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Useful Reference Books

This is a cross section of some of the most influential and useful research sources (in book form) we have used in designing and developing our products and services. We have used many other periodical articles and papers as well (some of which are provided in our links page), in addition to our own primary and secondary research.

These are a mix of evidence-based management, cognitive science, cognitive biases, behavioural economics, decision-making, mental models, personal performance and productivity, high-performance work practices, positive psychology, buddhism, and with a little bit of Physics, Math and Biology.

This is a living list so we’ll be updating it over time. As a rule, don’t expect to see anything “new” or “trendy” as we work to avoid hyperbole in favour of solid science. We generally have a 5-year rule. That is, if a book is still respected and referenced solidly 5-years after it’s initial publication date, then we will give it a sniff. Some books authored by trusted and proven authors get an exception however.

In no particular order.

 

The Friction Project

Robert I. Sutton and Huggy Rao

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The Right Kind of Wrong

 

Amy Edmondson

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A New Way to Think

Roger L. Martin

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Beyond Performance 2.0: A Proven Approach to Leading Large-Scale Change

 

Scott Keller, Bill Schaninger

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Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag & Unleash Your Team's Productive Power

Michael Mankins, Eric Garton

TimeTalentEnergy
 

Beyond Performance 2.0

Scott Keller, Bill Schaninger

KellerPrice-BeyondPerformance-books
 

Thinking Fast and Slow 

Daniel Kahneman

Kahneman-ThinkingFastAndSlow-books
 

The Great Mental Models, Vol 1

Rhiannon Beaubien and Shane Parrish

Parrish-MentalModels1-books
 

The Great Mental Models, Vol 2

Rhiannon Beaubien and Shane Parrish

Parrish-MentalModels2-books
 

The Great Mental Models, Vol 3

Rhiannon Beaubien and Shane Parrish

Parrish-MentalModels3-books
 

Poor Charlie's Almanack

Peter D. Kaufman

Munger-PoorCharliesAlmanack-books
 

Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models

Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann, et al.

WeingbergMcCann-SuperThinking-books
 

Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger

Peter Bevelin

Bevelin-SeekingWisdom-books
 

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything

BJ Fogg

Fogg-TinyHabits-books
 

Hyperfocus: How to Manage your Attention in a World of Distraction

Chris Bailey

 
 
Bailey-HyperFocus-books
 

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Cal Newport

Newport-DeepWork-books
 

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen

Dan Heath

 
 
Heath-Upstream-books
 

Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity

Charles Duhigg

Duhigg-SmarterFasterBetter-books
 

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home

Dan Ariely

Ariely-UpsideofIrrationality-books
 

Fooled By Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Taleb-FooledbyRandomness-books
 

The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives

Leonard Mlodinow

Mlodinow-DrunkardsWalk-books
 

Scale: The Universal Laws of Life, Growth, and Death in Organisms, Cities and Companies

Geoffrey West

West-Scale-books
 

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

A.G. Lafley & Roger L. Martin

MartinLafley-PlayToWin-books
 

Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results

James Clear

Clear-AtomicHabits-books
 

Learn Better: Mastering the Skills for Success in Life, Business, and School, or How to Become an Expert in Just About Anything

Ulrich Boser

Boser-LearnBetter-books
 

The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement and Creativity at Work

Teresa Amabile & Steven Kramer

AmabileKramer-ProgressPrinciple-books
 

Noise and the Signal: Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don’t

Nate Silver

Silver-NoiseandtheSignal-books
 

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Adam Grant

Grant-Give&Take-books
 

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence

Rick Hanson

Hanson-HardwiringHappiness-books
 

Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

Chip Heath & Dan Heath

HeathBros-Decisive-books
 

Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

Matthew D. Lieberman

Lieberman-Social-books
 

Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World

Donald Sull and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

SullEisenhardt-SimpleRules-books
 

Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less

Robert I. Sutton, Huggy Rao

SuttonRao-ScalingUpExcellence-books
 

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions

Dan Ariely

Ariely-PredictablyIrrational-books
 

Hard Facts: Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense, Profiting from Evidence-based Management

Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton

PfefferSutton-HardFacts-books
 

Certain To Win: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business

Chet Richard

Ricards-CertaintoWin-books
 

Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production

Taiichi Ohno

Ohno-ToyotaProductionSystem-books
 

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg

Duhigg-PowerofHabit-books
 

The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy but Does

Sonja Lyubomirsky

Lyubomirsky-MythsofHappiness-books
 

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

Daniel Goleman
Goleman-Focus-books
 

What Customers Want: Using Outcome-Driven Innovation to Create Breakthrough Products and Services

Anthony W. Ulwick

Ulwick-WhatCustomersWant-books
 

The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action

Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton

PfefferSutton-KnowingDoingGap-books
 

Service Breakthroughs: Changing the Rules of the Game

James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser Jr., Christopher W.L. Hart

HesckettSasserHart-ServiceBreakthroughs-books
 

The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits and Lasting Value

Frederick F. Reichheld

Reichheld-LoyaltyEffect-books
 

When Sparks Fly: Igniting Creativity in Groups, Dorothy Leonard

Walter Swap

LeonardSwap-WhenSparksFly-books
 

Awake At Work: 35 Practical Buddhist Principles for Discovering Clarity and Balance in the Midst of Work’s Chaos

Michael Carroll

Carroll-AwakeAtWork-books
 

Sense & Respond: Capturing Value in the Network Era

Stephen P. Bradley and Richard L. Nolan

BradleyNolan-Sense&Respond-books
 

The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First

Jeffrey Pfeffer

Pfeffer-HumanEquation-books
 

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of the Learning Organization

Peter M. Senge

Senge-FifthDiscipline-books
 

Adaptive Enterprise: Creating And Leading Sense-And-Respond Organizations

Stephan H. Haeckel

Haeckel-AdaptiveEnterprise-books
 

The Mindful Leader: Ten Principles for Bringing Out the Best in Ourselves and Others

Michael Carroll

Carroll-MindfulLeader-books