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ISBN 9781455509126 Published Sept. 2012
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Posted Jan. 23, 2013 6:43 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
When I got in my car, the temperature gauge on the dashboard read negative four degrees. It was sunny out, but it was the kind of sunlight that seems reluctant—like a lone light in a walk-in freezer—struggling through the cold air to get to you.
So when I backed out of the driveway yesterday morning, I thought to myself, "there is no way we get a good crowd this morning, on the coldest day of winter. There's no way people leave the warmth of their beds an hour early and head out into sub-zero temperatures just to discuss ideas and business books for two hours before they head off to their actual jobs for the day." I underestimated the drive and gumption of the business book readers of Milwaukee, and the ability of the good folks at Translator to get them there. They showed up.
You can tell by the winter light, and the heavy winter coats and scarves in the pictures, that it was well below freezing. But Translator had good, hot coffee, and a really great group of people, and our [general] manager Jon Mueller curated an engaging conversation around the ideas and stories from each of this year's 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards category winners.
It was an excellent crowd. It was not a gathering of people looking for a way to escape their current circumstances, but of those that knew they have a lot more they can contribute to their current circumstances—whether their work, home, or hobby—and were searching for new ways to meet that challenge. All those that spoke seemed happy and effective in their life and work, but they also seemed to know that they can get even more out of life, and that they have more to offer their world. And instead of being bitter, they were all striving for ways to be just a little bit better. So they came, and they discussed, and they went back out into the cold morning fortified with new ideas and insight.
Thanks so much to those that showed up, to Translator for organizing and hosting the event, and of course to all the authors that wrote the books and provided the ideas and inspiration that continue to get us up, excited, and out the door early. We'll have some video of the event for all of you in the not-too-distant future.
The Elite Eight: Our Picks for the Top Business Books of 2012
Posted Dec. 18, 2012 6:40 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
In anticipation of announcing the winner of the 2012 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year tomorrow, here's a recap of the category winners. Click on the links below to read more about these top books of 2012.
Which book is *your* pick for the top book of the year?
~General Business: PRIVATE EMPIRE | Steve Coll
~Leadership: THE COMMITMENT ENGINE | John Jansch
~Management: THE ADVANTAGE | Pat Lencioni
~Innovation & Creativity: THE ICARUS DECEPTION | Seth Godin
~Small Business & Entrepreneurship: THE $100 STARTUP | Chris Guillibeau
~Sales & Marketing: TO SELL IS HUMAN | Dan Pink
~Personal Development: SO GOOD THEY CAN'T IGNORE YOU | Cal Newport
~Finance & Economics: FINANCE & THE GOOD SOCIETY | Robert Shiller
The 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards, Personal Development
Posted Dec. 17, 2012 5:06 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Our founder and president, Jack Covert, recently told Andrew Hill of The Financial Times that business books, “in their core and their soul, are self-help books, where people go to make their company better, to make their job better.” And while that may be true of business books in general, there are many that are very specifically directed at Personal Development. This year, the best of those was Cal Newport's So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love from Business Plus.
“The passion hypothesis is not just wrong, it’s also dangerous. Telling someone to ‘follow their passion’ is not just an act of innocent optimism, but potentially the foundation for a career riddled with confusion and angst.”
So Good They Can’t Ignore You, page 24
To see the runners-up, check out our Innovation & Creativity shortlist.
2012 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards Shortlist: Personal Development
Posted Dec. 13, 2012 6:23 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Over the course of this week, we have posted the shortlist selections in the General Business, Leadership, Management, Innovation & Creativity, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Sales, Personal Development, and Finance & Economics categories. Just one last category left: Personal Development.
Stay tuned, because on Monday, December 17th, we'll announce the category winners, and, on Wednesday, December 19th, we'll celebrate the overall winner of the 2012 800-CEO-READ Business Book Awards!
The selections for the Personal Development category are:
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown, Gotham Books
- Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours by Robert C. Pozen, Harper
- The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone—Especially Ourselves by Dan Ariely, Harper
- So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport, Business Plus
- The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal, Avery
What can you do to be a better you? Maybe it's refining your strengths, or developing new skills, changing a bad habit, embracing a particular (and maybe peculiar) personality trait. Whatever your goal for yourself is, personal development books can help. And the five books on our Personal Development shortlist can help change your life. Kelly McGonigal's The Willpower Instinct reveals the science behind your impulses, your fears, and your tendency to procrastinate, and how you can use science to develop your willpower like a good workout helps develop your muscles. The benefit of that practice is an increased ability to reach the kind of Extreme Productivity that Robert Pozen details in his new book. Pozen's results-oriented premise is that most of us waste a considerable amount of time being unproductive, and we can actually work less by doing more. But personal development isn't all about "doing." Sometimes it's about "being," and Brene Brown's Daring Greatly challenges us to re-cast vulnerability as a welcome thing, to embrace the risk and the fear that comes along with it, and work through all those issues of shame, perfection, anxiety and cynicism that come up when we are courageous enough to face uncertainty. Perhaps vulnerability can prevent the kind of deceptive and defensive behavior Dan Ariely presents in his newest book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty. Ariely's books always help us better understand human nature, and by doing so, we can bring the better angels of our nature to work and to our businesses. And it's not surprising then that when we do bring our better selves to work, we begin to love the work we do. Cal Newport's So Good They Can't Ignore You posits that the usual advice of finding work you love by following your passion is off target, and that we're better off by following a craftsman mindset, focusing on the value we're producing, the skills we've developed, pursuing what we're good at.
Jack Covert Selects - So Good They Can't Ignore You
Posted Sept. 14, 2012 5:12 a.m. by 800-ceo-read
I have a dear friend that has worked in the arts community for decades tell me recently that what strikes him most about great artists is not their passion, but their “toughness.” I was reminded of that statement again when I picked up So Good They Can’t Ignore You, a great new book on career development by Cal Newport being released this month by BusinessPlus.
Newport, as a postdoctoral associate at MIT on his way to a life in academia (after having already graduated with a PhD in computer science from the same program), set out to answer a question. Most technologists at this point would begin with a technical question to investigate, but Newport’s search revolved around a very simple, very human question—a question he became obsessed with: How do people end up loving what they do? And he discovered that the prevailing wisdom on the topic—“follow your passion”—is terrible advice.
Newport points to the work of a professor of organizational behavior at Yale University, Amy Wrzesniewski, who surveyed people in the work force to determine which type of work people refer to as a job (a way to pay the bills), which is a career (a path toward increasingly better work), and which becomes a calling (work that’s an important part of your life and a vital part of your identity).
In Wrzesniewski’s research, the happiest, most passionate employees were not those who followed their passion into a position, but instead those that who have been around long enough to become good at what they do.
Newport presents a very helpful distinction between the craftsman mindset, “a focus on what value you’re producing in your job,” and the passion mindset, “a focus on what value your job offers you.” He argues that “regardless of how you feel about your job right now, adopting a craftsman mindset will be the foundation on which you’ll build a compelling career,” and counsels readers to move their “focus away from finding the right work and toward working right,” to eventually build a love for what they do. Newport is not anti-passion so much as he’s passion-agnostic, believing passion “is an epiphenomenon of a working life well lived.”
It seems that everyone wants to change the world these days, and that’s commendable. But perhaps the best way to do so is by becoming really good at what you do—so good that they can’t ignore you—and building from there.