Business Books to Watch in May
May 03, 2016
These are some of the titles we'll have our eye on in May.
The Art of Opportunity: How to Build Growth and Ventures Through Strategic Innovation and Visual Thinking by Marc Sniukas, Parker Lee, & Matt Morasky, Wiley
Innovate your way toward growth using practical, research-backed frameworks.
The Art of Opportunity offers a path toward new growth, providing the perspective and methods you need to make innovation happen. Written by a team of experts with both academic and industry experience—and a client roster composed of some of the world’s leading companies—this book provides you with the necessary tools to help you capture growth instead of chasing it.
The visual frameworks and research-based methodology presented in The Art of Opportunity merge business design thinking and strategic innovation to help you change your growth paradigm. You’ll learn creative and practical methods for exploring growth opportunities and employ a new approach for identifying what “opportunity” looks like in the first place. Put aside the old school way of focusing on new products and new markets, to instead applying value creation to find your new opportunity, craft your offering, design your strategy and build new growth ventures.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth, Scribner Book Company
In this must-read book for anyone striving to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth shows parents, students, educators, athletes, and business people—both seasoned and new—that the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”
Drawing on her own powerful story as the daughter of a scientist who frequently noted her lack of “genius,” Duckworth, now a celebrated researcher and professor, describes her early eye-opening stints in teaching, business consulting, and neuroscience, which led to the hypothesis that what really drives success is not “genius” but a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance.
In Grit, she takes readers into the field to visit cadets struggling through their first days at West Point, teachers working in some of the toughest schools, and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also mines fascinating insights from history and shows what can be gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance. Finally, she shares what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff to Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.
Winningly personal, insightful, and even life-changing, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.
The Power of a Single Number: A Political History of GDP by Philipp Lepenies, Columbia University Press
Philipp Lepenies tells the lively, unpredictable history of GDP's political acceptance—and eventual dominance.
Since it was first widely used in the mid-twentieth century, GDP (gross domestic product) has become the world's most powerful statistical indicator of national development and progress. Practically all governments adhere to the idea that GDP growth is a primary economic target, and while criticism of this measure has grown over the past decade, neither its champions nor its detractors deny its central importance in our political culture. Locating the origins of GDP measurements in Renaissance England, Lepenies explores the social and political factors that originally hindered its use. Not until the early 1900s did an ingenuous lone-wolf economist revive and hone GDP's statistical approach. These ideas were then extended by John Maynard Keynes in the early twentieth century, and a more focused study of national income was born. American economists furthered this work by emphasizing GDP's ties to social well-being, setting the stage for its ascent. GDP finally achieved its singular status during World War II, assuming the importance it retains today. Lepenies's absorbing account helps us understand the personalities and popular events that propelled GDP to dominance, clarifying current debates over the wisdom of the number's rule.
Popular wisdom suggests that we should not allow others to have power over us, but the reality is that they do, for better or for worse. Consider the boss who diminishes you through cutting remarks versus one who challenges you to get better. Or the colleague who always seeks the limelight versus the one who gives you the confidence to finish a difficult project. Or the spouse who is honest and supportive versus the one who resents your success. No matter how talented, intelligent, or experienced, the greatest leaders share one commonality: the power of the others in their lives.
Combining engaging case studies, persuasive findings from cutting-edge brain research, and examples from his consulting practice, Cloud argues that whether you’re a Navy SEAL or a corporate executive, outstanding performance depends on having the right kind of connections to fuel personal growth and minimize toxic associations and their effects. Presenting a dynamic model of the impact these different kinds of connections produce, Cloud shows readers how to get more from themselves by drawing on the strength and expertise of others. You don’t have a choice whether or not others have power in your life, but you can choose what kinds of relationships you want.
Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life by Amy E. Herman, Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
An engrossing guide to seeing—and communicating—more clearly from the groundbreaking course that helps FBI agents, cops, CEOs, ER docs, and others save money, reputations, and lives.
How could looking at Monet’s water lily paintings help save your company millions? How can checking out people’s footwear foil a terrorist attack? How can your choice of adjective win an argument, calm your kid, or catch a thief? In her celebrated seminar, the Art of Perception, art historian Amy Herman has trained experts from many fields how to perceive and communicate better. By showing people how to look closely at images, she helps them hone their “visual intelligence,” a set of skills we all possess but few of us know how to use properly. She has spent more than a decade teaching doctors to observe patients instead of their charts, helping police officers separate facts from opinions when investigating a crime, and training professionals from the FBI, the State Department, Fortune 500 companies, and the military to recognize the most pertinent and useful information. Her lessons highlight far more than the physical objects you may be missing; they teach you how to recognize the talents, opportunities, and dangers that surround you every day.
Whether you want to be more effective on the job, more empathetic toward your loved ones, or more alert to the trove of possibilities and threats all around us, this book will show you how to see what matters most to you more clearly than ever before.
TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
For anyone who has ever been inspired by a TED talk…
...this is an insider’s guide to creating talks that are unforgettable.
Since taking over TED in the early 2000s, Chris Anderson has shown how carefully crafted short talks can be the key to unlocking empathy, stirring excitement, spreading knowledge, and promoting a shared dream. Done right, a talk can electrify a room and transform an audience’s worldview. Done right, a talk is more powerful than anything in written form.
