Business Books to Watch in August
August 01, 2016
These are the books we're keeping our eyes on in August.
These are some of the books we have our eyes on in August, in order of their release date.
Wicked Strategies: How Companies Conquer Complexity and Confound Competitors by John C. Camillus, Rotman-UTP Publishing
Wicked Strategies offers a comprehensive framework for identifying, responding to and profiting from wicked problems.
In business, some problems are so complex, intractable and threatening to organizations—or entire industries—that they are best described as “wicked.” These problems appear to be unsolvable and they render traditional analytical tools of strategy virtually impotent.
John C. Camillus, drawing on detailed, real-life examples from companies across the globe, has skillfully woven together the analytical techniques, processes and organizational designs that will enable managers to navigate a disruptive marketplace. His feed-forward framework for fashioning wicked strategies empowers firms to presciently transform their business models before they are made obsolete by the competition. Wicked Strategies is a practical and evocative guide that demonstrates how business leaders can profitably capitalize on unknowable futures.
The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don't be Stupid, Don't be a Jerk by David Cottrell, Wiley
How to achieve extraordinary results with class.
How can you improve your leadership results beginning right now? The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don't be Stupid, Don't be a Jerk provides a clear path to increased results and higher job satisfaction for the leader and the people he is leading. Written for the leader who wants to do great things, but is overwhelmed with the complexities of leading, it is a book with a very simple message: think your decisions through and take care of your team.
Written by bestselling author David Cottrell, The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don't be Stupid, Don't be a Jerk offers tried-and-true leadership strategies that stand the test of time—all of which you can put into practice today to positive results. The principles discussed apply to businesses in every industry, as well as schools, hospitals, churches, and even homes. By following the two rules outlined in the book's title, you'll improve morale, decrease turnover, increase your own job satisfaction, and have a whole lot more fun leading.
- Lead with confidence and class
- Make better decisions and develop synchronization on your team
- Coach smart, deal with poor performers, and focus on what's really important
- Listen to your team, encourage positive performance, and attack complacency
You can lead your team to achieve extraordinary results! The First Two Rules of Leadership: Don't be Stupid, Don't be a Jerk gives you the expert tips and tricks you need to treat your team with dignity and respect—so you can all enjoy the benefits of winning with class.
Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best by Srinivas Rao, Portfolio
Seth Godin taught us to be “remarkable” in Purple Cow, and Guy Kawasaki stressed “enchanting” in Enchantment. Now Srinivas Rao explains the power of “unmistakable”—creating work that no one can replicate, thereby eliminating your competition.
After getting rejected from many business schools and fired from several sales jobs, Srinivas Rao decided to stop doing what he thought he was supposed to do and start working in a way that felt honest. He launched the Unmistakable Creative Podcast to interview some of the greatest minds in business—including Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, Pam Slim, Elle Luna, and Ryan Holiday—finding a surprisingly big audience. This book distills the lessons, anecdotes, and insights of the 500+ people he has interviewed.
Unmistakable art needs no signature. As soon as it’s in front of you, you know exactly who created it, like Banksy’s street art or Tim Burton’s films. Whether you’re a business owner, artist, or anything in between, when your work is unmistakable, your competition becomes irrelevant. They can’t copy you.
The key to being unmistakable is to stop trying to be the best—because that would mean you’re sticking to plans and rules that have already been set for you, choosing what’s safe and reliable. Rao argues that your most meaningful, impactful, and joyful work exists outside the “being the best” mindset, if you can strip away the expectations and pressure that you’ve internalized—to lead you to be the only.
Parachuting Cats into Borneo: And Other Lessons from the Change Café by Axel Klimek, Alan AtKisson, Chelsea Green Publishing
A toolkit of proven strategies and practices for building capacity and creating transformation
Recent years have seen a proliferation of information on how to make change—in business, in social and environmental movements, and on a more personal scale. But, even with all this attention, two out of three change efforts fail to achieve their desired result. How can you make your own effort buck this trend?
