One must embrace the chos within
to give birth to a dancing star.
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Call for a consultation (no obligation),
US: 617-275-5706; UK: 0203 295-2051

Book List

These are some of the many books which have inspired my thinking and development. Click on the book icon and it will take you directly to the US website, where you can place your order.


Click to Order Title/Author DSI Review
Tao of Leadership: Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching Adapted for a New Age
John Heider
A deeply spiritual yet simply-written book which sets high standards for detachment and self-knowledge. Speaks of the importance for the leader of staying in the here and now, and on related themes such as simplicity, stillness, turning within for answers, balance...
Co-Active Leadership: Five Ways to Lead
Karen & Henry Kimsey-House
Most people tend to think leadership happens from the front – someone takes charge and inspires others to follow them. Written by two of the founders of the Coaches Training Institute – one of the oldest, largest, and most highly-regarded coach training organizations in the world – this book expands that traditional view of leadership, to explore other positions from which leadership is exercised. I welcome it as a great companion to Heider's Tao of Leadership, the book which first helped me recognize what leaders I was working with were missing in assessing themselves as leaders.
Leadership and Self-Deception, Getting Out of the Box
The Arbinger Institute
A business story, simply and clearly told, which illustrates the ways in which we betray ourselves, then project that betrayal onto other people, until our relationships become so polluted there is little hope of clear and clean interaction. I think most people will recognize themselves somewhere in the story - I know I did!
Living Leadership: A Practical Guide for Ordinary Heroes
George Binney, Gerhard Wilke, & Colin Williams
Finally - research which documents principles which I have been interested in for a long time. That to have strong leaders an organization also needs strong followers, who are both capable of and allowed to step into leadership roles when circumstances demand it. That for leaders to lead well they must be authentic, for which they must understand themselves well. Binney et al use Jazz musicians as their metaphor where I use a form of Jazz dance called Lindy Hop – all part of the same tradition.
Aron The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You
Elaine Aron, Ph.D
What do you think of when you hear the term Highly Sensitive Person? Whining weenies? Or some of the world's most talented and intelligent? According to Dr. Elaine Aron, a leading expert on the subject, 15 to 20% of the population have the very real and distinguishable trait of high sensitivity. Thus leaders of large organizations would do well to understand this characteristic, which tends to also be found in the gifted (see The Gifted Adult below. Dr. Aron comments that business leaders in her workshops put a large proportion of the difficulties in organizations down to the inability of the highly-sensitive and the non-highly-sensitive to communicate.
Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person
Barrie Jaeger, Ph.D
Dr. Jaeger's book focuses specifically on highly sensitive people at work. If you are an HSP yourself, this will give you a different perspective on how you have made - and how it will serve you best to make - your work and career choices. If you are a manager of an HSP, it will help you understand how to get the best from what could be some of your most valuable people.
The Leader's Window: Mastering the Four Styles of Leadership to Build High Performing Teams John D. W. Beck, Neil Yeager A clear and useful delineation of four different styles of leadership, using well-known leaders to illustrate them, along with discussions of the types of organizations in which these styles work (or don't), and how to work with bosses, peers, colleagues, staff when your leadership styles and needs clash. Includes tools to evaluate your own leadership style, and observations of what works and what doesn't in implementing your style.
On Becoming a Leader
Warren Bennis
Using stories of CEOs with whom he's worked and interviewed as a basis, Bennis writes on the elements necessary to become a true, visionary leader as opposed to a talented and skilled manager. He speaks of the need for character, the value of experience (including making mistakes), the importance of looking within to find the burning clarity of vision that empowers a leader to innovate and take risks. Inspiring - seems to me to raise the question of needing a source of inner strength and values to truly succeed...


