After finishing the latest Nancy Duarte book, Persuasive Presentations (read my blog post on it), I did a bit of rearranging of the book shelf in my office. I have lots of books… LOTS of books. Sadly, there is only room for one book shelf in my office. This keeps my top reference books handy – mostly on the topics of business management, training, and emergency management. I actually get asked, on occasion, to provide a book recommendation in one of these subject areas. So, in the event that you might be interested, here are my top business-oriented books, with some commentary.
The Baldrige Guide to Executive Manners – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve referenced this book. It’s a wealth of information for anyone in business or government. It contains everything from common cultural issues, dress codes, communication nuances, and seating at events. When I first got it, I actually read through it (not word for word!) cover to cover – which is really the best way to familiarize yourself with what’s in it. It is a touch dated, but largely etiquette and protocol don’t change much.
Getting Started in Consulting by Alan Weiss – Dr. Weiss is a consulting genius, pure and simple. The man has been doing it successfully for a very long time. So successfully, that the skills he developed and knowledge he gained in doing it, he shares with others through a multitude of books, speaking engagements, his website, and other venues. If you are looking to get into consulting work, no matter what it might be, this is the foundational book you need to help you lay out how you will structure your business and interact with clients. I’ve read some of this more focused books as well.
Flawless Execution by James Murphy – Jim Murphy is a consultant who has brought what he learned in a successful career as a fighter pilot to the
corporate world. He has built a company around these principles, incorporating the sexy environment of flight suites and pilot lingo, to engage businesses and help them become more successful. It’s a pretty straight forward read, actually using concepts similar to the Incident Command System (ICS) that we use in Emergency Management, to identify goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics to stay focused and accomplish tasks.
The 360 Degree Leader by John Maxwell – In my mind, no business reference list is complete without John Maxwell. This is just one of several of his books that I own, but I feel it is by far the best. Maxwell illustrates from every angle how anyone within an organization is a leader and can exercise influence. You don’t have to be ‘in charge’ to lead. Maxwell always provides external references through his website which have great tools to help you assess your capabilities.
Guide to Managerial Communication by Mary Munter – Another book which I have referenced time and again. It’s in its 9th edition now… mine is the fourth edition and the info on Amazon indicates that it’s been updated to include more contemporary info. It’s one of the few college texts that I ever kept. It covers a variety of communication issues, writing design and style, a bit of info on presentations, and even some formats for memos and letters. Very handy.
That’s my short list on business reads. I’ll likely post lists on training books as well as emergency management books sometime in the future.
“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” ― Groucho Marx