what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Friday, October 23, 2009

more recent influential books


The booklist I gave recently was, I failed to mention, of those books which had made a major impact on me at an earlier stage of my life – which, in a sense, shaped my attitudes. For example the powerful Camus and Koestler essays against capital punishment. So far I would add only one to the list EJ Mishan's "Costs of Economic Growth" (1967) which was a gentler Kohr critique and a forerunner to Schumacher’s writings on a different economics.
Tony Crosland’s books were elegant attacks on the inequalities of British society – but with a different “take” on how to deal with them than the build up of the state offered by the traditional left. Popper gave me the horror I have of an overbearing state – and people like Illich gave me my anarchistic streak. However it was Bernard Crick’s "In Defence of Politics" I suspect which persuaded me that politics was an honourable and necessary pursuit.
The collection of books therefore gave me both my political activism (as Brecht said – “So ist die Welt – und must nicht so sein”) – and some of the approaches which might be able to deal with the injustices (and inefficiencies) I wanted to deal with. For the first 22 years of my adult life I chose to pursue a political role – but at a local and regional level with my commitment to community development and community enterprise giving vent to the anarchistic element.
For the past 20 years, I have been operating as a consultant (although critical) – and perhaps reaching the point when I need to change/raise my game.

And I should now refer to the books/authors which have “spoken to” me in that last phase. My publicadminreform website http://www.freewebs.com/publicadminreform/mentions a lot of books – and has indeed several large bibliographies In “key papers”) which are worth looking at. But the following are the first which come to mind -
Stepen Covey; The Seven Habits of Effective People (1991) In the early 1990s this was the only management book which I could find translated into the various languages of central europe in which I was working – and therefore an ideal focus for some discussions.
Robert Greenleaf; On Becoming a servant leader (1996)
Charles Handy; all his writings
Paul Hawken etc Natural Capitalism – the next industrial revolution (1999)
Christopher Hood; The Art of the State (1998)
Will Hutton; The State we’re in; The world we’re in (2002)
David Korton; When Corporations rule the world (1995)
Ronnie Lessem; Management Diversity through cultural diversity (1998) and all his other books
George Monbiot; Captive State the corporate takeover of Britain (2000)
Guy Peters; The Future of Governing – four emerging models (1996)
Susan Strange; Mad Money – when markets outgrow governments (1998) Casino Capitalism etc
Theodor Zeldin; An Intimate History of Humanity (1998)

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