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Posted Aug. 24, 2011 10:41 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
With weary conviction, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote near the end of his life that "There are no second acts in American lives." He gets picked on a lot for that, mostly because it's an easy and somewhat eloquent introduction to the many stories that get written about second acts in American life. He also wrote that "All good writing is like swimming underwater and holding your breath." If that one is true, our resident wordsmith and editor-extraordinaire, Sally Haldorson, has been holding her breath for quite a while now, making her way through the upcoming paperback edition of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.
It's the book's second act, and it has been reworked significantly with some additions we think you'll love. We're looking forward to the book's release later this year, but I'm sure we'll have to revisit it yet again for a third act someday, because business book publishing didn't stop after our book was finished and neither did the authors of the books that were chosen. And the authors aren't making future editions easier for us, either. They continue churning out wonderful new acts that add to the story and trajectory of their work.
Here is a list of the books coming out just this calender year from authors included in The 100 Best, along with the books that got them there:
- Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis, W.W. Norton & Company (author of Moneyball)
- That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L Friedman & Michael Mandelbaum, Farrar Straus Giroux (Friedman is the author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree)
- 3rd Alternative: Solving Life's Most Difficult Problems by Stephen R. Covey, Free Press (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
- Escape Velocity: Free Your Company's Future from the Pull of the Past by Geoffrey A Moore, HarperBusiness (author of Crossing the Chasm)
- Infinite Possibility: Creating Customer Value on the Digital Frontier by B. Joseph Pine II & Kim C. Korn, Berrett-Koehler (Pine is the coauthor of The Experience Economy)
- Reach for the Skies: Ballooning, Birdmen, and Blasting Into Space by Richard Branson, Current (author of Losing My Virginity)
- Standout: The Groundbreaking New Strengths Assessment from the Leader of the Strengths Revolution by Marcus Buckingham, Thomas Nelson (coauthor of First, Break All the Rules)
- The MacKay MBA of Selling in the Real World by Harvey MacKay, Portfolio (author of Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive)
- Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen & Clayton M Christensen, Harvard Business Review Press (Christensen is the author of The Innovator's Dilemma)
- Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work by Michael Michalko, New World Library (author of Thinkertoys)
And these are not just the second acts for most of these authors—this will be Michael Lewis's fourteenth book. With all of the great new authors entering the game today that we need to discover and read, this level of continued productivity and excellence seems almost unfair to our collective free time.
In the Books - Off to the Printers XII
Posted Jan. 11, 2011 7:53 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
In another installment from the annual review of business books we produced last year, we have an article from friend and former president of the company, Todd Sattersten. In it, he discusses the meta-themes in business thought that he and Jack uncovered as they spent 18 months compiling, reading, choosing and writing The 100 Best Business Books of All Time.
The Five Universal Themes in Business BY TODD SATTERSTEN
What happens when you spend 18 months reading the best in business literature? In our case, two things happened—one expected, the other quite unexpected.
The expected was the creation of a list of the 100 best business books of all time, which led to a book by the same name. The unexpected came as we uncovered a number of meta-themes the books share that exist beyond any predictable grouping by subject matter. For example, Michael Useem’s The Leadership Moment has surprising connections with as Taiichi Ohno’s Toyota Production System and Gary Klein’s The Power of Intuition. Ultimately, we found five persistent meta-themes across our selection of the 100 best business books. Each meta-theme appears horizontally across traditional publishing categories, bridging such divisions as sales, management, narrative, and finance. Each meta-theme also scales in a vertical sense, applying to individuals, teams and organizations equally. So profound are these meta-themes, we argue, that these five universal insights act as the foundation for a leader dealing with any aspect of business, whether starting a new job or developing the next year’s corporate strategy.
1. Clarity of Purpose
Purpose provides direction and brings clarity to all work. For the individual in pursuit of purpose, author Po Bronson asks the ultimate question in his book, What Should I Do with My Life? Organizations struggle with the same kind of question when they craft their mission statements and massage their marketing slogans.
