In my experience, voracious readers of business and advice books are better leaders. Why? Because long-form reading helps you grasp complex ideas, understand what’s behind them and ultimately put them to work in your lives. When I think about what helped me make the leap from account exec to CSO, I attribute my steadfast commitment to reading books as the #1 factor. My reading explosion took place 20 years ago this fall, so to commemorate it, I’ve compiled a list of 3 books that will enlighten and enrich you.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reviewing books sent to me by publishers and authors. During my travels, I always stop by the Hudsons News bookstores to check out the latest and greatest and almost every time, I walk out with a new read. After poring over dozens of books and thinking about which ones are the most essential right now, I’ve selected the following ones for your Fall reading pleasure:
Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team by Simon Sinek TED talk star Sinek picks right up where Start With Why leaves off, answering a question I’ve heard so often: “How do I find my purpose?” He offers helpful exercises, his usual poignant illustrations and clear action steps for you to follow. If you are a leader or manager, he also gives you ways to help others find their purpose OR discover the Why that you all share in common as an organization. I find his writing style breezy, yet really smart. I’m also impressed that he went straight to market with an inexpensive paperback, which makes it a great gift to give to others.
What To Do When Machines Do Everything: How to Get Ahead in a World of AI, Algorithms, Bots and Big Data by Malcolm Frank with others Led by Cognizant’s Chief Strategy Officer, this team tackles one of the most important issues of our time: Staying relevant in the face of super-tech advances. In the first part of the book, they reveal how we are in the biggest time of upheaval and opportunity since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. In their view, these technology advances will help winning companies spur innovation and most importantly, get closer to customers. But the best part of the book is the framework they lay out for leaders like you to put to work right away so you can leverage these disruptions instead of just surviving them. No matter what business you are in, this read will give you career-insurance.
Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts by Ryan Holiday This captivating book by one of my favorite young authors reveals how you can create something that continues to succeed over time. For many of us, that’s a key aspiration in life and work. He calls enduring works by artists, companies or inventors “perennial sellers” because they are engineered to remain relevant over time. His case studies range from Seinfeld to Iron Maiden to To Kill A Mockingbird to modern day companies. Throughout the book, I kept taking away ideas on how I can improve at building products that sell over time or launching marketing programs that build on themselves. His belief resonates: “You don’t have to chase fads or trends to be successful in the long run.”
While working on this list, I canvassed my connections on LinkedIn and followers on my Facebook page for their recommendations. Finish by Jon Acuff, Extreme Ownership by Navy Seals Jocko Wilinck and Leif Babin and Machine, Platform and Crowd by MIT’s Andrew McAfee were suggested. In all 3 cases, I can attest that they are great reads that will expand your resume!
Many of you might be wondering: How many books should I read a year? How should I select them, given my limited reading time? When will I know a book will produce value for me? These are questions I answer often during my speeches on the lecture circuit. Invest a few minutes watching this video, and you’ll discover 2 unique ways to develop your Reader-Leader curriculum.