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2017 Scrummer Reading List

Last year our team shared a list of our favorite books and it was so popular, we've decided to do it again!

This year's installment spans genres well beyond Agile to include Children's Picture Books, Health & Wellness, and Leadership Development.

Without further ado, we present the 2017 Scrum Inc. Scrummer Reading List:

Jeff Sutherland, CEO and co-creator of Scrum recommends:

"The Startup Wayby Eric Ries

I was asked by the senior editor at Random House to review  Eric Ries' new book, The Start Up Way, and it did not disappoint. Ries brilliantly addresses the core issue of corporate survival in the 21st century. How do you quickly turn new ideas into products inside a traditional company before you are "Uberized" or "Amazoned"? Hold management accountable for entrepreneurial behavior. It's the startup way. The book will be out in October but is available for pre-order.


JJ Sutherland, Chief Product Owner recommends:

"Ninefox Gambit" by Yoon Ha Lee
Calendars are real power. Constrain human perception of time and you constrain not only what can be done, but what is possible to do. A society, argues Lee, is an expression of its definition and celebration of time. The brilliance of this novel is her fantastic characters and the weaponisation of our cooperative fantasy, faith, and the need for the very idea of the weekend.

"Voltaire's Bastards" by John Ralston Saul
We can rail against waterfall, command and control, and call for the need to change. Saul puts the conflict into a four hundred year window calling back to Richelieu. Here is Saul on silos.

"The possession, use and control of knowledge have become their central theme the theme song of their expertise. However, their power depends not on the effect with which they use that knowledge but on the effectiveness with which they control its use. Thus, among the illusions which have invested our civilization is an absolute belief that the solution to our problems must be a more determined application of rationally organized expertise. The reality is that our problems are largely the product of that application. The illusion is that we have created the most sophisticated society in the history of man. The reality is that the division of knowledge into feudal fiefdoms of expertise has made general understanding and coordinated action not simply impossible but despised and distrusted."


Alex Sheive, Scrum Master, Trainer & Coach recommends:

"Thinking, Fast and Slowby Daniel Kahneman

A comprehensive guide to how humans think, and more importantly, how and when we don't think. Every chapter is backed by approachable and entertaining research that exposes the cognitive biases that plague every human brain. I can't think of a team that wouldn't benefit from this book, but I may be falling for the availability heuristic ...


Nigel Thurlow, Transformational Leader, Trainer & Coach recommends:

"Leading Change " by John Kotter

In my opinion, Leading Change is the definitive text on why change fails and it provides the understanding of how to overcome the causes of failure.


"XLR8 " by John Kotter

XLR8 provides an 8 step approach to achieving lasting change. The two Kotter books, XLR8 and Leading Change, are a very hot topic. If you are a change agent, you must be intimately acquainted with these texts, or indeed any of the work of Kotter.


"The Lean Machine" by Dantar P. Oosterwal

For me, this book is a masterclass in Lean Product Development, and a damn good read if you like Harley Davidson. It is on my list of essential reading for anyone working in transformational change with clients.  


 Forging a Kaizen Culture"Forging a Kaizen Culture" by Hitoshi Yamada

I recommend this book because our lives only consist of around 30,000 days. Life is too short to be wasteful.



Mark Rosania, Client Success Manager, recommends:

"Leadership Agility: Five Levels of Mastery for Anticipating and Initiating Change" by Bill Joiner & Stephen Josephs

Using stories and research based on decades of work with clients, this book will introduce you to the core competencies of Agile Leadership, as well as a roadmap to achieve your best levels of leadership success.


"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable" by Patrick Lencioni

This classic business novel still provides incredibly relevant and poignant insights into the struggle of teams. It challenges you to look critically at the teams you are a part of as well as looking at your own dynamics-- good and bad -- that you bring to a team.


Kim Antelo, Consultant, Trainer & Coach recommends:

"The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki

A good reminder that the group is always smarter than its smartest person. It gives great examples of a group finding a submarine and estimating.



"Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World " by Jennifer Garvey Berger

Developing through different stages of thought. Understanding that people first have to meet their basic needs, then they can subscribe to a school of thought like religion or politics, later seeing outside that subscription and beyond.


"Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard" by Chip and Dan Heath

This book will help you understand the brain compared to the heart/gut when it comes to change.  It will also help you understand how to drive change and gives great examples of how others have made great changes.


Avi, Scrum Master, Trainer & Coach recommends:

"The Tao Te Chingby Lao Tzu. Translation by Jane English & Gia-Fu Feng

Many concepts in Scrum and Agile can be found in the thoughts of the Old Master. In the original paper which inspired Dr. Sutherland by Professors Takeuchi and Nonaka, the concept of "subtle control" is expounded as the opposite of the kind of rigid control that impairs creativity and spontaneity. Lao Tzu councils that, "governing a country is like cooking a small fish. " In the Tao Te Ching, we learn what actions (or non-actions) help us to go with the flow and embrace all that our inner nature encompasses in order to live creative, spontaneous, and meaningful lives. Enjoy.

Sean Hafferty, Director, Transformation Services recommends:

"Simple Rules" by Donald Sull and Kathleen M. Eisenhardt

One of the reasons that Scrum works is because you are applying simplicity to complex problems. Simple Rules helps you to think about other types of simple rules you can develop to continue to get better faster.

"Legacy" by James Kerr

It is an excellent reminder of the commitment required from a team and an organization to continue to be great. It’s a reminder that greatness is a process and not a destination.

"The Obstacle is the Way" by Ryan Holiday

When working with clients to adopt Scrum and increase Business Agility, the impediments are almost always front and center. We need to shift our perspective to see how these obstacles are often the best teachers and can drive massive improvements when resolved.

Joe Justice, President of Hardware, recommends:

The following books compose my canon of mental capacity-building and the physical health to deliver it; here are my go to's and framework to build my limits and a healthy sustainable pace:


"Journey of Awakening" by Ram Daas

"Shaolin-Do: Secrets from the Temple" by Sin Kwang The and James Halladay

"Cardio Sucks" by Michael Mathews

"Sleep Smarter" by  Shawn Stevenson and Sara Gotfried


And to round it out, Joe suggests, this is the most important book to read this summer:

"Scrum Princess" by Kyle and Demi Aretae

Why? Because any book that is clear enough for even the littlest readers is going to fix the workplace problems before they start.

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