Rebel Ideas - Matthew Syed
I absolutely loved 'Black Box Thinking', the book from the author that preceded this one. It's discussion on how some organisations succeed and others don't through the application of learning from mistakes was eye opening.
In 'Rebel Ideas', Syed's style of informative story telling remains as powerful as ever. His book is well researched, yet as with 'Black Box Thinking', it remains entertaining and often times humorous.
As it's strapline 'The Power of Diverse Thinking', suggests, this is a book that is about cognitive diversity. This topic has become 'hot' recently with many organisations going as far as elevating their Diversity & Inclusion programmes to a separate section in their annual shareholder reports. For all of that, this is not a book that just tackles diversity at work. It would perhaps, in some ways , have been easier to write a narrative around the how there are more chairmen of FTSE 100 companies called 'John' than there are female CEOs.
Yet, interestingly, Syed's book is less focussed on the workplace, and more on non-work situations. He draws upon examples from the failure of the CIA pre 9/11, a disaster in miscommunication atop Mount Everest, British Politics, and why Silicon Valley became the icon of innovation that it is.
I picked up the book to help me better understand how to facilitate different voices to speak up in meetings. However it's provided me with much more. It's a nuanced book and it is careful to stop just short of saying diversity in a group is always positive.
It's a book about how we communicate, and how we question, and how we should challenge our own and one another's assumptions constantly.
For those curious about diversity beyond headline statistics around race or gender on company boards, I'd strongly recommend giving this a read.
If you're interested in this subject, I also reviewed 'The Fearless Organization' by Amy Edmondson and a link to that article is here.