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
Humanocracy by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini
(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.
An Everyone Culture by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel
(5 / 5)
The first book I read, many years ago, that introduced me to the concept of being a “Rebel at Work“. It 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.
Implementing Beyond Budgeting by Bjarte Bogsnes
Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
Maverick! by Ricardo Semler
The Three Ways of Getting Things Done by Gerard Fairtlough
The Peter Principle by Dr Laurence J Peter and Raymond Hull
Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux
Unboss by Lars Koling and Jacob Bøtter
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
(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.
Range by David Epstein
(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.
Team of Teams by Gen. Stanley McChrystal
(4.5 / 5)
This book explains the reasons and ways that the US Army found to adapt to a dynamic and networked enemy. Overcoming a traditionally siloed organisation was not easy, but was key to success. Scaling successfully a team model is a key strategy to sustain an organisation that is adaptable and resilient.
The End of Average by Todd Rose
(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.
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
The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmondson
Leadership: A Critical Text by Simon Western
(5 / 5)
In this text, Simon Western explores its theory of the Discourses of Leadership and specifically analyses the eco-leadership discourse that should mark a new era of human-centric organisations. A truly interesting take on the idea of Leadership and on its impact beyond organisations.
Start with Why by Simon Sinek
The Team That Managed Itself by Christina Wodtke
Radical Candor, by Kim Scott
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
Agile People by Pia-Maria Thoren
High Output Management by Andy S. Grove
(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.
Measure what Matters by John Doerr
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.