2. Wisdom in Decision Making
The process of making decisions is often overly deliberate or completely unconscious. In both cases, we base our decisions on past experience and judge the success of those decisions only on the success rate of the outcomes. In Influence, Robert Cialdini alerts us to how we use unconscious routine to make even the smallest decision, while in The Power of Intuition, Gary Klein provides a map to some of that scripting and shows how we can improve our gut instinct.
3. Bias for Action
Tom Peters and Bob Waterman pointed out in In Search of Excellence that a quality of excellent companies was “the bias for action.” This assertion that action trumps all appears in many great books, so what keeps us from taking action? Author David Allen (Getting Things Done) would say a person’s focus is misplaced on time and priority, rather than action. Authors Jeffery Pfeffer and Bob Sutton (The Knowing-Doing Gap) would say organizations suffer from a gap between knowing and doing.
4. Openness to Change
Understanding change is essential because change affects individuals and organizations constantly. Sales is about change. Marketing is about change. Corporate strategy about is about change. Lou Gerstner says it was changing IBM’s entitlement culture that was his biggest challenge. In The First 90 Days, new job guru Michael Watkins describes the waves of change that new managers must instigate. In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffery Moore shows how products are adopted and what different constituents need to accept change.
5. Giving and Getting
Feedback Imagine throwing a baseball in a dark room. You would miss seeing the trajectory the ball took or where it landed. Our success depends on feed-back. Did we make the right choice? Did the action have the intended effect? Are things changing? Daniel Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) says self-reflection is a form of feedback and an essential piece of emotional intelligence. Engineering professor Henry Petroski, author of To Engineer is Human, says failure is a critical part of learning. And in Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar says listening is the most important part of selling.
These themes are likely to persist as business and business literature evolves further, because companies continually fail to absorb the simple lessons: Find a clear purpose. Be aware that past experience and a mass of information can interfere with wise decisions. Maintain a bias toward action. Be open to change. Seek feedback. These behaviors link together: Clarity of purpose provides wisdom in decision making, which informs action, which in turn, creates change, while feedback informs them all.
PREVIOUS POSTS FROM IN THE BOOKS
- I: Financial Markets: Their Promise and Failure (and Promise) BY DYLAN SCHLEICHER
- II: When Ecology and Economy Meet BY KATE MYTTY
- III: Why We Love Business Books More Than Ever BY ERIKA ANDERSEN
- IV: Odd Intersections: Fiction Captures the Complexities of Business BY REBECCA SCHLEI HARTMAN
- V: Explorations Into the Human Psyche BY ROBBIE HARTMAN
- VI: For Women Only? A Look at Trends in Business Books Written by Women BY SALLY HALDORSON
- VII: Real-World Lessons in Leadership BY ROBERT MORRIS
- VIII: We the Internet BY DYLAN SCHLEICHER
- IX: The Shifting Landscape of Moving Ideas: The Art of Publishing in a Socially Empowered World BY JON MUELLER
- X: The Information Age
- XI: Finding Opportunities: Re-examining Personal and Organizational Strength in Challenging Times BY JON MUELLER
The Keen Thinker Vol 12
Posted Nov. 30, 2010 7:14 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
We released our 12th volume of The Keen Thinker. In addition to a list of some of the very best business books, we also compiled a treasure trove of great business book information, including:
- Chris Guillebeau and Sally Hogshead headline 800-CEO-READ's Author Pow Wow! Making Connections | THE 8CR POW WOW est. 2005 DECEMBER 7-8, 2010 | MILWAUKEE
- The latest issue of The Business Beat has been released by the good people of Portfolio. This month the focus is on technology, and...Jack Covert takes a look at Geoffrey Moore's classic, Crossing the Chasm.
- LeaveSmarter with John Gerzema We were thrilled to have John Gerzema, co-author of Spend Shift, in Milwaukee yesterday to speak at our latest LeaveSmarter* event, held on the third floor of the breathtaking Grohmann Museum.
- The newest ChangeThis Issue # 76.
- And...some classic holiday music suggests to make your season bright.
