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2018 Scrummer Reading List

Our annual tribute to beach reads is back. We asked our team what books they are reading this summer and they responded with some great suggestions; a combination of fiction, non-fiction, business books and academic papers that make for great additions to any reading list. (Also good for cozy winter reading for our friends in the southern hemisphere).

Jeff Sutherland, Founder and Principal Consultant of Scrum Inc. and co-creator of Scrum recommends:

Book Cover of The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle"The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groupsby Daniel Coyle

This is a new book recommended by one of our new S@S Trainers, Julie Chickering. It is awesome because it provides examples and research data on what personal interactions are essential to hyper-productive teams.


JJ Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer recommends:

Book Cover - The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook by Peter Senge"The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization" by Peter Senge

I am currently re-reading the books that influenced the creation of Scrum, Senge’s Fifth Discipline among them. The Fieldbook is a different kind of book, really, it’s a collection of case studies, tools, and techniques, think pieces, and practical advice. One part that leaped out at me as something I’ve run into a lot this summer, the idea of community is part of being human.

Senge puts it this way: “When we forget the community nature of the self, we identify our self with our ego. We then assign a primordial value to the ego (part) and see the community (whole) as secondary. We see the community as nothing but a network of contractual commitments to symbolic and economic exchanges. Encounters with others become transactions that can add or subtract to the possessions of the ego.

The resulting loss is incalculable – isolation, loneliness, and loss of our ‘sense of place.’”


Jess Jagoditsh, Scrum Master recommends:

Book Cover The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner"The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the Worldby Eric Weiner

Did you know there is a World Happiness Report? There is! In this book, former NPR correspondent, Eric Weiner, uncovers both the happiest and unhappiest places on the Earth and then visits them to delve personally into their similarities and differences in an attempt to understand the nature of happiness and its global interpretations. This book is funny, thought-provoking and full of very interesting data gathered by researchers from around the globe. Don’t let the academic-sounding title fool you - If you ever think about happiness, this book offers some great insights from a world perspective (and a boatload of giggles besides!).


Dave Slaten, Trainer & Coach recommends:

Book Cover Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel"Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning" by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel

(From To most of us, learning something "the hard way" implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.



Book Cover The Goal A Process of Ongoing Improvement"The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement" by Eliyahu Goldratt, Jeff Cox

(From Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal is the gripping novel which is transforming management thinking throughout the Western world.


Book Cover The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford"The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win" by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, George Spafford

(From In a fast-paced and entertaining style, three luminaries of the DevOps movement deliver a story that anyone who works in IT will recognize. Readers will not only learn how to improve their own IT organizations, they'll never view IT the same way again.


Citizen Sigmund, Scrum Master, Communications, Trainer & Coach recommends:

Book cover "Making Decisions Under Stress: Implications for Individual & Team Training" edited by Janis A. Cannon-Bowers and Eduardo Salas"Making Decisions Under Stress: Implications for Individual & Team TrainingEdited by Janis A. Cannon-Bowers and Eduardo Salas

Decision-making is an essential and constant component of Product Ownership. In a perfect world, I would have plenty of time to think through all the possible variables and scenarios of a complex problem. However, the reality is often just the opposite. Quick, critical-thinking skills are a must, and I look forward to learning more about the art of decision-making from this text, presented by the Office of Naval Research.


Avi Schneier, Scrum Master, Sales, Trainer & Coach recommends:

"The Concept of “Ba”: Building a Foundation for Knowledge Creationby Ikujiro Nonaka & Noburo Konno. California Management Review. Vol. 40, No. 3. Spring 1998.

This paper outline the reason for the creation of a “Ba” or space within which knowledge is created and transferred throughout an organization. It also outlines Nonaka’s SECI framework. The paper was recommended to me by Dr. Sutherland and it has been very transformative for my understanding of how spreading knowledge throughout a company fertilizes the ground for innovation. My favorite quote: The role of top management is as providers of ba (space) for knowledge creation. Their task is to manage for knowledge emergence.”


Ray Robinson, Transformation Advisor recommends:

"Setting the Table: The Power of Hospitality in Businessby Danny Meyer

Great book about how to scale and sustain very high levels and standards of hospitality, employee engagement, and customer service as told through an autobiographical narrative by Danny Meyer (Eleven Madison Park, Shake Shack, Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern et al.).


Bruce Adams, Director of Business Development, Public Classes recommends:

"The Postmanby David Brin

When society crumbles and survival is all you have left, you start to notice what you used to take for granted, right? I like this book because it’s a thought-provoking post-apocalyptic adventure that focuses on decision making and right vs wrong. Is Gordon a hero? Or is his new persona making him act like one?




Tom Bullock, Storyteller recommends:

"Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startupby John Carreyrou

Talk about a book which teaches anti-patterns!  Bad Blood tells the crazy but true story of the lies, deception, and scams that fueled Theranos, a startup which promised to disrupt healthcare as we know it. Penned by John Carreyrou, one of my favorite authors (and a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner to boot), this book details just what happens when values like transparency and courage are thrown aside in favor of bilking billions from investors.


Joe Justice, President of Hardware recommends:

Book Cover Life 3.0, Being Human in the Era of Artificial Intelligence, by Max Tegmark"Life 3.0, Being Human in the Era of Artificial Intelligence" by Max Tegmark

Toyota’s growth is traced back to machinery that would automatically stop when a defect was detected, preventing hours of creating defecting parts. AI is training all systems to recognize defects at the time they are made, in some cases before they are made, correct to remove the cause of the defect and systemize the solution for all operations in the system. This fundamental shift is already evolving healthcare, assembly, energy production, and the way we drive. Dive in with this book to what panels of experts believe are the possibilities, problems, solutions, and radiant future of what is happening right now in AI worldwide.