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Ten Books That Can Help You Collaborate

“The bottom-up world is to be the great theme of this century.” ~ Matt Ridley

Nobody can know everything, nor do everything well.

Yet you can know someone who does – or know somebody who knows somebody who does.

And that may be the secret to staying sought-after in this increasingly complex and connected world.

In fact, next to honing your top talent your most vital trait to strengthen is probably your capacity to collaborate – especially with those extremely unlike you.  Seven of the ten trends in how we work involve being adept collaborators.

“Collaboration is the new competition.” ~ Pamela Slim and Michele Woodward

The next trick is understanding exactly how to connect so others want to collaborate with you. It starts with speaking to the sweet spot of mutual benefit.

“A radically different order of society based on open access, decentralized creativity, collaborative intelligence, and cheap and easy sharing is ascendant.” ~ David Bollier

For a project on which I am collaborating on with the remarkable Kris Schaeffer, ably assisted by Steven Toy (expect an announcement in December) here’s some books that helped me discover why and how to collaborate:

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Clay Shirky, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity and Reap Big Results by Morten T. Hansen,  Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler, The Culture of Collaboration by Evan Rosen, Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats are Hijacking the Global Economy by Moises Naim, The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison, What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption by Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers, The Firefly Effect: Build Teams that Capture Creativity and Catapult Results by Kimberly Douglas, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni and Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams.

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

See other books on collaboration that I recommend at Listiki and please add your favorites. After all its a collaborative list.  I also tweet about  examples of collaboration here.

“Collaborations are strengthened through appreciative relationships.  You know you’ve got it right when you find yourself in a relationship in which you are listened to, dream together, choose to contribute, act with support, and are positive.” ~ Ben Ziegler

Categories: Book, Caring, Co-Create, collaboration, Collective Intelligence.
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  1. Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Hi, Kare – I am honored that you included my book, The Firefly Effect, in your list of recommended reads for collaboration. There is such excitement and power in collaborating with others, especially when you have a common goal and a safe and energizing environment. Thank you for being such a great voice to encourage more of this in today’s companies!

    Kimberly Douglas
    Author, The Firefly Effect (Wiley, 2009)

  2. Posted September 22, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Hi Kare,

    I just picked up your link here at LI in the facilitation conversation. What a terrific blog! I want to recommend that you take a look at a book that Christopher Avery and I collaborated on way back in 2001 called “Teamwork is an Individual Skill.” It’s still available at Amazon (Berrett Kohler published it) and it’s full of specific suggestions about choices of attitudes and behaviors that make the experience of collaborating (teamwork) more rewarding for individuals – and the others they’re working with.

    Would love to talk with you any time about my current work helping coaches, consultants, and authors plan and use virtual meeting tools to support collaboration when people can’t be together all the time, face-to-face. I blog at and train from

    Thanks for all you’re doing here to promote collaboration!! Meri Walker “The Virtual Meeting Coach”

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