Business Books to Watch in September
September 02, 2016
These are just some of the great business books being released in September.
After a lazy few months of summer, when there's never a whole lot of titles being put out into the marketplace, September always greets us with a torrent of books flooding in. These are just some of the many books coming out in September that we have out collective eye on here at 800-CEO-READ (in order of their release date).
All about Them: Grow Your Business by Focusing on Others by Bruce Turkel, De Capo Lifelong Books
A branding expert shows how anyone who is successful lives by three words—"all about them"—and shows how focusing on others leads to success in business and life.
The best companies and most successful salespeople live by a three-word mantra—"all about them"—because when they relentlessly focus their brand on their customers instead of themselves, their businesses flourish. All about Them shows readers how to use this simple but extremely powerful influencing technique. Bruce Turkel, who has advised some of the world's greatest companies, including American Express and Bacardi, lays the groundwork by relating his personal journey of discovery to the "All about Them" principle. He goes on to explore our technology-driven, hyper-connected culture; the power of storytelling (and story-selling); brand authenticity and transparency; and more.
Managing in the Gray: Five Timeless Questions for Resolving Your Toughest Problems at Work by Joseph L. Badaracco Jr., Harvard Business Review Press
How to Resolve the Really Hard Problems.
Every manager makes tough calls—it comes with the job. And the hardest decisions are the “gray areas”—situations where you and your team have worked hard to find an answer, you’ve done the best analysis you can, and you still don’t know what to do. But you have to make a decision. You have to choose, commit, act, and live with the consequences and persuade others to follow your lead. Gray areas test your skills as a manager, your judgment, and even your humanity. How do you get these decisions right?
In Managing in the Gray, Joseph Badaracco offers a powerful, practical, and even radical way to resolve these problems. Picking up where conventional tools of analysis leave off, this book provides tools for judgment in the form of five revealing questions. Asking yourself these five questions provides a simple yet profound way to broaden your thinking, sharpen your judgment, and develop a fresh perspective. What makes these questions so valuable is that they have truly stood the test of time—they’ve guided countless men and women, across many centuries and cultures, to resolve the hardest questions of work, responsibility, and life.
You can use the five-question framework on your own or with others on your team to help you cut through complexities, understand critical trade-offs, and develop workable solutions for even the grayest issues.
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One by Jenny Blake, Portfolio
Jenny Blake, bestselling author of Life After College and former career development program manager at Google, shows how to move into your next career phase by leveraging what you already do well.
Now, more than ever, we need to navigate career changes deftly and frequently. The average employee tenure in America is just four or five years, and even those job roles often change dramatically within that time frame.
Our economy demands that we create dynamic careers based on creativity, innovation, and serving others. Careers aren’t linear, predictable ladders; they’re trajectories that are fluid and entrepreneurial. No matter your age, bank account balance, or seniority, you need to be able to pivot into your next opportunity so you don’t get left behind. Drawing from her own experience and those of other successful pivoters, Jenny Blake has created a four-step process that can teach anyone how to:
- Identify existing strengths, interests, and experiences
- Find new opportunities and identify skills to develop without falling prey to paralysis by analysis
- Launch successfully in a new direction, while staying primed for the next move
This book is for anyone without an answer to the question, “what’s next?”. Whether you’ve hit a plateau in your perfect-on-paper job, you’re considering taking on a new role in your current job, or you want to move to a new company or industry, one thing remains clear: career success depends on pivoting to Plan B (or C or D).
Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuadeby Robert Cialdini, Simon & Schuster
The author of the legendary bestseller Influence, social psychologist Robert Cialdini shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn’t lie in the message itself, but in the key moment before that message is delivered.
What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuaders? Using the same combination of rigorous scientific research and accessibility that made his Influence an iconic bestseller, Robert Cialdini explains how to capitalize on the essential window of time before you deliver an important message. This “privileged moment for change” prepares people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. Optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion. In other words, to change “minds” a pre-suader must also change “states of mind.”
His first solo work in over thirty years, Cialdini’s Pre-Suasion draws on his extensive experience as the most cited social psychologist of our time and explains the techniques a person should implement to become a master persuader. Altering a listener’s attitudes, beliefs, or experiences isn’t necessary, says Cialdini—all that’s required is for a communicator to redirect the audience’s focus of attention before a relevant action.
From studies on advertising imagery to treating opiate addiction, from the annual letters of Berkshire Hathaway to the annals of history, Cialdini draws on an array of studies and narratives to outline the specific techniques you can use on online marketing campaigns and even effective wartime propaganda. He illustrates how the artful diversion of attention leads to successful pre-suasion and gets your targeted audience primed and ready to say, “Yes.”
