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Read Up - Then Create Something Positive for Yourself, Your Team, Your Organization

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May 24th, 2018

- Updated on

May 24, 2018 - 1:12pm
If you are like me, you yearn to learn something to counter the chaos and conflict that we read and hear about in the news every day. I need some positivity! AJO's 2018 Summer Reading List is just the ticket.
We’ve culled through multiple recommendations from professional organizations and business publications to find those new in 2018 volumes that will give you some innovative tools for self-development, for personal and career success, and for creating a culture where you and your colleagues can thrive.
We’ve thrown in a few others for good measure; one that calls us to our better angels, reminding us that civility is essential to create positive relationships and effective human systems, and two others that ask us to remember and trust our core values of inclusion, freedom, and responsibility. Recalling these values and applying what you learn will help you create a more positive world – at work, at home, and in our broader social environment. We all need that.
So, dig in, read up. Then put what you learn into practice. We’ll all be better for it.
Happy reading!

When Book Jacket - Dan Pink
Riverhead Books,
January 9, 2018
272 pages
WHEN: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
From the Publisher: “…Timing, it's often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.
Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed…
In When, Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesizes them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.”

Review: “An Amazon Best Book of January 2018: How many of us come back from a lunch break with the best of intentions for an industrious end to the day, only to suffer the dreaded post-lunch slump? Pink lays out the scientific case for this phenomenon, a peak, trough, and then recovery of energy levels and productivity seen in people worldwide, across all cultures and geographies. By being aware of one’s own chronotype, i.e. when they tend to experience peak and diminished performance, …Pink argues readers can be more effective in choosing when to tackle a new project at work, when to give a big presentation, or even when to schedule a surgery.” Matt Fyffe

Treating Peopl Well Book Jacket
January 9, 2018
257 pages
Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and In Life by Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard
From the Publisher: “This book is for you if you feel unsure of yourself in social settings, if you’d like to get along more easily with others, or if you want to break through to a new level of cooperation with your boss and coworkers. They give specific advice for how to exude confidence even when you don’t feel it, ways to establish your reputation as an individual whom people like, trust, and want to help, and lay out the specific social skills still essential to success … Jeremy and Lea prove that social skills are learned behavior that anyone can acquire…
This is not a book about old school etiquette; they explain the things we all want to know, like how to walk into a roomful of strangers and make friends, what to do about a difficult colleague who makes you dread coming to work each day, and how to navigate the sometimes-treacherous waters of social media in a special chapter on “Virtual Manners.”
The authors make a case for the importance of a return to treating people well in American political life, maintaining that democracy cannot be sustained without public civility.
Review: "Treating People Well isn't just about civility. It's a handbook for life. I can't remember the last time I read a book with so much wisdom, told through such compelling and personal stories, with such useful advice on what all of us can do to improve our relationships with our fellow human beings." Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit

Your Best year Ever Book Jacket
Baker Books
January 2, 2018
272 pages
Your Best Year Ever: a 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals by Michael Hyatt
From the Publisher: “We all want to live a life that matters. We all want to reach our full potential. But too often we find ourselves overwhelmed by the day-to-day. Our big goals get pushed to the back burner--and then, more often than not, they get forgotten. New York Times bestselling author Michael Hyatt wants readers to know that it doesn't have to be this way. In fact, he thinks that this is the year readers can finally close the gap between reality and their dreams.

In Your Best Year Ever, Hyatt shares a powerful, proven, research-driven system for setting and achieving goals. Readers learn how to design their best year ever in just five hours

  • three simple ways to triple the likelihood of achieving their goals
  • how to quit-proof their goals
  • what to do when they feel stuck
  • - and much more
Anyone who is tired of not seeing progress in their personal, intellectual, business, relationship or financial goals will treasure the field-tested wisdom found in these pages.
Review: Your Best Year Ever is full of compelling, real-life stories of average people who have achieved extraordinary results. Please take my advice and only buy this book if you want to be able to look back in twelve months and say, 'Now that was my best year ever!'" John C. Maxwell, author, speaker, and leadership expert

Powerful Book Jacket
Silicon Guild
January 9, 2018
228 pages
Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord
From the Publisher: “Named by The Washington Post as one of the 11 Leadership Books to Read in 2018
When it comes to recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams, Patty McCord says most companies have it all wrong. McCord helped create the unique and high-performing culture at Netflix, where she was chief talent officer. In her new book, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, she shares what she learned there and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.
McCord advocates practicing radical honesty in the workplace, saying goodbye to employees who don’t fit the company’s emerging needs, and motivating with challenging work, not promises, perks, and bonus plans. McCord argues that the old standbys of corporate HR—annual performance reviews, retention plans, employee empowerment and engagement programs—often end up being a colossal waste of time and resources. Her road-tested advice, offered with humor and irreverence, provides readers a different path for creating a culture of high performance and profitability. "
Powerful will change how you think about work and the way a business should be run.
Review: “If your company is pursuing greatness and comfortable with the idea of embracing change, this book is a must-read. It’s as simple as that. Patty McCord articulates what many leaders need to hear, then teaches you how to implement it.” Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, co-founders and co-CEOs of Warby Parker

