Whether you are pouring over grade 4 curriculum in an effort to become a homeschool teacher or you're mapping out a pub crawl in the 5 rooms of your home, you are not alone. We, at blueprint, have been adjusting to this new normal with varying degrees of optimism, frustration, agility and confusion. With a grateful acknowledgement for all those that are affected by Covid19 and those doing everything possible to care for Covid19 patients, we are looking at this moment in time as an opportunity. An opportunity to focus on what we control, to adjust priorities, to re-focus and to learn something new.
As avid readers, we thought we'd put together a list of some of our all-time favourite business books in case you are looking to maximize this time and learn something new as well! These suggestions range from 80 year old classics to ‘fresh off the press’ gems. Pick one and get to it!.
Built to Last (2004)
Why We Like It: Answering the question "What makes the truly exceptional companies different from other companies?" is no small feat. The thought leaders involved in writing this book, the years of rigorous research that went into making it and the clear directives that came out of it, make it a staple on our bookshelf. This book provides practical concepts and tools that can be applied by managers at all levels of an organization with the intent of thriving well into the 21st century.
How to Win Friends & Influence People (1936)
Why We Like It: There is no better book to give you the basics of building strong rapport with people, understanding influence, and developing empathy. You might say Dale Carnegie wrote a book about emotional intelligence before emotional intelligence was a thing.
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. (2009)
Why We Like It: We are passionate about performance and understanding the factors that support the growth of talent had us very excited. Coyle scours the globe for talent hotbeds to show us examples of how the right mix of deep practice, passion and master coaching can lead to realized potential and optimized performance. Add in the neuroscience to support the data and we call this a winner.
The Messy Middle (2018)
Why We Like It: While we have been fans of this book for over a year, never has it been more appropriate than right now. This book is the ultimate guide for navigating through the volatility of new endeavors and bold creative projects. With tangible tactics for 1) enduring, 2) optimizing and 3) finishing, Belsky argues the long game and provides reassurance during the very messy middle.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2007)
Carol S. Dweck
Why We Like It: This book should be required reading for all. As research continues to prove that our inner voice is a powerful driver in how we see ourselves, the risks we take, the behaviors we repeat and the beliefs we hold, Dweck clearly articulates the incredible benefit of having a growth mindset (instead of a fixed one!). Operating from this mindset is what allows for personal and organization growth and development. We believe so strongly in Dweck’s research that we rarely engage in skill development with our clients before we’ve tackled mindset development.
Atomic Habits (2018)
Why We Like It: We are what we do. Our behaviors are the single greatest contributor to our individual success, regardless of how you define success. As such, understanding how our behaviors turn in to habits, how to start good habits and how to stop bad habits is a critical step to leading the life you want. This book offers a proven framework for mastering tiny behaviors that will lead to remarkable results.
Authentic Leadership (2004)
Why We Like It: While there is much debate as to the plausibility of leading authentically (see another great read in Leadership BS by Jeffrey Pfeffer), we love this book because it demonstrates a values-based approach to leadership that Bill George has demonstrated over decades working in industry. He espouses a mission-driven approach to generating shareholder value and believes that purpose, values, heart, relationships and self-discipline are the tenets of an authentic leader.
Leadership & Self-Deception (2010)
The Arbinger Group
Why We Like It: Proceed with caution as this book will require you to take a long, hard look in the mirror to evaluate how your actions are likely sabotaging the business results, people relationships, and personal success you are looking for. Written as a fable, this short but powerful read will have you re-considering your approach to dealing with conflict in both your personal and professional lives.
21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018)
Yuval Noah Harari
Why We Like It: While not a traditional business read, this book reframes how you think about current day issues and how we might best prepare for the very different future that is ahead of us. Harari argues that one of the most important skills we can develop is that of identifying what is truly useful in the barrage of information we are forced to wade through on a daily basis. He posits that clarity is power and demonstrates that by presenting complex contemporary issues in 21 accessible, albeit provocative, chapters. Considering questions like: “How do we deal with the epidemic of fake news?”, “Are nations and religions still relevant?”, and “What should we teach our children?” will surely push you to develop more robust analytical chops.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (2004)
Why We Like It: You don’t need to love baseball to appreciate the lessons in this book. The underdog in this story is the low-budget Oakland A’s baseball team that goes on to a 20-game winning streak that no one saw coming. How did they do it? With advanced data analytics at a time when gut and instinct drove much of sport scouting and coaching. Despite the massive strides we’ve made in data analytics over the past 16 years, this book is still worth the read...to see what a trailblazer looks like in the most unlikely place.
How to Work With and Lead People Not Like You (2017)
Why We Like It: While diversity has become a buzz word in many organizations, the notion that we are having to navigate different generations, different cultures, different genders, and different philosophies in our workplaces is very real. This book offers practical strategies and tactics for communicating, motivating and inspiring teams to collaborate more effectively. Macdonald teaches us what not to say, how to smooth out friction, and how to use our differences as strengths in conversation, problem solving and innovation.
7 Habits of Highly Effective People (1989)
Stephen R. Covey
Why We Like It: An absolute classic that has stood the test of time, this book outlines 7 habits you need to consider to be the architect of your success. Although simple in nature, consistently applying all 7 habits offers a powerful combination for anyone looking to be at their best. From developing an outcome-oriented mindset to eliminating time-wasting tendencies, this easy read will reaffirm the fundamentals of productivity, effectiveness and communication.
Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us (2008)
Why We Like It: Being a part of a tribe is as inherent to us humans as the ‘fight or flight’ response. Identifying with a group of other people is central to our identity and our need for belongingness. This book outlines what defines a tribe, how they can be created, and what the opportunity is for leading a tribe of employees, customers, investors or friends. With the power of the internet, building and leading a tribe is easier and more important than ever.
The Infinite Game (2019)
Why We Like It: We are huge fans of Simon Sinek and love everything he publishes. The Infinite Game is no different. In it, Sinek suggests our organizations need to be playing the long game by first clarifying what cause the organization serves. He posits that when we focus on our vision for the future, we are able to build strong, innovative and healthy organizations that will long outlive their current leaders.
Negotiating the Non-Negotiable: How to Resolve Your Most Emotionally Charged Conflicts (2017)
Why We Like It: While there are a number of fantastic negotiation books on the market, we fully buy into Shapiro’s philosophy that the outcome of a negotiation should be mutual benefit. Negotiation should not be a zero sum game and there are peaceful ways to get there. Using examples of emotionally charged, large-scale, global conflicts as a foundation for discussion, Shapiro dives into the unconscious forces at work in any negotiation. He goes on to provide a practical framework to resolve everything from a workplace conflict to the most contentious situations of human divide.
We’d love to add to this list! Tell us what book had a significant impact on your life and career in the comments below.