Book Reviews, Economics

14 New Business Books To Read Recommended By Wharton Professor Adam Grant

Here is an excerpt from 250words.com on 14 new business books to read this fall as recommended by Adam Grant and then reviews on business books such as The Innovators, Zero to One, The small BIG, How Google Works, and Smartcuts and more.

This morning, Wharton professor Adam Grant posted a list of book recommendations on his LinkedIn blog. “This fall,” Grant writes, “there’s an unusually exciting crop of big idea and business books about human behavior, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the fundamental questions of success, meaning, and happiness in work and life. Here are the 14 forthcoming and just-released books to check out.”

Several of these books have already appeared on 250 Words. I listed The Innovators (Walter Isaacson), Zero to One (Peter Thiel & Blake Masters) The small BIG (Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein, & Steve J. Martin)  How Google Works (Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg) and Smartcuts (Shane Snow) on “The Top 15 Business Books to Look out for in Q3.” I also wrote about Joshua Wolf Shenk’s Powers of Two a few weeks ago.

See full article via 250words.com

Business Books #1: Me, Myself, and Us

Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being by Brian Little

Are you hardwired for happiness, or born to brood? Do you think you’re in charge of your future, or do you surf the waves of unknowable fate? Would you be happier, or just less socially adept, if you were less concerned about what other people thought of you? And what about your “Type A” spouse: is he or she destined to have a heart attack, or just drive you to drink?

In the past few decades, new scientific research has transformed old ideas about the nature of human personality. Neuroscientists, biologists, and psychological scientists have reexamined the theories of Freud and Jung as well as the humanistic psychologies of the 1960s, upending the simplistic categorizations of personality “types,” and developing new tools and methods for exploring who we are. Renowned professor and pioneering research psychologist Brian R. Little has been at the leading edge of this new science. In this wise and witty book he shares a wealth of new data and provocative insights about who we are, why we act the way we do, what we can—and can’t—change, and how we can best thrive in light of our “nature.”

Business Books #2: Rookie Smarts

Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work by Liz Wiseman

Is it possible to be at your best even when you are underqualified or doing something for the first time? Is it still possible, even after decades of experience, to recapture the enthusiasm, curiosity, and fearlessness of youth to take on new challenges? With the right mindset—with Rookie Smarts—you can.

In a rapidly changing world, experience can be a curse. Careers stall, innovation stops, and strategies grow stale. Being new, naïve, and even clueless can be an asset. For today’s knowledge workers, constant learning is more valuable than mastery.

Business Books #3: The Innovators

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens.

What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?

In his masterly saga, Isaacson begins with Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, who pioneered computer programming in the 1840s. He explores the fascinating personalities that created our current digital revolution, such as Vannevar Bush, Alan Turing, John von Neumann, J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Robert Noyce, Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, Tim Berners-Lee, and Larry Page.

Business Books #4: Crazy is a Compliment

Crazy is a Compliment: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags by Linda Rottenberg

These days taking chances isn’t just for college dropouts in hoodies. Whether you work at a Fortune 500 company, a nonprofit, or a mom-and-pop, everybody needs to think and act like an entrepreneur. We all need to be nimble, adaptive, daring—and maybe even a little crazy—or risk being left behind.

But how do you take smart risks without risking it all? That’s Linda Rottenberg’s expertise. As the cofounder and CEO of Endeavor, the world’s leading organization dedicated to supporting fast-growing entrepreneurs, she’s spent the last two decades helping innovators think bold and execute smart.

Now Rottenberg draws on her unrivaled experience to show you the proven techniques to achieve your dreams: from overcoming fear to facing down critics, from stalking supporters to exploiting chaos. Crazy is a Complimentcombines inspiring stories, original research, and practical advice to create a road map for getting started and going bigger.

Business Books #5: The Upside of Your Dark Side

 The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self–Not Just Your “Good” Self–Drives Success and Fulfillment by Todd Kashdan & Robert Biswas-Diener

In The Upside of Your Dark Side, two pioneering researchers in the field of psychology show that while mindfulness, kindness, and positivity can take us far, they cannot take us all the way. Sometimes, they can even hold us back. Emotions such as anger, anxiety, guilt, and sadness might feel uncomfortable, but it turns out that they are also incredibly useful. For instance:

  • Anger fuels creativity
  • Guilt sparks improvement
  • Self-doubt enhances performance

Business Books #6: A Path Appears

A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity by Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

An essential, galvanizing narrative about making a difference here and abroad—a road map to becoming the most effective global citizens we can be.

In their number one New York Times best seller Half the Sky, husband-and-wife team Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn brought to light struggles faced by women and girls around the globe, and showcased individuals and institu­tions working to address oppression and expand opportunity.A Path Appears is even more ambi­tious in scale: nothing less than a sweeping tap­estry of people who are making the world a better place and a guide to the ways that we can do the same—whether with a donation of $5 or $5 mil­lion, with our time, by capitalizing on our skills as individuals, or by using the resources of our businesses.