Radical Inclusion Book Jacket
March 6, 2018
193 pages
Radical Inclusion: What the Post-9/11 World Should Have Taught us About Leadership, by Martin Dempsey and Ori Brafman
From the Publisher: "Named by the Washington Post as one of the 11 Leadership books to read in 2018.examines today’s leadership landscape and describes the change it demands of leaders. Dempsey and Brafman persuasively explain that today’s leaders are in competition for the trust and confidence of those they lead more than ever before. They assert that the nature of power is changing and should not be measured by the degree of control alone. They offer principles for adaptation and bring them to life with examples from business, academia, government, and the military.
In building their argument, Dempsey and Brafman introduce several concepts that illuminate both the vulnerability and the opportunity in leading today:
  • Radical Inclusion. Fear of losing control in our fast-paced, complex, highly scrutinized environment is pushing us toward exclusion―exactly the wrong direction. Leaders should instead develop an instinct for inclusion. The word “radical” emphasizes the urgency of doing so.
  • The Era of the Digital Echo. The speed and accessibility of information create “digital echoes” that make facts vulnerable, eroding the trust between leader and follower.
  • Relinquishing Control to Preserve Power. Power and control once went hand in hand, but no longer. In today’s environment, control is seductive but unlikely to produce optimum, affordable, sustainable solutions. Leaders must relinquish and share control to build and preserve power.
The principles discussed in Radical Inclusion are memorable and the book is full of engaging stories. From a young vegan’s confrontation with opponents in Berkeley to a young lieutenant’s surprising visitor during the Cold War, from a reflection on the significance of Burning Man to a discussion of challenges faced in the Situation Room, Radical Inclusion will provide you with leadership tools to address real leadership challenges."
Review: “An indispensable read for anyone in a leadership position today.” Patty McCord, former chief talent officer, Netflix, and author of Powerful.

Cutlure Code Book Jacket
January 30, 2018
304 pages
The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle
From the Publisher: NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Talent Code unlocks the secrets of highly successful groups and provides tomorrow’s leaders with the tools to build a cohesive, motivated culture.
Where does great culture come from? How do you build and sustain it in your group, or strengthen a culture that needs fixing?
In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind…Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change.
…Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded.
Culture is not something you are—it’s something you do. The Culture Code puts the power in your hands.”
Review: “I’ve been waiting years for someone to write this book—I’ve built it up in my mind into something extraordinary. But it is even better than I imagined. Daniel Coyle has produced a truly brilliant, mesmerizing read that demystifies the magic of great groups. It blows all other books on culture right out of the water.”Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Option B, Originals, and Give and Take

Great At Work Book Jacket
Simon and Schuster
January 30, 2018
321 pages
Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More by Morten T. Hansen
From the Publisher “Named by The Washington Post as One of the 11 Leadership Books to Read in 2018.
…an authoritative, practical guide to individual performance—based on analysis from an exhaustive, groundbreaking study.
Why do some people perform better at work than others? …Now, after a unique, five-year study of more than 5,000 managers and employees, Morten Hansen reveals the answers in his “Seven Work Smarter Practices” that can be applied by anyone looking to maximize their time and performance.
Each of Hansen’s seven practices is highlighted by inspiring stories from individuals in his comprehensive study.
Each chapter contains questions and key insights to allow you to assess your own performance and figure out your work strengths, as well as your weaknesses. Once you understand your individual style, there are mini-quizzes, questionnaires, and clear tips to assist you to focus on a strategy to become a more productive worker. …Great at Work will help you achieve more by working less, backed by unprecedented statistical analysis.
Review: "In this groundbreaking book, Morten Hansen delivers on the genius of “and:” rigorous and relevant, research-driven and well-written, empirical and empowering, timeless and practical, full of big concepts and useful tips. Hansen's work is truly distinctive in the genre of professional effectiveness, and a tremendous contribution. This is a book I will read more than once, and reference forever."Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, co-author of Built to Last and Great by Choice

Kathy Flora is a Career and Executive Coach and AJO Blogger who is actively pursuing her life’s passion, helping others find and fulfill theirs. Known as a positive change agent, mentor and guide, she has assisted hundreds of leaders and their teams understand their strengths, collaborate effectively, and drive organizational success. She has a special affinity for working with virtual teams, using webinars, virtual meet-ups, and online collaborative communities to optimize communication and productivity. Her experience spans over 25 years in executive management and leadership, career development, facilitation, and consulting in private firms, state government, and in federal agencies.