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My 18 Most Anticipated Books for 2020!


(... well until June anyway!).


Those of you who know me know that I get really into business books. There are so many good ones already out there and many good ones coming that build on the existing leadership canon. Preparing leaders for the complexity of today's world, to be able to inspire their team's creativity, and to manage emotions in the workplace, are key differentiators of successful managers. This list provides help in each of these areas. The books span some late 2019 and ones coming out early in 2020. After typing this up, I'm digging in! You can click the book pictures to find out more. Ready? Here we go!


The Advice Trap: Be Humble, Stay Curious, and Change the Way you Lead Forever Michael Bungay Stanier (Feb 29)

Michael is the author of one of my all time favorites "The Coaching Habit" and a really fascinating guy to sit around and have a beer with. He has a real knack for taking complex topics and boiling them down to simple, specific things leaders can do to impact their relationships with their employees & be just a little more coach-like. Michael focuses on making his books easy to read and I'd expect the same with this one. I expect this book to be chock full of easy tips to empower your employees from day one.


Leading with Gratitude: Eight Leadership Practices for Extraordinary Business Results Adrian Gostick & Chester Elton (March 3)

We know that gratitude is a relationship strengthening emotion that can also be an effective way to reinforce actions and behaviors that align with goals. So why does research show that people are less likely to express gratitude at work than anywhere else? Elton & Gostick identify the widespread myths about managing others that cause leaders to withhold thanks. ... and they even profile one of the great leaders who I have had the opportunity to work with, Alan Mulally.

Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth Richard Boyatzis, Melvin Smith, and Ellen Van Oosten (Sept 10, 2019)

This team include some of the founders and experts in the field of Emotional Intelligence. Their research at Case Western expanded through their Coaching Research Lab which has proven the importance of compassionate coaching to the building of social and emotional skills. The way to help someone learn and change, they say, cannot be focused primarily on fixing problems, but instead must connect to that person's positive vision of themselves or an inspiring dream or goal they've long held. Haven't read it yet, but am looking forward to it this year!

Radical Compassion: Learn To Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN Tara Brach (December 31, 2019)

Tara is one of the most beloved and trusted mindfulness teachers in America. This book provides a lifeline to awaken us from the trance of unworthiness and connect to others' basic goodness. I'll be reading this along with participating in Tara's free, online, 10-day Radical Compassion Challenge Jan 21-30. Join me in this "New Years Heart Resolution" If you do, please let me know so we can be heart buddies.


The Future is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler (Jan 28)

Futurists Diamandis and Kotler investigate how wave after wave of exponentially accelerating technologies will impact both our daily lives and society as a whole, including how these convergences will transform today’s legacy industries. Much has been written speculating about the future, but these two experts are providing a fresh take that springboards from today's already exponential change. Few can grasp really what exponentiality means like Diamandis & Kotler. Looking forward to a gripping read with many implications for leaders of today creating business for tomorrow.

TinyHabits: The Small Changes that Change Everything B.J. Fogg (Dec 31, 2019)

If you are in a role that requires behavior change and you don't know who BJ Fogg is (yet), drop what you're doing & check him out. Founder of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab, his approach is all about taking baby steps. Getting specific, making it easy, and prompting the behavior that you want to see. Finally! The lessons from his Tiny Habits courses are available for all of us. This book, released on New Year's Eve, is chock full of practical tips. Pick it up today to help with your resolutions.


What's Your Problem? To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg (March 17)

Critical Thinking has been identified by the World Economic Forum as one of the most in demand skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution, and this book focuses on one critical step that often is skipped - thinking deeply about whether you are solving the right problem. As Peter Drucker pointed out, there's nothing more dangerous than the right answer to the wrong question. Stop barking up the wrong trees, learn the power of reframing the starting question in this book.

Do Nothing: How to Break Away From Overworking, Overdoing, and Underliving Celeste Headlee (March 10)

I'll tell you what, Celeste is a hell of a woman who gives fantastic advice and knows her stuff. She's an engaging presenter & talented author. Meaning, I'm always excited to see what she's up to. In this book, she takes on the question -- if we work so hard in an attempt to have time to relax and enjoy life, why do we feel that we have no time to relax and can't really enjoy life. She points out the myths that have gotten us to this point and guides us how to reverse the trend.


All You Have to Do is Ask: How to Master the Most Important Skill for Success Wayne Baker (Jan 14)

Take it from a recovering perfectionist and people pleaser -- I know how hard it is to ask for help when you need it. "Studies show that asking for help makes us better and less frustrated at our jobs. It unlocks new ideas and solutions, and enhances team performance. And yet, we rarely give ourselves permission to ask. Luckily, the research shows that asking—and getting—what we need is much easier than we tend to think."  Wayne Baker, professor at University of Michigan's Ross School of Management, gives us practical strategies for knowing who, how, and when to ask for help. As a board member of Give and Take, Baker picks up where Adam Grant's best seller "Give and Take" leaves off.

Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World Vivek Murthy (April 28)

I have to admit, I didn't know who Vivek Murthy was until I heard about this book. The topic is so prescient and important it grabbed my attention. Vivek, the US Surgeon General from 2014-2017, found that loneliness has reached epidemic proportions. He gave a wonderful TedMed talk about happiness which builds on this point. A brilliant colleague of mine had recently identified loneliness as a unrecognized workplace wellbeing challenge, and Wisdom Labs' recent webinar have reinforced why this is something we need to start talking about in corporate America -- and something that the workplace is uniquely positioned to address.

#MeToo in the Corporate World: Power, Privilege, and the Path Forward Sylvia Ann Hewlett (January 28)

In a three-pronged approach, award-winning author Sylvia Ann Hewlett provides evidence that the MeToo movement has almost exclusively focused on white women, leaving other vulnerable groups with high rates of assault without adequate support. She dives into the collateral damage inflicted on companies from financial bottom line to talent pipeline. And finally, she focuses on solutions, including "experiments at the edge" as well as more evolved solutions. Sure to be fascinating for any manager, especially those in HR, Talent, or Diversity and Inclusion offices.

The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers That Are Holding Women Back at Work Michelle King (March 3)

"We’ve been telling women that in order to succeed at work, they have to change themselves—lean in, negotiate like a man, don’t act too nice or you’ll never get the corner office. After 16 years working with major Fortune 500 companies as a gender equality expert, Michelle King has realized one simple truth—the tired advice of fixing women doesn’t fix anything. Gender equality is not about women, and it is not about men—it is about making today's gendered workplaces work for everyone. Together, we can fix work, not women." So what works? I'll be reading to find out!

Full-Spectrum Thinking: How to Escape Boxes in a Post-Categorical Future Bob Johansen (April 21)

"The future will get even more perplexing over the next decade, and we just are not ready. We are restricted by rigid categorical thinking that positions people and organizations in neatly defined boxes that often are inaccurate or obsolete. Categories lead us toward certainty but away from clarity, and categorical thinking moves us away from understanding the bigger picture. Sticking with this old way of thinking and seeing isn't just foolish, it's dangerous." Institute For The Future (IFTF's) Bob Johansen provides this visionary book - and challenges us with a new way of thinking to help leaders break free of limiting labels & see new gradients of possibility in our chaotic world.

Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them Gary Hamel & Michelle Zanini (June 9) This book promises to provide a blueprint to bust bureaucracy. We all know it - the soul-crushing processes in too many organizations - that wring the humanity, excitement, and creativity out of humans. By the authors' reckoning, bureaucracy costs the global economy more than $9 trillion in lost economic output each year. Worse, despite all the hype around flat organizations and agile processes, bureaucracy is growing, not shrinking. With only 13% of us being engaged at work, we surely need to try something different and this book tells us what that is.

Leading in the Digital World: How to Foster Creativity, Collaboration, and Inclusivity Amit Mukherjee (April)

"Amit Mukherjee argues that since digital technologies are changing everything else, how could they not change leadership ideologies and styles? Mukherjee shows why digital technologies call for a new kind of leader―one who emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and inclusivity Drawing on a global survey of 700 mid-tier to senior executives and interviews with C-level executives from around the world, Focusing on practice, Mukherjee outlines goals and strategies, warns against unthinking assumptions, and explains how leaders can identify the mindsets, behaviors, and actions they need to pursue."

Life's Great Question: Discover How You Contribute To The World Tom Rath (Feb 4)

Why doesn't the work we do make us happier & healthier? Why, so often, is it bad for our wellbeing? What are the most meaningful contributions we can make? This is Life's Greatest Question. In this book, Tom Rath, author of StrengthFinder 2.0, shows us how to answer this question. More than a book, each copy includes a code for an online assessment (Contribify Profile) and a program that identifies the most significant contributions you can make. You know I love assessments, I'm in!

Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time Rosabeth Moss Kanter (Jan 28)

"Over a decade ago, innovation expert Rosabeth Moss Kanter co-founded and then directed Harvard's Advanced Leadership Initiative. Her breakthrough work with hundreds of professionals and executives, and entrepreneurs, identifies the leadership paradigm of the future: the ability to "think outside the building" to overcome establishment paralysis and produce significant innovation for a better world. Kanter shows how people everywhere can unleash their creativity and entrepreneurial adroitness to mobilize partners across challenging cultural, social, and political situations and innovate for a brighter future."

No Rules Rules: NETFLIX and the Culture of Reinvention Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer (May 12)

Going beyond Patty McCord's 2018 book "Powerful" (about Netflix's infamous "culture deck"), "Reed Hastings reveals for the first time the unorthodox culture behind one of the world's most innovative, imaginative, and successful companies. When Hastings co-founded Netflix, he developed a set of counterintuitive and radical management principles, defying all tradition and expectation, which would allow the company to reinvent itself over and over on the way to becoming one of the most loved brands in the world."

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