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A while ago my colleague Marcus asked us to think of some special books that were helpful for us in our work as a consultant. Books that were inspiring, provoking or meaningful to us. He came up with a list of books. I would like to share a few with you in this blog.


'Now discover your strengths' - Buckingham, Marcus / Clifton, Donald

Based on 25 years of research, Now, Discover Your Strengths identifies 34 dominant talent themes and helps people understand the nature of their own particular combinations of talents. Putting the focus on enhancing strengths rather than on improving in areas of weakness, Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton provide a blueprint for understanding personal strengths and managing particular talent themes in the workplace.

What colleagues said:

  • Frank: It feels good to focus on my strengths, this book helped a lot in that process.
  • Marloes: Great to use in any situation (friends, colleagues, yourself, individuals, teams), learning, improving and innovating through strengths instead of faults.
  • Tjip: I will never forget the test and it has an enormous impact on the way K&S works I think.
  • Mariel: This book and the internet test made me aware of my own strengths. Some of them seemed new to me, but now I recognize them and try to use and expand them every day.
  • Saskia: I remember when Luk & Luc brought this book from the US. It was so nice to see something that I know and believe in, in writing... It was a great source of inspiration to me, the strength based approach to personal development is now a really important element of my work.
  • Suzanne: The way they explain the idea of working from strengths has inspired me very much. I like the way they've set up their research (when you buy the book, you get a code to take the test and thereby contribute to their research), the 34 talent themes (they are all equally desirable), and the way they justify and explain their own way of working (a FAQ database in the appendix).


'Fifth Discipline' - Senge, Peter M.

The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization is a book by Peter Senge (a senior lecturer at MIT) focusing on group problem solving using the systems thinking method in order to convert companies into learning organizations. The five disciplines represent approaches (theories and methods) for developing three core learning capabilities: fostering aspiration, developing reflective conversation, and understanding complexity.

What colleagues said:

  • Mandy: Introduced me to the concept of the learning organization and the holistic way of looking at learning and development (as opposed to small fragmented orientations in educational trajectories).
  • Anja: It inspired me to write my master thesis about it and to study the concept further in my doctoral thesis.
  • Philippe: Whole work of the author is very good.
  • Kemp: Breakthrough reading, still worthwhile after all these years.


Flawless Consulting - Block, Peter

For Peter Block, "a consultant is a person in a position to have some influence over an individual, a group, or an organization, but who has no direct power to make changes or implement programs." In this book, he points out the elements that often get in the way of productive consulting, and then shows you how to handle them and move on to clear, mutually beneficial consulting.

What colleagues said:

  • Anja: A book that accompanied me for a long time and has proven to be very valuable in client contacts.
  • Frank: Both books help me on thinking about consulting with clear theories and lively examples. Has been a big inspiration, also for my thesis.
  • Kemp: More accessible than godfather Schein, practical, with much attention to the underlying principles. Also very nice Field Book, published later.


Process Consultation - Schein, Edgar H.

Schein sees the vital importance balancing the clients tasks and relationships in the work place. Helping clients see the vital importance of their teams interpersonal relationships can leads to efficient task performance. And Schein in Process Consultation offers insight into consulting clients so effective performance results through the unitied efforts of people and teams.

What colleagues said:

  • Saskia: Helped me to think in other roles than the 'expert'
  • Philippe: Whole work of the author is very good.