Click to Order Title/Author DSI Review
Built to Last - Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
James C.Collins & Jerry I. Porras
Inspiring on a personal as well as a professional level, these people have done extensive research, starting with a survey of top CEOs as to companies they would rate as visionary. They compare Visionary Companies with a Comparison Company in the same industry and similar roots to understand what set one apart from the other, a General Electric from a Westinghouse, for instance. Very worth reading and rereading. Also Good to Great - Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't.
Maverick - The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace
Ricardo Semler
The story of Semco, a manufacturing company in Brazil which put egalitarian, "open book" management practices in place in the 1980s. Very easy read, lively and thought-provoking. In one of the most volatile economies in the world, Semler put his ideals into action and succeeded - the ones you may have thought "I'd love to try it but, let's be realistic, it will never work". Well, it has, it can, and here's an example.
The Addictive Organisation
Anne Wilson Schaef and Diane Fassel
With an overview of current business literature on organisations and leadership, combined with an outline of terms and characteristics of addictions, Shaef and Fassel merge their expertise to raise important questions about the extent of the problem today's organisations face. They explore the point that as business organisations are a slice of society, they will contain the same level of addictive characteristics, traps, and potential for recovery. Gives guidelines for intervention and change.
The Age of Unreason
Charles Handy
Based in extensive business and life experience, Handy's world-renowned as a business pundit. Includes an annotated reading and reference booklist at the end. Handy encourages "thinking the unthinkable", while acknowledging the traps inherent in the growing freedom of choice in our world today, both in business organisations and in our personal lives. Stimulating, easy to read and thought-provoking.

Personal & Organizational Development

Click to Order Title/Author DSI Review
The Gifted Adult: A Revolutionary Guide for Liberating Everyday Genius(tm)
Mary-Elaine Jacobsen, Ph.D
One of the books I recommend most often. If you are one of the 20 to 25% of the population who is gifted (e.g. who understands things more quickly than others do, who sees patterns and answers where others have only questions, who has seen how new innovations could benefit the world before others did, then wondered why someone else came along and made what you thought would be considered a crazy idea a reality), you must read this book. Dr. Jacobsen draws on Howard Gardner's work on Multiple Intelligences to further ground her own research and make it relevant to the casual reader. A bit dense in parts, but well worth a read if you think you may be gifted yourself, or know someone who is.
The Sensitive Person's Survival Guide: An Alternative Health Answer to Emotional Sensitivity & Depression
Kyra Mesich, Psy.D
Are you empathic? Do you pick up on other people's feelings to the extent that you feel them in your own body, sometimes even before the other person is aware of having them? If so, this book will help you understand how to protect yourself during those times when that experience is unwanted, and how to use your gift as it's meant to be used.
Workaholics: The Respectable Addicts
Barbara Killinger
One of a number of books on the subject - I particularly liked this one because she takes the trouble to define what workaholism is not, as well as what it is. Addiction in any form has devasting consequences for the addict, their colleagues, family, and friends. If you're finding you're unable to stop thinking about work even on vacation, at night, or at the theatre, that you're getting angry for no reason or more than normally forgetful, might be worth a read. The good news about any addiction is that recovery is possible, and life can become worth living again.
Another Chance: Hope & Health for the Alcoholic Family
Sharon Wegscheider
If you've grown up in a family where one or more members (including cousins, grandparents, etc.) had a drinking problem, read this book. Taking a family systems approach, Wegscheider defines the roles individuals typically take in an alcoholic family, based on her years of work and research with this population. An illuminating and readable book which helps people caught in the trap of an addiction, be it their own or someone else's, to understand what's going on around them and how to start breaking through the denial which is part of the disease. A useful analogy for organizations and the roles people take within them when there's dysfunction within.
The Big Book
Fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous
The story of how AA was started is inspirational, whether you are an alcoholic yourself, are affected by alcoholic, or simply a business person interested in how inspirational organisations emerge. The grandparent of all 12-Step addiction work, this book chronicles AAs beginning in the '30s from 2 businessmen trying to stay alive, to a worldwide group of recovering souls sharing their experience, strength, and hope. It includes information on how to work the steps, how to work with alcoholics, and stories from alcoholics themselves. The language is somewhat dated, but it is authentic and wise.
Families and How to Survive Them
Robin Skynner/John Cleese
A running dialogue between the highly curious, irreverent Cleese and his therapist Robin Skynner covering how children grow up, their needs at various stages in their lives, and what happens if those needs are not met. Clear, entertaining, can be read in the space of an East Coast, USA-to-Europe plane journey, but very illuminating.