Posted Nov. 5, 2010 11:41 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
➻ I'm a big fan of strategy + business's author choice excerpts. The most recent recommendation, by Who Killed Health Care? author Regina E. Herzlinger, is John Torinus Jr.'s The Company That Solved Health Care: How Serigraph Dramatically Reduced Skyrocketing Costs While Providing Better Care, and How Every Company Can Do the Same. The excerpt's title, Beer, Brats and Butterfat, was enough of a hook for my accurately stereotypical Wisconsin tastes.
Kurt Eschenfelder, a former college football player and engineer at Serigraph, stands 6 feet 4 inches and tipped the scales at 330 pounds. He looked indestructible. That was until his required health screening showed his blood sugar count at 177, which meant he was pre-diabetic.
Guys like Kurt are commonplace in Wisconsin, where we like our beer, bratwurst, and butterfat (translate: cheese and other dairy products). Typically, in the passive U.S. health care model, Kurt’s doctor would have given him a lecture, and Kurt would have been essentially on his own to head off a diabetic condition.
In the proactive model Serigraph has developed, Kurt was surrounded with help. He consulted with Tammy Ertl, our on-site nurse practitioner, Rachel Topercer, a dietician, and Sandy Stockhausen, the diabetes educator from Aurora Health, one of the two big health providers in our area.
Kurt listened, and, unlike most diabetics or near-diabetics, he started a disciplined regimen. He dropped about fifty pounds over approximately six months and lowered his blood sugar to around one hundred without medications. Now, Kurt has no other warning signals for diabetes in his physical makeup.
I can assure you that the book's title is not hyperbole. John Torinus and his company really have figured this stuff out. Working with the author last week in the run up to publishing his ChangeThis manifesto, Through the Fog: Solving Healthcare in Companies, I only received one correction from him:
Looks good. One change: we can now say [that we've had] only three premium increases in eight years (vs. seven in the copy). We will have no hike to employees in 2011. Hooray.
➻ The latest issue of The Business Beat has been released by the good people of Portfolio. This month the focus is on technology, and Courtney Young set herself the envious task of interviewing Kevin Kelly, author of What Technology Wants. They also have a takeaway from Lisa Gansky, author of The Mesh: Why the Future of Business Is Sharing, which I think is a book of as much importance as The Long Tail and Wikinomics. We the have the usual suspects, Adrian Zackheim and our own Jack Covert. Adrian discusses the role of technology in book publishing and Jack Covert takes a look at Geoffrey Moore's classic, Crossing the Chasm. Rounding out the issue is Penguin's Manager of Inventory and Operations, Matthew Pavoni, on how Cali Ressler and Jodi Thompson's Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It made him a better manager.
➻ The Largehearted Boy has begun posting his annual Online "Best of 2010" Book Lists, in which he aggregates every online "best of" book list he can find. I have one to add: 50 Books About Books from Fine Books Magazine.
➻ In other book nerd news, The Design Observatory took a look at The Library: A Museum. Apparently university libraries are awash in antiquarian delight.
I shouldn't be reading this book—I shouldn't even be touching it. It is a fragile copy of Oliver Twist from 1841, printed only three years after it was written. Dickens himself might have held it. The pages are paper-towel thick and velvety soft. The typography makes an impression, both literally and figuratively. Tissue protects its many engravings—elaborate scenes of beatings—to ironically save them from injury. To read the text is to time-travel. One gains insight into grammar from the past: "To-morrow" is hyphenated in the annals of yesteryear. Colons : surrounded on either side by spaces : are used unfamiliarly : as in parenthetical thought. Every eighth page is numbered—possibly to track signatures. The contemporary mind fills with intrigue and wonder.
And where did I find such a treasure? Quite conveniently, right in the stacks.
He goes on to ask what such books can teach us about design:
Let me rephrase that: what can't they teach us about design? Inspiring page layout; unusual language; informative content; unrecognizable typefaces; unfamiliar color palettes; styles of illustration that have long been forgotten; historical connections; echoes from designers that—products of their own time—we couldn't possibly recreate. It is cognitive overload.
If any of that even slightly stirs you, go read the rest of the post. There is much more going on there than I can do justice to here.