Shadow Courts: The Tribunals that Rule Global Trade by Haley Sweetland Edwards, Columbia Global Reports
A behind-the-scenes look at the powerful courts that decide when international trade is legal or not. Does their rise mark a huge boon for corporations to challenge the power of sovereign nation-states?
International trade deals have become vastly complex documents, seeking to govern everything from labor rights to environmental protections. This evolution has drawn alarm from American voters, but their suspicions are often vague.
In this book, investigative journalist Haley Sweetland Edwards offers a detailed look at one little-known but powerful provision in most modern trade agreements that is designed to protect the financial interests of global corporations against the governments of sovereign states. She makes a devastating case that Investor-State Dispute Settlement—a "shadow court" that allows corporations to sue a nation outside its own court system—has tilted the balance of power on the global stage. A corporation can use ISDS to challenge a nation's policies and regulations, if it believes those laws are unfair or diminish its future profits. From the 1960s to 2000, corporations brought fewer than 40 disputes, but in the last fifteen years, they have brought nearly 650—54 against Argentina alone.
Edwards conducted extensive research and interviewed dozens of policymakers, activists, and government officials in Argentina, Canada, Bolivia, Ecuador, the European Union, and in the Obama administration. The result is a major story about a significant shift in the global balance of power.
The Conversational Firm: Rethinking Bureaucracy in the Age of Social Mediaby Catherine J. Turco, Columbia University Press
A fast-growing social media marketing company, TechCo encourages all of its employees to speak up.
By promoting open dialogue across the corporate hierarchy, the firm has fostered a uniquely engaged workforce and an enviable capacity for change. Yet the path hasn't always been easy. TechCo has confronted a number of challenges, and its experience reveals the essential elements of bureaucracy that remain even when a firm sets out to discard them. Through it all, TechCo serves as a powerful new model for how firms can navigate today's rapidly changing technological and cultural climate.
Catherine J. Turco was embedded within TechCo for ten months. The Conversational Firm is her ethnographic analysis of what worked at the company and what didn't. She offers multiple lessons for anyone curious about the effect of social media on the corporate environment and adds depth to debates over the new generation of employees reared on social media: Millennials who are carrying their technological habits and expectations into the workplace.
Marshaling insights from cultural and economic sociology, organizational theory, economics, technology studies, and anthropology, The Conversational Firm offers a nuanced analysis of corporate communication, control, and culture in the social media age.
Utopia Is Creepy: And Other Provocations by Nicholas Carr, W. W. Norton & Company
A freewheeling, sharp-shooting indictment of a tech-besotted culture.
With a razor wit, Nicholas Carr cuts through Silicon Valley’s unsettlingly cheery vision of the technological future to ask a hard question: Have we been seduced by a lie? Gathering a decade’s worth of posts from his blog, Rough Type, as well as his seminal essays, Utopia Is Creepy offers an alternative history of the digital age, chronicling its roller-coaster crazes and crashes, its blind triumphs, and its unintended consequences.
Carr’s favorite targets are those zealots who believe so fervently in computers and data that they abandon common sense. Cheap digital tools do not make us all the next Fellini or Dylan. Social networks, diverting as they may be, are not vehicles for self-enlightenment. And “likes” and retweets are not going to elevate political discourse. When we expect technologies—designed for profit—to deliver a paradise of prosperity and convenience, we have forgotten ourselves. In response, Carr offers searching assessments of the future of work, the fate of reading, and the rise of artificial intelligence, challenging us to see our world anew.
In famous essays including “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” and “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Privacy,” Carr dissects the logic behind Silicon Valley’s “liberation mythology,” showing how technology has both enriched and imprisoned us—often at the same time. Drawing on artists ranging from Walt Whitman to the Clash, while weaving in the latest findings from science and sociology, Utopia Is Creepy compels us to question the technological momentum that has trapped us in its flow. “Resistance is never futile,” argues Carr, and this book delivers the proof.
Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracyby Cathy O'Neil, Crown
A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on mathematical modeling—a pervasive new force in society that threatens to undermine democracy and widen inequality.
We live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how much we pay for health insurance—are being made not by humans, but by mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness: everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated. But as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this shocking book, the opposite is true. The models being used today are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his race or neighborhood), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. Models are propping up the lucky and punishing the downtrodden, creating a “toxic cocktail for democracy.” Welcome to the dark side of Big Data.
What Made Me Who I Am by Bernie Swain, Savio Republic
Powerful and moving stories of inspiration, adversity, and triumph from the Washington Speakers Bureau.
