but the underlying ideas about computer applications as a dramatic space rather than as a set of features or bits of information apply equally to the design of collaborative environments.

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life
Benjamin and Rosamund Zander (Harvard Business School Press, 2000)

Benjamin Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and Rosamund Zander, a family therapist and painter, draw on their experience to share insights on practices for creativity. The Zander's practices are based on two premises: that life is composed as a story and that, with new definitions, much more is possible than people ordinarily think.

Rules for Radicals : A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals
Saul D. Alinsky (Vintage Books, 1989)

This is a book about organizing - community organizing, political organizing. It's full of insight about the dynamics of groups and how to make things happen. Lots of ideas that can be leveraged to build online communities, build support for change initiatives in organizations, and energize groups around a common purpose.

Recent books by Chautauqua authors (find out MUCH more about them in The Virtual Chautauqua)

Virtual Teams: People Working Across Boundaries With Technology
Jessica Lipnack, Jeffrey Stamps (John Wiley, 2000)
The Power of Spirit: How Organizations Transform
Harrison Owen (Berrett-Koehler, 2000)

Other recommended books

Enabling Knowledge Creation: How to Unlock the Mystery of Tacit Knowledge and Release the Power of Innovation
Georg Von Krogh, Kazuo Ichijo, Ikujiro Nonaka (Oxford University Press, 2000)
Learning As a Way of Being : Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent White Water
(Jossey-Bass Business & Management Series) Peter B. Vaill (Jossey-Bass, 1996)
Common Knowledge: How Companies Thrive by Sharing What They Know
Nancy M. Dixon (Harvard Business School Press, 2000)


Current Reading
Chautauqua Books
Other Recommended Books

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