Business

3 Business Books You Can’t Afford To Ignore

Most people see their book consumption spike in the Summer.  This is certainly true for me. I do my best to read the news daily online and on paper (I know, so old fashioned!).  But, when it comes to staying on top of my book reading goals throughout the year, I have a lot of progress to make.  I buy books several times a month and start many. But, by the time Summer rolls in, I invariably end up with a pile of books that I either haven’t finished or that I want to re-read.

In this post, I review the “Top 3” business books I read this season.  I’d love to hear your feedback as well as your top selections!  I’m always looking for recommendations so please suggest books in the comment section.  This list focuses on business books.  If you’re interested in my favorite technology books, read this post.

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Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell

Most executives don’t think they need a coach. They are wrong.The best athletes have coaches. The best athletes understand that, in order to get better, they need someone who cares to tell them about their blindspots.  Bill Campbell was one of Silicon Valley’s most legendary coaches.

He coached some of the greatest: Larry Page (Google), Steve Jobs (Apple), Ben Horowitz (Andreessen Horowitz), Brad Smith (Intuit), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and many others.

In this book, 3 of his disciples (Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle) unveil the method behind what you might call the “Campbell School of Management”.

The book is well written and its structure will allow you to get value quickly.  Key points are called out as quotes throughout the book and the authors writing style is pleasant.

I personally felt that Chapter 1 was a little long.  If you know about Bill’s background, start at Chapter 2.  There, you’ll learn about Bill’s key management tenants: the value of team cross-collaboration, the distraction of business titles and the importance of candor and empathy.

All in all, this is a great book. It should be required reading for any tech leader.  If you find that some of its content and style is familiar to the book “How Google Works”, don’t be surprised: Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg also wrote that one.

James Comey: A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership

Many will assume that this book is about politics.  It’s not. It is about management and the skillsets required to become and remain a leader driven by perspective, purpose and truth.  Comey’s philosophy on deceit, loyalty and transparency will help you navigate today’s complex corporate world.

Here is a passage that will help managers who want to help their teams learn faster:  Before I became FBI director, I worked at Bridgewater Associates—which aspires to build a culture of complete transparency and honesty. I learned there that I could sometimes be a selfish and poor leader. Most often, that was because I was hesitant to tell people who worked for me when I thought they needed to improve. The best leaders are both kind and tough. Without both, people don’t thrive.  Bridgewater’s founder, Ray Dalio, believes there is no such thing as negative feedback or positive feedback: there is only accurate feedback, and we should care enough about each other to be accurate”.

Regardless of your political affiliation, you’ll have to acknowledge James Comey’s outstanding professional achievements: he became the United States’ Deputy Attorney General at age 43 and worked under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama before he was dismissed in May 2017.

Comey’s writing style is engaging and the precision of his storytelling makes the book a real pleasure to read and re-read.

Dan Conway: Confessions of a Crypto Millionaire. 

This book is NOT a cryptocurrency guide or a Bitcoin manual.  It is the story of how an underdog, badly scarred by his battles with life, fights for survival…and comes back in a big way: Dan Conway made millions investing in the cryptocurrency Ether.

The book comes out on September 9th and I advise you to consider pre-ordering it now.  Why? Well, first because it’s on pre-order special and only costs $2.99 for the ebook…but more importantly because you’ll find that it contains useful work and life lessons.

The book reads like a memoir. The opening chapters provide context for the author’s loneliness and struggles.  He confesses to his family struggles and work problems with incredible vulnerability. He exposes his battle with alcohol, drugs and depression. Then he explains why crypto made sense for him.

Conway didn’t get addicted to crypto out of greed. He got “hooked” out of principle.  The idea behind cryptocurrency is that decentralization produces better results than our current societal model: corporations and governments hold most of the power and make rules for the rest of us . Crypto is something different. Its #1 principle is that “currency is owned and controlled by the people, not by any central authority.

Conway didn’t work for a bank. He worked for one of those large corporations whose culture was punctuated by politics, bureaucracy and propaganda.  This made matters worse. Conway became increasingly suspicious of the “gatekeepers and rule makers” that rule our lives.  He grew wary of their power and how they could affect our privacy and personal liberty. His experience is reminiscent of what Neo’s situation might have felt like in “The Matrix”.

For Conway, crypto was only partly about the money.  It was also about finding liberation and salvation. And crypto hit him at his core.  My favorite quote: “It turns out,” he says, “that my entire identity had prepared me for crypto”.

How do you feel about crypto now?!

If you don’t know anything about crypto and want to get a decent explanation before reading this book, watch John Oliver’s take on it below (the “Dan” he refers to in it, is NOT the book’s author).

[“source=forbes”]