As the title suggests, Conflict Zone, Comfort Zone focuses on how we prepare students (and by implication, others) to work in conflict zones which requires them to get out of their comfort zones. As the authors in this wonderful anthology point out, that's easier said that done.
No one knows more about disruptive innovation than Clayton Christensen. I’ve been reading is books for years, but this is the first time I’ve actually written about his work because _The Prosperity Paradox_is his first book that directly takes on the kinds of issues I worry about professionally. While prosperity is not always a key to understanding Peacebuilding, the way he describes the role of innovation in creating a wealthier society is filled with implications for peacebuilding especially as we consider creating a movement in support of our efforts.
In her column, Complicating the Narrative, Amanda Ripley referred to Gary Friedman and Jack Himmelstein's book Challenging Conflict. Although I knew about their ideas about transformative conflict resolution, I hadn't read the book, so I dashed out and bought it. It lays out an intriguing approach to mediation that could and should be useful to all of us in the conflict resolution and peacebuiiding worlds. Although they call it an understanding based model of conflict resolution, it goes much farther.
No matter where you site on the political spectrum, there is not much positive to say about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Paul Brinkley's book is a welcome exception, because it talks about efforts to create human security in both countries which the United States Department of Defense created and promoted.
Steven Johnson is one of those rare authors who can take advanced scientific research and turn it into prose that non-scientific readers can understand and then use in their own lives. He can pull that off because he not only has the training to read the scientific literature, but he is a master story teller. He has done it again in Farighted. In it, he helps us see some old and some new tools that help us make decisions on matters that will affect our lives far into the future--hence the title.
I met Amy Edmondson more than 30 years ago when I was getting started on my peacebuilding career and she was starting her own as a business consultant. She since moved on to get a PhD and now teach at the Harvard Business School, where her work on teams has had a profound impact on corporate life. Now, in The Fearless Organization, she has expanded her focus from hospitals and other corporations to organizations in general. Which means her work is filled with implications for peacebuilding.
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.