Re-discovering Parts of the Path to Wirearchy

(Re-published from 2009)

My storage space is a reasonably organized mess.  However, recently I decided to sort it out at a fundamental level for once and for all, or at least until the next time things accumulate to the point where it’s not orderly.  How anal of me.  Oh, well.  Most of the next two weeks are being spent getting ready to turn 55 (I’m now 60), and it feels like a reckoning of sorts, so it was as good an activity to dive into as any other.

You have to start somewhere.

One of the first things I did was go through the boxes of books and sort them (and then either throw out or re-box) according to categories.  The large majority of them are about organisations, organisational effectiveness, the sociology of organisations, HR practices and methodologies, new directions in management, the development of leadership, organisational and community development, work design, learning, and so on.

You get the picture.

As I was doing this, I realised that at least I came by the concept of “wirearchy” honestly.  In other words, I was primed to connect the dots when it began to be apparent (earlier in my case than in most peoples’) that a massive shift was well and truly underway and would continue on.

I decided to share my reading list from the last 15 years (not all of it but a decent portion) mainly in order to make public the path of reading and thinking I took.

Heh .. I also ran across acetates – acetates !!! – of a presentation I did to the National Grid Company (UK), titled “General Manager Competency Model”, in October 1992.  This was obviously before PowerPoint or other such programs were in widespread use.  Acetates !!!

Further digging revealed all my old Hay Management Consultant manuals, with various titles such as:

  • HRPD Competency Assessment Methods and Applications
  • HRPD Marketing Materials Handbook
  • British Petroleum Recruitment Focussed Interview Training Agenda – Instructor’s Guide
  • Managing Motivation For Performance Improvement – Instructor’s Manual


Goodbye to all that stuff !   My, how things have changed .. for me, at least.

I’ll appreciate any feedback anyone cares to offer, or suggestions of other books or articles I might find interesting.

Yes .. I did read them all.


Powershift – Knowledge, Wealth and Power at the Edge of the 21st Century, by Alvin & Heidi Toffler

Receptors – New Knowledge About the Brain, by Richard Restak

The Plateauing Trap – How to Avoid It in Your Career and Your Life, by Judith Bardwick

Management Consultancy – The Inside Story, by Clive Rassam & David Oates

The Tao of Negotiation, by Edelman and Crain

Seizing the Future – the Coming Revolution in Science, Technology and Industry and How It Will Expand the Frontiers of Human Potential

Guide to the Management Gurus

Open Space Technology – A User’s Guide, by Harrison Owen

Future Search – An Action Guide to Finding Common Ground in Organizations and Communities, by Weisbord & Janoff

Productive Workplaces – Organizing and Managing for Dignity, Meaning and Community, by Marvin Weisbord

Goal Analysis, by Robert F. Mager

Improving Performance, by Rummler and Brache

Working Harder Isn’t Working – A Guide to the Four-Day Work Week, by Bruce O’Hara

Self-Directed Work Teams – The New American Challenge, by Orsburn, Moran, Musselwhite and zenger

Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management

1001 Ways to Reward Employees

Competence At Work – Models for Superior Performance, by Lyle and Signe Spenxcer

Reward Management – A Handbook of Remuneration Strategy and Practice, by Armstrong & Murlis

People, Pay and Performance, by Flannery, Hofrichter and Platten

Getting to Yes – Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, by Fisher and Ury

The Age of Spiritual Machines, by Ray Kurzweil

In the Age of the Smart Machine, by Shoshana Zuboff

The Support Economy – Why Corporations Are Failing Individuals and The Next Episode of Capitalism, by Zuboff and Maxmin

The Power of Passion, by Hobson & Clarke

The Future Consumer, by Frank Feather

The Great Game of Business, by Jack Stack

Corporate Renaissance – The Art of Reengineering, by Cross, Feather and Lynch

Corporate Loyalty – A Trust Betrayed, by Grosman

Thought Leaders – Insights on the Future of Business, by Joel Kurtzman

The Age of the Heretic, by Art Kleiner

The 500 Year Delta – What Happens After What Comes Next, by Watts Wacker and Jim Taylor

