Business Books to Watch in May
May 01, 2017
These are the books we'll have our eyes on in May.
In order of their release dates, these are the books we'll be digging into further in the month of May.
Capitalists Arise!: End Economic Inequality, Grow the Middle Class, Heal the Nation by Peter Georgescu, with David Dorsey, Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Peter Georgescu arrived in this country as a penniless Romanian refugee and rose to become the CEO of Young & Rubicam. This is why he's so heartsick that with flat wages, disappearing jobs, and a shrinking middle class, his kind of rags-to-riches story doesn't seem possible now. But he has a message for his fellow CEOs: we're the ones who must take the lead in fixing the economy.
Marshaling deeply sobering statistics, Georgescu depicts the stark reality of America today: a nation with greater wealth inequality and lower social mobility than just about any other country in the developed world. But the problem isn't that free-market capitalism no longer works—it's that it's been hijacked by shareholder primacy. Where once our business leaders looked to the needs and interests of a variety of stakeholders—employees, community members, the business itself—now they're myopically focused on maximizing their shareholders' quarterly returns.
Capitalists Arise! shows how the short-term thinking spawned by shareholder primacy lies at the root of our current economic malaise and social breakdown. But Georgescu offers concrete actions that capitalists themselves can take to create a better future. The irony is that if businesses do this, shareholders will do even better. In the long run, businesses can thrive only when society is healthy and strong. This book is a manifesto calling on capitalists to heal the nation that has given them so much.
One Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work With a Mentor—And Why You'll Benefit from Being One by Ken Blanchard & Claire Diaz-Ortiz, William Morrow
The bestselling co-author of the legendary The One Minute Manager® and a former Twitter executive join forces to create the ultimate guide to creating powerful mentoring relationships.
The past decade has seen the dramatic rise of a word now well known in corporate hallways: mentoring. But a new awareness about mentoring hasn’t necessarily meant an increased understanding of how to implement the practice.
While most people agree that having a mentor is a good thing, they don’t know how to find one or use one. And despite widespread approval for the idea of being a mentor, most people don’t think they have the time or skills to do so.
Positive mentoring relationships can change the way we lead and help us succeed. In One Minute Mentoring, legendary management guru Ken Blanchard and Claire Diaz-Ortiz, a former Twitter executive and early employee, combine their knowledge to provide a systematic approach to intergenerational mentoring, giving readers great insight into the power and influence of mentoring and encouraging them to pursue their own mentoring relationships.
Using his classic parable format, Blanchard explains why developing effective communication and relationships across generations can be a tremendous opportunity for companies and individuals alike. One Minute Mentoring is the go-to source for learning why mentoring is the secret ingredient to professional and personal success.
Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind by Srini Pillay, M.D., Ballantine Books
Discover why you “unfocus” and how to harness this innate tendency in order to become more innovative, less stressed, and, ironically, a sharper thinker in the boardroom, living room, or classroom, from a Harvard psychiatrist and brain imaging researcher.
Harvard psychiatrist and brain imaging researcher, Dr. Srini Pillay, takes readers on a fascinating and highly-useful tour of cognitive rhythm, mindsets, and mental relaxation, showing that it is actually our ability to “unfocus”—allowing ourselves to be mindless or to let our minds wander strategically—that leads to more productivity, creativity, innovation, and success. Offering techniques for training our brains to unfocus, strategies for introducing unfocus into our otherwise highly-focused days, as well as ideas for controlling this new cognitive-toggling capability, Tinker Dabble Doodle Try will change how you think about daydreaming, relaxing, leaving work unfinished, and even multitasking.
Insight: Why We're Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life by Tasha Eurich, Crown Business
Executive coach Tasha Eurich shows how to develop better self-awareness—what she calls the meta-skill of the twenty-first century—to improve work performance, leadership skills, interpersonal relationships, and more. A fascinating exploration of everyone’s favorite topic: themselves.
No matter what profession we’re in or where we are in our career, our success depends largely on how we come across to others: our bosses, our clients, our customers, and our peers. Research shows that self-aware people perform better and get more promotions at work, make smarter career decisions, and are more respected and effective leaders whose employees are more satisfied and whose companies are more profitable.
