Books

One last throw of the dice.

I’ve always found the global development system frustrating. It was the 1980’s when it first got my attention, with suffering and extreme poverty dominating my daily news feed.

Life in full circle

In both my books – The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator from 2013 and Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation published this March – I make no secret of my early struggles to find meaning and purpose.

Revealing inside stories of social innovation

It all started as a casual conversation about a new book idea over coffee last March. Despite being self-published with no marketing budget, my first book, “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator“, had gone down particularly well and I had been encouraged by how well it had been received, particularly in academia.

Want a holistic view of the world of social innovation? Try these four books.

We’re seeing a steady stream of great books hitting the shelves at the moment, each focusing on a different aspect of the technology/social innovation debate. While some offer hardcore theory and research, others offer softer inspiration and advice.

In global development, is the pen mightier than the sword?

I’m reading two books in parallel right now – Ben Ramalingam‘s ‘Aid on the Edge of Chaos‘ and Kentaro Toyama‘s ‘Geek Heresy‘. With both books I’m finding myself regularly pausing for a nod of approval or a wry smile.

Publishing and the art of iteration

Eighteen months ago, “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator” hit the shelves. The product of a combination of donations, crowdfunding, ten inspiring innovators, an editor with too much time on his hands, and an engaged publisher, the book was always something of an experiment.

Social innovation: Celebrating the unpolished

“I finished my first book seventy-six years ago. I offered it to every publisher on the English-speaking earth I had ever heard of. Their refusals were unanimous, and it did not get into print until, fifty years later, publishers would publish anything that had my name on it”
George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

Thinking the future with shift 2020

I’m excited to announce my contribution to a new book project - shift 2020: How Technology Will Impact Our Future.

Reluctant innovators are go!

It’s been a busy few months as our new book – “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator” – has been taking shape. We’ve been finalising chapter contributions, working on the introduction, sorting out cover and chapter designs, doing last minute copy-editing, building a new website, keeping Kickstarter supporters up-to-date, and pulling in book endorsements.

Four Perspective-Changing Books From 2012

Thinking, Fast and SlowThis is about four books that changed the way I see the world in 2012.  Two were published this year and two are a little older.

Anthropologists in a Global Village

Social anthropology was a discipline I was fortunate to stumble into when I headed to university way back in 1996. My main motive for going was to read Development Studies, but at Sussex you couldn’t study it as a single subject.

A History of the World in 101 Objects?

A History of the World in 100 Objects“ is a fascinating book. A joint project of the British Museum and BBC Radio 4, it uses objects of ancient art, industry and technology as an introduction to key events in human history.

Rethink. Reboot. Rework.

This is the book I’ve been waiting for for years. And it’s been a revelation in the few days I’ve had it. Broken down into largely single page ‘chapters’ – making it an incredibly easy read – it debunks many of the myths of running a business, of entrepreneurship, of innovation. What’s more, it’s written by doers, not talkers. I have plenty of time for doers.

Here are just a few of my favourite snippets from the “Rework” book:

Different country, different lifestyle

One of the things that always strikes me when spending some extended period in another country is how quickly one’s lifestyle changes and adapts to the local environment. Interestingly this includes many areas of life such as sleep patterns, nutrition, communication, etc. which are normally seen as being very ingrained and hard to change. Anyway, below is a list of areas where I consider my Vienna and Kathmandu lives to be (radically) different.

Barry Eisler – Killing Rain

One of the things I’m generally pretty bad at when I’m at home in Vienna is reading books. While I have half a dozen books sitting on the shelf right next to my bed there never seem to be enough in the hours in the day to actually open and read them. I didn’t even manage to read more than 20 pages in my Lonely Planet Nepal guide before getting on the plane even though the book was actually lying next to my cushion for several weeks.

“Ethical living”

I’m currently reading A Life Stripped Bare: My Year Trying to Live Ethically by The Guardian journalist Leo Hickman. The title basically says what it’s all about and while I’m only on page 60 or so I’m certainly finding it an interesting read.

William Gibson Quote

I had previously mentioned reading William Gibson’s “Pattern Recognition” during the Christmas holidays and today I finally managed to take a closer look at his Wikipedia entry. From there I was lead to his Web site where I stumbled across one of the greatest  quotes I’ve seen in quite some time:

William Gibson – Pattern Recognition

Occasionally, most often at airports and train-stations, I randomly browse through a book-store and buy something that sounds interesting. Seeing that I’m really bad when it comes to actually reading books - I spend way too much time reading stuff online and in magazines -  I tend to have piles of unread books sitting next to my bed, on my desk and in my shelves.

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