The Arbinger Institute is not a household name in the conflict resolution circles I work in. It should be. In its practice and in a series of books it has published, the Arbinger staff helps people come to grips with some of their most deeply embedded and self-destructive ways of thinking and acting, which it labels “the box.” Like most of Arbinger’s books, Leadership and Self-Deception. Develops its point through allegories which make it an easy read—until you explore the lessons that underlie the story of its protagonists, Tom and Bud, a newly hired executive and his boss/mentor, respectively.
I met Rachel Kleinfeld at a conference on technology and peacebuilding a couple of years ago and learned immediately that she is a force of nature whose youth belies her wisdom and impact. When we met, she was already working on this book, so I’ve been waiting for it and dug into it the day it was published. I wasn’t disappointed. It is bound to have a huge impact on the way we peacebuilders conceive of our work in at least two ways.
A friend told me about Colin Rule's work a few weeks ago. At first, the systems he developed to help resolve conflicts on e-commerce sites didn't seem all that relevant to my work. After all, my own work focuses on the toughest conflicts we face as a society, not how online businesses and their customers work out their differences. I was wrong. In fact, there is a lot of value here. What Rule and his co-author Amy Schmitz have already done and what they propose companies implement in the future is critical for the future of conflict resolution in general.
is a young philosopher who studies and does altruism at the University of Oxford, whose ideas can be seen on his website which also includes a link to his TED Talk. There are plenty of books out there that discuss how those of us with money or time to donate should do so. None is as interesting or useful as MacKaskill's.
I don’t usually review books that are aimed at specialized audience. I made an exception for Diana Chigas and Peter Woodrow’s Adding Up To Peace a) because they are friend and b) more importantly, they take on the toughest challenge we peacebuilders face. How do we build on what we accomplish in a particular community and turn it into lasting peace that holds for an entire society.
Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, you'll find something to love AND something to hate in Steve Hilton's new book, Positive Populism. That's exactly why you should read it. And think about it.
I'm a recent convert to the work of Brené Brown. After years of focusing on such things as shame and vulnerability, she has flipped the hierarchy and dealt with leadership in her most recent book with its intriguing title, Dare to Lead. What's unusual about the book is that she does not focus on traditional forms in which I exert leadership over you. Instead, she explores how I lead with you but also how I lead within myself. For all of those reasons, it is a book worth reading.
Because I include a chapter on Germany in my comparative politics textbook, I'm always looking for insightful books on the long-term legacy of the Nazi years. So, when I saw a review of Nora Krug's Belonging (simultaneously published as Heimat in German), I immediately bought it for two reasons. First, Krug (born 1977) is a generation removed from the Nazi experience. Still, she is obsessed about its impact, especially on her family. Second, Krug teaches illustration at Parsons School of Design, and the reviews said the images were as valuable as the prose. They were right.
I have been thinking a lot about higher eduction these days, because I'm increasingly unhappy about the state of things these days. Then, I spent a weekend at Oberlin planning my fiftieth reunion and came away quite excited about some of the interesting things they are doing. So, I decided to go back and reread Kevin Carey's book, The End of College, which had helped strengthen my grumpiness when I read it three years ago when it came out.
Over the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time reading books by business school professors who wrote for popular audiences and raised issues of interest to peacebuilding and/or comparative politics. Sometimes, the connections weren’t always obvious. They certainly were in the case of Dolly Chugh, The Person You Mean To Be. In many ways, hers is typical of this kind of book in that she explores personal shortcomings that keep us from reaching our fullest potential.
Steven Johnson is one of my favorite writers. Over the years, he has gotten me to rethink paradigm shifts (they happen in a more piecemeal fashion than I used to believe) and evolution (we can plan at some of our mental—if not our physical—evolution as a species). So, I read Farsighted the day it arrived on my Kindle.
The same political polarization that grips the nation has hit American college campuses, including most of the elite schools that produce a disproportionate share of our country's leaders. In this provocative new book, Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt explore some of its contours, causes, and consequences. It is provocative precisely because it goes way beyond university life to address broader issues involving everything from the way we raise our children to broader polarization that has only gotten more intense than it was when they finished the book. I do not agree with everything they say, but the book is a must-read for anyone interested in the fate of American higher education and society, both of which have been at the heart of my life since I was a student in the differently polarized 1960s and 1970s.
Like many progressives who came of age in the 1960s, I'm struggling to figure out why we haven't made more progress on race relations in my adult lifetime. Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility helps us do so by showing why whites have a hard time discussing race, seeing their role in perpetuating inequality, and how we could break ourselves out of that logjam.
I belong to the Next Big Idea Club. It was created by Malcolm Gladwell, Adam Grant, Susan Cain, and Daniel Pink to promote the ideas of the next generation of thinkers whose insights might change the world. For a fee that is roughly the equivalent of the cover price, they send me eight books a year that they think will change lives AND send a copy to a teenager in an underserved community. So far, they haven’t disappointed. One of this fall’s two books is Zachary Wood’s Uncensored, which is must reading on two levels, the second of which I want to focus on here.
Hans Rosling’s Factfulness is a book all social scientists should read because it tools about how our failure to see the real data on development had led to political mistake after political mistake