More on Lean vs Non-Lean Reading

As part of my personal reflection and quest for learning I decided to sign up for a business Book Club offered through the local university.  The ‘club’ would meet once a month and discuss books chosen by local business leaders as a way to share among the business community.  Unfortunately, not enough people signed up to fill this session, so I’m a little bummed out.  For me, I was hoping to use the ‘club’ as a way to stretch my mind a bit on the type of books I seek out.  Unlike Matt’s break from Lean books, I am more looking for new things to balance the Lean material.

Let me explain my thinking…

I recently took an inventory on the last 20 or so books I have read.  Every book I read was either directly a “Lean” book or a book that ended up dovetailing with some aspect of Lean.  This reflection really frightened me.  My worry is that I am stuck in a groove where I’m not really seeking material to stretch my thinking, but more to repeat what I already think in different ways.  My book selection seems to be part of an ongoing confirmation bias where what I am reading echoes what I already think.

I guess there are two ways to look at this.  The first is that I am picking from too shallow of a pool of books and keep ending up with more of the same.  The second is that there is a common thread among the stories of the people and companies that also flows through Lean thinking.  I guess you could say I want to run an experiment where I am using the first way as my hypothesis and trying to prove or disprove it.

Here’s where I could use some help.  I’m looking for recommendations of non-fiction books that aren’t related to Lean.  Preferably ones that you would recommend that seem to be an opposite or counterpoint to Lean.  I’ve heard a saying that the most interesting books in the library are the ones that haven’t been read yet.  The unknown provides a blank canvas that could teach us anything or nothing at all.  I am hoping one of you can provide some inspiration to me or a fellow reader to grow.

Thanks and happy reading.

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Posted on February 14, 2012, in Learning, My Continuous Improvement and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. A couple for you, Joe… “Quiet Strength” – Tony Dungee’s autobiography. Relates his faith to his career, life, etc., and you’ll likely see some places where lean thinking could be applied, although lean isn’t even tangentially involved.

    A second book you might enjoy is “Tribal Leadership” by Logan, King, and Fischer/Wright. It’s a different view on work groups and leading them, with concepts that you’ll find yourself applying to help you understand new angles as to why Toyota and those who have adopted lean thinking have been successful. Again, no mention of lean, but you’ll find yourself drawing parallels.

    Happy reading.

  2. I too have read a lot of lean manufacturing books but I also tend to read anything business that catches my eye including classics on teams, goal setting, business cases, etc., and I will follow authors just as a fan of fiction would. Harvey Mackay, Jim Collins, Ram Charan, John Kotter, Patrick Lencioni, Ken Blanchard, etc..

    Although I keep the ones that had some good “aha moments” I tend to read them and then pass them along. Many of their books can be found used from various sources on-line for a few bucks plus shipping for like new books and will occasionally find some at thrift stores when I take my young daughter on a hunt for children’s books.

  3. Thanks for the ideas. Looks like I’ve got some new books to hunt down!

  4. The fifth discipline, by Peter Senge

  1. Pingback: Management Improvement Blog Carnival #159 | My Flexible Pencil

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