Studies show some of the best creative thinking is not done in the office but during much needed downtime. As we head into the dog days of summer and everyone is (hopefully) taking much needed vacation time or extended weekend jaunts, I couldn’t resist asking some of the most successful and interesting entrepreneurs I know what is their one best end-of-summer business beach read. Topics ranged the gamut from negotiating, innovation, and raising your productivity to what makes something popular and the power of the non-conformist. I’m kicking off the list with two of my personal favorites that have radically changed my thinking, empowered me with new skills, and quite simply were also page turners. By the way, it might be worth noting a few of the choices are classics for a reason so If you haven’t read them, now might be the perfect time.
Author: Chris Vos with Tahl Raz.
A personal favorite, Chris Voss, a former top FBI hostage negotiator, reveals his field-tested tools for talking anyone into (and out of) just about anything. Not only great for honing your business skills, there is considerable applicable input for your personal life. Since using his methodology, I’ve seen better results in both my professional and personal life. Just saying.
Author: Derek Thompson.
This select was gifted to me by my friends at JP Morgan from their 18th annual highly curated, in-house 2017 Reading List Collection. In the Internet age, popularity often seems attainable by anyone, even on a global scale. In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson offers an alternative explanation: Hits are rarely flukes. Instead, hits are meticulously, almost scientifically crafted to be both familiar and new. From popular songs to blockbuster movies, the author explores how “the science of popularity” shapes our culture and our lives. This is a must read for anyone who wants to understand these highly social times we are living in as well as the critical role of how the media functions to “make some ideas soar.”
Author: Michael A. Singer
From the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Untethered Soul, Singer went from a penniless yogi in the woods to CEO of a billion-dollar public company. He brings us the astonishing true-life story about what happens when you let go. It was recommended to me by 11honore.com founder Patrick Herning, who is one of the great connectors and trend spotters in today’s fashion landscape. As Herning explained to me, it’s about “what happens when you decide to let go and simply let life call the shots.” Take a moment to digest that concept. I did and the book and its philosophy have made a radical difference in my life.
Author : Adam Grant
Mark Webber, Co-Founder of Fuelster, the revolutionary on-demand fuel delivery app which eliminates gas station stops by coming to you, admitted he was already a fan of Adam Grant, so when this book was released, it was a given he would read it. Originals offers great examples of people who innovated to create a better world. As entrepreneurs, Webber explained, “we all think we know what it means to be ‘original’, but this book provided great insight on what it really means to be original and offers suggestions on how leaders can better generate and champion original ideas. The key message of the book is that we can all think originally and drive positive change, but it takes work and does not always come naturally. Grant is great at discussing process innovation and idea generation and this book also has very helpful tips on groupthink and how to avoid.”
Author: Charles Duhigg
Christina Binkley, award-winning journalist and on-air commentator who writes and chats about the business of culture and worked at the Wall Street Journal for over 23 years covering fashion, gambling and other larger-than life personalities gave me the inside scoop on her favorite business read. She detailed how she “grabbed this right off my bedside table, but a better place to read it would be the beach. This book is about getting more done, just like the title says. Face it – time is our most limited resource, and no amount of money can create more of it, so there really isn’t anyone who can’t gain an edge here. Duhigg’s research is meticulous and his anecdotes are often entertaining. There’s is little chance I will ever become perfectly effective, but it’s okay to settle for marginal improvement – particularly while having a few chuckles. “
Author: Stephen R. Covey
Jordana Woodland, CEO/Creative Director Naked Princess shared “This book is a classic for a reason! I’m a creative person by nature so when I started my company, Naked Princess, wearing the hats of Founder and Creative Director were a natural fit for me. CEO was the one title that felt a little awkward. This book helped me to discover and develop my personal approach to how I wanted to be and interact in my role as the head of my company. This book isn’t a quick how-to but rather a process of development. If you’re looking for a book that helps you discover an ethical, organized and fully integrated approach to business, this is the book for you!”
Author: Julie Morganstern
After speaking with a wide range of entrepreneurs, time management was a consistent theme and challenge. Alicia Werle, Founder and CEO of Wee Blessing revealed that one her “favorite books is Time Management from the Inside Out. One of the most difficult challenges that I have struggled with over the years is finding the time to get everything accomplished in a day that needs to get done. I have attended multiple time management courses, read numerous books and none of them have helped me as much as this book did.
The book focuses on making sure that all of the significant categories in our lives are being taken care of. Areas like Work, Family, Romance, Friendships, Spirituality, Finances, Learning, Home and Self. Making sure that you balance all of these intricate parts of your life so they work together to accomplish the same big picture goals. It is also important to make sure that you make time for each of these areas and the author explains in detail exactly how to accomplish this.
The most important take away for me was how she addressed prioritizing time. The idea is to make a “to do” list the night before of tasks that need to get done the following day, then decide what needs to be done yourself and what can be delegated to someone else. Once you have decided your tasks for the day it is critical that you outline how long it will take you to accomplish each task so that you do not put more on your list than what you actually have time for. She also talks about doing the most difficult tasks first and removing tasks altogether that keep showing up every day undone. Management from the Inside Out helped me take control of my schedule and really take control of my life. I think any business owner should read this especially, those trying to launch a new business.”
Finally, if you haven’t read this Malcolm Gladwell classic, it’s a must. In the stunning book, Gladwell takes us on “an intellectual journey through the world of ‘outliers’–the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful.” Technology and operations expert, Shan Reddy, COO of the Elizabeth Kennedy luxury label, shared “that ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell is still one of his favorites which he reads over and over again.” He “recommends it to anyone looking to build success as it shows that dedication to a discipline and hard work will lead to the knowledge needed to innovate and lead one to the pinnacle of his or her chosen field. “