My Regards to the Redwoods

My Regards to the Redwoods

I have been a consultant for 37 years. Like all responsible consultants, I fulfill my professional duty and buy books. Many books. More than I care to admit were impulse purchases backed up with inverted rational and upside-down logic. I value my books. My books are my thought partners, sources of inspiration and deep reservoirs of useful information.

I would not go anywhere without them. Or so I have always told myself. Theresa and I have sold our house and we move in 59 days. This is a holding pattern move. If it wasn’t for the pandemic and the dismal leadership of Donald Trump, we would be moving to Europe. As it is, we are going nowhere soon.

We will move into a very small carriage house on a beautiful piece of waterside property until May 2021. The house is too small for all my books, so only a few get to make the trip to the new rental house and the rest go into storage.

I have had several conversations with consulting colleagues and the same question always arises: “What books will you take and how will you choose?”

It’s been an easy question to answer. The ideas and methods in the books listed below have had a deep impact on my thinking, informed my consulting actions and produced useful results. Some of the authors are well known in my profession and others are just emerging. I have only met seven of these writers, but I trust all of the ideas found in these books. As the saying goes, I stand on the shoulders of giants, or authors in this case. Here are the books that will make it into the carriage house and then on to Europe.

Bruce Springsteen makes the cut because…well, he’s the Boss.

  • Leadership Can Be Taught — Sharon Daloz Parks
  • The Practice of Adaptive Leadership — Ron Heifetz, Marty Linsky, Alexander Grashow
  • Case In Point — My Briefing Notes
  • Dynamics of Consulting — My Briefing Notes
  • The End of Leadership — Barbara Kellerman
  • Birth of the Chaordic Age — Dee Hock
  • Leadership — Keith Grint
  • Making Learning Whole — David Perkins
  • Mastery — George Leonard
  • Community — Peter Block
  • The Handbook for Teaching Leadership — Scott Snook & others
  • Field of Social Science — Kurt Lewin
  • Deep Work — Cal Newport
  • The Fifth Discipline FieldBook — Peter Senge, Art Kleiner, and others
  • Power and Love — Adam Kahane
  • Humble Inquiry — Edgar Schein
  • The Tao of Coaching — Max Landsberg
  • Humble Consulting — Edgar Schein
  • Flawless Consulting — Peter Block
  • Flawless Consulting Fieldbook — Peter Block and many others
  • The Art of Possibility — Ben & Rosamund Zander
  • Sitting In The Fire — Arnold Mindell
  • Email From The Soul — William Ayot
  • Factfulness — Hans Rosling
  • 23 Things They Don’t Teach You About Capitalism — Ha-Joon Chang
  • Dispatch — Michael Herr
  • The Art of Gathering — Priya Parker
  • Crossing The Unknown Sea — David Whyte
  • The Elephant and the Flea — Charles Handy
  • Process Consulting — Edgar Schein
  • Rules for Revolutionaries — Guy Kawasaki
  • Beautiful Evidence — Edward Tufte
  • The Creative Habit — Twyla Tharp
  • Moneyball — Michael Lewis
  • Reframing Business — Richard Normann
  • 100 Selected Poems — E.E. Cummings
  • The Prophet — Kahlil Gibran
  • The Reflective Practitioner — Donald Schon
  • The Life We are Given — George Leonard and Michael Murphy
  • The Art of the Impossible — Vaclav Havel
  • Organizational Culture and Leadership — Edgar Schein
  • After the Fall — Arthur Miller
  • The Spirit of St. Andrews — Alister MacKenzie
  • A Brief History of Everything — Ken Wilber
  • Let Your Life Speak — Parker Palmer
  • Systems Thinking for Social Change — David Peter Stroh
  • Work, Death and Life Itself — Burkard Sievers
  • On Dialogue — David Bohm
  • Agent of Change — Richard Beckhard
  • Oxford Tutorial — David Palfreyman
  • Making a Leadership Change — Thomas North Gilmore
  • The Hero with A Thousand Faces — Joseph Campbell
  • The Heart Aroused — David Whyte
  • The Workplace Within — Larry Hirschhorn
  • The Answer to How is Yes — Peter Block
  • When Things Fall Apart — Pema Chodron
  • Thinking In Systems — Donella Meadows
  • Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle — Stephen Jay Gould
  • Solving Tough Problems — Adam Kahane
  • The Philosophic Consultant — Peter Koestenbaum
  • Reinventing Organizations — Fredric Laloux
  • Draft #4 — John McPhee
  • A Long Walk To Freedom — Nelson Mandela
  • To The Castle and Back -Vaclav Havel
  • Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch — Many Scotsmen and Scotswomen
  • A Life of Picasso, Volume 1 — John Richard
  • A Day At elBulli — Ferran Adria
  • Born To Run — Bruce Springsteen




Executive coach and consultant focused on building adaptive leadership capacity to thrive in this disruptive world. I do wish I once rode in the Tour de France.

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Richard Torseth

Richard Torseth

Executive coach and consultant focused on building adaptive leadership capacity to thrive in this disruptive world. I do wish I once rode in the Tour de France.

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