E's BEST BUSINESS BOOKS
I have on my shelf a book called THE BEST BUSINESS BOOKS EVER and another called THE 100 BEST BUSINESS BOOKS OF ALL TIME. The lists have quite a bit of overlap, as you would expect, and I've read 18 on each list. If I had to recommend just five personal favorites, and using a broad definition of "business book," I'd start here (with main takeaways, from memory):
1. THE EFFECTIVE EXECUTIVE by Peter Drucker.
a. The only thing you can measure is results. And the only thing you should measure is results.
b. Results exist only on the outside.
c. Know thy time. Most people don't have a very good idea of how they actually spend their time.
d. Time is an utterly non-renewable resource (unlike money, capital, workers) and must be invested purposefully.
e. Make strengths productive.
f. Do not spend valuable time trying to turn weaknesses into mediocrities.
2. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF BEN FRANKLIN.
a. Timeless principles of industry, frugality, self-management, enterprise and leadership.
b. Lessons in technology transfer from a renowned inventor-capitalist.
c. A useful history lesson.
d. A useful model for writing anything in terms of structure and style.
3. WARFIGHTING by USMC.
a. The object of war is to win.
b. You gain decisive advantage by hitting your enemy decisively at their point of greatest vulnerabilty.
c. Moral considerations trump direct orders.
d. Some prefer THE ART OF WAR by Sun Tzu or ON WAR by von Clausewitz. I like this one.
4. GOOD TO GREAT by Jim Collins.
a. First get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus.
b. Don't worry about where you're driving the bus until you have the right people on and the wrong people off.
c. You don't have to worry about how to motivate people when you get the right people on the bus.
d. Get people in the right seats.
e. Then decide where to steer the bus.
f. Great leaders have a paradoxical combination of humility and professional will.
g. Great organizations commit to doing just a couple of things relentlessly well.
5. THE KNOWING-DOING GAP by Pfeffer and Sutton.
a. Something has to get done, and somebody has to do it.
b. If you do it, then you will know.
c. In America you get ahead more by sounding smart than by being smart. You sound smarter when you are critical than when you agree.
d. Successful problem solvers think when they've had the discussion and solved the problem, they're done. But nothing actually changes until something happens next.
e. Good strategy is obvious. What separates winners from losers is disciplined implementation of the obvious.
f. Disciplined implementation isn't sexy, just successful.
6. MANAGING TRANSITIONS by William Bridges. Managing organizational change is about dealing with the emotions people have around letting go.
7. THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by Stephen Covey. Because we are humans not Pavlovian dogs, we can choose how we respond to stimuli. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
8. THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE by Peter Senge. Every system is perfectly designed to produce the outcomes it produces. Whoa.
9. THE VISUAL DISPLAY OF QUANTITATIVE INFORMATION by Edward Tufte. The higher the information-to-ink ratio, the more effective your communication.
10. PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME by Kiersey and Bates. Understanding personality types is critical to working effectively with others. Understanding your own personality and temperament will set you up for success rather than failure.
1. "Management Time: Who's Got the Monkey?" by William Oncken. Don't let others' monkeys jump from their shoulders to yours for care and feeding.
2. "Leadership That Gets Results" by Daniel Goleman. Discusses six main leadership styles, when to use each, and which ones generally work best.
I would love to hear your favorite books in this or any genre.