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The Best Business Books You Have Never Heard Of

The Best Business Books You Have Never Heard Of

imageby Blinkist

Warren Buffett — arguably the most skilled investor of our time — said reading 500 pages a day was the key to success. "That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest," he explained. That's probably why so many important businesspeople make reading a daily ritual. It's why Bill Gates reads 50 books every year (roughly one per week). If you want exposure to new ideas, modes of thinking, and a compounded aggregate of diverse knowledge, then reading is important. And it's going ... Read more

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Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

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2010 | Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Why is change so difficult and frightening? How do you create change when you have few resources and no title or authority to back you up? Chip and Dan Heath, the best-selling authors of Made to Stick, are back with a ground-breaking book that addresses one of the greatest challenges of our personal and professional lives — how to change things when change is hard. In their follow-up book to the critically acclaimed international bestseller Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath talk about how difficult change is in our companies, our careers, and our lives, why change is so hard, and how we can overcome our resistance and make change happen. The Heaths liken the human mind to two distinct entities — the animal mind, or what psychologist Jonathan Haidt calls the elephant, and the logical brain, which Haidt describes as the rider. The elephant is instinctive; it acts on emotion. It likes gorging on Oreos and sleeping in. And it loves routines — doing things the same old way, every day. The rider is the planner and thinker. The rider obsesses about the future. He or she wants to stop eating junk food and stop hitting the snooze button. But it’s hard, because when the rider and elephant disagree on where to go, the rider usually loses. And that describes the essential tension between our primitive emotional brain and our high intellect, and helps to explain why changing how we behave is so difficult. The secret to making a switch is understanding this odd couple relationship. Direct the Rider. Motivate the Elephant. Shape the Path. Throughout Switch, Chip and Dan Heath illustrate and explain situations in which sweeping change was adopted, from a university researcher who ended the cycle of child abuse in a group of families, to an entrepreneur who turned his skeptical employees into customer service zealots and saved his company. In the tradition of Made to Stick, Blink, and Outliers, Switch is filled with engaging and entertaining stories of how companies and individuals have brought about and sustained significant change. An indispensable guide to making change happen, it is certain to become a classic.

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You Only Have to Be Right Once: The Unprecedented Rise of the Instant Tech Billionaires

2014 | Randall Lane

The ultimate insider look at the newest titans of tech—and what you can learn from their success In 2007, twenty-one-year old David Karp launched Tumblr, a simple micro-blogging platform, on a whim. By 2012, it had become one of the top ten online destinations, drawing 170 million visitors. By 2013, Yahoo had acquired Tumblr for over $1 billion. Just like that, a kid who hadn’t even earned his high school diploma was worth over a quarter billion dollars. And he’s not the only one . . . Silicon Valley’s newest billionaires represent a unique and unconventional breed of entrepreneur: young, bold, and taking the world by storm with their extreme speed, insatiable hunger, and progressive leadership. These whiz kids (and, to be fair, a few adults) have the hottest companies in the world. They are all turning just one brilliant insight or hook into money at a rate never before seen in human history—creating companies that, even with no revenue, garner insane valuations. With unique insider access to the world’s most influential and wealthy entrepreneurs, Forbes has dug in to find what these super-entrepreneurs say about their own success. This book, introduced, edited, and updated by Forbes editor Randall Lane, is the first comprehensive look at who these instant tech billionaires are and how they achieved their quick wins. With sixteen illuminating pieces, including two never-before published features, we get behind-the-scenes examinations of the founders of Spotify, Airbnb, Tumblr, Twitter, and more, including: Elon Musk: The billionaire founder of Paypal, electric carmaker Tesla, and private space company SpaceX. His extreme ambition is matched by his preternatural engineering mind; no wonder he was the model for Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Iron Man. Evan Spiegel: The twenty-three-year old declined a $3 billion cash offer from Mark Zuckerberg, after making the mountain come to Mohammed (Snapchat’s HQ is in Los Angeles) —an unheard of request from a young gun to one of the biggest players in Silicon Valley. The story of Snapchat’s origin is even wilder than Facebook’s, but Spiegel’s ability to parlay infamy and popularity into revenue is still up in the air, even as Snapchat’s valuation continues to grow. Alex Karp: An eccentric philosopher with almost no tech background turned a Peter Thiel backed venture, Palantir, into a data-mining champion, with clients like the NSA, the FBI, and the CIA. Amid heated privacy concerns, Karp continues to grow Palantir like crazy, to $196 million in funding and an estimated $1 billion in contracts in 2014. You Only Have to Be Right Once is the definitive collection of everything we can learn from these incredible game changers and what their next moves spell for the future of business.

