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Project Design Books – Ten of the Best

The thing that I am most proud of around Project Passion is that it was fuelled by Book Rapper. Yep, re-reading my own material provided the insight I needed. It’s a neat reminder for me about the value of great books and the RAPs as a quick reference guide. Thus, this list of Project Design books.

TIP: What can you learn by re-visiting some of the things you’ve created previously? At the least, you might just remind yourself of the value you can offer. And, it might just spark something new…

Project Design Books

These are the ten books and RAPs that Project Passion is based upon. These are our top ten Project Design books.

Our criteria for selecting these Project Design books was simple: which ones made the biggest impact on the design of Project Passion?

Project Design Books - Our Top Ten

1 Switch

Switch by Chip and Dan Heath – rapped as Sticky Change

This book was the key driver behind the program and provides the metaphor of the Elephant and the Rider. My big ‘aha’ moment… The reason most projects fail is because of a lack of motivation. It’s the emotional elephant that lets us down. From this came the key shift from Project Planning, which only focuses on the ‘what’ to Project Design, which includes the ‘why’ and the ‘how’.

2 Three Laws of Performance

The Three Laws of Performance by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan – rapped as Frog Power.

This book offers the key to the ‘why’ framework through the principle of the Default or Almost Certain Future. If we keep going as we are where will we finish up? This is a compelling question that if you sit with for just long enough can offer explosive motivation to move you forward in new ways.

3 Essentialism

Essentialism by Greg McKeown – rapped with The One Thing by Gary Keller as Focus

This diagram probably sums up this book. What are you focusing on? Or more likely, how many different things are you trying and failing to focus on?

Essentialism - The Power of Focus

4 Succeed

Succeed by Heidi Grant Halvorson – rapped as Victory

This book provides the powerful idea that we often fail to achieve our goals because we choose the wrong TYPE of goal. The classic example is an outer goal versus an inner goal. We need an inner goal and some intrinsic motivation to keep us moving when things get tough.

5 Drive

Drive by Daniel Pink – rapped as The Motivated Organisation

This book provides further supports to our previous comment on intrinsic motivation and the need for autonomy, mastery and purpose.

6 The Lean Startup

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – rapped as Pioneer

This classic book provides two powerful ideas… The first is some guidance on choosing the right measures. This is crucial to help you focus on what causes your desired results. The second is the concept of testing and the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – how can you test your idea in the fastest and easiest way?

7 Iconoclast

Iconoclast by Gregory Bern – rapped as Eye Create

This book points to the three roadblocks that are most likely to derail your project: One, our perception and the need to see the world differently to innovate; two, the courage to conquer our fear and explore new territory; and three, the social skills we need to enrol others in our project idea.

8 How Will You Measure Your Life?

How Will You Measure Your Life? By Clayton Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon – rapped as CEO of Your Life

This book points to several important things. Firstly, Emergent Strategy: When should you stick to your original plan and when should you jump ship? Secondly, investment: we need to override the tendency to favour short term thinking over long-term results. Thirdly, capabilities: we need to manage resources, processes and priorities.

9 The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – rapped as Automatic Success

This book zeroes on how to take the right action at the right time more often with less effort. That’s a powerful possibility! When you think about a project as a creator of change, if we want to create fresh results then we need to develop fresh habits.

10 Influencer

Influencer by Grenny, Patterson, Maxfiled, McMillan and Switzler – rapped as Influence

This book highlights the importance of the environment in shaping your actions. What situational tweaks do you need to make to enhance your project attention? For instance, what do you need to measure? What structure could you add to your daily schedule? How can you make progress more visible?

More Project Design Books?

Are there any Project Design books that we missed and should be on this list? Let us know in a comment below.

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