My top 5 books of 2019



It is that time of year again and as we approach the end of the year here are my top 5 book recommendations.

  1. WHO SAYS ELEPHANTS CAN'T DANCE? - Lou Gerstner. It is the story of how the author turned around IBM's legacy businesses and changed its culture. A potent tonic for those who struggle to prioritise and make decisions.

  2. ESSENTIALISM - Greg McKeown. An essential read for everyone too busy. Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it's about how to get the right things done.

  3. WHEN - Daniel Pink. This book includes ideas such as we should schedule meetings at different times throughout a workday depending on their purpose (creative vs administrative vs analytical) and not primarily people's availability! It also introduced me to the concept of a premortem which is a powerful took for helping people think better and hence make better strategic decisions.

  4. BAD BLOOD - John Carreyrou. A compelling read, demonstrating that there is still plenty of room for poor leadership, poor judgement and that successful people often surround themselves with people who won't challenge them (or more accurately they fire them). It was the FT/McKinsey Business Book of 2018 and well worth a read.

  5. THINKING, FAST AND SLOW - Daniel Kahneman. By no means an easy read. Over 400 pages of dense text but it contains so many insights relating to our biases and how they influence the way we think. System 1 thinking serves us well, but it is by no means infallible, hence the need to engage our system 2 thinking by slowing down.


Classics such as GOOD TO GREAT (Jim Collins) and 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE (Stephen Covey) continue to be, well classics! Full of insights and worth reading and revisiting even though they are now 20 and 30 years old respectively.


My most recommended book was a surprise. I hadn't heard of it until June of this year. THE NEW JOB SECURITY (PAM LASSITER) is excellent for those between gigs and looking for the next big thing. Practical insights to help you with your search.


Podcasts continue to be another favourite medium for learning. The newest podcast series that I am a regular listener of is AT THE TABLE (Patrick Lencioni). The focus is on teamwork in business. Patrick and The Table Group created "The 5 Dysfunctions of Teams" which is a robust framework for assessing and coaching teams that I use within my work. Their podcast shares insights around the model and the work that they do with their clients.


I continue to believe that by developing a mindset of continuous learning, we can bring about sustainable change in ourselves, our teams and our broader organisations.


Please share your thoughts and comments on these books and podcasts and let me know of your top book recommendations as my pile of books to read in 2020 is multiplying.


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