Business Books #7: How Google Works

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg

Google Executive Chairman and ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg came to Google over a decade ago as proven technology executives. At the time, the company was already well-known for doing things differently, reflecting the visionary–and frequently contrarian–principles of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. If Eric and Jonathan were going to succeed, they realized they would have to relearn everything they thought they knew about management and business.

Today, Google is a global icon that regularly pushes the boundaries of innovation in a variety of fields.  How Google Works is an entertaining, page-turning primer containing lessons that Eric and Jonathan learned as they helped build the company. The authors explain how technology has shifted the balance of power from companies to consumers, and that the only way to succeed in this ever-changing landscape is to create superior products and attract a new breed of multifaceted employees whom Eric and Jonathan dub “smart creatives.” Covering topics including corporate culture, strategy, talent, decision-making, communication, innovation, and dealing with disruption, the authors illustrate management maxims (“Consensus requires dissension,” “Exile knaves but fight for divas,” “Think 10X, not 10%”) with numerous insider anecdotes from Google’s history, many of which are shared here for the first time.

Business Books #8: Zero to One

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Business Books #9: Hello, My Name is Awesome

Hello, My Name is Awesome: How to Create Brand Names That Stick by Alexandra Watkins

Every year, 6 million companies and more than 100,000 products are launched. They all need an awesome name, but many (such as Xobni, Svbtle, and Doostang) look like the results of a drunken Scrabble game. In this entertaining and engaging book, ace naming consultant Alexandra Watkins explains how anyone—even noncreative types—can create memorable and buzz-worthy brand names. No degree in linguistics required. The heart of the book is Watkins’s proven SMILE and SCRATCH Test—two acronyms for what makes or breaks a name. She also provides up-to-date advice, like how to make sure that Siri spells your name correctly and how to nab an available domain name. And you’ll see dozens of examples—the good, the bad, and the “so bad she gave them an award.” Alexandra Watkins is not afraid to name names.

Business Books #10: The small BIG

The small BIG: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence by Steve J. Martin, Noah Goldstein, & Robert Cialdini

At some point today you will have to influence or persuade someone – perhaps ask a colleague a favour, negotiate with a contractor or get your spouse to put out the recycling. In the small BIG, three heavyweights from the world of persuasion science and practice – Steve Martin, Noah Goldstein and Robert Cialdini – describe how, in today’s information-overloaded world, it is now the smallest changes that lead to the biggest differences in results.

Business Books #11: Smartcuts

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

Entrepreneur and journalist Shane Snow (Wired, Fast Company, The New Yorker, and cofounder of Contently) analyzes the lives of people and companies that do incredible things in implausibly short time.

How do some startups go from zero to billions in mere months? How did Alexander the Great, YouTube tycoon Michelle Phan, and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon climb to the top in less time than it takes most of us to get a promotion? What do high-growth businesses, world-class heart surgeons, and underdog marketers do in common to beat the norm?

One way or another, they do it like computer hackers. They employ what psychologists call “lateral thinking” to rethink convention and break “rules” that aren’t rules.

Business Books #12: Excellent Sheep

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz

Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways. Deresiewicz explains how college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path. He addresses parents, students, educators, and anyone who’s interested in the direction of American society, featuring quotes from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years, candidly exposing where the system is broken and clearly presenting solutions.

Business Books #13: Powers of Two

Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs by Joshua Wolf Shenk

Weaving the lives of scores of creative duos—from John Lennon and Paul McCartney to Marie and Pierre Curie to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak—Joshua Wolf Shenk identifies the core qualities of that dizzying experience we call “chemistry.” Revealing the six essential stages through which creative intimacy unfolds, Shenk draws on new scientific research and builds an argument for the social foundations of creativity—and the pair as its primary embodiment. Along the way, he reveals how pairs begin to talk, think, and even look like each other; how the most successful ones thrive on conflict; and why some pairs flame out while others endure.

Business Books #14: Building a Better Teacher

Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone) by Elizabeth Green

Building a Better Teacher introduces a new generation of educators exploring the intricate science underlying their art. A former principal studies the country’s star teachers and discovers a set of common techniques that help children pay attention. Two math teachers videotape a year of lessons and develop an approach that has nine-year-olds writing sophisticated mathematical proofs. A former high school teacher works with a top English instructor to pinpoint the key interactions a teacher must foster to initiate a rich classroom discussion. Through their stories, and the hilarious and heartbreaking theater that unfolds in the classroom every day, Elizabeth Green takes us on a journey into the heart of a profession that impacts every child in America.

14 New Business Books To Read Recommended By Wharton Professor Adam Grant