Must Read Books
WORK RULES!: INSIGHTS FROM INSIDE GOOGLE THAT WILL TRANSFORM HOW YOU LIVE AND LEAD
Aside from the glamour of getting an inside view of one of the world’s most successful companies, this book contains powerful insights and statistics on hiring – as a process as well as a ultra-strategic area of focus (which sadly too many organizations today still ignore or under appreciate). It’s also a very interesting read about issues around employee recognition and compensation and generally how to manage expectations in a way that drives happiness and productivity. Although my professional focus in the world of HR hardly ever touches on the art and science of talent acquisition and employee assessment, I found myself making bookmarks in the book every few pages. Like with Patty McCord’s book (“Powerful”), here too I found an intriguing approach to the area of employee training and development which I must confess was not easy for me given by professional background as a founder of a training and consulting firm. If anything, learning about Google is a must in today’s day and age, whether from this book or others. A valuable read.
WHAT THE YEAR 2050 HAS IN STORE FOR HUMANKIND
Like many, I am a fan of Yuval Noah Harari. His book, SAPIENS, had a material influence on my own work and understanding of the models and methodologies I teach in the fields of interpersonal communication, persuasion, and influence without authority. He (along with thought leaders such as Ray Kurzweil, Sam Harris and others I reference on this site) has influenced my general focus in recent years, looking beyond today and tomorrow and into an unknown yet eminent future – trying to figure out how to do that which has enabled us to prosper on this planet as a species: anticipate and adapt. A worthy read.
THE BRAIN'S WAY OF HEALING: REMARKABLE DISCOVERIES AND RECOVERIES FROM THE FRONTIERS OF NEUROPLASTICITY
This book did more than simply deepen my understanding of a topic of interest – it fully tapped my imagination and opened my mind to new possibilities that changed the way I see the world and try to live my life. Granted, there is yet much work to be done in this field and much of what he describes will surely benefit from additional and rigorous scientific evaluation. Nonetheless, if you are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of how our brain works and the power we have to use it and thus shape the quality of your life, as well as that of others, I expect you will enjoy this book very much. Another one to add to the “Optimistic books” stack.
POWERFUL: BUILDING A CULTURE OF FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY
If anything, this is a good book for testing your traditional paradigms on management and human resources. I confess that I found some of her insights and recommendations too definitive and binary, and yet, some key ideas in this book really grabbed my attention: (a) the radical operational freedom from the traditionally heavy authoritarianism of senior management and generally hierarchical organization, which she promotes; (b) the unapologetic rejection of trending approaches to employee satisfaction and HR success metrics; and the insistence on open, direct and candid communication. I found all of these ideas refreshing and even inspirational. If you are aspiring to succeed in a leadership position, I believe this book should be part of your education – regardless of how many of her ideas you decide to adopt.
Humanity has entered a new age. The exponential age. Linear progress will not suffice in this age of hyper-rapid change. We can no longer simply try to out work our targets. The world is moving too fast for that. We must outsmart our targets, by adopting exponential managerial and operational guidelines – such that are so clearly presented in this wonderful book. It has dramatically shaped my approach to management and decision making in my own company as well as with those I whom I consult.
THE UNDOING PROJECT
If you don’t have the patience to read “Thinking: Fast and Slow” AND would love to get a glimpse of the lives and working evolution of the two remarkable psychologists behind this world changing research, this is the book for you. An easy read that blends academic learning with the pleasure of a well written biography. Also a wonderful book about the beauty and challenges of professional, long standing, partnerships.
THE LEAN STARTUP
I have been an entrepreneur since the age of 11. I started dedicating my life to entrepreneurship at the age of 22. If only I had had the methodological insights of this book at the start of my path as an entrepreneur! A MUST read if you see entrepreneurship as part of your future, but just as much if you plan on reaching managerial positions. The key to enhancing our ability to succeed lies in our ability to fail fast and fail cheap as many times as possible. This book shows how to do exactly that.
