Reading Recommendations

People that know me well know that I do a lot of reading.  I firmly believe that the relentless pursuit of wisdom is key to the development of any business professional.

Admittedly, I read a lot of books that are not all that good and some that are just ok.  But, sometimes, I come across a book that really speaks to me and excites me to share with others.

Below are the books that make that list.  There are no books on this list that I don’t feel as though I could not clearly and confidently explain the value propositions of its lessons and philosophies.

If you choose to read one of these books, please let me know what you think of it.  Feedback is both helpful and very much appreciated!

Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership

Jesus CEO - Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership BookThe author, the owner of a marketing, advertising, and business development firm, examines the life of Jesus and gleans from it useful advice for leaders of businesses and other formal organizations. She observes that Jesus was particularly strong in three areas: self-mastery, action, and relationships. Using each of these strengths as a title for a section in the book, she reflects on various aspects of his life and teachings.

Although some Christians might be surprised by some of her theological interpretations, e.g., one chapter is titled “He Kept in Constant Contact with his Boss,” others will find this book a novel approach to the old problem of making Christian teachings relevant to modern organizational life.

A similar but non-religious approach to encouraging humane leadership is Keshavan Nair’s A Higher Standard of Leadership: Lessons from the Life of Gandhi(LJ 12/1/84). Recommended for public libraries.  – Andrea C. Dragon, Coll. of St. Elizabeth, Convent Station, N.J.

Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.  

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Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life

2008 Retailer’s Choice Award winner!Quiet Strength Tony Dungy Book

Tony Dungy’s words and example have intrigued millions of people, particularly following his victory in Super Bowl XLI, the first for an African American coach. How is it possible for a coach―especially a football coach―to win the respect of his players and lead them to the Super Bowl without the screaming histrionics, the profanities, and the demand that the sport come before anything else? How is it possible for anyone to be successful without compromising faith and family? In this inspiring and reflective memoir, now updated with a new chapter, Coach Dungy tells the story of a life lived for God and family―and challenges us all to redefine our ideas of what it means to succeed.

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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with Why BookWhy are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty?

In studying the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world, Simon Sinek discovered that they all think, act, and communicate in the exact same way-and it’s the complete opposite of what everyone else does. People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers might have little in common, but they all started with why.

Drawing on a wide range of real-life stories, Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire.

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EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches

From New YEntreLeadership Dave Ramsey Bookork Times bestselling author and nationally syndicated talk radio host Dave Ramsey comes the secret to how he grew a multimillion dollar company from a card table in his living room.

Your company is only as strong as your leaders. These are the men and women doing battle daily beneath the banner that is your brand. Are they courageous or indecisive? Are they serving a motivated team or managing employees? Are they valued?

Your team will never grow beyond you, so here’s another question to consider. Are you growing? 

Whether you’re sitting at the CEO’s desk, the middle manager’s cubicle, or a card table in your living-room-based startup, EntreLeadership provides the practical, step-by-step guidance to grow your business where you want it to go. Dave opens up his championship playbook for business to show you how to:

• Inspire your team to take ownership and love what they do
• Unify your team and get rid of all gossip
• Handle money to set your business up for success
• Reach every goal you set
• And much, much more!

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Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People

Great Topgrading Bookcompanies don’t just depend on strategies — they depend on people. The more great people on your team, the more successful your organization will be. But that’s easier said than done. Statistically, half of all employment decisions result in a mis-hire: The wrong person winds up in the wrong job. But companies that have followed Bradford Smart’s advice in Topgrading have boosted their successful hiring rate to 90 percent or better, giving them an unbeatable competitive advantage.

Now Smart has fully revised his 1999 management classic to reintroduce the topgrading concept, which works for companies large and small in any industry. The author spells out his practical approach to finding and managing A-level talent—as well as coaching B players to turn them into A players. He provides intriguing case studies drawn from more than four thousand in-depth interviews.

