photo: dfarber (flickr)
A pioneer, a visioner, an entrepreneur recommends books he loves
“The Effective Executive: TheDefinitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done” by Peter F. Drucker
“The definite guide to getting the right things done”
Also mentioned in Guy Kawasaki On Books Every Businessmen Should Read
Though published in 1967, Drucker’s best-seller still has wisdom to share on management theory and implementation. Since effectiveness is a learned skill and not an inherent gift, all that’s needed for effectiveness is practice of the right principles. From systematic management of the most valuable resource (time), to expanding on strengths (rather than weaknesses), leaders must banish the spirit of generalization and channel their team’s efforts toward a few priorities. This gets organizations out of the problem-solving trap, opens up new avenues to explore, and allows executives to distill fact-based evidence from opposite viewpoints into a decision with a deadline.
“The Goal: A Process of OngoingImprovement” by Eliyahu Goldratt
–The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, B. Stone
“Built to Last” byJim Collins
– from interview to Success.com
Collins’ management book on long-lasting companies has been featured on business leaders’ reading lists for many years. From Doug Ducey of Coldstone Creamery, to FIVE ThôT, to wealth management company Pitcairn, the book is recommended for its note of hope – that companies really can last beyond a few good quarterly reports. Critics have pointed out that around 50% of the originally showcased companies have fallen on hard times or merged with other companies (such as Motorola and Philip Morris). Fans retort that all 18 companies are still operable, and business philosophies on creating a visionary culture thriving on change are still good.
“The Remains of theDay” by Kazuo Ishiguro
– from interview to Success.com
Ishiguro’s work is a necessary addition to the reading lists of those intrigued by modern and Victorian Britain. The story follows the life and unrequited romance of a self-effacing butler, whose goal in life was to add to the honor of the house and master that he served. History students will be fascinated by the rapid changes in house management and service, from the aftermath of the World War I era, to the peace talks before World War II, to the 1950’s. Students of human nature will be drawn in by the interplay between the dignified Stevens the butler and his father, Miss Kenton, and Lord Darlington. A tragic, spiritual portrait of a perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England. A wonderful, wonderful book.
“Dune” by FrankHerbert
– from interview to Fastcompany.com
Also mentioned in Top 7 Sci-Fi Books According To Michael Arrington
Herbert’s classic is still considered a necessary book list addition to real fans of science fiction. (Over 5,500 Wired magazine readers voted for Dune as their first book list choice, out of their top 10 favorite sci-fi novels.) Though the plot drags in some sections, just like the book-based film, the story of Arrakis’ political intrigues over the flow of a valuable spice (that gives long life and interplanetary travel capability) will also capture the imaginations of political science students, who may see some connections between this book and the influence of Machiavelli’s The Prince.
“A Wrinkle in Time”by Madeleine L’Engle
– from interview to Achievment.org
L’Engle’s novel, on time travel and the importance of family, is another classic children’s book that nearly never made it onto library bookshelves or anyone’s reading list. Like the unlikely heroine Meg, who stubbornly argues points with her teachers, L’Engle pitched the book to many publishers (says NPR) before finding one company who would give the metaphysics-laden novel a chance. Adult readers will be fascinated by this Newberry Award-winner, for its totalitarian themes of the IT-dominated Camazotz, and the power of love over hate.