Read these ten books next year

One of my life mottos is “readers are leaders”. I believe in reading great books from non-fiction and business to escape. They open your mind and deepen your empathy.

One of my favorite subjects is great books. I loved to buy them, read them and recommend them. In previous posts I suggest that you read at least one book per month. You vary what you read, to keep reading an interesting process, and in a year you grow as a person.

Here are my ten books of 2006, in no particular order. Read them all in 2007 and learn great lessons about life.

Business and management:
Mavericks At Work: Why the most original minds in business win by Polly LaBarre and Will Taylor.
This books is a rollicking read of case study after case study of true against-the-grain-but-with-the-market best practices in innovation. If you loved Good To Great, then you’ll like this one a lot.

The Power Of Nice: How to conquer the business world with kindness by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval.
Finally, a book full of relevant research regarding the law of reciprocity in the business world. This powerful work will help you grasp the power of inspriation to drive productivity and reduce risk. In the future, much of leadership talk will revolve around listening skills and the capacity to possess compassion. If you liked my first book (Love Is The Killer App), you’ll find these authors kindred spirits.

The Long Tail: Why the future of business is selling less of more by Chris Anderson
Wired’s Anderson pinned a note to the church door (publishing, media) with his article (The Long Tail) a few years ago. The premise of the book is simple, yet profound: the hits business is a miss in the future. This book confirms the role of ecommerce and self-service in the future of profit margins and truly scalable business concepts. If you loved The Tipping Point or Freakanomics, this book is a must-read.

Revolutionay Wealth by Alvin and Heidi Toffler
Alvin Toffler is the original Gladwell-Earth-Is-Flat futurist. In the 70’s he dropped Third Wave and Future Shock on us and was right more often than wrong. In his newest work, he and Heidi demonstrate how wealth building will change — and drive change throughout the business world and society. He could have predicted user-generated content as a key media force. If you love Dan Pink’s Whole New Mind, this book is the one for you.

History and Memoir
Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The untold story of how Abraham Lincoln used the telegraph to win the civil war by Tom Wheeler.
In a world of email as primary communication weapon, this book will blow your mind. If Lincoln was around today, he’d give Bill Gates and Steve Jobs a run for their money. He’d teach the Hill a thing or to about fund raising. T-mails (telegraph messages) are the original emails. This book will expand your thinking about how to leverage email effectiveness into a strategic advantage.

Leaving Microsoft To Change The World by John Wood.
I met John at The Power Within conference in Toronto this year. He struck me as a smart, compassionate and inspired sort — and gave me his book to read. This memoir will inspire you to think about your work life and success in a different way. He tells the story about his odessy to educate kids in Africa and beyond — at the sacrafice of a multi-million dollar stock-option rich career at Microsoft. At the end of the book you realize that you need to do something too, because significance is the new success. Read it and weep.

Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert.
For a Harvard prof, this guy is funny! This book, also a mind bender, will change the way you think about happiness. Turns out that you can’t ever find happiness, because most of the things you want will actually make you miserable. In the end, this psychology guru with a writing style like David Sedaris, will convince you that you’ve got to learn to stumble a little through life — and then you just might accidently find true happiness!

Social Intelligence: The new science of human relationships by Daniel Goleman.
This is the long awaited followup to Emotional Intelligence (I also loved the business version, Primal Leadership). Dr. Goleman’s work has deeply influenced me and you’ll find it tightly weaved into my last book (The Likeability Factor). The premise of this book is that our brains do a little dance with other people’s brains throughout relationships — and we need to learn some steps! Consider this psychology 101.

Laurel Canyon: The inside story of rock-and-roll’s legendary neighborhood by Michael Walker.
I moved to Laurel Canyon about 18 months ago. Our house was owned at one time by the bass player for Gun’s and Roses (Duff McKagan). He had a studio downstairs and there was a drumstick on the floor the day we moved in. My wife Jacqueline bought this book at the Laurel Canyon market and enjoyed it immensely. I just read it on a trip and couldn’t put it down. From the Byrds to the Eagles and Zappa to the Doors, you get the whole story here about the time and place when rock’s mirror moved from NYC to LA. The book is written romantically with wonderful prose and great storytelling. Read this one and disappear into the Canyon’s history.

Marley and Me: Life and love with the world’s worst dog by John Grogan.
Here’s another book to cleanse your palate. Grogan tells a touching story about the power of love and emptiness. I truly believe we can learn powerful life lessons by studying our pets. This book will put a smile on your face and a lump in your throat. Don’t read this one if you’ve just lost a pet. Read this one if you want to grow as a person.

Good luck in the new year and great reading!

Tim Sanders, your lovecat book maven.

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