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The book I wish people would read...

October is National Book Month, and I know want to know the book that you wish people would read. It doesn't have to be your favorite book, or what you think is the best book... just one you've found yourself wishing more people would read. The rules for this open post:

* One non-fiction and one fiction book
* If that's too tough, you can have one runner-up in each category
* A sentence or two (no more than three) about WHY you wish people would read it
* There will be no judgements about the reasons you give. It's just as valid to say, "Because it'll make people laugh" as it is to say, "Because it might help make the world a better place."
* At the bottom of your comment, you can give a +1 vote on anyone's previously suggested book that you want to say, "I agree" or a -1 to a book you don't like. (Just say the name of the title the other commenter listed followed by +1 or -1. No commentary ; )

I'll go first...


The Fifth Discipline
I DO think the world would be a better place if more people understood/appreciated systems thinking. Don't be fooled into thinking this book is only for business... anyone who wants a better grasp of systems thinking can start here.

Runner up:
Amusing Ourselves to Death
I've probably done enough lecturing here on why I wish people would kill their television. Imagine a world where people (at least in the US) did not get ANY of their news from television, and where kids weren't exposed to television ads. (Cancelling cable and getting shows only from iTunes or DVD will change a life)

A wonderful Neil Gaiman book about following your own heart regardless of what everyone else (society, family, etc.) expects and wants you to do. In some ways, this is a much tamer, less edgier version of Gaimans first "regular" novel (and one of my very favorites), Neverhwere

Your turn!

Posted by Kathy on October 8, 2006 | Permalink


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» The book I wish people to read from DataWebTect
Kathy Sierra has asked the readers for the books that they wish everybody read by giving reasons. Here is my list. Non Fiction: The world would be a better place if only people read this book which gives insight to the outsourcing and insourcing of the... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 8, 2006 10:34:42 AM

» National Book Month from 800-CEO-READ Blog
Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users has a great post going called The book I wish people would read... She chose The Fifth Discipline and Stardust. There are 83 others who have left their suggestions as well...... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 9, 2006 11:33:44 AM

» Book Month from AiAlone.com
Apparently its Book Month. In honor of Book Month, Kathy Sierra has asked people to state two books that you wish people would read, one fiction and one non-fiction. Also, have a look at her comments and give a +1 to any books mentioned you... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 9, 2006 1:18:23 PM

» 2 Books that Will Change Your Life from Hasan Diwan on the Web!
Kathy Sierra writes:October is National Book Month, and I know want to know the book that you wish people would read. It doesn't have to be your favorite book, or what you think is the best book... just one you've... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 9, 2006 6:55:50 PM

» The Books I Can't Forget from Away With Words
Here it is, twelve days into October, and I still don't have my National Book Month decorations up. No matter. I'm inviting all of you to celebrate with me by sharing the titles of two books--more if you can't help [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 12, 2006 9:17:53 AM

» I wish they would read from sabadash.us
Headrush, over at Creating Passionate Users, wants everybody to post their fave two books: one fiction, one non-fiction. Avoiding the smart remarks, clever comments, and odd asides, heres mine:  Fiction: Why do Birds Damon Knight wrote this per... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 13, 2006 3:54:13 PM

» Book Sharing from Bill Baren Blog
Kathy Sierra from Creating Passionate Users encouraged her readers to post comments on the book they most want others to read. I am taking the call and sharing my two entries. Fiction Bee Season by Myla Goldberg I want you to read it because it wil... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 18, 2006 6:13:36 PM

» What are the key metrics? from The Knowledge Collective
Based on a recommendation by Kathy Sierra in her blog I am reading Peter Senges, The Fifth Discipline. Both blog and book are excellent and full of head shifts! Amongst the many pearls of wisdom in the book, (nay, oce... [Read More]

Tracked on Nov 21, 2006 11:29:06 AM


The Fifth Discipline is a great book! I actuall read it back in 1996 and had a chance to hear Peter Senge speak and then was lucky to spend about a half hour talking with him at a CIO Magazine conference. Wow, what an interesting conversation. From the work he was doing at Ford/Lincoln Mercury to how our youngest children learned in different ways that the "normal" kids.