Starting a business is a wonderfully naïve venture. Only a fortunate few will survive—and very few of those who thrive will have something special to say about failure, success, and leadership.
Bernie Swain is one of those few very fortunate people. He quit his job in 1980 to start a lecture agency with his wife and a friend. By the end of their first rocky year—just as his savings were running out—Swain’s first revenues trickled in. He began signing every speaker on a handshake; this proved to be the hallmark of trust that helped accelerate the company’s growth. Years later, his roster of speakers would be the greatest in history since America’s first agency represented a host of notables such as Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony, and Frederick Douglass. The firm continues its practice of signing speakers on the strength on a handshake.
The best of Swain’s fortunes turned out to be the speakers themselves because these remarkable leaders had become his friends. What Made Me Who I Am captures the leadership transformations of 34 of those friends—from Doris Kearns Goodwin to Colin Powell, Terry Bradshaw to Tom Brokaw, and Tony Blair to Dave Barry. This assembly of people defines a generation. What were their most powerful influences? Defining moments? Decisions that contributed the most to their character and accomplishments?
Swain captures answers to these questions and more in an inspiring, practical collection of true-life stories for leaders today.
Pushing the Boundaries: Recollections of a McKinsey Consultant by Herbert Henzler, LID Publishing
An autobiography of one of the most influential management consultants of recent times.
Herbert Henzler grew up in the German village of Neckarhausen during the Second World War. Starting his career as a sales apprentice with Shell, he went on to study at the universities of Saarland, Ludwig-Maximillian and California, Berkeley, where he received his PhD in economics. In 1970, Henzler accepted an offer to join McKinsey & Company, a rapidly growing firm that would eventually become the world's leading consultancy group. Working in its German office, Henzler quickly rose to Partner in 1975 and then Director in 1978. His spectacular rise continued when, in 1985, Henzler became head of McKinsey's German office and one of the most powerful management consultants in the world. Honest and at times direct, this book provides a rare insight into the world of management consultancy and how one man made it to the top by constantly pushing the boundaries.
Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale by By Paul Smith, Amacom
Despite all the high-tech tools available to salespeople, the most personal method still works best.
Storytelling packs the emotional punch to turn routine presentations into productive relationships. It explains products or services in ways that resonate; it connects people and creates momentum. Stories speak to the part of the brain where decisions are made.
Paul Smith, author of the acclaimed Lead with a Story, shifts his best-selling formula to the sales arena. In Sell with a Story, he identifies the ingredients of the most effective sales stories and reveals how to:
- Select the right story
- Craft a compelling and memorable narrative
- Incorporate challenge, conflict, and resolution
- Use stories to introduce yourself, build rapport, address objections, add value, bring data to life, create a sense of urgency, and more
Complete with model stories, skill-building exercises, and enlightening examples from Microsoft, Costco, Xerox, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hewlett Packard, and other top companies, this powerful and practical guide gives you the tools you need to turn your experiences into stories that sell.
Draw to Win: A Crash Course on How to Lead, Sell, and Innovate With Your Visual Mind by Dan Roam, Portfolio
The most concise, easiest to read book of Dan Roam’s distinguished career. Perfect for fans who have read every book since 2008’s The Back of the Napkin, as well as new readers who just need a crash course in the power of visual thinking.
Since his first book, The Back of the Napkin, Roam has argued that imagery is the most powerful tool for leadership, innovation, and sales. Even though we live in an era of big data, one great picture is worth a million numbers (not to mention a thousand words). A clever idea, visually expressed, can resonate with everyone from the CEO down to the newest intern.
The best news is that you don’t need to be an artist to create attention-grabbing images. Roam can teach anyone with a pen and paper to translate business ideas into engaging and clear images. He identifies the types of pictures that work best in various settings and shares the basic shapes that all business pictures can be built from.
This is an indispensable handbook for business leaders struggling to communicate more effectively in a world that everyday becomes less verbal and more visual.
The Golden Apple: Redefining Work-Life Balance for a Diverse Workforce by Mason Donovan, Bibliomotion
Organizations are coming to the reality that work-life balance is no longer solely an issue for working women.
As we progress further into the 21st century, workers and ways of working are changing. We have four generations operating together in the workplace, and a tremendous variety of professional expectations, values, goals, and needs. People want to work, but more and more need work to work better in their lives. For some, it might be a question of flexibility to care for family, for others, a question of personal fulfillment and being present both at work and at home. Regardless, people are expressing the need for an improved sense of work-life balance. It has become central to maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace.
