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  • Welcome to my personal website. My passion is making valuable connections between people and ideas. I’m retained by several organizations to do exactly that and enjoy taking on special projects.

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    Five Good Books

    Wednesday 6th August 2008, 5:11am

    Bedknobs and Broomsticks by ~Lore.

    I’ve found myself walking into bookshops quite a bit recently.  This is almost certainly connected with the Blackberry confession of the previous post.  Rather than sharing the very latest finds, I’ve wandered over to the Daily Networker Library to pick out five books which I’ve returned to again and again;

    The 4-Hour Workweek (Escape 9-5, live anywhere and join the new rich) by Timothy Ferriss

    Rich Dad Poor Dad (What the rich teach their kids – that you can learn too) by Robert T. Kiyosaki

    Getting Things Done (How to achieve stress-free productivity) by David Allen

    The E-Myth Revisited (Why most small businesses don’t work and what to do about it) by Michael E. Gerber

    Billion Dollar Game (How three men risked it all and changed the face of television) by Peter Bazalgette

    What are your favourite business books?

     

    22 Responses to “Five Good Books”

    1. Practical Psychologist says:

      I read e-myth Mastery. The best advice ever for entrepreneurs: ‘Work on the business, not in the business’.

      Many of the books that have sold well in the business environment were not necessarily written with that audience in mind (‘Emotional Intelligence’ is a good example). With that in mind I list the ten books I always go to if I want to stimulate my thinking around work and human behaviour. I only half apologise for including one of my own…

      Hare Brain Tortoise Mind – Guy Claxton

      Very often we think best when we are not consciously thinking about a specific thing. This book helps us to understand why that may be the case and why slowing down can help us generate great ideas and make better decisions.

      Dinosaur Strain – Mark Brown

      A personal friend so I am biased but if I ever want an interesting ‘take’ on work related subjects or a deeper ‘know yourself’ exercise that goes beyond pop psychology territory then I always go to this book. I particularly like the way that Mark subtly removes his work from faddish thinking while always offering a stimulating alternative view.

      It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be – Paul Arden

      As it says on the cover ‘The world’s best selling book by Paul Arden’. I fell for it… But this is just a very interesting look at a much-abused subject. Did you know that Victoria Beckham always wanted to be more famous than Persil Automatic? Did she succeed?

      Understanding Organisations – Charles Handy

      Everything you want to know about how organisations work. Particularly useful if you want a central reference point for all the seminal workplace research work that has been done in the last fifty years.

      The New Leaders – Daniel Goleman

      Uses his work on Emotional Intelligence to show how we can learn to be leaders. The best book on leadership I have read (I admit that there are few good ones – and particularly strong on leadership styles and adapting your style to the person and the situation you are in.

      A Whack on the Side of the Head – Roger Von Oech

      This is just a great book – an innovative way of showing us how to be more creative and innovative. Full of contradictions as all good books should be.

      The Doctor and The Soul – Viktor Frankl

      Everyone cites his book ‘Man’s Search For Meaning’ but this for me cuts very deeply into my own soul and raises so many ‘ah-ha’ moments that I almost feel it was written for me.

      Learned Optimism – Martin Seligman

      Does exactly what it says. Balanced too because he shows how pessimism can be a very healthy emotion if it propels you into positive action.

      Riding the Waves of Culture – Trompenaars, Hampden-Turner

      Far more than a book that tells us why people from other cultures behave in the way they do. In fact the authors say directly, and I endorse this, that the book is really about how individuals see the world in the way that they do and how we can adapt our behaviour according to their world-view.

      Mind Your Own Good Fortune: How to Seize Life’s Opportunities – Douglas Miller

      Sorry…

    2. Nick Temple says:

      Also a GTD man, though I can’t manage the whole process in a David Allen-like manner. For social entrepreneurs, I’d point to Craig Dearden-Phillips’ guide, Your Chance to Change the World.

      That, and a few more, are available over at the SSE bookshop
      http://astore.amazon.co.uk/schooforsocia-21/

    3. Good list. I particularly like Getting Things Done and e-myth Revisited because they focus on efficiency without overlooking some of the emotional drivers in business, ie why we get in a flap or get overrrun by the To Do list….and how to unpick bad habits and pick up good’uns.

    4. Tom Ball says:

      Great question

      I would have to say:

      Verne Harnish: Mastering Rockefeller Habits
      I’ve bought and given away about 20 copies and read it many times. Best strategy book for SMEs I’ve ever seen.

