What business books have you read recently? When I ask this of friends and colleagues, I usually get this guilty look of someone who hasn’t read a book in year. Honestly, who has time to read? After 45 hours of billable work + 15 hours of non-billable work + 15 hours of travel time, who wants to read? Here are some great hacks:
1) Podcasts and audiobooks. Cannot emphasize this enough. We all have tons of downtime – driving to the airport, shuttling around in rental cars, shopping at the grocery store, and doing dishes. Planet money, great interviews, How I Built This. Put that super-computer in your pocket to some good use. Download 5-6 great podcasts and give it a try.
2) Business book summary videos. I did not realize these existed, but they are super-simple, engaging, and quick. Recently stumbled on the youtube station of a IT company called Callibrain. Oddly, they have animated videos explaining the key takeaways from the top 30+ business books here. Think Khan Academy for business books. . .
2a) Effective Executive – Peter Drucker, This is hands-down of the most important management books. From 1967, and more relevant than ever. Video is 7:20min here.
2b) Good to Great – Jim Collins, All your clients have already read this, have you? If not, here is a short 5:23 video here. After this primer, definitely go to Jim Collins website and watch his other audio and videos. Awesome stuff here.
2c) 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell. Straightforward and influential book in executive circles. Easy to understand and apply. I read this book 8 years ago, and still remember the first law . . Law of the Lid. A longer video, 11:24 here, but a small price to pay.
2d) Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Steven Covey. This has sold 25 million+ copies since coming out in 1989. A short video of 5:11min here. After reading this blog post, please invest the 15-20 min to watch the videos of the business book you have been meaning to read for all these years. Chances are, you have the books on your shelf already.
Consultants read. To be clear, intellectually curious people read. Here is what I have been reading over the last 9 months (affiliate links), what about you?
Life (Keith Richards) – Rolling Stones fiend-smoking legend
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for the Fantastic Future (Ashlee Vance) – Self explanatory. Mad ego meets mad intelligence. 1 person can change the world.
The Undoing project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds (Michael Lewis) – Amazing story of a transcendent friendship and behavior economics. Nobel prize included. My favorite author.
The Firm: The story of McKinsey and It’s Secret Influence on American Business (Duff McDonald) – For those consulting geeks out there (myself included), this gives a great view into the early days of McKisney and Bower. Honestly, they really cared about clients and the future of this industry.
In Other Words, (Jhumpa Lahiri) – Famous author falls in love with Italian over several years. Decides to move to Italy, only speak Italian, write a book in Italian. Powerful, romantic, a bit tortured. Engaging.
Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt (Michael Lewis) – This is his 3rd decade reporting on the financial industry. Think 1980s Milken, 1990s Dot com, 2000 mortgage crisis, 2010 high frequency trading + dark pools. It’s a tough topic, and a long book, but well-done. Easier to listen on audiobook.
Money Master the Game, 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom (Tony Robbins) – Yes, this is the same fire-walk guy. This is also a mammoth tome that you should listen to – but he interviews all the investing legends (Paulson, Dalio, Boggle, Buffett etc). Read the Amazon reviews for the hacks, if you have to.
Play to Win (AG Lafley, Roger Martin) – ex-CEO of P&G, and Dean of business school simplify classic strategy thinking (Drucker + Porter) into an accessible story. Easy reading. I have recommended this book to 3-4 people already.
Jim Cramer’s Get Rich Carefully (Jim Cramer) – Not a huge fan of Jim because he shouts too much. Yikes. That said, this is a super thoughtful book. Easy read / listen.
Team of Rivals (Doris Kearns Goodwin) – Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Inspiration for Barack Obama’s cabinet (Kerry, Clinton etc). My sister bought this for me 10 years ago. Finally got around to listening to it on audiobook.
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers (Tim Ferriss) – All the tips from his 100+ interviews with the greatest performers. Just buy it.
What are you reading / listening to?