Best Practices

Loudoun SourceLink: 7 Books to Take to the Pool

Published Aug 13, 2014 by

7 Books to Take to the Pool

By Lois Kirkpatrick – Loudoun, Virginia Economic Development


Books for SummerTechnically, summer lasts until September 21, so you still have time to get some summer reading done. A simple idea from one of these experts could propel your business to the next level. Check out:

1.  To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink

If you own a small business, you are in sales. You have the same goal as the traditional salesperson: to move others to take action that will benefit your business. Pink explores why some people are better at this task than others, and provides strategies you can use to convince investors to back your business or get customers to buy the product or idea you're selling.

2.  Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

Management consultant David Allen offers strategic ways to focus and achieve maximum productivity in the workplace and at home. The tools he describes are practical and easy to implement. His "Do it, delegate it, defer it" rule trains a person to act promptly in dealing with the demands of email in-boxes, voicemail messages and overflowing desktop folders. The book has charts, diagrams and lists for making sure nothing important is overlooked. Allen's work will get you thinking about your own productivity, and will offer tips and tricks for increasing it.

3.  Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

This is the perfect book for anyone interested in influencing others in business, and wanting to learn how to craft a compelling narrative. Written by two brothers, Chip a Stanford professor and Dan an education entrepreneur, they attempt to determine why one idea succeeds while another fails. This is done by presenting a "stickiness" formula that includes six principles: simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories. Urban legends, conspiracy theories, and compelling advertising are used to prove their formula. The Heaths apply their recommended techniques to their own writing, which makes this an easy, lighthearted read.

4.  Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

The authors run, and have been writing about business processes and designing workplace tools for more than a decade. They believe we make workplaces overly complicated.This book is a quick read full of pragmatic advice, such as:Say no first. It's too easy to say yes to a partner/product/idea to the point that you are no longer focused on your true mission.This book is a quick read full of pragmatic advice, such as:

  • Say no first. It's too easy to say yes to a partner/product/idea to the point that you are no longer focused on your true mission.
  • Decisions are temporary and should be made quickly. Don't waste too much time pondering endless outcomes. If you make a bad decision, react quickly and change it.
  • Send people home at 5 p.m. Don't let them burn out. This especially applies to employees who willingly work longer hours.
  • Marketing is not a department. It's something you do every time you pick up the phone, answer an email, invoice a customer, or write on your website. 

5.  Brewing Up a Business by Sam Calagione
Starting with nothing but a home brewing kit, Calagione has built Dogfish Head Craft Brewery into one of the country's best and fastest-growing craft breweries. Practical business advice is mixed with hilarious – and sometimes harrowing – tales of the trials and tribulations of starting a new business. He shares his incredible successes but also his many mistakes, and shows how a fledgling business owner can avoid them. He discusses developing and keeping good relationships, and Dogfish Head's most innovative marketing ideas. This is an inspiring story about dreaming big, thinking unconventionally, and working hard. 

6.  Do Nothing! How to Stop Over-managing and Become a Great Leader by J. Keith Murnighan
This practical guide to business management opens with a scenario that many regard as a dream: imagine you have just returned to the office from a two-week vacation, and while you were out you didn't email or call in to see how things were going. Now that you're back, not only are there no fires to put out, but your team has also solved several problems in your absence. The author argues that this scenario doesn't have to be a dream. He offers straightforward strategies on how to avoid micromanaging and start building a work culture based on trust and high expectations. 

7.  The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change by Adam Braun

After graduating from Brown University, the author began working in a prestigious consulting firm in New York City, one he soon left after a chance encounter with a street beggar during a trip to India. That chance meeting, his entrepreneurial skills and $25 led him to an idea that resulted in Pencils of Promise, a non-profit organization that has built more than 200 schools throughout the world, trained teachers and provided scholarships.

Content contributed by Lois Kirkpatrick of Loudoun SourceLinka proud affiliate of U.S.SourceLink, America's largest resource network for entrepreneurs.