But while many of us may have a well-developed sense of what Eurich calls internal self-awareness—that is, being in tune with one’s thoughts and emotions—most of us are woefully lacking in public self-awareness: we have very little sense (or worse, a delusional sense) of how others see us. We all know people who lack external self-awareness: for example, the tyrant boss who thinks he comes across as “tough but fair” but in reality is seen by his employees as a bullying jerk, the kind of boss who thinks he’s earning respect but in reality is sapping employee engagement and motivation and hampering the performance of his team. Because for all the lip service given in the business world to performance assessments, mentorship and sponsorship, and 360-degree peer reviews, few of us actually have mechanisms for eliciting honest, accurate feedback about how we come across.
Eurich draws on thousands of original surveys, hundreds of academic studies, and 15 years of experience coaching Fortune 500 clients to debunk conventional wisdom about self-awareness and offer a toolkit of practical and battle-tested strategies for cultivating better self-knowledge.
The Broken Ladder: How Inequality Affects the Way We Think, Live, and Die by Keith Payne, Viking
A timely examination by a leading social scientist of the physical, psychological, and moral effects of inequality.
Today’s inequality is on a scale that none of us has seen in our lifetimes, yet this disparity between rich and poor has ramifications that extend far beyond mere financial means. While conservatives look at poverty and see its roots in personal failures and liberals attribute it to a lack of opportunity, what both sides miss is that the psychology of inequality causes both poor opportunities and personal failures. Understanding how and why this occurs is our best chance at addressing it effectively.
In The Broken Ladder, psychologist Keith Payne examines for how inequality influences us as individuals, affecting our brains, our bodies, and our values. Inequality divides us not just economically, but has profound consequences on how we think, how our cardiovascular systems respond to stress, how our immune systems function, and how we view moral ideas like justice and fairness. Experiments in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics have not only revealed important new insights on how inequality changes people in predictable ways, but have provided a corrective to our flawed way of viewing poverty as the result of individual character failings. The central argument of this book is that among modern, developed societies, economic inequality is not primarily about money, but rather about relative status: where we stand in relation to other people. Regardless of their average income, countries or states with greater levels of income inequality have much higher rates of all the social problems we associate with poverty, including lower average life expectancies, serious health issues, mental illness, and crime.
The Broken Ladder explores such issues as why women in poor societies often have more children, have them younger, and their men are less likely to be involved in child care; why there is little trust among the working class that investing for the future will pay off; why people’s perception of their relative social status affects their political beliefs, and why growing inequality leads to greater political divisions; how poverty raises stress levels in the same way as a physical threat; inequality in the workplace, and how it affects performance; why unequal societies become more religious; and finally offers measures people can take to lessen the harm done by inequality in their own lives and the lives of their children.
The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation by David Robertson, with Kent Lineback, Harvard Business Review Press
Conventional wisdom today says that to survive, companies must move beyond incremental, sustaining innovation and invest in some form of radical innovation. "Disrupt yourself or be disrupted!" is the relentless message company leaders hear. The Power of Little Ideas argues there's a "third way" that is neither sustaining nor disruptive.
This low-risk, high-reward strategy is an approach to innovation that all company leaders should understand so that they recognize it when their competitors practice it, and apply it when it will give them a competitive advantage.
This distinctive approach has three key elements:
- It consists of creating a family of complementary innovations around a product or service, all of which work together to make that product more appealing and competitive.
- The complementary innovations work together as a system to carry out a single strategy or purpose.
- Crucially, unlike disruptive or radical innovation, innovating around a key product does not change the central product in any fundamental way.
In this powerful, practical book, Wharton professor David Robertson illustrates how many well-known companies, including CarMax, GoPro, LEGO, Gatorade, Disney, USAA, Novo Nordisk, and many others, used this approach to stave off competitive threats and achieve great success. He outlines the organizational practices that unintentionally torpedo this approach to innovation in many companies and shows how organizations can overcome those challenges.
Aimed at leaders seeking strategies for sustained innovation, and at the quickly growing numbers of managers involved with creating new products, The Power of Little Ideas provides a logical, organic, and enduring third way to innovate.
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Dey Street Books
Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world—provided we ask the right questions.
By the end of on average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the Internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information—unprecedented in history—can tell us a great deal about who we are—the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable.
Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of whites voters didn’t vote for Barack Obama because he’s black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives and who’s more self-conscious about sex, men or women?
Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential—revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we’re afraid to ask that might be essential to our health—both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.