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Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

2011 | Richard P. Rumelt

Clears out the mumbo jumbo and muddled thinking underlying too many strategies and provides a clear way to create and implement a powerful action-oriented strategy for the real world   Developing and implementing a strategy is the central task of a leader, whether the CEO at a Fortune 100 company, an entrepreneur, a church pastor, the head of a school, or a government official. Richard Rumelt shows that there has been a growing and unfortunate tendency to equate Mom-and-apple-pie values, fluffy packages of buzzwords, motivational slogans, and financial goals with “strategy.” He debunks these elements of “bad strategy” and awakens an understanding of the power of a “good strategy.” A good strategy is a specific and coherent response to—and approach for overcoming—the obstacles to progress. A good strategy works by harnessing and applying power where it will have the greatest effect in challenges as varied as putting a man on the moon, fighting a war, launching a new product, responding to changing market dynamics, starting a charter school, or setting up a government program. Rumelt’s nine sources of power—ranging from using leverage to effectively focusing on growth—are eye-opening yet pragmatic tools that can be put to work on Monday morning. Surprisingly, a good strategy is often unexpected because most organizations don’t have one. Instead, they have “visions,” mistake financial goals for strategy, and pursue a “dog’s dinner” of conflicting policies and actions. Rumelt argues that the heart of a good strategy is insight—into the true nature of the situation, into the hidden power in a situation, and into an appropriate response. He shows you how insight can be cultivated with a wide variety of tools for guiding your own thinking. Good Strategy/Bad Strategy uses fascinating examples from business, nonprofit, and military affairs to bring its original and pragmatic ideas to life. The detailed examples range from Apple to General Motors, from the two Iraq wars to Afghanistan, from a small local market to Wal-Mart, from Nvidia to Silicon Graphics, from the Getty Trust to the Los Angeles Unified School District, from Cisco Systems to Paccar, and from Global Crossing to the 2007–08 financial crisis. Reflecting an astonishing grasp and integration of economics, finance, technology, history, and the brilliance and foibles of the human character, Good Strategy/Bad Strategy stems from Rumelt’s decades of digging beyond the superficial to address hard questions with honesty and integrity. From the Hardcover edition.

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Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire

2012 | Paul Smith

Storytelling has come of age in the business world. Today, many of the most successful companies use storytelling as a leadership tool. At Nike, all senior executives are designated "corporate storytellers." 3M banned bullet points years ago and replaced them with a process of writing "strategic narratives." Procter & Gamble hired Hollywood directors to teach its executives storytelling techniques. Some forward-thinking business schools have even added storytelling courses to their management curriculum. The reason for this is simple: Stories have the ability to engage an audience the way logic and bullet points alone never could. Whether you are trying to communicate a vision, sell an idea, or inspire commitment, storytelling is a powerful business tool that can mean the difference between mediocre results and phenomenal success. "Lead with a Story" contains both ready-to-use stories and how-to guidance for readers looking to craft their own. Designed for a wide variety of business challenges, the book shows how narrative can help: - Define culture and values - Engender creativity and innovation - Foster collaboration and build relationships - Provide coaching and feedback - Lead change - And more Whether in a speech or a memo, communicated to one person or a thousand, storytelling is an essential skill for success. Complete with examples from companies like Kellogg's, Merrill-Lynch, Procter & Gamble, National Car Rental, Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, and more, this practical resource gives readers the guidance they need to deliver stories to stunning effect.

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