I’m a reader, so of course I’m going to give you some book recommendations.
I hope you are too. That doesn’t necessarily mean you curl up with a paper book. You can do that, or you can listen to it on audible while you exercise or you can use a Kindle. Whatever. The main thing is that you get new ideas in your mind, because:
You’re going to be the same person you are today apart from the new books you read (or listen to) and the new people you meet who challenge you to be better.
So here are some recommendations for 2020. They weren’t necessarily published in 2020, and they’re not all business books! But I usually learn more about business by reading outside of the ‘business’ category. I’m interested in stories of amazing people overcoming difficult circumstances. Here are a few that I’ve enjoyed:
The Splendid and the Vile (Eric Larsen)
Larsen looks at a small slice of history here – Britain during the bombing of London in WWII – and paints sketches of various leaders. It’s a page turner. It is deeply researched, and full of interesting anecdotes. By the way, that’s what history is, you know that right? Great stories about amazing people. That’s it. It isn’t a list of dates. It’s recounting scenes like Winston Churchill marching to military music around his house, more than a little tipsy, wearing pajamas and an army helmet in front of assembled guests while carrying his rifle on his shoulder.
A Year With Peter Drucker (Joseph Maciariello)
Peter Drucker invented management consulting, and most business authors steal from him or at the very least are indebted to his ideas. This is a series of daily readings, easy to apply to your situation. Jim Collins can’t say enough about him and chairs his foundation. This is an accessible way to learn some of his thinking and immediately apply his ideas.
Educated (Tara Westover)
The story of a young woman brought up in a very isolated and pretty crazy environment. Like really crazy. She breaks away and goes on to achieve her PhD. If you think you’re bound by your past, this book is for you.
Great by Choice (Jim Collins)
Not a brand new book but never more relevant than today. It’s all about how ‘good to great’ companies thrive during uncertain times. Could anything be more applicable to us? It’s full of great concepts and I use them all the time. Read it.
Nothing to Envy (Barbara Demick)
A journalist interviews refugees who have escaped North Korea and tells their stories. If you’re inclined towards socialism, this book may challenge some of your thinking in that direction.
Developing the Leader Within You (Maxwell)
This is an old book, and one that every leader should read. It’s not his most famous by far, but contains lots of original material not published elsewhere. If you want to get to the core of Maxwell’s leadership teaching, this is the book.
The Spy and the Traitor (Ben Macintyre)
Just the greatest (true) spy story probably in world history. It’s the story of Kim Philby, English MI6 secret agent who worked for the Soviets for decades, giving away the greatest secrets of the West and deceiving his colleagues, wives, children, and closest friends in the process before defecting to the USSR.
Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline (Ibbitson, Bricker)
A compelling case that the population of the globe will soon decline and is in fact already doing so. This decline will bring many positive changes including a better environment, decreased risk of famine, and greater autonomy and affluence for women. It will bring disruption too…
Leaders: (Richard Nixon)
I visited the Nixon library in Yorba Linda this year and subsequently read ‘Leaders.’ Okay, Nixon had his issues. I’m not defending Watergate (no one under 40 knows what I’m talking about right now). But he profiles the greatest leaders of the 20th Century. He knew them personally and well. I found it riveting. Read his short vignettes of the leaders who have shaped today’s world; Churchill, de Gaulle, Adenauer, Kruschev, Chou En-lai, Kennedy and more.
The Rational Bible: Genesis; God, creation and destruction (Dennis Prager)
Written by a Jewish teacher, speaker and radio host. This commentary is for atheists, theists and everyone in between. If you’re interested in the moral foundations underpinning the Western world, Prager guides you through how it all got started from the Biblical book of Genesis. This commentary was the bestselling nonfiction book in North America at one point which is beyond the beyonds for a commentary on the Bible!
So pick something to read this upcoming year. Start anywhere. Grab something that interests you and enlarge your thinking and keep on growing!
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time –none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”
-Charlie Munger (Warren Buffet’s business partner)
Trevor Throness is a speaker, consultant, and author of “The Power of People Skills.” He is also co-founder and senior instructor at www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com https://www.professionalleadershipinstitute.com/
Find more about “The Power of People Skills” here: https://www.amazon.com/Power-People-Skills-Dramatically-Performance/dp/1632651068