Great Books

I have some notations on all of the books I list below, most of them highly positive. ┬áIf you wish to order any of them, simply click on the image of the Book Cover and you’ll be taken directly to the appropriate page on Amazon.

Top 10 Books

Image of The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict I read this book while on vacation in New Zealand in 2007. I was so impacted that I ordered more than 100 copies to give away to my friends and colleagues. I have also made it required reading for my college students in my Ethics course.
 
Image of The Great Reckoning: Protecting Yourself in the Coming DepressionI like reading books written by smart people. Davidson and Rees-Mogg are terribly smart! Granted, there was no depression in the 1990s, but that is not the only prediction of their book, many of which they nailed. And, I wouldn't write them off on their predicted economic depression. They may have gotten the decade wrong, but perhaps not by much.

 
Image of That Noble Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession (Ideas in Context)This work of unbridled scholarship caused quite a stir within the American Historical Association when it was first published. Novick, of the University of Chicago, brilliantly unfolds for the reader why historians who claim to approach their subjects with objective detachment are either deluded or intellectually dishonest.
 
Image of Management Challenges for the 21st CenturyI consider myself rather fortunate to have studied with Drucker during my graduate school days. I am even more fortunate to have had some one-on-one time with the man. I consider him a mentor, a quasi-father-figure, and one of the great men of the 20th Century. This, his 31st book, is possibly his best yet.
 
Image of The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning OrganizationI thought I was well-read when I first picked up this book in 1991, and much of what I read was somewhat mundane. This book was like a shock wave! Senge is a very clear writer, yet he writes about ideas of great depth. His insights into systems thinking and nonlinear dynamics are very important, and worth the investment of time and energy. And his chapter on leadership is nothing short of masterful.
 
Image of Building Wealth: The New Rules for Individuals, Companies, and Nations in a Knowledge-Based EconomyI heard Lester Thurow speak at the United Nations building in Atlanta in 1999. I expected a dull, dry, academic speech. What I got was a whirlwind of brilliant and useful information that was clear and compelling. Thurow possesses a commanding grasp of societal trends, particularly as they relate to the way technology is changing the landscape of our lives. I don't care much for the title of his book, however. This book is less about "how to get wealthy" and more about how to understand what is going on around you. (Granted, one often leads to the other.)
 
Image of The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus ChristTalk about learning the lessons of leadership! This book has it all. But it's not what I would call "easy reading." One of the great works of sacred literature, this book, translated from an ancient text by Joseph Smith in 1830, contains numerous accounts of transformational leaders, such as Captain Moroni, whose leadership acuity is on par with Churchill's. The book is not generally for sale, but can be acquired for free. The easiest way to obtain a copy would be to call toll-free in the U.S.A., 1 (888) 537-2200, and representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be happy to send you a copy.
 
Image of Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to OurselvesTerry Warner remains one of the most authentic and insightful individuals I have ever had the privilege of knowing about. This book is probably the most significant book I've read in the last 6 years. Do yourself a favor and read it! You will thank me profusely.
 
Image of Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show BusinessHaving read virtually every book he's published, it was a tough call picking only one Neil Postman book for my Top Ten List. When I read a book, I usually have a yellow highlighter with me so I can mark a phrase or a passage that is particularly meaningful to me. And I try not to mark too much or it defeats the purpose. Well, in spite of my attempts at restraint, I found myself marking quite a bit in all but two of his eleven chapters. And were it not for enormous self-control on my part, I would have highlighted far more. Read any book by Neil Postman, but especially read this one.
 
Image of Spirited Americans: A Commentary on America's Optimists--From the Puritans to the Cyber-CenturyEver read a book that starts out good and gets better and better, up to and including the final pages? This book falls into that category. His penultimate chapter dealing with moral issues is nothing short of remarkable.
 

Annotated Bibliography

Image of Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 (Pivotal Moments in American History)Great book for filling in the gaps on what went on in the leadership of the United States following the Washington administration.
 
Image of The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008This diatribe posing as sound history is very valuable for those right-of-center who wish to read the playbook of those left-of-center. Essentially, the book is the author's biased statement of why he hates George W. Bush, Kenneth Star, Newt Gingrich, and virtually every other conservative Republican, as well as why he loves everyone on the left, especially Bill Clinton. It seems nothing the Republicans do is good, noble, wise, or successful, while left-wing Dems mostly get a free pass. I highly recommend this book to conservatives to better understand the leftist mind.
 
Image of America: The Last Best Hope Volumes I & II Box Set Highly compelling history of the United States of America, which should be the standard texts for every high school student in the country.
 
