Book Recommendations, Part Two: Strategy & Execution

Strategy is probably the most confusing word in the business vocabulary, primarily because if you ask ten people what it means you will get ten different answers. I think of it as establishing a direction for an organization to move in. Also, we can’t determine if we are being effective in our execution unless we understand the direction we want to be heading in. Having said that, here are eleven excellent books on strategy and execution.

Understanding Michael Porter by Joan Magretta

Elevate and Deep Dive by Rich Horwath

Management by Peter Drucker

Good to Great and Beyond Entrepreneurship by Jim Collins

Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

The Discipline of Market Leaders by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema

Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove

Profit from the Core by Chris Zook

Top Management Strategy by Ben Tregoe and John Zimmerman




Book Recommendations: Part One, Leadership & Teamwork

(Note from Dan: Over the next three entries I will recommend a variety of books. I’m going to focus on three concentrated areas: leadership and teamwork, strategy and execution, and innovation and branding.)

Leadership and Teamwork

I admit this is the section I have invested most of my reading in over the course of my lifetime. As a kid I read hundreds of biographies of famous people before I started high school. They inspired me in so many ways. Mainly, I wanted to know how these people made their impact on the world. After college I’ve read another 500 books or so, mostly on leadership, teamwork, and human dynamics. So here are some of what I consider to be the best of the best:

The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. edited by Clayborne Carson

On Leadership by John Gardner

My Experiments with Truth by Mohandas Gandhi

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Walt Disney by Neal Gabler

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Leadership & Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute

Leading With The Heart by Mike Krzyzewski

Gifted Hands by Ben Carson

Churchill: The Power of Words by Martin Gilbert

Organizing Genius by Warren Bennis

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson

Russell’s Rules by Bill Russell

Self-Worth, Part Ten: The Benefits of a High Sense of Self-Worth

With a strong sense of your self-worth, you will be in a position to see what you can bring to different situations and different relationships. This can affect your life in multiple positive ways from your family life to work relationships and from your vocation to your avocations.

You will see value in your ideas, and therefore you will contribute them. You will see value in other people’s ideas, and therefore you will consider them. You will see that you can help to improve some part of the world, and therefore you will make the effort to make a difference. You will see the good you have to offer to your family members and friends, and therefore you will put yourself out there. You will see the value in your family members and your friends, and you will invest time and energy with them.

You will be able to confront changes as adventures because you will believe that you have the necessary substance, the gravitas, to effectively deal with the changes. When you are promoted into a higher level of responsibility, you will feel you are ready to handle the new role. The greatest challenge in getting promoted is not in developing the necessary skills, but rather in making the mental shift of seeing yourself at one level and now having to see yourself as being capable at the next level. The adjustment happens more successfully if you already have in place a high degree of self-worth, of the value you see within yourself.

Your life and the lives of the people you impact will be significantly enhanced by the efforts you make to strengthen your sense of self-worth.

Self-Worth, Part Nine: The Purpose of Having a Purpose

One way that you can increase your sense of self-worth is to attach yourself to a cause that you believe is worthwhile. As you pour yourself into the cause, you begin to realize more and more that your life, who you are right now, matters a great deal because you can see the impact you are making on the world. This is not a placebo effect. You can see the aftereffect of the value you are creating for other people by applying what is within you. If you constantly try to be someone you are not in order to achieve something that matters a great deal to someone else, you are essentially living a false life. Find a purpose that you really believe is worthwhile and pour yourself into it.

Self-Worth, Part Eight: Assert Yourself

Beyond acting with integrity and taking responsibility for your roles in life, asserting yourself means stepping up for what you believe in. It means taking the time to decide what you believe in and then committing yourself to supporting those beliefs. Nathaniel Branden wrote, “To evolve into selfhood is the primary human task.” By asserting yourself, you are activating the values you have consciously selected to base your life and your work on. Just like an artist asserts himself or herself in creating a painting, you assert yourself by creating on the canvass of life whatever it is that you believe.