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Reading List

My reading list includes an assortment of management and personal development books. After reading a number of personal development books over the years, I get a ‘warm fuzzy’ seeing the oldies but goodies I read years ago being referenced by today’s hot management gurus. Those books may have been written decades ago, but basic human nature remains unchanged – their premises and foundations remain valid. Note: as I go further back – to the 30s, 40s, 50s, my perception is no new self-help knowledge has been produced in the 80s and forward – just a re-packaging of what was developed earlier. You may notice I have a surprising number of sales oriented books in the list, and I am not never have been in sales. And yet, in what realm of literature would you expect to find some powerful get up and go messages with regards to personal motivation? Hmm?

My books are heavily marked up – passages deemed noteworthy are highlighted in yellow. I have found this makes for a quick re-read of the book in the future because it involves reviewing only the highlighted passages.

Starting with the Most Recent (yes, I may have several books on the go concurrently)

  • Wikinomics – How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams (2006). I picked this up at a remainder bookstore for $6 and I wish I had also picked up the other 8 copies and handed them out as gifts. This book is amazing! I’m sure we’ve heard the work ‘collaboration’ used extensively but what does a working ‘collaboration’ really look like? Take the concept of ‘wikipaedia’ and apply it to industry, where people, and companies, previously unknown to each other, collaborate in a variety of levels and agreements, to create new products, new technology, new wealth. There are numerous examples provided in the book. Read about the ideagora, about Lego and its Mindstorm, IBM leveraging open source – Linux and Apache. I hope this has whetted your appetite – just get the book and read it.
  • Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew S. Grove.¬† Written while he was President and CEO of Intel and published in 1996, Andy Grove provides amazing insight on a number of fronts, including how the IT industry was changing and why the old rules didn’t work anymore and in hindsight, a description of where we have ended up. He also provides a most useful understanding into how senior management at times confronts crisis situations, which at times may not seem to make sense but is the best for a bad situation.
  • How to Measure Anything – Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business by Douglas W. Hubard2007. The author describes how to use simple and remarkably accurate tools for estimating anything (you may shock yourself after doing his exercises); determining the value of information to validate funding for further research; and nurturing the ability to measure anything.
  • The Contract Negotiation Handbook by Stephen R Guth (2008). Provides a quick review of ploys, tactics, and contract terms and conditions that can be used during contract negotiations.
  • Serious Play by Michael Schrage (2000). On the reading list.
  • How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb (1998). Working through it. Hey, it’s got exercises, work to do – no silver bullet here.
  • The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz (2004). A light read about having too much choice, which takes the joy out of shopping, increases your stress (” did I buy the right one?”) and may cause you to chose the wrong options on your medical plan. Learn to live with ‘sufficient’ research, not ‘exhaustive’ research.
  • Customer Satisfaction is Worthless – Customer Loyalty is Priceless by Jeffrey Gitomer. This is the book you don’t want your competition to read and put into practice. Gitomer explains the fallacy of relying on ‘satisfaction’ versus loyalty, and peppers the book with anecdotes of outrageously great (and not expensive to implement) service and outrageously bad service and the influence on customer loyalty.
  • the professional service firm 50 by Tom Peters (1999). On the reading list.
  • the project 50 by Tom Peters (1999). Tom describes how to turn your projects into WOW and correctly presents good messages, such as to stay close to your stakeholders and get it right up front to make the later stages less painful. And don’t ignore the politics.
  • the brand you 50 by Tom Peters (1999). If I say ‘Martha’, ‘Donald’, or ‘Michael’ you know who I am speaking about. So, what are you doing to define you as a brand?
  • Mastery by George Leonard (1992). Loved it. Especially reading about the Dabbler, the Obsessive and the Hacker. The author found these people as he taught Aikido but they also exist in the business world.
  • Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude by Jeffrey Gitomer – which led me to several other fantastic books. Get to his website and register to receive his weekly gifts.
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu (500BC). Read this more out of curiosity than anything else. Aside from the military to business analogies one can make, there were some very educational and disturbing points on the history of China vis a vis British influence in the 1800’s.
  • As a Man Thinketh by James Allen (1914). “Be conscious of your thoughts.” For something the author was disappointed with and was published only at the prodding of his wife, it is a landmark book. It is a small very quick read. Just get the book and read it. FYI it is also available as an ebook.
  • The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz (1959). Written a few years ago but contains good advice to help you set goals. An easy read.
  • Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig (1994). Read it out of curiosity. Haven’t yet concluded what has stuck with me after reading this book.
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill (1937). Reprinted and published with annotations. I was surprised while reading this book, first published in the 1930’s, that many of the so called modern books from 1980 onwards, contain many of the same thoughts. So, start here and get through the more recent books quicker! Link to the Napolean Hill Foundation to receive their newsletter.
  • The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister (2001)Recommended for any PM or professional Manager. Especially amusing is the chapter on using the “Lieutenant Colombo Approach” to obtain information.
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – written many years ago but the fundamentals are still true.
  • The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale – ditto.
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – excellent takeaways from this book, many that find their way into project management (“begin with the end in mind”). Get the tapes/cd and listen to them while you drive.
  • Getting Beyond Average (CD) by Marshall Northcott – a great CD by a wonderful friend (yes, I’m pushing his CD!)
  • How to Sell Yourself by Joe Girard – you are always selling yourself, whether you want to admit it or not. A light read and interesting to boot.
  • How to Sell Anything to Anybody by Joe Girard – another light read. Learn about the Law of 200.
  • Dress for Success/Dress for Success for WomenD by Molloy – you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and guess what – people do judge a book by its cover.
  • how to make people like you in 90 seconds or less by Nicholas Boothman (2000). A Canadian, world famous fashion photographer, who had to learn how to very quickly at the start of a photo shoot build a positive working relationship with the world’s top fashion models – many of whom did not speak English. A quick read, and lots of great advice.
  • Put Your Best Foot Forward – Dimitrius and Mazzarella – on the reading lsit.
  • How to Work a Room – Susan Roane – mother always told us never talk to strangers, no wonder we have problems socializing and networking – they’re all strangers (initially). Help provided here.
  • Skills for Success – Adele Scheel – written some time ago, but one of the best books I have ever read on personal development.
  • What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School by Mark McCormack. Interesting reading.
  • Do What You Are by Tieger and Baron-Tieger – helps you answer the question ‘are you doing your current job¬†because you like to, or because it’s just what you’ve always done?’ Based on Meyers-Briggs analysis.
  • What Color is You Parachute by Richard Nelson Bolles – strongly advise everyone to read this book at least once after they have been in the workforce a while.
  • Getting to Yes – Negotiating Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury (1981) a standard reference text for the ‘principled negotiation’ or ‘negotiation on merits’ versus the position based style of negotiating. Learn how to make the pie bigger.

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