Image of Churchill One of the very best one-volume biographies on Churchill, absolutely immaculately written, and first-rate scholarship.
 
Image of Churchill: A LifeThis was written by Churchill's official biographer, has masterfully condensed the highlights of his multi-volume work on Churchill into one convenient volume. Highly recommended.

 
Image of Coaching for Leadership: How the World's Greatest Coaches Help Leaders Learn The best book to date on the subject of coaching. Contains over 30 very well-written articles by practitioners from a wide variety of disciplines.
 
Image of Conscientious Objections: Stirring Up Trouble About Language, Technology and Education As the subtitle suggests, Postman is at it again, indeed stirring up trouble as he has three of this favorite subjects in his cross-hairs.
 
Image of The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning OrganizationsThe second encore to the landmark, The Fifth Discipline. My worry with this book was I was afraid with six authors listed, I would not know what represents Senge's work and what doesn't. But everything written has an author attributed to it, and in fact, the writings represent far more than the six authors listed on the cover. Some great stuff about scenario planning is included.
 
Image of De Bono's Thinking Course, Revised EditionDe Bono is the most influential thinker on the subject of thinking. His book is loaded with great ideas on how to improve the thought-process.
 
Image of Did Lincoln Own Slaves?: And Other Frequently Asked Questions about Abraham Lincoln (Vintage Civil War Library)A fun, fact-filled tour-d-force about our 16th U.S. president.
 
Image of Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald ReaganOne of the best biographies I have ever read, Morris is both sympathetic and scrutinizing, seemingly leaving no stone unturned. Reagan emerges as one of the truly great leaders of the last century.
 
Image of The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done (Harperbusiness Essentials)One of the finest treatises ever penned on the topic of effectiveness. This book is raved about by people as diverse as Stephen R. Covey and Newt Gingrich.
 
Image of Einstein: His Life and UniverseI have rarely ever found myself feeling actual joy while reading a book, but I certainly felt that way reading this one.
 
Image of The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization A handy follow up to the original landmark book, The Fifth Discipline.
 
Image of Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (P.S.)Utterly fascinating probing of some uncommon questions. I think the theory behind what legalizing abortion did to curtail crime was quite intriguing.
 
Image of Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People A helpful follow up to his previous book, coauthored with Roger Fisher, Getting to Yes.
 
Image of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving InFisher and Ury, who headed up the Harvard Negotiation Project (which comes out of the Law School, not the Business School as many had assumed) offer a cogent model for effective negotiating.
 
Image of Godless: The Church of LiberalismAnn Coulter, hated by the Left, is utterly brilliant! And fun to read!
 
Image of The Greatest Salesman in the WorldAlthough a tiny book, it's a treasure. First published in 1968, Og Mandino's classic remains an invaluable guide to building a philosophy of salesmanship. Mandino's clear, simple writing style supports his purpose: to make the principles of effective salesmanship known to a wider audience. Written as a parable set in the time just prior to Christianity, the book weaves mythology with good, sound business sense resulting in a memorable and charming lesson in the craft of sales.
 
Image of Heroes: From Alexander the Great to Mae WestA fun and insightful escape into the heroic leadership qualities of a wide range of persons, including Joan of Arc, Sir Walter Ralegh, Emily Dickinson, Abraham Lincoln, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
 
Image of Hollywood Vs America: Popular Culture and the War on Traditional Values Medved exudes sheer brilliance as he documents, step-by-step, exactly how the Hollywood culture is out of step with mainstream America, and why.
 
Image of How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or LessThis book teaches one exactly what the title says. Enough said.
 
Image of I Can See You Naked58 bite-sized mini-lessons on mastering the poduim.
 
Image of John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do (Harvard Business Review Book)Contains seven essays, all of them reprints from HBR.
 
Image of Labyrinths of Reason: Paradox, Puzzles, and the Frailty of KnowledgeFascinating tour of mental puzzles and the world of paradox.
 
Image of The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Visions of GloryManchester takes us through Winston Churchill's life up to 1932 when he enters a "political wilderness."
 
Image of The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Alone, 1932-1940Manchester continues his chronicle of Churchill, picking up where he left off and taking us up to the point when Churchill becomes Prime Minister.
 
Image of Leader As Coach: Strategies for Coaching & Developing OthersA useful guidebook for those new to the coaching process, this book contains five basic strategies that enable would-be coaches to build a workable team and get the results they are striving for.
 