      Mark Victor Hansen: The One Minute Millionaire
      Enjoyable, practical read. Inspiring more than educational.

      Jack Canfield: The Power of Focus
      One of three books I’ve ever read three times. Nothing “new” if you’ve read a lot – but the best summary of every success book I’ve ever read.

      Jay Abraham: Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got
      The best marketing book I’ve ever read. Good, simple practical stuff – I read every chapter thinking “duh – we must do that”. Everyone in Cognac is reading it now!

      and

      The Visual Advantage: Tom Ball, Ellen Coomber & Ricky O’Neill
      (Not yet published – eta October ;o)

      And Romps through life

      Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point
      Fantastic book explaining what and how a tipping point is: Basically the point at which something takes off.

      James Surowiecki: The Wisdom of Crowds
      Many idiots are brighter than a few experts – IF you follow the right conditions.

    5. Shaa says:

      The Magic of Thinking Big

      It takes just as much time to do something small as it does to do it big …

    6. Shaa says:

      The Magic Of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

      It takes just as much time to do something small as it does to do something big!

    7. njaris says:

      Blue Ocean Strategy.
      Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
      Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
      Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done.
      Freakonomics.

    8. Henry says:

      Loved the four hour work week. My favourites are:

      Maverick by Ricardo Semler
      A radical and inspirational approach to managing, based on trust and freedom.

      The Customer Comes Second by Hal Rosenbluth
      Because the staff come first. “Hire nice people and treat them well” is the simple message at the core of this book from the company rated the best in the US for customer service.

      Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey (Jnr)
      Learn how much more effective and productive we are, when trust is in place.

      Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras
      The classic study, that showed that the companies that prosper in the long-term are those that focus on staff, customers and the wider community – rather than on short-term profit.

      Authentic Business by Neil Crofts
      Another inspiring book, based on the companies that have a core mission beyond profit.

      Now, discover your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham
      Stope trying to get your people to improve in their weak areas and get them to focus on their strengths instead. An approach that turns things on their head.

      Or you can download my free book from: Loved the four hour work week. My favourites are:

      Maverick by Ricardo Semler
      A radical and inspirational approach to managing, based on trust and freedom.

      The Customer Comes Second by Hal Rosenbluth
      Because the staff come first. “Hire nice people and treat them well” is the simple message at the core of this book from the company rated the best in the US for customer service.

      Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey (Jnr)
      Learn how much more effective and productive we are, when trust is in place.

      Built to Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras
      The classic study, that showed that the companies that prosper in the long-term are those that focus on staff, customers and the wider community – rather than on short-term profit.

      Authentic Business by Neil Crofts
      Another inspiring book, based on the companies that have a core mission beyond profit.

      Now, discover your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham
      Stope trying to get your people to improve in their weak areas and get them to focus on their strengths instead. An approach that turns things on their head.

      Or youc an download my book, a short story on creating a workplace based on trust and freedom, from http://tinyurl.com/5kdvfz

      Best wishes

      Henry Stewart
      Happy Ltd

    9. Steve D says:

      “How to win Friends and Influence people” by Dale Carnegie

      You might think this is an old-hat or an un-cool choice as it was written in the 1930s and became a cliched phrase for people now in their 70s…
      …but this is still a magical book and as relevant ever.

      - Loved 4HWW… so expect emails from my Virtual Assistant :-)
      - Predictable Irrational (Dan Ariely) also excellent

    10. cliff says:

      Nice lists. Maybe some lateral ones….

      Critical Mass by Philip Ball looks at what physics, maths and materials sciences teach us about how things work at large scale, and the lessons that teaches for society, economics and human interaction. Some very valuable ideas and lessons for working with social change at scale.

      Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World was a gift from BillDrayton, founder of Ashoka. When it arrived I thought this was too much irony from the global empire builders of social entrepreneurship. But reading it was a revelation. I never knew this guy abolished slavery, created rapid communication systems, brought so much interchange of cultures and knowledge across vast distances. Nor that those same trade and communication routes brought the empire’s downfall through transmitting plague…

      And then even more lateral. David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is the most inspirational piece of fiction I’ve read in a long while. The oppression of freedom, and the resilience of the human spirit to over come it, through history and across cultures. No it’s not a business book, but it reminds us why we do the work we do.

    11. Alberto says:

      Great question!

