Top 10 business books of 2022
I’ve read so many great books this year, and I’ve had the pleasure of talking with some of the authors on The Melting Pot. If you’re looking for inspiration to come back stronger and smarter in 2023, here’s the list of some of the books I’ve enjoyed the most this year. Enjoy!
Smart Growth by Whitney Johnson
Great book by podcast guest, Whitney Johnson. Growth is the goal. Helping people develop their potential—enabling them to articulate and become the self they want to be, are capable of being, and that best serves them and others in the short and long term—is what we as individuals and leaders strive toward. But how do we grow? It turns out it happens in a predictable way, which means we can understand where we are in our growth and chart a way forward. In this compact, complete guide, Whitney Johnson dives more deeply than ever into the S Curve of Learning so that you can envision how growth happens and direct yourself and others in your organization to create a culture that fosters it.
Get It Done by Ayelet Fishbach
A great deal of ink has been spilled on the subject of motivating and influencing others, but what happens when the person you most want to influence is you? Setting and achieving goals for yourself – at work, at home, and in relationships – is harder than it seems. How do you know where to start? How do you carry on in the face of roadblocks and distractions? How do you decide which tasks and ambitions to prioritize when you’re faced with more responsibilities, needs and desires than you can keep track of? In Get it Done, psychologist and behavioural scientist Ayelet Fishbach presents a new theoretical framework for self-motivated action, explaining how to identify the right goals, attack the ‘middle problem’, battle temptations, use the help of others around you and so much more.
CEO Excellence by Carolin Dewar, Scott Keller and Vikram Malhotra
From the world’s most influential management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, this is an insight-packed, revelatory look at how the best CEOs do their jobs based on extensive interviews with today’s most successful corporate leaders–including chiefs at Netflix, JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, and Sony. To identify the 21st century’s best CEOs, the authors of CEO Excellence started with a pool of over 2400 public company CEOs. Extensive screening distilled that group into an elite corps, sixty-seven of whom agreed to in-depth, multi-hour interviews. Among those sharing their views: Jamie Dimon (JPMorgan Chase), Satya Nadella (Microsoft), Reed Hastings (Netflix), Kazuo Hirai (Sony), Ken Chenault (American Express), Mary Barra (GM), and Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Nestlé). What came out of those frank, no-holds-barred conversations is a rich array of mindsets and actions that deliver outsized performance. Compelling, practical, and unprecedented in scope, CEO Excellence is a treasure trove of wisdom from today’s most elite business leaders.
Check out The Melting Pot episode with Scott Keller.
Designed to scale by Lex Sisney
Have you ever wondered why some businesses scale while others fail? For every company that triples in size, thousands lose their momentum and get stuck. Every business leader aspires to achieve and sustain growth, but most come up short. Usually this happens because the early start-up structure is not designed to support their next-stage business strategy. It is not designed to scale. Designed to Scale explains the principles of scalable organizational structure: What are the structural traps that kill business growth? How do you successfully and quickly change your company’s trajectory? How do you design an agile and responsive organization that lasts? In this insightful and eye-opening book, author and business scaling expert Lex Sisney dispels the most common myths about organizational structure and shows you what really works—giving you a clear, actionable blueprint to grow your company exponentially and sustainably.
Compassionate Leadership by Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter
A global pandemic, economic volatility, natural disasters, civil and political unrest. From New York to Barcelona to Hong Kong, it can feel as if the world as we know it is coming apart. Through it all, our human spirit is being tested. Now more than ever, it’s imperative for leaders to demonstrate compassion. But in hard times like these, leaders need to make hard decisions—deliver negative feedback, make difficult choices that disappoint people, and in some cases lay people off. How do you do the hard things that come with the responsibility of leadership while remaining a good human being and bringing out the best in others? Most people think we have to make a binary choice between being a good human being and being a tough, effective leader. But this is a false dichotomy. Being human and doing what needs to be done are not mutually exclusive. In truth, doing hard things and making difficult decisions is often the most compassionate thing to do.
In case you missed it, here’s the episode of The Melting Pot where I talked with Rasmus Hougaard.
