Festive Reading Sorted: 12 Book Recommendations For Your Wishlist
Are you looking for some Christmas reading?
Christmas is descending upon us, and we all know what that means: spending time with the family, eating far more than usual and hopefully finding some time to relax and recharge. But also more time to read, learn and expand our horizons to think differently and learn new and better ways of doing things as we head into a new year.
That’s why I’d like to share with you my top picks for this year.
Enjoy the reading!
Thanks to this book, I now use mouth tape every night, and it has transformed my sleep quality. “Breath” stands out as a revolutionary book, offering a new perspective on breathing. I highly recommend this book to anyone seeking to enhance their health, well-being, and cognitive function.
Key insights from the book include:
1. The critical importance of correct breathing for maintaining optimal health.
2. The advantages of nasal breathing over mouth breathing.
3. The profound effects of ancient breathing techniques on your overall health.
“Undisruptable: A Mindset of Permanent Reinvention” is a masterful book by Aidan McCullen.
I read it and then reread it before inviting him to come on the podcast (the episode can be found here). It’s a treasure trove of knowledge that merges metaphors, biology, history, and management theory into a compelling narrative.
The book passionately argues for the necessity of constant reinvention in business and personal spheres.
McCullen stresses the importance of evolving business models, adapting to rapid environmental changes, and the dangers of complacency in success.
He introduces concepts like VUCA and the importance of a mindset geared towards permanent reinvention.
His insights into the necessity of ongoing evolution for organisations and individuals are profound. McCullen uses the metaphor of a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly to illustrate the natural and necessary transformation process and its struggle.
The book emphasises embracing change, continuous learning, and unlearning to stay relevant and resilient in an ever-evolving world.
Why didn’t they buy? We had this deal in the pipeline at more than 75%.
The answer, my friends, is that you were trying too hard in the wrong place. “The JOLT Effect” by Matthew Dixon and Ted McKenna offers groundbreaking insights into customer indecision in sales.
This book delves into the often-overlooked issue of deals stalling not because of a preference for the status quo but due to a fear of making the wrong decision. No one got fired for buying IBM. How do you make that true for your product or service?
Dixon and McKenna brilliantly illuminate how 56% of deals are lost to this indecision despite customers’ desires to move forward. They introduce the JOLT method, a transformative approach that involves judging indecision, offering solid recommendations, limiting information overload, and taking risks off the table.
After reading The Jolt Effect, it is obvious what we all need is a better pitch. Then along comes April with a book to fill the gap, “Sales Pitch.”
The product positioning and marketing expert April Dunford (podcast guest releasing in 2024) offers a compelling roadmap for standing out in a saturated market. How do you craft a sales narrative highlighting a product’s unique value and confidently guiding customers towards a purchase?
With insightful case studies and a straightforward method, Dunford unveils the eight critical components of an effective sales pitch, tackling everything from understanding your product’s differentiated value to navigating the competitive threat of inaction. “Sales Pitch” is an indispensable guide for entrepreneurs, salespeople, and marketers, offering strategies to secure better customers and amplify sales success.
In “Mind Your F**king Business,” Dominic challenges leaders to abandon conventional wisdom. Monkhouse argues that many businesses fail to reach their full potential because they try to do too much and spread themselves too thin. Instead, he advocates for a more focused approach, which he calls “thinking small to grow big.” This means focusing on a few core competencies and doing them exceptionally well.
How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors Behind Every Successful Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration
Many of our clients implement change programmes or deliver IT projects for clients. Many are late, over budget and deliver less value than intended. As 99.5% of projects also fail on these 3 teats this is now less surprising to me. BUT what to do to improve your odds of success? Well start by reading this book.
In “How Big Things Get Done,” authors Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner explore the unexpected factors that influence the success of various projects, from simple home renovations to complex space explorations. They highlight the importance of recognizing the ‘Fat-Tailed Distribution’ in project costs and timelines, indicating the need for contingency plans for unforeseen events. The concept of ‘Willingness to Pay’ is crucial, as it addresses the common issue of overestimating project values, leading to misalignment with actual costs and expectations.
