Useful Resources

Here are some of the resources we’ve found helpful for Managers & Leaders, for Consultants & Entrepreneurs, and for Data Professionals & Technologists.

Managers & Leaders

Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Follower into Leaders
One of the best best books on leadership I’ve read. Marquet shares how he was put in charge of the worse sub in the Pacific fleet with the mandate to improve it. In just a couple of short years, the Santa Fe became one of the best. Great story with leadership principles you can use.

The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
Many IT professionals who read this book feel like author must have spied on them. They identify with the fictional account of a mid-level IT manager who has a series of mishaps. The events seem to conspire against him as he tries to lead his team. A sage old consultant offers good but cryptic advice as the manager learns important parallels between IT and manufacturing. A book well worth the read.

The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive
Building and maintaining a successful business is hard. In this business book disguised as a fable, Lencioni contends that a successful leader must intentionally focus on four key endeavors including building a cohesive leadership team and providing organizational clarity.

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time
Originally created to help software development teams to overcome problems with the traditional waterfall method, Scrum has found applicability in just about every area where teams need to effectively work together to create something. From education to health care, from building airplanes to remodeling homes, Scrum creator Jeff Sutherland shares how, and more importantly why, can be effective.

The Legacy Builder: Five Non-Negotiable Leadership Secrets
A great book. In this modern parable, the author uses the fictional story of a troubled business leader who reluctantly turns to his old high school coach for advice. Coach helps him discover important principles for success at work and at home.

Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
This little known but true story is every bit as impressive as Apollo 13. Earnest Shackleton led a failed Antarctic expedition. Stranded on a sheet of floating ice and a series of small islands with little hope of rescue, many of his crew wrote in the diaries “one of the best days of my life” at various times. Learn he principles Shackleton used to safely lead his crew home without losing a single man.

One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer
Marines have reputation of being brainwashed jarheads. But this book explains the method to their madness. The author shares how his the leadership principles and his experiences in the Corp have helped him approach business after his time in the service. It’s a very interesting and engaging story.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
What motivates your team to work hard? What motivates others to do what they do? To often we assume it’s money or some other extrinsic benefit when it fact, it’s something else entirely. In this book, Pink describes how money and other external reward systems can actually be counterproductive. For real motivation, we must consider intrinsic rewards.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
How can one group of really smart individuals flounder when put together on a team while another group of can excel? In this book Patrick Lencioni shares some of his insights on the importance of intentionally creating a highly functional team.

The Power of Habit:Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhig examines why habits exist and how we can harness their power to create significant and lasting change. Whether it’s personal improvement like losing weight or quitting smoking, or a broader application like leading a successful Fortune 500 company or starting a social movement, understanding the hows and whys of habits can help.

Boundaries for Leaders
Clinical psychologist, Dr. Henry Cloud offers practical advice on how to manage teams, coach direct reports, and instill an organization with strong values and culture by setting up clear boundaries.

Smarter Faster Better
There are a lot of books written about productivity hacks – use your calendar, tackle the worst item first, etc. In Smarter Faster Better, Duhigg takes a very different approach. He shares some findings from the disciplines of neuroscience and psychology that provide some insight into how we perceive the world around us and ways we can leverage that to improve our own performance as well as the productivity of our teams.

Consultants & Entrepreneurs

 

EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches
Great book for those interested in building a business. From soup to nuts, this book guides you through the process of hiring and developing the people in your organization.

Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication
The importance of communication cannot be overstated. This short book by Andy Stanley provides an outline that can be used to make any presentation more engaging for the audience. Although explicitly written from the perspective of a pastor, it’s directly applicable to anyone who speaks.

Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty
Too often, consultant feel that they have all the answers. They believe that they are the outside hired experts that ride in to save the day for inept clients. Unfortunately for them, clients sense that and are turned off by it. This fictional work shows how one small consultancy approaches their clients with a sense of ignorance and intentionally asks probing questions that would sound silly to most “expert consultants.”

Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
The old adage, it’s not what you know but who you know may sound trite, but the importance of getting to know others in your industry and in complementary industries cannot be overstated. This how-to book provides some basic and advanced ways to improve your networking skills.

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
I postponed reading this book for many years because of the title. It sounded like it was written by a snake oil salesman. Now that I’ve read it, I wish I’d done so years ago. Although working 4 hours per week is very unlikely, the author advocates an approach to work that will help you. Two principles he contends we should remember: work expands to fill the time allotted (Parkinson’s law) and 80% of our results are due to 20% of our efforts. (Pareto principle). Using these two ideas, we can cut down on the amount of work we do, even if we work for someone else.

Taking Flight!: Master the DISC Styles to Transform Your Career, Your Relationships, and Your Life
I’ve used and recommended the DISC profiles for years. It helps you to better understand how others approach work and life. The four components are not difficult to understand, nor are they hard to identify in others. This basic book describes them in an easy to read fable. Once you can spot another’s dominant style, you can better delegate and provide better feedback.

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The Truth About Negotiations
Most of us have heard that we should do our best to make the other party make the first offer – that speaking first is a mistake. However, this book cuts through that “common knowledge” and explains how and why it’s good to be the first to make the first offer. Additionally the author shows how to prepare for the negotiation as well as how to expand beyond the single issue of price. This is a good introduction book.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change
Overcoming inertia and creating lasting change in an organization is hard. In this book, brothers Chip and Dan Heath share how to overcome obstacles and the internal conflicts that make change so difficult.

To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others
In today’s business, everyone is in sales to some extent. Whether it’s representing your company in a traditional sales role, attempting to persuade your boss to adopt a new idea, or trying to get your kids to clean their rooms, we all must find ways to motivate and convince others. In this book Daniel Pink shares some counterintuitive insights into how that can be done better.

The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism
Charisma. Some people to draw others to them like metal to a magnet while others seem to be inert. But charisma is not innate; it’s a skill that can be learned and honed. This book provides some basic steps that anyone can take to improve they way others perceive them.

The E-Myth Revisited
Many technicians (programmers, accountants, mechanics, etc) are enamored with the idea of going into business for themselves. “I can work for myself doing the things that I like best,” they dream. However, as Michael Gerber points out in this book, that approach seldom works for long. Instead you must think of your business as a product in itself and spend more time working on the business rather than in the business.

The Lean Startup
In his book The Lean Startup, Eric Ries describes the many parallels between starting a business and developing software. The traditional way of starting a business involves creating a thorough and well-documented business plan, spending an inordinate amount of time and capital creating a product or service, and finally building an elaborate infrastructure to deliver the product/service to the customer. By the time all of that is done, the business owner may learn that what he’s built is not needed by the customer. Sounds a lot like the waterfall approach, huh? Ries suggests adopting a “lean” approach to starting a business, or a new division within an existing business.

Data Professionals & Technologists

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
An engaging and true story of how one Major League Baseball organization used big data, instead of conventional wisdom, to build its team. The result: they were able to compete and often win against teams who spent far more on salaries.

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
To often the best and brightest individual contributors are promoted to be department managers. Unfortunately for them, the things that made them really good at being techies are often a hinderance when it comes to being a good leader. This book explains how your job changes when you’re put in charge of a team.

SQL Server MVP Deep Dives
53 SQL Server MVPs (Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals) share their experiences and knowledge in this technical book. All author royalties are donated support War Child International. War Child International is a network of independent organizations, working across the world to help children affected by war.

SQL Server MVP Deep Dives, Volume 2
In the second volume of the SQL Server MVP Deep Dives, 64 SQL Server MVPs share additional information and deeply technical knowledge of Microsoft’s database platform. All royalties are donated to support the children of Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity that performs free reconstructive surgery for children suffering from facial deformities such as cleft lips and cleft palates.