At the end of 2015, I asked a number of my favorite business development, capture and proposal management, and leadership gurus for their recommendations of “must-read” and all-time favorite business books.
Everyone generously provided a plethora of suggestions—many of which have taken up residence on my iPad or added to my UPS driver’s busy holiday deliveries!
Here are their suggestions with links to Amazon.com so you can learn more and hopefully find some new favorites. Please feel free to send your own suggestions to me to share with everyone in a future post (BWingate@LohfeldConsulting.com).
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey (recommended by Mike Parkinson).
- A really good dictionary and thesaurus (recommended by Ruth Turman).
- Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant by Kim, W. Chan and Renee Mauborgne. Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA (recommended by Betsy Blakney, Brent Hunt, David Sotolongo).
- Collapse of Distinction: Stand out and move up while your competition fails by Scott McKain (recommended by Betsy Blakney).
- Crossing the Chasm, 3rd Edition: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A. Moore (recommended by Sandy Pullinger).
- Designing Powerful Training: The Sequential-Iterative Model (SIM) by Michael Milano with Diane Ullius (recommended by Amy Barden).
- The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber (recommended by Mike Parkinson).
- First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. (So many books attempt to provide formulas for success. This book looks at the differences in people and speaks to building on those differences rather than trying to fit everyone into one single, homogenized approach to leadership. It recognizes the importance of outcomes rather than prescribed steps for getting there. I recommend it to all my employee managers as a tool for developing their people (recommended by Meg Dwyer). (Recommended by Tom Skrobacz).
- Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used by Peter Block (recommended by Amy Barden).
- Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (recommended by Kavita Khanna).
- From Insight to Action: Six New Ways to Think, Lead, and Achieve by Jean S. Frankel and Gabriel Eckert, CAE, ASAE: Association Management Press; 2012 (recommended by Betsy Blakney).
- Funky Business Forever: How to enjoy capitalism by Kjell Nordstrom & Jonas Ridderstrale (recommended by Sandy Pullinger).
- Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Risher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton (recommended by Ruth Turman).
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins (recommended by Lisa Pafe, David Sotolongo, Mike Parkinson).
- How to Become a Rainmaker: The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients by Jeffrey J. Fox (recommended by Chris Simmons).
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (recommended by Jim Edwards, Mike Parkinson).
- Jump Start Your Business Brain: The Scientific Way To Make More Money by Doug Hall (recommended by Chris Simmons).
- Kill the Company: End the Status Quo, Start an Innovation Revolution by Lisa Bodell (recommended by David Sotolongo).
- Kotler on Marketing: How to Create, Win, and Dominate Markets by Philip Kotler (recommended by Mark Amtower).
- Management by Peter F. Drucker (recommended by Tom Skrobacz).
- Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi with Tahl Raz (recommended by Betsy Blakney).
- Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. I read this book when it first came out and have gone back to it many times. I really like that it encourages individual strengths rather than suggesting that a good leader (or individual contributor) needs to mold herself into a ‘one size fits all’ approach to be successful. I have used this to help differentiate myself within my own work environment and to build extremely high performing teams (recommended by Meg Dwyer).
- Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein. I highly recommend this book. It’s written from a blended perspective of psychology and economics and talks about all the kinds of ways we are nudged into making certain choices. While they say it’s a book about “Improving decisions about health, wealth, and happiness” it has some pretty obvious business applications! (recommended by Julia Quigley).
- On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser (recommended by Amy Barden).
- Powerful Proposals: How to Give Your Business the Winning Edge by Terry R. Bacon and David G. Pugh (recommended by Chris Simmons).
- Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely (recommended by Mike Parkinson).
- Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds (recommended by Chris Simmons, Beth Wingate).
- Purple Cow, New Edition: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin (recommended by Mike Parkinson).
- Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field by Ford Harding (recommended by Colleen Jolly).
- Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte (recommended by Chris Simmons, Beth Wingate).
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki (recommended by Colleen Jolly).
- Secrets of Power Problem Solving (Inside Secrets from a Master Negotiator) by Roger Dawson, Career Press, 2011 (recommended by Betsy Blakney).
- Selling to the Government: What It Takes to Compete and Win in the World’s Largest Market by Mark Amtower (recommended by Mark Amtower).
- The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander (recommended by Tom Skrobacz).
- The Art of the Idea: And How It Can Change Your Life by John Hunt (recommended by Ruth Turman).
- The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done by Peter Drucker (recommended by Mark Amtower).
- The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker (recommended by Tom Skrobacz).
- The Great Work: Our Way into the Future by Thomas Berry (recommended by Tom Skrobacz).
- The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor (recommended by Colleen Jolly).
- The Naked Presenter: Delivering Powerful Presentations With or Without Slides by Garr Reynolds (recommended by Chris Simmons, Beth Wingate).
- The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott (recommended by Mark Amtower).
- The New Why Teams Don’t Work: What Goes Wrong and How to Make It Right by Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley (recommended by Lisa Pafe).
- The Small-Business Guide to Government Contracts: How to Comply with the Key Rules and Regulations . . . and Avoid Terminated Agreements, Fines, or Worse by Steven Koprince (recommended by Mark Amtower).
- The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell (recommended by Mark Amtower, Mike Parkinson, Sandy Pullinger).
- The Visible Expert by Lee W. Frederiksen, Elizabeth Harr, and Sylvia S. Montgomery (recommended by Mark Amtower).
- Think and Grow Rich: The Landmark Bestseller – Now Revised and Updated for the 21st Century by Napoleon Hill (recommended by Jim Edwards, Mike Parkinson).
- Think Out of the Box by Mike Vance and Diane Deacon (recommended by Lisa Pafe).
- Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spenser Johnson (recommended by Ruth Turman, Maryann Lesnick).
Enjoy these suggestions—and look for my next post From the Experts: Business (or non-business!) books you read this year that you thought were absolutely terrific and want to recommend to colleagues. Many of these suggestions made my personal 2016 reading list (and kept me reading late into the night during the holidays!).
Beth Wingate has more than 25 years’ proposal development, management, and corporate communications experience. She helps clients develop proposals, improve their proposal operations, and build their corporate communications programs. An excellent, experienced proposal manager, Beth specializes in managing responses to large government procurements as well as task order proposals.
Prior to joining our firm, she served as proposal center director for Lockheed Martin and before that for 12 years as proposal center director for Management Systems Designers, Inc. (MSD) (acquired by Lockheed Martin). Beth was inducted as an Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) Fellow in June 2010.
She is APMP’s 2014 Past CEO, 2013 CEO, 2012 COO, 2010–2011 Director of Education, and 2008 and 2009 President of the APMP, National Capital Area (NCA) Chapter. She served as the Chapter’s Executive Summary Newsletter Chairperson, publisher, and editor from 2005 to 2007. She has been an active APMP member since 1996.