Image of Leader to Leader: Enduring Insights on Leadership from the Drucker Foundation's Award Winning JournalContains 37 essays by some of the leading minds of leadership thought, including Drucker, Du Pree, Collins, Covey, Handy, Wheatley, Kanter, Kotter, Tichy, and Senge.
 
Image of Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge The four strategies documented in this book as being in use by the ninety leaders interviewed, are fascinating, employable, and highly understandable. Chapter one alone is worth the price of this book.
 
Image of The Leader's Companion: Insights on Leadership Through the Ages Wren has taken the trouble to put together an indispensable reference book containing 64 important writings on leadership by such luminaries as diverse as Aristotle, Plato, Ghandi, Tolstoy, Lao-tzu, Carlyle, Burns, DePree, Bennis, Beckhard, Gardner, Schein, Chemers, and Greenleaf.
 
Image of Leadership (Harper Perennial Political Classics) To date, this book remains the definitive work on the subject.
 
Image of Leadership I watched Mayor Giuliani talk about this book on Oprah when it first came out (and No, I do not normally watch Oprah!) I was not all that impressed by his performance, so I didn't go out and pick up the book. But then I read it in 2008 and was disappointed I had waited so long. It really is a first-rate treatise on the subject of leadership by one of America's great leaders. Fascinating read!
 
Image of Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box [LEADERSHIP & SELF-DECEPTIO]This book clearly should have made my Top Ten list. Based on the work of Terry Warner, this book deeply affected me and the way I see my own unique contributions and limitations. It was a harrowing yet invigorating experience to read this particular book and I recommend it to everyone!
 
Image of Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World Approaches the subject of organizational leadership from the perspective of chaos theory and nonlinear dynamics.
 
Image of Leadership and the One Minute Manager: Increasing Effectiveness Through Situational Leadership (Hardcover)The actual content of this book probably spans no more than 80 pages, and is based largely on the Blanchard-Hersey model of Situational leadership.
 
Image of Leadership and the Quest for Integrity An important academic book demonstrating the advantages of a values-driven approach to leadership.
 
Image of The Leadership Challenge, 4th EditionAlthough I had a tough time finishing this particular book, as I review my copy, I find I highlighted a number of very important ideas. You will, too, if you read it.
 
Image of Leadership Is an ArtThis wonderfully-written book is among my very favorites on the subject of leadership (and I'm surprised it didn't make my Top Ten List.) Highly readable, highly humane, this book is one I turn to often for guidance.
 
Image of The Leadership Moment: Nine True Stories of Triumph and Disaster and Their Lessons for Us All Useem, a Wharton School professor, details nine stories that chronicle the leadership of various men and women in the midst of various crises, some of them life-threatening.
 
Image of Leadership Secrets of Attila the HunYou'll put this one away in less than two hours. It reads fast. Written from the imagined perspective of Attila, who led a band of marauding wild men long ago. Roberts' ideas are very useful.
 
Image of Leadership Jazz - Revised Edition: The Essential Elements of a Great LeaderA kind of a sequel to Leadership Is An Art, DePree uses the metaphors of touch and voice (taken from jazz music nomenclature) to write a very perceptive treatise on leadership.
 
Image of Leading Change Wise counsel on why organizational change efforts often fizzle out, and how to avoid such failures.
 
Image of Leonardo da Vinci Fascinating account of one of the most curious men in history. Leonardo was the quintessential Renaissance Man and a relentless thought-leader.
 
Image of Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller RelationshipHelping client's succeed is fundamental to the success of any business. Let's Get Real teaches the reader to become totally client-focused, break down the barriers of dysfunctional business development, and find rewarding, productive business relationships. With honesty, clarity, and authenticity, Mahan Khalsa cuts to the chase, through the nonsense, and zeros in on helping clients succeed.
 
Image of Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough TimesLincoln was clearly one of the very best U.S. Presidents. Phillips illustrates what made him tick from the perspective of leadership.
 
Image of LombardiAfter reading this book, it became apparent to me why this book is the NFL's officially licensed publication on Lombardi. Lombardi was larger than life, and it would have been a singular honor to have been under the man's tutelage.
 
Image of Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership71 short chapters that represent the wry wisdom of a seasoned Fortune 500 executive. Reads like a Harvey Mackay book. That means it's good stuff.
 
Image of Major Account Sales Strategy Salespeople, marketers, managers--everyone who is involved in selling today-- agrees that major accounts are critical to survival. Major Account Sales Strategy is one of the first books to offer proven and effective strategies for major account sales.
 
