This year’s three best business books on leadership are fresh, persuasive, and arresting. Rooted in experience and rigorous data, new work by Sam Walker, Chris Fussell and Susan David supports a timeless and intuitive truth: that excellence is defined by the human values of flexibility, humility, and the courage.
This year’s best business books help to answer the question, “Is leadership an art or science?” While more studies and data improve our understanding of leaders and leadership, has it improved leadership quality? These three books offer answers to these questions and provide insights that are relevant to our everyday lives.
Anyone leading a team, attempting to engage a business partner, or navigate a relationship will soon learn that the process of giving feedback is complicated and often counterproductive. Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen, in their book “Thanks for the Feedback” argue that the smart investment is not teaching managers how to give feedback, but rather teaching employees how to receive it.
Listening, questioning, and motivating others are strong themes among this year’s best business books. Edgar H. Schein, Daniel H. Pink,and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg offer examples and advice on improving influence, inquiry, and action.
John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio have found that most people, worldwide, are not happy with the state of world. But why? Government, the economy and, the aggression, ambition, and analytical orientation of men. In their book “The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future” Gerzema and D’Antonio sampled 64,000 people in 13 major countries and their findings are compelling.
Culture has an important role as the essential driver of effective change. Too many authors urge such change using mere exhortation: Be more open! Behave less hierarchically! By contrast, this year’s best books offer more specific ways to engage culture. I believe that these are more likely to result in more effective, productive, and innovative organizations.
Peter Drucker once noted that an organization’s most valuable resource is vested in the heads of its people, and leaves the building with them when they go home. This revelation led many companies to begin viewing their people as a resource rather than a cost. This year’s best business books address this subject of human capital and suggest that our approach to it is due for a correction.
This year’s four best business books address the subject of human capital. They each offer clues as to how to address how to retain, develop, and leverage human capital resource they depend upon most.