The Best Business Books of 2015 (Part II)

As promised, here are the other 15 titles that made our Best Business Book of 2015 list, including our December titles that were just released over the weekend.

The New IT by Jill Dyche – Jill Dyché provides a new business model for building and strengthening the role of IT. By using field-tested techniques to align your IT department with your corporate objectives, you can leverage the power of technology across the entire company.

Design to Grow by Linda Tischler & David Butler – David Butler and Linda Tischler share the successes and failures of Coca-Cola as this large, global company learned to use design to create both scale and agility.

Make It Matter by Scott Mautz – Scott Mautz reveals that fostering meaning at work by giving workers a greater sense of significance is the key to motivation and engagement.

The High-Speed Company by Jason Jennings & Laurence Haughton – Jennings and Haughton share strategies and practices demonstrated by businesses with proven records of creating cultures with strong purpose, trust and follow-through.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz – Ben Horowitz tells it straight as he shares insights gained from developing, managing, selling, buying investing in and supervising technology companies.

Learning to Succeed by Jason Wingard – Corporate learning expert Jason Wingard proposes that to keep ahead of the competition, organizations should shift to embracing learning across the ranks and become dynamic learning organizations.

The Lean CEO by Jacob Stoller – Many companies and CEOs are finding that to do more with less, that they can find solutions in Lean management techniques to deliver sustainable financial results, empower and motivate employees, break down internal silos and build solid partnerships with customers and suppliers.

The Good Ones by Bruce Weinstein – Ethics expert Bruce Weinstein presents 10 crucial qualities associated with high-character employees that can enhance employee satisfaction, client relationships and the bottom line.

The Attacker’s Advantage by Ram Charan – Ram Charan provides proven tools to help leaders embrace uncertainty and develop the skills to be better prepared to lead.

Persuasion Equation by Mark Rodgers – This insightful guide by Mark Rodgers reveals what drives decisions and introduces the persuasion equation –– a powerful combination of factors proven to speed agreement.

Team Genius by Rich Karlgaard & Michael Malone – Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone focus on the critical role of Informal teams within the core of successful companies.

The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth – Bernie Roth, co-founder of the Stanford, offers a guide for harnessing the power of design thinking to help meet life’s challenges and fulfill goals.

The Four Lenses of Innovation by Rowan Gibson – Rowan Gibson presents an innovation methodology for systematically stretching your thinking, discovering inspiring new insights and producing a portfolio of high-quality ideas and radically new growth opportunities.

Stronger by George Everly, Douglas Strouse & Dennis McCormack – Personal resilience is the ability to bounce back in the wake of adversity. The authors share a set of five core factors that protect successful people against psychological distress and emotional injury.

Peers Inc by Robin Chase – A co-founder of Zipcar, Robin Chase, introduces the collaborative economy in which companies and governments are using the Internet’s ability to facilitate collaboration by leveraging expertise, assets and resources outside their sphere of control.

What 2015 books have you found to be most helpful in your business and career over the past year? Post your choices to the blog.


The Best Business Books of 2015 (Part I)

As we approach the end of the year, it’s time to announce our choices for the best business books of 2015. Our editorial board is continually watching the business books that are being prepared for publication, to choose those that we think provide new information, while giving principles and practices that can be put to immediate use by our subscribers.

Here are the first 15 of our 30 Best Business Book List:

Rookie Smarts by Liz Wiseman – Leadership expert Liz Wiseman explains how to reclaim and cultivate the curious, flexible, youthful mindset of a rookie.

The Reciprocity Advantage by Bob Johansen & Karl Ronn – Leading forecaster Bob Johansen and business developer Karl Ronn share a model for creating new growth for your business using the underutilized resources.

Overworked and Overwhelmed by Scott Eblin – Leading forecaster Bob Johansen and business developer Karl Ronn share a model for creating new growth for your business using the underutilized resources.

Good Leaders Ask Great Questions by John C. Maxwell – To be a successful leader, you need to be asking yourself and your team key questions in order to learn, grow, and develop better ideas.

Becoming Your Best by Steven Shallenberger – Shallenberger reveals the 12 principles you need to follow in order to reach your highest potential and drive the kind of innovation that turns good companies into industry leaders.

