When aviator Ben Kohlmann set out to build a culture of nonconformity in the U.S. Navy, he found inspiration in many sources. This blog post includes a sampling of the items he recommends to people who want to think more creatively, along with his comment on how they’ve influences. This information is sourced from the article, How to Build a Culture of Originality from the March 2016 issue Harvard Business Review (HBR) magazine.
“Lead like the Great Conductors” – TED Talk by Itay Talgam – Much can be learned from professions we have no understanding of. People are people- and recognizing the commonalities is useful.
“How Great Leaders Inspire Action” – TED Talk by Simon Sinek – Sinek cracks the code of influence: Deep-seated desire is what inspires followers and builds movements.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – This novel illustrates how tactical and strategic teams can be adaptable- and how genius can emerge at a young age. It’s especially apropos reading in the military, where we promote on seniority and not merit.
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz – We’re wrong a lot, and yet we almost never admit it. Schulz helped me critically evaluate my own biases and better understand how people view and portray themselves.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz – Horowitz doesn’t merely talk about how to lead; he’s actually lived it. And who doesn’t love a guy who starts his chapters with rap lyrics?
The (Mis)behavior of Markets by Benoit Mandelbrot – Mandelbrot is the father of fractal theory, and his insight into how that plays into the stock market transformed Kohlmann’s understanding of luck’s role in managerial successes and failures.
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram – Kohlmann says when he read this book in college, he realized that, “those who don’t toe the party line often have the most impact.”
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck – Dweck argues that intelligence is not fixed. Kohlmann says his world opened up once he discovered that we can grow into what we want to be.
Letters to a Young Contrarian by Christopher Hitchens – Kohlmann says, “I’m a person of fait, but I appreciate the way Hitchens incisively questions everything, even faith. I’ve used his methods many a time to develop contrarian positions and win debates.”
Sherlock (BCC Series) – Each episode is pure fun–but yields lots of learning at the same time.