As you can see in the photo, I am woefully behind in my business reading, and faster than I can find time to read these titles, authors are sending me new books that, I warn them, just get added to the stack. I know there are great books here, some written by friends or respected colleagues, but sometimes I read to take my brain out of the industry and far away from work, so in fact I’m in the middle of a classic Ben Bova science fiction book right now, Mars.
Rather than have them all hide in obscurity, however, I will at least give you a list with brief summaries cribbed from Amazon, and ask that you share which you think should be the next one I read!
- Game Changers: Improvisation for Business in the Networked World by Mike Bonifer
- “As we move from the rigid, hierarchical organizations of the Industrial Age to the fluid, non-linear models of the Networked World, GameChangers have never been more important or essential. Whenever teamwork, creativity, flexibility and problem-solving skills are necessary for success, these players step up. They develop relationships that are good for business. They pay careful attention to details and at the same time have expansive worldviews. They are quick-on-their-feet, unflappable and in tune with their teammates, stakeholders and the marketplace. They are the top performers in any organization the best managers, the most resourceful employees, the culture-shapers. They play the game and make things happen. In short, GameChangers are masters of improvisation in business.”
- Business and the Buddha: Doing Well by Doing Good by Lloyd Field
- “All businesses want to do well, but can they also do good? Lloyd Field says yes, and moreover, no business can afford to focus simply on “doing well.��? Increasingly, public assessment of a business’s worth must take into account its consideration of shared human values. That doesn’t mean a business can’t or should not compete; it means that investing in efforts to build a better society can, on many levels, be an asset. In this book, Field lays out the guidelines for putting social responsibility, both corporate and individual, into practice without sacrificing profits. “
- All Your Money Won’t Another Minute Buy: Valuing Time as a Business Resource by Curt Finch
- “This book covers the many reasons why time tracking, preferably through a Software-as-a-Service platform, is a must for companies of all sizes. It discusses the benefits available through effective key performance indicators and project management, payroll and billing practices, and federal regulation compliance, as well as guides the reader through the buying process. It also discusses numerous pertinent technological advances such as SOA, Telecom and the Internet, and Web2.0.”
- Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz
- “With straightforward advice and humor, marketing expert Andy Sernovitz will show you how the world’s most respected and profitable companies get their best customers for free through the power of word of mouth. Learn the five essential steps that make word of mouth work and everything you need to get started using them. Understand the real purpose of blogs, communities, viral email, evangelists, and buzz—when to use them and how simple it is to make them work…”
- The Secret Life of the Corporate Jester by David T. Riveness
- “True Jestership is not about wearing colorful costumes and entertaining others with jokes; instead, it is a set of behaviors arising from a unique perspective on organizational effectiveness. True jesters have the rare ability to uncover and address hidden blind spots in thinking and action that negatively affect companies,organizations and individuals.”
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
- “What do you do? Tim Ferriss has spent more than five years learning the secrets of the New Rich, a fast-growing subculture who has abandoned the “deferred-life plan��? and instead mastered the new currencies—time and mobility—to create luxury lifestyles in the here and now. Whether you are an overworked employee or an entrepreneur trapped in your own business, this book is the compass for a new and revolutionary world.”
- Lessons from the Edge: For-Profit and Nontraditional Higher Education in America by Gary A. Berg
- “The message is that we can consider nontraditional providers of higher education, not as inferior competitors, but as unique institutions specializing in what traditional higher education providers are not yet able to deliver: truly universal access to postsecondary education. By learning from nontraditional schools, we can better our understanding of our current challenges.”
- Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build your Business by Larry Weber
- “The future of marketing is a two-way street, not a one-way message. Marketers must look to the Web for new ways to find and communicate with customers, rather than at them. From MySpace and YouTube to blogs, social media on the Internet is the most promising way to reach customers.”
- Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort by Steven van Yoder
- “The best clients and customers are those that seek you out because they’ve already heard of you. Get Slightly FamousT shows how to build visibility and credibility by making yourself a thought leader and indispensable resource to your potential clients and customers. This expanded new edition provides a toolbox of strategies for: Getting consistent media attention; Using speaking engagements to cultivate your target market; Becoming a center of influence within your industry; Leveraging the Internet and Web 2.0 to its full potential;Creating ancillary info-products that supplement your income and build public awareness.”
- Warriors, Workers, Whiners & Weasels by Tim O’Leary
- “In the world of business and life, there are only four kinds of people in any organization: Warriors, who confront change, see possibilities, innovate and manage to win! Workers, who deal with the ups, downs and challenges of everyday corporate life dependably, and who can reliably implement the change and direction established by the Warriors, Whiners, who get through life by complaining about everything they do, who profess negativism and dissatisfaction wherever they go, and blaming others for their own shortcomings, and Weasels, who lurk everywhere and threaten your career and life-goals through their own deception and insecurity and who spread these feelings quickly throughout the organization. “Warriors, Workers, Whiners & Weasels” illuminates these four personality types and shows you how to recognize the characteristics of each and use them to your advantage to empower the Warriors and Workers to boost your organization to success.”
Blimey, no wonder I’m overwhelmed, they all sound terrific for different reasons. Help me, what should I read first? 🙂
Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz
Solely because I’ve been wanting to read it for a long time, but I can’t afford to buy it.
I would be interested in hearing about “Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build your Business,” especially since there are so many new techniques emering using social media sites for marketing. Also, “Business and the Buddha: Doing Well by Doing Good” would be interesting to hear about as well, just to see what version of ethics and business Lloyd Field takes.
Dave – It is definitely more important to read scifi than business books. That’s where all the best business ideas come from anyway. My latest: everything by China Mieville, the Illuminatus trilogy (retro cool), and (of course) the new William Gibson, which is directly relevant to all of us talking about second life, etc.
Shawn – Send me your address and I’ll happily send you a copy of the book.
These three seem related to me, and in this order:
* The Secret Life of the Corporate Jester by David T. Riveness
* Game Changers: Improvisation for Business in the Networked World by Mike Bonifer
* Warriors, Workers, Whiners & Weasels by Tim O’Leary
I think a good sci-fi corollary would be The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. Both paths discuss the evolution of change, from one regime to another or one system of organizing / thinking to another.
Remember to breathe and enjoy the process…
I vote for “Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort”, because I’m trying to become slightly famous, myself. 🙂
I vote for “The Secret Life of the Corporate Jester”. No bias at all! (smile)
Dave, I enjoyed
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss although I find it ironic that, by writing and promoting this book, he’s choosing to move away from the type of lifestyle he promotes in the book.
And I’m totally with you on reading outside your niche, especially with a good sci-fi book.
If I did not have some kind of understandable bias, I’d probably vote for The Secret Life of the Corporate Jester. There is a lot to be learned and accomplished from a sense of play, and your description of this book seems to suggest that the book will explain this one aspect of improvisation. Those who might otherwise be considered fools, provocateurs, loose cannons, jesters can light the way when the game is understood and played toward new, innovative and productive types of behavior.
When it comes to reading GameChangers, my suggestion is to not read it straight through. Read a chapter a week, then observe your business life through its lens. Improvisation cannot be picked up in one reading any more than learning the guitar can be picked up in one lesson. And GameChangers is nothing if not a textbook for the learning of improvisation in business.
Then of course, there’s always the philosophy of reading what’s at the top of one’s stack ; )
Regardless of what you pick up first, thanks for including GameChangers.
I vote for “4-Hour Work Week.” Tim Ferris has managed to put a coherent action-template into words for those of us looking to break free from the tyranny of civil society’s pressures to conform (I love such pompous sounding sentences 😉
That said, you’re already “living the life” Dave, so it might be “old hat” for you.