Bringing Strategy Back by Jeffrey Sampler – Strategy expert Jeffrey Sampler introduces four “strategic shock absorbers” that enable leaders to build resilient organizations that can withstand even the most unexpected global turbulence.

Low-Hanging Fruit by Jeremy Eden & Terri Long – Jeremy Eden and Terri Long have distilled 77 of their most effective techniques for generating real performance improvements drawn from their success working with major companies.

Stacking the Deck by David Pottruck – David Pottruck presents the nine-steps that leaders who are facing major change in their organizations can follow from the first realization that change is needed through implementation.

Anticipate by Rob-Jan de Jong – Strategy and leadership expert Rob-Jan de Jong explains how to develop the ability to see things early and incorporate them into the future of your organization.

The 5 Choices by Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill & Leena Rinne – The authors combine research and insights from FranklinCovey to redefine time management in ways that will increase the productivity of individuals, teams and organizations.

Thirteeners by Daniel Prosser – CEO mentor Dan Prosser shares how to transform an organization’s internal connectedness so it can achieve the next level of performance.

The Hidden Leader by Scott Edinger & Laurie Sain – Scott Edinger and Laurie Sain show how managers can recognize and develop these talented employees in order to deliver even greater value to customers.

The Power of Thanks by Derek Irvine & Eric Mosley – Globoforce executives Eric Mosley and Derek Irvine explain how a Culture of Recognition can boost employee engagement and loyalty, stronger teamwork and a more innovative culture.

Leadership Blindspots by Robert Bruce Shaw – Robert Bruce Shaw helps leaders to identify weaknesses, threats and other vulnerabilities that can impair effectiveness, results and even their careers.

Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith – Goldsmith details six engaging questions that can help us enact meaningful and lasting change in order to become the person we want to be.

Watch for next Monday’s blog to see the rest of the list.


November Best Business Books

Our November issue of Soundview Executive Book Summaries includes summaries of three great titles. These three books provide guidelines to help you improve yourself and your company across the areas of innovation, design thinking and informal teams.


The Four Lenses of Innovation

A Power Tool for Creative Thinking

by Rowan Gibson

Rowan Gibson presents an innovation methodology for systematically stretching your thinking, discovering inspiring new insights and producing a portfolio of high-quality ideas and radically new growth opportunities. You will learn how to reverse-engineer creative genius and make radical business innovation an everyday reality using four key business perspectives.

The Achievement Habit

Stop Wishing, Start Doing and Take Command of Your Life

by Bernard Roth

Bernie Roth, co-founder of the Stanford, offers a guide for harnessing the power of design thinking to help meet life’s challenges and fulfill goals. Behaviors and relationships can be transformed as you become more effective at solving problems, more focused on things that matter, and more satisfied with life. Achievement is like a muscle; learn how to flex it.


Team Genius

The New Science of High-Performing Organizations

by Michael Malone & Rich Karlgaard

Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone focus on the critical role of Informal teams within the core of successful companies. Combining best practices and the latest in scientific research, the authors show how to build the dynamic, robust and great teams leaders need in order to compete in today’s world.

If you’re a Soundview subscriber, check out your new titles in your online library today. And if not, click on a title to purchase it; or perhaps now is the time to Subscribe and get these great titles and much more to strengthen your business skills.

Book Review: Bringing Strategy Back


by Jeffrey Sampler

When the world of business is so chaotic, leaders need strategy more than ever. However, the business environment is changing too quickly for conventional strategic planning processes. In Bringing Strategy Back, Sampler explains why strategy is more important than ever for your business. Strategy expert Jeffrey Sampler introduces four “strategic shock absorbers” that enable leaders to build resilient organizations that can withstand even the most unexpected global turbulence.

With four “strategic shock absorbers,” leaders all around the world at organizations of any size and type can build strong organizations that withstand chaos and instability. Based on the Sampler’s in-depth research into the world’s most unstable markets, these strategic shock absorbers work together in an ongoing process that can be applied to any organization: Accuracy, Agility, Momentum and Foresight. Of the four, agility helps leaders deliver with speed and flexibility in terms of strategic options. Leaders need to be able to act quickly using agility in unpredictable markets.

Businesses can’t afford to become stagnant in their strategic process in order to survive and thrive. Sampler says that giving up the old way of strategic planning can seem risky; however customizing the best approach for your business will make a positive difference. With this new framework, Bringing Strategy Back shows how to be prepared and proactive, rather than reactive, even when the future is uncertain.

