We’re obsessed with these books lately

September 16, 2015 by Cale Johnson

We’ve talked before about how we’re big readers.

It seems like every week, someone is coming in to a team meeting with a new book they’re personally consumed by — and sometimes that excitement spreads to everyone. These are a few recent ones that we’ve been passing around and integrating into how we work:

Turn the Ship Around

This is a story of how a navy officer overhauled the traditional top-down leadership model of the military and replaced it with a leader-leader model — with incredible results. We’ve already borrowed a lot of their language and habits (like “I intend to”) and a lot of the teachings have come up in our recent meetings and collaborative projects.

Death by Meeting

We like a lot of Patrick Lencioni’s work (The Advantage, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive), and Death by Meeting is another great leadership fable. Most meetings suck, and Lencioni takes them head-on here and advocates for interactive and structure meetings that are actually useful. We noticed a real and immediate difference after incorporating a few of the lessons into our standing meetings.

The Great Game of Business

We’ve been working on upgrading our scoreboards and metrics, and this book is one of the best we’ve found on the topic. When Jack Stack took over a near-bankrupt division of International Harvester in the 1980’s, he instituted a sort of corporate-democracy-meets-open-book-finances to let everyone see the “score” of business and give them a voice in how to run the business. He did it in a blue-collar setting, and he makes a good point: People don’t need to have MBAs to understand the metrics of business. Anyone who can follow baseball statistics can understand what really matters to be successful.

What have you been reading lately?

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