Books I Read in 2017 & Recommend

  • 'The Practice of Management' by Peter Drucker (ISBN 0060878975) Management & Leadership: Peter Drucker’s The Practice of Management. Drucker’s conception for the organization as an integral part of society, his elucidation of the nature of managerial and leadership tasks, his emphasis on good governance, and his prescription for effective leadership have served managers well over the decades. The Practice of Management is one of those books that Drucker’s admirers tend to appreciate more with every successive reading. [Read my summary.]
  • Psychology & Self-Help: Josh Kaufman’s The First 20 Hours. A learning addict’s approach to learning new things to a good-enough level—but not to perfection. “In my experience, it takes around twenty hours of practice … to go from knowing absolutely nothing about what you’re trying to do to performing noticeably well. … It doesn’t matter whether you want to learn a language write a novel, paint a portrait, start a business, or fly an airplane. If you invest as little as twenty hours in learning the basics of the skill, you’ll be surprised at how good you can become.” [Read my summary.]
  • Management: Leigh Branham’s The 7 Hidden Reasons Employees Leave. Discusses many ideas for employee “engagement practices” in great specificity to help managers and leaders keep their antennae up for signs of employees’ bitterness and discontent, and correct before they lose their best and brightest people. This practical volume can also help employees discuss and resolve their workplace needs and aspirations. [Read my summary.]
  • Influence & Leadership: Jeswald Salacuse’s Leading Leaders. “You need to take account of the interests of the persons you would lead. Leaders will follow you not because of your position or charisma, but because they consider it in their interest. Your job as a leader is to convince them that their interest lies with you.” [Read my summary.]
  • 'The Unschooled Mind' by Howard Gardner (ISBN 0465024386) Education & Teaching: Howard Gardner’s The Unschooled Mind. To enable the highest degrees of understanding, any skills instruction must be systematically reinforced by instruction in which the deployment of the skills makes holistic sense. [Read my summary.]
  • Psychology & Self-Help: Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. Habitually, your narratives and emotions dictating your actions. Frankl’s key message is that amid the various stimuli and responses, you have the freedom to choose your responses to any given set of circumstances. Frankl also introduces “logotherapy,” the psychotherapy system he conceived to help you uncover a sense of purpose in life and survive nearly anything. [Read my summary and my notes on Frankl’s exposition of the meaning of suffering.)
  • Biography & Entrepreneurship: Howard Schultz’s Pour Your Heart Into It. According to the ‘founder’ of Starbucks, Starbucks succeeded because the company offers more than just good coffee. The extraordinary growth of Starbucks derives to the corporate values he endorsed, viewing people as being more important than profits. The Starbucks marvel is not only about economic growth and brand success, but also about its socially conscious corporate ethos. [Read my summary.]
  • 'Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!' by Nicholas Carlson (ISBN 1455556610) Biography & Leadership: Nicholas Carlson’s Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! Beyond the tome’s gossipy narrative of Mayer’s management style, readers of this page-turner will be interested in Yahoo leadership’s strategic and tactical missteps. Particularly fascinating are how Yahoo missed opportunities to buy Google and Facebook when they were mere startups, the rebuffing of an acquisition bid from Microsoft, a lack of strategic focus, the leadership skirmishes with activist investors, the revolving door at the CEO’s office, and an Asian-asset drama. [Read my summary.]
  • Biography & Leadership: Donald Keough’s Ten Commandments for Business Failure. Celebrated Coca-Cola executive Donald Keough offers a predictable, yet insightful—even if circuitous—exploration of ten (and a bonus) leadership mistakes. A worthwhile read for its many nuggets of business history, including his take on the infamous New Coke debacle. [Read my summary.]
  • Management & Leadership: Jeffrey K. Liker’s The Toyota Way. Toyota’s long-term standing as the epitome of quality production is undeniable. According to Liker, the genius of Toyota lies in how it has steadily institutionalized common-sense principles for waste reduction and continuous improvement. “Toyota is process oriented and consciously and deliberately invests long term in systems of people, technology and processes that work together to achieve high customer value.” [Read my summary.]

Also, my book recommendations from 2016, 2015, and 2014.

The four books I re-read every year are Benjamin Graham’s Security Analysis and The Intelligent Investor, Phil Fisher’s Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

You may be interested in my article on how to process that pile of books you can’t seem to finish and my article on why we read self-help books.

Wish you all very enlightening reads in 2018! Recall the words of the American philosopher Mortimer J. Adler, who said, “In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”

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