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Business books for your reading list

November 26, 2012

book covers

Books are an important part of my life. I have managed to cram them into my busy schedule, with an audiobook on standby every time I drive anywhere. (Currently listening to “Beyond Band of Brothers.”)

I also have a few books on my phone to read in bed or in waiting areas. (Currently reading “The Happiness Trap.”) This is in addition to the numerous articles I read or scan on any given day.

I am driven to learn, to take in and analyze information and to hone my writing.

Five books have shaped my thinking when it comes to business and communication. They aren’t necessarily my Top 5, but they do make marvelous conversations starters. (Note: All book links are affiliate links.)

“Crucial Conversations,” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler: I am overdue for a refresher in “Crucial Conversations,” a book and a course I took 5 years ago. Conversations take place every day, but turn crucial when stakes become important. This book helps me to recognize when interaction has shut down and how to get it back on track. It takes constant practice, but makes for better listeners and communicators. [Amazon | iTunes]

“Delivering Happiness,” by Tony Hsieh: Zappos sells more shoes than any other company, online or offline, but it considers its main product to be customer service. I might even buy my first pair from the site this week. And yet, neither of those reasons is why I’m recommending this book. The question I wrestle with from founder Tony Hsieh’s autobiography is whether hiring to a company’s culture and values makes it more successful in the long run. Read and discuss. [Amazon | iTunes]

“The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss: I have put Tim Ferriss’ crazy ideas to the test over and over. The current experiment is Project Bulk, whether I can add muscles and pounds to my thin frame, based on his second book “4-Hour Body.” But I’m going to re-read the latest edition of “The 4-Hour Weekweek” to find the best way to approach my business in 2013. In the challenge to be more productive, he dares the reader to focus on what truly brings results. [Amazon | iTunes]

“Getting Things Done,” by David Allen: I like to think of “The 4-Hour Workweek” and “Getting Things Done” as the yin and yang of productivity. David Allen has one of the best systems for managing workflow. But I’ve fallen off the GTD wagon a couple of times, because I find it challenging to do in daily life. You might find it to be the key to unlocking mastery over your schedule … or a ticket to madness. [AmazoniTunes]

“Good to Great,” by Jim Collins: The methodology alone impressed me. Jim Collins and his team of researchers looked at hundreds of companies to find what consistently made them super-successful. Backed with hard data and solid analysis, “Good to Great” shows why many companies are merely good, but the the truly great ones discard the restrictive tendencies that allow them to settle for merely good. Would that any of us work in a great company at least once in our lifetimes … [Amazon | iTunes]

I hope you’ll find a way to wedge at least one of these books into your busy schedules. Many of you will be getting a new tablet from Santa, so you’ll need something good to read on these empty devices. Or maybe you just need a memorable gift for a friend, colleague or family member.

Happy reading!

What business books would you recommend to me?
Let me know your picks in the comments.

Need more to read? Take a look at #sundayread, a weekly suggestion box of books and links from Twitter fans.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark permalink
    November 26, 2012 10:43 am

    I’m a big fan of “Getting Things Done,” and, like you, find it nearly impossible to practice Allen’s strict disciplines — however, there is much to be learned from his ideas.

    I also find Seth Godin’s books useful. They are useful reads and designed to be consumed quickly and more than once.

    • November 29, 2012 10:45 pm

      I’ve read a couple of Godin’s books, but they don’t stick in my brain.

      Thanks for your comment, Mark!


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