American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road by Nick Bilton, Portfolio
From New York Times-bestselling author Nick Bilton comes the thrilling inside story of the rise and fall of Ross Ulbricht, aka the Dread Pirate Roberts, the founder of the online black market Silk Road.
In his New York Times bestseller Hatching Twitter, Nick Bilton gave readers an astonishingly reported, riveting, and impeccably crafted story of the politics and power struggles behind the founding of Twitter. Now Bilton turns his investigative journalism to the story of Ross Ulbricht, the notorious and enigmatic founder of a drug empire called Silk Road.
In 2011, Ulbricht, a 29-year-old libertarian idealist and former Boy Scout, launched “a website where people could buy anything anonymously, with no trail whatsoever that could lead back to them.” He called it Silk Road, opened for business on the Dark Web, and christened himself the Dread Pirate Roberts (after the Princess Bride character). The site grew at a tremendous pace, quickly becoming the go-to spot to buy or sell drugs, spying software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, guns, grenades, or rocket launchers.
The Silk Road soon caught the attention of the Feds, who embarked on an epic two-year manhunt for the site’s proprietor. Ulbricht, in the meantime, struggled to maintain control of his double life and his marketplace, gradually abandoning his libertarian ideals to rule Silk Road with increasingly authoritarian force. At one point, he engaged the services of hired hit men to take out employees he felt had wronged him. Soon, some of the Federal agents who were supposed to be hunting for Ulbricht switched sides and joined him.
This is a true life thriller spurred by the defining clash of our time: the new world of libertarian-leaning, anonymous, decentralized web advocates and the old world of government control, order, and the rule of law. Bilton’s dazzling rendering and gift for narrative make for an endlessly fascinating drama.
The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness by Jill Filipovic, Nation Books
What do women want? The same thing men were promised in the Declaration of Independence: happiness, or at least the freedom to pursue it.
For women, though, pursuing happiness is a complicated endeavor, and if you head out into America and talk to women one-on-one, as Jill Filipovic has done, you see that happiness is indelibly shaped by the constraints of gender, the expectations of feminine sacrifice, and the myriad ways that womanhood itself differs along lines of race, class, location, and identity.
In The H-Spot, Filipovic argues that the main obstacle standing in-between women and happiness is a rigged system. In this world of unfinished feminism, men have long been able to "have it all" because of free female labor, while the bar of achievement for women has only gotten higher. Never before have women at every economic level had to work so much (whether it's to be an accomplished white-collar employee or just make ends meet). Never before have the standards of feminine perfection been so high. And never before have the requirements for being a "good mother" been so extreme. If our laws and policies made women's happiness and fulfillment a goal in and of itself, Filipovic contends, many of our country's most contentious political issues—from reproductive rights to equal pay to welfare spending—would be swiftly resolved.
Filipovic argues that it is more important than ever to prioritize women's happiness—and that doing so will make men's lives better, too. Here, she provides an outline for a feminist movement we all need and a blueprint for how policy, laws, and society can deliver on the promise of the pursuit of happiness for all.
Shapeholders: Business Success in the Age of Activism by Mark Kennedy, Columbia University Press
Today, all it takes is one organizational misstep to sink a company's reputation.
Social media can be a strict ethical enforcer, with the power to convince thousands to boycott products and services. While executives are stuck on appeasing stakeholders (stockholders, employees, and consumers) shapeholders, with no stake in a company (regulators, the media, and social and political activists) are working hard to curb what they see as bad practice. Companies ignore these groups at their own peril.
In Shapeholders: Business Success in the Age of Activism, the former congressman, Fortune 500 executive, and university president Mark Kennedy argues that shapeholders, as much as stakeholders, have enormous influence on a business's fate, with significant power to determine a company's risks and opportunities, if not its survival. Many international, multi-billion-dollar corporations fail to anticipate activism, and they flounder on first contact. Kennedy zeroes in on the different languages that shapeholders and companies speak and on their contrasting metrics for what constitutes ethical business practice. He teaches executives to be visionary, to sidestep conflict effectively, and to find profitable—and probable—collaborations to diffuse political tensions. Kennedy's decision matrix helps corporations align their business practices with shapeholder interests, anticipate their demands, and assess the viability of changing moral and ethical standards so that together they can plan a profitable route forward.