As Smart writes in his introduction, “All organizations, all businesses live or die mostly on their talent, and any manager who fails to topgrade is nuts, or a C player. . . . Those who, way deep down, would sooner see an organization die than nudge an incompetent person out of a job should not read this book… Topgrading is for A players and all those aspiring to be A players.”

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How to Win Friends & Influence People

How to Win Friends and Influence People BookFor more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.

Now this previously revised and updated bestseller is available in trade paperback for the first time to help you achieve your maximum potential throughout the next century!

You will learn:

  • Three fundamental techniques in handling people
  • The six ways to make people like you
  • The twelve ways to win people to you way of thinking
  • The nine ways to change people without arousing resentment
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Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

The Challenge:Good to Great Book
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study:
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards:
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons:
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness — why some companies make the leap and others don’t.

The Findings:
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

  • Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
  • The Hedgehog Concept: (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
  • A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, “fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

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Business By The Book: Complete Guide of Biblical Principles for the Workplace

Business By The BookWhat would happen if you made your business decisions by the book? By the Bible that is.

This updated version of the best-selling Business by the Book offers radical principles of business management that go beyond the Ten Commandments and other biblical maxims.

Business by the Book is a step-by-step presentation of how businesses should be run according to the Creator of all management rules: God.

Larry Burkett, founder and president of Christian Financial Concepts, provides business principles from his own experience as well as what God’s Word says on topics such as:

  • Hiring and Firing Decisions
  • Pay Increases and Promotions
  • Management Selection
  • Employee Pay Decisions
  • Borrowing and/or Lending Decisions
  • Forming Corporations and Partnerships
  • Business Tithing
  • Retirement

Whether you are the owner of a business, a corporate executive, or a manager, this best-selling classic is for you.

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The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

The E Myth Revisited BookIn this first new and totally revised edition of the 150,000-copy underground bestseller, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business.

He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise.

Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.

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Game Plan Selling: The Definitive Rulebook for Closing the Sale in the Age of the Well-Informed Prospect

Game Plan Selling BookIn today’s technology-saturated world, information is cheap. The Internet has changed everything for prospects–not to mention for the salespeople who hope to win their business. Prospects no longer need that big sales pitch touting all the features and benefits of a product. What’s more, they have come to resent old-school selling techniques.

As Marc explains in Game Plan Selling, winning the business of well-informed prospects is very similar to winning in sports. Consistent success–both in sales and on the field–requires a distinct strategy, a repeatable process and a clear plan to execute with commitment and passion. In this highly practical book, you will learn how to:

  • Separate yourself from the competition;
  • Use a simple system to close sales more quickly and with greater frequency; and
  • Create a personal selling plan to virtually guarantee success.

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The Trusted Advisor BookThe Trusted Advisor

This is a guide to professional success. In the modern world of business, it’s all about the ability to earn the client’s trust and thereby win the ability to influence them. In these high risk times, trust is more valuable than gold. This detailed resource book provides readers with the five crucial steps they need for developing, managing and improving client confidence.

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Freakonomics – A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side Of Everything

Freakonomics BookThe New York Times best-selling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling over four million copies in thirty-five languages and changing the way we look at the world. Now, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with SuperFreakonomics, and fans and newcomers alike will find that the freakquel is even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first.

Four years in the making, SuperFreakonomics asks not only the tough questions, but the unexpected ones: What’s more dangerous, driving drunk or walking drunk? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it’s so ineffective? Can a sex change boost your salary?

SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as:

  • How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?
  • Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands?
  • How much good do car seats do?
  • What’s the best way to catch a terrorist?
  • Did TV cause a rise in crime?
  • What do hurricanes, heart attacks, and highway deaths have in common?
  • Are people hard-wired for altruism or selfishness? Can eating kangaroo save the planet?
  • Which adds more value: a pimp or a Realtor?

Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else, whether investigating a solution to global warming or explaining why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically. By examining how people respond to incentives, they show the world for what it really is – good, bad, ugly, and, in the final analysis, super freaky. Freakonomics has been imitated many times over – but only now, with SuperFreakonomics, has it met its match.

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