The Rebel at Work List of Books

The Rebel's List of Books

What books and readings should inspire a Rebel at work? As you have probably noticed I have been reading a lot of books that mention “rebellion” or “revolution” in the workplace. Some others are in my reading list and am sure I will continue the discovery. I have always defined myself as an eclectic personality, and really feel to be on a mission to redefine the role of HR as a true enabler for the Human Being to express its humanity at work.

But I am profoundly aware that traditional work practices and managerial frameworks are a big obstacle to this. A reform from inside is very complicated, if not impossible. Most of the success stories come up from the moment of deep crisis, or from intentional design rooted at the beginning of the organisation. The only way to really reform an organisation today is by adopting a truly Rebellious Mindset, capable of dismantling existing paradigms and smashing assumptions and biases.

What I’ve tried to do here is compile a list of readings put in a somewhat “logical order”, to serve as an inspiration and guide for a truly revolutionary platform. This the origin of the Rebel at Work List of Books.

Are you ready to be a Rebel at Work?

1. Rebel Organisations: Transformation in Action

These are books that explore alternative organisational models, focusing on the thinking behind the organisation, and offering concrete examples and case studies on how a new model was applied in practice.

Corporate Rebels by Joost Minnaar and Pim de Morree

Book Review: Corporate Rebels by Joost Minaar and Pim de Moree
Book Review: Corporate Rebels by Joost Minaar and Pim de Moree

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
This book by the two Corporate Rebels Joost Minnaar and Pim de Morree offers an excellent dive into many organisational case studies derived from the author’s exploration bucket list, organised around the eight key trends of change they have identified.

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Buy on Amazon

Humanocracy by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini

Book Review: Humanocracy by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini
Book Review: Humanocracy by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
A thorough take on how to dismantle bureaucracy in modern organisations. By examining a number of organisations mostly from traditional industries that have managed to move on to moire human-centric approaches, the authors build a case for a strong revolution of modern firms.

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Buy on Amazon

An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

Book Review: An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
Book Review: An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
This book is an analysis of concrete cases of organisations that turn their focus outside-in to really develop all of their internal talents. Something that would deserve becoming a truly new organisational paradigm.

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Buy on Amazon

Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel

Gary Hamel: Leading the Revolution
Gary Hamel: Leading the Revolution

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
The first book I read, many years ago, that introduced me to the concept of being “Rebel at Work”. Focuses on the change that is necessary to implement as an individual and within the organisation, to bend the rules and be performing in the organisation.

Buy on Amazon

Implementing Beyond Budgeting by Bjarte Bogsnes

Book Review: Implementing Beyond Budgeting by Bjarte Bogsnes
Book Review: Implementing Beyond Budgeting by Bjarte Bogsnes

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Budgeting is probably the first process that I can think of that needs a Revolution. In this book, Bjarte Bogsnes introduces key learnings from two large implementations and discusses how the entire organisation needs rethinking.

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Buy on Amazon

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

Book Review: Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
Book Review: Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Here you see the tale of a rebel that has truly tried to make sense of the entire concept of management, but couldn’t find a true answer and has decided to follow its own path, intentionally building an organisation that is today a symbol of creativity.

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Buy on Amazon

Maverick! by Ricardo Semler

Book Review: Maverick! by Ricardo Semler
Book Review: Maverick! by Ricardo Semler

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
A milestone example of democracy principles applied within an organisation. This is the story of Semco, a Brasilian company that got revolutionised by the intuition of Ricardo Semler, and his pursuit of an alternative model to perform.

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Buy on Amazon

The Three Ways of Getting Things Done by Gerard Fairtlough

Book Review: The Three Ways of Getting Things Done by Gerard Fairtlough
Book Review: The Three Ways of Getting Things Done by Gerard Fairtlough

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
A book that guides us through the different ways of “getting things done”, an alternative to hierarchy. The book provides a practitioner tool on how to demolish the idea that there is no alternative to hierarchy.

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Buy on Amazon

The Peter Principle by Dr Laurence J Peter and Raymond Hull

Book Review: The Peter Principle by Dr Laurence J Peter and Raymond Hull
Book Review: The Peter Principle by Dr Laurence J Peter and Raymond Hull

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
This classic book describes with incredible humour all the negative aspects of the bureaucratic hierarchical organisation. Yet, everybody immediately relates to the truth behind these principles, despite its ageing structure.

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Buy on Amazon

Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux

Book Review: Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux
Book Review: Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
One of the first books interrogating itself on how organisations should be reinvented to be more human-centric. And presenting the idea of a new “Teal Organisation” model.

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Unboss by Lars Koling and Jacob Bøtter

Book Review: Unboss by Lars Koling and Jacob Bøtter
Book Review: Unboss by Lars Koling and Jacob Bøtter

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
One of the first books suggesting a new model of organisation based on a reinvention of the traditional model of organisation. Unbossing becomes a mantra applied to all organisational units, creating a new “unlimited” form of organisation.

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Buy on Amazon

2. Rebel People at Work: Skills, Competencies, Attributes

This section of the Rebel at Work List of Books is focused more on the individuals, and their characteristics in the way they work in organisations.

Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed

Book Cover of Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed
Book Cover of Rebel Ideas by Matthew Syed

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Matthew Syed compiles an excellent book that is based on the concept of Divergent Thinking. Diversity and Inclusion of people with different ways of thinking( the real “rebel talent”) is a winning argument for teams that want to perform. But goes against standard assumptions of management thinking.

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Buy on Amazon

Range by David Epstein

Book Review: Range bu David Epstein
Book Review: Range bu David Epstein

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
David Epstein builds excellent research on what is the advantage of being a generalist rather than a specialist. Through Music, Sport and Science, Range is a book that celebrates the “T-Shaped” competency model of successful individuals, going against the theory of deep specialisation for all.

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Buy on Amazon

Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino

Book Review: Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino
Book Review: Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
With this Book Harvard Professor Francesca Gino offers an overview of the characteristics of the Rebels within organisation: people that bend the rules for the success of the Organisation.

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Buy on Amazon

The End of Average by Todd Rose

A Book Review: The End of Average by Todd Rose
A Book Review: The End of Average by Todd Rose

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Todd Rose builds in this book a strong case against the tendency to think in terms of “mathematical average” of all human problems. This has led to bias and organisational errors. He then introduces a new way of working based on the respect of the individual.

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Buy on Amazon

3. Guiding Rebels: Leadership Contributions

In this section of the Rebel at Work List of Books, you will find thosethat provide insights on the necessary Leadership attributes to Leading the Revolution, as Gary Hamel put it.

Yes to the Mess by Frank J. Barrett

Book Review: Yes to the Mess by Frank J. Barrett
Book Review: Yes to the Mess by Frank J. Barrett

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
With its continuous parallel with Jazz, Frank J. Barrett introduces a new model of Leadership based on autonomy and improvisation. Definitely two attributes that are needed within an empowerment framework needed to ensure true transformation.

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Buy on Amazon

The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson

Book Review: The Fearless Organization by Amy C. Edmondson
Book Review: The Fearless Organization by Amy C. Edmondson

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
With this milestone book, Amy Edmondson explains how important Psychological Safety is for the success of any organisation. Based on concrete case studies and examples from her work, she describes the environment that can help success.

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Buy on Amazon

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Book Review: Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Book Review: Start with Why by Simon Sinek

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
The milestone book by Simon Sinek, that examines the role of having a true Purpose to give meaning to one’s life, especially in a working context. Here seen as a key transformational leadership attribute.

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Buy on Amazon

The Team That Managed Itself by Christina Wodtke

Book Review: The Team That Managed Itself by Christina Wodtke
Book Review: The Team That Managed Itself by Christina Wodtke

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)
A tale of a practical experience in introducing self-management in a team, using agile principles as a guide. Through this, a big learning on the value of distributed leadership.

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Buy on Amazon

Radical Candor, by Kim Scott

Book Review: Radical Candor, by Kim Scott
Book Review: Radical Candor, by Kim Scott

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
Kim Scott discusses here the necessity to build on authenticity for a leadership impact, with Candor becoming a true attribute. Candid Leadership becomes a key way to enable radical thinking in the organisation and drive change.

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Buy on Amazon

4. Rebel Tools: Useful Methods and Frameworks

The books listed below offer contributions to “think rebel” even if their main focus has been to provide broader methodologies and frameworks. I concentrate here on people management and leadership

Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock

Book Review: Work Rules by Laszlo Bock
Book Review: Work Rules by Laszlo Bock

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Laszlo Bock with his work at Google has reinvented the way HR conducts a big part of his work. Google became a behavioural analysis research lab, delivering some of the key understandings for us.

Read the full review
Buy on Amazon

Agile People by Pia-Maria Thoren

Book Review: Agile People by Pia-Maria Thoren
Book Review: Agile People by Pia-Maria Thoren

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
This book is really a Toolkit of all available Agile methodologies for every HR professional to succeed in transforming its organisation. The author examines the way HR should work in a completely different way, adopting the relevant tools as needed.

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Buy on Amazon

High Output Management by Andy S. Grove

Book Review: High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove
Book Review: High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
A classic book about Management. Considered the “Management bible of the Silicon Valley”, it might be odd finding it here in a Rebel’s list of Books, if it wasn’t for the reason that most managers don’t even act like what is suggested in this book: focus on Output.

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Buy on Amazon

Measure what Matters by John Doerr

Book Review: Measure what Matters by John Doerr
Book Review: Measure what Matters by John Doerr

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
A milestone book that examines in detail the OKR methodology. If implemented well, it’s a tool that helps with dismantling the issues with traditional performance management approaches and provides a true focus on results.

Read the full review
Buy on Amazon

Conclusion: A Rebel at Work List of Books

This is only an initial version of the Rebel at Work List of Books that will grow over time, so make sure you bookmark it and come back often. Also, I do welcome Book Suggestions that can enlarge the list. You can always have a look at my current Reading List as well.

Sergio Caredda - Blog Signature

Cover Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

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