I recently asked a few good friends and mentors to share a must-read book. These folks are my people, members of my home team. They are resourceful, intelligent, and well-informed. They think deeply about life and purpose and making things better. I do well to follow their advice in all areas of life, both personally and professionally.
Here’s the list:
Recommended by Diane Carnevale Jones, Carnevale Jones Group
Grant suggests that for generations we have focused on individual drivers of success – passion, hard work, talent, and luck – but that today success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.
Recommended by Ben Ipema, Level Data
Pink has three key takeaways here:
- The importance of autonomy, the desire to direct our own lives.
- The importance of emphasizing and developing mastery, the urge to get better and better at something that matters.
- The importance of having a purpose, the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves.
Recommended by Erica Boonstra, International Justice Mission
Watkins walks readers through career transitions with 10 easy steps to accelerate one’s impact when starting a new role. He encourages us to take a step back and think purposefully about the contribution we are making to the mission of our organizations.
Recommended by Anne Steen, Law Student, University of Michigan
I return to this book regularly because every time I read it I am completely absorbed by the character of Jane. Her profound belief in her own intrinsic self worth and her refusal to compromise her values always inspire me. It always feels as though Jane will eventually see herself through her tormentors eyes, but she doesn’t. She sees herself as a human being; she sees others as their actions show them to be rather than their status or language would project them to be. Her vision of the world is crystal clear, and I envy it.
Recommended by Bob Eames, Calvin Center for Innovation in Business
Drucker is considered by many as one of the greatest business thinkers. This book is one of the reasons. He analyzes the three jobs of management: managing business, managing managers, and managing work and workers. He also outlines a philosophy of business that is based on his deeply held values and beliefs that business must serve society and the greater good and that workers must be seen and treated as human resources and human resources in order for business to succeed. Finally, he lays the groundwork for modern marketing in his exploration of the purpose of a business and his discussion of the assessment of value in the market, which rightly causes businesses to focus on the customer.