Facilitation Books

Here’s a short list of books and other resources that I have read and enjoyed to help me along with facilitating groups

Core Professional Facilitation Books

The Skilled Facilitator Roger Schwarz – This and its companion The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook are really the bible for me as far as how to arrange and do facilitation end to end.  

Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision Making  Sam Kaner. This is quite a classic – and you will definitely identify with the ‘Groan Zone’.  This is the second bible for me.

The Art of Focussed Conversation: 100 Ways to Access Group Wisdom in the Workplace – A nifty book on the O.R.I.D. model – Objective, Reflective, Interpretive, and Decisional. It was developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) in Canada and involves a facilitator asking people four levels of questioning with each level building on previous levels. It’s based on the theory that people need to be cognisant of the actual data and deal with their emotional responses to the topic in order to undertake better analysis and decision-making.

Open Space Facilitation – Owen Harrison – Open Space gatherings are the ultimate in powerful, self-organizing meetings, yet there is preparation involved by the sponsoring parties and the invitation.  

Six Thinking Hats Edward de Bono – this is a wonderful introduction to lateral thinking. What are the different ways of thinking that each person can contribute; six hats is a method for facilitating.  

Books with focus on techniques, games, and practical matters

From Contempt to Curiosity – Caitlin Walker 

Visual Meetings – David Sibbet

Facilitating with Ease! Core Skills for Facilitators, Team Leaders, Members, Managers, Consultants and Trainers, Ingrid Bens

Gamestorming: Dave Gray, Sunnie Brown, James Macanufo

Innovation Games Luke Hohman

Thought provoking books on Learning in Organizations/Groups

More Time to Think Nancy Kline  This is a gem if you just want to uncover the power of listening and its effect on the ability for people to think, and develop solutions, independently and in groups.

Discussing the Undiscussable  William Noonan builds on the work of Chris Argyris, known for double-loop learning theories. 

Local Faciliator’s Group for my DC area friends

Mid-Atlantic Facilitator’s Network – excellent very active group that hosts webinars and in person morning long seminars and workshops. I’ve been a member and board member for over 1 year.  You can join as a remote member and enjoy free interactive members all year long.

For your iPhone and/or other mobile device (if available as Android)

Links and apps I have on my iPhone for quick reference (in a Facilitation folder) are listed below:


Group Works

A3 Thinker

Liberating Structures


Fun Retrospectives



One Comment on “Facilitation Books”

  1. Dear Andrea … I do agree with a number of the books you’ve listed here as many of them are on in my personal library. And without sounding too much the self promoter, I do hope that you’ll seek out and read my latest book found at http://www.ebookit.com/books/0000004227/Facilitating-Genius-Illuminating-Brilliance-in-Your-Organization.html … If you like it, please write a review -or- perhaps update your list after adding my title. If you don’t think it measures up, then let’s chat. Looking forward to seeing you at a future MAFN event … John Lesko


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