Masters of Craft: Old Jobs in the New Urban Economy by Richard E. Ocejo, Princeton University Press
How educated and culturally savvy young people are transforming traditionally low-status manual labor jobs into elite taste-making occupations.
In today's new economy—in which "good" jobs are typically knowledge or technology based—many well-educated and culturally savvy young people are instead choosing to pursue traditionally low-status manual labor occupations as careers. Masters of Craft looks at the renaissance of four such trades: bartending, distilling, barbering, and butchering.
In this in-depth and engaging book, Richard Ocejo takes you into the lives and workplaces of these people to examine how they are transforming these once-undesirable jobs into "cool" and highly specialized upscale occupational niches—and in the process complicating our notions about upward and downward mobility through work. He shows how they find meaning in these jobs by enacting a set of "cultural repertoires," which include technical skills based on a renewed sense of craft and craftsmanship and an ability to understand and communicate that knowledge to others, resulting in a new form of elite taste-making. Ocejo describes the paths people take to these jobs, how they learn their chosen trades, how they imbue their work practices with craftsmanship, and how they teach a sense of taste to their consumers.
Focusing on cocktail bartenders, craft distillers, upscale men's barbers, and whole-animal butcher shop workers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and upstate New York, Masters of Craft provides new insights into the stratification of taste, gentrification, and the evolving labor market in today's postindustrial city.
Co-Create: How Your Business Will Profit from Innovative and Strategic Collaboration by David Nour, St. Martin's Press
The bestselling author of Relationship Economics shows why companies must co-create value with their customers in order to lead the field.
In our hyperconnected—and hypercompetitive—economy, it’s not enough to just “listen” to your customers anymore. Consumer expectations in pretty much every area of life have soared, thanks to disruptive new technologies and ever-increasing choice. Upstarts such as Warby Parker in retail and Stripe in payments, as well as the resurgence of innovative veterans like IBM (in cognitive computing) and Toyota (in fuel cell technology), offer not only peak experiences, but the ability to adjust those experiences in real time, as our preferences change. So leading companies are collaborating with their customers at every stage of new product and service development, not only to ensure that users are happy with the outcome (and tell all their friends), but that they continue to create value by adding personal data, sharing feedback, and suggesting improvements.
The resulting community of users provides a rich trove of data and insight for the company, is naturally more invested in its future, and is less likely to leave it for a competitor. Business relationship expert David Nour shows how to effectively execute this co-creation, nourish your own user community, and ensure that your next offering is exactly what your customers were waiting for.
The CEO Pay Machine: How It Trashes America and How to Stop It by Steven Clifford, Blue Rider Press
The former top CEO examines the scandalous and corrupt reasons behind obscene pay packages for corporate executives—and explains how this hurts all of us—and how we can stop it.
Today, the pay gap between chief executive officers of major U.S. firms and their workers is higher than ever before—depending on the method of calculation, CEOs get paid between 300 and 700 times more than the average worker. Such outsized pay is a relatively recent phenomenon, but despite all the outrage, few detractors truly understand the numerous factors that have contributed to the dizzying upward spiral in CEO compensation.
Steve Clifford, a former CEO who has also served on many corporate boards, has a name for these procedures and practices—“The CEO Pay Machine.” The CEO Pay Machine is Clifford’s thorough and shocking explanation of the ’machine’—how it works, how its parts interact, and how every step pushes CEO pay to higher levels. As Clifford sees it, the payment structure for CEOs begins with shared delusions that reinforce one other: Once this groupthink is accepted as corporate dogma, it becomes infinitely harder to see any decision as potentially irrational or dysfunctional. Yet, as Clifford notes, the Pay Machine has caused immeasurable harm to companies, shareholders, economic growth, and democracy itself. He uses real-life examples of the top four CEOs named the highest paid in 2011 through 2014. Clifford examines how board directors and compensation committees have directly contributed to the rising salaries and bonuses of the country’s richest executives; what’s more, Clifford argues, each of those companies could have paid their CEOs 90 percent less and performed just as well.
Witty and infuriating, The CEO Pay Machine is a thorough and incisive critique of an economic issue that affects all American workers.