      Here are mine (6, it felt bad to exclude one any of these):

      High Fidelity (Nick Hornby)
      Ada (Vladimir Nabokov)
      Peter Pan (J.M Barrie)
      The Misanthrope (Moliere)
      You Shall Know Our Velocity (Dave Eggers)
      Lullaby (Chuck Palahniuk)

    12. practical psychologist says:

      Oli. I am very interested in business books. And there is a great business book to be written on the psychology of blogging. Why has this one got 11 responses in 10 hours?

    13. admin says:

      Doug, this is an area which really interests me, however to be honest, this post has had an extra boost because I emailed several people to ask for their responses :)

    14. ArkAngel says:

      If you like making lists of 5 things here’s quite a sweet place to do it…
      http://5alist.com/

    15. Seb says:

      My list changes pretty frequently, depending on what I’m excited about that week, but the five business / personal development books I would grab if the building was burning:

      Mindfulness by Ellen Langer
      Why we spend most our time on autopilot, the consquences and how to become more present.

      The Relationship Cure by John Gottman
      Divorce rate in UK is at 40%, success rate of marriage counselling is low, attrition rate in many business is a big issue, with the relationship with manager as being the most cited reason for depature. Why are relationships so tricky? Gottman’s work is that very rare combination of creativity, rigour and accessibility. This is his pop-psychology work.

      Authentic happiness by Martin Seligman
      If the goal of life is happiness (discuss…) then this isn’t a bad place to start. Take his work of optimism (Learned optimism, referenced above) and adds strengths to it. It’s supported by a good website too.

      Solving tough problems by Adam Kahane
      Lots of problems are highly complex and appear unsolvable. Take South Africa transitioning away from an all-white government, or attempting to end the violence in Columbia. By applying techniques in scenario planning developed by Shell, Kahane explores how people need to interact with one another to create the environment where the problem can be resolved. Brilliant, brilliant stuff.

      Better by Atul Gawande
      Really well written (he’s a colleague of Gladwell on the New Yorker) this book tells gripping stories of how doctors and surgeons can improve their craft. Lots of transferrable ideas to business, and performance and change in particular. If you liked Tipping Point and Blink, this’ll be up your street.

      Enjoy.

    16. I normally read books quickly however it has taken me about 3 weeks to get through “Find Your Lightbulb” by Mike Harris.

      Not because the book is hard to read or hard to get into. Quite the opposite, it is interesting and fun to read but I don’t want to read on until I have completed his excersises.

      On an 11 hour flight back from Asia, I filled 32 pages of notes and got a heap of clarity on my company and personal vision as well as “the big impossible game”. That was from chapter 1 and 2!

      Meeting Mike Harris personally gave the book a lot of weight. He is down to earth, humble and communicated with an understated confidence. For a man who has built three multi-billion pound companies he has earned the right to be however he likes …and his humility is resounding.

      PS: Great reading up on your comments above.

    17. Yes, I picked up the 4-Hour Work Week in the States a few months ago and loved it. Some great ideas there – although I have the uneasy feeling that it’s also an encouragement to yet more selfishness in our already self-obsessed society.

      Also love ‘Maverick’ – would like to meet Ricardo Semler – he sounds great

      Have just read Theo Paphitis’s book ‘Enter the Dragon’ (cos I had to to review it) and was pleasantly surprised. Apart from having some sound business tips in it, it’s a genuinely interesting read about someone who sounds like a genuinely good bloke!

      Not quite a business book, but I also widely recommend ‘Influence’ by Robert Cialdini. I got it cos it was recommended by Charlie Munger (Berkshire Hathaway) and it’s fab. It goes through the many and various ways in which we are turned into automatons, reacting without thought, and how to guard against it.

      Like the look of some of the other books recommended here. Must get reading (just as soon as I’ve done my, already late, book review!) J

    18. Ed says:

      Here’s my 2p.
      http://www.simple.am/blog/2008/06/29/book-er-prize/

      I’ve heard very good things about Find Your LIghtbulb, too — must get on that.

    19. Unbiased Guy says:

      *IDEAS MAN* *IDEAS MAN* *IDEAS MAN* *IDEAS MAN*

      *** I hear there’s a great new book about how to succeed – in fact it’s nearly sold out apparently…it’s called ‘IDEAS MAN” and is both inspirational and funny…***

    20. David says:

      Hi Oli, popular post!

      The Innovator’s Solution is probably my favourite of all time. I wrote a blog post last year on this and I update my favourites on there…

      http://internet-biz.blogspot.com/2007/09/great-business-books.html

    21. [...] New Year’s Resolutions begin, I turn back something I wrote in August last year about business books.  What’s far more interesting than my words, is the [...]

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