Best Books of 2010

Books, magazines, and blogs are great way to keep up, catch up, and get ahead knowledge-wise. It’s part of the continual learning we must all do to become and stay the leaders and managers in this information and knowledge driven world. Problem is, there is too much information out there. How can we separate the sheep from the goats, especially in the B.S. driven world of management and business writing?

Here are the books that I found useful and inspiring in the last year or so. I hope you find them as enlightening as I did.

If you have any books you’ve read in the last year that you’d like to recommend please let us know in the comments. Or check out my reading list on LinkedIn. If you let me know that you found me through this blog I’ll be glad to connect with you.

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

One of those mind-opening books that has the potential to shape the way you think. The last time I had a buzz from a book like this was when I’d finished “The Selfish Gene”. Your mileage may vary.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

An easy read, well written, useful for anyone who needs to think about improving processes (sales, marketing, operations, record-keeping, etc.) in a way that doesn’t bury your teams in ream of useless doctrine.

Awesomely Simple: Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action

John Spence has an amazing faculty & discipline, plus years of real business experience, which he uses to consume business books and distill them into six focused chapters. Good reading for business & other leaders anywhere.

Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People

OK, I haven’t actually read this 500+ page monster cover to cover, but I’ve used and taught the principles in it. Want the best people? Get the best hiring and coaching practises. Start here.

How To Win Friends and Influence People

An oldie but a goodie for a reason. Concrete examples and strategies on how to influence people. Get what you want by giving people what they want. More effective that using your positional authority to make people jump through hoops.

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance

OK, this isn’t really a business book, but it’s a great illustration of the law of unintended consequences, how motivator don’t always bring about the desired effect, and why when you pick your key performance indicators you need to be really, really careful. Plus, it will stretch your mind. Thanks for the book Tara.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

A fictional case study which is a good introduction to team dynamics and resolving conflicts.


First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

Research based principles of the most successful managers in the most successful companies. Most important: can your staff come to work and do their best every day? To find out what this means read the book.

Soldiers Mad Me Look Good: A Life in the Shadow of War

A soldier’s biography, with leadership nuggets buried throughout. This is the Canadian General who opened the Sarejavo airport during the Bosnian conflict. Well worth the read even if you’re not usually interested in things military.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High

As much as we might sometime wish that it didn’t happen (or hide from it), being an outstanding manager means sometimes having the courage to have difficult conversations. You provide the courage, this book will provide the tools.

Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose – The Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership

Great for supervisors, managers, and executives who want to develop their direct reports and staff. Want to be know as a boss who gets the best out of their people? Using what’s in this book is a good start.

The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill

Interesting research-based insight into evolutionary motivation and relationships. Read this if you want to understand what drives people to extremes.

Mastering the Rockefeller Habits: What You Must Do to Increase the Value of Your Growing Firm

A good primer on strategic planning and execution written in concrete terms.

Enjoy your reading,


p.s. My apologies if the links aren’t quite working yet. I’m still working out the details.

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