A posting at the knowledgeboard gives a list of 42 books that anyone starting in KM may find useful.
Well 42 is a little too many for starters, so here is my list of 5 and some rationale for the choices:
* Deep smarts
A new book (2005) from Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap (remember Wellsprings of Knowledge?) that looks at the nature of practical wisdom.
Experience-based competence takes time to acquire, is difficult to
transfer and is related to intuition, beliefs, tacit models and
awareness. This is very timely book as boomers leave the workforce in
* Communities of practice
Etienne Wenger's classic that sets the ground for understanding
social learning, reification, participation and domain. This book
delivers new insights with every reading. Deep, basic and timeless.
* Working knowledge
Davenport and Prusak's 1998, primer for the KM practitioner. This
covers the essential concepts of codification and personalization, the
role of people vs. technology and the value of knowledge to business.
* Enabling knowledge creation
My favorite book on people related KM. The power of community,
communication, conversation, content and context. Many savvy answers to
eternal problems of cultural change and making KM happen within
business. Do not pass this one by.
* Learning to fly
Collison & Parcell tell it like it is. A useful narrative of how
to do KM within a large company. Learning before, while and after is a
fundamental revisit of techniques for getting KM done. [Knowledge-at-work]