The Visionary’s Handbook: Nine Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business, by Wacker, Means and Taylor

The Deviant’s Advantage – How Fringe Ideas Create Mass Markets, by Wacker and Matthews

Built To Last – Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by Jim Collins & Gerry Porras

The Unfinished Revolution – Human-Centered Computers and What They Can Do For Us, by Michael Dertouzos

Rethinking the Future, by Rowan Gibson

Learning As A Way of Being – Strategies for Survival in a World of Permanent White Water, by Peter Vaill

The World According to Peter Drucker, by Beatty

The Collected Papers of Roger Harrison, foreword by Edgar Schein

Upsizing the Individual in the Downsized Organization, by Johansen & swigart

The Empty Raincoat – Making Sense of the Future, by Charles Handy

The Stakeholder Strategy – Profiting From Collaborative Business Relationships, by Anne Svendsen

Leadership Jazz, by Max Depree

When Giants Learn To Dance – Mastering the Challenges of Strategy, Management and Careers in the 1990’s, by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey

The Twenty-year Century – Essays on Economics and Public Finance, by Felix Rohatyn

Discovering Common Ground – Future Search Conferences, by Marvin Weisbord et al

The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook – A Field Guide, by Peter Senge et al

The Organization of the Future, by Hesselbein, Goldsmith & Beckhard

Working Wisdom – Skills and Strategies for Learning Organizations, by Aubry & Cohen

The Fifth Discipline – The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization, by Peter Ssenge

Complexity – the Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos, by M. Waldrop

The Quark and The Jaguar – Adventures in the Simple and the Complex, by Murray Gell-Mann

The Anatomy of Buzz – How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing, by Rosen

Crossing the Chasm – Marketing and Selling High-tech Products to Mainstream Customers, by Geoffrey Moore

The New Deal at Work – Managing the Market-Driven Workforce, by Peter Cappelli

Harnessing Complexity – Organizational Implications of a Scientific Frontier, by Axelrod & Cohen

Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done, by Bossidy & Charan

The Inmates Are Running the Asylum, by Alan Cooper

Organization 2000 – The Essential Guide for Companies and Teams in the New Economy, by Leslie Bendaly

When Things Start to Think, by Neil Gershenfeld

The Monster Under The Bed, by Stan Davis and Jim Botkin

Future Perfect, by Stan Davis

It’s Alive – The Coming Convergence of Information, Biology and Business, by Stan Davis & Chris Meyer

Blur, by Stan Davis & Chris Meyer

Net Attitude, by John Patrick

Leadership From Within, by Peter Urs-Bender

Leading the Revolution, by Gary Hamel

The Future of Management, by Gary Hamel

Trends 2000 – How to Prepare for and Profit From the Changes of the 21st Century, by Gerald Celente

The Age of Participation – New Governance for the Workplace and the World, by Patricia McLagan and Christo Nel

Intelligence Reframed – Multiple Intelligences for the 21st Century, by  Howard Gardiner

Managing for the Future, by Peter Drucker

The Age of Unreason, by Charles Handy

The Empty Raincoat, by Charles Handy

Reclaiming Higher Ground, by Lance Secretan

Knowledge For Action, by Chris Argyris

The Competent Manager, by Richard Boyatzis

Principles of Systems, by Jay Forrester

Urban Dynamics, by Jay Forrester

World Dynamics, by Jay Forrester

High Tech, High Touch – Technology and our Accelerated Search for Meaning, by John Naisbitt

The Empowered Manager – Positive Political Skills at Work, by Peter Block

Toppling the Pyramids – Re-defining the Way Companies Are Run, Gerald Ross & Michael Kay

Learning Organizations – Developing Cultures for Tomorrow’s Workplace, by Sarit Chawla and John Renesch

Post-Capitalist Society, by Peter Drucker

Fad Surfing in the Boardroom – Reclaiming the Courage to Manage in the Age of Instant Answers, by Eileen Shapiro