In Parachuting Cats into Borneo, change-management experts Axel Klimek and Alan AtKisson offer crisp, concise, and targeted advice for success. They expose the most significant impediments—helping readers recognize their habitual patterns of thinking and perceiving a situation, critique their own beliefs regarding change, and then move beyond these unhelpful patterns using improved systems thinking.
Named after a classic tale of unintended consequences, Parachuting Cats into Borneo delivers tools that help leaders and others keep their change initiatives on track. The advice imparted will help you move away from agonizing over immediate problems toward stoking action, identifying collaborators, focusing at the right level for your cause, and aiding others in pursuing their change.
Klimek and AtKisson draw from their decades of helping corporations, networks, governments, and NGOs reach their change goals to demonstrate how to use system-based change tools to their maximum advantage. A closing section is devoted to change making in the realm of sustainability, where complexity abounds but the right tools, used well, can help us tackle some of the most significant challenges of our time.
Recounting his three years in Korea, the highest-ranking non-Korean executive at Hyundai sheds light on a business culture very few Western journalists ever experience in this revealing, moving, and hilarious memoir
Seoul Man: A Memoir of Cars, Culture, Crisis, and Unexpected Hilarity Inside a Korean Corporate Titan by Frank Ahrens, HarperBusiness
Recounting his three years in Korea, the highest-ranking non-Korean executive at Hyundai sheds light on a business culture very few Western journalists ever experience in this revealing, moving, and hilarious memoir.
When Frank Ahrens, a middle-aged bachelor and eighteen-year veteran at the Washington Post, fell in love with a diplomat, his life changed dramatically. Following his new bride to her first appointment in Seoul, South Korea, Frank traded the newsroom for a corporate suite, becoming director of global communications at Hyundai Motors. In a land whose population is ninety-seven percent Korean, he was one of fewer than ten non-Koreans in a company of 5,000 employees.
For the next three years, Frank traveled to auto shows and press conferences around the world, pitching Hyundai to former colleagues while trying to navigate cultural differences at home and at work. While his appreciation for absurdity enabled him to laugh his way through many awkward encounters, his job began to take a toll on his marriage and family. Eventually, he became a vice president—the highest-ranking non-Korean in the history of Hyundai—but at an untenable price.
Filled with unique insights and told in his engaging, humorous voice, Seoul Man sheds light on a culture few Westerns know, and is a delightfully funny and heartwarming adventure for anyone who has ever felt like a fish out of water—all of us.
Stop Spending, Start Managing: Strategies to Transform Wasteful Habits by Tanya Menon & Leigh Thompson, Harvard Business Review Press
Stop Wasting Precious Time and Money.
You have a complex problem at work, and you know the standard solutions: hire a consultant, enlist a superstar employee, have more meetings about it. In short, spend money and hours to dig your way out. But you’ve been down this road before—the so-called solution consumes your time, dollars, and resources, and yet the problem still reappears.
There is a way out of this cycle. Organizational researchers Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson, experts in collaboration and creativity, identify five spending traps that lead to this wasteful “action without traction”:
- The Expertise Trap: recycling old solutions on current problems
- The Winner’s Trap: investing additional resources into failing projects
- The Agreement Trap: avoiding conflict to feel like a team player
- The Communication Trap: communicating too frequently over too many channels
- The Macromanagement Trap: assuming your employees don’t need your direction
Menon and Thompson combine their own research with other findings in psychology to provide strategies to break these unproductive habits and refine your skills as a manager. From shaping problems in new ways and learning from failure through experimentation, to stimulating productive conflict and structuring coordinated conversations, you can escape these traps and discover the value hidden in your organization—without spending a dime.
Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big by Terri L. Sjodin, Portfolio
For those times when hard work and persistence just aren’t enough, Terri Sjodin offers an inspiring guide to getting scrappy and beating the odds.
Terri Sjodin loves scrappy people—those who beat the odds with a blend of cleverness and fighting spirit. People who see big problems and come up with big solutions. People like the clever Girl Scout who sold 117 boxes of cookies in two hours outside a medical marijuana dispensary, or the entrepreneur who turned his home into an indoor jungle to sell investors on the Rainforest Café Restaurant chain.
