Results: The Best Personal Development Books of the Nineties
In 1991, the Library of Congress surveyed more than 2,000 readers and crafted a list that it grandly called "25 books that have shaped readers' lives." The list included many of the usual suspects: The Bible, of course. "Don Quixote." "The Catcher in the Rye." But there at the bottom, lodged alphabetically between "War and Peace" and "The Wizard of Oz," was a business book -- the only such book on the list, and the only volume, fiction or nonfiction, whose title poses a question: "What Color Is Your Parachute?" It wasn't mentioned once by our participants even though a large contingency were professional coaches.
Roberta read somewhere else that 70% of Americans never read another non fiction book after finishing their formal education. We don't know if this is a fact or fiction but the response to our survey has been encouraging. About 25% of those we solicited responded.
The survey ran from the first of August 1999 through the month and into the first week of September. Our thanks to those who participated.
118 individuals participated in our survey and made recommendations for 217 different books. Three quarters of the participants submitted their responses via our e-mail request. Consequently, about two thirds of the respondents come from a background or interest in Organizational Development, Managing Change, Coaching, the MBTI and the Enneagram. Perhaps that is why The Fifth Discipline showed up as the number two book that had an impact on individuals.
At least three different books of the following authors were mentioned: Deepak Chopra, Peter Block, Stephen R. Covey and M. Scott Peck. In total, they garnered 43 of the 321 votes or 13%.
Roberta would like to send thanks to the following three friends: Dorothy - otherwise Peter Drucker would not have been mentioned. Carol - otherwise Warren Bennis would not have been mentioned. Keith - otherwise Charles Handy would not have been mentioned. Doug - otherwise Geoffrey Bellman would not have been mentioned. (Well actually, Handy's The Age of Unreason and Bellman's The Consultants Calling were two of my four. Yes I decided to pick four.)
Only one of my choices was not recommended by someone else. It is James Gleick's CHAOS - Making a New Science. Although published in 1988, I read it in early 1990 or 1991. It took me forever to get through it and what a sense of accomplishment when I finished. It really helped me when I read the excellent book on our list: Leadership and the New Science by Margaret Wheatley.
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