I love all of the books below. They are several that have remained with me through the years, listed alphabetically by author last name. They are on my shelves. They have lots of scribbles and notes in them, ideas that I have used in workshops and presentations. When people ask me what books to read, my general response is that these are a few starting places. If you follow your nose from any of these, you’ll likely find more of what you need.

Bach, Richard
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (1977, Dell Publishing)
I’m not quite sure how I stumbled into Richard Bach’s writings. It might have been my Dad’s copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I love the way that he invites attention to other worlds, to see outside of the known.

Baldwin, Christina
The Seven Whispers: Listening to the Voice of Spirit (2002, New World Library)
This is one of my favorite books to give to people as gifts. Christina’s voice is so clear and so insightful. You could build a very wise life around these whispers.cover.storycatcher

Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story (2005, New World Library)
Christina is one of the wisest people I know. This book shows some of her at her finest. Inviting story and sharing it as a key medium for meaningful learning.

Baldwin, Christina & Ann Linnea
The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair (2010, Berrett-Koehler)
What I like in this book is it is such a deliberate offering from Christina and Ann to pass on a legacy with invitation to many to pick it up. Restoring the practice and use of circle in contemporary society.

Brown, Juanita, David Isaacs & The World Cafe Community
The World Cafe: Shaping Our Future Through Conversations That Matter (2005, Berrett-Koehler)
Juanita and David are fantastic people. World Cafe is a goto methodology for bringing people closer together in relationship, story, and emergent ideas.

Chodron, Pema
Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change (2012, Shambhala Publications)
I find Pema’s writings and CDs to be as helpful as anything I know to make sense of experience in the world. Or to let go of it. I love her gift of speaking the everyday alongside the profound.

Corrigan, Chris
The Tao of Holding Space
Eight-one short chapters from the Tao applied to hosting Open Space.

Corrigan, Chris and Michael Herman (Editors)
Open Space Technology: A Non-Users Guide (2002)
A collection of helpful writings from the Open Space community.

Eisler, Riane
The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future (1988, Harper Collins)
A book that my Grandmother introduced me to when it was published. It contributed to an awakening for me, a different way of paying attention to the world.

Grossman, Warren
To Be Healed By the Earth (1998, Seven Stories Press)
This books points to a fundamental wholeness, found from deliberate relationship to the earth and our surroundings. I love it for it’s reach and for it’s simplicity.

Engaging EmergenceHolman, Peggy
Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity (2010, Berrett Koehler)
Peggy has a gift of being able to name the core message. She has rigor in her stories and anecdotes.

Holman, Peggy, Tom Devane, Steven Cady
The Change Handbook (2007, Berrett Koehler)
This is an extensive collection and summary of participative methods for engaging whole systems.

Intrator, Sam & Megan Scribner, Editors
Teaching with Fire: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach (2003, Jossey Bass)teaching with fire
A poetry book that I have used over and over and over again. Beautiful for the poetry and the stories of the people who submitted the poems as their favorites.

Johnson, Steven
Where Good Ideas Come From: A Natural History of Innovation (2010, Riverhead Books)
A really good read. Connects innovation in nature to principles and conditions for innovating in human systems.

Katie, Byron with Stephen Mitchell
A Thousand Names for Joy: Living in Harmony with the Way Things Are (2007, Three Rivers Press)
“The Work” is powerful as tool and as a way of being. It’s a book to read often to shift the interior and how it creates the exterior.

Ladinsky, Daniel
Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (2002, Penguin Compass)
This is such a great taste of some great writers. Hafiz, Rumi, others. Poems that made me laugh and cry.

Linnea, Ann
Deep Water Passage: A Spiritual Journey at Midlife (1993, Pocket Books)
Ann is one of the most soulful and grounded people I know. The book is impressive in the journey, the first person to circumnavigate Lake Superior. And in the inner journey that Ann shares.

McTaggart, Lynne
The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe (2002, Harper Perennial)
The search for the new stories must include for me the search in the new sciences and quantum perspectives. Lynne McTaggart really excites my curiosity and imagination with her writing.

Nepo, Mark
Facing the Lion, Being the Lion: Finding Inner Courage Where It Lives (2007, Conari Press)
There is really no miss with Mark Nepo. His poetry and essays touch the essence of things. The core.

The Exquisite Risk: Daring to Live an Authentic Life (2006, Three Rivers Press)
A book that my partner and I used with a faith community to plan for a conference themed, risk boldly the future. Exquisite indeed.

Owen, Harrison
Expanding Our Now: The Story of Open Space Technology (1997, Berrett-Koehler)
Like Circle and World Cafe, Open Space Technology is a goto methodology for groups large and small. It is a great way to get people working together, learning together, and taking responsibility for what they care about.

Shirky, Clay
Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (2008, Penguin Books)
So many good stories that challenge the brain to think differently about what organizing can be.

Weisbord, Marvin and Sandra Janoff
Future Search: Getting the Whole System in the Room for Vision, Commitment, and Action (1995, Berrett-Koehler)
In my earlier work in the 90s I did a lot of work with future search conferences. This book has been republished a few times and continues to influence to many.

Wheatley, Margaret
Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World (1994, Berrett-Koehler)leadershipbook.new
This is the book that started it all for Meg. And for many of us. Her insight and friendship has guided me through big chunks of personal and professional life. This book was, and is, a beautiful offering of integration of insights and powerful questions from multiple disciplines of science.

Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future (2002, Berrett-Koehler)
Meg does it again. Simple, powerful conversations that help people touch the heart of what it means to be human.

So Far From Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World (2012, Berrett-Koehler)
I love Meg’s call to be warriors of the human spirit. It has always been a part of her message and the friendship I have known with her. This book brings this to a new and beautiful level.

Wheatley, Margaret & Deborah Frieze
Walk Out Walk On: A learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now (2011, Berrett-Koehler)
This is a great collection of stories from dear friends and communities I know through my work at The Berkana Institute. Deborah is one of the most inspiring, smart, and visionary leaders I know.

Wheatley, Margaret & Myron Kellner-Rogers
A Simpler Way (1996, Berrett-Koehler)
This is such a powerful book. It was not the best seller among Meg’s books. Yet, it contains so much of the core story of organizations as living systems. It is the book I’m pointing people towards often so that they can internalize more of the key story.

Whyte, David
The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America (1994, Currency Doubleday)
So much to love in David Whyte. His poetry. His books. His call to the human spirit and all the levels of honest vulnerability.

Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity (2001, Riverhead Books)
I love David Whyte’s invitation to enter the unknown, to come to relationship with it, work, self, journey.