This book explains how the miracle of powerful public speaking is achieved, and equips you to give it your best shot. There is no set formula; no two talks should be the same. The goal is for you to give the talk that only you can give. But don’t be intimidated. You may find it more natural than you think.
Chris Anderson has worked behind the scenes with all the TED speakers who have inspired us the most, and here he shares insights from such favorites as Sir Ken Robinson, Amy Cuddy, Bill Gates, Elizabeth Gilbert, Salman Khan, Dan Gilbert, Mary Roach, Matt Ridley, and dozens more—everything from how to craft your talk’s content to how you can be most effective on stage. This is the 21st-century’s new manual for truly effective communication and it is a must-read for anyone who is ready to create impact with their ideas.
The Greats On Leadership: Classic Wisdom for Modern Managers by Jocelyn Davis, Nicholas Brealey Publishing
You don’t need a big title or a business degree in order to lead with impact. What you need is practical wisdom: the insight, judgment, and strength of character that all great leaders have, but that most business schools and corporate workshops don’t teach. The Greats On Leadership gets you there.
Jocelyn Davis takes you on an in-depth tour of the best leadership ideas of the past 25 centuries, featuring classic authors from Plato to Winston Churchill, Shakespeare to Jane Austen, C.G. Jung to Peter Drucker, and many more.
In a style both thought-provoking and entertaining, she shows how history’s great writers have always been, and still are,the real leadership gurus. Davis spells out the behaviors that distinguish true leaders from misleaders and covers 20 specific leadership topics. Each chapter begins with a synopsis of a great work by the author and then draws out the key leadership insights, weaving them together with business examples, the best contemporary research, and tools to help put it all into practice. In the last two chapters Davis presents a new way to think about leadership levels, framing them in terms of the impact you have rather than the title on your business card.
Whether you’re a recent graduate or MBA searching for something more inspiring than the standard textbook, a new manager looking for something deeper than the typical how-to book, or an experienced executive seeking ideas to lift you to the next level, this remarkably readable and practical guide will set you on the road to becoming a great leader.
The Comeback: How Today's Moms Reenter the Workplace Successfully by Cheryl Casone, Portfolio
From FOX Business anchor Cheryl Casone, an indispensable guide for mothers seeking to restart their careers.
Each year, thousands of women put promising careers on hold, hoping to return to them at a later point. When the kids are in school, or when a second income is suddenly required, though, even women who planned to return to the workforce can find the prospect of re-entry daunting. Where do you start? Who do you reach out to? How do you polish your rusty skills? And once you’ve made it back through the door, how do you overcome prejudice?
Every mother’s situation is unique, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Fortunately, Cheryl Casone has strategies for all of these women. Drawing on hundreds of interviews with successful working mothers—and sharing her take as the girlfriend inside the industry who tells it like it is—she offers practical advice for getting back in the game. She outlines ways to leave well, strategies for staying current while away from the office, and the secrets to making the years away a strength, not a weakness.
Including wisdom from top female CEOs, real stories from women who took time off for family and struggled to return, and encouragement that rejoining the workforce is possible, this book is an essential guide for women rebooting their careers.
O Great One!: A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition by David Novak, with Christa Bourg, Portfolio
A parable about the secret to engaging and motivating people to do great things in all walks of life, by the bestselling author of Taking People With You.
Based on real experiences that David Novak had as the Chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, this parable will empower readers to recognize the contributions of those around them in order to drive bigger and better results. It’s not hard, it’s not expensive, and you don’t need an MBA or even a position of authority to do it. It’s a deceptively simple principle that can have a huge impact on both your life and your business.
Jeff Johnson, the new CEO of The Happy Face Toy Company, has one year to save his family’s famous toy company, which has fallen on hard times following the death of his father. If Jeff fails, the whole company will fail. As he races to save his family’s legacy by getting the company back on track, Jeff encounters downtrodden factory workers and an uninspired executive team. Then a birthday gift from his grandson gives Jeff an important insight into why business is suffering: the secret ingredient to making people happy and engaged is missing.
During his time as CEO of Yum!, Novak harnessed the power of employee recognition to revitalize the culture. The principles he lives by, from handing out personalized awards to coaxing office culture into life, are at the core of this parable. Novak recently founded OGO Enterprises, the world’s first recognition brand focused on appreciating all people for who they are and what they do.
Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions by Carmen Simon, PhD, McGraw-Hill
A groundbreaking approach to creating memorable messages that are easy to process, hard to forget, and impossible to ignore—using the latest in brain science.
Audiences forget up to 90 percent of what you communicate. But people make decisions and act based on what they remember, so a pragmatic approach for the effective communicator is to be deliberate about the 10 percent that audiences do retain. Otherwise, content recall is random and inconsistent.
Many experts have offered techniques on how to improve your own memory, but not how to influence other people's memory. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology, Impossible to Ignore is a practical step-by-step guide that will show business professionals how to control the 10 percent that audiences do remember by creating content that attracts attention, sharpens recall, and guides behavior toward a desired action.
