A Tentative Reading List for The Aspiring Digital Learning Disruptor

Here are six books that I have both enjoyed immensely but also found extremely useful for my own person learning transformation journey while at Microsoft – More book reviews to come:

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone
Satya Nadella

What to read it for: Getting some great clues on how to manage culture shift
This book not only documents the amazing transformation Microsoft is going through – its progress so far on reinventing an organization without throwing away the good bits, the importance of empathy and building a Learning Culture as a competitive differentiator – but allows Satya to shares some of his own personal journey, which is equally fascinating.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Carol Dweck

What to read it for: the value of Learning
A fantastic book that I first read in the context of parenting, but which then became critical tool in helping me understand the value of the culture change at Microsoft from ‘Know It All’ to ‘Learn It All’. Professor Dweck articulates the value of adopting a growth mindset rather than fixed mindset, and the power of championing hard work over innate intellect, curiosity over expertise – as well as having the courage of embracing failure as a way to improve and grow.

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think
Hans Rosling

What to read it for: the primacy of data literacy
CLOs need to get better at using data to read signals and track impact in order to know when to engage, and where we can improve our learning programs. This book does a great job of unpacking ten reasons that we are wired to misunderstand data, fear the worst, and so misuse this insanely valuable tool of data science, and will really empower you to look at data the right way… and as a side benefit, you will feel much better about the improvements that have been made by humanity!

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation
Tim Brown

What to read it for: it’s a great primer on starting to do Design Thinking
The CEO of the Design Thinking center of the universe, IDEO, explodes the myth that great design and innovation is the work of lone geniuses in black T-Shirts and designer eyewear and instead is a collaborative and empathetic process that can be learned by, and create value for, everyone.

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

What to read it for: keep abreast of major tech changes, especially around the Web and social media
Mary’s annual report is the Torah of all things Internet – an invaluable tend tracking snapshot and source of great inspiration on how technology is changing the world around us. Marketers wait for it to be published before they think of their next FY strategy, and you will soon see why. In the latest release Mary talks about Youtube as the world’s learning platform with a staggering one million learning related streams per day, and I also loved her callout of Peleton.com as a new model for online communities – what does the Peleton of learning look like I wonder.

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness
Thaler and Sunstein

What to read it for: Social Learning and Changing Behavior
A fascinating look at why we don’t always act in our own best interests. Has direct application to learning designers’
work as ‘choice architects.’ Used by governments around the world now as a guide to build socially useful policies; again, you’ll soon see why – and start to think about what you could do in your organization to promote positive change, too.

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