Whenever asked to recommend business books, I immediately inquire, “What is the single greatest challenge that you and your organization now face?” Of course, responses vary but over time, these seem to be the ten challenges most frequently cited, followed by the book(s) I think will be most helpful. Obviously, “one man’s opinions”….
CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT
• Joseph Michelli’s The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
• Tom Kelley’s The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization
• Roger Nierenberg’s Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening OR James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner’s The Leadership Challenge (4th Edition)
• Rodd Wagner and James K. Harter’s 12: The Elements of Great Managing
NEW HIRE TRANSITION & ORIENTATION
• George B. Bradt and Mary Vonnegut ‘s Onboarding: How to Get Your New Employees Up to Speed in Half the Time
• Jeanne Ross’s Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution
• Dean Spitzer’s Transforming Performance Measurement: Rethinking the Way We Measure and Drive Organizational Success
PERSUASION & INFLUENCE
• Robert B. Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion OR Carmine Gallo’s The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Office
TALENT EVALUATION & MANAGEMENT
• George Anders’ The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Does OR Bill Conaty and Ram Charan’s The Talent Masters: Why Smart Leaders Put People Before Numbers
• Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
Coming for the August First Friday Book Synopsis – the new Wellbeing, and a business book classic, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits
We had a wonderful gathering of book lovers and serious learners at the First Friday Book Synopsis this morning – a surprisingly good attendance for a 2nd Friday of July morning.
Next month, Karl Krayer will present a synopsis of the new, important book, Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements by Tom Rath, Ph.D. and James K. Harter (Gallup Press, 2010). (You can read Bob Morris’ review of this book on our blog book here).
I will present a synopsis of the business book classic, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm, by Verne Harnish (Select Books, 2002). This is a rare choice for us, to present a book that has been around a while. We have only done this a couple of times. The first business book classic we presented was Servant Leadership by Robert Greenleaf. There are a few books that stand the test of time so well – books that either came out before we began the First Friday Book Synopsis in April 1998, or, a book we just happened to miss. Such selections are ones that we feel that we need to include for the value they bring. So, for August, I will present this immensely practical book by Verne Harnish. (You can read Bob Morris’ review of this book on our blog here).
Mark your calendars now, and plan to join us on the first Friday of August, August 6.
Here is an excerpt from an article in The New York Times (March 30, 2010) in which David Brooks provides some thought-provoking perspectives on national and individual well-being. To read the complete article, please visit
Two things happened to Sandra Bullock this month. First, she won an Academy Award for best actress. Then came the news reports claiming that her husband is an adulterous jerk. So the philosophic question of the day is: Would you take that as a deal? Would you exchange a tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?
On the one hand, an Academy Award is nothing to sneeze at. Bullock has earned the admiration of her peers in a way very few experience. She’ll make more money for years to come. She may even live longer. Research by Donald A. Redelmeier and Sheldon M. Singh has found that, on average, Oscar winners live nearly four years longer than nominees that don’t win.
Nonetheless, if you had to take more than three seconds to think about this question, you are absolutely crazy. Marital happiness is far more important than anything else in determining personal well-being. If you have a successful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many professional setbacks you endure, you will be reasonably happy. If you have an unsuccessful marriage, it doesn’t matter how many career triumphs you record, you will remain significantly unfulfilled.
This isn’t just sermonizing. This is the age of research, so there’s data to back this up. Over the past few decades, teams of researchers have been studying happiness. Their work, which seemed flimsy at first, has developed an impressive rigor, and one of the key findings is that, just as the old sages predicted, worldly success has shallow roots while interpersonal bonds permeate through and through.
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To read the complete Brooks article, please visit