The modern information age has us all dizzy with information flow. Everywhere you look there is more of it, so much you could never review it all, and so much of it is not worth the paper, blog or TV ticker strip it was written on. So, what should one read?
Well, recently, I asked myself this question and so, I have been going through a personal library of some 4,000 books and tossing out a few, donating a few and sending a few to friends along the way. Every so often, I pick one up and notice that it is interesting and thus re-read it. Re-reading goes fast, as you remember much of it already, once you refresh the subject matter in your brain.
So, may I ask what books did you read this week? Well below are a few of the books that I re-read and would challenge others to read as well. It seems most Americans do not read much once they leave High School, as it is not required and so why bother? This is unfortunate because, one should never stop learning.
Let me tell you of the books that I read this week and maybe one of them might strike your fancy and perhaps get you thinking about the books that you can put on your list to read next week. Here they are;
“The Kennedy Wit” edited by Bill Aber – 1964.
JFK had a real sense of humor. This book is full of excerpts of humorous remarks, speech and writing of JFK. The book is a quick read, a few hours at most, it is a great collection of the Kennedy Wit, he sure knew how to get his crowd to think and laugh.
“Getting to Yes – Negotiating Agreement without Giving In” by Roger Fisher and William Ury – part of the Harvard Negotiation Project – 1985.
There are many great tips in this negotiation book such as: separating the people from the problem, stop bargaining over position, focusing on interests not positions, invent options in order to gain mutual respect even if they are more painful, the other side will not play or the other side uses dirty tricks. There are many strategies in this book of value and to find common ground, reach agreement and understand perspectives, without making enemies or giving in.
- Power Through Responsibility
- Power Through Trust
- Power Through Integrity
- Power Through Knowledge and Information
- Power Through Respect
- Power Through Training
- Power Through Belief
That alone makes you think a little bit doesn’t it?
“Starting and Succeeding in Your Own Small Business” by Louis L. Allen – 1968.
What are the characteristics of a small business? How do you raise the money for your small business? How are you going to get the customers to buy? How can you decide which products to make and market? How will manage your small business? Yes all covered in this book, some great common sense, real case studies and definitely worth reading. Also in the book is a chapter on the Philosophy of a Venture Capitalist. Have you ever thought of starting your own business? Do you know how? Do you own a business and want to make it more successful? Perhaps a business book is in your future then.
“Competitive Intelligence – How to Gather, Analyze, and Use Information to Move Your Business to the Top” by Larry Kahaner – 1996.
The book starts with some quotes from Sun Tzu and one interesting one from Frederick the Great; “It is pardonable to be defeated, but never to be surprised.” Thus competitive intelligence is paramount in business and this book has plenty of case studies and tactics. This book first answers the question; what is competitive intelligence? How has competitive intelligence evolved, what are the tactics, what are the ethics involved, what can it be used for, the difference between information and intelligence, what does it mean to be stuck in the information age?
This book describes both in-house competitive intelligence to make decisions and gathering intelligence to beat the competition, and even more importantly knowing when another company is gathering intelligence on you. Knowing how to do counterintelligence is often of supreme value. For a business owner or someone considering a business of their own, it makes sense to know the reality behind the game, so you can play to win.
“Funny Money” by Mark Singer – 1985. The books sub-heading is: “The wonderous tale of the Penn Square Bank, the high-rolling oil and gas loan broker in Oklahoma City shopping center whose collapse staggered America’s banking community.”
Well there was this little bank that was working with big banks, which were flush with cash to loan, that became a go-between for banks and oil and gas companies. Things were great during the boom period, but when it all collapsed, the problems were much greater and deeper than anyone had suspected. This is an interesting book to read for those who remember the S & L scandals and the more recent real-estate market collapse. This book goes into the reality of what really happened there, you will not believe the truth. Considering what is going on in the world today, this might be a very interesting book to read right now?
“The Power to Get in – a step-by-step system to get in anyone’s door, so you have a chance” by Michael A. Boylan – 1997.
Salesmen often complain about the difficulty to get into meet the decision makers, as they are busy and go to great lengths to be hard to get at, and for good reason. This book explains how to break down those barriers and how to get in to meet them. The book explains several strategies, some unique, some obvious and all worthy of note if this problem persists in your endeavors. Boylan explains how to do your home work, why things are the way they are, how to know your competitors, what attitude to have, when to blitz and how to leave the perfect voice mail, more importantly how to leave one.
The author continues to explain what to do once you do actually get in. There are lots of stories of success, and case studies along with encouragement, understanding of the numbers game and how to incorporate the author’s strategic access system into your sales career.
“Fair-Weather Flying – for VFR pilots whowant to improve their skills and flying enjoyment” by Richard Taylor – 1974.
Mr. Taylor also wrote the book “Instrument Flying” and probably sold a heck of a lot more of these books than that one. Richard writes with a sense of humor and does not hold back on the reality when it comes to safety issues. If you are a pilot then you will really enjoy this book, it is very interesting, well paced and fun to read. It makes you want to go flying and so even if you are not a pilot, it might make you think about getting your pilot’s license or learning to fly?
“Innovation and Entrepreneurship – practice and principles” by Peter Drucker – 1985
By the time Peter Drucker wrote this book, he had already written the following books:
- The Changing World of the Executive
- Managing in Turbulent Times
- Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices
- Technology, Management and Society
- Managing for Results
- The Effective Executive
- Concept of the Corporation
Economics, Society and Politics:
- Toward the Next Economics
- The Invisible Revolution
- Men, Ideas and Politics
- The Age of Discontinuity
- The Landmarks of Tomorrow
- America’s Next Twenty Years
- The New Society
- The Future of Industrial Man
- The End of Economic Man
This book brings all of Peter Drucker’s philosophy and focuses it on entrepreneurial endeavors and helps those interested in going all the way, re-balance their strategies so they can. It is relevant and having been an entrepreneur all my life, I would say that his wisdom is worthy and I wish more people would learn how to do it right the first time, because the hard knocks along the way, well many can be avoided you see?
“Personality in Business and Life” by Louis Thorpe and Evan Croft – 1951.
This is a very old business book that tells of days gone by and business etiquette, how to dress and how to adjust one’s personality to succeed in business. The book talks about character, ethics, social skills, leadership, personality, dealing with conflict, statesmanship, taming emotion, hygiene, appearance, conversation, phone techniques, selling, business letters, Career and diplomacy.
Boy have things changed and yet in a way they have not changed at all, things have just been re-labeled, re-packaged and re-taught. What an interesting case study on it all. Looking at the pictures of someone in a suit with labels attached to how everything must look if one is dressing for success, is fascinating indeed.
“The Art of Case Analysis – A guide to the diagnosis of business situations” by Robert Ronstadt – 1980.
Often business students work with case study analysis, yet how do they know that they are interpreting what happened correctly, as much of the real data and information is laced with PR and opinion, worse the victors re-write the history. If the company lost the competitors tell us of their mistakes and the writers of the era have the last word. If the company won, then they sugar coat the truth and thus, nothing is as it seems.
This book discusses how to read a case efficiently, effectively and correctly. Then how to analyze and various strategies and approaches that can be used and combinations thereof. The authors speaks to discussing cases in a classroom situation, playing devil’s advocate, debate and hypotheticals. Next, how to write a very good case study report. Still the author then describes how to look at financials in determining the case study analysis.
Learning should be a life-time endeavor and you should never stop reading books, you can learn something in fiction and non-fiction books. Please make a list of books you might like to read and start reading more today. It will serve you well.