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The 12 Best Books I Read in 2012

27/12/2012

What would we do without “Best Of” lists at the end of the year? I have been playing World of Goo because I found it on a list of Best Android Games. Soon I will be checking out the list of best restaurants in Brussels. And I’m writing this post while listening to the annual Top 2000 on Dutch radio.

So here’s my contribution to the long list of of lists. These are the 12 best non-fiction books I read this year

Stumbling on Happiness – Daniel Gilbert

This book not only has a huge number of references to scientific literature, but also an ample supply of humor.

Tribal Leadership – Dave Logan, et al.

I might not agree with the linearity of the staged model proposed here, but the stories and insights are great.

Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

Again, a book full of scientific references, which all indicate that human beings make irrational economic choices.

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure – Tim Harford

The message in this book is no surprise to anyone familiar with Agile thinking, but the stories in the book are good.

What Matters Now – Gary Hamel

The latest offering of the number one management guru in the world. It is hard to disagree with anything he says.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts… Susan Cain

A surprise read for me, and others. It made me feel happy that I don’t have to apologize for being an introvert.

Resonate: Present Visual Stories… Nancy Duarte

One of the best books for anyone doing presentations, with a heavy emphasis on storytelling and visualization.

Business Model Generation – Alexander Osterwalder, et al.

The best looking business book in the world. It may not be a surprise that there were Dutch people involved…

SuperFreakonomics – Steven D. Levitt, et al.

Great overview of statistics, and the silly ways in which people are fooled by them, with plenty of humor on top.

The Fractal Organization – Patrick Hoverstadt

Another surprise read for me. One of the few books with a very good application of complexity thinking to business.

The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins

This is actually a children’s book, but who cares? The illustrations are wonderful, and still I learned new things.

The Web of Life – Fritjof Capra

This is another great book on complexity science and its implications for business and management.

If you think I missed an important one, feel free to add it in the comments section.

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This article is written by on in Book Review. Jurgen Appelo is at Happy Melly. Connect with Jurgen Appelo on .

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  • http://profile.typepad.com/kvistgaard Kvistgaard

    +1 for The Fractal Organization.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/radics Sebastian Radics

    Hi Jurgen,
    thanks for the nice list – some are now already in my queue ;-)
    +1 for tribal leadership, management 3.0 ;-),
    My adds are:

    • The Human Side of Agile – How to Help Your Team Deliver
    • Abolishing Performance Appraisals: Why They Backfire and What to Do Instead
    • Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight Their Customers, And Leave Competitors In the Dust
    • Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow
  • http://giovanedilungocorso.blogspot.com Roberto

    Thanks for the list. I didn’t read anyone of them, the list is a good suggestion. My add: Intrinsic Motivation at Work – Kenneth W Thomas. It’s not a 2012 book, but I read it just this year

  • pierre hervouet

    Thank for the list some was on my 2012 list, some will be on the 2013
    I will just add one: employees first, custumers second
    How a ceo of an IT company of 55 000 employees has built a fast growing organization on promoting trust, transparency and servant leadership.