This is the bookshelf at the Wikimedia Foundation's office in San Francisco

This is the bookshelf at the Wikimedia Foundation's office in San Francisco (1)

If you want to write for Wikipedia

Wikipedia: The Missing Manual, by John Broughton

How Wikipedia Works: And How You Can Be a Part of It, by Phoebe Ayers, Charles Matthews and Ben Yates

If you want to understand why Wikipedia matters

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age and Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, by Clay Shirky

Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia, by Joseph Reagle

About leadership and organizational culture

The Abilene Paradox and Other Meditations on Management, by Jerry B. Harvey Very useful parables on management. Includes a great story about Captain Kohei Asoh, a Japan Airlines pilot who in 1968 landed a DC-8 in the San Francisco Bay and afterwards famously told investigators that he had just “fucked up” – an admission Harvey popularized as the Asoh defense, and used to celebrate the importance of truth-telling, mistake-revealing, and mistake-forgiving.

Organizational Culture and Leadership, by Edgar Schein Back in 1966, Edgar Schein invented the phrase corporate culture. This is the definitive guide to understanding and managing the culture of an organization.

Parkinson’s Law and other Studies in Administration, by C. Northcote Parkinson From 1957, Parkinson’s Law is best-known for the essay “High Finance or the Point of Vanishing Interest,” AKA the bikeshed essay. In 1999 Poul-Henning Kamp famously said on a FreeBSD mailing list that “I wish we could reduce the amount of noise in our lists and I wish we could let people build a bike shed every so often, and I don’t really care what colour they paint it.

Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams and Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency, by Tom DeMarco

Authentic Conversations: Moving from Manipulation to Truth and Commitment, by Jamie Showkeir and Maren Showkeir, with a foreword by Margaret J. Wheatley


A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, by Christopher Alexander

High Conflict People in Legal Disputes, by William A. Eddy

Books About Quakers [2]

Beyond Majority Rule: Voteless Decisions in the Society of Friends, Michael J. Sheeran

The Governance Handbook for Friends Schools, Irene McHenry and Ginny Christensen

Decisions by Consensus: A Study of the Quaker Method, Glenn Bartoo

Beyond Dilemmas: Quakers Look at Life, S.B. Laughlin

The Quaker Meeting For Business, Douglas Steere

Before Business Begins: Notes for Recording Clerks, William Braasch Watson

Handbook for the Presiding Clerk, David Stanfield

Clearness Committees and their Use in Personal Discernment, Jan Hoffman

Creative Listening: Quaker Dialogue, Claremont Monthly Meeting

Dealing with Difficult Behavior in a Meeting for Worship: Meeting The Needs Of The Many While Responding To The Needs Of The Few, the Ministry and Nurture Committee of Friends General Conference

Fostering Vital Friends Meetings: A Handbook For Working With Quaker Meetings, Jan Greene and Marty Walton

[1] Photograph taken by James T. Owen using a Nexus One at the Wikimedia Foundation office in San Francisco, November 16 2010. CC-BY-SA; it’s also here. I added it to this page to placate Gerard Meijssen, a great Wikimedian who I believe is making fun of me in this post. In case you’re curious, it was Daniel Phelps who categorized the books under the Dewey Decimal system. I did the same once with my home library, so I was both charmed and horrified to watch that happen.

[2] I’m not a Quaker; I just find their consensus decisionmaking practices interesting.