What we’re reading: Timing | Form | Purpose | Leadership | Elephants & Framing | The Mind | Big Data & Black Boxes | Storytelling

Once a month we round up the top reads and recommendations from our community. Got one to add? Let us know @alignyourorg.


Olivia Gadd.jpg
Olivia Gadd

Olivia Gadd is reading Daniel Pink’s latest book. As she says, (working the title in nicely):

“Rather than the what and the how, it focuses on When.

A refreshing and different take. Provoked some fresh thinking”.


Stephen Welch
Stephen Welch

Stephen Welch tells me he is enjoying On Form by former England Cricket Captain Mike Brearly. The book sets out to answer: “What is being on form? How does it relate to feeling ‘in the zone’?”.
Topical for the Bushcraft for Communicators session at #IABC18 which Stephen is co-presenting with Mike (below).

Do also look out the for the Snakes & Ladders-themed Masterclass he’ll be doing at #IABC18 in Montréal with Casilda Malagon. Here’s how that went down in Singapore earlier – and this time it’ll be even bigger.


Mike Pounsford
Mike Pounsford

Mike Pounsford has been working through Designing the Purposeful Organisation by Clive Wilson  – Mike says: “thoughtful and interactive guide to building purpose; lots of questions to get you to reflect…”

As a companion read he recommends On Purpose by Shaun Smith and Andy Milligan.

Upcoming opportunities to catch up with Mike:


Ginger Homan
Ginger Homan

Ginger Homan is ramping up for the 2018 IABC Leadership Institute and has been reading Simon Sinek‘s Leaders Eat Last.

When we caught up she also reminded me of a handy hack – using the index page from The Coaching Habit as a fast reference. It summarises the core questions in the book. Because understanding and connection are built one great question at a time…

Elephants & Framing

Andy Gibson.jpg
Andy Gibson

Andy Gibson is revisiting George Lakoff’s classic Don’t think of an elephant as a reminder that language shapes our reality, and the messages we choose to repeat – even in outrage – we also choose to amplify.

And last but not least, here are of my favourite reads from this last month…

The Mind

Book Cover The Mind Manual Andy GibsonAndy has a book out himself called The Mind Manual: Mindapples 5 a Day for a Happy, Healthy Mind – and it is worth both reading and amplifying.

Concise, practical, actionable.

And useful for all of us whether 15, 55 or 105. And indeed whether starting out, the Chief Exec or the Board Chair.

Big Data & Black Boxes

Book cover - Cathy O'Neill - Weapons of Math DestructionWith The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force across the European Union in May, Big Data is now truly a board-level issue. The fines for GDPR non-compliance will be swingeing – in some cases metered out as a percentage of worldwide turnover.

Combine that with the risks of unintended consequences to third parties – let alone your own organisation’s reputation: this topic needs your board’s attention.

In this context I’ve found Cathy O’Neill‘s Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy incredibly useful. If you’re serving on a board and your organisation uses technology, don’t take “it is too complicated to explain” for an answer. Make sure your Big Data efforts are done in clear alignment with your organisation’s vision, values and strategic intent.

In addition to reading this book you may also want to tag along to the London GDPR briefing organised by IABC (and hosted by KPMG) on the 8th of February 2018.


Book Cover Bobette Buster How to tell your storyTopical as it is  this week. I collect books on this topic and the most recent addition is Bobette Buster‘s short-and-to-the-point Do/ Story/: How to Tell Your Story So the World Listens. Practical and actionable advice made memorable.

And if you haven’t got time to read, then why not keep an eye on Stuart Maister‘s regular snippet-short videos with storytelling tips. Follow him on LinkedIn to get them in your feed.

And before the week is out, maybe you can squeeze in a storytelling event too? See all the events being put on by the Society for Storytelling.

Book Cover Kazuo Ishiguro Nobel LectureThe real value of a story is through the shift in understanding it can create. And the action a good story can encourage. To that end, my final recommendation this month is Kazuo Ishiguro‘s recent Nobel Lecture. A slim volume currently in all good bookshops. It is called My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs – and it is both edifying, and beautifully told.

Got one to add? Let us know @alignyourorg. And if you want can’t wait until the next month for more ideas, follow me on Goodreads