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3 Books Well Worth-Reading

The Synergist
A business book meant for the real-working leader, Les McKeown gives an intuitive model to allow anyone to lead. The notion is that every team needs a blend of visionary, an operator, and a processor. And the often invisible but crucial role that blends all these 3 is a synergist, able to find and build the bridges necessary for a business to grow. I read this book with a lens towards my past life at Rubicon, and a current eye towards businesses I’m advising. I wish I had this book years ago. It’s amazingly grounded in real-life situations, and found myself vigorously underlining key points. It is one of those easy reads that is deceptively wise. Read it twice.

The Coming Prosperity
The first work of Philip Auerswald, the George Mason economist and Kauffman fellow… it’s called the Coming Prosperity. This is a book about how to think of the 3 billion people who will join the global economy in the next quarter century, as partners rather than competitors, as sources rather than sinks. But be warned, it is not a light read. It is a book written by a deep global thinker. It took me 3 full business trips to finish it (most books take 1, or part of 1) and the threads that weave the stories together are sometimes tenuous to find. They are there, but the author doesn’t call them out easily. (I call this the first-time author problem since I feel I did the same thing…) All that said, it was well worth the work to read it. And I believe it is a book that explains our global relationship to one another well.


By now, you may have already read about The Power of Habit. It sat on my shelf a bit too long after the publisher sent me an advanced copy. I was embargoed so didn’t want to read it too early, but then it got lost in the fray of stuff that was March. I started reading it a few weeks back, and then realized it made the NYT bestseller list yesterday. (So much for telling you something new, on this Yes and Know blog.) It’s a compelling, evidence-based read by a solid writer. It has me figuring how to make “being an athlete” as much fun and reward based, as “eating all the chocolate I want”. It has something for how companies can weave products into our lives, and how we can each understand how change our own habits … Something in this for everyone, so no wonder it’s a best-seller. Well deserved.

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8 Responses:

  1. Jeffrey Cufaude. April 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm  |  

    I’ll add The Synergist to my list. That framework mirrors ones that have been in use for some time in team and innovation assessments though the language used to describe the various roles differs.

    Reply
  2. Charlie. April 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm  |  

    Thanks for the recommendations Nilofer. I’m putting “The Synergist” and “The Coming Prosperity” on my reading list. I recently read “The Power of Habit” and it had me examining every aspect of my day and whether or not my actions were out of habit or conscious thought. An easy but excellent read I would also recommend is Seth Godin’s “Poke the Box”.

    Reply
  3. JL Rivers. April 3, 2012 at 7:16 pm  |  

    I read The Power of Habit a couple of weeks ago and was fascinated by the scientific studies mentioned in the book. I loved it so much that I picked up two other brain-related books: You are not your Brain, by Jeffrey Schwartz and Rebecca Gladding; and What Makes your Brain Happy and Why you Should Do the Opposite, by David Disalvo.
    I found it fascinating how all three books distill the concept that habits are the result of “faulty” brain wiring and that despite what we think about them, we can and have the power to change them if we engage in certain activities (which I won’t describe here because you should read the books :) )
    In the Power of Habit, habits are formed when a cycle of Cue-Response-Reward is activated in our brains in such a way that we engage in it almost without thinking.
    In You are Not Your Brain, the main idea is that brain and mind are two distinct entities. The books describes a four-step method we can use to let go of mal-adaptive habits and re-wire our brain to think and act in ways that are beneficial to us, our goals and our true self of identity.

    Reply
  4. Carol Sanford. April 3, 2012 at 7:20 pm  |  

    I am reading the Coming Prosperity and loving it. Make me have hope again. I will get my own review of it up soon. Thanks for the reminder. Love you updating us on what you are reading.

    Reply
    • Nilofer Merchant. April 4, 2012 at 2:19 am  |  

      Agreed about the hopeful theme. Feel free to link your review here as I’m sure readers would value seeing what you say about it.

      Reply
  5. Les McKeown. April 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm  |  

    Thanks for the shout-out for ‘The Synergist’, Nilofer, I appreciate it.

    I finished ‘The Power of Habit’ last week and thought it was exceptional – I’d highly recommend it. Off to grab a copy of ‘The Coming Prosperity’ – thanks for the recommendation.

    - Les

    Reply
    • Nilofer Merchant. April 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm  |  

      I thought the chapter on Starbucks was AMAZING. That company does so much for treating people as people and allowing more people to have dignity.

      Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Coming Prosperity—Reviews and Media | Philip Auerswald - April 8, 2012

    [...] “3 Books Well Worth Reading,” Nilofer Merchant, Yes and Know This is a book about how to think of the 3 billion people who will join the global economy in the next quarter century, as partners rather than competitors, as sources rather than sinks… It is a book written by a deep global thinker. [...]

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