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April 1, 2016

The 100 Best Business Books of All Time: TAKEAWAYS

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 1:40 PM – Filed under: Big Ideas & New Perspectives, Biography & Narrative, Current Events & Public Affairs, Innovation & Creativity, Leadership & Strategy, Management & Workplace Culture, Marketing & Sales, Personal Development & Human Behavior, The Company

Business books solve problems. These eleven books have an additional advantage, a particular ability to be quickly applied to the problems you face today. It's what every businessperson is looking for: a good takeaway.

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael Watkins

Transitions are a critical time for leaders. In fact, most agree that moving into a new role is the biggest challenge a manager will face. While transitions offer a chance to start fresh and make needed changes in an organization, they also place leaders in a position of acute vulnerability. Missteps made during the crucial first three months in a new role can jeopardize or even derail your success.

In The First 90 Days, Michael D. Watkins offers proven strategies for conquering the challenges of transitions—no matter where you are in your career. Watkins, a noted expert on leadership transitions and adviser to senior leaders in all types of organizations, also addresses today’s increasingly demanding professional landscape, where managers face not only more frequent transitions but also steeper expectations once they step into their new jobs. By walking you through every aspect of the transition scenario, Watkins identifies the most common pitfalls new leaders encounter and provides the tools and strategies you need to avoid them. You’ll learn how to secure critical early wins, an important first step in establishing yourself in your new role. Each chapter also includes checklists, practical tools, and self-assessments to help you assimilate key lessons and apply them to your own situation.

Whether you’re starting a new job, being promoted from within, embarking on an overseas assignment, or being tapped as CEO, how you manage your transition will determine whether you succeed or fail. Use this book as your trusted guide.

Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits by Robert Townsend

Although it was first published more than thirty-five years ago, Up the Organization continues to top the lists of best business books by groups as diverse as the American Management Association, strategy + business, and The Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management. 800-CEO-READ ranks Townsend's bestseller first among eighty books that "every manager must read." This groundbreaking book continues to remind us not to get mired in all those sacred organizational routines that stifle people and strangle both profits and profitability. He shows a way to humanize business and a way to have fun while making it all work better than it ever worked before.

Beyond the Core: Expand Your Market Without Abandoning Your Roots by Chris Zook

All companies must grow to survive—but only one in five growth strategies succeeds. In Profit from the Core, strategy expert Chris Zook revealed how to grow profitably by focusing on and achieving full potential in the core business. But what happens when your core business provides insufficient new growth or even hits the wall? In Beyond the Core, Zook outlines an expansion strategy based on putting together combinations of adjacency moves into areas away from, but related to, the core business, such as new product lines or new channels of distribution. These sequences of moves carry less risk than diversification, yet they can create enormous competitive advantage, because they stem directly from what the company already knows and does best. Based on extensive research on the growth patterns of thousands of companies worldwide, including CEO interviews with 25 top performers in adjacency growth, Beyond the Core identifies the adjacency pattern that most dramatically increases the odds of success: "relentless repeatability;" offers a systematic approach for choosing among a range of possible adjacency moves; and shows how to time adjacency moves during a variety of typical business situations. Beyond the Core shows how to find and leverage the best avenues for growth—without damaging the heart of the firm.

Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness: How to Make Sales Forever by Jeffrey Gitomer

Jeffrey Gitomer is the best-selling author of The Sales Bible, and has sold more than half a million books worldwide. What sets the best salespeople ahead of the rest? Gitomer knows, and his indispensable handbook will have listeners climbing the ladder of success faster than they ever thought possible.

Short, sweet, and to the point, the book is packed with answers that people are searching for in order to help them make sales for the moment, and for the rest of their lives. "People don't like to be sold but they love to buy," has become more than a registered trademark to Gitomer, it's a mantra.

What the CEO Wants You to Know: How Your Company Really Works by Ram Charan

Have you ever noticed that the business savvy of the world's best CEOs seems like a kind of street smarts? They sense where the opportunities are and how to take advantage of them. And their companies make money consistently, year after year.

