14 from 14: the best business books of 2014 -summarised
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14 FROM 14THE BEST BOOKS OF 2014
WHAT IS ? A library of over 250 books A blog A series of printed books iphone and ipad apps One-page summaries One-sentence summaries Training programmes Keynote speeches A fertile source of new ideas
LEADERSHIPPHIL ROSENZWEIGLeft Brain Right StuffTo make the best decisions, leaders need a blend of clear detached thinking (left brain) and courage to take action (right stuff).
PHIL ROSENZWEIGLeft Brain Right StuffTo make winning decisions, leaders require two skills:1. Left brain: a talent for clear analysis (logic)2. Right stuff: the willingness to take bold action (bravery)Success calls for calculation and courage, action as well as analysis. The best questions are:Are we making a decision about something we cannot control, or are we able to influence outcomes? If you cant, dont bother. Equally, many managers underestimate the effect they can have.Are we seeking an absolute level of performance, or is performance relative? Are we trying to do well, or to do better than our rivals. Constantly looking at the competition can be irrelevant, but needing to exert control and outperform rivals is the hardest thing.Are we making a decision that lends itself to rapid feedback, so we can make adjustments and improve a next effort? If not, think harder to reduce error.
LEADERS EAT LASTSimon SinekEffective leaders manage the people, not the numbers making them feel safe and keen to follow.
LEADERS EAT LASTSimon SinekProper leaders run headfirst into the unknown & put their interests aside for the greater good. They would sooner sacrifice what is theirs to save what is ours. This makes followers feel safe (a primal need), which is why they work tirelessly to see their leaders visions come to life. In a circle of safety, we feel we belong.The title refers to the tradition in the US Marines in which, at mealtimes, the junior people are served first. The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own.Our needs are based on the chemicals we crave:Endorphins mask physical pain in the runners high, Dopamine creates a good feeling and is a perpetual incentive for progressSerotonin the leadership chemical - pride from respect Oxytocin friendship, love and deep trust the cornerstone of teamwork
CONSIGLIERIRichard HytnerBeing a successful no.2 can be just as rewarding as being No.1.
CONSIGLIERIRichard HytnerThis book is all about leading from the shadows, and it celebrates the role of the right-hand man, or consigliere (the name given to the closest adviser to mafia heads).Not everybody can be number one and, perhaps more importantly, not everyone wants to be.Although it is easy to disparage the role of those who are No.2, these people often determine the fate of companies and countries.As (top leaders) and Cs (consiglieri) share similar qualities founded on trust, credibility, confidence and emotional intelligence.This is expressed as an equation: LQ = TQ(C+C) x EQ, where:LQ = Leadership QuotientTQ = a multiple of your credibility times your confidence EQ = Emotional QuotientThose with leadership aspirations should try both roles if possible before settling into one or the other.
BREVITYBRIEFJoseph McCormackYou can make a bigger impact by saying less map it, tell it, talk it, and show it.
BRIEFJoseph McCormackYou can make a bigger impact by saying less.Most communications are unfocused and unclear.Most people are inundated and highly inattentive.Being brief isnt a nicety, its a necessity.People who struggle with brevity suffer variously from cowardice, (over) confidence, callousness, comfort, confusion, complication, and carelessness.Audiences that are mind-filled rather than mindful suffer from inundation, inattention, interruption & impatience.To communicate effectively and efficiently:1. Map it map out the argument, then condense and trim volumes of information from it.2. Tell it use narrative storytelling to explain the message in a clear, concise and compelling way.3. Talk it the TALC system helps controlled, productive conversations: Talk, Actively Listen, Converse.4. Show it use visuals to attract attention and capture the imagination.
TALK LEANAlan PalmerTalking lean means combining directness with politeness to develop quicker results and better relations.
