Here are our top picks for the best leadership & business books for December 2014
For readers of Malcolm Gladwell, Daniel Pink, and Freakonomics, comes a captivating and surprising journey through the science of workplace excellence.
Why do successful companies reward failure? What can casinos teach us about building a happy workplace? How do you design an office that enhances both attention to detail and creativity?
In The Best Place to Work, award-winning psychologist Ron Friedman, Ph.D. uses the latest research from the fields of motivation, creativity, behavioral economics, neuroscience, and management to reveal what really makes us successful at work. Combining powerful stories with cutting edge findings, Friedman shows leaders at every level how they can use scientifically-proven techniques to promote smarter thinking, greater innovation, and stronger performance.
Among the many surprising insights, Friedman explains how learning to think like a hostage negotiator can help you diffuse a workplace argument, why placing a fish bowl near your desk can elevate your thinking, and how incorporating strategic distractions into your schedule can help you reach smarter decisions. Along the way, the book introduces the inventor who created the cubicle, the president who brought down the world’s most dangerous criminal, and the teenager who single-handedly transformed professional tennis—vivid stories that offer unexpected revelations on achieving workplace excellence.
A Year With Peter Drucker: 52 Weeks of Coaching for Leadership Effectiveness by Joseph A. Mariareillo
A year-long leadership development course, divided into short, weekly lessons, based on Peter Drucker’s personal coaching program, previously unpublished material, and selected readings from the management guru’s classic works, compiled by his longtime collaborator Joseph A. Maciariello.
A Year with Peter Drucker distills the essence of Peter Drucker’s personal mentorship program into an easy-to-follow 52-week course, exploring the themes Drucker felt were most important to leadership development, including:
Leaders Must Set Sights on the Important and not the Urgent—a key differentiator between a subordinate and a chief.
Management is a Human Activity—Process must serve people, in and out of the organization.
The Roadmap to Personal Effectiveness—the importance of mission and doing the Right Things not just Getting Things Done.
The critical importance of leadership succession especially at top ranks of the organization.
Each weekly management meditation includes a lesson and a message or anecdote taken from Drucker’s extensive body of work, as well as suggestions for further reading, reflective questions, and quick, easy prompts to help readers incorporate the knowledge they’ve learned into their daily work.
A lifetime of wisdom brilliantly honed into a single essential volume by Drucker’s collaborator Joseph A. Maciariello, A Year with Peter Drucker gives both lifelong Drucker fans and young executives now discovering his brilliance an invaluable opportunity to learn directly from the late master.
Winning The Long Game: How Strategic Leaders Shape The Future by Steven Krupp and Paul J.H. Schoemaker
Are you winning the battle but losing the war?
Every leader has to deliver the goods—make budget, meet deadlines, and deftly manage people—to provide the inspirational fuel that keeps their business running day-in and day-out.
But therein lies the danger of winning today’s battle and losing the war—that is the long game of creating sustainable value in a volatile, uncertain world that is becoming ever-more complex and ambiguous.
The greater purpose—today’s number one business challenge—is winning the long game by being more strategic; developing the skills to look outside the four walls of the organization and see the world from the future back.
Steven Krupp and Paul J. H. Schoemaker bridge the gap between what many see as the separate domains of strategy and leadership to show how to develop the discipline of strategic leadership in a world of growing uncertainty.
While pragmatic to the core, Winning the Long Game creates vivid insights into the discipline of strategic leadership by applying it systemically through personal portraits of successful business leaders. The book profiles Elon Musk, Richard Branson, and Sara Blakely, as well as world-renowned figures like Pope Francis, Oprah Winfrey, and Nelson Mandela. What makes these strategic leaders successful is highlighted by contrasting them with others who are either mediocre or outright failures.
Winning the Long Game is the must-have playbook for every leader and for any manager seeking to be become more strategic in today’s topsy-turvy world.
Why are group decisions so hard?
Since the beginning of human history, people have made decisions in groups—first in families and villages, and now as part of companies, governments, school boards, religious organizations, or any one of countless other groups. And having more than one person to help decide is good because the group benefits from the collective knowledge of all of its members, and this results in better decisions. Right?
Back to reality. We’ve all been involved in group decisions—and they’re hard. And they often turn out badly. Why? Many blame bad decisions on “groupthink” without a clear idea of what that term really means.
Now, Nudge coauthor Cass Sunstein and leading decision-making scholar Reid Hastie shed light on the specifics of why and how group decisions go wrong—and offer tactics and lessons to help leaders avoid the pitfalls and reach better outcomes. In the first part of the book, they explain in clear and fascinating detail the distinct problems groups run into:
• They often amplify, rather than correct, individual errors in judgment • They fall victim to cascade effects, as members follow what others say or do • They become polarized, adopting more extreme positions than the ones they began with • They emphasize what everybody knows instead of focusing on critical information that only a few people know
In the second part of the book, the authors turn to straightforward methods and advice for making groups smarter. These approaches include silencing the leader so that the views of other group members can surface, rethinking rewards and incentives to encourage people to reveal their own knowledge, thoughtfully assigning roles that are aligned with people’s unique strengths, and more.
With examples from a broad range of organizations—from Google to the CIA—and written in an engaging and witty style, Wiser will not only enlighten you; it will help your team and your organization make better decisions—decisions that lead to greater success.
The time management experts at FranklinCovey share their five critical techniques for avoiding distractions and paying focused attention to our most important goals and tasks in our daily lives.
Every day brings us a crushing wave of demands: a barrage of texts, emails, interruptions, meetings, phone calls, tweets, blogs—not to mention the high-pressure demands of our jobs—that can be overwhelming and exhausting. The sheer number of distractions can threaten our ability to think clearly, make good decisions, and accomplish what matters most, leaving us worn out and unfulfilled.
Now FranklinCovey offers powerful insights drawn from the latest neuroscience and decades of experience and research in the time-management field to help you master your attention and energy management through five fundamental choices that will increase your ability to achieve what matters most to you. The 5 Choices is time management redefined for the twenty-first century: it increases the productivity of individuals, teams, and organizations and empowers you to make more selective, high-impact choices about where to invest your valuable time, attention, and energy.
The 5 Choices are: 1. Act on the Important, Don’t React to the Urgent 2. Go for Extraordinary, Don’t Settle for Ordinary 3. Schedule the Big Rocks, Don’t Sort Gravel 4. Rule Your Technology, Don’t Let It Rule You 5. Fuel Your Fire, Don’t Burn Out
The 5 Choices will not only increase your productivity, it will also provide a renewed sense of engagement and accomplishment. You will quickly find yourself moving beyond thinking, “I was so busy today, what did I actually accomplish?” to feeling confident, energized, and extraordinarily productive.