Reading Together at the Vihara Study Group

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Some weeks ago we began a journey of reading and talking together that I hope will not soon end. We read Thomas Picketty’s Capital in the 21st Century, a long and difficult book, which I’m sure many of us wouldn’t have touched if not for the group. We have kept this group open not only for the students of the Adianta School and for their faculty network and for the staff at work at CKS and other organizations on campus, but for the wider public. Our thinking is that in this age of creativity and knowledge work it is not enough to have once attended college a generation ago — we must always be learning and changing, we must always be reading.

In the weeks since we began, I’ve been asking around for nominations as to more books on innovation, design, entrepreneurship, development, policy and just the world at large and new ways of thinking about it that we should put on our reading list. Many ideas have come our way:

Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma, for instance is the book we are now already reading, and we will discuss this on the 16th of July at 5.00 pm. There are powerful arguments made in the book for the first time, the question is how we are to respond to them and how we are to act on Christensen’s insights.

In parallel, I’m also reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things, which has been suggested by several faculty and advisors to Adianta. Ben Horowitz is an intense and unforgiving man, and his battle-tested advice for the future entrepreneur has become an instant classic.

While I’ve been in Seattle, my old colleague John Sherry suggested At Home In The Universe by Stuart Kauffman, on complexity and self-organization. I’ve always wanted to a reading seminar on Eric Von Hippel, and so we should read his Democratizing Innovation book at some point.

In our planning meetings many members of the Vihara community have mentioned one or another book or topic area they would like to see covered. In such public moments it is not always possible to respond constructively. In this blogpost, though, I have put together some ideas for what we might read next. More thoughts and suggestions from you, Dear Fellow Reader, is what the comments section is for…

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