After the popularity of our blog post earlier this year on 7 seminal Conscious Business Books we decided to do a follow up with another 7!

There are so many we could include, but these are 7 that we rate particularly highly, while also trying to strike a balance between theory and practice.

OK, in no particular order…

 

Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose – Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth & David B, Wolfe

Ever read Good to Great? It’s one of the classics of business. Firms of Endearment is like a conscious business version of Good to Great. It’s based on in-depth research into 30 companies that are strongly passion and purpose-driven.

Guess what? These companies, like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Southwest Airlines, and Patagonia, are not just great places to work… they also blow their competition out of the water in terms of their financial performance!

This is one of the foundational books of the Conscious Capitalism movement, and it’s well worth reading if you want to get a real feel for what conscious businesses look and feel like… and how they perform!

Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges – C. Otto Scharmer

For years now, Theory U has been redefining the theory and practice of leadership and transformation. It’s a deep dive into how discovery and transformation unfold at the levels of individuals, groups, and systems.

If you don’t mind the academic prose (Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at MIT), this book offers a wealth of insight into the process of transformation. And consciousness and presence are at the heart of it.

SQ21: The 21 Skills of Spiritual Intelligence – Cindy Wigglesworth

An honest admission up front – we haven’t actually read the whole book yet!! However, we know Cindy’s work really well, and from what we’ve seen so far, this looks like a cracker.

The idea of IQ and EQ has become well established in today’s world, but, as Cindy argues, it is our spiritual intelligence that is the new frontier of personal growth and organisational leadership.

The first chapter is available for free, and it kicks off in inspiring form asking how can we become fully human in the work we do? Surely there are few more important questions today.

ReWork: Change the Way you Work Forever – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

This is one of those books that probably wouldn’t be labelled ‘conscious’ by many people, but is actually a wonderfully practical articulation of such an approach.

ReWork is a collection of short, punchy and practical chapters each addressing real problems that any entrepreneur or business practitioner will come up against. Gone are the clunky old conventions of how it should be done, and instead we’re served a fresh, energetic and creative roadmap for how to play a new exciting game.

Highly recommended for anyone who wants to practice business in today’s world, and it’s perfect for dipping into whenever you feel like a injection of liberating common sense.

The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working: The Four Forgotten Needs that Energize Great Performance

In this classic, Tony Schwartz, bestselling co-author of The Power of Full Engagement, makes the case that there’s an energy crisis in the workplace. Most of us fail to re-fuel and engage all of our four ‘gas tanks’ at work: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.

This is both a rich and practical book, because it covers key aspects of fully engaging all of those four core needs in our work. It includes a passionate case for sleeping in the workplace, cultivating your whole brain, and bringing all of yourself to work. A beautiful book, that will definitely help you wake up the workplace!

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen

Although Getting Things Done (GTD) is an absolute classic, it’s not commonly thought of as ‘conscious business’. We disagree. You may think this book is about time management. It’s not. It’s about how you manage your attention (consciousness), so that you can get to what’s most important.

If you’re going to change one thing about how you work, make it this: empty your head. It’s the source of endless power and creativity. And most of us are clogging it with ‘stuff’. More than anything, this book is a practical walk-through guide from overwhelm to relaxed and conscious productivity. Awesome stuff.

The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries

The angle for this book is entrepreneurship: how you start and build new products and companies. While most of those fail, this book argues that those failures are preventable.

Lean Startup is a new approach to business that’s centered around becoming conscious of your assumptions, and testing and adapting them continuously (before it’s too late). Although it doesn’t explicitly use the language of conscious business, it’s about ruthlessly facing reality as you build your business. And that’s pretty conscious, don’t you think?

 

How many have you read? Which one’s are your favourites? And what’s missing from the list!?

Leave your comments below…

 

50 responses to “7 More Seminal Books on Conscious Business (that you probably should read)”

  1. A few that I couldn't persuade Diederick to include in this list, but rocked my world…

    The Business Model Generation (Osterwalder), The Fifth Discipline (Senge), Executive Leadership (Jaques).

  2. diederickjanse says:

    Am I detecting a mild case of victimhood on having those books excluded? 🙂

    Some others that didn't make the list (again) include Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book 'Flow', Michael Strong and John Mackey's 'Be the Solution', and Gary Hamel's 'What Matters Now'…

    Which other books should be on this list?

