I have a stack of books I am working my way through this summer, and they are all written by friends. I think this is pretty remarkable actually. From the top down, here is what’s on my reading table:
- Finding the Sweet Spot by Dave Pollard. This one just arrived this evening, although I read a proof that Dave sent along. It’s typical of his writing, and will be a familiar tome for regular readers of his blog, How To Save The World. The book outlines a path for creating a life of sustainable work and enterprise using his well developed model of natural entrepreneurship. It’s a brilliant, accessible and portable guide to saving your own ass and the world along with it.
- The Return of King Arthur by Diana Durham. Diana was with us at the Art of Hosting stewards gathering in Carleton Nova Scotia this summer, working with her partner Jon to make a film about some of the work we are doing. Diana’s book is a deep exploration of the powerful myths and archetypes of self-knowledge and transformation. She goes far into the western European tradition and to show the essential pathways on the journey to mastery. It’s an incredible book.
- Howe Sounds, an anthology of Bowen Island writing. My home island is known in Canada for being a haven for writers and this anthology, published way back in 1994 showcased a number of them including Nick Bantock, Robert Bringhurst, Victor Chan and Jim Kearny. A few current friends are anthologized here too including Brad Ovenell-Carter (wriiing about bread, about which he an I are passionate) and Julie Ovenell-Carter who is known as a travel writer and who contributed a poem writtne for her young daughter.
- Almost Green by my friend and neighbour James Glave. James has written a book that is both deadly serious and achingly funny about the middle class grasping towards sustainability. The book charts his journey to build the most ecologically sustainable sturcture possible – what turns out to be an eco-shed studio space. Along the way he talks about the economics of sustainability and why the middle classes in North America are destined to remain almost green. The book is honest and changes very few name to protect the guilty. When it was released in July, Islanders kept popping into the bookstore just to see if they were in it. If you want a taste of James phenomenal writing, download his ebook on deer hunting, Buck The System.
- Teaching an Anthill to Fetch by Stephen Joyce. Stephen sent me this book a while ago and then I ended up meeting him at an Art of Hosting we did in Cochrane, Alberta in June. The book is a how to guide to developing collaborative intellegence in the workplace and goes through anumber of tools that meaders, team members and managers can easily adopt to begin their learning about leveraging collaborative intellegence. It’s accessible and it also points in many directions and invites readers to go deeper. A very practical introduction to the field.
- Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide by Harrison Owen. This is the third edition of Harrison’s guide and it’s updated with several new pieces about action planning, and wupporting the client. The community has had a bigger hand in this version than in previous versions and Harrison has gathered the wisdom that makes sense and recast it in his amicable style. This is really a classice in the field of facilitation methodology. It’s dead simple to use and is really all you need to set up and run an Open Space meeting.
- Hippie Chick Reunion by Kathryn Barber. Yet another Art of Hosting companion, I met Kathryn in Florida in May and this book lay at the bottom of my suitcase for a couple of months before Kathryn prodded me to read it. On the surface it is a story about a group of women reuniting in 2001 to celebrate the protagonist’s 50th birthday. They were a wild bunch back in the day, and their memories are vividly relived. Under the surface though Kathryn has written a parable for social evolution, and the book is highly indebted to Ken Wilber’s integral models and Don Becks Spiral Dynamics as it weaves the worldviews of the characters together in a dynamic tale.
So that’s it for this summer. There are more books on the horizon that friends are working on or have just published including Harrison Owen’s latest on high performance work teams, Patti Digh’s newest Life Is A Verb, Jack Ricchiuto and George Nemeth’s collaboration Instructions from the Cook, and Adam Kahane’s forthcoming book on the languages of love and power, so lots of interesting stuff to read from the interesting people in my life. If you’re working on a book let me know and I’ll add it to my library.