In the same way that ridesharing companies like Uber suffered during the pandemic, so did the coworking industry. The thought of sharing an office space with strangers wasn’t all that appealing during the pandemic, so this novel way of working faced a significant decline in popularity.
In 2005, the first official coworking space appeared in San Francisco. And it was Bradley Neuberg, a software engineer, who was behind it.
Neuberg is the creator of the word ‘coworking,’ which came from his desire to create an atmosphere where he felt he was an independent worker but had a similar structure and support system that a company has. Basically, it’s the perfect company culture.
The concept of coworking soon spread, becoming a national phenomenon that millions of independent and remote workers worldwide engage in. Today, there are dozens of coworking companies, franchises, and independent businesses running the coworking industry.
Many predict that demand for coworking spaces will rise (post-COVID), so there's never been a better time to learn more about coworking, join a coworking community, or start a coworking space yourself.
Here are 11 coworking books you should add to your reading list:
The Art of Community by Jono Bacon celebrates how leaders can build a solid online community through motivation, collaboration, and encouraging active participation.
Bacon’s book contains valuable content on creating an effective community strategy, fostering collaboration, encouraging participation, using social media to grow awareness, getting people together, governing a group, and hiring an effective community manager.
Bacon published the first edition of his book in 2009 and the second edition in 2012. Bacon’s second edition of The Art of Community expands on consistent persistence for a community’s goals, more social media effectiveness, and bringing people together.
Based on a review from Goodreads,
“The Art of Community is a good read, although it may be slightly too technical for those looking to start a community that is not software-based… Nonetheless, The Art of Community is still a good read and should be read by anyone thinking of starting a technical community.”
Published in 2021, the book, The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell, investigates the rapid rise and subsequent collapse of WeWork, a commercial leasing company that rents shared workspaces to start-ups, enterprises, entrepreneurs, and the like worldwide.
This book forces people to think about the future of coworking and causes readers to question the intentions of some of the world's coworking providers and operators.
According to Amazon, the New York Times reviewed the book and had this to say,
“A juicy guided tour through the highly leveraged, not-quite-rags-to-billion-dollar-parachute saga of WeWork and its co-founder Adam Neumann . . . Brown and Farrell show an agility for explaining key business dynamics. . . . It’s also very funny.”
If this book interests you, we suggest reading the review of the book, called Cubicle Messiah, that Anne Diebel wrote for The New York Review.
Diebel is a private investigator with QRI in New York City, and her Cubicle Messiah piece is meticulous and riveting. In it, she focuses on WeWork during its leadership by co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann and discrepancies found in the release of the company's S-1 financial statement.
Entrepreneurs, start-ups, and the likes experience failure when innovating a new product into the market because they waste valuable time, resources, and effort focusing on the wrong development.
Published in 2012, Running Lean by Ash Maurya tackles this issue by providing a systematic approach to evade common product/market failures. He explains that, through his experience with both tech and non-tech products, it takes multiple iterations to achieve a product fit.
Maurya is the creator of Lean Canvas, a free business template to outline principles, tactics, and plans for a new product.
On Goodreads, one reader wrote,
“A great handbook for entrepreneurs with a lot of practical ideas and tools, tips & tricks and a lot more. I would say it's a must-read if you are currently working on an idea and trying to get to the point of a Product/Market Fit.”
New York Times bestselling author David Allen published his first edition of Getting Things Done almost 19 years ago and rewrote it in 2015.
Allen’s book discusses achieving maximal productivity through methods of stress-free performance; he taught and introduced his breakthrough methods to thousands of individuals.
In Getting Things Done, you will learn his “do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it” rule. And you will also learn to re-analyze goals, work with ongoing situational changes, create plans, improve your management style, overcome feelings of confusion and anxiety, and, ultimately, realize that it’s okay that you can’t do everything. The
Allen engineered the ‘Getting Things Done’ methodology that’s helped millions leave their irrepressible way of life by integrating his advice into their journey.
A review by a reader on Goodreads wrote,
“I really like the book and its system. I'd recommend it to anyone who feels like they're not being productive enough or getting buried in work...”
Coworking by Angel Kwiatkowski and Beth Buczynski is a book written for coworkers by coworkers sharing tips for discovering and participating in the coworking community. The coworking community supports independent workers who want to network, share ideas, and work together.
Buczynski, co-author and coworking blogger, explains that the coworking community is “desperate for something better than the same old networking events and meetups. Coworking recognizes that freelancers can accomplish more through collaboration and gives them the solid platform they need to grow and succeed.”
Kwiatkowski is the “Madame” of Cohere in Fort Collins, Colorado, a mobile workforce that works at local coffee shops or anywhere with WIFI.
Coworking is a short read that introduces readers to a new way to work. The book contains 30 stories from participants embracing the coworking lifestyle.
One reviewer on Amazon said,
“I've been reading Coworking: How Freelancers Escape the Coffee Shop Office and umm...yeah, [it’s] freaking brilliant, and I'm ashamed I didn't read it sooner.”
Ramon Suarez draws from his experience in a coworking community in The Coworking Handbook to initiate successful coworking spaces for his readers. In addition, Suarez covers topics like marketing, finance, and legal aspects needed in coworking business plans.
