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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

Leadership & Business Growth Books for December 2012

Here are our top picks for the best leadership and business growth books this month.

What does success mean to you? A corner office and a seven-figure income? The chance to spend more quality time with your family and friends? Making it big with your own business start-up?

Success isn’t just a result of luck and hard work. It’s about knowing how to define success for yourself and how to get into the right frame of mind to truly achieve it. With an effective framework based on 10 key aspects of a successful professional and personal life, The Art of Deliberate Success helps you establish what success really means to you and gives you the tools to make it happen.

Inside you’ll discover how to:

  1. tap into your deepest values so you engage fully with your goals

  2. identify your unique style of work and boost your performance

  3. reduce your stress level significantly

  4. align what’s really important to you with how to manage your time

  5. become an assertive decision maker

  6. develop team members and enhance productivity

  7. link your personal goals and aspirations with those of your organisation

  8. achieve a better work-life balance for you and your family.

Drawing on over two decades of working with some of the world’s most successful leaders, Dr David Keane distils what he has learned about success into a strong set of unique and powerful lessons, including a self-assessment quiz (available online at that helps you identify your strengths and shows you where to direct your efforts.

Easy to read and highly effective, The Art of Deliberate Success is the perfect guide for people who want to reach new heights and stay there. Discover how to achieve your version of success purposefully, passionately and deliberately.

Service-Ability: Create a Customer Centric Culture and Achieve Competitive Advantage

‘Service-ability can be defined as the ability of the whole organization, through its individual members, to deliver consistently what the organization seeks to do: in a culture of initiative, professionalism, engagement and involvement that resonates with the customer and creates delight and satisfaction in both parties.’

Ostensibly, customer service lies in the area of marketing and strategy, however Service-Ability is also about management and organizational behaviour, and the book ranges deeply into these areas to make its point.

The scope of Marketing has changed in the last ten years and the books key argument is the need to re-think the way we structure, manage, lead and organize our corporate bodies to be better able to achieve total customer centricity and develop lasting relationships with customers.

To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

From the bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind comes a surprising—and surprisingly useful—new book that explores the power of selling in our lives. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans works in sales. Every day more than fifteen million people earn their keep by persuading someone else to make a purchase.

But dig deeper and a startling truth emerges:

Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight.

Whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea, entrepreneurs enticing funders to invest, or parents and teachers cajoling children to study, we spend our days trying to move others. Like it or not, we’re all in sales now.

To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it’s no longer “Always Be Closing”), explains why extraverts don’t make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an “off-ramp” for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds.

Along the way, Pink describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another’s perspective, the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive, and much more. The result is a perceptive and practical book—one that will change how you see the world and transform what you do at work, at school, and at home.

It's All About Who You Hire, How They Lead...and Other Essential Advice from a Self-Made Leader

With corporations now associated in the public mind primarily with greed and unethical practices, it’s more important than ever for leaders to move the focus back onto integrity, honesty, and doing the right thing. Mort Mandel, a CEO whom Peter Drucker esteemed in the same category as Jack Welch and Andy Grove, has spent the past seven decades mixing business and philanthropy, to the great enhancement of both. In this book Mandel shows how leaders can create lives of both meaning and profitability.

  1. Contains Mort Mandel’s fascinating story (including his work with Peter Drucker, and the painful sale of Mandel’s company)

  2. Provides both inspiration and lessons on the leadership skills such as building culture, customer relationships and execution that are necessary to achieve crossover success

  3. Shows how running a business and a nonprofit made Mandel a better entrepreneur and a self-made billionaire

The book is filled with lessons learned from how Mort Mandel built a $3 billion company from scratch, yet also managed to spend up to a third of his time in the social sector, building and supporting nonprofit organizations.

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

In Seth Godin’s most inspiring book, he challenges readers to find the courage to treat their work as a form of art

Everyone knows that Icarus’s father made him wings and told him not to fly too close to the sun; he ignored the warning and plunged to his doom. The lesson: Play it safe. Listen to the experts. It was the perfect propaganda for the industrial economy. What boss wouldn’t want employees to believe that obedience and conformity are the keys to success?

But we tend to forget that Icarus was also warned not to fly too low, because seawater would ruin the lift in his wings. Flying too low is even more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.

The safety zone has moved. Conformity no longer leads to comfort. But the good news is that creativity is scarce and more valuable than ever. So is choosing to do something unpredictable and brave: Make art. Being an artist isn’t a genetic disposition or a specific talent. It’s an attitude we can all adopt. It’s a hunger to seize new ground, make connections, and work without a map. If you do those things you’re an artist, no matter what it says on your business card.

Godin shows us how it’s possible and convinces us why it’s essential.

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