Click to Order Title/Author DSI Review
Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop
Frankie Manning, with Cynthia Millman
If you've seen Lindy Hop (aka Jitterbug or Swing), you've seen dancers throw their partners over their heads, through their legs, around their bodies.  Frankie Manning did the first  aerial to swing music, back in the '20s. This is the story of a man to whom innovation was a way of life.  As a black man in a white world, he couldn't sit in the clubs he performed in; he knew that if a car full of white guys turned around on a dark road in the middle of the night to follow his car there would be trouble; he could say nothing when his superior officer hurled abuse at him based on his color while service to his country. But Frankie focused on what he could do with what was available to him, meaning that when styles changed and rock 'n roll replaced Swing, he went to work in the Post Office and built a new life and circle of friends, putting his dancing days (which had included performances around the world, often for royalty) behind him. Then in the mid-'80s when kids from different parts of the world went looking to see if anyone who did that crazy dance they saw in the movies was still around and found Frankie, he accepted their enthusiasm and began a new career of sharing what he knew about Lindy with whoever wanted to know, wherever in the world they were.  I got to know him in the early '90s in the UK and Sweden; when I saw him last in Phoenix, Arizona in the months prior to his death at the age of 94, he had just come back from Singapore and/or Australia, and was headed out to gigs in Houston, Texas; Italy, Japan, Indiana, and possibly Korea. Whenever I start to feel old, or tired, or like I can't keep going, I think of Frankie and his generosity of spirit, as well as his love of laughter and of life itself, and it encourages me to keep going, and to bring some of his spirit into the work I do with business people.  Oh, yes, in addition to learning about an inspirational life and career, there are stories here that bring the history of the years between the '20s and '50s in particular alive. Highly recommended, whether you're a dancer, a business person, or a student of life.
ofwater.jpg Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman
Malidoma Patrice Some
This is a powerful book, perhaps most because it describes a community-oriented culture that is largely foreign to most of us, yet has a lot of relevance for the communities upon which strong business organizations are built. Born into a tribal family of shamans and elders, Malidoma was taken at an early age to be raised by Christian missionaries, then later returned to his tribe to participate in their initiation process. He went on to take three master's and two doctoral degrees at the Sorbonne and at Brandeis University. In this book he talks about the experiences that formed him, and the places in which he, who has crossed so many cultural divides, has found wisdom and a way forward. His observations on the nature of community, communication, and connection between people working towards a common goal has much to teach leaders of business communities looking for new ways to address age-old challenges. See also his book The Healing Wisdom of Africa for further information.
Get Hired Now! A 28-Day Program for Landing the Job You Want
C.J. Hayden and Frank Traditi
A follow-on to her popular Get Clients Now!, C.J. has created a "practical, hands-on" guide to help people who are looking for a new job tap into the "hidden market". You'll find a quote from Deborah Huisken of Dancing Star International on pages 256 and 257.
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
Robert Fulgham
A wonderfully whacky, very creative book of "uncommon thoughts on common things". Full of wisdom and humour and stories which reignite faith in the simple things in life.
Long Walk to Freedom
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
The enduring story of the development of a powerful leader, Mandela speaks among other things of the importance of groups and working together on common goals; of the need to stay focused on the goal, in single-minded pursuit of the objective. He uses the garden as a metaphor for a leader, in the sowing of seeds, tending, and harvesting, and writes of the importance of education. Includes a strong dose of humility - when the world was cheering his release from prison, he says "I tell the people that I was not a messiah..." - bet he'd like Illusions - the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (see review below)


Click to Order Title/Author DSI Review
Emmanuel's Book
Pat Rodegast/Judith Stanton
When I first read this book, although not convinced of the source of the words, I kept feeling clicks and hearing clear, sparkling bells going off, as I found corroboration of things I had long thought but not dared acknowledge or believe. A simple, light, endlessly warm, wise, and comforting book, highly recommended for those trying to find their own unique spiritual path. Has particularly comforting passages on death - the first in a series, all of which are worth reading.
Illusions - The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah
Richard Bach
A short, deceptively simple tale of the trials and tribulations of being a modern-day messiah, and the choices one has about whether or not to stay in the role. This book has led me to read others by Bach, all of which have broadened my way of looking at the world. Dip in and enjoy!
Pathways to Higher Consciousness
Ken O'Donnell
An exploration of the meditation principles of the Brahma Kumaris (BK) World Spiritual University. The BKs are a UN-affiliated organisation dedicated to teaching spiritual values and working towards world peace. Pathways is very clear and well-reasoned - practical. To order, write to: Eternity Ink, 69 Wigram Road, Glebe NSW 2131, AUSTRALIA. ISBN: 0646266632

Peace is Every Step
Thich Nhat Hanh
A warm, lively book full of the thoughts and experiences of this Vietnamese Buddhist monk. Worth a read.