Monday, February 22, 2021

Seven Business Books Worth a Look

Any business leader or marketer worth their salt should be reading frequently—heck, constantly—be it local business news, trade magazines, academic journals, practitioner blogs, or business, personal and professional development books.

Brian Tracy suggests that you read at least 30 minutes a day for personal or professional development. Garrett J. White proposes that you should read until you get an idea or an insight—and then immediately document how you can apply it in your life. And Peter Voogd recommends that you continue reading and exploring a given text until you have mastered it fully… in practice.

With the ongoing pandemic and stay-at-home orders, you might have found yourself traveling less for work—and spending less time browsing airport bookstores, which are sometimes the best and most convenient places to learn about new business, sales, and marketing books. So, what to read?

Because health-related travel restrictions might continue well into this year, I offer Media Dieticians this short list of business and related books that I recommend. Some are new, some are old. All are recommended.

Robert B. Cialdini

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Originally published in 1984, the book was identified by the Journal of Marketing Research as among the “most important books written in the last 10 years.” The classic book on persuasion describes the psychology behind people saying “Yes,” and offers six principles to increase your influence and change people’s behavior. Those principles—reciprocation, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity—can also be used to avoid being influenced by others, as well. Cialdini still serves as Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.

Carmine Gallo

Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds

Public speaking coach Gallo reverse engineered hundreds of TED Talks and interviewed popular TED presenters, as well as psychology, communications, and neuroscience researchers, to identify nine consistent elements of the most compelling TED Talks. Suggesting that ideas are the currency of the 21st century, Gallo offers tips and techniques to help business professionals and other speakers connect and communicate in more emotional, novel, and memorable ways.

Evy Poumpouras

Becoming Bulletproof

Written by a former Special Agent of the United States Secret Service—and Medal of Valor Award recipient—this book explores how to better protect yourself, read people, influence situations, and live fearlessly, in a variety of high-stakes settings. Combining Secret Service stories from Poumpouras’s career and real-world practical lessons, the book takes a look at how to leverage fear productively, the role of resilience, lies and deception, and commanding respect. The book also includes illustrations in service of the section on facial expressions, body language, and posture.

Steven Shallenberger

Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders

A long-running business owner, executive, trainer, and former board of directors member for the Covey Leadership Center, Shallenberger wrote this book to capture what he considers the key leadership, relationship, and life principles of leadership. Designed to be read four times a year—dedicating attention to a principle a week—the book takes a look at character, vision, planning, time management, the Golden Rule, trust, communication, innovation, accountability, knowledge, balance, and persistence.

Robert Shiller

Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral & Drive Major Economic Events

This impressive volume by Nobel Prize-winning economist Shiller was published by Princeton University Press. It outlines the concept of narrative economics, the role stories and media play in affecting economic behavior and financial markets. The author offers seven propositions of narrative economics—part of the book that is particularly worth noting—and considers 10 examples of perennial economic narratives, including “Stock Market Bubbles” and “Automation and Artificial Intelligence Replace Almost All Jobs.”

Paul Smith

The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell

Part of Simple Truths’s Ignite Reads series, this book is designed to be read in an hour or less. (And through the Elite Club, you can even subscribe as a monthly series!) This edition considers 10 foundational stories that exist—and might even be told—in every organization or company. They include a founding, case-for-change, vision, strategy, values, customer, sales, marketing, leadership, and recruiting story. For those readers and leaders who want to make the implicit explicit, there’s also an accompanying workbook and study guide companion that can help you document your own stories—perhaps for the first time.

Fareed Zakaria

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World

Foreign affairs expert Zakaria turns his attention to what life—and the world—might be like when we emerge from the global pandemic. True to the book’s title, he considers 10 lessons—possible scenarios post-coronavirus crisis— including the roles and impact of volatility, government, markets, experts, technology, sociability, inequality, globalization, China, and idealism. Cautiously optimistic, the book is a worthy read for citizens, leaders, and futurists alike.

What are your current favorite or most utilized business and related books? Let me know in the comments below.

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