TALK LEANAlan PalmerYou can benefit from shorter meetings, quicker results and better relations by following a methodHow would you like to be spoken to? People want:Content: clear, direct, straight to the point, simple, precise, concise, concreteManner: polite, calm, respectful, courteous, warm, with humour if possible.Most meetings and conversations are opened without reference to real intentions. Changing this makes everything work better. Start at the end & work back.Three elements interlock to make this work:1. My meeting objective.2. What I did to prepare the meeting.3. My state of mind.Three things affect levels of understanding: Unsaid: things that are thought or but not mentioned.Said: uttered, but counterproductively.Ineffective listening: rigorous listening to yourself.
INNOVATIONTHE INNOVATION BOOK Max McKeownIt is possible to become a competent innovator by being aware of powerful techniques and approaches that have succeeded elsewhere.
THE INNOVATION BOOK Max McKeownThis is a workbook that explains how to manage ideas and execution for outstanding results. It provides a comprehensive overview of the innovation genre.An innovators approach involves collecting ideas, transforming them into something else, exploring them in detail, and nurturing them through to execution.You need a healthy dissatisfaction to achieve this an unwillingness to accept traditional limitations, a restless desire for novel experiences, and a frustration with things as they currently are.It takes a fair amount of pain to make progress.Unnecessary pain: avoidable mistakes/uncaring application. Industry pain involves existing structures that hold things up. People pain is where individuals struggle to make progress. Necessary pain is the total effort to develop and make room for the new (and better) idea.Quitting can be winning. Knowing when to give up and try something else can save a lot of wasted effort.
THE FIRST MILEScott AnthonyThe first mile of any innovation is fraught, but it can be successfully navigated by following a diligent process.
THE FIRST MILEScott AnthonyThe first mile is where an idea moves from an idea on paper to existing in a market. This stage is the one most commonly afflicted with failure. Its where danger lurks.Less than 1% of ideas launched by big companies end up working.The ideas arent the problem its the process. The author proposes one called DEFT:Document: write down the answer to these questions: is there a need, can we deliver, do the numbers work, and does it matter?Evaluate: multiple perspectives, & what the unknowns are.Focus: work out the deal killers and path dependencies (uncertainties that affect subsequent strategic choices).Test: learn and adjust, use small teams, design tests carefully, savour surprises.Fill out the 4P model: population, purchase frequency, price per transaction, penetration. This piece of maths gives a feel for likely success.
COLLABORATIONA BIGGER PRIZEMargaret HeffernanPersistent competition is frequently divisive, so we are more likely to achieve better outcomes by collaborating.
A BIGGER PRIZEMargaret HeffernanWe do much better when we work together.Competition for fame, money, attention, status, and more doesnt work very well. It regularly produces what we dont want. Many individuals and organisations are finding creative, cooperative ways to work together. Some call that soft, but its arguably harder Examples of unproductive competition include:Sibling rivalry children are 93% more naughty when a sibling is bornEducation by making pupils chase grades rather than learning experience - product is prized over processStatus our sensitivity to power and rank is immediate, unconscious and persistentSport relentless competition stops you being who you are, and winning at all costs comes at a price Business anything successful is now cloned, reducing originality
BEHAVIOURAL ECONOMICSTHINK LIKE A FREAKLevitt & DubnerUnderstand and decipher incentives and measure results accurately, and you are much more likely to solve problems.
THINK LIKE A FREAKLevitt & DubnerThinking like a freak involves three relatively simple ideas:1. Incentives are the cornerstone of modern life. Understanding or deciphering them is the key to understanding a problem and how it might be solved.2. Knowing what to measure and how to measure it can make a complicated world less so. 3. Conventional wisdom is often wrong. As a result, you should:
Think like a child: saying I dont know is very powerful and liberating. Theres no need to be embarrassed by how much you dont know often it leads to a better way.
Think like a rock star: David Lee Roths famous backstage rider banning all brown M&Ms disguised something far more inspired. Van Halens show required major resources and detailed planning from the venues they played if the promoters hadnt read the detail on page 40 of the contract, then everything else needed checking too.
creativityHEGARTY ON CREATIVITYJohn HegartyTo be an effective creative person you need constantly to absorb varied stimuli, reinterpret what you see, identify a simple emotional truth, and re-present it in a fresh way.