My abnormally learning youngest son who learned best while standing at his desk in class and had a teacher who recognized this special need is now a successful professional chef. Go figure.

Anyway, Peter's book is a fantastic read and if you are interested in exploring the implementation side of his concepts then the Fifth Discipline Field Book is really great.

Posted by: russ stalters | Oct 8, 2006 8:56:12 AM

Non-fiction: The Gift of Fear. Even if you don't personally deal with psychos or stalkers, there's invaluable information with dealing with just about any stressful, uncomfortable, or potentially dangerous interpersonal situation, both in the work and personal worlds.

Fiction: Hrm... Fall on Your Knees. Because if I wanted to introduce someone to CanLit, I'd start there.

Posted by: Melle | Oct 8, 2006 9:06:01 AM

OK, here are two suggestions:

- Ernle Bradford: The Great Siege: Malta 1565

- Philip K. Dick: Eye In The Sky

Posted by: A.R.Yngve | Oct 8, 2006 9:08:51 AM

Non-Fiction: The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst. Now that everyone's a typesetter at home, we should all know what beautiful type looks like.

Fiction: The Journal of Albion Moonlight by Kenneth Patchen. Rambling, ugly, confusing, beautiful, and profane, this book was decades ahead of its time. Today's political climate makes it especially prescient.

Posted by: Drew Bell | Oct 8, 2006 9:11:08 AM

Non-fiction: Any book by Miss Manners.

Does this really need any explanation?

Fiction: Susan Coolidge: What Katy Did at School

A book that teaches a major principle: "Live it Down". If people would try to live their lives as proof of their morality, rather than trying to argue it, we might have a better world.


Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | Oct 8, 2006 9:14:11 AM

Nonfiction: Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things because it shows how a profit can be made from doing things the right way.

Fiction: Anything by Dana Stabenow because she writes a darn good mystery set in Alaska with a great female protagonist.

Posted by: Virginia | Oct 8, 2006 9:15:08 AM

FWIW, I was blown away by Rita Charon's Narrative Medicine - want to Be Professional; Be Passionate about listening, you need not be a doctor to gain insight into how our "systems" are struggling to deal with more complex environments.

Fiction, hmm that's tough, only one I've even picked up this year is the complete poems's of Emily Dickinson.

Add +1 to 5th Discipline, great book. Looking forward to a huge list here :)

Posted by: ken | Oct 8, 2006 9:18:46 AM

In the non-fiction category, my first choice is The World is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century by Thomas Friedman. It helps to codify the issues about outsourcing that make it inevitable, as well as how to adapt to that new world.

My runner up is "Linked: How Everything Is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means" by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. I'm a math geek who has a minor in optimization, so a book that describes how network organization can be used to explain many complex facets of human life, from epidemics to the Interent and search engines gets a high mark from me. Makes my schooling seem almost useful. :)

As I thought about my choices for fiction, I realized that I haven't read any fiction for more than a year. So instead, let me indulge myself by listing two non-fiction choices that have nothing whatsoever to do with my work. In other words, they're the sort of reading I do for pleasure. And that's really the point of fiction, isn't it.

Check out "The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason" by Sam Harris and "Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" by Jared Diamond.

Posted by: Bruce Johnson | Oct 8, 2006 9:19:39 AM

gosh, so many. Fiction: how about Catwings, by Ursula LeGuin. Yes, I know, it is whisper slim, simple and a metaphor. But you will finish it, and maybe read it again and again. Current non-fiction: The End of Faith, by Sam Harris

Posted by: claire | Oct 8, 2006 9:23:01 AM

Fiction: 1984 (Orwell), because of how rapidly it's becoming non-fiction

Non-fiction: Nonzero (Robert Wright), because it gives me hope in humanity despite its 1984 leanings...