Spellbound: Seven Principles of Illusion to Captivate Audiences and Unlock the Secrets of Success by David Kwong, Harper Business
A professional magician and illusionist—the head magic consultant to the hit film Now You See Me—reveals how to bridge the gap between perception and reality to increase your powers of persuasion and influence
David Kwong has astounded corporate CEOs, TED talk audiences, and thousands of other hyper-rational people, making them see, believe, and even remember what he wants them to. Illusion is an ancient art that centers on control: commanding a room, building anticipation, and appearing to work wonders. Illusion works because the human brain is wired to fill the gap between seeing and believing. Successful leaders—like Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, and Ted Turner—are masters of control and command who understand how to sway opinions and achieve goals.
In his years of research and practice, David has discovered seven fundamental principles of illusion—with these rules anyone can learn to:
- Mind the Gap—recognize and employ the perceptual space between your audience's ability to see and their impulse to believe.
- Load Up—prepare to amaze your audience.
- Write the Script—discover the importance of shaping the narrative that surrounds your illusion.
- Control the Frame—explore the real life value of a magician's best friend: misdirection.
- Design Free Choice—command your audience by giving them agency.
- Employ the Familiar—take secret advantage of habits, patterns, and audience expectations.
- Conjure an Out—develop backup plans that will keep you one, two, three or more steps ahead of the competition.
With Spellbound you’ll discover a different way to sell your idea, product, or skills, and make your best shot better than everyone else’s.
Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies by Geoffrey West, Penguin Press
From one of the most influential scientists of our time, a dazzling exploration of the hidden laws that govern the life cycle of everything from plants and animals to the cities we live in.
The former head of the Sante Fe Institute, visionary physicist Geoffrey West is a pioneer in the field of complexity science, the science of emergent systems and networks. The term “complexity” can be misleading, however, because what makes West’s discoveries so beautiful is that he has found an underlying simplicity that unites the seemingly complex and diverse phenomena of living systems, including our bodies, our cities, and our businesses.
Fascinated by issues of aging and mortality, West applied the rigor of a physicist to the biological question of why we live as long as we do and no longer. The result was astonishing, and changed science, creating a new understanding of energy use and metabolism: West found that despite the riotous diversity in the sizes of mammals, they are all, to a large degree, scaled versions of each other. If you know the size of a mammal, you can use scaling laws to learn everything from how much food it eats per day, what its heart-rate is, how long it will take to mature, its lifespan, and so on. Furthermore, the efficiency of the mammal’s circulatory systems scales up precisely based on weight: if you compare a mouse, a human, and an elephant on a logarithmic graph, you find with every doubling of average weight, a species gets 25% more efficient—and lives 25% longer. This speaks to everything from how long we can expect to live to how many hours of sleep we need. Fundamentally, he has proven, the issue has to do with the fractal geometry of the networks that supply energy and remove waste from the organism’s body.
West’s work has been game-changing for biologists, but then he made the even bolder move of exploring his work’s applicability to cities. Cities, too, are constellations of networks and laws of scalability relate with eerie precision to them. For every doubling in a city’s size, the city needs 15% less road, electrical wire, and gas stations to support the same population. More amazingly, for every doubling in size, cities produce 15% more patents and more wealth, as well as 15% more crime and disease. This broad pattern lays the groundwork for a new science of cities.
Recently, West has applied his revolutionary work on cities and biological life to the business world. This investigation has led to powerful insights into why some companies thrive while others fail. The implications of these discoveries are far-reaching, and are just beginning to be explored.
Scale is a thrilling scientific adventure story about the elemental natural laws that bind us together in simple but profound ways. Through the brilliant mind of Geoffrey West, we can envision how cities, companies and biological life alike are dancing to the same simple, powerful tune, however diverse and unrelated they are to each other.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong by Eric Barker, HarperOne
Founder of the hugely popular blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree, Eric Barker looks at the surprising science behind what separates the extremely successful from the rest of us, and teaches us what we can do to be more like them—and why in some cases it’s good that we aren’t.
Much of what we’ve been told about the qualities that lead to achievement is logical, earnest…and downright wrong. Barking Up the Wrong Tree explodes the myths and looks at the science behind what separates the extremely successful from the rest of us. What it reveals is that success is less about being perfect in a particular quality than knowing what you’re best at and being properly aligned with your context. The thing that sets you apart, the habits you tried to banish, the things you were taunted for in school may grant you an unbeatable advantage given the proper context.
