Like most years, my compelling business books of 2018 contain accomplished authors from a wide variety of backgrounds. Co-CEO’s of a successful software company urging us to “choose calm”, world class leadership practitioners from some of the globe’s leading companies, rock star academics reminding us to be daring, humble and vulnerable, a workplace culture author whose claim to fame is…being an author.
In all cases there is either great storytelling or solid scientific evidence (or both) to strengthen their arguments.
And to the question of whether it's appropriate to give a self-improvement book to a co-worker…it’s all in the delivery!
The Meaning Revolution - Power of Transcendent Leadership by Fred Kofman PhD
Kofman is the author of the award-winning Conscious Business, a former vice-president at LinkedIn, and the former leadership advisor at Google. He argues that putting aside self-interest to connect others to the purpose of the company, department or workplace is the true work of leaders. This book is for someone who wants to connect leadership to a more spiritual, existential and humanistic leadership purpose.
Tribe of Mentors - Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Timothy Ferris
From the bestselling author who gave us The 4 Hour Workweek and built an impressive podcasting empire comes a fascinating reference book of advice from 130 very accomplished people; morning routines, bouncing back, work-life balance and a host of interesting topics. Ideal for someone who enjoys short bits of advice from mentors or elders.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Hansson
Basecamp (hugely successful project management and team communication software company) co-CEOs Fried and Hansson are at it again. In their last book entitled Rework, the duo argued we could change our work lives forever by choosing a simpler-is-better philosophy. Now they want us to abandon the long hours, excessive workloads and a lack of sleep or balance that have become badges of honour for modern professionals. For the authors those so-called badges of honour are a mark of stupidity. Anyone working more than they believe they should would benefit from this book especially if they are the boss.
Culture Code - Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
Bestselling author Daniel Coyle (Talent Code, The Little Book of Talent, Lance Armstrong’s Wars) does not profess to be an organizational or workplace culture expert but his most recent work should be required reading for anyone thinking about how to strengthen their workplace climate. The examples are from groups (not necessarily teams) from all walks of life. I really liked “ideas for action” at the end of each section offering highly practical suggestions.
Ask a Manager - How to navigate clueless colleagues, lunch-stealing bosses and the rest of your life at work by Alison Greene
This book grew out of a successful website called Ask the Manager. It is laid out in 4 sections: How to talk to the boss; talk to a co-worker, talk as a boss, talk to a job interviewer. Fifty easily digestible tips in each of the 4 categories. Great for a new entrant to the workplace wanting to learn about awkward conversations at work.
Humble Leadership - The Power of Relationships, Openness and Trust by Edgar Schein PhD & Peter Schein
MIT’s Edgar Schein, otherwise known as one of our greatest scholars in the field of organizational behaviour, follows up his book on appreciative inquiry Humble Inquiry with Humble Leadership which seeks to make leadership more personal by truly understanding the nuances of workplace relationships.
The CEO Next Door: The 4 behaviours that transform ordinary people into world-class leaders by Elena Bothelo & Kim Powell
Ideal reading for the highly ambitious, those striving to be the big boss someday. Former blue-chip consultants Bothelo and Powell are now CEOs themselves after coaching and advising top CEOs for over twenty years. They have boiled down the successful CEO recipe to the 4 behaviours it takes to be successful at the very top of organizations. Spoiler alert: one of the 4 behaviours is being “relentlessly reliable”…don’t you love that?
The Person You Mean to Be - How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh PhD
The impressively and eminently qualified scholar in the area of unconscious bias and the unethical behavior of ordinary, usually good people, helps us know more about our biases and how to rise above them.
Dare to Lead - Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown PhD
Famous researcher, stratospheric TED Talk presenter and everyone’s favorite vulnerability expert has turned her attention to the workplace. Brené fans rejoice!