New Summaries to Make the Most of a Moment

A single moment can be a turning point for you and your organization. What leaders often don’t realize is that every day is filled with dozens of these potential moments. Soundview has three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries that help you leverage your abilities and make the most of each moment.

Now available for download:

by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee

by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee

Flex by Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee. Executive coaches and global leadership strategists Jane Hyun and Audrey S. Lee present lessons on “flexing,” which is the art of switching leadership styles to more effectively lead people who are different from you. Flex offers a proactive strategy for managers to navigate and leverage diversity effectively. Lessons from the authors will help managers of multicultural workers to bridge the gap with more effective communication, feedback tools, building healthy teams and closing the gap with clients, customers and partners to create innovative solutions.


by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

A Team of Leaders by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff. With emphasis on the design of a team, A Team of Leaders offers a new way to energize groups of employees and improve performance. Authors Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff present the Five-Stage Team Development Model, which outlines a set of characteristics of traditional teams and the progression to creating teams of people who think and act like leaders. By improving the core design components – the systems, processes, knowledge, management and visual management – teams will take responsibility for delivering better results.


by Lisa Kay Solomon and Chris Ertel

by Lisa Kay Solomon and Chris Ertel

Moments of Impact by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon. Innovation strategists Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon share what it takes to design creative, collaborative problem-solving sessions using strategic conversations. Strategic conversations combine the best ideas of people with different backgrounds, which ultimately delivers breakthrough insights. Moments of Impact provides a creative process by which leaders can make good strategic choices while engaging more people with different perspectives more effectively.

Book Review: Leadership 2030

by Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell

by Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell

It used to be enough for a business leader to attempt to research and anticipate trends in business. Two executives from Hay Group, Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell, make a strong argument for the importance of analyzing megatrends. In their book Leadership 2030, Vielmetter and Sell provide six megatrends that will have a profound impact on the way you lead your business in the future. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Understanding megatrends begins with gaining a grasp of the concept itself. While the authors define megatrend as, “a long-term, transformational process with global reach, broad scope and a fundamental and dramatic impact,” their collaboration with research partner Z_punkt used the filters of time, reach and impact to shape the six megatrends.

Leadership 2030 provides essential observations about each of the six megatrends. Whether the megatrend discussed is new to executives (such as Individualization and Value Pluralism) or a concentrated reexamination of an existing idea (the environmental crisis), the authors strike at the heart of the issue and explain both the reasons for the megatrend’s existence and how you, as a leader, will need to react.

After covering the six megatrends, Vielmetter and Sell describe a set of five key reinforcers (which they define as “consequences driven and strengthened by several megatrends at once) and four significant dilemmas. This solidifies the authors’ belief that the megatrends are not individual issues incubating on their own. Faced with the daunting task of leading in the face of the perfect storm described by Vielmetter and Sell, Leadership 2030 concludes with a portrait of the Altrocentric Leader, an individual who is able to unite and empower those around him or her to find innovative solutions to the challenges ahead. A good first step for tomorrow’s Altrocentric Leaders is to read (and re-read) Vielmetter and Sell’s book.

Book Review: Absolute Value

by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen

by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen

It used to be that if you were selling consumer goods your field of play was limited to the shelf space immediately to the right and left of your item. People could compare packaging, price and quantity to determine if your item was worth their money and attention. In Absolute Value: What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information, Stanford professor Itamar Simonson and best-selling author and executive Emanuel Rosen discuss what is causing the shift from relative to absolute value and how your company can make an impact. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

Simonson and Rosen do an excellent job of compressing and presenting a mountain of research into concepts executives can absorb in a timely manner. The pair begin by presenting the new patterns in consumer decision making. One particular point of interest is the authors’ suggestion that there is a decline in the belief that marketers can cause buyers to act in “irrational” ways. As the pair write, “The relevance of these influence tactics has diminished in a world where people can easily assess quality. On average, better decisions are being made based on the information that’s available.”

