My Recommended Reading List

Table of Contents:

  1. Business and Leadership:
    1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t
    2. Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
    3. The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded
    4. The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers
  2. Personal Development and Productivity:
    1. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
    2. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
    3. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
    4. Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life
  3. Marketing:
    1. Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers
    2. Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story
    3. The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
    4. Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers
  4. SaaS and Venture Capital:
    1. Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist
    2. Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry
    3. Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors
    4. Who: The A Method for Hiring

 

Book Descriptions:

 

Business and Leadership:

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t

By Jim Collins

Jim Collins asked the question, “Can a good company become a great company and if so, how?” In Good to Great, Collins concludes that it is possible, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11– including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargo – and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success. Making the transition from good to great doesn’t require a high-profile CEO, the latest technology, innovative change management, or even a fine-tuned business strategy. At the heart of those rare and truly great companies was a corporate culture that rigorously found and promoted disciplined people to think and act in a disciplined manner.

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck – Why Some Thrive Despite Them All

By Jim Collins and Morten Hansen

Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague Morten Hansen enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous and fast-moving times. This book is classic Collins: contrarian, data-driven and uplifting.

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded

By Michael Watkins

Transitions are a critical time for leaders. In fact, most agree that moving into a new role is the biggest challenge a manager will face. While transitions offer a chance to start fresh and make needed changes in an organization, they also place leaders in a position of acute vulnerability. Missteps made during the crucial first three months in a new role can jeopardize or even derail your success. By walking you through every aspect of the transition scenario, Watkins identifies the most common pitfalls new leaders encounter and provides the tools and strategies you need to avoid them. You’ll learn how to secure critical early wins, an important first step in establishing yourself in your new role.

The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers

By Keith McFarland

The vast majority of small businesses stay small–and not by choice. Only the most savvy and persistent–a tiny one tenth of one percent–break through to the very highest ranks. In The Breakthrough Company, technology CEO and Fortune 500 consultant Keith McFarland draws upon an extensive empirical study to reveal exactly how everyday companies become extraordinary, showing that breakthrough success is associated with a clearly identifiable set of strategies and skills that anyone in any business can emulate–from small startup to industry leader.

 

Personal Development and Productivity:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

By Greg McKeown

The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.  It is not  a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.  Essentialism is not one more thing – it’s a whole new way of doing everything. A must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to learn who to do less, but better.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

By David Allen

Since it was first published almost fifteen years ago, David Allen’s Getting Things Done has become one of the most influential business books of its era, and the ultimate book on personal organization. “GTD” is now shorthand for an entire way of approaching professional and personal tasks, and has spawned an entire culture of websites, organizational tools, seminars, and offshoots.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life

By Tony Dungy

Tony Dungy’s words and example have intrigued millions of people, particularly following his victory in Super Bowl XLI, the first for an African American coach. How is it possible for a coach―especially a football coach―to win the respect of his players and lead them to the Super Bowl without the screaming histrionics, the profanities, and the demand that the sport come before anything else? How is it possible for anyone to be successful without compromising faith and family? In this inspiring and reflective memoir, now updated with a new chapter, Coach Dungy tells the story of a life lived for God and family―and challenges us all to redefine our ideas of what it means to succeed.

 

Marketing:

Audience: Marketing in the Age of Subscribers, Fans and Followers

By Jeffrey Rohrs

Every company needs audiences to survive. They are where you find new customers and develop more profitable relationships.  And yet, most companies today treat their email, mobile, and social media audiences like afterthoughts instead of the corporate assets they are.  With Audience, Jeff Rohrs seeks to change this dynamic through adoption of The Audience Imperative.  This powerful mandate challenges all companies to use their paid, owned, and earned media to not only sell in the short-term but also increase the size, engagement, and value of their proprietary audiences over the long-term.

Presenting to Win: The Art of Telling Your Story

By Jerry Weissman

Thirty million presentations will be given today. Millions will fail. Millions more will be received with yawns. A rare few will establish the most profound connection, in which presenter and audience understand each other perfectly…discover common ground… and, together, decide to act. Jerry Weissman, the world’s #1 presentation consultant, shows how to connect with even the toughest, most high-level audiences…and move them to action! He teaches presenters of all kinds how to dump those PowerPoint templates once and for all and tell compelling stories that focus on what’s in it for the audience.

The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation

By Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

What’s the secret to sales success? If you’re like most business leaders, you’d say it’s fundamentally about relationships-and you’d be wrong. The best salespeople don’t just build relationships with customers. They challenge them. The Challenger Sale argues that classic relationship building is a losing approach, especially when it comes to selling complex, large-scale business-to-business solutions.

Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer’s specific needs and objectives. Rather than acquiescing to the customer’s every demand or objection, they are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale.

Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints and Keep Your Customers

By Jay Baer

Haters are not your problem… Ignoring them is.  Eighty percent of companies say they deliver out­standing customer service, but only 8 percent of their customers agree. This book will help you close that gap by reconfiguring your customer service to deliver knockout experiences. The near-universal adoption of smartphones and social media has fundamentally altered the science of complaints. Critics (“haters”) can now express their displeasure faster and more pub­licly than ever. These trends have resulted in an overall increase in complaints and a belief by many businesses that they have to “pick their spots” when choosing to answer criticisms. Bestselling author Jay Baer shows why that approach is a major mistake.

 

SaaS and Venture Capital:

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist

By Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson

As each new generation of entrepreneurs emerges, there is a renewed interest in how venture capital deals come together. Yet there is little reliable information focused on venture capital deals. Nobody understands this better than authors Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson. For more than twenty years, they’ve been involved in hundreds of venture capital financings, and now, with the Second Edition of Venture Deals, they continue to share their experiences in this field with you.

Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry

By Marc Benioff

How did salesforce.com grow from a start up in a rented apartment into the world’s fastest growing software company in less than a decade? For the first time, Marc Benioff, the visionary founder, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com, tells how he and his team created and used new business, technology, and philanthropic models tailored to this time of extraordinary change. Showing how salesforce.com not only survived the dotcom implosion of 2001, but went on to define itself as the leader of the cloud computing revolution and spark a $46-billion dollar industry, Benioff’s story will help business leaders and entrepreneurs stand out, innovate better, and grow faster in any economic climate.

Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors

By Brad Feld

In Startup Boards, Brad Feld—a Boulder, Colorado-based entrepreneur turned-venture capitalist—shares his experience in this area by talking about the importance of having the right board members on your team and how to manage them well. Along the way, he shares valuable insights on various aspects of the board, including how they can support you, help you understand your startup’s milestones and get to them faster, and hold you accountable.

Who: The A Method for Hiring

By Geoff Smart and Randy Street

In this instant New York Times Bestseller, Geoff Smart and Randy Street provide a simple, practical, and effective solution to what The Economist calls “the single biggest problem in business today”: unsuccessful hiring. The average hiring mistake costs a company $1.5 million or more a year and countless wasted hours. This statistic becomes even more startling when you consider that the typical hiring success rate of managers is only 50 percent. The silver lining is that “who” problems are easily preventable.

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