Box of Crayons Blog


Frederic Laloux’s Five Essential Books for Inventing More Soulful Workplaces

My guest blogger today is Frederic Laloux, a coach, consultant and change maker who helps organizations and individuals achieve higher collective and individual purpose and success in their work. He is also the author of Reinventing Organizations, where every page contains thought-provoking concepts like this one: “When trust is extended, it breeds responsibility in return. Emulation and peer pressure regulates the system better than hierarchy ever could.” Without further ado, here are his five essential books for inventing a more soulful workplace.

Book 1: A Simpler Way
By Margaret Wheatley and Byron Kellner-Rogers
This is a poetic musing on what organizations could be if we stopped viewing them like machines that need to be optimized, and instead thought of them as living systems. What if we stopped trying to control life, and instead listened to how life wants to unfold?


Book 2: Joy At Work: A Revolutionary Approach To Fun On The Job
By Dennis Bakke
Dennis Bakke recounts how AES, a company he co-founded, grew into a workforce of 40,000 people running electricity generating plants in countries all over the world, without hierarchy, staff functions, top-down budget processes, targets etc.


Book 3: Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace
By Ricardo Semler
In the 1990’s, this million+ copies bestseller tells the story of how Ricardo Semler took over his family business at the age of 26 and got rid of many management practices, replacing them with simpler solutions, relying on courage and common sense. Since then, some organizations have gone even further in their management innovations. But Maverick remains an inspirational tale of how organizations can thrive when you dare to throw out the increasingly outdated toolbox of management practices we are taught in business schools.

Book 4: A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life
By Parker Palmer
This book is not about the workplace in a strict sense. It examines how life in communities pushes us to wear a mask, to lead divided lives. And how, nevertheless, we can listen to our inner voice and try to reclaim wholeness in the community of others. Parker Palmer’s writing is superb: simple, clear, and yet poetic and evocative. Reading his writing you sense he has chiseled every sentence until it stands on its own, glorious and self-evident.


Book 5: Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society in the Age of Transition
By Charles Eisenstein
This book too is only tangentially related to workplaces and organizations. It discusses the broader changes that are likely to happen in the fields of economy (delocalization, gifting) and monetary systems (demurrage, backed by ecological wealth). It provides a powerful insight into how our whole economic system is likely to change in the coming decades.


About Frederic Laloux

Frederic-small-bw-320x320Frederic Laloux is the author of Reinventing Organizations, a book that discusses the emergence of a more powerful, soulful and purposeful management paradigm. His research and the book have been described as “groundbreaking”, “brilliant”, “spectacular”, “impressive”, and “world-changing” by some of the most respected scholars in the field of human development.

Frederic, a former Associate Principal with McKinsey & Company, lives in Brussels, Belgium with his wife Hélène and their two children.

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