“The library (i.e., your personal library) should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allow you to put there.”
(Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the HIGHLY IMPROBABLE.)
As we have since our beginning in April, 1998, we presented synopses of two business books each month at the First Friday Book Synopsis. So we have read enough business books to get a real feel for the quality, the depth, the substance of the books we read and present to our listeners.
How did 2007 stack up? I would say it was a very good year.
There were good ideas and useful strategies in all of the books. But here are my favorites from 2007. (Reminder: I chose only from the books I read. Karl Krayer presents one half of the presentations, so I am not reflecting on the books he read during the year).
I have not winnowed the list much. Nine of the 12 books I read stand out as “I’m really glad I read these” books. Here is my list, with just a comment or two:
• Communication matters. How we say what we say makes a huge difference. Two books were worth reading in my life-long attempt to learn how to communicate more effectively:
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Words that Work by Frank Luntz.
• “How we do what we do” and “what we do” both matter. Here are two books that spoke clearly to these concerns:
How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything…in Business (and in Life) by Dov L. Seidman
Results That Last: Hardwiring Behaviors That Will Take Your Company to the Top by Quint Studer.
• One book to remind us all that women face different challenges in the work place. This book was filled with great insight, for men and women alike:
How She Does It: How Women Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Rules of Business Success by Margaret Heffernan.
• The world really is flat, and collaboration is the name of the game in this flattened world. No-one knows what everybody knows, and learning how to tap into collective knowledge leads to genuine strategic breakthrough and dominance. This book was an absolute essential for 2007:
Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams.
• And, just thinking about things can make a big difference. Here are three books that help us do that, as they describe what we don’t know, what might happen, and how we are experiencing the “niching” of our culture:
The Extreme Future: The Top Trends That Will Reshape the World for the Next 5, 10, and 20 Years by James Canton Dutton
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes by Mark Penn.
Will 2008 be as good a year for good business books? Let’s hope so!