7 Business Philosophy Books To Help You See The Big Picture
Has your philosophy of running a company—or a team within one—become muddied or diluted over the years? If you’ve been in the business world long enough, it’s bound to happen. Yet you can shift gears fairly quickly. How? Inform your personal leadership strategies by reading some books to help you reach your goals.
Each of the works below tackles a particular aspect of running a contemporary company built on the pillars of genuine compassion, collective knowledge and talented people. From boosting disruptive thinking to embracing generalization over specialization, you’ll discover innovative ways to improve your entrepreneurial approaches and decisions. If day-to-day trees have been obscuring your view of the forest, these seven business philosophy books will help you get your big-picture mojo back.
The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace by Lindsey Pollak
Has your company become a generational melting pot? Resist the temptation to focus on the downsides of managing different ages and experiences. Instead, use this book by Lindsay Pollak to learn to elicit the strengths of all your team members, regardless of whether they are Gen Z or Baby Boomers. Pollak’s fast-paced analysis illustrates the advantages and challenges of leading a four-generation workplace, showing how every person adds a distinct flavor to the whole. Remix echoes my own commitment to avoid pigeonholing employees.
Everyone talks about disruption, yet it remains a mysterious concept. How do you become a disruptor? Can you finesse your know-how to disrupt whole industries even if you don’t have a background in their particular markets? Jean-Marie Dru deftly uses examples of prolific disruptors to provide readers with inspiration and share visionary thoughts. I consider his work a playbook to guide anyone interested in disrupting. To be sure, I’ve disrupted before—but I’ve been a little too relaxed lately. Thank You for Disrupting was the kick I needed to restart my disruptive engine.
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David J. Epstein
Finally—a book for those of us who would rather not take the specialist route. David Epstein lays out a compelling discussion of why early mastery doesn’t always guarantee later success. He investigates the journeys of numerous corporate and athletic heroes who prove that being a prodigy is not always synonymous with earning eventual top honors. I’ve always felt that it was important to have broad knowledge of many subjects, if only to keep my brain flexible. Range solidifies my desire to keep acquiring so-called useless insights–and to watch Jeopardy! in greater earnest.
Does it feel like the career bar gets raised a few inches—or maybe feet—every year? When you have trouble keeping pace, take solace in Neil Irwin’s research-fueled book. In How to Win, he outlines the steps and perspectives required to crush it in any industry, even when parameters change with lightning speed. As someone who has had a circuitous career path (as a business consultant turned inventor turned author), I wholeheartedly agree that it is more important than ever to become a Renaissance person in order to realize near and far dreams.
The next time a coaching client claims something is “impossible,” I will be tempted to hand over Richard Wiseman’s book. After all, what could seem more out of reach than taking men to the moon and bringing them safely back? A superbly written tribute to the 1969 Apollo 11 space flight, Moonshot peels back the layers of grit, gumption and savvy necessary to bring the seemingly inconceivable to life. I plan to use this work as a gentle nudge to show clients that we can all do more than we assume.
Flex: The Art and Science of Leadership in a Changing World by Jeffrey Hull
In this book, Jeffrey Hull demonstrates how and why executives must evolve their core competencies to meet the quickly ever-morphing demands of the modern 24/7 workplace. Specifically, he invites readers to improve six “softer” skills, including emotional intelligence and realness. I’m already a convert to this message. When my toy company was underperforming, we relied on empathy and authenticity to build a dynamic, resourceful team that could successfully address our challenges. Flex is a must-read for entrepreneurs, directors and supervisors.
The Sponsor Effect: How to Be a Better Leader by Investing in Others by Sylvia Ann Hewlett
Most successful people laud the mentors they’ve had. Few, however, put their mentees on similar pedestals. In The Sponsor Effect, Sylvia Ann Hewlett presents an intriguing, data-rich argument for the sometimes hidden professional advantages of identifying and grooming corporate protégés. This book is so jam-packed with inspiring ideas that I practically began looking for individuals to mentor immediately after putting it down. My long-term goal? Hone my advisory abilities while helping my mentees understand and unearth the worth they bring to the workplace.
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