Reading List

Reading List

by Bronwyn Stuckey -
Number of replies: 6

I have just started reading Learning in Places - The Informal Education Reader edited by Zvi Bekerman. Has anyone read this? What were your thoughts?

It struck me that literarature on informal learning is found in  and across many domains - ones that I might not encounter or even recognise. Given the illustrious group assembled here in this disucssion, I thought it might a be a great place to find and discuss interesting or even better  - provocative literature.

So what is on your bookshelf?

In reply to Bronwyn Stuckey

Re: Reading List

by Jay Cross -
Bronwyn, thanks for bringing up Learning in Places. I had not heard of it but Amazon tells me I'll get it Saturday.

My book on Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways that Inspire Innovation and Performance, is due out in late October. My bookshelves are growning under the weight of my reading.

You are absolutely correct that informal learning requires multidisciplinary study. These are the books I found myself mining for meaning again and again in the course of my research. They represent about one in four I consulted.

Book recommendations are idiosyncratic. I have a business background, had already read most of the books on eLearning, and write about corporations, not schools. That said, here were my top catalysts.


Brown, John Seely & Duguid, Paul. 2000. The Social Life of Information. Harvard Business School Press

Brown, John Seely & Hagel, John. 2005. The Only Sustainable Advantage. Harvard Business School Press

Brown, John Seely et alia. 2004. Storytelling in Organizations. Butterworth-Heineman

Conner, Marcia & Clawson, Jim. 2004. Creating a Learning Culture. Cambridge University Press

Conner, Marcia. 2004. Learn More Now. Wiley

Cooperider, David. 1998. The Appreciative Inquiry Thin Book. Thin Book Publishing Company

Gazzaniga, Michael. 2000. The Mind's Past. University of California Press

Johnson, Steve. 2002. Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software. Scribner

Kleiner, Art. 1996. The Age of Heretics: Heroes, Outlaws, and the Forerunners of Corporate Change. Currency

Langer, Ellen. 1998. The Power of Mindful Learning. Perseus Books

Pink, Daniel. 2005. A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. Riverhead

Rossett, Allison. 2001. Beyond the Podium: Delivering Training and Performance to a Digital World. Pfeiffer

Rummler, Geary and Brache, Alan. 1995. Improving Performance, How to Manage the White Space on the Organization Chart. Jossey-Bass

Schank, Roger. 2005. Lessons in Learning, eLearning, and Training:  Perspectives and Guidance for the Enlightened Trainer. Pfeiffer

Schank, Roger. 1991. Tell Me a Story: A New Look at Real and Artificial Memory. Athenium

Senge, Peter et alia. 2000. Schools That Learn. Currency

Senge, Peter et alia. 2005. Presence: An Exploration of Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society. Currency


Stewart, Tom. 2001. The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization. Currency

Wheatly, Margaret & Kellner-Roberts. Myron. 1996. A Simpler Way. Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Allee, Verna. (1997). The Knowledge Evolution: Expanding Organizational Intelligence. Butterworth-Heinemann

Allee, Verna. (2002). The Future of Knowledge: Increasing Prosperity through Value Networks. Butterworth-Heinemann

Brown, Juanita, and Isaacs, David. (2005). The World Café. Berrett-Koehler Publishers


Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. (1991). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Harper Perennial

Davenport, Tom. (2005). Thinking for a Living: How to Get Better Performances And Results from Knowledge Workers. Harvard Business School Press

Davis, Edward. (2005). Lessons for Tomorrow. Orgone Press

Davis, Stan & Meyer, Christopher. (2003). It's Alive : The Coming Convergence of Information, Biology, and Business. Crown Business

Gardner, Howard (2004). Changing Minds. Harvard Business School Press

Hallowell, Edward & Ratey, John . (2005). Delivered from Distraction : Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. Ballantine Books

Horn, Robert. (1990). Mapping Hypertext: The Analysis, Organization, and Display of Knowledge for the Next Generation of On-Line Text and Graphics. Lexington

Horn, Robert. (1999). Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century. Macrovu Press

Kelly, Kevin. (1995). Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World. Perseus Books

Kurzweil, Ray. (2005). The Singularity is Near:  When Humans Transcend Biology. Viking Adult

Locke, C., Weinberger, D., Levine, R., & Searles, Doc. (2000). The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual. Perseus Books

