July, 2017

Book Summaries

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

 

How to win friends and influence people

Written over 80 years ago, this is a book that is as relative today as it was when it was first written. The principles are a broad mix of personal and professional advice based on the psychology of relationships. From making friends to succeeding in business, the principles outlined here serve as a proven guide for anyone who wants to build better relationships...

 

Methods of persuasion

Nick Kolenda is an entertainer who “reads minds” for a living. His apparent ability to read minds is a process of persuasion. Using proven methods of psychology to influence his subjects, he can give the appearance of being able to read thoughts. While his displays of “mind reading” are entertaining and a lot of fun, the principles he uses to pull it off are based on sound...

 

Appreciate life a little more

This is a book that will resonate with anyone who is on a fast paced career path. Eugene O'Kelly, the previous CEO and chairman of the large accounting firm, KPMG, was diagnosed with brain cancer at 53. He was given three months to live, and this is the story of his final days and how he chose to live them. He takes readers along for the experience through his downward spiral...

 

Discover your strengths

Many people spend a lot of time worrying about their weaknesses and shortcomings, and a lot of business books focus on that concern. This book takes the opposite approach by showing that many successful people focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses. They continue to fine-tune their strengths while learning how to manage their weaknesses...

"One thing that holds us back is fearing our weaknesses more than having confidence in our strengths."
 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Our habits are a compilation of knowledge, skill, and desire. This book focuses on how to develop the most effective habits with a character-driven approach as opposed to approaches that are personality-driven and developed from the outside-in.  This “inside-out” approach is composed of three stages: dependence, independence, and inter...

 

How to be a more effective executive

For executives, the job is not simply to ensure that “things get done;” it’s to ensure the right things get done, at the right time, and in the right way. The Effective Executive teaches that the role of leadership in every organization is to set clear objectives, focus their strengths on priorities, and make tough choices about what to do and what not to do...

 

ORGANIZATIONS NEED TO STOP LIMITING THEIR EMPLOYEES

How can one stop the corporation from stifling people and strangling profits? These are the qualities that most professionals wish their employees and peers possessed. But too often, these same professionals never realize that it is the company or organization itself that stifles these important qualities...

 

DEVELOPING CREATIVITY

 

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR CREATIVE CONFIDENCE

Learn how to release creativity by overcoming fears and doubts. The key to being creative is to learn how to take action. Everyone has good ideas at one time or another, but those creative ideas never see the light of day because most people don't have confidence in their creative abilities. They are afraid of failure or being judged.

“If you want more success, you have to be prepared to shrug off more failure.”

 

Awakening Your Inner Genius

“You see, genius is a path, not a gift. Studies of history’s greatest geniuses have shown that there is a 'genius code,' if you will. A combination of very specific traits that we can develop in ourselves, and thus, operate at a genius level.”

Genius is not some mystical, elusive trait, but a combination of many personality characteristics. Genius is not innate; it is a goal that can be achieved by developing separate traits or behaviors...

 

How to design new products, services, processes, etc.

The leader of one of the most successful design companies, Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, shares what he has learned about how to make “change by design.” Tim draws from his years of experience to present the fundamental principles of the design process, from idea to realization. These principles apply not only to products but to services, procedures...

 

How to deliver focused thinking in innovation meetings

Most managers are familiar with meetings that aren't productive. By using “parallel thinking,” where participants focus on one part of a discussion at a time, productivity is increased. This method uses the analogy of different colored hats to represent six modes of thinking. By having everyone wear the same color “hat” at the same time, it creates a group focus with a single point of view.

“A discussion should be a genuine attempt to explore a subject rather than a battle between competing egos.”
 

How innovation works and why it's a necessity

A tour through the systems used by design firm and idea factory IDEO provides an insider's view of how innovation works and why it's a necessity for any business. The sometimes vague concepts that are a part of innovation, like brainstorming and creativity, are broken down and explained clearly enough to make them more practical...

 

10 different methods to innovate new products

Design firm and idea factory IDEO has developed ten personas for innovation. These talents, or roles, help teams focus from different points of view to create more useful solutions. These ten “faces” are not just theories on the advantage of seeing things from different viewpoints. They are practical, tested methods that help create better solutions...

 

How to focus more deeply on your projects and work

This book divides work into two categories: 'Deep Work' and 'Shallow Work.' Shallow work is meetings, emails, phone calls, and the all those other daily tasks. The internet and social media have added even more distractions, creating more problems in time management. Getting these constant interruptions under control allows more time...

“Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate.”

 

Strategies from 3,500 years ago that apply today

The Art of War was written by a Chinese general named Sun Tzu more than 2,500 years ago. Revered for its practical advice on warfare, the lessons here apply to anyone who leads others. Each chapter focuses on a different aspect of war, along with practical advice for leading effectively. Three of the more important elements of success in battle, leadership, strategy, and tactics, are critical for victory.

 

How to build great teams

'The' handbook for building great teams. There is no fluff, no elaborate theories. Only practical advice proven to work. Managers and leaders already know how important a team can be and they know how hard it is to build a great one. This book has all the tools for building those great teams.

“To succeed, organizations must rely on the knowledge, skills, experience, and perspective of a wide range of people to solve multifaceted problems, make good decisions, and deliver effective solutions. This is where dynamic, productive teams can make the difference.”

 

Why some teams are dysfunctional

Team dynamics can make or break a company. Written as a leadership fable, this story follows a leader and his team as they struggle with the dysfunctional behaviors that will probably be familiar to most professionals. The company has great people with talent but just can't compete because morale is low and the team members just can't agree on common goals.

“If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.”

 

how to succeed in the first 90 days of a new job

The first 90 days can determine success or failure in a new job. This book provides proven strategies to make those 90 days count. The framework here applies to start-ups and established businesses and helps anyone successfully take on a new role...

 

How to be a better leader - high-level advice

“Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It’s precisely that simple, and it’s also that difficult."

Like most good books on leadership, this one makes it clear that developing the skills of a leader is very much about self-development. A leader must know himself and the climate in which he leads. That climate includes circumstances, other people, policies, and a host of other factors.

 

High-level leadership advice based on serving others

“Many people view leadership the same way they view success, hoping to go as far as they can, to climb the ladder, to achieve the highest position possible for their talent. But contrary to conventional thinking, I believe the bottom line in leadership isn't how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others. That is achieved by serving others and adding value to their lives.”