My mother was a librarian.
That’s the “excuse” that I often give when my clients and other people in my circle accuse me of overloading them in the book recommendation department.
To be fair, I do attempt to limit the “required reading” by recommending chapters or pages or even, as with Pat Lencioni’s books, just the appendix – although his business fables are entertaining and well-written. But usually there’s at least one or two that I insist that they read most of the way through – or listen to, for those with attention deficit 🙂 (over 30% of entrepreneurs have ADD) or if they’re in the car a lot.
This year, however, I’m recommending five – four is a “matched” set actually – great if you’re struggling with some of your primary “life” relationships.
No matter if you’re working on ramping up your marketing tactics and strategy this year OR working to become a more effective communicator OR just a better leader or even parent, there’s something for everyone on this list. Each has an important message for business leaders trying to excel and more importantly, each has very practical advice and tools/ suggestions that can be applied to help you to have a more productive and satisfying life.
1) Scaling Up by Verne Harnish – Otherwise known as “Rock Habits 2.0” by long-time fans but definitely the definitive book on how to run and grow and scale a small or mid-market business. It’s been over a decade since Verne wrote “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” and since that time he’s added tons of new Intellectual Property to his original work, including the Four Decisions™ for growth and the Seven Strata of Strategy.
Reading Tips: Start with the Overview Chapter to figure out where to go first for the challenges you’re facing. My favorites right now? Chapter 3 which describes the fundamentals of creating a solid Leadership team and Chapter 7 on Strategy and how to put in place a framework to dominate your industry.
2) How Google Works by Eric Schmidt and Jonathon Rosenberg – Required reading for my CEO Think Tank™ members this year, this is one of the first business books in a long time that has not only proved to be insightful but I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed and laughed out loud at more than one passage. (The story in the introduction on page 2 about Eric Schmidt’s quest to find office space is a very funny look into the company that’s changing the face of the globe and how we live.)
Reading Tips: If you’re struggling with communicating effectively (Chapter 5) OR wondering how to handle the email deluge (page 189 ) or just want to learn how to create a strong culture that will attract the right talent (Chapter 1) this is definitely a “must read.”
3) The Curve Ahead: Discovering the Path to Unlimited Growth by Dave Power – Not just for companies who are looking to find the next “S Curve” but for anyone who knows that innovation and listening to your customers is critical to your success,Dave not only tells an entertaining business fable (watch out Pat Lencioni) but also gives a number of practical tips and techniques to help you stay ahead of the competition.
Reading Tips: I’ve been recommending Chapter 3 “Get More Coverage” to companies who are working on tightening up their marketing programs and make them real and measurable lead generators as well as Chapter 6 “Why the Customer Experience is your new IP” for leaders who are looking to stay ahead of the competition.
4) The Male Brain and The Female Brain by Louann Brizandine, M.D. – published in 2010 and 2007 respectively, (the women came first J) – these books (especially the “male” one since I’ve got two teenage boys) are short, easy to read and extremely enlightening. Written by a pioneering neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Brizandine brings together the latest neuro-research findings to help explain how the each sex is wired and why we behave the way that we do, as well as the changes that occur throughout our lifecycles. As the mother of two teenage boys, they’ve given me a much needed “sanity check”.
Reading Tips: Turn to the Chapter that describes whatever “life stage” you or your “difficult relationship” is in OR just buy the audio and listen while you drive or exercise!
5) Business Brilliant: Surprising Lessons from the Greatest Self-Made Business Icons by Lewis Schiff – Lewis explores some of the most famous success stories in America along with an extensive original study of 400 self-made millionaire households and delivers a roadmap to wealth creation that works in today’s American economy. HINT: It’s synergy, not serendipity, that produces success.
Reading Tips: Attend our Growth Summit and hear it straight from the source! Plus you’ll get a copy of the book, meet great business people and hear the results from our 9th Annual Survey.
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With over 30 years of experience, Cheryl Beth partners with small and mid-market CEO’s and C-level executives to create more valuable and sustainable companies. She has led strategic change initiatives, provided business advisory and coaching services to hundreds of small and mid-market companies and focused on providing a return on investment to every CEO with whom she has worked. Questions about how you can scale your business? Connect with Cheryl Beth on LinkedIn and drop her a message, she’s happy to offer some guidance.