When I’m running a stand at a trade show people frequent ask which of my books they should buy.

Of course, the answer depends on what they’re looking for!

All of my books can be found here, and below, I give an idea of the contents and style of each, and an idea of who might benefit from them,  to help you find one that meets your needs.


Books on Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry for Change Management

This is the second edition of the first book I wrote with two other excellent authors, Jonathon Passmore, who has since become a leading writer on coaching, and Stephan Cantore, also with many further publications to his name.

 Pulling our experience together, we aimed to produce a book that catered for both the complete beginner and the more experienced appreciative inquiry practitioner.

 Features and content of the book include

  • A clear explanation of the organization as a living human system, contrasting with the commonly held view of the organization as a machine
  • Locating appreciative inquiry as a dialogic or conversation-based intervention
  • A clear explanation of ‘how to do’ appreciative inquiry based on the original 5D model
  • An explanation of working with questions
  • An explanation of working with story
  • Detailed information about appreciative coaching
  • Guidance to putting it all into practice
  • Chapter length case-studies


Who is it for?

As well as providing guidance on practice it explores the relevant theory that supports the practice, facilitating the development of deeper skills, making it a good choice for the more reflective practitioner who wants to start, or develop greater depth of understanding, of appreciative inquiry practice.

If you are looking for a solid introduction to appreciative inquiry that goes beyond the 5D model, this could be the book for you.


Forthcoming 2024: Practical Appreciative Inquiry

This forthcoming book is my attempt to share my hard won experience of how to bring an appreciative inquiry approach to many different situations.

It will consist of two parts. The first will explain the model, its history and its theoretical location. It will also explore the evidence base and critiques.

The second part will consist of a series of chapters that demonstrate how appreciative inquiry can be applied to different areas of workplace challenge.

Features and content of the book will include

  • Clear account of the development of appreciative inquiry explaining how it relates to other disciplines such as dialogic organisational development
  • Presentation of the evidence base for, and the critiques of, appreciative inquiry
  • Clear explanation of the 5D model, the principles of practice, and key theoretical concepts such as narrative and sensemaking
  • How appreciative inquiry helps with sychological safety and equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Guidance on how to create a commission
  • A series of chapters on the application of appreciative inquiry to
    • Leadership
    • Resilience
    • Project management
    • Innovation and creativity
    • Silo busting
    • Performance
    • Teams
    • Virtual and hybrid working
    • Evaluation
    • Planned change
    • Health and wellbeing
with case studies to illustrate.
  • Templates and illustrative material for practitioner use
  • A deconstructed case study to explore the application of appreciative inquiry in each of the topic chapters


Who is it for?

The heart of this book is aimed at appreciative inquiry practitioners looking for guidance on how to extend their practice ability to many challenges of organisational life.

It is designed to be an easy read, with footnotes rather than in-text references. However, it is sufficiently well-referenced that it should also be useful to students and academics.

If you are keen to put appreciative inquiry at the heart of your practice and are interested in how it connects to current topics of organisational interest such as psychological safety, equality, diversity and inclusion and remote working, this could be the book for you.


Books on Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology at Work

I wrote this in a state of excitement as positive psychology burst on to the organisational development scene, effectively instead of a Ph.D. It is about the research coming through at that point and what it might mean for organisational actors.

Features and content of the book include

  • A thorough explanation of what positive psychology is and isn’t
  • The ethical basis for organisational development practice
  • An account of the organization as a complex adaptive system
  • An account of the key research in positive psychology relevant to
    • Workplaces
    • Engagement and performance
    • Communication and decision-making
    • Leadership and change
    • Sustainable organisational growth
    • Relationship at work
    • Organisational transformation
  • Cartoons!
  • Many examples of practice contributed by many different international colleagues
  • Stories to illustrate concepts
  • Illustrative diagrams and short notes


Who is it for?

This book was first published over 10 years ago, which makes it sound ancient! But I happened to hit the moment when the exploration of positive psychology in the workplace was bursting with exciting ideas, research and findings. These early years produced many of the key concepts that still underpin our understanding of positive psychology at work: high quality connections, positive energy networks, flourishing organizations, psychological capital, authentic leadership and so on. All are explained in this book.

It is well referenced so is suitable for students as well as practitioners.

If you want to understand the key ideas and research from positive psychology relevant to the workplace, and how they can be applied to common workplace situations, this could be the book for you.


Positive Psychology and Change

I wrote this book to bring together four key practice methodologies that I use to save other practitioners having to buy or refer to different books for each methodology.

Features and content of the book include

  • A recognition of the persistence of Tayloristic thinking (and practice) about organizations, change and leadership
  • An account of the features of the new leadership needed for a VUCA world
  • The planned change experience in organizations, and how to help people remain engaged and pro-active
  • A different approach to change at the organisational level
  • A different approach to change at the team and individual level
  • How-to chapters on
    • Appreciative Inquiry
    • World Café
    • Open Space
    • Simureal
all covering process, purpose, recommended use, key ideas, critical success factors, key skills and the origin of the methodology
  • Cartoons
  • Short stories or case studies to illuminate points


Who is it for?

This book is clearly aimed at practitioners interested in working with large groups using large group methodologies. In addition to explaining four of these, it provides the underpinning theory. The book is referenced in a standard academic manner.

If you love working with large groups and want to learn more about both practice and theory of large group working, this could be the book for you.


Positive Psychology in Business

This is a collection of articles written mostly over a two-year period, focussing on putting theory into practice.

Features and content of the book include

  • Very short articles
  • Footnotes only for key research
  • Big emphasis on the ‘so what’ of positive psychology ideas and research
  • Big on ideas of how to put positive psychology into practice
  • Very eclectic range of articles
  • Lots of ‘top tips’, ‘Five ways to,’ and ‘Seven steps to’ type articles
  • Broadly speaking, the contents cover
    • Basic ideas,
    • The change challenge
    • Leadership,
    • Performance management,
    • Groups and teams,
    • Emotions at work
    • Developing skills


Who is it for?

This book is for people with short attention spans, busy managers, ‘dippers’ and people who don’t like reading books.

If you like your information in action-oriented bite-sized chunks just when you need it, this could be the book for you.


Book on Large Group Work

Co-Creating Planning Teams for Dialogic OD. 

Note - this book is shortly to be re-issued re-titled as Creating Energised Commitment to the Dialogic Approach: the Change Team’s Journey of Discovery. The contents remain the same.

Features and content of the book include

  • How to spot a challenge appropriate to a dialogic intervention
  • How to create a commission sympathetic to a dialogic way of working
  • Guidance on creating an internal team to work with as you design the intervention
  • Key things to think about when preparing to run a dialogic event
  • Clarity on counter-indications to a dialogic intervention
  • Working with sponsors and leaders
  • An extended case study illuminating all points


Who is it for

This book is written for organisational development practitioners looking for help and support with the challenge of introducing the idea of tackling the organisational challenge in a dialogic way to organizations unfamiliar with this way of working.

If you are keen to undertake a dialogic organisational intervention, such as an appreciative inquiry, and could use some help in how to get started, this could be the book for you

Sarah Jane Lewis