Recent recommended reads: governance, geography, feminism

In an era of disinformation, educating yourself and others is an act of resistance 🙂 Here are my recent highly recommended reads:

The Blunders of Our Governments by Anthony King and Ivor Crewe [publisher | WorldCat] – gives an overview of some examples of bad government decision-making, and then outlines the circumstances which allowed these blunders to happen.  There are lessons here for all organisations – for example:

  • Brainstorming Murphy’s Law – think about all the things that can go wrong, and plan for them.
  • Objection is often misconstrued as obstruction – listen to criticisms and pay attention to potential pitfalls.
  • Ensure that the people responsible for the idea are accountable for the outcome.
  • Rather than just focusing on lauding innovations, which may be poorly thought-out or badly delivered, reward those whose initiatives are still in place several years down the line.

Prisoners of Geography: ten maps that tell you everything you need to know about global politics by Tim Marshall [publisher | WorldCat] – a fascinating tour of how physical geography influences borders and nations.  “Strip out the lines of nation states, and the map Ivan the Terrible confronted is the same one Vladimir Putin is faced with to this day.”

Men explain things to me by Rebecca Solnit [publisher | WorldCat] – I would particularly recommend this 2014 edition, with its beautiful paintings by Ana Teresa Fernandez.  Seven essays on the theme of gender and power – essential reading for everyone.


The Pyramid of Purpose

In an article I read recently, I learned about this tool for articulating your organisation’s strategy:

Pyramid of Purpose

 I liked how the process of constructing the pyramid led you through these key questions:

Question 1 – “why” – refers to your organization’s values, mission, and vision.
Question 2 – “what” – covers objectives and goals.
Question 3 – “how” – refers the actions needed to realize these goals.
Question 4 – “who” – refers to the people, systems and tools which deliver these.

I will definitely refer to this the next time I have to do a piece of work about library strategy.  You can read the complete article at