i spent a lot of time last year reading and researching, exploring and finding inspiration. here are the books that kept me occupied.
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I just got done reading Carbon Zero: Imagining Cities that Can Save the Planet, the new book by futurist Alex Steffen. He says that climate change is here, and we have a choice to radically rethink the way we live in the built environment, or face catastrophic impacts. He proposes that we need to bring our global climate emissions to zero, asap, and the key to doing so is to reinvent our cities.
He discusses our challenges and opportunities through the lenses of clean energy, urbanism, shelter, consumption, and sustenance. While he did cover many ideas about green infrastructure, district systems, networked technologies, and restoration, I enjoyed looking at the models for future cities through the lens of cultural innovation and lifestyle design. Below are some of the principles and concepts I found particularly inspiring, supplemented by some additional links for further exploring.
The Kindle edition of Steffen’s book can be purchased here.
this is a review of Tribal Leadership. much of the content of this post is taken directly from the book
Birds flock, fish school, people “tribe.”
I just finished reading Tribal Leadership by Dave Logan, an amazing book that teaches how to build a better organization in which the best people want to work and make an impact. The book is based on a 10-year research study with 24,000 people across two dozen organizations from around the world.
A tribe is a group of 20 to 150 people who know one another enough that, if they saw another walking down the street, would stop and say “hello.”
What makes the tribe more effective than others is its culture.
Culture is a product of the language people use (words create reality), and the behaviors that accompany those words. The words we use to describe ourselves, our work, and others, creates the world we live in.
Tribal Leaders are the people who focus their efforts on upgrading the tribal culture. (upgrading the words we use to describe our reality and the behaviors we practice that shape the direction of our lives)
They set the standard of performance in their industries, from productivity and profitability to employee retention, and attract talent. Most of all, they help bring groups to unity by recognizing their ‘tribalness’ – getting people to talk about the things they really care about, coming together around these common causes, and forming missions to make something great happen, and to live in greatness.
The goal of Tribal Leadership is to learn how to get people ‘unstuck’ – from unhelpful language and behaviors, so we can level up and transition into higher-performance, less stressful, and more fun states of Being. Continue reading
I’ve just finished reading The Princessa: Machiavelli for Women, by Harriet Rubin. The book looks at powerful and outrageous women throughout the ages who left their mark on history, and points out the similarities in the strategies and tactics they used to reach their goals. It celebrates women’s unique gifts – passion and intuition, sensitivity, and cunning – and urges us to use them to claim what we want in our lives. Continue reading
I had the pleasure of spending time yesterday with Eric Harris-Braun & Arthur Brock of the Metacurrency Project, sharing thoughts about the federation of tribes we are forming, and the principles upon which this type of living systems organization should be founded. Eric shared this excerpt from the book Sanctuary For All Life by Jim Corbett, which felt powerful and true to me. I’d love to hear your perspective:
“A socialist collective and a capitalist corporation have the same organizational form, whatever the difference in their goals. Comrades, workers, and shareholders subordinate some of their rights of self-determination to a managerial command that unites them into a collective force for achieving an objective. Military mobilization is the historical taproot and conceptual paradigm for this kind of goal-directed solidarity.
This is a particularly effective way to overcome enemies, competitors, and other obstacles, whatever the means and regardless of side-effects. It is the way to defeat the Nazis, put a man on the moon, or mobilize a government-industrial complex that can compete globally. However, for human society to flourish as an association of cocreators, a common cause can’t replace a common ground of rights and responsibilities – not even when the corporate body’s directors are chosen democratically. A collectivity of comrades who serve a good cause fails to substitute for a society of friends who are free partners under no command.”
more excerpts from the book via eric’s blog
As the days go by, we’re becoming more comfortable opening up to each other and really unpacking our core beliefs. This is helping us find alignment and coherence, which must happen before we construct our shared vision and lay our foundation.
I’ve been thinking a lot about open-source philosophy, creative work, and a passion-driven lifestyle. While on my flight out to San Francisco yesterday, I reread a book from my graduate work called The Hacker Ethic: A Radical Approach to the Philosophy of Business. (a hacker, btw, is defined as “an expert or enthusiast of any kind”). They laid out some core values of the hacker ethic, which felt very much in alignment with the way I operate and how I’d want to interact with my colleagues in this creative economy.
How do these 7 values strike you?
It’s October 2010, and I’m reclined in an all expenses paid seat in business class on a flight to Berlin. I’m going there for two weeks to collaborate on a video project with a couple of artists I met online, then flying to Amsterdam to present the video to a room full of bankers at the largest financial services conference on the planet. I’m not a media producer, nor do I work in the financial industry. All I can think to myself is “How the hell did I get here?” Continue reading
Thanks to digital technologies and networked activity, we’re living through a global transition that is redefining how culture and commerce operate. We’re presented with the opportunity to be active participants in this process, steering ourselves into new modes of civilization, verse being just passive spectators. But if we don’t understand the biases of the tools and mediums we’re using, we’ll risk being slaves instead of masters.
This is not the first time this has happened, but it may be the most significant one so far. Every media revolution has given the people a sneak peek of the control panel of civilization, and a chance to view the world through a new lens. When humans developed language, we were able to pass on knowledge and experiences, and allow for progress. We could both listen and speak.
When we developed alphabets and literacy, we were able to create laws and accountability, and a new kind of authority. Of course, it was the elites that knew how to read these symbols – the masses could just gather in the town square and listen.
With the invention of the printing press, a society of readers developed. But the elites still controlled the means of production, the access to the presses themselves. We’ve seen the same patterns with broadcast radio and television. We don’t create, we watch and consume. Continue reading
The general theme of the book is that we’re shifting away from a society of hyper-consumption and equating personal self-worth with amount of material good accumulated, and instead to a world where our ability to access and exchange resources, develop a reputation, and build community and social capital takes precedence in how we choose to express who we are and what we choose to define us.
The authors give hundreds of examples of how people are finding new ways to share and exchange value – what they call “collaborative consumption” – using social lending platforms (Zopa, LendingClub, Prosper), open barter networks (ITEX, Bartercard), peer-to-peer coworking and currencies (Hub Culture), reuse networks (Freecycle), car sharing (ZipCar, GoGet), bike sharing (BIXI), swap trading (SwapTree), and peer to peer rentals for plots of land (Landshare, a room for the night (Airbnb), or any other item you could imagine (Zilok).
The list goes on, and the book is packed with some pretty interesting statistics (for instance, did you know that bike sharing is the fastest-growing form of transportation in the world, or that peer-to-peer social lending is set to grow to $5 billion by 2013?). All the examples are broken down in three main categories of collaborative consumption: product service systems, redistribution markets, and collaborative lifestyles – which highlights that there are numerous ways that consumption is being redefined. Continue reading