Having an emphasis on learning and personal growth is one of the things that is extremely important to me as both a leader and an individual contributor.  I have been asked a lot lately for book recommendations and thought others might be interested in sharing what they’ve learned through their own personal study.  These days, there is no shortage of information but finding the time to study can be tough. One method that really works for me is to buy audiobooks for the books I’m reading. Then no matter where I am I either have a book to read or listen to using the Kindle app on my phone. 

A few of the CenterEdge leaders pulled together some recommendations for books or podcasts that have impacted us and would love for you to share yours! Here are a few that made the cut:

On Business Management:

StartUp Podcast – Each season of this podcast series focuses on one new business, typically Silicon Valley type businesses, and tells the origin story, the challenges that they face and all the big decisions they make (both good and bad). This is all done in real time, not in hindsight, so you never know if the business will succeed or fail. The industries always change, but the lessons often apply. For instance an episode might be about how XYZ new company is struggling to build the correct team or even, more specifically, struggling with how to weave diversity into that team.

On Guest Service:

Start with Why, By Simon Sinek (book and TedTalk): Simon Sinek’s TedTalk is an introduction to his vision philosophy which can help anyone understand that the customer service you provide really starts with you and your ability to clearly articulate your vision.

Transforming the Customer Experience, Podcast: This podcast takes short dives into different parts of the customer experience process and your place in it.

On Leadership:

The Five Levels of Leadership, by John Maxwell (book): This book is great for any leader, but a must read for those going from a front line team member into a supervisory role.  It teaches the essential principles for how to influence people so that you’re a leader people actually want to follow.

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, by John Maxwell (book and accompanying workbook): This is the second book by John Maxwell, and really you can’t go wrong with any of his work. He even offers free daily Minute with Maxwell videos that you can get straight to your inbox.  According to Sandra, our Training and Personal Development Manager, this book is great because there is an accompanying workbook.  Before you groan about doing the exercises, let me tell you this: You can read everything ever written about taekwondo, watch every video ever produced about taekwondo, and know everything there is to know about taekwondo, but unless you practice taekwondo, you cannot, in fact, do taekwondo.  You have to apply what you’ve learned.

On Productivity:

Eat that Frog, by Brian Tracy (book): Brian Tracy does a great job mixing in theory with a good amount of “go forth and do” and offers insight into the philosophy that if you’ll do the hard, most important tasks first all the others will quickly follow afterwards.

Getting Things Done, by David Allen (book): Steve, our Support Manager swears that this book on managing projects and your time is the only way to do so without losing your mind.

On Sales:

Why We Buy, by Paco Underhill (book): According to our CFO, Grey, “This is an extraordinary book about the psychology of shopping and consumer behavior. All the ideas in the book seem obvious once you think about them, but who would ever think about them? It does a great job of helping you see the world through the lens of the consumer and understand the different nuanced details that significantly impact consumers in general. I’ve read it many times and I love it.”

On Teamwork:

Apollo 13 by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger (book) and/or Failure Is Not an Option, by Gene Kranz (book) – Yeah, they are nerdy science space books, but they are also unbelievable triumphs of teamwork, leadership and passion. Sometimes when I am overwhelmed and stressed out, I remind myself just how high the stakes were for every team member of NASA during the 60s and how, by comparison, none of our problems would even register. It helps keep things in perspective, learn about and appreciate incredible leadership and enjoy the successes and failures of a dedicated, passionate team.

On Training Young Team Members:

Every Kid Needs a Champion, by Rita Pierson (TEDTalk) – Got training woes working with younger team members? Remember, “kids don’t learn from people they don’t like”.  Learn how to be your team’s champion from a long time educator who gets it.

On Being the Best Human You Can Be:

The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor – GUARANTEED to make you tap into your motivation and creativity. It blends research, science, and practical application techniques into a wonderful read that will have you literally calling all the people in your life to tell them how much you love them. If this list had been a countdown, this book would be number 1 for me by far.  Great for leaders, managers and YOU.

So what about you? Do any of these make your list? What else is in your library? Share with us here or on social media. And, as always, send any feedback to clientsuccess@centeredgesoftware.com.  Happy learning!


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