The Advancing Leadership Blog

November 2014 #Shelfie

Hiles Shelfie_LongRegina TEC Chair Larry Hiles, is our next contributor to the #shelfie series and shares reading recommendations from his bookshelf that inspire him as a business leader and mentor. Share your own #shelfie with us on Twitter @TECCanada

Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
In my experience, fewer companies with great strategies have succeeded than those that have weak strategies but great execution. This book by Larry Bossidy, CEO of Honeywell, and Ram Charan, renowned author and consultant to global CEO’s, discusses the ability to execute strategy within a company as the “missing link between aspirations and success.”  I found it had clear, relevant and insightful information about how to develop a ‘get things done’ culture within an organization.  For those that have been frustrated that their strategic planning has not translated into the success they envisioned, this is a great read.

Guns, Germs and Steel by Jerod Diamond
I have always been intrigued about what life was like in times past, how we got to where we are today and why.  This book was one of the first I read on those topics and I found it very insightful.  Jerod Diamond, a professor from the University of California, shows how guns, germs and steel chronicle the way the modern world came to be and in doing so, stunningly dismantles racially based views of human history. Even if you don’t think you are interested in this topic, the book draws you in and really makes you think about where we’re headed.  If you enjoy this book, you will also enjoy Diamond’s other books, such as Collapse – How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed and The World Until Yesterday – What We Can Learn From Traditional Societies.

Unbroken:  A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
Have you ever wondered why two people in the same life threatening situation will create entirely opposite results?  Why do some people give in to failure; while others survive and thrive? This is the true story of one man’s survival through unbelievable circumstances, occurring over the course of many years.  If you ever think you have challenges, this book will definitely adjust your perspective about how difficult your life is and what you can do to persevere through tough times.  Unbroken will soon be released as a movie, but don’t go until you’ve read the original to get the full story.

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
One thousand people could look at a box, and 998 of them will see a box. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner will see something completely different and be able to convince you that what they see is real.  This is a quick read about the possible origins of some of life’s riddles.  Through forceful storytelling and wry insight, they show that economics are, at root, the study of incentives—how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing. A very entertaining perspective on how the world works.  I also had the pleasure of golfing with Stephen Dubner a few years ago and he is just as interesting to talk to as the books he has written.

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