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Spark Your Professional Fire with a Great New Read

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January 29th, 2019

- Updated on

January 30, 2019 - 3:40pm
Brrrr! It’s cold outside! Nothing beats a crackling fire, a cup on your favorite beverage and an intriguing book to warm you up on a chilly winter day. Couple this with your New Year’s resolution to spark your professional imagination and grow your leadership capacity and you have a winning combo that will get you through any Nor’easter. (And I know, having spent 12 long, wonderful years in the snowy environs of New Hampshire…a place that requires a full bookshelf and a cord of firewood stacked conveniently by the back door.)
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash
So, while the Saints, the Pats, the Chiefs and the Rams fought it out in the background this past Sunday afternoon and evening, I scoured online to find the most intriguing, challenging, and timely business and leadership books for 2019. But don’t worry, no need to rely on just my own recommendations. This list contains input from such top influencers as the Washington Post, Inc. and Fortune Magazines, Harvard and Wharton Business School faculty and even Warren Buffett himself. These recommendations will:
  • Help you run better meetings,
  • Guide you in paring down and streamlining your life – leaving precious room for essentials 
  • Challenge you to debunk your perceptions about work
  • Give you a keen appreciation of the dominant role data science will play in business now and in the future.
  • Turn some of your most fiercely guarded assumptions about leadership upside down.
There is sure to be one or two below that grab your imagination.

The Surprising Science of Meetings Book Jacket
Oxford University Press,
Dec 13, 2018
194 pages
The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance by Steven G. Rogelberg
“In The Surprising Science of Meetings, Steven G. Rogelberg, researcher and consultant to some of the world's most successful companies, draws from extensive research, analytics and data mining, and survey interviews with over 5,000 employees across a range of industries to share the proven practices and techniques that help managers and employees enhance the quality of their meetings. For those who lead and participate in meetings, Rogelberg provides immediate direction, guidance, and relief, offering a how-to guide to change your working life starting today.”
"Finally! Evidence-based, actionable advice about improving the quality and impact of meetings. Rogelberg has written a tour de force. If you put his sage advice into action, your teams and organizations will accomplish more."
—David G. Altman, Chief Operating Officer, Center for Creative Leadership

None Lies About Work Book Jacket
Harvard Business Review Press,
Expected Apr 2, 2019
256 pages
Nine Lies about Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall
“As strengths guru and bestselling author Marcus Buckingham and Cisco Leadership and Team Intelligence head Ashley Goodall show in this provocative, inspiring book, there are some big lies--distortions, faulty assumptions, wrong thinking--running through our organizational lives. Nine lies, to be exact … 
With engaging stories and incisive analysis, the authors reveal the essential truths…: that it is the strength and cohesiveness of your team, not your company's culture, that matters most; that we need less focus on top-down planning and more on giving our people reliable, real-time intelligence; that rather than trying to align people's goals we should strive to align people's sense of purpose and meaning; that people don't want constant feedback, they want helpful attention. This is the real world of work.”

Data Science for Executives Book Jacket
Lioncrest Publishing,
Oct 2018
266 Pages
Data Science for Executives by Nir Kaldero
“We are in the 4th industrial revolution; companies need to figure out how to survive. In this exciting revolution, machine intelligence has had a more unprecedented impact on business than the internet, and it's the only path to corporate survival in the future. In Data Science for Executives, Nir Kaldero dispels the myths and confusion surrounding this game-changing technology and provides practical strategies for harnessing its profitable power.
This essential tome provides illuminating case studies, important guiding principles, and effective on-the-ground actions for incorporating machine intelligence into your organization and employing it to enhance your business through the wealth of data that flows into your business. 
Leaders don't have to be scientists to unlock the power of AI technology that is already radically altering the industrial landscape. If you're ready to meet the challenges of this new revolution, this essential guide will help you take your business to the next level.”

We Are All the Same Now Book Jacket
Lioncrest Publishing,
August 2018
226 pages
We Are All The Same Age Now by David Allison 
“In We Are All the Same Age Now, David Allison, creator of Valuegraphics, explains how you can increase efficiency, create strategies that are eight times more effective, decrease internal politics around decisions, and be better equipped for disruption. He explains what Valuegraphics can do and offers the data samples and tools you need to get started using Valuegraphics immediately. He also shares how to make powerful values-based decisions throughout your organization and how to take your insights further.”
“Valuegraphics are the missing link we need to move beyond demographic stereotyping.” 
—Catherine Rigod-Halprin, VP of Strategy for Geometry Global

Range BJ
Riverhead Books,
May 2019
352 pages
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein
“David Epstein, author of the New York Times bestseller The Sports Gene, studied the world's most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields--especially those that are complex and unpredictable--generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They're also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can't spy from deep in their hyper-focused trenches. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.
Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range explains how to maintain the benefits of breadth, diverse experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and delayed concentration in a world that increasingly incentivizes, even demands, hyper-specialization.”
“For too long, we’ve believed in a single path to excellence. Start early, specialize soon, narrow your focus, aim for efficiency. But in this groundbreaking book, David Epstein shows that in most domains, the way to excel is something altogether different. Sample widely, gain a breadth of experiences, take detours, and experiment relentlessly. Epstein is a deft writer, equally nimble at telling a great story and unpacking complicated science. And Range is an urgent and important book, an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of When, Drive, and A Whole New Mind  

Digital Minimalism Book Jacket
Feb 2019
304 pages
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
“Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It's the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.
In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives.”
“I challenge you not to devour this wonderful book in one sitting. I certainly did, and I started applying Cal’s ideas to my own life immediately.”
—Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism
“You’re not the user, you’re the product. Hang up, log off, and tune in to a different way to be in the world. Bravo, Cal. Smart advice for good people.”
—Seth Godin, author of This is Marketing

Break the Wheel Book Jacket
Unthinkable Media
Sept 2018
172 pages
Break the Wheel by Jay Acunzo
“In this quick-hitting, powerful book, keynote speaker and podcaster Jay Acunzo hands us a sledgehammer. With a diverse range of real-world stories, Break the Wheel offers a simple but powerful way to think for yourself when surrounded by conventional thinking. Along the way, Acunzo offers six fundamental questions to ask in any situation to start making the best possible decisions, regardless of the best practice.
Stop relying on generic advice. With this book, say goodbye to average work and hello to doing your best.”

AJO Blogger - Kathy Flora - Headshot
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.