Absolute Value then takes readers into a new framework for influence. Executives will want to spend a portion of time considering the ideas presented in a section on the Influence Mix. Simonson and Rosen write that three sources can impact a person’s decision to buy: prior experiences, preferences and beliefs, other people/information, and marketers. One of the most beneficial sections in the book pertains to matching your communication method to the customer’s influence mix. In a book filled with forward-looking insights, the authors’ advice will help guide marketing professionals into the next shift in commerce.

Plan for the Future with Three New Summaries

As part of your leadership development, you should routinely take a part of each day to focus on the future. To help you in your efforts, Soundview has three new summaries that help you plan for the future of your business and strengthen your resolve to achieve your goals.

by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen

by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen

Absolute Value by Itamar Simonson and Emanuel Rosen. Absolute Value answers the question of what influences customers in this new age and describes how a company should design its communication strategy, market research program, and segmentation strategy in order to adopt a new way of thinking about marketing in this new environment.




by Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell

by Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell

Leadership 2030 by Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell. Leadership 2030 presents six converging megatrends that will reshape businesses by the year 2030 including the forces of globalization 2.0, environmental crisis, individualization and value pluralism, the digital era, demographic change, and technological convergence. Authors Georg Vielmetter and Yvonne Sell use research and analyses to explain the transformative effects of the megatrends on leaders and their organizations and what leaders will have to know.


by Al Siebert

by Al Siebert

The Resiliency Advantage by Al Siebert. The Resiliency Advantage explains how and why some people are more resilient than others and how resiliency can be learned and strengthened. Dr. Siebert details a five-level program for becoming more resilient that is a valuable resource for learning how to meet the challenges of work and life head on.

Four Memorable Quotes from Soundview’s Author Insight Interviews

A great accompaniment to many Soundview Executive Book Summaries is the Soundview Author Insight interview. Each interview is worth a careful listen because authors often reveal new interpretations of their material. The interviews also provide them with the opportunity to share new information gained since the book’s publication.

Here are four great thoughts to consider and share with your team:

“Most people think that success resides somewhere outside yourself. It’s something other people have. It’s something you need to go out and discover. But actually, success is always inside yourself and it’s the connection between your own interests, your own aptitudes, your own motivations and the opportunities that life presents.” G. Richard Shell, author of Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success

“What we find in both individual change and organizational change is that it often requires some sort of disruptive event, some sort of major external activity in order to force change. Change becomes reactive as opposed to the individual or the organization being proactive and embracing change. The first step in performing change better is leading it better.” – Susan Goldsworthy and Walter McFarland, co-authors of Choosing Change

“For the most part, when you examine alliances you realize that it is a common pain that drives people together.” – Rich McKeown, co-author (with Mike Leavitt) of Finding Allies, Building Alliances

“People are hardwired for negative or positive emotions and we all have a different set point inside our brains for anxiety, depression and happiness. You have to really understand your set point and then do as much as you can to keep yourself on the positive side of hope, optimism, compassion and generosity.” – Bob Rosen, author of Grounded

Book Review: The Learned Disciplines of Management

by Jim Burkett

by Jim Burkett

The ability to turn around a struggling business is a skill honed in the fires of a business inferno. Specialists in this process hope to be successful a handful of times throughout their careers. Jim Burkett, author and president of Corporate Turnaround Consulting, has turned around the staggering figure of 28 underperforming companies during a 35-year career. It requires a devotion to a set of principles Burkett describes to readers in The Learned Disciplines of Management: How to Make the Right Things Happen. This book is now available a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

While every manager develops a toolkit for problem solving during the course of his or her career, Burkett points out that many of these skills might simply be what you’ve received from a predecessor or boss. In The Learned Disciplines of Management, Burkett replaces the “inherited” tools with seven learned tools: planning, organizing, measuring performance, executing, following up, real-time reporting and problem solving.

Each section of the book provides executives with an explanation of the discipline and examples to reinforce the importance of its practice. One of the more intriguing chapters concerns the discipline of measuring performance. While experienced executives probably feel as if they’ve read everything imaginable about the subject, Burkett gets to the heart of the issue: why measuring performance is so often not practiced. His findings force executives to confront the truth that performance measurement, while not a dehumanizing practice, does remove an unspoken layer of safety for underperforming teams.

These kinds of truths are essential if a manager intends to push a turnaround to its successful completion. While The Learned Disciplines of Management is a must-read for anyone in a struggling organization, it would benefit experienced executives at successful firms, as well.