Book recommendations for business leaders: 1/31/19

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Stephen King says that if you want to be a writer, there are two things you must do: read a lot and write a lot. This is about the “read a lot” part. I include reading lists and book reviews that will help you do business more effectively and write better for business.

In this post, I point you to reviews of Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Training, Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life, Can You Hear Me?: How to Connect with People in a Virtual World, The HBR Leader’s Handbook: Make an Impact, Inspire Your Organization, and Get to the Next Level, and Plain Talk: Lessons from a Business Maverick.

From Wharton: Is There Any Science Behind the Myers-Briggs Test?

“The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been widely used by businesses, universities, the military and other organizations for decades to assess personality. But there is very little, if any, science behind it. Merve Emre, associate professor of English at the University of Oxford and fellow at Worcester College, delves into the story behind the test with her new book, The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Training. Developed by a mother-daughter team with no psychological training, the Myers-Briggs test is supposed to indicate how people perceive and process the world around them.”

From Bob Morris: Questions Are the Answer

“What is ‘the answer’ to which title of Hal Gregerson’s book refers? It is indicated in the book’s subtitle: ‘Catalytic questions provide A breakthrough approach to solving the most vexing problems at work and in life.’ That is, questions that ‘dissolve barriers — which, in idea generation, usually come in the form of false assumptions — and channel energy down new, more productive pathways.'”

From Michael McKinney: Five Problems with Virtual Communication & What to Do About It

“EVEN THOUGH WE have entered a new world of virtual communications, we still communicate in real-world ways that don’t always work in the virtual world. We’ve all sent an email or a text where we meant one thing and the recipient took it in a completely different way. They never saw the smile on our face, the touch of our hand, or the look of concern. There was none of the emotions that we take for granted in the real-world to guide them in the virtual world to a proper conclusion.”

From Skip Prichard: 6 Practices to Help Leaders Grow

“Ron Ashkenas and Brook Manville are the authors of a new book from Harvard Business Review Press entitled The HBR Leader’s Handbook: Make an Impact, Inspire Your Organization, and Get to the Next Level. The book is a back-to-basics primer for both aspiring and experienced leaders, which describes the fundamental leadership practices: Creating a unifying vision, shaping strategy, building a great team, driving for results, innovating for the future, and leading yourself. The authors, both respected leadership experts and consultants, based the book not only on their own experience but also on interviews with over 40 successful leaders and a review of the most enduring themes and seminal articles that have appeared in Harvard Business Review in the past several decades.”

From Theodore Kinni: Ken Iverson’s Plain Talk

“Iverson didn’t waste time formulating a grand or complex strategy. He returned the company to profitability by doubling down on what worked: He focused on steel joists and sold off everything else that was losing money. Neither did he have the luxury of pursuing disruptive innovation. He was too busy trying to make money in a commodity business the old-fashioned way: by reducing costs and driving up productivity.”

Wally’s Comment: I think Ken Iverson’s Plain Talk is one of the great business books of all time. Here’s a link to my review.

Reading recommendations are a regular feature of this blog. Want more recommendations about what to read? Check out my Three Star Leadership blog, Michael McKinney’s LeadingBlog, and Skip Prichard’s Leadership Insights.

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