While we can’t all win Olympic Gold or Nobel Prizes, many of the methods that get people ahead are well within reach. The book will look at what works, what doesn’t and share insights on how to best navigate the world when we’re unsure. It will also reveal:
- Why valedictorians rarely become millionaires, why the best (and worst) US Presidents are the ones who subvert the system, and how your biggest weakness might actually be your greatest strength.
- How disaster survivors find the will to go on, how Medal of Honor winners keep fighting when the odds seem impossible, and how the emerging science of “mental contrasting” can help us determine when to go all-in and when to think twice.
- When is the best time to double your efforts, when to throw in the towel, and when to bluff.
- How the most networked employees are often the most productive—but why the greatest experts almost invariably classify themselves as introverts (including an astounding 90% of top athletes.)
Sometimes what produces success is raw talent, sometimes it’s the nice things mom told you to do, and other times it’s the exact opposite. Barking Up the Wrong Tree separates the true from the false and rewrite the rules of success for everyone.
White Working Class: Overcoming Class Cluelessness in America by Joan C. Williams, Harvard Business Review Press
Around the world, populist movements are gaining traction among the white working class. Meanwhile, members of the professional elite—journalists, managers, and establishment politicians—are on the outside looking in, left to argue over the reasons.
In White Working Class, Joan C. Williams, described as having “something approaching rock star status” by The New York Times, explains why so much of the elite’s analysis of the white working class is misguided, rooted in class cluelessness.
Williams explains that many people have conflated “working class” with “poor”—but the working class is, in fact, the elusive, purportedly disappearing middle class. They often resent the poor and the professionals alike. But they don’t resent the truly rich, nor are they particularly bothered by income inequality. Their dream is not to join the upper middle class, with its different culture, but to stay true to their own values in their own communities—just with more money. While white working-class motivations are often dismissed as racist or xenophobic, Williams shows that they have their own class consciousness.
White Working Class is a blunt, bracing narrative that sketches a nuanced portrait of millions of people who have proven to be a potent political force. For anyone stunned by the rise of populist, nationalist movements, wondering why so many would seemingly vote against their own economic interests, or simply feeling like a stranger in their own country, White Working Class will be a convincing primer on how to connect with a crucial set of workers—and voters.
Red Teaming: How Your Business Can Conquer the Competition by Challenging Everything by Bryce G. Hoffman, Crown Business
Red Teaming is a revolutionary new way to make critical and contrarian thinking part of the planning process of any organization, allowing companies to stress-test their strategies, flush out hidden threats and missed opportunities and avoid being sandbagged by competitors.
Today, established corporations live with the gnawing fear that there is another Uber out there just waiting to disrupt their industry. Red Teaming is the cure for this anxiety. The term was coined by the U.S. Army, which has developed the most comprehensive and effective approach to Red Teaming in the world today in response to the debacles of its recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the roots of Red Teaming run very deep—as far back as the Roman Catholic Church’s “Office of the Devil’s Advocate.” In Red Teaming, author Bryce Hoffman shows businesses how to use the same techniques to better plan for the uncertainties of today’s rapidly changing economy.
Red Teaming is both a set of analytical tools and a mindset. It is designed to overcome the mental blind spots and cognitive biases that all of us fall victim to when we try to address complex problems. The same mental shortcuts that allow us to successfully navigate life and business also cause us to miss or ignore important information. We do not know what we do not know. The good news is that, through Red Teaming, we can find out.
Hoffman reveals how the most innovative and disruptive companies, such as Google and Toyota, already employ some of these techniques organically. He also shows how many high-profile business failures, including those that sparked the Great Recession, could easily have been averted by using these approaches. Most importantly, he teaches leaders how to make Red Teaming part of their own planning process, laying the foundation for a movement that will change the way America does business.
Geek Girl Rising: Inside the Sisterhood Shaking Up Tech by Heather Cabot & Samantha Walravens, St. Martin's Press
Geek Girl Rising invites women everywhere to join the digital revolution and create the future!
