Did you have a summer reading list when you went to school? Mine was ginormous and it got me into the habit of being quite bookish growing up.
Admittedly, I don't read as much as I used to -- 120 books a year was my average for years before I started to blog. Granted, many of them were fiction, and I will dedicate next week's post to reading quality fiction to improve your writing skills. Still, that was a lot of reading.
If you want to be a writer, the best thing you can do to hone is your skill is read. There are plenty of business books gracing my shelves, and your feedback about my previous list of 10 books that stand the test of time was very encouraging.
So I thought you'd enjoy an encore with 3 business books I continue to find inspirational.
Inspiration has the same root as "in spirit". The definition I pasted above is from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. We used to carry two or three of those to school for Italian, Latin, and Greek. I wonder how students are greeting the news that the Oxford English Dictionary may not be printed anymore. Relief or sadness?
In order of appearance in my reading list and life:
Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends (Amazon affiliate link) by Tim Sanders.
Nice people may finish last on the corporate ladder, after everyone else has climbed on their backs. I find that once you decide you're not going to play that game of scarcity. Once you know you're in the camp of abundance making -- for yourself and for others -- it becomes easier to make the pie bigger.
Sanders provides concrete advice on how to go about making that mental and behavioral shift. I don't know if it's a cultural thing, maybe it is, maybe it isn't. In my experience and in my circle of friends back in Italy, that was the way things got done through relationships.
In the book, he weaves knowledge, network, and compassion into a powerful combination for your career, and life.
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life (Amazon affiliate link) by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.
I must have read this book a half dozen times already. It's one of my evergreen resources. Rosamund Stone Zander is an executive coach, family therapist, and private practitioner who brings enormous psychological perspective to enhancing human behavior. Benjamin Zander is the conductor of The Boston Philharmonic and is well known for his orchestra's passionate performances.
With the book they extend an open invitation to possibility with 12 practices that at a first glance seem easy, because simple. We know better, don't we?
From it's all invented, to giving an A, being a contribution, and leading from any chair, the Zanders use examples from their own experiences to illustrate each practice. My favorites chapters are the way things are, giving way to passion, and being the board. What are yours?
Re-imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age (Amazon affiliate link) by Tom Peters.
This is probably the most expensive business book I bought. I picked it up at a Borders store right before going to see Tom Peters at the Muhlenberg college where my good friend Brian had tickets for his talk.
It's probably the most creative format for a business book I've read. The design, the organization, and the flow resemble more how we consume information online than in print. And many of the business disconnects lessons are still very much applicable seven years later.
It's a book that practices what it preaches. It's a collector's item for sure and I often reread chapters when in need of a swift kick into high gear. One of the characteristics I always liked about Peters is the energy he brings into the conversation.
Yup, there are some limitations in the book. The examples miss emerging companies, and some of his messages on marketing to women and the talent war are probably a known quantity, given that he's been saying it for years. In his own words, though, it's not old until it's done. If innovation rules -- the main message of this book -- execution rules, too. Period.
These are my three inspirational business books. What are yours?