If you don’t know what Christmas gift to get for that hard-to-buy-for businessperson, here’s your answer. It was a great year for business books. There were five or more additional books that I’d recommend to others. Communicating via story was a theme this year (or perhaps that’s what I was looking for!), as you’ll see.
1. “Working With Stories,” Cynthia Kurtz (free e-book). I read this book three times, cover to cover. A clearly-written, highly practical book that illuminates a new tool for companies to attack intractable problems–gathering, looking at, thinking about, and acting on the stories that customers, stakeholders and employees hold in their minds. (Photo shows my rather beat-up copy!)
2. “A Sense of Urgency,” John Kotter. A timely book, full of stories, about the imperative for companies to develop a mindset to “move, and win, now” in order to effect lasting change.
3. “The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking,” Roger Martin. Describing great innovators’ ability to simultaneously hold and reconcile two conflicting ideas. Notable, among other things, for highlighting success stories outside the US–in Canada, to be precise.
4. “The Knack: How Street-Smart Entrepreneurs Learn to Handle Whatever Comes Up,” Norm Brodsky & Bo Burlingham. A great book discussing how successful entrepreneurs share many common attributes–the including the ability to listen to advice and yet, when necessary, to ignore it. Full (full!) of stories.
5. “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies,” Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. A prescient guide for companies to understand and utilize social media to reach customers and gain insight into markets.