Schrage, Michael. (1999) Serious Play. Harvard Business School Press


Seligman, Martin. (2002). Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment. Free Press

In reply to Jay Cross

Re: Reading List

by Ann Busby -
Jay, this is an awesome list, thank you so much for sharing, and I look forward to reading your book when it comes out! Ann
In reply to Jay Cross

Re: Reading List

by Christie Mason -
In high school I wanted to become a librarian because I love books -  I love their smell and their feel and portability.  But now I hate to use them as resources.  Why?  Because I can't Ctrl-F to search their contents to refind and collect/rearrange the parts that were useful.  I can't scan for content and then drill down to detail.  Plus, books just can't keep up with 'net technologies.  By the time they're published the information has become almost useless.

As I look over the hundreds of non-fiction books that I've accumulated it strikes me that the most useful ones on understanding learning processes and change mgmt have been those focused on sales techniques.  To me training is selling someone on the need to learn, selling them on the need to change.

Yes I still read printed material but it tends to be free magazines that have online access to their articles (for some reason most training magazines don't offer this service).  I'm currently enjoying CLO- Chief Learning Officer and CIO-Chief Information Officer magazines.  I also do a lot of ripping and tearing and filing but have to admit I rarely delve into the files.

I no longer use browser "Favorites" features became they're too cumbersome and linear, plus I use multiple browsers and I could never remember what was where, so I created a database that we use as a simple reference tool.  First I created the quotes database for my own use and then I created a link database that we use as simple reference/KM tool.  That db was also my first hands on exploration of online searching functions and faceted classification.

BTW - one book that I do NOT recommend is "e-Learning and the Science of Instruction".  Inaccurate recommendations based on some old, really old  and really, really old studies of college kids. Semi-relevant for CD based distribution (CBT), not the web.

Christie Mason

In reply to Christie Mason

Re: Reading List

by Jay Cross -
Christie, first off, I love the quotes you've selected. Lots of them are old friends -- but that only serves to validate the list for me. So many wonderful thoughts. Quotes pack so much punch into a little package; they are the cognac of reflection.

I've dumped "Favorites" because I, too, use many different browsers on different machines. But also because of link rot. And mostly because bookmarks are static, a holdover from the age when things seemed permanent. (I think everything in our world is in motion, sometimes oozing but never stock still). Hence, tags.

A tag utility like Delicious is a mystery the first time you encounter it. (Or the second, third, fourth, etc., for most of us.) But that's because people use the wrong metaphor. Think of Delicious as shared bookmarks.

With Delicious (or its brethren; it's a world of mimicry), you not only create and label your own bookmark collection, you get to see how many other people linked to the same thing, and then you get to peer over their shoulder and see what else they tagged.

Listing books that have been important to me over the last 12 months was a fun exercise. Being able to look at your list of books, and Nancy's, and Bronwyn's, and Sarah's, etc., now that would keep me up all night and then some.

A few weeks ago in the New York Times Magazine, Kevin Kelly wrote an article obstentiably about publishing but really about the future of knowledge that I will do a disservice but summarizing it as "We're all going to be reading the same book."
In reply to Bronwyn Stuckey

Re: Reading List

by Nancy Riffer -
One of my favorite books that I go back to over and over (and I rarely re-read a book) is In Visible Light by Carol Shloss. The subtitle is "Photography and the American Writer: 1840-1940". Oxford University Press, 1987.

Schloss compares writers and photographers e.g., Hawthorne and Daguerreotypy, James Agee and Walker Evans, John Steinbeck and Dorothea Lange. The focus throughout the book is on the relationship between the author or the photographer and his/her subject(s). I am particularly interested in point of view and the relationships between people (I am a social psychologistsmile).

Schloss's complex exploration of these topics jump starts my informal learning.  The combination of photographs and quotations from literature set me free. 

One sample quote:
One of Dreiser's major contributions to literature can be considered his ultimate resistance to Stieglitz's formulaic rendering of the world as something arranged for the view of a privileged onlooker. (p. 117)
In reply to Bronwyn Stuckey

Re: Reading List

by Nancy White -
These days I'm embarassed by the untouched riches on my bookshelf. I have taken to reading novels and travel books, cookbooks and picture books, instead of all the good stuff in my field. I have felt the urge to paint instead of read.

I think another part of my informal learning urge is coming out. I look to my reading peers to keep me in the loop and I offer my lending library to anyone who needs a book to read! :-)
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