Image of Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices This is the definitive work on management and Drucker's magnum opus, leaving Drucker with the well-deserved title of the Father of Management Theory.
 
Image of managing for resultsThis book remains the best explanation of business strategy I've ever seen and should be given to every B-School student upon graduation.
 
Image of Managing in a Time of Great Change (Drucker Library)Contains 25 essays (plus two interviews with Drucker) on issues involving management, economics, society, and the information-based organization.
 
Image of Managing People is Like Herding Cats: Warren Bennis on LeadershipVery similar to his book, Why Leaders Can't Lead. Essays previously published in Executive Excellence.
 
Image of Negotiating Rationally Without question, the best single volume I've ever read on the critical skill of negotation.
 
Image of The New Strategic Selling: The Unique Sales System Proven Successful by the World's Best CompaniesBy eliminating "fickle luck" from the sales process and replacing it with proven, visible, repeatable skills, this book offers a sure-fire method for increasing the likelihood of making the sale. Taking a "micro-strategic" approach, the book shares six key elements of sound strategy and preps its readers for effective use of the Blue Sheet tool.
 
Image of On Becoming a LeaderDrucker's endorsement says it all: "This is Warren Bennis's most important book."
 
Image of On Leadership After I finished my graduate work at Claremont, one of my leadership professors, Richard Ellsworth, encouraged me to continue my studies by reading this book. He (Ellsworth) insisted I not put it off. I took his advice. And I remain forever in his debt. This book is one of the most insightful treatises on the subject written by one of the most informed scholars around.
 
Image of The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman (Helix Books) Fascinating assemblage of some of Feynman's best stuff. Feynman, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, talks to the non-scientist (mostly) in these 13 chapters. Really enjoyable and engaging.
 
Image of Power Ambition Glory: The Stunning Parallels between Great Leaders of the Ancient World and Today . . . and the Lessons You Can Learn Sensibly written, this volume does a compelling job of articulating some important lessons we can learn from looking at the parallels between our modern leaders and those of the ancient world. I particularly enjoyed the presentation on Alexander the Great.
 
Image of Post-Capitalist SocietyAs brilliant as he is in things management, I feel that Drucker is an even more astute observer of things societal.
 
Image of The Prince (Bantam Classics)Get any edition of this classic work and read it if you have an interest in the field of leadership. I read the Bantam Classic edition which is valuable because it also contains selections from Machiavelli's Discourses, which are not as well known as is The Prince, and which gives another angle on Machiavelli's often misunderstood views on leadership.
 
Image of Principle-Centered LeadershipA valuable treasure-trove of Covey-think, originally published as individual essays in Executive Excellence.
 
Image of The Reagan Diaries Reagan wasn't the easiest president to know, but his accomplishments are remarkable. Even Warren Bennis (not a big Reagan fan) endorsed this book. A very readable introduction into the leadership acumen of our 40th president.
 
Image of Selling Machine: How to Focus Every Member of Your Company on the Vital Business of Selling Advances a perfectly logical but all-too-rarely followed business concept: because sales revenue is the driving force behind practically every company, all employees should share responsibility for maximizing it. Top companies actively encourage everyone--from top to bottom--to help the sales force do its job. The related principles that these firms adhere to are outlined and explained here, and then applied to the types of problems that salespeople face daily.
 
Image of Selling The Wheel: Choosing The Best Way To Sell For You Your Company Your CustomersThe book crafts a witty story around solid sales fundamentals gleaned from a quarter-century of research and analysis. Its hero is a fledgling old-time entrepreneur named Max who invents the wheel but can't get anybody to buy one. With marketing assistance from his wife ("In the olden days," Cox explains, "women almost always did the marketing"), and guidance from a cave-dwelling wise man, Max ultimately succeeds with help from four distinctly different types of salespeople, dubbed Closer, Wizard, Builder, and Captain. While this may sound silly when taken out of context, the story is entertaining and, more important, filled with sound tips that could help sales professionals and their managers deal with varying evolutionary phases of any product or service.
 
Image of Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way Extremely well-written and insightful, if you've ever wondered why the U.S. Marines are the best in the business, read this book and you'll understand.
 
Image of Six Thinking Hats A superb method on organizing your thinking according to a "six hats" model. This should be taught to every new team bent on problem solving and innovation.
 
Image of Socratic Selling: How to Ask the Questions That Get the SaleSocratic Selling shows sales people how to build a relationship with the customer and close the sale more surely. The Socratic Approach respects the power of the customer. The guide shows the reader how to access that power, to cooperate with it, and to induce it to flow toward the salesperson.
 
