Five Books For Change
Last December, I was standing on a bridge crossing the Clyde River n Glasgow which was completely shrouded in fog. I stopped a moment to record a short video to Bill and Melinda Gates, and asked them for their recommendation of five books to help make change happen.
Maybe you saw this video if you were following my journey. It was the day after I had run the eighth leg of the 10 City Bridge Run that concluded in January this year where I ran across 10 cities as a stunt to open a conversation about improving child survival.
The video is below, and while I have forwarded it through social media, I don’t now that I have exhausted every avenue to pass the message to Bill and Melinda Gates. And even if it did reach their gatekeepers, there is no guarantee that they would see it personally, or even have the time to respond.
Well, I haven’t given up on them, and will keep looking for ways to send this “message in a bottle” to them.
In the meantime, I made my own list of Five Books For Change that have most influenced my thinking as I worked through the 10 City Bridge Run epic quest ahead of a series of Design Forums to ask “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?”
And here is the list, and in no particular order. They are all great books!
- Glimmer: how design can transform your business, your life, and maybe even the world, Warren Berger, Random House Nosiness Books, 2009
- Reframe: how to solve the world’s trickiest problems, Eric Knight, Black Inc, 2012
- On Becoming An Artist: reinventing yourself through mindful creativity, Ellen J. Langer, Ballantine Books, 2005
- The End Of Poverty: how we can make it happen in our lifetime, Jeffrey Sachs (forward by Bono), Penguin Books, 2005
- The Imaginations Of Unreasonable Men: inspiration, vision, and purpose in the quest to end malaria, Bill Shore, Public Affairs, 2010
There were other books as well that I had to cut from the list. I asked Bill and Melinda Gates for five books, and so I limited myself to five books too.
You might have a different opinion, or some other books that I didn’t consider. I hope you do, and I hope you might share them here too! Write a review of your favourite book for making change happen as it relates to improving the delivery of child survival, and I’ll add it here on the blog (you write the blog and I can post it without editing it).
As for getting in touch with Bill and Melinda, well I’m sill trying. You can help by forwarding this blog, and the video message to the Gates’ is shown below. Personally, I like the list I have already, but this journey is about building a conversation and sharing how we see the world, so it would be nice to know how they think and what they would recommend we read!
We want your photo!
Not just any photo. We are collecting photos on the theme of a ‘human bridge’ for a book that has been a while in the making called Life Bridge: The Importance of Connection.
Feeling creative? Please join us on this journey by submitting a photo of your human bridge.
There are two quotes which frame an ‘artistic brief’ for this project drawing inspiration from Bill Shore’s inspirational 2010 book: “The Imaginations of Unreasonable Men”.
The first quote is written by Bill Shore himself where he describes “the imagination gap: a narrow but vitally important space between the impractical and impossible.” He writes:
The imagination gap is a place where hope lies waiting to be discovered, and cannot be extinguished once it has. Most failures in life are not failures of resources, or organisation, or strategy or discipline. They are failures of imagination.
The second quote is taken from a graduation speech by Ophelia Dahl (cofounder of Partners in Health and daughter of renowned children’s book author Roald Dahl) when she quoted Adam Hochschild who earlier wrote about the importance of “drawing connections between the near and the distant”:
Linking our own lives and fates with those we can’t see will, I believe, be the key to a decent and shared future… Imagination will allow you to make the link between the near of your lives with the distant others and will lead us to realise the plethora of connections between us and the rest of the world… and this will surely lead to ways in which you can influence others and perhaps improve the world along the way.
The compilation of this book funds the 10 City Bridge Run which is a citizen led initiative that asks a simple, but important, question: “how might we use our networks to improve child survival?” The image of a ‘human bridge’ helps to illustrate this question.
So please, help us out and send us a photo of your human bridge. It won’t be the same without you!