• Tony Richards

Leadership & Business Books For March 2016

Here are my recommendations for the best leadership & business books this month:

Throwing Rocks At The Google Bus: How Growth Became The Enemy Of Prosperity by Douglas Rushkoff

When protesters shattered the windows of a bus carrying Google employees to work, their anger may have been justifiable, but it was misdirected. The true conflict of our age isn’t between the unem­ployed and the digital elite, or even the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Rather, a tornado of technological improvements has spun our economic program out of control, and humanity as a whole—the pro-testers and the Google employees as well as the shareholders and the executives—are all trapped by the consequences. It’s time to optimize our economy for the human beings it’s supposed to be serving.

In this groundbreaking book, acclaimed media scholar and author Douglas Rushkoff tells us how to combine the best of human nature with the best of modern technology. Tying together disparate threads—big data, the rise of robots and AI, the increasing participation of algorithms in stock market trading, the gig economy, the collapse of the eurozone—Rushkoff provides a critical vocabulary for our economic moment and a nuanced portrait of humans and commerce at a critical crossroads.

The Mindfulness Edge: How To Rewire Your Brain For Leadership and Personal Excellence by Matt Tenney & Tim Gard

The one habit that can improve almost every leadership skillThere is a simple practice that can improve nearly every component of leadership excellence and it doesn’t require adding anything to your busy schedule. In The Mindfulness Edge, you’ll discover how a subtle inner shift, called mindfulness, can transform things that you already do every day into opportunities to become a better leader. Author Matt Tenney has trained leaders around the world in the practice of mindfulness. In this book, he partners with neuroscientist Tim Gard, PhD, to offer step-by-step, practical guidance for quickly and seamlessly integrating mindfulness training into your daily life—rewiring your brain in ways that improve both the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills of leadership.

In this book, you’ll learn how mindfulness training helps you:

  1. Quickly improve business acumen and your impact on the bottom line

  2. Become more innovative and attract/retain innovative team members

  3. Develop the emotional intelligence essential for creating and sustaining a winning culture

  4. Realize the extraordinary leadership presence that inspires greatness in others

The authors make a compelling case for why mindfulness training may be the ‘ultimate success habit.’ In addition to helping you improve the most essential elements of highly effective leadership, mindfulness training can help you discover unconditional happiness and realize incredible meaning—professionally and personally.

The Art of Strategic Leadership: How To Guide Teams, Create Value & Apply Techniques To Shape The Future by Steven J. Stowell and Stephanie S. Mead

Develop the qualities of strategic leadership and become an active contributor to the short- and long-term success of your organizationToday’s organizations face two daunting challenges: 1. How to create new sources of competitive advantage to sustain long-term growth, and 2. How to engage leaders at every level of the organization so that they are more proactive and forward-looking in their area of responsibility. The Art of Strategic Leadership uses a unique approach to examine what it means to be a strategic leader. Instead of focusing on the skills, behaviors, and tools found in typical books on strategic leadership, the authors shed light on the attributes and qualities necessary to lead strategic change and help transform a business. Strategic leadership is what modern leadership is all about. Organizations expect leaders to anticipate and be proactive more than ever before. In this book, the authors draw on their vast experience working directly with leaders at all levels and use an intriguing narrative to explain this inside-out approach to understanding strategic leadership. The narrative follows the journey of how one manager discovered these critically important qualities. You will experience first-hand how these values and attributes manifest in the lives of realistic leaders; how they orchestrate long-term strategic change needed for the organization to compete and survive and actively shape the future while delivering short-term results.

The Art of Strategic Leadership provides the content that will help you informally assess and reflect on your own strategic leadership qualities—those that are strengths and those that indicate areas you need to develop. It will guide you as you incorporate these values and qualities into your own leadership style and become a more effective catalyst for change. This book will help you in the following ways:

  1. Develop a more proactive, forward-thinking approach to leadership

  2. Approach strategy from both short- and long-term perspectives

  3. Adopt the core values and principles of a strategic leader

  4. Model the qualities exhibited by powerful leaders

Strategic leaders serve as powerful examples to others in the organization. Their qualities and traits spread rapidly to those around them, empowering people at every level to take a more active role in meeting the demands of the future. The Art of Strategic Leadership will help you deepen and broaden your understanding of the core qualities of strategic leadership, leaving you better equipped to lead yourself and your team to a better place and create greater value for customers, owners, and employees.

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive In Life & Business by Charles Duhigg

At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently.

They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.

A young woman drops out of a PhD program and starts playing poker. By training herself to envision contradictory futures, she learns to anticipate her opponents’ missteps—and becomes one of the most successful players in the world.

A group of data scientists at Google embark on a four-year study of how the best teams function, and find that how a group interacts is more important than who is in the group—a principle, it turns out, that also helps explain why Saturday Night Live became a hit.

A Marine Corps general, faced with low morale among recruits, reimagines boot camp—and discovers that instilling a “bias toward action” can turn even the most directionless teenagers into self-motivating achievers.

The filmmakers behind Disney’s Frozen are nearly out of time and on the brink of catastrophe—until they shake up their team in just the right way, spurring a creative breakthrough that leads to one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.

What do these people have in common?

They know that productivity relies on making certain choices. The way we frame our daily decisions; the big ambitions we embrace and the easy goals we ignore; the cultures we establish as leaders to drive innovation; the way we interact with data: These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive.

Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business As Usual by David Burkus

A provocative work that challenges the traditional and widely accepted principles of business management — and proves that they are outdated, outmoded, or simply don’t work

Do open floor plans really work? Are there companies that put their employees’ welfare first, and their clients second? Are annual performance reviews necessary?


Dr. David Burkus is a highly regarded and increasingly influential business school professor who challenges many of the established principles of business management. Drawing on decades of research,  Burkus has found that not only are many of our fundamental management practices wrong and misguided, but they can be downright counterproductive.


These days, the best companies are breaking the old rules. At some companies, e-mail is now restricted to certain hours, so that employees can work without distraction. Netflix no longer has a standard vacation policy of two to three weeks, but instructs employees to take time off when they feel they need it. And at Valve Software, there are no managers; the employees govern themselves.


The revolutionary insights Burkus reveals here will convince companies to leave behind decades-old management practices and implement new ways to enhance productivity and morale.

#Books #Leadership #LeadershipBehavior #LeadershipDevelopment

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