From time to time I like to look back and see what I have learnt over the year. I have just finished a role which has tested my human relation skills more than my technical skills. As always I look to other peoples previous experience to learn from, books being one of the best sources of information. I’ll quickly go through my reading list this year which others might find useful.
Crucial Conversations – This has probably been the most valuable book to me. It taught me techniques to handle those tough conversations which can be pivotal in dictating future events. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this but at least I am much better at it than I used to be.
Start with Why – This was a great read and made me re-evaluate how I should frame the work that I ask people to do. Inspiring people to do their best work is hard. Giving purpose to the work people do is truly inspiring and when people have done that for me I have felt my happiest. By using the techniques in this book I hope to be able to do the same for others in the future.
Lead with a Story – This was an interesting book and re-enforce the concepts in ‘Start with Why’. Story telling is a very powerful tool but not something that I have previously used to good effect.
Good Strategy / Bad Strategy – This has brought clarity to my bigger picture thinking. Knowing how to create the ‘kernel’ of a strategy (Diagnose the problem, set a guiding principle, define proximate goals) has been really useful in organising the things I work on.
The ONE Thing – This book showed the power of focus, to pick and achieve one thing at a time to do some truly amazing things. I would read this in conjunction with ‘Good Strategy / Bad Strategy’ as it aligns closely with picking ‘proximate goals’ to achieve.
Influencer – This book is filled with techniques to identify ‘vital behaviours’ and ways they can be changed to get positive results. This ties together a number of the other books, such as ‘Start with Why’ where inspiring people with things of intrinsic value is more powerful than essentially rewarding people with traditional ‘bonus’ schemes.
YES! – This is a very interesting book on the 50 things that make a big difference when you try to get someone to say yes. It is a good read and has some real nuggets of information in it. Such as the dangers of using negative social proof in a marketing campaign to how to use a ‘compromise’ product to drive sales.
The Tipping Point – This book looks at examples of how products ‘tipped’ to provide massive growth. It looks closely at the law of diffusion when trying to get your message out to the market.
The 4-Hour Work Week – This grabbed my attention as I has good techniques in how to create some ‘passive income’ streams which require little attention from day to day. It has some great ideas on how to live a fulfilling life with all the extra time that you would then have.
How to Win Friend & Influence People – This is the classic human relations book. This thing is it all seems so obvious. Basically respect people you deal with, find common things you appreciate, listen to what people have to say. It was very useful to have all these things re-enforced when reading this book.
Steve Jobs – This biography of Steve Jobs was great. As a techie I was wonderful to find out more of the history of my industry. Steve had an amazing life and it was interesting to see how he inspired people, which essentially was straight out of ‘Start with Why’. However he could have probably done with reading ‘Crucial Conversations’.