8 Books That Will Change How You Work
In order of first biz book I read and liked to the most recent.
Getting to Yes
The first biz-related book I read. I learned early on that negotiating wasn’t just an art of cleverly persuading your counterpart to yield to your will, but instead it taught me the notion of doing your best to find a situation that benefits both sides of the fence. This book is also filled with tactics and lessons that give you a whole new perspective on what is really happening when a buyer and a seller meet.
The first startup book I read -almost a decade ago. It’s short but frank. The Dip sets a tone and map for what’s in store for you emotionally when creating a startup. I remember facing “a dip” or two along my startup journeys, this booked comforted me in knowing that the rollercoaster ride was just part of the game.
Five Temptations of a CEO
This book was suggested to me. Unlike most business books that are bullet point lessons and biographies, this one is written as a conversation between as CEO and a stranger on the subway. It has helped me more than once find my way back to center.
Made to Stick
Fantastic book for those of us that didn’t come from a marketing background. (Though I’m sure it’s valuable to those that did too.) Often when I write letters, blogs, taglines or give presentations I use the lessons from this book to get a feel for whether or not it will “stick” with my audience.
By the time I read this book I had already learned many of its concepts through my own personal trial and error. Nevertheless it made my top-8 list because of how well it articulated those learnings. Reading this book is like sharpening your knives (or a getting a great first) knife set.
Stumbling on Happiness
Boy did I love this book. It was given to me by a good friend and probably the fastest book I ever read. Dan Gilbert combines psychology, philosophy, history, and science beautifully to give a candid and thought provoking look at what happiness really means. I find myself referring to the lessons in this book quite often, especially as I recognize just how terribly misleading our imaginations can be.
Ed Catmull mixes behind the scenes accounts of the birth of 3D graphics and animated movies with the wisdom and experience of a person who has taken a company from zero to billions. It is a real page turner, and for a book that teaches you about management principles and execution tactics, it’s a pretty impressive feat.
This book has reshaped how I think about relative pricing dynamics and behavioural economics at large. Much like freakonomics the author gives opinions around experiments that help prove the irrational nature of people’s decision making process. What I like more about this book than freakonomics is that it is directly applicable to selling your product more effectively.
Some other books of note:
Thinking fast and slow: A large dry read at times, but worth it. I learned a lot about how awesome and faulty the mind can be. I learned to be more cautious with my assumptions and when to embrace them.
Freakenomics: To see the world through the eyes of an economist is a gift. Thinking in terms of noise reduction, drawing data from samples and parallels and using statistics to prove how powerfully wrong our assumptions can be was thoroughly entertaining.
The tipping point: I didn’t fall in love with this book like others, but it deserves a read for its historical observations around businesses that have succeeded and failed, and the factors and people that contributed to them.
4 hour work week: I hold the lesson passed down in this book around work/life balance with me. I truly believe that we should be working to make “less work” and wearing that reduction as a badge of honor. (Instead of the current badge of “I work longer hours than you.”)
Hard things about hard things: A glimpse into the mind of an amazing entrepreneur that has dealt with tremendous ups and downs, and made it out alive. A great lesson in dealing with hard things up front, in the right ways, to secure a more successful path.
Quiet by Susan Cain: Improve how you work as, or with, introverts. A great book for those that work in an environment filled with both.
Hope you enjoy these suggestions and that you’ll gain value from them and as always, thanks for reading!