The Turning Point, by Fritjof Capra

Synchronicity – the Inner Path of Leadership, by Joe Jjaworski

The Collaborative Enterprise – Why Links Between Business Units Often Fail and How to Make Them Work, by Andrew Campbell and Michael Goold

Practice What You Preach – What Managers Must Do to Create a High Achievement Culture, by David Maister

The Trusted Advisor, by David Maister

Stewardship – Choosing Service Over Self-Interest, by Peter Block

The Ultimate Book of Business Gurus – 10 Thinkers Who Really Made a Difference, by S. Crainer

Orbiting the Giant Hairball – A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace, by Ian Mackenzie

Crisis & Renewal – Meeting the Challenge of Organizational Change, by Hurst

Digital Game-based Learning, by Marc Prensky

Thinking In The Future Tense – A Workout for the Mind, by Jennifer James

Survival Is Not Enough – Why Smart Companies Abandon Worry and Embrace Change, by Seth Godin

Rekindling Commitment – How To Revitalize Yourself, Your Work and Your Organization, by Jaffe, Scott and Tobe

The Ingenuity Gap – How Can We Solve The Problems of the Future ?, by Thomas Homer-Dixon

de Bono’s Thinking Course, by Edward de Bono

Digital Aboriginal – The Direction of Business Now – Instinctive, Nomadic and Ever-changing, by Tarlow & Tarlow

The Art of the Long View, by Peter Schwartz

Here Comes Everybody – the Power of Organizing Without Organizations, by Clay Shirky

The Wealth of Networks, by Yochai Benchler

The Starfish and the Spider – The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, by Brafman and Beckstrom

Emergence – The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software, by Steven Johnson

The Cathedral and the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary, by Eric Raymond

McLuhan for Managers – New Tools for New Thinking, by de Kerckhove and Federman

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paolo Freire

Education for Critical Consciousness, by Paolo Freire

Presencing, by Otto Scharmer

The Living Organization, by Arie de Geus

Wikinomics, by Don Tapscott

The Cluetrain Manifesto, by Doc Searls, Chris Locke, David Weinberger and Rick Levine

Small Pieces, Loosely Joined – A Unified Theory of the Web, by David Weinberger

Everything Is Miscellaneous – The Power of the New Digital Disorder, by David Weinberger

Intellectual Capital, by Thomas Stewart

Human Capital – What It is and Why People Invest In It, by Tom Davenport

Information Ecology – Mastering the Information and Knowledge Environment, by Davenport and Prusak

Competing On Analytics – the New Science of Winning, by Davenport and Harris

Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performances And Results from Knowledge Workers, by Tom Davenport

The Attention Economy, by Davenport and Beck

Working Knowledge: How Organizations Manage What they Know, by Davenport and Prusak

The Balanced Scorecard, by Kaplan & Norton

Gainsharing and Productivity – A guide to Planning, Implementation and Development, by Doyle

Managing Customer Value – Creating Quality & Service That Customers Can See, by Brian Gale

Future Work – Where To Find Tomorrow’s High-tech Jobs Today, by Diane Butler

The Dilbert Principle – A Cubicle’s-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions, by Scott Adams

Age Wave – the Challenges and Opportunities of an Aging North America, by Ken Dychtwald

Jobs, Roles and People – The New World of Job Evaluation, by Hay Management Consultants

Punished By Rewards – The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise and Other Bribes, by Alfie Kohn

The Great Reckoning – How the World Will Change in the Great Depression of the 1990’s, by Lord Rees-Mogg

The Organization Game, by Craig Hickman

Love Is Letting Go of Fear, by Gerald Jampolsky


Yes, it’s heavy on the non-fiction .. and yes, for the years since I have been reading many more novels 😉


Dan Pontefract

What, no Dr. Seuss “Oh the Places You’ll Go”?

You once lent me “McLuhan for Managers – New Tools for New Thinking” … still greatly appreciated.


Dan, I like your sense of humour.

Great to see you in Paris. Strong keynote. This may well be a year when things start to move more quickly. There can only be so many fingers in so many dykes, so to speak.


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