Six Business Books You’ll Want to Read

I read lots of business books. Some go quickly to the shelf or get lost on my Kindle, but I have a very nice group on my table right now. I recommend you check them out.  I learned something and hope you will too.

Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity, Alan Siegel & Irene Etzkorn

I love this book, because it made me realize that simplicity is harder than just being focused, concise or a minimalist. The authors take the goal of simplicity and break it down so you know how to aim for it in your work. One big ‘aha’ was that it takes empathy to be simple. I had never thought of it that way before, but it makes sense that you have to ‘walk in the shoes’ of your customer, your audience or your reader to realize the goal of simplicity.


How to Be Inhow to be interestingteresting, Jessica Hagy

No comments on why I really need this book! But, I really, really like it – simple, engaging and insightful. It’s an easy read, yet made me stop and think. Hop off the bandwagon. Drop the titles. Have a cause. Talk to strangers.  It reminded me of why some of these simple changes really matter …and, I’m sure they would make me more interesting.



Give and Take, Adam Grant

This is very visible in your local bookstore and well worth the read in my view.  My colleague, Martha Duesterhoft, shared how this is at the heart of real success in her post about being Wildly Successful.  It changed my view of givers and takers. It turns out that givers come out on top over the long haul – but, may experience some short term setbacks in certain situations and with some people. And, there are definitely times when being a giver may not be the best decision.  For you constant givers, there is some motivation in there for keeping the faith.

Org: The Underlying Logic of the Office, Ray Fisman and Tim Sullivan

This book is a really interesting look at how the organization was created to get a job done – something that can’t be accomplished alone – yet, most are full of dysfunction. The authors look at the root causes for the dysfunction and how we create much of it. If you want to make a change, it helps to understand the root cause of how it got that way. Given what I do for a living – this is good stuff. And, it’s chock full of great stories and examples that ring so true to me.  You’ll also learn that while CEOs spend over 80% of their time in meetings that’s where they should be!

The Inclusion Dividend, Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan

We talk so much about diversity and inclusion as a priority. These authors spell out what inclusion really looks like and the benefits it brings. As someone who is very interested in how organizations change, they also help the reader figure out how to actually be more inclusive and, as a result, help your bottom line.  There are great real-life stories here – both successes and failures.

Daring Greatly, Dr. Brene Brown

I’m a Brene Brown fan. I find her work and voice very insightful. This is one I keep close by for a constant reminder of my struggle with vulnerability and the risk of avoiding it.  The title, “Daring Greatly,” is based on the quote from Teddy Roosevelt in 1910 that should be posted on our walls:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Thanks, Teddy. And, a special thanks to Brene.

Patti Johnson is the CEO of PeopleResults and can be followed on twitter @pattibjohnson or her company @people_results.