The Coworking Handbook provides interested parties with templates to help individuals create a successful coworking space. One reader on Coworking Resources said, after reading the handbook,
“I seriously feel like I could open my own coworking space.”
Suarez’s expertise in the coworking sphere is evident as the founder of Betacowork Coworking Brussels, a coworking community with over 200 like-minded individuals. He is also president of the European Coworking Assembly.
The Coworking Handbook is a valuable resource for individuals wanting to open their own coworking space.
I’m Outta Here: How coworking is making the office obsolete by Drew Jones, Todd Sundsted, and Tony Bacigalupo is a book that celebrates the coworking movement that started back in 2005 and continues to gain popularity worldwide.
Published four years after the origin of coworking in San Francisco, it's one of the earlier coworking books that sets out to define coworking and how coworking completely transformed conventional norms in office work and working from home.
The authors cover the history of coworking, what to expect in a coworking space, and how companies have implemented similar coworking concepts in their offices.
I’m Outta Here is a great resource for understanding the coworking movement, and, based on a review on Goodreads,
“At times, the book may seem a bit unfinished, and some of the short chapters leave you wondering what the point was. But still, in the end, you will feel inspired and urged to try this yourself!”
Cal Newport published Deep Work in 2016. Deep Work is essentially a skill that teaches people to “focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task.”
Instead of condemning distraction, Newport celebrates it. His book is a valuable tool that provides four “rules” for success in your respective profession.
Deep Work received praise and recognition as Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller, Amazon Best Business Book for January 2016, and 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Week.
“I thought the book was extremely well written...And I thought Cal (the author) did a *fantastic* job of using stories to illustrate his points.”
Deep Work is an excellent guide for professionals that want to improve concentration, change their mindset about social media, and cultivate a strong work ethic.
Around the World in 250 Coworking Spaces by Pauline Roussel and Dimitar Inchev is an anecdotal collection of work from coworkers worldwide.
Released in January of 2021, the book contains 250 unique stories from people in the coworking community. Over the last five years, the authors traveled to over 48 cities, from Tokyo to New York, and visited 425 coworking spaces to understand why people got into coworking and how they found their coworking community.
Around the World in 250 Coworking Spaces is an influential book on coworking that is sure to inspire individuals worldwide—especially with the upsurge of remote workers.
One review on the book’s website said,
“I am sure that those privileged enough to be getting a chance to rethink their work practices...will take some inspiration from this trip in the shoes of two knowledgeable authors that put a lot of heart into this cause.”
Published in 2013, The Style of Coworking: Contemporary Shared Workspaces by Alice Davies and Kathryn Tollervey features a visual account of 30 coworking spaces worldwide.
The book celebrates the coworking movement by photographing the unique interior designs of coworking offices. Some of the featured spaces include Google Campus in London, several of The HUB’s sites, and Makeshift Society in San Francisco.
Meant to inspire people, The Style of Coworking provides a visual into the spaces of the coworking community.
One Amazon reviewer says,
“Sure, you can see every one of these spaces online. But this book captures the essence of the high style of many co-working environments. Having a copy of this book in our lobby helps folks who visit our co-working space understand how co-working differs from a traditional office environment. It's a little eye-candy that those of us who enjoy design will appreciate and get inspiration from.”
How to Build a Coworking Space Brand, published by Helga Moreno in 2020, is a how-to guide, by andcards, for coworking operators to brand, sell services, and attract members to their coworking space. Moreno’s book is a short yet informative read available on Amazon and Apple Books for free.
The book defines the importance of building a meaningful coworking brand in today’s market. In addition, Moreno emphasizes the importance of creating a unique member experience by developing innovative branded products.
"How to Build a Coworking Space Brand" book is an excellent copy, and I'll be straightforward, it is one of the very few of the 50+ "how-to" company guides that is straight-up informational and of true value, not just a marketing ploy. — Chris Kelly
The book is made for individuals in the coworking business and may help entrepreneurs in other industries build a brand.
While there are many definitions of coworking, it is broadly defined as independent workers or remote workers in various industries coming together to share ideas, collaborate, network, and succeed in their profession.
The coworking industry is extensive, with many established U.S. companies controlling the coworking market. If you’re interested in learning more about the major coworking companies, then read more here.
Or, if you’re thinking about starting your own coworking space, here is a helpful guide.
With corporate leaders and large companies adopting similar coworking strategies and tactics, coworking continues to redefine itself. The future of coworking is ever-changing, so who knows what it will look like in a few decades.
Maybe, more companies will have coworking models implemented in their workspaces. Or, perhaps, with the pandemic prompting people to work at home, business leaders will think of new ways to operate, like creating various local spaces in which their workers can collaborate and cowork.
These 11 coworking books contain a little something for everyone, so we hope that at least one or two of them piqued your interest.
The article was written by Yash Chawlani, a digital marketing consultant based in India. He is the founder of Marveta, a result-oriented digital marketing agency. He specializes in SEO & Content Marketing and helps various B2B & SaaS companies out there with his top-notch marketing strategies. You can get in touch with him via LinkedIn.