10 must-read books on the future of work

Jurriaan Kamer
Aug 6, 2018 · 5 min read
The Ready’s free magazine

The forces of complexity, humanity, and technology are putting pressure on our organizations that can’t be met by traditional ways of working. Our organizations need to be better for their people and better for the world. This requires a paradigm shift from ‘plan & predict’ to ‘sense & respond’.

Over the last few years, I discovered that implementing agile is not enough to solve this challenge, so I embarked on a journey to broaden my perspective. When I joined The Ready, I was given a list of the most influential books on the future of work and organizational design.

In this post I share with you my 10 favourite books on the future of work. They are in no particular order, and I’ve included links to videos related to the book, in case you prefer watching over reading. It was actually pretty easy to pick them, as I find myself recommending these over and over again to the executives I work with.

UPDATE: Recently, two new books were published. Brave New Work by the founder of The Ready and my own book, Formula X. I can highly recommend both of course…

Freedom Inc.

“Liberating leaders believe that a workplace based on respect and freedom is a more natural environment than one based on mistrust and control. Leaders of organizations of all sizes and types are shedding their hierarchies and bureaucracies and transforming them into respect- and freedom-based workplaces.”

Link to author’s website

Link to video (turn on subtitles)

Team of Teams

“When General McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2004, he quickly realized that conventional military tactics were failing. The world is changing faster than ever, and the smartest response for those in charge is to give small groups the freedom to experiment while driving every­one to share what they learn across the entire organiza­tion.”

Link to author’s website

Link to video

Reinventing Organizations (illustrated)

“Every time humanity has shifted to a new stage of consciousness in the past, it has invented a whole new way to structure and run organizations, each time bringing extraordinary breakthroughs in collaboration. A new shift in consciousness is currently underway. This book describes in practical detail how organizations large and small can operate in this new paradigm.”

Link to author’s website

Link to video

The Little Book of Beyond Budgeting

“It is difficult to think of a business process that is as widely unpopular, dysfunctional and discredited as traditional budgeting. This book describes how the Beyond Budgeting process model is better equipped to deal with the complexity of modern organisational life and the uncertainty of the world”

Link to Amazon

Link to video

How Google Works

“In an era when everything is speeding up, the best way for businesses to succeed is to attract smart-creative people and give them an environment where they can thrive at scale. The book covers lessons learned from Google on corporate culture, strategy, talent, decision-making, communication, innovation, and dealing with disruption.”

Link to author’s website

Link to video

Drive

“Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money — the carrot-and-stick approach. However, research shows that the secret to high performance and satisfaction is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world. Autonomy, mastery and purpose.”

Link to author’s website

Link to video

Turn the Ship Around!

“Turn the Ship Around! is the true story of how a captain changed his submarine from worst to first in the fleet by challenging traditional leader-follower approach. Instead, he created a workplace where everyone is taking responsibility for their actions, where people are healthier and happier, where everyone is a leader.”

Link to author’s website

Link to video

Holacracy

“Holacracy distributes authority and decision-making throughout an organization, and defines people not by hierarchy and titles, but by roles. Holacracy creates organizations that are fast, agile, and that succeed by pursuing their purpose, not following a dated and artificial plan.This isn’t anarchy — it’s quite the opposite.”

Link to author’s website

Link to video

Essentialism

“The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.”

Link to author’s website

Link to video

Lean Change Management

“Bypass change resistance by co-creating change. How innovative practices can dramatically improve the success of change programs. These practices combine ideas from the Agile, Lean Startup, change management, organizational development and psychology communities. It will change how you think about change.”

Link to author’s website

Link to video

Ready to change how you work? As a partner at The Ready, I help complex organizations move faster, make better decisions and master the art of dynamic teaming. Contact me to find out more, sign up to my newsletter Change how the world works or book me as a speaker.

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Jurriaan Kamer

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Org design & transformation | Author of ‘Formula X’ | Speaker | Future of Work. Partner at The Ready

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