Each time I present to an audience I am asked about the books I have read that most contributed to may of thinking and working. In the moment I am typically able to name a few, but I always walk away only to remember one (or five) that I missed.
For consistency, I have put together a comprehensive list. Enjoy!
It’s a familiar scene in organizations today: a new competitive threat or a big opportunity emerges. You quickly create a strategic initiative in response and appoint your best people to make change happen. And it does—but not fast enough. Or effectively enough. Real value gets lost and, ultimately, things drift back to the default status.
By John Kotter
From the ill-fated dot-com bubble to unprecedented M&A activity to scandal, greed, and ultimately, recession—we’ve learned that widespread and difficult change is no longer the exception. It’s the rule. Now with a new preface, this refreshed edition of the global bestseller Leading Change is more relevant than ever.
By John Kotter
Value Stream Mapping
Value stream mapping–an essential but underused methodology–is a proven approach to help you visualize and resolve disconnects, redundancies, and gaps in your value delivery system. More than merely a tool to eliminate operational waste, value stream mapping is a highly effective means to transform leadership thinking, define strategy and priorities, and create a customer-centric workflow.
By Karen Martin
The Phoenix Project
Bill, an IT manager at Parts Unlimited, has been tasked with taking on a project critical to the future of the business, code named Phoenix Project. But the project is massively over budget and behind schedule. The CEO demands Bill must fix the mess in ninety days or else Bill’s entire department will be outsourced.
By Gene Kim
The Unicorn Project
In The Unicorn Project, we follow Maxine, a senior lead developer and architect, as she is exiled to the Phoenix Project, to the horror of her friends and colleagues, as punishment for contributing to a payroll outage. She tries to survive in what feels like a heartless and uncaring bureaucracy and to work within a system where no one can get anything done without endless committees, paperwork, and approvals.
By Gene Kim
Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That’s a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others). In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
By Dan Pink
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a superpower in our increasingly competitive twenty-first-century economy.
By Cal Newport
The idea is simple: You don’t have to choose between being a pushover and a jerk. Using Radical Candor – avoiding the perils of obnoxious aggression, manipulative insincerity, and ruinous empathy – you can be kind and clear at the same time.
By Kim Scott
Essential Scrum: A Practical Guide to the Most Popular Agile Process
If you want to use Scrum to develop innovative products and services that delight your customers, Essential Scrum is the complete, single-source reference you’ve been searching for. Leading Scrum coach and trainer Kenny Rubin illuminates the values, principles, and practices of Scrum, and describes flexible, proven approaches that can help you implement it far more effectively.
By Kenneth S. Rubin
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
In Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the human scale principle, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating curiosity gaps. Along the way, we discover that sticky messages of all kinds—from the infamous “kidney theft ring” hoax to a coach’s lessons on sportsmanship to a vision for a new product at Sony—draw their power from the same six traits.
By Chip Heath, Dan Heath
Measure What Matters
In the fall of 1999, John Doerr met with the founders of a start-up whom he’d just given $12.5 million, the biggest investment of his career. Larry Page and Sergey Brin had amazing technology, entrepreneurial energy, and sky-high ambitions, but no real business plan. For Google to change the world (or even to survive), Page and Brin had to learn how to make tough choices on priorities while keeping their team on track. They’d have to know when to pull the plug on losing propositions, to fail fast.
By John Doerr
The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup approach fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively. Inspired by lessons from lean manufacturing, it relies on “validated learning,” rapid scientific experimentation, as well as a number of counter-intuitive practices that shorten product development cycles, measure actual progress without resorting to vanity metrics, and learn what customers really want. It enables a company to shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
By Eric Ries
SAFe® 5.0 Distilled: Achieving Business Agility with Scaled Agile Framework® explains how adopting SAFe helps enterprises use the power of Agile, Lean, and DevOps to outflank the competition and deliver complex, technology-based business solutions in the shortest possible time.
By Richard Knaster & Dean Leffingwell
The Design of Everyday Things
The Design of Everyday Things shows that good, usable design is possible. The rules are simple: make things visible, exploit natural relationships that couple function and control, and make intelligent use of constraints. The goal: guide the user effortlessly to the right action on the right control at the right time.
By Don Norman
The Creative Curve
As the world’s most creative people have discovered, we are enticed by the novel and the familiar. By understanding the mechanics of what Gannett calls “the creative curve” – the point of optimal tension between the novel and the familiar – everyone can better engineer mainstream success.
By Allen Gannett
The Power of Moments
While human lives are endlessly variable, our most memorable positive moments are dominated by four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. If we embrace these elements, we can conjure more moments that matter. What if a teacher could design a lesson that he knew his students would remember twenty years later? What if a manager knew how to create an experience that would delight customers? What if you had a better sense of how to create memories that matter for your children?
By Chip Heath
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