Open Book

READ TO GROW

Learning does not end when you graduate!

I read and listen to about 25 books each year and if I had time I would read even more. Each book has a purpose, whether it is learning about other company's successes and failures or learning how to better coach a subset of our organization. 

I try to take at least one or two learnings from each book and quickly put them into action. Below are some recommendations of books I have found helpful.

For brief reviews of my recent reads, click here

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Leadership CAN be learned and is a journey that never ends for any of us

Improve Your Leadership Skills

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Multipliers

Liz Wiseman

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Influencer

Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzer

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Grit

Angela

Duckworth

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How to Win Friends & Influence People

Dale Carnegie

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Dare to Lead

 

Brene Brown

Improving the culture of your organization requires strategic planning - some great ideas in these books

Create a Progressive Culture

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Lean In

Sheryl Sandberg

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Crucial Conversations

Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzer

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Quiet

Susan Cain

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Drive

Daniel H. Pink

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The Culture

Code

 

Daniel Coyle

If you want to make big waves, you need to connect and sell your ideas to others, these books can help!

We are All Salespeople

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Building a StoryBrand

Donald Miller

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Hyper Sales Growth

Jack Daly

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To Sell is

Human

Daniel H. Pink

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Sales Management.

Simplified.

Mike Weinberg

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Never Eat

Alone

Keith Ferrazzi

Learning is good, converting to a consistent habit is so much better - great tips in here to help maintain growth

Sustain Better Habits

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Atomic Habits

James Clear

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High Performance Habits

Brendon Burchard

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7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen R. Covey

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The Power

of Habit

Charles Duhigg

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Smarter

Faster Better

Charles Duhigg

Some great concepts to help jump the creative juices and do so at warp speed to beat your competitors

Innovation, Speed, Creativity

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Scrum

Jeff Sutherland

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Inside the Box

Drew Boyd & 

Jacob Goldenberg

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The Lean Startup

Eric Ries

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Originals

Adam Grant

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Outside In

Harley Manning &

Kerry Bodine

Specific topics, depending on your situation, but all valuable lessons with pragmatic advice

Practical Leadership Skills

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The First

90 Days

Michael Watkins

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Millennials &

Management

Lee Caraher

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The Carrot

Principle

Adrian Gostick &

Chester Elton

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Measure

What Matters

John Doerr

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The Toyota

Way

Jeffrey K. Liker

Books that significantly increased my respect and appreciation of the leaders included

Inspiring Leaders

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American Icon

Bryce G. Hoffman

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The Snowball

Warren Buffett &

the Business Life

 

Alice Schroeder

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Sam Walton

Made in America

My Story

Sam Walton with

John Huey

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The Ride of

a Lifetime

Robert Iger

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Shoe Dog

Phil Knight

Every leader here has done something spectacular to learn from.....sometimes it is good to know what not to do

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

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Super Pumped

The Battle

for Uber

Mike Isaac

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Alibaba

The House that

Jack Ma Built

Duncan Clark

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Steve Jobs

Walter Isaacson

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The Everything Store

Jeff Bezos & the

Age of Amazon

Brad Stone

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Elon Musk

Ashlee Vance

These books can you help think through different aspects of the CEO or similar roles

Be a Better CEO

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The CEO Tightrope

Joel Trammel

Great CEO's

are Lazy

Jim Schleckser

Trillion Dollar Coach

Schmidt,

Rosenberg,

Eagle

The Outsiders

William N.

Thorndike

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The Motive

Patrick

Lencioni

These authors take everyday situations and tackle them from unique angles that can change our thinking!

A Little Deeper Thinking

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Thinking, Fast

and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

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When

Daniel H. Pink

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The Tipping 

Point

Malcolm Gladwell

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12 Rules

for Life

Jordan B. Petterson

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Algorithms to 

Live By

Brian Christian &

Tom Griffiths

RECENT READS

 
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Never a More Important Time to Learn to Re-Think

My Synopsis:

My favorite Adam Grant book so far. The author does an excellent job highlighting the traps we fall into that cause us to gets stuck in ruts in how we think and approach problems. Surrounding ourselves with similar thinking people, becoming preachy or political and even being intelligent on specific topics are all common traps that limit our ability to reshape our thought process. Adam illustrates, as always, with relevant and entertaining stories and builds several pragmatic solutions to pull ourselves out of the rut. An excellent read from cover to cover. 

