Leadership & Business Growth Books for July 2012

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

The Pin Drop Principle: Captivate, Influence and Communicate Better Using Time-Tested Methods of Professional Performers by David Lewis and G. Riley Mills


A full 91 percent of business professionals admit to daydreaming during the meetings they attend, and a shocking 39 percent confess to falling asleep. You certainly don’t want your colleagues to be among them when you have the floor. How can you ensure that, in any communication you deliver—whether you are presenting ideas, conveying feedback, conducting difficult conversations, or trying to persuade others—you not only hold your audience’s attention but engage them so completely that you really could hear a pin drop?

The Pin Drop Principle is a step-by-step master class for anyone—from first-level managers to seasoned executives—who wants to become a more confident, credible, and engaging communicator at work and in life. The core of this master class is the Pinnacle Method®, a unique model for improved communication that draws lessons from an unusual source: the time-tested methods of professional performers. Actors enter every scene with a clear objective—a reaction they want to spark in their audience—as well as a clear intention—a plan for the exact emotional appeals that will help them get what they want. This book will help you identify and activate an equally clear sense of objective and intention for every communication in which you engage.

Drawing on their own careers as professional actors as well as decades of experience in business, Lewis and Mills show you exactly how to apply these classic performance principles to any high-stakes communication challenge you face. A clear objective and intention are just the beginning of any effective communication. Lewis and Mills also offer a full toolbox of performance-based delivery techniques, including storytelling, gestures and movements, and vocal dynamics—and reveal how and when to deploy them. These cornerstones of skillful communication, they explain, are as relevant to business professionals as they are to the actors who have successfully relied on them for centuries.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to put passion and purpose behind your words, and to captivate and convince your audience, whether a crowd of thousands or a single individual. The Pin Drop Principle is the definitive hands-on guide to help you do just that.

Talk, Inc: How Trusted Leaders Use Communications To Power Their Organizations by Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind

Conversation-powered leadership

How can leaders make their big or growing companies feel small again? How can they recapture the “magic”—the tight strategic alignment, the high level of employee engagement—that drove and animated their organization when it was a start-up? As more and more executives have discovered in recent years, the answer to this conundrum lies in the power of conversation.

In Talk, Inc., Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind show how trusted and effective leaders are adapting the principles of face-to-face conversation in order to pursue a new form of organizational conversation. They explore the promise of conversation-powered leadership—from the time-tested practice of talking straight (and listening well) to the thoughtful adoption of social media technology. And they offer guidance on how to balance the benefits of open-ended talk with the realities of strategic execution.

Drawing on the experience of leaders at diverse companies from around the world, Talk, Inc., offers provocative insights and user-friendly tips on how to make organizational culture more intimate, more interactive, more inclusive, and more intentional—in short, more conversational.

Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know by Jill Geisler

Management guru Jill Geisler has coached countless men and women who want to build their leadership skills, help employees do their best work, and make workplaces happy and successful. In Work Happy, she provides a practical, step-by-step guide, based on real-world experience, respected research, and lessons that will transform managers and their teams. It’s a workshop-in-a-book, designed to produce positive, immediate and lasting results.

Whether the reader is an experienced manager, a rookie boss or an aspiring leader, Work Happy will supercharge their skills and celebrate the values that make anyone look forward to going to work. Jill Geisler offers concrete steps for improving each element of management including collaboration, communication, conflict resolution, motivation, coaching, and feedback, so that everyone on the team-whether in the office or working offsite-can do their best.

Work Happy takes management skills to the next level and proves that learning, leadership and life at work can (and should) be fun.

Vital Voices: The Power of Women Leading Change Around The World by Alyse Nelson

How women around the world are leading powerful change

Women’s progress is global progress. Where there is an increase in women’s university enrollment rates, women’s earnings, and maternal health, and a reduction in violence against women, we see more prosperous communities, better educated, healthier families, and the preservation of equal human rights. Yet globally, women remain the most consistently under-utilized resource. Vital Voices calls for and makes possible transformative leadership around the world.

In Vital Voices, CEO Alyse Nelson shares the stories of remarkable, world-changing women, as well as the story of how Vital Voices was founded, crossing lines that typically divide. For 15 years, Vital Voices has brought together women who want to enable others to become change agents in their governments, advocates for social justice, and supporters of democracy. They equip women with management and business development skills to expand their enterprises and create jobs in their communities. Their voices, stories, and hard-earned lessons—shared here for the first time—are deeply authentic and truly vital.

  1. Features interviews and first-person accounts of global leaders, such as Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, and Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prize-winning Burmese pro-democracy leader, as well as business leaders

  2. Draws on the work of the Vital Voices, the organization founded by Hillary Clinton in 1997 as a government initiative that transformed into a leading non-profit, which enables a network of 10,000 emerging women leaders in politics, human rights, and economic development in 127 countries. These women have gone on to mentor and train more than 500,000

  3. Focuses on the key elements of the Vital Voices five-step model of transformational leadership, including how to find a voice, lead with purpose, cross lines that divide, and more

Through the firsthand accounts of trail-blazing leaders, Vital Voices introduces unforgettable, inspiring women who are shaping our world.

Leadership By Choice: Increasing Influence and Effectiveness through Self-Management by Eric Papp

Chances are you don’t have the time or energy to focus intently on each choice you make. All too often, we rush our decisions and strain our relationships by not thinking clearly or communicating properly. But the best leaders develop a system for reflecting on ideas and hold themselves accountable for every choice they make. In Leadership by Choice, author Eric Papp outlines the key strategies—no filler, no fluff—for leaders to excel by connecting with others and establishing strong decision-making skills.

Leadership by Choice offers you the tools you need to make a conscious choice to positively influence those around you by managing yourself and leading others. This fast-paced, volatile business climate requires leaders who can keep cool, inspire others to adhere to high standards, produce excellent work, and continuously raise their game. This book delivers the tips you need to lead no matter your position, build high-trust teams, and even inspire accountability among the entitled members of Generation Y. Leadership by Choiceshares proven techniques that will help you achieve results in these critical areas of development:

  1. Communication: Listen to your clients, ask good open-ended questions, and find out how your service or product can be of value to them

  2. Leading Teams: Establish trust and hold people accountable

  3. Productivity: Develop a focused work approach that others admire and follow, leading to stellar results

  4. Personal Development: Discover the key ingredient to accomplishing your goals and the importance of silence

To be a strong leader, your challenge is to find creative ways to be productive and speak with influence. Loaded with actionable strategies and compelling ideas, Leadership by Choice offers a new road map for becoming a leader people want to follow.

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