It was Francis Bacon who said, “Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
In the rapidly changing world of marketing, finding the right books to devour and digest can be a challenge of its own; CMOs have limited time on their hands and ever-increasing demands. So what better way to update your bookshelf than by picking the brains of your peers to see how they’re staying sharp? Here are some member favorites that have been mentioned at Roundtables and other CMO Club events:
1. StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
If you’re not familiar with the original Strengths Finder, don’t worry – the new version is just an expansion, with all original content included. In 1998 Gallup scientists teamed up with Donald Clifton, the “father of strength psychology,” to work on an antidote to what they believed was the world’s obsession with shortcomings – an obsession people had with weaknesses that left them neglecting their strengths. Combining 40 years of research on human strengths, they came up with an assessment test that allows you to find and exploit your strengths within the 34 most common talents. It now includes new research, an upgraded assessment program, personalized action plans and 50 ideas that you can implement right now. Our CMOs raved about it.
Read it if…you want help finding your team’s talents and strengths in a faster and more effective way, knowing there’s hard science behind it. Get the best of your team by leveraging their strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses.
2. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell
Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept? Why do some people follow their instincts and win, while others end up stumbling when they do the same? Blink is a book that addresses the way we think and deliberate, revealing that great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time thinking about them, but those who have perfected the art of filtering the very few factors that matter from an overwhelming number of variables.
Read it if… You want to make smarter decisions in less time and teach your team how to choose when they’re overburdened with multiple variables. The better decisions they make the more effective they will be.
3. How to Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie & Associates
The only diploma that hangs in Warren Buffett’s office is his certificate from Dale Carnegie Training. “Dealing with people is probably the biggest problem you face,” said Carnegie. As marketers, people are at the center of everything you do. They are the raison d’être of every campaign and every effort. At best, people are complex in one-on-one scenarios. Today media has increased that complexity tenfold because the way we communicate and reach them has multiplied exponentially. This adaptation of Dale Carnegie’s timeless prescriptions for the digital age is a surefire way to capitalize networking, craft effective messages that will resonate with your audience and become an even more effective leader using today’s digital tools.
Read it if…you want to improve your leadership skills, communicate better, faster and more efficiently and craft campaigns that succeed using today’s technology with Dale Carnegie’s time-tested notions.
4. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
This is an enthralling fable that covers the five dysfunctions that cause even the best teams to struggle and stumble – outlining actionable steps that can be used to overcome them. Following Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech’s CEO, while she overcomes these very issues, the Five Dysfunctions of a Team combines the best of cliffhanger literature with business insight and intelligence, making it a swift and fruitful read with knowledge you can begin leveraging even as you are still turning the pages.
Read it If…you want to improve your current team, figure out the potential hurdles you may face together and address them before they show up and threaten your team dynamic.
5. Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t: Why That Is And What You Can Do About It by Steven Pressfield
Don’t be fooled by the tongue-in-cheek title, Pressfield presents an insightful book with a clear path to better writing, focusing on what makes copy exciting, interesting and above all – wanted. All this is based on his own journey toward becoming a successful writer. He shows the reader important story elements, structure and how to craft a message based on the purpose, the audience and your goal. It’s a refreshing crash course on successful copywriting in a comfortable conversational style that goes down easy.
Read it if…you want to brush up on your copywriting and message-crafting skills. It can also set the stage for helping your copywriting team stay sharp – moving you away from far too common artifice – and communicate more effectively with your audiences.
“Winners are just the best quitters.” This is a book about knowing when and how to choose your battles based not on how you feel but on whether you can win. In this light – yet powerful – read, Godin challenges readers to imagine staying in a situation only as long as you know you can come out ahead. Every new project is an exciting opportunity, yet over time, it becomes hard to deal with and the joy is sucked out of it – “The Dip” is that area where you know that if you push hard the rewards will be proportional to the effort you put in. However, it is a temporary setback and not a total dead end. Achieve the ability to tell the two apart and come out of every project winning.
Read it if…you want to arm yourself with the knowledge needed to tell whether your current projects are worth your time or if it’s time to move on to better, different and more challenging opportunities with more rewards to offer.
7. Look at More: A Proven Approach to Innovation, Growth, and Change by Andy Stefanovich
Stefanovich is on a mission to change the way businesses do business, putting humanity back in innovation – and with over 20 years of experience helping businesses stay ahead, he has the goods to back it up. Leaders have to champion innovation; the risk of becoming irrelevant is too grand to do otherwise. The best way to do that is to put people at the center of innovation so that processes become more about inspiration than goal-getting. Inspired customers are loyal ones and this book explores how to create them.
Read it if…you want to change the way innovation is looked at within your company. Change is often hard to pitch because of the risks. Mitigate fears using Stefanovich’s method to put people first and set yourself – and your brand – up for success.
8. Workplace Wellness: Performance with a Purpose: Achieving Health Dividends for Employers and Employees by Dr. Rose Karlo Gantner Ed.D.
Dr. Gantner provides a road map for productivity and maximizing performance via within a mindful wellness approach that can be easily achieved within every corporation to avoid burnout and high turnover. Dr. Gantner identifies clearly the critical connection between healthy employees and optimal operational performance, giving you the tools to keep people engaged and at the top of their game. This is the go to read recommended by CMOs if you are focusing on purpose and overall wellness.
Read it if…you want to leverage your leadership position to provide a safe, supportive environment where employees feel appreciated, empowered and passionate about their positions.