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Reading List

The Effective Executive 50th Anniversary

Ty

To read The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker is to observe the Lindy Effect (as expressed by Nassim Taleb) in action. Any technology which is non perishable increases in life expectancy with every day of its life. A book like The Effective Executive has been in print for 50 years and is therefore likely to stay in print for another 50 years.

The wisdom of this book is deceptively simple yet the application of the wisdom is the continual challenge.  It would be easy to skim through this book, gather confirmation of practices that you already do well, and ignore those that would require you to change.  This point was brought home to me by the compelling forward written by Jim Collins, author of more recent impactful books such as Built to Last and Good to Great.  Peter Drucker passed away in 2005, but Jim Collins expressed the wisdom he gained through a brief conversation with the then 85-year old sage.  Jim was expressing his concerns with leaving his then stable position as a professor at Stanford to embark on his journey to compose Good to Great.  After listening intently, Peter said, "It sounds like you are concerned about your survival.  It is very likely that you will survive this transition.  You are also very concerned about being successful.  You should instead focus on being useful."  Jim took this wisdom to heart and went on to produce some of the most useful new management thinking in the modern era.

The Effective Executive explores this theme of challenging those in a leadership position to focus not on their success or ego, but to focus their energy on making a single significant contribution to the organization and, by extension, have the organization make a contribution to the broader community.  Themes of time management, focus on one thing at a time, hiring for an individual's strengths not absence of weakness, and putting first things first and second things not at all, are important lessons that generations of subsequent authors and management consultants have further explored.

It is striking to me how different the workplace perspective was towards women in leadership in the 1960s compared to today.  Peter uses gender-exclusive terms throughout and only draws examples from male business leaders.  His only citation of a female role model is the talented opera diva whose weaknesses in eccentricity should be ignored or placated by her manager to deliver the results of her great talents through performances - not exactly flattering.  In reading the book, my reaction is regret that this titan of management consulting was able to accurately predict the coming impact of the computing age on the workplace, but that he failed to use his influence lead the way for generations of future women business leaders.  While this is a great weakness and failure of Peter Drucker's, his own advice would be to not let it get in the way of drawing wisdom from his strengths.

Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big

Ty

It has long been a business article of faith that great companies, by definition, constantly focus on maximizing their revenues year after year. Burlingham shows how we can all benefit by questioning the conventional definitions of business success.

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Business Model Generation

Gus Myer

Business Model Generation is a handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers striving to defy outmoded business models and design tomorrow's enterprises.  Designed for doers, it is for those ready to abandon outmoded thinking and embrace new models of value creation: for executives, consultants, entrepreneurs, and leaders of all organizations.

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Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Gus Myer

Just as the bones in the human body get sturdier as they are exposed to stress and strain and gossip or feelings of unrest intensify when there are efforts enacted to repress them, most aspects of life ultimately benefit from stress, chaos, instability, and unrest. Learned, humorous, and revolutionary, Taleb’s meaning is radical: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will survive the test of time.

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Design a Better Business

Ty

This book stitches together a complete design journey from beginning to end in a way that you’ve likely never seen before, guiding readers (you) step-by-step in a practical way from the initial spark of an idea all the way to scaling it into a better business.

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Challenge Your Assumptions, Change Your World

Gus Myer

Andy Cohen introduces the Assumpt! a breakthrough way to make better business decisions and generate fresh thinking. Drawing upon two decades of real-world marketing, research and person experience, Cohen provides the insights, tools and courage to challenge the assumptions that will change your world.

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Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think

Gus Myer

Providing abundance is the grandest test of humanity, according to Peter Diamandis, and this book details ways that we can and will rise to the challenge. Abundance for all is within our grasp and this bold, contrarian view is backed up by exhaustive research that says exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions.

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Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

Gus Myer

Do you have a grip on your business or does your business currently have a grip on you? Successful companies that are currently applying Traction find out every day how they are able to build lucrative, businesses free from frustration, and through Traction you can, too.

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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Gus Myer

Pulitzer Prize–winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Duhigg shows us that by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

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The Great Game of Business, Expanded and Updated

Gus Myer

The Great Game of Business started a business revolution by introducing the world to open-book management, a new way of running a business that created unprecedented profit and employee engagement. What these workers created was a revolutionary approach to management that has proven itself in every industry around the world for the past thirty years.

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The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Gus Myer

A black swan is an event that can be either positive or negative that happens to be deemed implausible yet still ends up having massive, generally unforeseen, consequences. We are often blind to these concerns and Taleb will help you and your business navigate and exploit the Black Swan events that are bound to happen.

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Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity

Gus Myer

At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key productivity concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive.

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Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Gus Myer

Simon Sinek founded a movement in 2009 aimed at helping employees and employers find more inspiration in their jobs. Start with Why says that leaders from around the world all reason, behave, and connect the same way and Sinek says that it tends to be the complete opposite of what everyone else is doing.

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Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

Gus Myer

The author of the legendary bestseller Influence, social psychologist Robert Cialdini shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn’t lie in the message itself, but in the key moment before that message is delivered.He illustrates how the artful diversion of attention leads to successful pre-suasion and gets your targeted audience primed and ready to say, “Yes.”

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How To Win Friends and Influence People

Gus Myer

You can use this strategy for any situation that you or your business are in, and make it work! Learn six strategies to help individuals similar to you, twelve techniques to convince others (employees, clients, etc.) to buy into your style of thought, and nine ways to alter the behaviors of people without creating feelings of dislike.

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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

Gus Myer

No one single career guide can propose guidance that will work for everyone.  Adams hopes you can find humor in his moments of letdown while using them to discover a few original and informative thoughts that will help you on your own personal path to success.

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Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got

Gus Myer

A valuable consultant to America's top corporations, Jay Abraham has crafted a series of established practices that will allow you to realize previously unconceivable success. In this book, Abraham describes just how simple it can be to locate and/or construct new occasions for the opportunity to build wealthy in any existing venture.

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