    • jan hein van joolen says:

      What should be on the list is : The Ethics by Spinoza.
      A brilliant logical account of what is happening in , as and from this oneness and how to be present in this flow as a human being.
      The best recommendation I have ever read in order to start thinking for yourself and fundamentally challenge all assumptions, wherever they come from.
      The ideal guide to social entrepreneurs.
      It takes a bit to understand his 17th century writings.
      Suggest you start reading Steven Nadler's books on Spinoza's work and philosofy.
      Best wishes ,
      Jan Hein

  3. Certainly not. It wouldn't have happened if you'd have just stopped controlling me 😉

    And a shout for the first business book I EVER read – Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish.

  4. Ian Johnson says:

    Well, you missed "Running Lean" by Ash Maurya. In my opinion a much simpler and clearer and usable book than "Business Model Generation". In my opinon Ostwalder's book is too complicated and difficult to understand and use. It is about big companies, and for big company people, not for Integral Entrepreneurs. Running Lean covers the same territory much more elegantly.

  5. Graham Boyd says:

    One book I'd put in; Richard Barrett's latest book on conscious leadership, "The New Leadership Paradigm"
    And, Ed Holton's book on "Improving Learning Transfer in Organizations". About making it easy for people to learn how to do their jobs better, or change how they do their jobs. By consciously changing the systems around them!

    Love these blogs, thanks guys!

  6. Steve Tivett says:

    I'm a great fan of Kevin Cashman and would add "Leadership from the Inside-Out" or "The Pause Principle". Both focus on how to be consciously aware and reflective before taking action.

  7. diederickjanse says:

    Love it, some suggestions that I haven't already read (or even heard from in most of these cases)! Thanks Ian, Graham, and Steve, will be looking into those…

  8. Susan says:

    I highly recommend "The Accidental CEO: A Leader's Journey from Ego to Purpose" by Thomas Voccola. It's a business novel that lets the reader experience the journey to conscious leadership.

  9. Steve Byers says:

    I recommend two books by Graham Leicester and Maureen O'Hara of the International Futures Forum: "Ten Things to Do in a Conceptual Emergency" and "Dancing at the Edge: Competence, Culture, and Organization in the 21st Century".

  10. Lynne Wintergerst says:

    I'm loving these lists. Two books by John Michael Greer helped keep me grounded this year: "The Long Descent: A User's guide to the end of the industrial age" and "The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a post-peak world". And of course when it all just becomes a bit too much E.E.Schuhmacher's "A Guide for the perplexed" helps me to breath again.

  11. George Swan says:

    Love seeing an old favorite of mine, Lynne, "A guide for the Perplexed". For a practical approach to breakthrough at different stages of consciousness, see "Tribal Leadership". You can 'read' the free audio book from their website, filled with open source tools: http://www.culturesync.net.

  12. George Swan says:

    Have to add another comment, to endorse the very practical and powerful "Theory U". You can see some excellent short papers of Scharmer's model at his website: http://www.ottoscharmer.com.

  13. I would add: "Conscious Business: How to Build Value Through Values" from Fred Kofman

  14. Hi Kevin – that was listed in the first list (no way we could miss that one!!!).
    http://www.wakinguptheworkplace.com/2012/03/22/7-

  15. Claudia says:

    Love it! I own and have read all of these books except for Cindy's. Thanks for posting this.

  16. Sergio says:

    Since we have Joseph Jaworski in the first list we might want to add "The living company" by Arie de Geus
    and Peter Senges latest "The necessary revolution"

  17. tony says:

    Other books: Peak – How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow (Conley), It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For (Spence),

  18. Thanks for all the great suggestions everyone! Something tells me we'll never be done with lists of seminal conscious business books 😉

  19. Ann Roberts says:

    Hi – loving the expansion of options for winter reading – How about 'Funky Business' (Norsdstom and Ridderstrale) for a Scandinavian contribution:)

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  21. Awesome list! I'm always looking for new books about entrepreneurship or career. I've read a few of these and really enjoyed them. I will have to put the others on my reading list as well. Thanks for sharing your recommendations!

  22. Ever read Good to Great? It’s one of the classics of business. Firms of Endearment is like a conscious business version of Good to Great. It’s based on in-depth research into 30 companies that are strongly passion and purpose-driven.

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