The upside of uncertainty by Nathan Furr and Susannah Harmon Furr
Whether you’re searching for courage to start a new project, change careers, launch a business, develop an idea, or reinvent yourself after a disappointment or life change, you will face uncertainty—that ambiguous and uncomfortable state that often makes us feel confused, anxious, and afraid to act. Though these moments are difficult, they offer opportunities for personal growth, innovation, and creativity. In The Upside of Uncertainty, INSEAD professor Nathan Furr and entrepreneur Susannah Harmon Furr provide a sweeping guide to embracing uncertainty and transforming it into a force for good. Drawing from hundreds of interviews, along with pioneering research in psychology, innovation, and behavioral economics, Nathan and Susannah provide dozens of tools—including mental models, techniques, and reflections—for seeing the upside of uncertainty, developing a vision for what to do next, and opening ourselves up to new possibilities.
I talked with and learned from Nathan and Susannah on a great episode of The Melting Pot this year.
The science of dream teams by Mike Zani
How do you find the perfect person for the job in a stack of hundreds of resumes? Why do some teams succeed while others―made up of equally talented people―stumble? If the quality of your workforce is your company’s most important asset, then why are your managers still basing these critical decisions primarily on interviews and their gut instincts? In The Science of Dream Teams, Mike Zani details a data-driven approach to talent optimization that makes hiring, motivating, and managing people more efficient and effective than ever. Whatever the business or industry, this game-changing approach has the power to unlock an unbeatable competitive advantage. The Science of Dream Teams will show you how.
Win From Within by James Heskett
James Heskett provides a roadmap for achievable and fast-paced culture change. He demonstrates that an effective culture supplies the trust that makes managing change of all kinds easier. It provides a foundation on which changes in strategy can be based, and it’s a competitive edge that can’t easily be hacked or copied. Examining leading companies around the world, Heskett details how organizational culture makes employees more loyal, more productive, and more creative. He discusses how to quantify its effects in order to sell the notion of culture change to the organization and considers how to preserve an organization’s culture in the face of the trend toward remote work hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Showing how leadership can bring about significant changes in a surprisingly short time span, Win from Within offers a playbook for developing and deploying culture that enables outsized results. It is a groundbreaking demonstration of organizational culture’s role as a foundation for strategic success―and its measurable impact on the bottom line.
I had the great pleasure of talking with James on The Melting Pot.
Beyond Digital by Paul Leinwand and Mahadeva Matt Mani
Digital transformation is critical. But winning in today’s world requires more than digitization. It requires understanding that the nature of competitive advantage has shifted—and that being digital is not enough. In Beyond Digital, Paul Leinwand and Matt Mani from Strategy&, PwC’s global strategy consulting business, take readers inside twelve companies and how they have navigated through this monumental shift: from Philips’s reinvention from a broad conglomerate to a focused health technology player, to Cleveland Clinic’s engagement with its broader ecosystem to improve and expand its leading patient care to more locations around the world, to Microsoft’s overhaul of its global commercial business to drive customer outcomes.
Check out the episode where I talked with Paul and Matt
The Rack We Built by Lorenzo Gomez III
In 1998, the thought of launching a startup in San Antonio was ludicrous—but that didn’t stop Rackspace’s founders from planting their flag in the heart of Texas. Just over two decades later, the scrappy little underdog that no one believed in is a billion-dollar business with more than 6,000 employees worldwide. One of the first ten account managers hired at Rackspace was Lorenzo Gomez. He was there when the company became the host for YouTube and saw the decade-long stretch where each month brought one-hundred new hires. The rocket ship growth was exhilarating but exposed Rackspace’s early flaws, including avoiding customers at all costs. When the mission shifted to becoming one of the world’s greatest service companies, everything changed. Suddenly, Rackspace had a rallying cry—“fanatical support”—and a culture that few companies could match. The Rack We Built is Lorenzo’s recollections from those days, told only as he can tell it: through stories packed with style, heart, and humor. With the principles in the book, you can create the type of culture that makes people want to volunteer their best.
- NAVIGATING AND COMMUNICATING CHANGE
- BUILDING COMPANY CULTURE
- CHOOSING THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITIES
- ORGANISING YOUR A-TEAM