Posted by: Bob | Oct 8, 2006 9:49:10 AM


Gödel, Escher, Bach - An eternal golden braid

After all these years, this is still a wonderful book about AI and technology. Very clearly written, and I think it is a good read for everyone. You do need to have some time and concentration for it, though.


The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

A very funny and nerdy book by Douglas Adams. Really good jokes, and ofcourse a classic.

Posted by: Chris Eidhof | Oct 8, 2006 10:01:25 AM


Zen in the Art of Archery - a small little book but gives profound answers to questions u never thought u would ask!


Philip Pullman's Dark Materials - it covers a lot of wisdom for a teen book!

A close second would be 1984 by George Orwell - something to remind me about how i'm always being watched by big brother.

Please also join us and share your views at librarything on books that made me think. There are plenty of books suggested already in the group forum.

Posted by: Shang Lee | Oct 8, 2006 10:10:46 AM

Non-fiction: Thick Face, Black Heart The remarkable story of Chin-Ning Chu, an American woman of Chinese birth, who mastered personal and business demons by discovering her warrior spirit.

Non-Fiction Runner-up: The Force of Reason by Oriana Fallaci whose magnificance in standing against the despots and evil forces at play in the world will long be her legacy.

Fiction: Shelley's Heart by Charles McCarry, a former CIA operative who writes about political intrigue with the best of them. Absolutely unputdownable!

Posted by: Joachim Klehe | Oct 8, 2006 10:19:32 AM

Non-Fiction: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs (2e) by Abelson and Sussman should be read, studied actually, by everyone who claims the title "programmer". It is quite simply the best book on programming ever written.

Fiction: If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino it's a story about stories by a master of modern fiction.

+1 on Gödel, Escher, Bach - An eternal golden braid

Posted by: Ward Harold | Oct 8, 2006 10:41:24 AM

The Fifth Discipline is a great book. I've had the opportunity to hear Peter speak and he has associations with my graduate program Whole Systems Thing/Organizational Systems Renewal. It's all about systems thinking!

I love the "Big Moo" by Seth Godin. This book really is great for getting snippets on how too be remarkable by the top people. Also the "Web of Life" by Fritjof Capra teaches us all about systems thinking and how everything is connected and effects each other.

Another is "Good News for Change" by David T. Suzuki and Holly Dressel. It's all about the positive things happening in our world.

For fiction red "The Meq" by Steve Cash, about kids who are immortal and their experiences thru time.

Posted by: Phoenix Rudner | Oct 8, 2006 10:52:43 AM

Fiction: Ishmael - Because it gets you to think.

Non-Fiction: The Origins of Conciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind - Because it gets you to think.

Posted by: Juan | Oct 8, 2006 10:54:03 AM

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Do you have a fixed-mindset or growth oriented mindset? Or the science behind all those self-help books that you have read...

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out Of The Box
Describes a fundamental problem that many people have (and don't know that they have) and provides solution to it.

Posted by: sri | Oct 8, 2006 11:10:12 AM

Watership Down, by Richard Adams
Fluffy bunny rabbits are not as sweet and light as we think. This book has everything a good epic needs to have, plus an entirely new language. A must read before you become zorn.

First runner-up:
Jitterbug Perfume, by Tom Robbins
Immortality, beets, and the god Pan. Need I say more?

The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion
A personal account of the year following the death of Didion's husband, this book is beautifully written and incredibly moving. Even more impressive, it's touching and sad without being melodramatic or maudlin.

First Runner-up:
Maverick, by Ricardo Semler
This book is a breath of fresh air for anyone who is tired of traditional management theory. Semler managed to create a fully democratic culture in a manufacturing facility, thereby proving that management needn't be the equivalent of a dictatorship.

Posted by: Kathleen DeFilippo | Oct 8, 2006 11:30:35 AM

"John Adams", by David McCullough. All books by Mr. McCullough are extremely well written. This book follows the birth of the US constitution, a body of law based on the premise that power corrupts, and that "the people" need built in protections. It is an important reminder of how individuals can work together to question authority and try to make a better world, not just for themselves, but for future generations.