➻ And there's this news from Publishers Weekly about the exact opposite—the cutting edge of digital book distribution (though the link above does discuss digital design):
More unusual is a new app from the publishing imprint of Pearson, FT Press, which was launched on Monday on LinkedIn, the business social network, making FT Press the first company to launch a LinkedIn app.
If it can help me with their recent release Invisible Forces and Powerful Minds: Gravity, Gods, and Minds from The Chicago Social Brain Network, then I'm all for it. Go to the original announcement to learn more.
➻ In McSweeney's Internet Tendencies' latest open letter to people or entities that are unlikely to respond, Mark Rook wrote a depressingly touching Open Letter to the Homeless Man Who Witnessed Me Totally Lose It Last Week. It is one of those small pieces that you think is going to be good for a quick laugh, but ends up wiping any trace of smile off your face and taking you to a much deeper place. It's ending is sweet enough that you may just end up smiling once again, though. Much better than a quick laugh.
➻ Coming home late last weekend, I put on a record that I hadn't listened to in a very long time and remembered something important I had forgotten.
Crowdsourced Entrepreneurial Reads
Posted Sept. 14, 2009 9:17 a.m. by todd-sattersten
In Lists - 800 CEO Read Blog
A few weeks ago, Fred Wilson from avc.com kicked up interest in books that entreprenuers should read. Fred, in particular, made the point that "there is way more insight to be gained from stories than from business books." He suggested Kavalier and Clay, Atlas Shrugged, The Prince, and anything by Shakespeare.
At the end of his post, he asked for more suggestions. The post generated 191 comments and prompted the creation of a wiki.
I pulled all the books from the wiki over into this post and linked to the books. The [FW] tag denotes that it was endorsed by Mr. Wilson himself directly or in the comments of the original post.
- Atlas Shrugged [FW]
- The Prince [FW]
- All of Shakespeare's Histories & Tragedies [FW]
- Founders at Work
- Autobiography of Malcolm X
- Catch-22 [FW]
- The Gold Coast
- State of Fear
- Confessions of a Street Addict
- Selling the Wheel
- Plato's Republic
- The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
- Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
- Moby Dick [FW]
- The Art of War [FW]
- Taking on the World
- A Short History of Nearly Everything
- Garp [FW]
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull [FW]
- Rossi: MotoGenius
- The Puritan Gift
- The Fountainhead [FW]
- Pillars of the Earth
- The White Tiger
- The Monk and the Riddle
- Outrageous Optimism: Wisdom for the Entrepreneurial Journey
- The E-Myth Revisited
- Setting The Table [FW]
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
- Siddartha [FW]
- Confederacy of Dunces
- Dark Star Safari
- Project X - Nissin Cup Noodle
- The Red Horse
- St. Augustine's Confessions
- The Four Agreements (Miguel Ruiz)
- Tao Te Ching (Lau Tzu)
- The Sharper your knife, the less you cry (Kathleen Flinn)
- What Would Google Do? (Jeff Jarvis)
- Burn Rate (Michael Wolff)
- Startup (Jerry Kaplan)
- The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Campbell)
- The Alchemist (Coelho)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Twain)
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Carroll)
- The Wealth of Nations (Smith)
- Absalom, Absalom (Faulkner)
- The 33 Strategies of War
- The 48 Laws of Power
- Hide a dagger behind a smile
- Cold Calling For Chickens
- Disclosing New Worlds: Entrepreneurship, Democratic Action, and the Cultivation of Solidarity (Flores)
- The Art Of Profitability
- The Innovator's Dilemma
- Crossing The Chasm
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20
- The Compassionate Samurai
- The Art of Learning
- The Selfish Gene
- Capital (Karl Marx)
- Mein Kampf
- The Singularity is Near
- How to Win Friends & Influence People
- Hope is not a Strategy
- The Four steps to the Epiphany
- The Principles of Product Development Flow - Second Generation Lean Product Development
- One Hen
- Blueprint To A Billion
- The Places In Between
- Mavericks at work
- The Tipping Point
- Behind Closed Doors (Secrets of great management)