17 Books That Will Inspire You to Change the World

  • Revolutions in technologies, from clean energy to genomics to artificial intelligence, are reshaping the world as we know it. The disruptions over the next decade will likely dwarf those in the last.
  • In some ways, the forces of change today are unprecedented. We’ve likely never had so many powerful forces swirling around at the same time.
  • However, we can learn a lot from those who came before us. So these are the 17 suggested books that will help you chart a path forward:
  • 1. Cascades by Greg Satell: It’s is the product of 15 years of research into how we create change in our organizations, our industries, our communities and throughout society as a whole.
  • 2. Blueprint For Revolution by Srdja Popović: It tells the personal story of Srdja Popovic’s journey from bassist in a rock band to leading a revolution against Slobodan Milošević in Serbia, and then training activitists.
  • 3. Six Degrees by Duncan Watts: Watts helped pioneer modern network science and Six Degrees explains the basic concepts around path breaking science with clarity and wit
  • 4. Regional Advantage by AnnaLee Saxenian: This book explains why technology universe moved from Route 128 in Boston which was focused on individual performance, by got replaced by ecosystem driven Silicon Valley
  • 5. Why Civil Resistance Works by Erica Chenoweth & Maria Stephan: This book focuses on political movements, its insights are just as important for corporate and organizational change efforts.
  • 6. Scaling Up Excellence by Robert Sutton & Huggy Rao: Utilizing in-depth case studies of companies like Ikea, Home Depot and others, book describe cleary what it takes to take an initial success and scale it
  • 7. A Force More Powerful by Peter Ackerman & Jack DuVall: This is the definitive book on non-violent movements, detailing about every major uprising of the 20th century, from the iconic struggles of Gandhi, Mandela, etc.
  • 8. The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. by Clayborne Carson: The book is an edited version of King’s writings rather than something that the civil rights leader sat down and pieced together himself.
  • 9 & 10. Root & Branch by Rawn James Jr. & Devil In the Grove by Gilbert King: Both of these books are excellence focusing on legal stories that inspire revolutionary ideas.
  • 11 & 12. Sisters by Jean H. Baker & A Woman’s Crusade by Mary Walton: These two books bring the story to women's movement back in 19th century to life in very different and yet highly effective ways.
  • 13. Awakening by Nathaniel Frank: In Awakening, Nathaniel tells the amazing story of the LGBT movement from start to finish, the challenges, the debates and the dilemmas in a highly readable way.
  • 14. Small Acts of Resistance by Steve Crawshaw and John Jackson: You’ll be amazed at all the ingenious ways that activists think up to defy the powers oppose them in this delightful book of small stories.
  • 15. Boyd by Robert Coram: This highly acclaimed book is best known for the story of how Colonel John Boyd developed the the OODA loop, and chronicles his efforts to reform the Pentagon from within.
  • 16. Walking with the Wind by John Lewis: Walking with the Wind tells the story of John Lewis, in his own words, of his rise from a sharecropper’s son to a genuine American hero.
  • 17. Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela: The book is the story of how Nelson Mandela transformed himself and safeguarded the rights of white South Africans as faithfully as he fought for the rights of his own people.

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