Non-Fiction (runner up):
"Linked", by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi. An important book that begins to peel away the surface of the fascinating new science of networking principals. I believe that readers will better appreciate how everything is interconnected, and that individual actions (or inaction) form the basis of our webbed universe.

"Eucalyptus", by Murray Bail. A great love story. Need I say more?

Fiction (runner-up):
"Master and Commander" through "Blue at the Mizzen", the 20 novel Jack Aubrey/Stephen Maturin series, by Patrick O'Brian. These are the richest historical novels I have ever read. Nobody captures the details of a historical time period as well as O'Brian. The textures of scenes and human emotion are breathtaking.

Fiction (second runner up):
"The Debt To Pleasure", by John Lanchester. A wickedly good book. A combined murder novel and culinary essay is a fabulous entertainment recipe for reading pleasure.

Posted by: Paul Blystone | Oct 8, 2006 11:44:56 AM

In the non fiction category the "head first" series is a clear strong entry, however you know that, so this is my "other" selection:

Fiction/Personal life:
Dan Milman: The path of the peaceful warrior.
Dan's autobiography how to truly change for the better.

Runner up:
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince.
He gave us this quote: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

Fisher/Ury: Getting to YES, Negotiating Agreement without giving in.
Once more people practise principled negotiation agreements will be fairer and more sustainable.

Runner up:
Lao Tzu: The Tao Teh Ching.
Reflect over one of the chapters every day and watch what happens.

;-) stw

Posted by: Stephan H. Wissel | Oct 8, 2006 11:45:13 AM

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. Sorry for being a bit old-fashioned, but I think this is still the best commentary on mankind written so far. I last read it perhaps eight years ago, but it still resonates in me.

Fiction first runner-up
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. The language is brilliantly simple and evocative.

Any good dictionary. Sorry for seeming cheeky, but I really mean it. I wish people would refer to this more often when they write – the squiggly of Microsoft Word appears to have killed usage of the dictionary – a real pity.

Nonfiction first runner-up
How Would You Move Mount Fuji by William Poundstone. It taught me more about problem-solving than any other book I remember.

Posted by: Geetha Krishnan | Oct 8, 2006 11:51:57 AM

Fiction: the Discwolrd series by Terry Pratchett, but starting around Reaper Man/Witches abroad. So much more interesting, human and thought-provoking than Harry Potter or the Lord of the Rings.
Fiction, Runner-up: the Gap Series by Stephen Donaldson. Dark, fast, epic, sucks you right in with its characters and action. (Also check out his fantasy novels about Thomas Convennt.)

Non-fiction: Improv Wisdom. Finally a self-help book that I could relate to, based on a life-time of teaching improvisation classes and living these principles.
Non-fiction, Runner-up: The Science of Disworld, all parts. Read them in order and get a lot of current science topped with strong oppurtunities and good writing in a neat package. Reaches from the big bang to complex systems, explains evolution and how the scientific method works.

Posted by: Jens | Oct 8, 2006 12:06:13 PM

Have really enjoyed reading this blog recently, I don't feel qualified to add a book suggestion, but anyhow:
The Fabric of Reality (non fiction)

Posted by: Malcolm Sparks | Oct 8, 2006 12:08:05 PM

Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions by Gary Klein

A lot of insight on how people make decisions.

The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks

I wanted to name all of Iain M. Banks' Culture-novels but this is probably the best.

Posted by: Jan Wikholm | Oct 8, 2006 12:12:29 PM

Simply fun: any Calvin & Hobbes book, by Bill Watterson.

Fiction: The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges. His imagination is simply astounding - I've never read anything close to this (part of his Collected Fictions which is of course excellent as well, and more diverse)
Runners up: The Rum Diary by Hunter S Thompson, Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger.

Non-Fiction: Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos. It's a great examination of the mistakes most people make when thinking about mathematics. It's very informative yet it manages to stay engaging and fun.
Runners up: +1 Godel Escher Bach

Posted by: JoeS | Oct 8, 2006 12:18:24 PM

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