I wanted to take the opportunity to share the books I liked reading this year across various topics like technology, business, success, and leadership among others. Most of them are business books which is my preferred genre. Here are the books I liked reading in 2021. At the end of the article, I share the books I liked right from 2015 till now.
Hot Seat by Jeff Immelt – This is an insider peek into what led to GE’s downturn in his tenure. We shouldn’t forget he took over GE from the legendary Jack Welch and the day after he took over the unfortunate 09/11 events took place. While history may be very harsh on him I feel we also need to give him credit for the time he led. He gives some solid leadership advice like leaders showing up, persevering in a crisis, solving problems, managing complexity, and doing systems thinking among others. It is worth a read.
Think Again by Adam Grant – I have read all of Adam Grant’s books and this was an interesting addition to his accomplishments. This is all about rethinking your most closely held assumptions and making sure to pivot when things that you initially thought would work is under disruption. We know what happened to Blackberry and the aim of this book is to get you to rethink your assumptions and let go of the status quo.
Decoding Greatness by Ron Friedman– There are two paths we have been told to greatness one is due to innate talent and another due to deliberate practice. The author makes a persuasive argument that there is a third path to greatness and that is through reverse engineering. This means you take the best works or study them, then deconstruct what makes them successful and then add your spin to it. For example, Apple didn’t invent the mp3 player but they brought the breakthrough design to make it more innovative and easier to use. You don’t have to be completely original in fact all the great writers including Benjamin Franklin became great through studying other great works and then coming with their best.
The Heart of Business by Hubert Joly– This is especially relevant considering the times we live in. He was Best Buy CEO and turned around the company to success. He makes a case for us to really love our work and see it as an opportunity to build our cathedral. Then he makes a case for connecting to people’s dreams, autonomy, relationships, and mastery. This is a very real use case of what good leadership looks like.
Dedicated by Pete Davis– The author makes the case for us to get out of short-termism and infinite browsing mode. What he means by this is we are all inundated by choice for example Netflix we have so many shows and we keep switching. Here he makes the case for long-haul heroes with good examples who stay dedicated to a cause larger than themselves. The dedication virtues he mentions are imagination, synthesis, focus, doggedness, passion, reverence, and commitment.
Winning Now Winning Later by David Cote– This is another great primer on leadership by a former CEO of Honeywell. He makes the case that leadership is about mobilizing people (this is what most people focus on), setting the direction, and carrying out the direction. It is all about making great decisions and having them executed. He also makes the case that we should think both short-term and long-term. He also gives tips on how to build a high-performance culture.
Business Made Simple by Donald Miller– Good concepts on how to succeed in business. One example is a professional who always sees himself as an economic person within the marketplace and always asks the question of how to add value to the bottom line. He also gives great tips on leadership (having a mission and getting results), productivity (If I had to do the day over again what would I do differently), and marketing. A good primer on basic business concepts.
Here are the other books I liked right from 2015 till 2020.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.