Whether just starting out or a seasoned veteran, we can all learn from the many different perspectives that exist in the library of humanity. The below list of books have not only helped me grow in a career and business context, but have also helped me navigate and understand our human history and helped me find purpose and remind me how important lifelong learning is.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Many books have been written that cite Stephen Covey’s classic book on effectiveness and for good reason. This book lays the foundation that other authors build on. Our success as individuals, teams and humanity in general is built on these core principles including being proactive, begin with the end in mind, putting first things first and others. It’s massive popularity is warranted as it has been lauded by Presidents, CEO’s and leaders across the world. If there is a starting point in this list of books, this is the first to read.
Good to Great
Good to Great is one of the best books about how to do something special with your business. Basic principles such as they ‘flywheel’ and ‘get the right people on the bus’ seem like straightforward business concepts, but Jim Collins and his team back it up with data and real world examples of what sets apart the ‘good’ companies from the ‘great’ ones.
Before we can be effective, we have to know what we are good at. Strengths Finder analyzes people on 34 key themes that provide insight into our strengths (what comes natural) and our weaknesses. After the short read and taking the assessment I have a much better understanding of my strengths and how I can apply them and work with others more effectively.
An in-depth operating system for second stage businesses, Traction lays out a fantastic game plan to build accountability, efficiency and scalability into your business. The book takes you through 6 key components that will substantially impact the success of your business: Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, Traction. Good read in any event, but built specifically for second stage. A great follow-up to Traction, Get a Grip provides an excellent example of what a business going through a Traction a Implementation looks like. The book follows a software services company as it navigates some of the challenges of burnout, hitting the ceiling and trying to pull the pieces together. Mike Paton and Gino Wickman do a great job of helping you understand how to implement traction into your business.
The One Minute Manager
A short and effective read, The One Minute Manager lays out a very hands-on and practical way to inspire, discipline and engage people. Based on behavioral science the book illustrates real world scenarios and examples of how to handle each in the most effective manner.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie has a way of humanizing situations and articulating ideas in a way that connects with people. This book will help you understand how to do the same. This book flows with ideas and examples on how to make people understand you, appreciate your position and buy into ‘you’ and your ideas.
Understand what motivates people in why in this excellent book by Daniel Pink. You will be surprised by what works and what has the opposite effect. Based in the behavioral sciences the book illustrates the three elements of effective motivation: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
Mans Search for Meaning
An amazing look into the human condition and our capacity to survive and adapt, Viktor Frankl writes of his time in Nazi Concentration camps. In a theory differing from Freudian focus on pleasure, Frankl’s theory known as Logotherapy holds that our drive in life is the discovery and pursuit of what we each find meaningful.
Start with Why
What is your why? Why does your business exist? What is your story? These questions are easy to ask and hard to answer. The great company mentioned above will ensure that everyone in the organization answers the company’s ‘why’ the same way without hesitation.
Getting to Yes
Negotiation is a critical component in any business. Getting to Yes not only educates on how to get someone to see your point of view, but also how to see the other side’s point of view. A key takeaway is to get both sides sitting on the same side of the