DI picks the best books to prepare you for 2002.

As we begin thinking about the year ahead, I’ve had some phone calls from clients and friends about updating my recommended reading list, so, here goes. These books are all guaranteed to help you with fresh thoughts on a more productive and satisfying 2002.

  • Leading For Innovation by Frances Hesselbein Marshall Goldsmith and Iain Somerville. Published by Jossey-Bass, Peter Drucker has authored another winner. He defines innovation as “change that creates a new dimension of performance.” Leaders create environments, give people the tools, and set the expectation to make innovation part of daily work. In this book, 27 remarkable thought leaders share their insights. You will savor the examples in this book and it will help you create better relationships with your clients.

  • The Art of Innovationby Tom Kelley. Published by Doubleday, Tom Kelley tells us how his firm actually brings forward innovation and creativity in their powerful environment. IDEO is one of the powerful design firms today and they have some formulas for creativity that is directly applicable to all design professionals and all in the A/E/C industry. You will love this book.

  • Interior Design: Handbook of Professional Practice. Edited by Cindy Coleman; Published by McGraw Hill. This book presents sensible new information and is indispensable to the libraries of all design firms. You’ll especially enjoy the chapters on “Growing a Profession” “Intelligent Interiors and Information Technology.” This is more than a reference book—it is an inspiration.

  • Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller. Published by Bantam. This book may save your life. There is indeed more to life than making everything faster and this book makes the best case for work/life balance that we have seen. Muller teaches us how we can better use time to refresh our minds, restore our creativity, and regain balance. Innovation and true productivity requires rest and renewal. This book delivers several on target recipes.

  • The Visionary’s Handbook, Nine Paradoxes That Will Shape the Future of Your Business by Watts Wacker and Jim Taylor. Published by Harper Business. The authors of the 500-Year Delta have delivered a wonderful little volume that will help design management leaders think about the future. More strategic than most books on the future, this book delves into new understandings, and the self-awareness you need to lay claim to your future. Our friend, Wacker, talks about paradoxes and contradictions in ways that give us new handles—and less confusion. This book is highly original.

  • The World Ahead: Our Future in the Making by Federico Mayor with Jerome Binde. Published by UNESCO Publishing. Wow!This book should be at or near the top of any leader’s reading list, especially for those interested in safety, security, and terrorism. Well written and with insightful ideas, this book is worth the work that it takes to digest. It’s a breakthrough for design firm client planning and a must-read for future leaders.

  • 4-D Branding: Cracking the Corporate Code of the Network Economy by Thomas Gad. Publisher is Financial Times/Prentice Hall. Great brands touch people and design firms must strive to have great brands. A thought provoking work for those of us working in futures invention and strategic planning, there is a wealth of timely, relevant examples. You won’t forget the stories in this book.

—James P. Cramer