Meet the women who aren’t asking permission from Silicon Valley to chase their dreams. They are going for it—building cutting-edge tech startups, investing in each other’s ventures, crushing male hacker stereotypes and rallying the next generation of women in tech. With a nod to tech trailblazers like Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer, Geek Girl Rising introduces readers to the fearless female founders, technologists, and innovators fighting at a grassroots level for an ownership stake in the revolution that’s changing the way we live, work, and connect. Readers will meet Debbie Sterling, inventor of GoldieBlox, the first engineering toy for girls, which topples the notion that only boys can build; peek inside YouTube sensation Michelle Phan’s ipsy studios, where she is grooming the next generation of digital video stars while leading her own mega e-commerce beauty business; and tour the headquarters of The Muse, the hottest career site for millennials, and meet its intrepid CEO, Kathryn Minshew, who stared down sexism while raising millions of dollars to fund the company she co-founded. These women are the rebels proving that a female point of view matters in the age of technology and can rock big returns if you have a big idea and the passion to build it.
Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don't Talk about It) by Elizabeth Anderson, Princeton University Press
Why our workplaces are authoritarian private governments—and why we can't see it
One in four American workers says their workplace is a "dictatorship." Yet that number probably would be even higher if we recognized most employers for what they are—private governments with sweeping authoritarian power over our lives, on duty and off. We normally think of government as something only the state does, yet many of us are governed far more—and far more obtrusively—by the private government of the workplace. In this provocative and compelling book, Elizabeth Anderson argues that the failure to see this stems from long-standing confusions. These confusions explain why, despite all evidence to the contrary, we still talk as if free markets make workers free—and why so many employers advocate less government even while they act as dictators in their businesses.
In many workplaces, employers minutely regulate workers' speech, clothing, and manners, leaving them with little privacy and few other rights. And employers often extend their authority to workers' off-duty lives. Workers can be fired for their political speech, recreational activities, diet, and almost anything else employers care to govern. Yet we continue to talk as if early advocates of market society—from John Locke and Adam Smith to Thomas Paine and Abraham Lincoln—were right when they argued that it would free workers from oppressive authorities. That dream was shattered by the Industrial Revolution, but the myth endures.
Private Government offers a better way to talk about the workplace, opening up space for discovering how workers can enjoy real freedom.
Based on the prestigious Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values, Private Government is edited and introduced by Stephen Macedo and includes commentary by cultural critic David Bromwich, economist Tyler Cowen, historian Ann Hughes, and philosopher Niko Kolodny.
Friction: Passion Brands in the Age of Disruption by Jeff Rosenblum & Jordan Berg, powerHouse Books
Every industry around the globe is being completely disrupted. Stalwart brands are losing market share to upstarts that capture our collective consciousness. Trillions of dollars are at stake.
Brands know a new approach is needed. But most don’t realize the strategic underpinnings need to change. Great brands are no longer built through interruptive advertisements.
Friction argues that brands don’t simply need clever messages or new, shiny technologies. They need a fundamental change in strategy. Friction provides a system for embracing transparency, engaging audiences, creating evangelists, and unleashing unprecedented growth.
The authors of Friction have worked on some of the industry’s most innovative assignments for the world’s most successful brands. This groundbreaking book reveals how corporations can divorce themselves from legacy business models to create a passion brand. A brand that breaks its addiction to traditional advertising. A brand that empowers its customers. A brand that dominates the competition.
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness by Lolly Daskal, Portfolio
Inc. magazine’s most popular writer, executive coach Lolly Daskal explains how anyone can recognize and leverage the leadership gaps that stand in the way of greatness.
When successful people begin to feel uncertain or challenged at work, the one thing they want to know most is why things are going wrong after they have gone right for so long. In The Leadership Gap, Lolly Daskal reveals the consequences highly driven, overachieving leaders face when they continue to rely on a skill set that has always worked for them, even when it is no longer effective. Over decades of advising and inspiring the most prominent chief executives in the world, Daskal has discerned that leaders fall into one of seven categories—The Rebel, The Explorer, The Truth Teller, The Hero, The Inventor, The Navigator, and The Knight—and they have risen to their position relying on a specific set of values and traits. However, every leader reaches a point when their effectiveness is compromised by the gap hidden in those traits—intuition becomes manipulation, for instance, or integrity becomes corruption.
Combining modern philosophy, science, and her own vast well of business experience, Daskal offers a breakthrough perspective on leadership—a new system for rethinking everything you know to reveal the path to becoming the kind of leader you truly want to be.
In The Leadership Gap, Lolly Daskal not only confirms her stature as an exceptional business mind, but also reveals the insights and observations that make her one of our most important leadership experts—a businesswoman known for providing trusted advice, actionable solutions, and provocative ideas to the world’s top executives.