How different is it to run a big company than to sell fruit from a cart or run a small shop in a village? In essence, not very, according to Ram Charan. From his childhood in India, where he worked in his family's shoe shop, to his education at Harvard Business School and his daily work advising many of the world's best CEOs, Ram understands business as few can.

The Team Handbook by Peter Scholtes, Brian Joiner, and Barbara Streibel

This handbook is the foremost resource on teamwork for both leaders and team members. Having sold over 1,300,000 copies of the first editions, the third edition offers new tools and strategies to help teams work well together. Organizations using teams to improve efficiency and better serve customers will find information on how to start quality initiatives such as Six Sigma or Lean. The Team Handbook includes a brief description of the Six Sigma improvement method DMAIC, and also highlights the methods and strategies that are useful in Lean. Topics include:

  • The Process Excellence Approach to Management
  • Using Teams to Meet Today’s Challenges
  • Team Roles and Responsibilities
  • Doing Work in Teams
  • Teams Using Tools to Solve Problems
  • Building an Improvement Plan
  • Learning to Work Together
  • Dealing with Conflict
  • Advanced Tools and Techniques

A Business and Its Beliefs: The Ideas That Helped Build IBM by Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

When first published in 1963, IBM CEO Thomas Watson Jr.'s A Business and Its Beliefs gave readers an unprecedented look inside IBM's executive offices. Watson—son of IBM's founder—candidly discussed how the company clung to its values during the first great technological shift, and how this refusal to compromise became IBM's strength. He also became one of the first CEOs to question business's place and responsibility in society, and openly discuss how firms could meet expanding social expectations while still turning a profit. The groundbreaking ideas in this book still resonate with today's managers. A to-the-point examination of the values and beliefs that built and sustained IBM, its message is as valuable today as it was four decades back—and will once again strike a resounding chord with executives everywhere.

The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization by Thomas L. Friedman

In this vivid portrait of the new business world, Thomas L. Friedman shows how technology, capital, and information are transforming the global marketplace, leveling old geographic and geopolitical boundaries. With bold reporting and acute analysis, Friedman dramatizes the conflict between globalizing forces and local cultures, and he shows why a balance between progress and the preservation of ancient traditions will ensure a better future for all. The Lexus and the Olive Tree is an indispensable look at power and big change in the age of globalization.

Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques by Michael Michalko

In hindsight, every great idea seems obvious. But how can you be the person who comes up with those ideas?
In this revised and expanded edition of his groundbreaking Thinkertoys, creativity expert Michael Michalko reveals life-changing tools that will help you think like a genius. From the linear to the intuitive, this comprehensive handbook details ingenious creative-thinking techniques for approaching problems in unconventional ways. Through fun and thought-provoking exercises, you'll learn how to create original ideas that will improve your personal life and your business life. Michalko's techniques show you how to look at the same information as everyone else and see something different.

With hundreds of hints, tricks, tips, tales, and puzzles, Thinkertoys will open your mind to a world of innovative solutions to everyday and not-so-everyday problems.

More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places by Michael J. Mauboussin

Offering invaluable tools to better understand the concepts of choice and risk, More Than You Know uniquely blends practical advice and sound theory, sampling from a variety of sources and disciplines. Michael J. Mauboussin builds on the ideas of visionaries, including Warren Buffett and E. O. Wilson, but also finds wisdom in a broad and deep range of fields, such as casino gambling, horse racing, psychology, and evolutionary biology. He analyzes the strategies of poker experts David Sklansky and Puggy Pearson and pinpoints parallels between mate selection in guppies and stock market booms.

Since its first publication, Michael J. Mauboussin's popular guide to wise investing has been translated into eight languages and has been named best business book by BusinessWeek and best economics book by strategy+business.

More Than You Know is written with the professional investor in mind but extends far beyond the world of economics and finance. Mauboussin groups his essays into four parts-Investment Philosophy, Psychology of Investing, Innovation and Competitive Strategy, and Science and Complexity Theory—and he includes substantial references for further reading. A true eye-opener, More Than You Know shows how a multidisciplinary approach that pays close attention to process and the psychology of decision making offers the best chance for long-term financial results.