It can seem like these successes are just one-off acts of ingenuity or isolated flashes of brilliance. But today it takes more than just creativity, more than just persistence, more than just a dream to reach big goals—it takes a mindset and a strategy.
Sjodin explains the common elements behind every successful scrappy effort. Drawing on research, interviews, and her own personal experience, she identifies the practices that will help you develop the right mindset. She shares stories of scrappy tactics that have worked, and those that have crashed and burned, to help readers pursue their own vision.
Whether you’re a sales rep looking to close that big deal, a job-seeker trying to land your dream job, or a CEO who wants to reach the next level of success, the fastest way to get what you want is to get scrappy.
The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online by Mary Aiken, Spiegel & Grau
A groundbreaking exploration of the impact of technology on human behavior.
Mary Aiken is the world’s foremost expert in cyberpsychology—a discipline that combines psychology, criminology, and technology and investigates the intersection where technology and human behavior meet. In The Cyber Effect, the first book of its kind, Aiken explains how the simple act of going online changes our behavior in fundamental ways, from a lack of inhibition to amplifying the effects of certain choices, and how this plays out in both dramatic and subtle ways in the changing mores and values of our culture. Drawing on her research and extensive experience with law enforcement, Aiken covers a wide range of subjects from the impact of screens on babies to the explosion of teen sexting, and the acceleration of compulsive and addictive behaviors. She examines the escalation in cyberchondria (self-diagnosis online), cyberstalking, and organized cybercrime in the Deep Web. Aiken provides surprising statistics and incredible-but-true case studies of hidden trends that are shaping our culture and raising troubling questions about where the digital revolution is taking us.
Peace Through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development by Steven R. Koltai with Matthew Muspratt, Brookings Institution Press
Joblessness is the root cause of the global unrest threatening American security. Fostering entrepreneurship is the remedy.
The combined weight of American diplomacy and military power cannot end unrest and extremism in the Middle East and other troubled regions of the world, Steven Koltai argues. Koltai says an alternative approach would work: investing in entrepreneurship and reaping the benefits of the jobs created through entrepreneurial startups.
From 9/11 and the Arab Spring to the self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate, instability and terror breed where young people cannot find jobs. Koltai marshals evidence to show that joblessness—not religious or cultural conflict—is the root cause of the unrest that vexes American foreign policy and threatens international security.
Drawing on Koltai’s stint as senior adviser for Entrepreneurship in Secretary Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and his thirty-year career as a successful entrepreneur and business executive, Peace Through Entrepreneurship argues for the significant elevation of entrepreneurship in the service of foreign policy; not rural microfinance or mercantile trading but the scalable stuff of Silicon Valley and Sam Walton, generating the vast majority of new jobs in economies large and small.
Peace Through Entrepreneurship offers a nonmilitary, long-term solution at a time of disillusionment with Washington’s “big development” approach to unstable and underdeveloped parts of the world—and when the new normal is fear of terrorist attacks against Western targets, beheadings in Syria, and jihad. Extremism will not be resolved by a war on terror. The answer, Koltai shows, is stimulating entrepreneurial economic opportunities for the virtually limitless supply of desperate, unemployed young men and women leading lives of endless economic frustration.
The American Retail Value Proposition: Crafting Unique Experiences at Compelling Prices by Kyle Murray, Rotman-UTP Publishing
Whether you are an aspiring merchant or an industry veteran, this book's strategic framework will help you build a solid foundation for your business in today's ever-evolving retail marketplace.
The American economy is profoundly dependent on the success of its retailers and the strength of its consumer spending. Yet, how do leading retailers create value for their customers?
To a large extent this has been accomplished by streamlining operations and a decades-long focus on cost cutting and price competitiveness. Today, retailers realize that they need to discover new ways to differentiate themselves and attract consumer spending. The American Retail Value Proposition provides the framework for building that differentiation and establishing a competitive advantage that goes beyond price discounting. This framework is based on more than a decade of research, including hundreds of hours of interviews with executives from the world’s leading retailers, including Starbucks, Walmart, Apple, Amazon, and Lowe’s. Whether you are an aspiring merchant or an industry veteran, this book's strategic framework will help you build a solid foundation for your business in today's ever-evolving retail marketplace.