As companies grapple with increased talent and marketplace competition, work-life balance has become a pivotal issue for higher engagement, increased productivity, greater innovation, and employee retention. Backed by 20 years of talent engagement expertise, The Golden Apple bridges the gap between awareness and action, giving leaders practical solutions they can take for immediate impact: the 50-minute meeting, mindful minutes, and establishing clear boundaries that can instantly provide a valuable return with minimal effort. In short, the book shows how full engagement of a diverse, inclusive workforce is the competitive advantage of our time.
Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennet, HarperWave
Part manual, part manifesto, a humorous yet incisive guide to navigating subtle sexism at work—a pocketbook Lean In for the Buzzfeed generation that provides real-life career advice and humorous reinforcement for a new generation of professional women.
It was a fight club—but without the fighting and without the men. Every month, the women would huddle in a friend’s apartment to share sexist job frustrations and trade tips for how best to tackle them. Once upon a time, you might have called them a consciousness raising group. But the problems of today’s working world are more subtle, less pronounced, harder to identify—and harder to prove—than those of their foremothers. These women weren’t just there to vent. They needed battle tactics. And so the fight club was born.
Hard-hitting and entertaining, Feminist Fight Club blends personal stories with research, statistics, and no-bullsh*t expert advice. Bennett offers a new vocabulary for the sexist workplace archetypes women encounter everyday—such as the Manterrupter who talks over female colleagues in meetings or the Himitator who appropriates their ideas—and provides practical hacks for navigating other gender landmines in today’s working world. With original illustrations, Feminist Mad Libs, a Negotiation Cheat Sheet, and fascinating historical research, Feminist Fight Club tackles both the external (sexist) and internal (self-sabotaging) behaviors that plague women in the workplace—as well as the system that perpetuates them.
Together Is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration by Simon Sinek, Portfolio
The bestselling author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last is an unshakable optimist. With this beautifully illustrated gift book of axioms, he inspires readers to seek out a brighter future—and build it together.
Simon Sinek has inspired hundreds of thousands with his classic bestsellers Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last. The mission of all his work, from the biggest speech to the simplest tweet, is to build a world in which people wake up every day inspired to go to work, feel safe while there, then return home feeling fulfilled at the end of the day.
Now, in this delightfully illustrated book of axioms and anecdotes, Sinek amplifies his vision to inspire readers to overcome obstacles and become the leaders they wish they had. The book is organized around the challenges we all face at work, from confronting doubts, to building a team, to recovering from failure. His insights apply whether you’re just out of college or trying to lead a large organization. Consider a few examples…
“A team is not a group of people that work together. A team is a group of people that trust each other.”
“Fight against something and we focus on the thing we hate. Fight for something and we focus on the thing we love.”
“We’d achieve more if we chased the dream instead of the competition.”
Readers will turn time and again to Together Is Better and will share it with friends, family, and colleagues. It can help anyone get out of the rut that many us pretend is the fast track.
Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean by Josh Bernoff, HarperBusiness
Building on the wisdom of The Elements of Style and On Writing Well, bestselling author of Groundswell and writing expert, Josh Bernoff, gives you the essential tools to improve your professional communications to rise above the tide of bad writing and stand out as a bold thinker at work.
Bullshit is on the rise. From disorganized emails to jargon-filled reports, we’re surrounded by bloated, ineffective communication at work. Word pollution slows productivity, curbs energy, and erodes trust.
This is not just a problem— it’s an opportunity. Writers who learn to say what they mean stand out from this background of drivel. It’s not just a question of purging time-wasters like passive voice, jargon, and mealy-mouthed qualifiers from what you write. Better business writing requires a change in attitude—writers must learn to transcend their fear and be brief and direct. They need a new style of writing suited to a world where people read nearly everything on a screen. They must learn the discipline of writing without bullshit.
At the heart of this method is the Iron Imperative: You must treat reader’s time as more valuable than your own. Start boldly, edit everything (no first draft is perfect!), and establish a word count—and stick to it.
Writing Without Bullshit features twenty-five short, entertaining, and useful chapters covering everything from blogging to reports, from editing to statistics, from planning to unleashing creativity—all in the service of business writing that makes a powerful impression.
A Truck Full of Money by Tracy Kidder, Random House
Fortune, mania, generosity, genius—the bestselling author of Mountains Beyond Mountains gives us the inspiring story of Kayak.com founder Paul English, an American maverick and a man who had a mind for the age that was coming.
