The British Museum Reading Room. A panorama of 2x5 segments. By Diliff. CC BY SA 3.0.

The Bookshelf Mocketh Not the Poor

E. Forrest Christian Reviews - Books Leave a Comment

(Or perhaps “Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.” The make of my bookshelf is 57th Street Bookcase & Cabinet so maybe they don’t care.)

Michelle Malay Carter tagged me recently to participate in the book your reading meme. The assignment, since I decided to accept it, was to look at my reading pile, or those on deck, and put the list up. I do this regularly on my personal blog, so no big deal.

The assignment also included something odder: the sixth through eighth sentences on page 123 of the book I’m currently reading. Since I have a problem focusing (clearly noted by my friends and family) I am of course reading multiple books at once. So here’s their page 123s:

From Ralph D. Stacey, Douglas Griffen & Patricia Shaw‘s Complexity and Management: Fad or Radical Challenge to Systems Thinking (2000):

…In this new paradigm, an organization becomes what it is because of the intrinsic need human beings have, individually and collectively, to express their identities and thereby their differences. Identity and difference emerge, becoming what they are through the transformation cause of self-organization, that is, relationship. What an organization becomes emerges from the relationships of its members rather than being determined by the choices of individuals.

From Richard Florida‘s The Rise of the Creative Class:

Buildings at the Marconi Communications campus outside Pittsburgh have canted exterior walls that make the structure look as if they were tilted or riding a rolling sea (perhaps a more apt metaphor for the telecom industry’s turbulence than the architects realized.)

Inside the newer suburban buildings, open arrangements for high traffic flow are mostly the rule. Occasional design touches that disrupt the click newness of the interiors (such as ragged surfaces or exposed infrastructure) can help take the edge off the sterile feeling of new space, making it feel livable.


From Michael Quicke‘s360-degree leadership: preaching to transform congregations

This testifies to the ultimately impossible-to-manipulate outcome that only God can deliver to preacher/leaders. In Luke 5 God brings it all together — the pushing out into deep water, the spectacular catch of fish, the breakthrough of holiness, and the call to discipleship. Encountering God remains central to genuine spiritual transformation.


From Frank King‘sWalt & Skeezix: The Complete Daily Strips. This is mostly done by date, so I picked one that looked like it was page 123, dated June 20th and 22nd, 1925:

Walt, you old foolish. That doesn’t make a bit of difference to me. Why I’d love you just the same if you didn’t have a hair on your head or a tooth in it.

Somehow, that loses something without King’s amazing cartooning. There can be little wonder why so many of the contributors toThe Comics Journal’s annual top comics issues have listed this series as a must-have.


There’s a novel in the mix, too, which I won’t mention: novels are personal, aren’t they?

I’ll skip the list of Great Books I’ve Partially Read and Plan to Get Back To, since that’s just embarrassingly long. But I promise that I will finish the Chrysler biography that I took from my dad’s collection after he died, andThe House of Morgan which he swiped from me a few years ago. AndMoby Dick. Always that white whale has tormented me….

That would not includeOrganization Design, Levels of Work & Human Capability, which unlike Michelle I have read from cover to cover at least three times. No great feat, really: I not only assisted in the writing of several articles, I also created the index and that always forces one to read the book at least once.

Books I Reference Repeatedly (at least lately) include:

  • How buildings learn: What happens after they’re built by Brand
  • Radio Free Albemuth by Philip K. Dick
  • Sources of Power: How people make decisions by Klein
  • Working With Values: Software of the mind by Warren Kinston
  • The symbolic species: The co-evolution of language and the brain by Deacon
  • 360-degree preaching: Hearing, speaking and living the Word by Michael Quicke
  • Strengthening the management culture by Kinston
  • The first idea: How symbols, language, and intelligence evolved from our early primate ancestors to modern humans by Greenspan & Shanker
  • The complete Peanuts by Schulz
  • Presentation of self in everyday life by Goffman, which seems to be leading back to G.H.Mead
  • The good wine: Reading John from the center by Barnhart
  • Dandelion Wine by Bradbury
  • Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by Scott
  • Organization Design, Levels of Work & Human Capability by various authors

There might be a dozen or so different technical books on that list, depending on what I am working on at the time.

Since there’s not a book on there about managing your own career (except for Andrew Olivier’s excellent article inOrganization Design) it’s probably time for me to write one myself.

I went to tag the blogs I read but noticed that they had already fulfilled the requirements of the tag, or have simply stopped blogging. Alas! I seem to be at the end of this meme. It was originally the “Pick p the book nearest to you” which in my case at work would have been an UML reference.

Image Credit: The British Museum Reading Room. A panorama of 2×5 segments. By David Iliff via Wikimedia Commons. (CC BY SA 3.0)

About the Author

Forrest Christian

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E. Forrest Christian is a consultant, coach, author, trainer and speaker at The Manasclerk Company who helps managers and experts find insight and solutions to what seem like insolvable problems. Cited for his "unique ability and insight" by his clients, Forrest has worked with people from almost every background, from artists to programmers to executives to global consultants. Forrest lives and works plain view of North Carolina's Mount Baker.  [contact]

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