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Five Leadership Books for Your Summer 2019 Reading Pleasure

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June 20th, 2019

- Updated on

June 20, 2019 - 3:07pm
Ahhh, Summer! Time to grow. Time to reflect, to retool and to reenergize your leadership capacity. 
I love this time of year, don’t you? The heaviness of winter is long gone, and the budding flowers and trees (and those pesky pollen-driven allergies) of spring have given way to the deep greens and bright blues of sunny long days and warm evening breezes. It’s the perfect time to sit back and reflect, to relax and breathe deeply, and to think about your own career path. Where have you been successful? What skills have you perfected that have driven that success? And, for most of us, what gaps might we see in our own approach or our leadership capacity that we need to fill so that we can reach our personal and professional goals?
Person reading leadership book outdoors
Photo by Negative Space from Pexels
To keep up in today’s world, I find I have to continually stretch myself; to learn from others more skilled than I. I need to open my mind to new ideas to remain vital and continue to grow. So, for our summer reading list for 2019, I’ve listed some books that address areas where I could use some enhanced capacity.
The list includes a volume for those who need to gain deeper data analysis skills, one that helps grow your influencing capacity through impactful business writing, an award-winning book on nurturing crazy ideas that can change the world, and one on developing good habits and breaking bad ones. I’ve saved my favorite for last, a moving memoir and philosophical manifesto on finding meaning through relationships and community that promises to challenge, stretch and finally bring readers a refreshing perspective on the true sources of life satisfaction to our personal and professional life.
Take a look below and find a volume that might do the same for you.
Behind Every Good Decision Book Jacket
HarperCollins Publishing
Nov. 5, 2014
276 pages
Behind Every Good Decision: How Anyone Can Use Business Analytics to Turn Data into Profitable Insight by Piyanka Jain and Puneet Sharma
From the Publisher: So you’re not a numbers person? No worries! You say that you can’t understand how to read, let alone implement, these complex software programs that crunch all the data and spit out . . . more data? Not a problem either!... authors and analytics experts Piyanka Jain and Puneet Sharma demystify the process of business analytics and demonstrate how professionals at any level can take the information at their disposal and in only five simple steps--using only Excel as a tool!--make the decision necessary to increase revenue, decrease costs, improve product, or whatever else is being asked of them at that time.”

Review: “A refreshing, solid framework to learn about and execute on analytics; a trustworthy guide to advanced techniques such as predictive analytics when required; and a simple do-it-yourself method--Behind Every Good Decision does the trick." -- Eric Siegel, Founder, Predictive Analytics World and author of Predictive Analytics

Words that Change Minds BJ

Institute for Influence
3rd Edition
March 2019
361 pages
Words that Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence by Shelle Rose Charvet

From the Publisher: “Words That Change Minds shows you how to match your language to people around you (in your work, with your colleagues, your boss and your clients, and at home, with your partner, family, and other relationships).

In Words That Change Minds you will:

  • Learn the influence science and practice.

  • Discover the ways people unconsciously get motivated, process information and make decisions.

  • Decode any communication problem and solve it.

  • Find out how to pry open mental space in even the most closed of minds.

  • Create rapport and credibility with anyone.

  • Avoid inadvertently saying or doing the wrong thing.

  • Get practical applications for sales, marketing, recruiting, negotiation, teaching, training, communication at work, conflict resolution. 

  • Increase your impact in interpersonal communication, teamwork, and in mass communication.”

Review: I love this book - it’s in my top 100 list. The main idea of the book is that language and behavior are linked: you can change someone’s behavior/decisions by using different words. And the book is showing you those words. Also, you can “predict” someone’s behavior by paying attention to their words. I highly recommend this book to any professional.” Stefan Irimia 

Loonshots: How to Nurture Crazy Ideas that Win Wars BJ

St. Martin’s Press
March 2019
347 pages
Loonshots: How to Nurture Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall
From the Publisher: “What do James Bond and Lipitor have in common? What can we learn about human nature and world history from a glass of water?
In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs. Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Mountains of print have been written about culture
Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice.”
Review: “This book has everything: new ideas, bold insights, entertaining history and convincing analysis. Not to be missed by anyone who wants to understand how ideas change the world.” Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Prize and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow

Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results BJ
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
October 2018
319 pages
Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results by James Clear
From the Publisher: “No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving--every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.
If you're having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn't you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don't want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you'll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.”
Review: "A supremely practical and useful book. James Clear distills the most fundamental information about habit formation, so you can accomplish more by focusing on less."
-Mark Manson, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Second Mountain Book Jacket

Random House LLC
April 2019
344 pages
The Second Mountain: The Quest for a Moral Life by David Brooks
From the Publisher: “In The Second Mountain, David Brooks explores the four commitments that define a life of meaning and purpose: to a spouse and family, to a vocation, to a philosophy or faith, and to a community. Our personal fulfillment depends on how well we choose and execute these commitments. Brooks looks at a range of people who have lived joyous, committed lives, and who have embraced the necessity and beauty of dependence. He gathers their wisdom on how to choose a partner, how to pick a vocation, how to live out a philosophy, and how we can begin to integrate our commitments into one overriding purpose.
In short, this book is meant to help us all lead more meaningful lives. But it’s also a provocative social commentary. We live in a society, Brooks argues, that celebrates freedom, that tells us to be true to ourselves, at the expense of surrendering to a cause, rooting ourselves in a neighborhood, binding ourselves to others by social solidarity and love. We have taken individualism to the extreme—and in the process we have torn the social fabric in a thousand different ways. The path to repair is through making deeper commitments. In The Second Mountain, Brooks shows what can happen when we put commitment-making at the center of our lives”.
Review: “Compulsively readable . . . Brooks’s considerable achievement comes in his ability to elevate the unseen aspects of private experience into a vigorous and challenging conversation about what we all share.”—San Francisco Chronicle

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.