Tracy Kidder, the “master of the nonfiction narrative” (The Baltimore Sun) and author of the bestselling classic The Soul of the New Machine, gives us the inspiring story of Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor and entrepreneur. Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovers a medium for his talents the first time he sees a computer. As a young man, despite suffering from what will later be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he begins his pilgrim’s journey through the ups and downs in the brave new world of computers. Relating to the Internet as if it’s an extension of his own mind, he discovers that he has a gift for building creative teams of people, becoming a pied piper of geeks. His innovative management style, success, and innate sense of fair play inspire intense loyalty. Early on, one colleague observes: “Someday this boy’s going to get hit by a truck full of money, and I’m going to be standing beside him.” Yet when English makes a fortune as co-founder of the travel website Kayak.com, the first thing he thinks about is how to give it away. “What else would you do with it?” he asks. “Hoarding it is a disaster, because it goes against what money was created for.” The second thing he thinks is, what’s next?
Capital and the Common Good: How Innovative Finance Is Tackling the World's Most Urgent Problems by Georgia Levenson Keohane, Columbia Universtiy Press
Despite social and economic advances around the world, poverty and disease persist, exacerbated by the mounting challenges of climate change, natural disasters, political conflict, mass migration, and economic inequality.
While governments have committed to addressing these challenges—with such efforts as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change or the Millennium Development Goals—our aspirations run deeper than our pockets. Traditional public and philanthropic dollars are not enough. Innovative finance brings governmental, commercial, and philanthropic resources to bear on the common good: meeting the needs of the poor and underserved, solving global problems, and building a more sustainable and inclusive prosperity. Innovative finance has provided polio vaccines to children in the DRC, crop insurance to farmers in India, pay-as-you-go solar electricity to Kenyans, and affordable housing and transportation to New Yorkers.
Capital and the Common Good shows how market failure in one context can be solved with market solutions from another: an expert in securitization bundles future development aid into bonds to pay for vaccines today; an entrepreneur turns a mobile phone into an array of financial services for the unbanked; and policy makers adapt pay-for-success models from the world of infrastructure to human services like early childhood education, maternal health, and job training. Surveying the successes and missteps of these efforts, Keohane argues that innovative finance is as much about incentives and sound decision making as it is about money. When it works, innovative finance gives us the tools, motivation, and security to invest in our shared future.
Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways by William C. Taylor, Portfolio
The cofounder of Fast Company shows that you don’t need to be in a glamorous industry to unleash extraordinary creativity.
A new era of business and leadership cries out for new stories of success, and new strategies for bringing them to life. Today, the way to win big, argues bestselling author and Fast Company cofounder William C. Taylor, is to rethink the rules of your industry, no matter how tried-and-true they are. Taylor goes inside 19 unique organizations that have become extraordinary change agents in otherwise ordinary fields. For example:
- London’s Metro Bank, the first new retail bank in England since 1835, has become a passion brand by reimagining the basics of customer service and rethinking how the whole industry operates.
- 1111 Lincoln Road is a one-of-a-kind parking garage in Miami Beach that also serves as a wedding venue, fashion runway, shopping center, and social hub.
- Pal’s Sudden Service, a cult favorite restaurant in Tennessee and Virginia, delivers unmatched speed and order accuracy thanks to its unique approach to employee training.
- Southcentral Foundation, a healthcare system based in Anchorage, used a simple shift in language to inspire doctors and patients to behave differently—and produced extraordinary health outcomes among Alaska Natives.
Taylor reveals that these organizations share a set of core principles that help them pioneer unlikely breakthroughs: They strive to be the only ones doing what they’re doing instead of competing in crowded fields; they don’t let past experience limit what they can imagine; they seek ways to be kind as well as clever; and they share the value they create with those who helped create it. By embracing these strategies, Taylor argues, leaders everywhere can achieve extraordinary results in their fields.
Among the Bankers: A Journey into the Heart of Finance by Joris Luyendijk, Melville House
Joris Luyendijk, an investigative journalist, knew as much about banking as the average person: almost nothing. Bankers, he thought, were ruthless, competitive, bonus-obsessed sharks, irrelevant to his life. And then he was assigned to investigate the financial sector.
Joris immersed himself in the City—London’s equivalent of Wall Street—for several years, speaking to over 200 people—from the competitive investment bankers and elite hedge-fund managers to downtrodden back-office staff, reviled HR managers, and those made redundant in the regular ’culls.' Breaking the strictly imposed code of secrecy and silence, these insiders spoke on record about what they actually do all day, how they see the toxic environment in which they work, and how they think the uninitiated see them. They confessed to feeling overwhelmed by the intransparency of our financial systems. They admitted that when Lehman Brothers went down in 2008 they hoarded food, put their money in gold, and prepared to evacuate their children to the countryside. They agreed that nothing has changed since the crash.
A strange thing happens when you spend time among the bankers… you start to sympathize with them. What if the bankers themselves aren’t the real enemy? What if the truth about global finance is more sinister than that?