For just about all of us, the school year Summer Break meant having fun: hanging out with friends, going on picnics and trips to the beach, summer camp and family vacations. Yet Summer was not all fun. When I reached high school, Mom and Dad made sure I got a job every year, so I would earn some money and learn the habit of saving when they insisted that I bank half of my paycheck each week.
Also, students at my college-prep public high school were required to read two books (from the school’s list) over the Summer and submit a book report for each when we returned to school in September. I’ve always been an avid reader, so the reading assignment was never a chore for me (although I disliked writing the book reports).
This year, I decided to renew that tradition and get into some business-themed books. It had been a while since I’d mined that category and I had the appetite to make up for lost time. Here are three books I’ve read since June. Maybe you’d like to suggest a few titles that you’ve found to be useful?
TouchPoints (2011) Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard
Freelancers, corporate execs, nonprofit organization leaders and business owners all require leadership training. This excellent and informative book provides first-rate lessons for experienced leaders and those new to the club. Learn how to create a leadership model that reflects your unique style and values, rather than merely mimicking a cookie-cutter template. Learn how communication skills promote leadership skills. Explore the existential question of why you choose to lead.
Knowing Your Value (2011) Mika Brzezinski
Although this book’s intent is to confirm that women deserve to receive appropriate financial reward for their professional gifts and teach them how to successfully negotiate a raise, salary or contract fee (and other perks) that accurately reflect the value they bring to the organization for which they work, I recommend this useful and enjoyable book for both genders. The Haves are shamelessly using the weak economy to withhold money from the Have-nots and that means we all need to learn how and when and under what conditions we can respectfully request money and recognition (plus a good title!).
Black Faces in White Places (2011) Randal Pinkett and Jeffrey Robinson
The title of this book is misleading. It is not primarily a book about survival strategies designed to assist people of color who work in Euro-American dominated environments. Randal Pinkett was the winning contestant on “The Apprentice” in 2005 and he is the only African-American to be named the winner. The authors do speculate as to why no other “Apprentice” winner has ever been asked to consider sharing the prize. Was it subtle racism? Only Trump knows. But who among us has not been treated unfairly at some point? The authors posit that the most reliable way to triumph in life and business is to deliver excellence and that is the subject of this well-written, dense and absorbing book. Pinkett and Robinson (who run a lucrative consulting firm) provide a detailed roadmap that is applicable to Freelancers, business owners and all professionals of all races. Learn to identify your passions and your purpose, nurture beneficial relationships, develop and consistently deliver excellence and give back generously, to pay it forward and mentor others.
I’ll be back next week with the rest of my Summer reading list.
Thanks for reading,