Books!

I’m often asked for book recommendations …

So here are two good ones – reasonably priced, theoretically sound, practical and easy to read.

If you are new-ish to KM or have never had any formal training, you might enjoy “Knowledge Management: A Practical Guide for Librarians” by Jennifer Bartlett and if you are more experienced, or a senior leader, try “Critical Knowledge Transfer” by Dorothy Leonard.


Bartlett’s “A Practical Guide …” is a great straightforward introduction to KM. It’s written for librarians, but I imagine lots of people will find it useful.

The book is divided into 2 parts: with KM background, theory and frameworks in Part 1 and more detailed, practical implementation ideas around the knowledge cycle in Part 2.

Each chapter is clearly set out, with plenty of bullet points and diagrams and has a nice “key points” summary and reference list at the end.


Critical Knowledge Transfer is another practical book full of tools and examples but aimed at senior leaders.

Written by Dorothy Leonard, who has been William J. Abernathy Professor of Business Administration Emerita at Harvard Business School for nearly 20 years, it is based on original research, numerous interviews with top managers, and has a wide range of corporate examples.

Critical Knowledge Transfer provides a variety of practical options for identifying your organisation’s deep smarts and transferring that intelligence from experts to successors. In particular, it can help managers to understand, in practical terms, how to:

  • Identify the deep smarts essential to their business.
  • Develop a programme using proven techniques to transfer knowledge when its loss is imminent
  • Identify and implement long-term knowledge transfer apprenticeships
  • Set up individual learning plans for successors
  • Assess the success of their knowledge transfer initiatives

Have you read either of these? What did you think?

Which books would you recommend to new and experienced KMers?

About knowledge4lawyers

I am a lawyer and a Knowledge Management expert. Through The Knowledge Business I help law firms improve their efficiency and profitability through knowledge services - consultancy, training and implementation help.
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