THE LATEST 2018 READING FOR CREATIVE BUSINESS LEADERS

Aug 29, 2018

 

As we enter a fresh academic year, there’s no better time to brush up on the latest leadership reading from 2018. As chosen by Berlin School Faculty Director David Slocum, delve into a range of insightful leadership themes such as innovation, the AI revolution, and the growing need for humanity and empathy in the digital age of leadership.

 

 

 

Brené Brown, Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts. (Random House, October 9)

The psychologist ‘of human connection,’ best-selling author of Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, and presenter of one of the most watched TED talks of all time, on the power of vulnerability, has written a valuable new book. By being more consistently attentive and mindful, she argues, leaders can embrace safety, courage, and vulnerability in ways that inspire others and build more creative and productive cultures.

 

 

Beth Comstock and Tahl Raz, Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change. (Currency, September 18)

The much-anticipated title by the former Vice Chair and head of marketing and innovation at GE about letting go of the old and overcoming our fear of the new. At once a very personal reflection on three decades of successful creative leadership at a global bureaucracy and a practical roadmap for organizational reinvention, creative problem-solving, and navigating change in the marketplace and society.

 

Thomas H. Davenport, The AI Advantage: How to Put the Artificial Intelligence Revolution to Work (The MIT Press, October 9)

An essential guide to business Artificial Intelligence from the Babson College professor and longtime analyst of analytics, big data, and business technology. Cutting through hype and conjecture, Davenport clearly summarizes emerging technologies, explains how they can create business value, and recommends seeking out ‘low-hanging fruit’ in companies and deploying AI to create efficiencies.

 

Michele Gelfand, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World (Scribner, September 11)

This deeply researched yet refreshingly accessible study approaches the rich diversity of thought and behavior across human cultures – in nations, organizations, even families – in terms of how tightly or loosely individuals adhere to social norms. The difference between cooperation or conflict in given cultures, concludes the University of Maryland psychologist, is highly influenced by the perception of potential threats.

 

John L. Hennessy, Leading Matters: Lessons from My Journey (Stanford University Press, September 4)

The former President of Stanford University, current Chairman of Alphabet (Google's parent company), and ‘Godfather of Silicon Valley’ shares an invaluable reflection on the ideas and practices that have guided his exceptional career as a leader, including humility, authenticity and trust, service, empathy, courage, collaboration, innovation, intellectual curiosity, storytelling, and legacy.

 

Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, September 25)

A lucid and compelling read on the emerging race between China and the United States to develop (and dominate) the field of Artificial Intelligence from the founder of a tech investment firm and former CEO of Google China. Lee speaks not only to the perils and responsibilities of prospective AI superpowers but to the far-reaching impact of these technologies on traditional blue-collar industries and white-collar professions alike.

 

Alexandra Levit, Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future (Kogan Page Inspire, October 28)

The workplace consultant, futurist, and New York Times columnist has prepared a practical guide to how companies can make the most of the human traits of creativity, judgment, problem solving, and interpersonal sensitivity. Particularly as robots, machines, and other technologies threaten to disrupt workplaces, Levit offers a heartening reminder of the business advantage that can exist when leaders enable humanity in their organizations.

 

Tucker J. Marion and Sebastian K. Fixson, The Innovation Navigator: Transforming Your Organization in the Era of Digital Design and Collaborative Culture (Rotman-UTP Publishing, November 14)

This helpful book explores four innovation modes – ‘specialist,’ ‘venture,’ ‘community’ and ‘network’ – which can serve specific firms and markets. The authors, professors of innovation at Northeastern University and Babson College, use helpful examples to discuss the various opportunities and challenges leaders will face in using their framework to succeed in the expanding innovation landscape.

 

Kelly Palmer and David Blake, The Expertise Economy: How the Smartest Companies Use Learning to Engage, Compete, and Succeed (Nicholas Brealey, September 18)

Amidst generic calls for better organizational learning and professional skill development, the CLTO and the Co-Founder of a leading EdTech firm, Degreed, have written a valuable guide for creative leaders wanting to capitalize on the future of learning. Grounded in current educational research and proven business practices, their book details how to integrate ongoing employee learning with other strategic and business priorities.

 

Dan Schawbel, Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation (Da Capo Lifelong, November 13)

The serial entrepreneur and author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0 argues that a more caring, trusting, and socially connected workforce generates greater productivity and engagement for businesses and greater fulfillment and relevance for individual workers. At a time of increasing technological and virtual interaction, Schawbel’s practical book – it’s filled with exercises, activities, and even a ‘Work Connectivity’ self-assessment – provides a thoughtful model of connected human leadership.

  

Ellen Ruppel Shell, The Job: The Future of Work in the Modern Era (Currency, October 23)

Looking at the nature of work in America today, The Atlantic correspondent and author of Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture relies on careful reporting to examine the impact of changing workplace technologies, (re-)training programs, global competition, and innovative business models on jobs and the lives of middle-class workers. In the process, she questions fundamental myths about what it means to get and keep a good job and how that can (and should) change in the future.

 

Simon Sinek, The Infinite Game (Portfolio, December 31)

The bestselling author of Start With Why and Leaders Eat Last, and presenter of an influential TED Talk on how leaders inspire by starting with why, has a new book that asks, simply, How do you stay ahead in a game with no end? Contrasting finite and infinite mindsets – closing a sale versus building a customer relationship or focusing on quarterly earnings versus an enhanced reputation – Sinek shows how great leaders succeed by playing an infinite game.

 

Shiv B. Singh and Rohini Luthra, Savvy: The Art and Science of Navigating Fake Companies, Leaders and News (Ideapress, October 23)

While discussions of truth, fakeness, trust, and authenticity are common and tend to focus on specific areas of work or life (e.g., leadership, brands, news, or politics), insightful explorations of these topics that range across different areas of our lives are rare. From the former SVP and global digital marketing leader at PepsiCo and a clinical psychologist specializing in stress and resilience comes just such a thoughtful guide to our increasingly complex social landscape.

 

Noam Wasserman, Life Is a Startup: What Founders Can Teach Us about Making Choices and Managing Change (Stanford University Press, October 16)

Extending his research on the entrepreneurial mindset that enables founders to negotiate the uncertainties, risks, and problem-solving challenges of launching startups, the author of The Founder’s Dilemma and Director of the Founder Central initiative at USC's Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies argues persuasively that the same mindset also provides important lessons for making decisions and managing changes in all areas of our lives.

 

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win (St. Martin’s Press, September 25)

The bestselling author of last year’s Extreme Ownership has joined with a fellow former U.S. Navy Seal officer to produce a follow-up volume that explores the need for good leaders also to be good followers. Understanding and acting upon this dichotomy, and striking the right balance in different, rapidly shifting situations is enormously challenging and requires awareness, dexterity, and skills nicely described in the new book.

  

Ming Zeng, Smart Business: What Alibaba's Success Reveals about the Future of Strategy (Harvard Business Review Press, September 4)

An insightful discussion from the former Chief of Staff and strategy adviser to Alibaba Group's founder Jack Ma of the new forces of value creation, network coordination, and data intelligence that are transforming markets and firms. Making businesses and even strategic processes smart, building feedback loops with customers in order to create value in networks, and retooling organizations and enabling workers are key aspects of his compelling vision of how future leaders will make decisions and compete successfully.

 

 


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