HEGARTY ON CREATIVITYJohn HegartyThe blank page is the greatest challenge facing the creative person. Start small, with anythingAn idea is a thought or plan formed by mental effort.Originality is dependent upon the obscurity of your sources. Theres no such thing as pure originality. We are all artists, but some of us shouldnt exhibit. Modern technology allows us all to publish - it doesnt mean we should. Complexity destroys profitability. The power of reduction means taking a complex thought and reducing it down to a simple, powerful message.What the heart knows today, the head will understand tomorrow. When it comes to creativity, instinctive feeling wins. Ideas are often at their best when inspired by anger, or an unexpected juxtaposition, (zig when they zag)Creative people are transmitters absorbing diverse, random messages, and reinterpreting and them in new and fresh ways.Creativity isnt an occupation its a preoccupation. Remove your headphones - inspiration is all around us.
THE SPARKGreg OrmeYou can foster a more creative organization by adopting ten helpful habits.
THE SPARKGreg OrmeThe 10 habits of successful creative leadership:Start an electric conversation passionate people provide the rocket fuelBreak the management rules too many of them stifle innovationLead with creative choices hear the weak signals and develop themBecome a talent impresario fill your company with creative talentKnow why you do what you do you need an inspiring sense of purposeConnect through shared values this philosophy binds everyone togetherBuild a business playground a lively atmosphere at work yields more ideasBalance focus with freedom learn to deal with creative tensionsDemolish idea barriers outward-facing collaborative cultures work bestEncourage collisions create space where people bump into each other unexpectedly
ECONOMICSMONEY BLOOD & REVOLUTIONGeorge CooperEconomic growth is generated by a circulatory flow of wealth through society upward from the private sector and downward by the state.
MONEY BLOOD & REVOLUTIONGeorge CooperEconomics is a broken science, believing in multiple, inconsistent things at the same time - a subject in crisis.Meanwhile mathematical models are becoming more complex but their predictive ability is not improving.There are 5 stages in a scientific crisis:1. Discrepancies show the prevailing paradigm begins to fail the empirical test.2. Disagreements start experts look for small ad-hoc fixes to their theories.3. Revolution a new paradigm emerges that resolves many of the problems of the field.4. Rejection backlash starts & the old guard say its rubbish.5. Acceptance younger, open-minded students adopt the new paradigm and become leaders in explaining it.The economy is like a circulatory system (like blood flow). It helps to reconcile the role of the state (downward flow) and the private sector (upward).
PERSONAL APPROACHFREE!Chris Barez-BrownLife and work are intrinsically linked, so if you want to live an extraordinary life, your work needs to resonate with a strong sense of purpose.
FREE!Chris Barez-BrownThe message of this book is Love your work, love your life.Life and work are intrinsically linked, so if we want to live an extraordinary life, our work needs to be extraordinary.And that means it needs to resonate with a strong sense of purpose.Work is your slave, not the other way round. No one makes you work - the choice is yours.Reflection time is crucial to build in to each working day.Theres no such thing as bad people, just bad actions.Be nice to people and it will be nicer for you.You have to love yourself before you can love others.Our self-worth should never be dictated to by other peoples opinions.With a blank sheet how would you design your job?We have on average 27,350 days on the planet, and 10,575 will be spent at work.Vergaderziekte is Dutch for meeting sickness. Try to have fewer of them.
BUSINESS GENIUSJames BannermanSharpen your skills and have an immediate effect on your business by making a series of small changes to your approach in a range of situations.
BUSINESS GENIUSJames BannermanSharpen your thinking three main areas:1. Yourself: boost your focus, confidence, resilience and time management2. Your business: drive, grow and hone your competitive advantage, innovation and collaboration3. Your impact: develop your influence, creativity, negotiation and leadership skillsIf you want someone to agree with you, work out what type of person they are and make the right case:Results (orientated): dont bore them with details. Make snappy points. Emotions: show genuine interest in feelings. Give help & support.Abracadabra: give it some magic. Make it interesting and sparky.Data: make research, facts, & figures perfectly precise.
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