To me, 2019 was the year of organizational thinking, better understanding others and what can make a group effective from a business perspective. If you are interested in productivity, healthy group communication, coaching for development, estimation as a skill and how products can make a difference, then check out the books below.
📚 Eat that frog, Brian Tracy— In today's world, we are all overwhelmed with too much to do in too little time and while we struggle to catch up, new tasks and responsibilities just keep rolling in. This book is about:
- The ability to focus on your most important task, to do it well and finish it completely.
- Developing the habit of setting clear priorities.
- Taking action immediately — the quality of “action orientation” stands out when it comes to completing specific, measurable results.
- Interesting practical exercises.
“Eat that frog” highlights the keys to discipline, success, respect, and happiness in life. This key insight is the heart and soul of this book. Each of the twenty-one techniques in the book is focused on
Increasing your overall levels of productivity, personal effectiveness, and output.
📚 The culture code, Daniel Coyle — Ever wondered what skills should an organization have in order to perform better and how leaders achieve excellence in this fast-changing world? All of this starts with establishing a team culture, a culture set of living relationships working toward a shared goal, which is not something that you are, rather something you do.
The culture code highlights these skills, how to build a healthy working environment, reveal what belonging cues are, create spaces that maximize people’s collision, and
Provide the means of creating engagement around a clear, simple set of priorities, orienting behavior and providing a path towards a goal.
I very much like the real world examples that the author gives, showing why creative cultures, for example, Pixar, require a different cultural design than a service company such as Zappos. Also analyzing other successful groups like a special-ops military unit, an inner-city school, a professional basketball team and a gang of jewel thieves.
📚 The coaching habit, Michael Bungay Stanier— A book that covers showing empathy, active listening and asking the right questions for better coaching of people.
The essence of coaching lies in helping others in unlocking their potential.
It focuses on concepts like:
- Coaching for development, or turning the focus from the issue to the person dealing with the issue, on calling the other person forward to learn, improve and grow, rather than just getting something sorted out.
- The three vicious circles that plague our workspace: Creating Overdependence, Getting Overwhelmed and Becoming disconnected(from the work that has meaning and impact).
- How to create a habit? Identify trigger, old habit and define the new behavior. Micro tasks.
- Tell less and ask more. Focus on the real problem, not the first problem. Listen and get comfortable with silence.
- Stop the overwhelm and ask “What will you say no to, to make this rock-solid and real”.
But a Yes is nothing without the No that gives its boundaries and form.
📚 Guesstimation, John A. Adam and Lawrence Weinstein — This interesting book provides the tools of understanding of numbers and the ability to make rough, common-sense estimates.
It will give you straightforward skills for a better understanding of the world and ease realizing numerical, political and scientific nonsense.
In my opinion, the book brings value in the business world as well, guesstimation is a quantitative approximation, sometimes not backed by any previous data, and in dynamic environments such as web development or marketing, the scope is a moving target, therefore guesstimating the scope implies flexibility.
📚 Build products that customers love — This year (2020) I plan to read more books about product development and how to create valuable, usable products that customers love. The books on the subject that I read in 2019 were Steve Jobs Biography and Creative selection by Ken Kosienda, a software developer that worked on developing iPhone’s QWERTY keyboard, Safari browser and other apple products.
Both books clearly communicate Apple’s vision and drive for product innovation, both of which I believe are extremely important when it comes to making a difference in a business.
If I may summarize Steve Jobs biography in one sentence — the book covers how this culture was established, all the difficulties and people involved in the process, and of course Steve Jobs as the main driver for Apple transformation mainly during the period of 1997 — 2011 when products like iMac, iPod, iPhone, MacBook Air, and the iPad came along.
Creative selection is written from a software developer perspective, what's like to be a part of Apple, all the compelling ideas that they had, how some of the software products were developed and just finding what's like being part of company like Apple, surrounded by people determined to accept nothing less than excellence in everything they’re creating.
Thank you for the time you spent reading this article! I am looking forward to the one book you would recommend to start 2020 with.