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz, HarperBusiness
A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations—whether in the boardroom or at home.
After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues to succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counter-intuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.
Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car; negotiating a salary; buying a home; renegotiation rent; deliberating with your partner. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Difference gives you the competitive edge in any discussion.
The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career by Hillary Kerr & Katherine Power, Abrams Image
In The Career Code, the third book in the smash-hit Who What Wear series, fashion and digital entrepreneurs Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr bring you the Everygirl’s guide for creating your own professional success, on every level, flawlessly. The book is filled with insightful, pragmatic “career codes” to follow, as well as all of the practical, how-to advice they’ve learned while building their company from zero employees in 2006, to the thriving, multibrand, multiplatform, multi-million dollar company it is today.
In this approachable, authoritative, and inspirational book, you will find the most useful and accessible tips and tricks to strategically build your career into exactly what you want it to be, from negotiating your salary to avoiding the biggest mistake most people make when they quit. Chapters include advice on résumé building, dressing for the job you want, and how to effectively communicate at work—even with the most difficult colleagues—all done with the Who What Wear girls’ practical and polished signature style. It gives you total insight into how you can excel at work in every arena, whether you’re just starting your very first job, contemplating switching fields, or finally a boss who’s building her own team. The Career Code also includes over 20 of Hillary and Katherine’s best “life hacks” to ensure your out-of-office life runs just as smoothly as your career.
This is the must-have handbook for every woman at every stage of her career, no matter where she sits in the boardroom.
The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence by Dacher Keltner, Penguin Press
A revolutionary and timely reconsideration of everything we know about power. Celebrated UC Berkeley psychologist Dr. Dacher Keltner argues that compassion and selflessness enable us to have the most influence over others and the result is power as a force for good in the world.
It is taken for granted that power corrupts. This is reinforced culturally by everything from Machiavelli to contemporary politics. But how do we get power? And how does it change our behavior? So often, in spite of our best intentions, we lose our hard-won power. Enduring power comes from empathy and giving. Above all, power is given to us by other people. This is what all-too-often we forget, and what Dr. Keltner sets straight. This is the crux of the power paradox: by fundamentally misunderstanding the behaviors that helped us to gain power in the first place we set ourselves up to fall from power. We can’t retain power because we’ve never understood it correctly, until now. Power isn’t the capacity to act in cruel and uncaring ways; it is the ability to do good for others, expressed in daily life, and itself a good a thing.
Dr. Keltner lays out exactly—in twenty original “Power Principles”—how to retain power, why power can be a demonstrably good thing, and the terrible consequences of letting those around us languish in powerlessness.
Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms by David S. Evans & Richard Schmalense, Harvard Business Review Press
Many of the most dynamic public companies, from Alibaba to Facebook to Visa, and the most valuable start-ups, such as Airbnb and Uber, are matchmakers that connect one group of customers with another group of customers. Economists call matchmakers multisided platforms because they provide physical or virtual platforms for multiple groups to get together. Dating sites connect people with potential matches, for example, and ride-sharing apps do the same for drivers and riders. Although matchmakers have been around for millennia, they’re becoming more and more popular—and profitable—due to dramatic advances in technology, and a lot of companies that have managed to crack the code of this business model have become today’s power brokers.
Don’t let the flashy successes fool you, though. Starting a matchmaker is one of the toughest business challenges, and almost everyone who tries to build one, fails.
In Matchmakers, David Evans and Richard Schmalensee, two economists who were among the first to analyze multisided platforms and discover their principles, and who’ve consulted for some of the most successful platform businesses in the world, explain how matchmakers work best in practice, why they do what they do, and how entrepreneurs can improve their chances for success. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, an investor, a consumer, or an executive, your future will involve more and more multisided platforms, and Matchmakers—rich with stories from platform winners and losers—is the one book you’ll need in order to navigate this appealing but confusing world.
Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport & Julia Kirby, HarperBusiness
An invigorating, thought-provoking, and positive look at the rise of automation that explores how professionals across industries can find sustainable careers in the near future.
Nearly half of all working Americans could risk losing their jobs because of technology. It’s not only blue-collar jobs at stake. Millions of educated knowledge workers—writers, paralegals, assistants, medical technicians—are threatened by accelerating advances in artificial intelligence.
The industrial revolution shifted workers from farms to factories. In the first era of automation, machines relieved humans of manually exhausting work. Today, Era Two of automation continues to wash across the entire services-based economy that has replaced jobs in agriculture and manufacturing. Era Three, and the rise of AI, is dawning. Smart computers are demonstrating they are capable of making better decisions than humans. Brilliant technologies can now decide, learn, predict, and even comprehend much faster and more accurately than the human brain, and their progress is accelerating. Where will this leave lawyers, nurses, teachers, and editors?
In Only Humans Need Apply, Thomas Hayes Davenport and Julia Kirby reframe the conversation about automation, arguing that the future of increased productivity and business success isn’t either human or machine. It’s both. The key is augmentation, utilizing technology to help humans work better, smarter, and faster. Instead of viewing these machines as competitive interlopers, we can see them as partners and collaborators in creative problem solving as we move into the next era. The choice is ours.