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Business Books: What have you read lately?

Posted on August 8, 2009
Kathy AlbaradoWritten by Kathy Albarado | Email author

stack-of-old-booksSo many great books….so little time.  When people ask me about how I spend my personal time, it was only recently that I began sharing my love for reading.  Outside of loving the time I spend with my family, long gone are the days of cross stitching in front of the TV. In fact, I don’t even watch television any more.  (With one exception and you’ll need to wrestle that from my 16 year old daughter as we look forward to the one show that airs on Sunday nights.)

So I would LOVE to know…what books are you reading now?  Books like Jim Collins’ Good to Great, and  Bradford Smart’s Top Grading, How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching and Keeping the Best People have been read and leveraged by many of us.

But what books are you reading now?

I am reading two at the moment:  Creating Your Best Life–The Ultimate Life List Guide by Caroline Adams and Dr. Michael and Who’s Got Your Back–The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success and Won’t Let You Fail, buy Keith Ferrazzi.

Creating Your Best Life is based on the latest scientific research into happiness and the role of life lists in attaining it. It helps us understand how to set and achieve clear-cut goals while learning how and why this process contributes to greater contentment.   So think of it as The Secret, on steriods.  Real, concrete actions to take regarding meeting our goals and being happier as a result.

I was fortunate to see the author speak recently.  Caroline Adams Miller — a performance coach and motivational speaker, has a phenomenal personal story of how she overcame bulimia.  She is an accomplished goal-achiever!  Her message is truly motivational and inspiring!

Who’s Got Your Back, recommended to me by my Executive Coach Holly Williams, is thus far PHENOMENAL! It claims that the real path to success in your work and ife is through creating an inner circle of “lifeline realtionships” — deep, close relationships with a few key trusted individuals who will offer the encouragement, feedback, and generous mutual support every one of us needs to reach our full potential.

I consider myself very fortunate, as I do feel that my leadership team does indeed “have my back”!   Do you feel you have surrounded yourself by a team that “has your back”?  I encourage you to read Keith Ferrazzi’s book in determining why this is important.

Let me know what you’re reading today. I’d love to hear from you! ~ Kathy

5 Comments | Category General | Tags:

5 Comments

  1. by Holly Williams on August 9, 2009 at 8:53 am

    One of the joys of coaching is being able to read lots of books on leadership! Kathy is one of the few executives I coach who really will read a book! In fact some of my favorite recommendations have come from her and her team: ” The Four-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris (yes, they work longer hours at Helios!) and “The Breakthrough Company” by Keith McFarland, which is “Good to Great” for smaller companies.

    Here is my belief: the more you study leadership, the greater your own self awareness grows. And self-awareness is the choice point for leadership change.

  2. by Alice Waagen on August 10, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I totally agree with the importance of having close professional relationships. As a small business owner, I am constatnly asked if I miss not being part of a larger organization. My response is that I have more close supportive relationships now than I ever had working in big companies. I will defintely pick up this book – it sounds like a good one!

  3. by JMaliszewski on August 12, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    I read the “Four Hour Work Week” last year and it was a very thought-provoking book. Not that I could ever achieve the “4 hour” goal but definitely provided me a different perspective of work from the butts-in-seats cubicle driven model that I was used to in the government. I liked Ferris’ idea of not deferring your rewards and enjoying the benefits of life now. No one will ever say at the end, “gee if I’d only worked a little longer…” I’ve given it to several frends who have retired from the frenetic demands of military service to give them something to think about as they embark on this next part of their life journey.

    Two other books I’d recommend:
    1. Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. This book provides great insight into developing successful market space—and a valuable analytical framework that any business owner can apply. The premise: why spend a lot of time and effort competing incrementally on cost, common features, common perception with the other companies in your market sector? The benefits are incremental as you chip away at each others’ slice of the pie (the bloody red ocean). Apply some innovation and create a new market space where there is no competition. The analytical framework shows that innovation doesn’t have to be a happenstance thing left to the lucky; by studying your market and competitors you can generate the innovative idea needed to break out into the blue ocean. Who would have thought cement could become a popular wedding gift? It’s one of the fascinating stories in the book.

    2. Groundswell by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. If you are thinking you need to get your company on the social technology bandwagon (blogs, wiki, networking, communities), read this book first. It seems everybody is Twittering…but what business value objective is this meeting for you? Whether you are big or small, there are two truths to realize. First, even if you are not playing in the social technology now, your customers more than likely are and therefore you have potentially lost control of your message. Second, it’s not about the type of technology, it is about relationships and how those relationships influence the strategy and operations of your company. The message of Groundswell is this: Get yourself on the social technologies radar as soon as possible, just do it in the way that best supports your company’s business objectives. The book has numerous case studies of large companies and their successes—and a few struggles and failures—with trying to use social technologies as a strategy in their corporations. Groundswell, defined by the authors as “a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations,” emphasizes the strategic alignment of incorporating these technologies and cautions that once you get started you are in for a long term investment so think it through. Any company who thinks they can control their brand any more (by continuing to “shout at“ their customers with messages) is woefully mistaken. The book is replete with case studies about how customers, users, and the interested public have influenced the message, the development, the decisions, and the success (or not) of a corporate product.

  4. by admin on August 15, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Thanks Jane for your feedback. As a Book Club coordinator we truly appreciate your insight and comments. What is your Club reading now?

  5. by Scott Eblin on August 23, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Hi Kathy and friends –

    First, Kathy, thanks so much for the very generous post you wrote on my book, The Next Level. I am beyond flattered!

    I’ve had a chance to look at the other books mentioned in the previous comments and think they’re all thought provoking and instructive. If you like Groundswell, I’d also recommend Wikinomics by Don Tapscott and Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirkey. For an applied science take on social media and the web, I’d recommend, The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott.

    Some leadership books that I’m into lately are:

    Leadership Agility by Joiner and Josephs. They present a well researched and thorough framework for thinking about leadership in the context of the phases of adult development. Easy to read and understand with the authors’ tips for ways to continue your own development and how to develop others.

    Creating Magic by Lee Cockerell is a book I picked up on a recent trip to Disneyland. It’s all about how they do what they do in Disney Parks and Resorts. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with these folks a bit and really appreciate the common sense advice in this book that explains what’s behind the magic.

    Finally, take a look at The Practice of Adaptive Leadership or any of the other books by the co-authors, Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky. Their both mentors of mine and I think their work on how the leader’s job is to help the group identify and adapt to the work that needs to be done is ground breaking. It’s a post heroic model of leadership that actually ties in well with the premise of Leadership Agility.

    Cheers and happy reading.

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