Image of SPIN SellingRackham brings unconventional wisdom to the table with this well-written book. The focus is on the much-neglected Probing or Questioning phase of the sales process. Rackham has designed an easily-remembered model using the acronym SPIN: Situation Questions, Problem Questions, Implication Questions, and Need-Payoff Questions.
 
Image of The SPIN Selling Fieldbook: Practical Tools, Methods, Exercises, and ResourcesA companion volume to the SPIN Selling book that further demonstrates how to put S.P.I.N.'s winning strategies into practice. Rich with examples and anecdotes from sales forces at such cutting-edge companies as Motorola, AT&T, and Johnson & Johnson, this long awaited guide first summarizes and updates the basics of his S.P.I.N. tools and techniques that have been proven. Rackham answers commonly-asked questions about his SPIN model.
 
Image of Successful Large Account Management: How to Hold on to Your Most Important Customers and Turn Them into Long-term Assets Most companies depend on a handful of crucial clients for at least half of their revenues. To improve these critical business relation- ships, this dynamic book explains Large Account Management Process (LAMP) techniques that will make sure readers keep their most important accounts.
 
Image of Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive: Outsell, Outmanage, Outmotivate, and Outnegotiate Your Competition (Collins Business Essentials)Valuable, bite-sized advice on salesmanship, negotiation, management, and more.
 
Image of Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology Deeply perceptive thought on the idea of technology as a two-edged sword (meaning that while we gain from technology, we also lose something.) Postman is one of the few voices out there elucidating what it is we lose with technology.
 
Image of The Art Of WarThe ideas found in this text may date back to the forth century B.C., yet they are as timeless as almost anything proffered from the ancient world.
 
Image of The Cobra EventI picked up this item in an airport while on my way to New York to deliver a seminar in upper Manhattan. I rarely ever read novels, but I read this one in two days during my off-hours of that Manhattan seminar. Preston is a brilliant writer and this one is best classified as "historical fiction" for he did an enormous amount of credible research in putting it together. If you're up for a page-turner, you won't be disappointed with this book. But it is gruesome -- in fact, disturbing -- in places.
 
Image of The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals Not so much a skewering of our 42nd U. S. President as much as it is a taking to the woodshed the American people for tolerating the intolerable. I admire Bennett for his shrewd and hard-hitting thought-process and would not want to get on his bad side.
 
Image of The End of Economic Man: The Origins of TotalitarianismThis is Drucker's first of over 30 books, and even at the young age of 30, Drucker here shows his knack for understanding fairly complex issues.
 
Image of The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School The usual brilliance from one of America's most influential social critics. Postman demonstrates a remarkable grasp of the key components constituting a sound educational philosophy. He offers five prescriptions that he believes will enhance the educational process. I believe he is correct.
 
Image of The Frontiers of Management: Where Tomorrow's Decisions Are Being Shaped Today (Drucker Library)35 essays dealing with people, management, economics, and organizational issues.
 
Image of The Seekers: The Story of Man's Continuing Quest to Understand His World Knowledge Trilogy (3) Boorstin is absolutely encyclopedic! A tour of the great minds of our past, and the method's they used to understand the great questions.
 
Image of They Call Me CoachA delightful glimpse into the mind and method of UCLA's legendary basketball coach.
 
Image of 21st Century Leadership: Dialogues With 100 Top LeadersA motivational crock-pot of ideas by a large body of influential movers and shakers.
 
Image of Visionary Selling: How to Get to Top Executives and How to Sell Them When You're ThereIn an era of corporate downsizing and stringent budgets, finding the rights sales approach is more crucial than ever. This book presents an innovative approach to sales success which challenges salespeople to sell beyond the product to achieve a long-term alliance with their customers.
 
Image of What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School: Notes From A Street-Smart Executive Sage counsel from a street-smart executive on reading people, sales, negotiation, and running a business.
 
Image of What They Still Don't Teach You At Harvard Business SchoolMore sage counsel from a street-smart executive on some of the same themes from his earlier book, plus a few more.
 
Image of Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your LifeA clever and memorable metaphor for dealing with change.
 
Image of Why Faith MattersIn response to some recent salvos by militant atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, Rabbi David Wolpe intelligently spells out the contours of religious faith and dispels the myths perpetrated by those who have called for an end to religion. Masterful.
 
Image of Why Leaders Can't Lead: The Unconscious Conspiracy Continues This book is actually a collection of previously published essays from Executive Excellence. All of the essays are brilliant.
 

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