10 Must Read Books
This is a good time to pick up a book, a delicate economy and strong competition.
We recommend that you read one book a month. This list is updated every month. Follow us on twitter, Facebook, & LinkedIn for continuous updates and summaries. All books are available on Amazon.com for less than $20 a book.
The One Minute Manager
For more than twenty years, millions of managers in Fortune 500 companies and small businesses nationwide have followed The One Minute Manager‘s techniques, thus increasing their productivity, job satisfaction, and personal prosperity. These very real results were achieved through learning the management techniques that spell profitability for the organization and its employees.
The One Minute Manager is a concise, easily read story that reveals three very practical secrets: One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands. The audio also presents several studies in medicine and the behavioral sciences that clearly explain why these apparently simple methods work so well with so many people. By the audio’s end you will know how to apply them to your own situation and enjoy the benefits.
That’s why The One Minute Manager has continued to appear on business bestseller lists for more than two decades, and has become an international sensation
The Little Red Book of Selling
If salespeople are worried about how to sell, Gitomer believes they are missing out on the more important aspect of sales: why people buy. This, he says, is “all that matters,” and his latest book aims to demystify buying principles for salespeople. From the red cloth cover to the small trim size to the amusing (but not cloying) cartoons on almost every page, this is an appealing and accessible book. The author is obviously enthusiastic, if not manic, about sales, and though some of his mantras verge on hokey, much of his prose is straightforward and realistic. Each chapter includes a mini table of contents, pull quotes and takeaway sound bites, examples of typical whines from salespeople (e.g., “the client said they spent their whole budget”) paired with a positive response (e.g., “Decision makers make the budget. Non-decision makers spend the budget”), and plenty of advice and ideas that can be taken in and studied as a whole or referred to at random for inspiration.
The Five Temptations of a CEO
Imagine running into the ultimate management mentor late one night on an otherwise deserted commuter train, and walking away from the strange encounter with an encapsulated guide to success in the corporate world. That’s exactly what screenwriter and business coach Patrick Lencioni has done in The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable, placing his tale in an easy-reading and thought- provoking kind of self-help novel.
Designed to be read in a single sitting, this book uses the unexpected meeting between troubled high-tech honcho Andrew O’Brien and a mysterious old man named Charlie to explore a series of common traps that can unwittingly ensnare any hard-driven executive. Lencioni hones in on the five “temptations” of the workplace: desires to jealously guard career status, consistently remain popular with subordinates, unfailingly make correct decisions, constantly strive for an atmosphere of total harmony, and always appear invulnerable. A discussion of the story’s events and their real-world implications follows, as Lencioni shifts from screenwriter mode to business coach to help answer some of the questions he raises.
Death By Meeting
The business meeting—a necessary evil or a vital and invigorating component of running an organization? According to management consultant Lencioni (The Five Temptations of a CEO), meetings should fit the latter description, but more often than not, he says, they don’t. In this lackluster audio fable, Lencioni offers practical advice on how to revitalize your business by energizing your business meetings, but his pallid, passive prose would challenge the most skilled narrator, and Arthur is no exception. The voice Arthur lends Will, the young hero of this tale, resembles that of Sesame Street’s Ernie on downers, and the various inflections he gives business owner Casey McDaniel and his management team don’t make up for the characters’ lack of character. Nevertheless, Lencioni’s message comes across loud and clear—meetings should be interactive, not passive, and they should be structured (i.e., issues of immediate importance should be discussed in “weekly tactical” meetings, and issues that will fundamentally affect the business should be addressed in “monthly strategic” meetings). Although managers will find this advice worthwhile, they would gather just as much if they skipped the sluggish fable and listened to the last few tracks.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
This grandfather of all people-skills books was first published in 1937. It was an overnight hit, eventually selling 15 million copies. How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as useful today as it was when it was first published, because Dale Carnegie had an understanding of human nature that will never be outdated. Financial success, Carnegie believed, is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” He teaches these skills through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated. He also emphasizes fundamental techniques for handling people without making them feel manipulated. Carnegie says you can make someone want to do what you want them to by seeing the situation from the other person’s point of view and “arousing in the other person an eager want.” You learn how to make people like you, win people over to your way of thinking, and change people without causing offense or arousing resentment. For instance, “let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers,” and “talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.” Carnegie illustrates his points with anecdotes of historical figures, leaders of the business world, and everyday folks.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Powerful Lessons in Personal Change was a groundbreaker when it was first published in 1990, and it continues to be a business bestseller with more than 10 million copies sold. Stephen Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority, realizes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness, so this book is a manual for performing better in both arenas. His anecdotes are as frequently from family situations as from business challenges. Before you can adopt the seven habits, you’ll need to accomplish what Covey calls a “paradigm shift”–a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your “proactive muscles” (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more. This isn’t a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you’ll want to study this book, not skim it. When you finish, you’ll probably have Post-it notes or hand-written annotations in every chapter, and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a powerful seminar by Covey.
How to Grow When Markets Don’t
In this shrewdly titled volume for today’s tough economy, global strategy consultants Slywotsky (The Art of Profitability) and Wise analyze companies in mature markets that have managed to achieve significant growth without venturing outside their industry, manipulating their financial statements or acquiring dot-coms. Their chief insight is that established companies with experience in their field have, aside from their core business, a wealth of hidden assets-customer contacts, technical expertise, efficient business models-that they can exploit to grow new businesses. Take John Deere, which studied the growth in home ownership (and consequently in the residential landscaping market) and decided to graft its trusted brand name and expertise in agricultural equipment onto a significant growth market. Clarke American took an apparently waning business-check printing-and morphed it into a customer services firm for large banks. By building on intangible assets like brand recognition, knowledge of the customer and distribution channels, these companies transformed themselves into growth centers for new products and services. The authors gloss over many of the problems that hamper blue chip companies seeking growth, however-e.g., market attrition, declining cash flow, recalcitrant middle managers and stodgy tradition-and fail to note that many of the corporations they cite here fall into current growth industries like personal banking, health care and home ownership. Nevertheless, the book does take an imaginative look at the possibilities open to mature companies looking to rejuvenate themselves.
Pro Active Sales Management
One of Selling Power’s Ten Best Books to Read in 2010: “ProActive ProActive Sales Management shares effective sales management concepts that include all vital subjects, such as hiring, coaching, goal setting, sales strategy, sales process, compensation, effective reporting, and integrating the best technology to build a highly successful sales organization.”
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
Five years ago, Jim Collins asked the question, “Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?” In Good to Great Collins, the author of Built to Last, concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11–including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo–and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn’t require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner. Peppered with dozens of stories and examples from the great and not so great, the book offers a well-reasoned road map to excellence that any organization would do well to consider. Like Built to Last, Good to Great is one of those books that managers and CEOs will be reading and rereading for years to come.