I’m a strong believer that life is a journey of continuous evolution and growth. In order to avoid stagnation and the boredom that comes with it, I’m always looking for new experiences, new adventures and new lessons to learn. Travel is great but time consuming and expensive. Training seminars are another great way to pick up new skills but they’re not always convenient, especially with a hectic schedule to maintain. Therefore, I find reading (or listening to books) to be one of the best ways to pick up some new ideas, or hone your existing skills. Books are an inexpensive and convenient way to help you improve, grow and cope with the challenges that both life and business throw at you. Here are the five books that I recommend to our team here at Pro Tapes® and the lessons they provide.
1. “The Captain Class” by Sam Walker
Sam Walker does a great job of first identifying and ranking the top 16 greatest teams in all sports (sports in which teams consist of five or more members). He then starts identifying what distinguished the top 16 of the greatest teams from all the other celebrated teams in history. After his 11 year study, Sam determined that it was the team captain that each of the exceptional teams was led by that separated them from the pack and made them elite. He then went onto identify the seven traits that each of these team captains processed that made them extraordinary team leaders. I would recommend this book to anyone who’s a sports fan, or someone looking for some insight into being an exceptional leader and exceptional team player.
2. “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
Jocko Willink & Leif Babin are two former US Navy Seals who do a great job of blending insightful anecdotes from the battlefields of Iraq and tying them together with practical business leadership applications. “Extreme Ownership” is a unique and entertaining book on leadership principles and the necessity of applying these principles in a balanced and measured manner. “Extreme ownership” is great read for anyone who is either part of a team or leading a team… “There are no bad teams, only bad leaders” and this book does a fantastic job of explaining the importance of sound, balanced leadership.
3. “The Real-Life MBA” by Jack & Suzy Welch
Jack & Suzy Welch have put together an outstanding guide for building a winning business organization. Jack Welch is the former CEO of General Electric and widely known as one of America’s greatest business leaders, his wife, Suzy Welch, is a bestselling author. Together they have put forth a great manual for any business leader who’s looking to take his or her company to the next level. Whether you’re at the top of the org-chart or a mid-level leader, “The Real life MBA” is a great read that ties all aspects of organizing and operating a winning company together in one comprehensive, yet concise book.
4. “AIQ, How People & Machines Are Smarter Together” by Nick Polson & James Scott
Nick Polson & James Scott, two of America’s leading data scientists, explore the topic of artificial intelligence. Nick and James do a great job of taking you through the development of AI, its evolution, and it’s practical use in today’s business environment. Understanding that there is some level of controversy and fear in that artificial intelligence will replace human activities in the workplace, “AIQ” does a great job of underscoring the overall positive impact that AI has, and will continue to have, on business and on our everyday lives. It’s not man versus machine, but rather man and machine working together in order to make a better world.
5. “The Obstacle Is The Way” by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday does a great job of using actual historical stories to demonstrate how the ancient philosophy of Stoicism was used to help a number of famous leaders, entrepreneurs, and historical figures overcome difficulties & hardships on their way to success. This book takes what could sound like a dry topic, the philosophy of stoicism, and instead makes for a quick and entertaining read that has many practical business applications. The lessons covered in “The Obstacle Is The Way” will not only help you in the professional life, but will have an equally positive impact on your personal life.