My Leadership Take Aways:

  • Self Awareness is key. Pause and challenge yourself if you are being "all-knowing". Are you really listening to those around you?

  • Surround yourself with people that are brave enough to challenge you and create a culture where that is the norm

  • Building and practicing these skills will flow over to your workmates and possibly more importantly to your children (great tips in here on that!)

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My Rating

★★★★★

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Critical Leadership Messaging Skills

My Synopsis:

This book teaches some invaluable lessons in how to develop and deliver a message that will the have the desired impact on your audience. The authors (brothers) dissect the elements of multiple famous and lesser known messages that have had an outsized impact on their target recipients and explain in a step-by-step way how to build your own message. While the book became a little too "lecture" like at times, it was broken up with very interesting anecdotes and workshop explainers that were very helpful to translate to everyday leadership situations.

My Leadership Take Aways:

  • Beware of the "Curse of Knowledge", don't assume everyone is tracking with you. 

  • Use Stories that are illustrative and memorable to get your point across

  • Start with an unexpected statement to catch people's attention. Tie this "hook" into the message you are portraying. Preparation and forethought are key. 

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My Rating

★★★★☆

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Must Read for Beauty Industry

My Synopsis:

The most valuable section was early in the book, when Mr. Lauder described how his mother began the company, her personal drive and passion. The description of the then, unique techniques she used to promote her products are still relevant in today's Beauty world. Mr. Lauder clearly had a huge contribution to the growth of the company, however I would have liked more detail on his decision process on acquisitions and how he kept the "sibling" brands collaborating together. There was also a lot of repetition of stories and concepts throughout the book that could have been avoided. All that said, if you work in the Beauty Industry, it is an essential read to help understand how brands have evolved over the years and the consistent approaches that drive value for consumers.

My Leadership Take Aways:

  • If you can't beat your competition straight up, come at the challenge from a new angle 

  • Personalized hand-written letters from senior leaders go a long way in building loyalty

  • Acquiring leading edge brands when your organization becomes too "rigid" is a key way to stay relevant and on trend

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My Rating

★★★☆☆

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Eye Opening & Brutally Honest

My Synopsis:

Very well written with just the right level of details summarizing the formation & rise of FB.  Balanced in his criticism of the negative societal impacts the platform has had (consistent with the "Social Dilemma" documentary on Netflix (also excellent). Provides a balanced assessment of Zuckerberg's leadership from the highlights of his singular vision and determination, to the lowlights of his handling of the various crises his company found itself embroiled in.

My Leadership Take Aways:

  • Spend time early in an organization's formation on creating and communicating values

  • Listen carefully to the conscience of your own organization....they are rarely very wrong

  • Iterate on ideas and projects quickly...be ok with failure and fast corrections (like the book Scrum teaches you....FB lives this concept with "move fast and break things")

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My Rating

★★★★☆

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Insightful & Pragmatic

My Synopsis:

Probably intended to help introverts navigate this increasingly extrovert-focused world that has evolved, I actually believe this book is at least as helpful for extroverted leaders. Tackles everything from our interactions, our relationships and how we should/could design work place settings and schedules.  I was engrossed from start to finish and have already begun implementing some of the lessons learned in my personal and professional environments.

 

My Leadership Take Aways:

  • Diversity training on introversion & extroversion could be helpful to any organization

  • One size certainly does not fit all and forcing extroverted expectations on an introvert can be counter productive ("Everyone Wants to be Great"...came to mind a lot while reading!)

  • Flexibility is key. Allowing everyone, and particularly those in creative roles, to select the time and place they work best could be an effective way to get the most out of your team

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My Rating

★★★★★