THINKING, FAST AND SLOW
The theories of this remarkable psychologist (along with his lifelong research partner Amos Tversky) are the closest thing I have found to real-life “Jedi Mind Tricks” with regards to the fields of interpersonal communication, persuasion and influence without authority. Read this book to discover some of the automatic rules that guide our intuitive decision making. I recommend leaving behind judgement (such as “wow… we humans are so stupid”) and approaching this book the way you would the operational manual of a highly sophisticated machine. Oh yeah… and get comfortable when reading it – it’s not an “easy breezy” read.
Aside from being a remarkable macro historical book, what I find so interesting is what it can teach us about many of the interpersonal communication challenges we face today, in the 21st century. I was particulary interested in communication and interface management within and between large enterprises that: a) rely heavily on virtual teams and remote interactions b) span multiple time zones and c) deal with cross-cultural gaps.
This book provides interesting insight into the tremendous gap that exists between our physical and psychological evolution and the tragic price we pay for this gap in the form of diminished trust between people, which in turn results in limited to no collaboration, chronic escalations and overall burnout. Our “Small Talk? How about BIG Talk!” is based very much on insights from this book.
GETTING TO YES
This ground-breaking, short and easy to digest book introduces an interpersonal approach to negotiations in their broadest form. It is an important foundation at the base of a powerful and productive philosophy of Win-Win. We see the insights in this book as relevant not only to formal, economically driven negotiations, but also to daily interactions between operational interfaces and key stakeholders. Some of the principles introduced in this book are incorporated into our “Value Orientation” methodology which is all about LISTENING FOR, THINKING ABOUT, COMMUNICATING and ACTING VALUE.
THE INNOVATOR'S DILEMMA
A must read for any “corporate citizen.” Large enterprises used to have the benefit of size. Now, in this rapidly changing world with disruptive innovation coming from every direction and originating from ultra small players who are nimble and fast, size has become a liability. If you wish to help your company find a way to disrupt itself in a way that will help it survive this new exponential era, read this book.
You don’t have to be an animation lover to enjoy this book. What I loved about it were the powerful insights about effective management – especially one that addresses cultivating a powerfully productive culture of creativity and innovation. Another wonderful aspect of this book is the exposure to the incredible emotional rollercoaster the founders went through on their long path to greatness. It’s easy to look at the successful outcomes of great companies and individuals and think “it just happened” or was relatively easy. It rarely is! Seeing the difficulties they went through, their failures and continuing uncertainty offers consolation and stands to strengthen any entrepreneur’s resolve to stay the course.
WHAT TO DO WHEN MACHINES DO EVERYTHING: HOW TO GET AHEAD IN A WORLD OF AI, ALGORITHMS, BOTS, AND BIG DATA
The Digital Revolution (also named “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”) is upon us, and one of its attributes is an ever-faster rate of change. New paradigms are forming around us at an unprecedented rate and the human mind, as well as society at large, is finding it harder and harder to keep up with, and properly adapt to, the newly emerging reality around us. That’s why I try to read at least one book a week, with an emphasis on books that offer me a glimpse, and sometimes much more than a glimpse, into the future. This is one such book. A must read for anyone in a leadership role.
THE DEBUNKING HANDBOOK
This great handbook explores the surprising fact that debunking myths can sometimes reinforce the myth in peoples’ minds. Communicators need to be aware of the various backfire effects and how to avoid them.
FACTS DON’T CHANGE PEOPLE’S MINDS. HERE’S WHAT DOES
In a way, many of us know this deep in our gut – but reading this article really brings the idea home. Truth is important. Fact and evidence driven decision making is something worth aspiring to. But understanding human nature and how our brain works is just as important. Especially if you’re interested in enhancing your persuasion skills and overall ability to influence without authority. An important read that I often recall every now and again – especially in times of growing frustration – when trying to get a point across and hitting a wall.
THE CODE OF TRUST - AN AMERICAN COUNTERINTELLIGENCE EXPERT'S FIVE RULES TO LEAD AND SUCCEED
Inspiring trust is at the base of all human interactions