The book underscores the power of ‘Empowerment and Control,’ advocating for giving teams autonomy to enhance creativity and effectiveness. It also delves into the often-overlooked role of ‘Power and Politics’ in influencing project outcomes. Practical advice includes conducting in-depth initial research, setting clear and realistic goals, fostering transparency and communication, implementing robust risk management, empowering teams with decision-making authority, and constructively managing power dynamics.
Topgrading is a tome and not light bedtime reading. So it’s fantastic that the essence of the Topgrading Method that you can use to ensure you get hiring right first time, 85% of the time, has been distilled down to a more consumable format.
“Foolproof Hiring,” authored by Brad Smart and Chris Mursau, serves as the essential guide for mastering effective hiring practices. The book introduces readers to Topgrading, the renowned and time-tested methodology for recruiting A-players. Topgrading’s methods focus on comprehensive interviews that uncover both strengths and weaknesses of candidates and ensure thorough verification of their claims.
Through a blend of engaging narratives, real-life examples, and third-party research, Smart and Mursau provide an instructional course on hiring that is accessible to all levels of management, regardless of company size.
No Bullsh*t Strategy: A Founder’s Guide to Gaining Competitive Advantage with a Strategy That Actually Works
Does strategy need to be complicated? Most firms confuse strategy with planning. So here is a book to help you elevate your annual budgeting process to something that delivers actual long term business benefit.
In “No Bullshit Strategy,” Alex MH Smith dismantles common misconceptions about business strategy, focusing on its true purpose: to provoke specific action. He criticises strategies that are merely lofty goals, generic, or filled with jargon, emphasizing that a successful strategy must offer unique value that customers desire and can’t find elsewhere. Smith argues that many businesses mistakenly believe they offer something distinctive, but often it’s something the market doesn’t want.
Here you can find guidance of a strategic hierarchy, placing the unique value at its core, followed by its delivery and branding. The book offers three approaches to thinking about unique value: context shift, unexpected value, and contrarian value. He advises writing strategies in clear prose, ensuring they are straightforward, provoke immediate ideas, and are comprehensible to everyone in the organisation.
We had Adam Coffey on the podcast and soon after the release of the episode he dropped his newest book. “Empire Builder: The Road to a Billion” is an invaluable guide for ambitious entrepreneurs and executives aiming to scale their business to the billion-dollar mark.
Drawing on his extensive experience leading private equity-backed companies, Coffey shares essential strategies and insights for achieving exponential growth. The book advocates for cultivating a high-performance culture that values innovation and collaboration. Coffey also highlights the significance of strategic growth through data-driven decision-making, efficient use of technology, and effective financial management.
We had Jim Harter on the podcast and then spent a quarter working through “It’s the Manager” with a number of clients.
Drawing from extensive Gallup research, the authors reveal that managers account for 70% of the variance in employee engagement. They advocate for a shift from the traditional directive boss to a more empowering and developmental coach role.
Key takeaways include the importance of employee engagement, the critical impact of managerial influence on this engagement, and the effectiveness of a coaching approach. The book advises managers to set high expectations, provide regular and constructive feedback, nurture employees’ strengths, cultivate a supportive culture, and lead by example.
I got to spend some time with Dan Sulivan in 2023. I had been impressed with his earlier work with Ben Hardy – Who not How and Gap and the Gain.
Enough to join Strategic Coach to work on my own business. In “10x Is Easier Than 2x” Dan and Ben upend the traditional approach to entrepreneurial success, arguing that aiming for tenfold growth is more achievable than modest, incremental gains.
The book emphasizes that world-class entrepreneurs don’t settle for mediocrity; instead, they focus on impactful activities, leapfrogging competition by creating or dominating new markets with radical differentiation.
It underscores the importance of cultivating a 10x culture, embracing failure as a learning tool, and continuously adapting to change. The book guides readers to define ambitious goals, leverage core strengths, develop a strategic plan, and surround themselves with success-minded individuals.
Another fantastic book by podcast guest David Rogers.
Jump in at rethink value propositions to understand the what to readin the whole book again from the beginning.
“The Digital Transformation Playbook” serves as an essential guide for businesses adapting to the digital age. David stresses that digital transformation transcends technology, demanding a complete shift in business mindset and strategies.
He presents a five-step framework: embracing customer networks, leveraging big data and analytics, promoting rapid experimentation, developing disruptive business models, and rethinking value propositions.