If we were only allowed to choose one fundamental principle for changing to an agile approach to working, it would be the acceptance that you are no longer commanding and controlling your way to world domination with your one big hairy idea, instead working in short cycles of experimentation and failure, learning your way incrementally to the top.
We’ve done a few reading lists on Luna Tractor before, on specific topics mostly – like this one on learning about agile and lean in as few a number of books as possible. Now it’s time to look at a longer list — perhaps a two year program of reading for you to ingest, depending on your reading speed.
It was that last thought that got us debating the economic value of formal education. We have a young friend angsting over which of two fine, world-class universities (Stanford or London School of Economics, lucky bugger!) he should invest his life savings studying at — and he has concluded that the bottom line is it’s not so much what you learn, but who you hang out with. WTF? Turns out you’re actually buying a stream of future job opportunities, thus the skill improvement is merely the price you pay to be part of the job club. This distorts things a bit.
If you were serious about real learning, you’d do what Mike Lee (the world’s best-dressed and toughest developer) did – follow the very old-fashioned path of finding the best person in the world at your chosen craft, and apprentice to them for a minimum wage for a while. The wages sacrificed from your current learning-free, lazy-assed salaryman life would be about the same as the cost of a good MBA I suspect. And no doubt you get the career path thrown in for free.
So here is the list, the path to a Luna MBA, in no particular order, but biased by our own world-views and what we’ve read and found useful. Read at least one of these a month, get your hands dirty in a job that is doing something meaningful, and help us build a better world.