Something a bit lighter for a Friday, and with Christmas getting closer, maybe there’s some inspiration in this short list of books that changed the way I look at things 👀 :

  • Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow” - my introduction to cognitive biases and human irrationality. It changed the way I think about how people interact within organizations.
  • Edward Tenner, “Why things bite back: technology and the revenge of unintended consequences” - this book is fairly old now and has probably been superceded, but it got me thinking about complexity and the interactions of technology and complexity result in surprising outcomes - perhaps it ultimately put me on a trajectory towards “system thinking”.
  • Clayton Christensen, “The innovators dilemma” - I had never had any interest in business until I read this book. Take home points for me - profit before growth, delight customers and think long term.
  • Dan Ariely, “The honest truth about dishonesty” - more cognition, but this time about how people engage in the context of being honest, or telling the truth.

One of my favourite story’s from Dan Ariely’s book is about a research project involving authentic Gucci sunglasses. The ruse of the research was that participants were evaluating the quality of the sunglasses for some purpose. Every participant was given a pair of genuine sunglasses to “try out” for a few minutes and then they had to complete a survey, part of which was actually a standard test for honesty and dishonesty. Half the participants were told they had genuine Gucci sunglasses and the other half were told that they had knock-off sunglasses. Now here’s the interesting bit - participants who were told they were wearing knock-offs were inclined to behave more dishonestly in the honesty test!

Hopefully you’ve just made a serendipitous reading discovery here.