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Is your reading list looking a little thin these days?

Ha ha, right, sure: as if there were enough hours in the day and days in the week to read every book you needed, let alone wanted to read. We put in our best efforts but the list grows and grows and nothing is quite so frustrating as realizing a few chapters in (or, heaven forbid, at the very end) that the book you’re working on is Just Not That Good.

Here’s some good news for you: We’ve got ten top tier books that are definitely worth adding to the top of your list. If you have any role in the manufacturing technology sector, are wanting to improve performance in any business, or even do a little bit of personal organization, you’ll find great advice and information in any of these.

 

Toyota Production System by Taiichi Ohno

In this classic text, Taiichi Ohno–inventor of the Toyota Production System and Lean manufacturing–shares the genius that sets him apart as one of the most disciplined and creative thinkers of our time. Combining his candid insights with a rigorous analysis of Toyota’s attempts at Lean production, Ohno’s book explains how Lean principles can improve any production endeavor. A historical and philosophical description of just-in-time and Lean manufacturing, this work is a must read for all students of human progress. . .

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Built To Last by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day — as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: “What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies and what were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?” (Amazon.com -2015)

 

Good To Great  by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.  But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Give and Take by Adam M. Grant

Named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal as well as one of Oprah’s riveting reads, Fortune‘s must-read business books, and the Washington Post‘s books every leader should read.  For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But today, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. It turns out that at work, most people operate as either takers, matchers, or givers. Whereas takers strive to get as much as possible from others and matchers aim to trade evenly, givers are the rare breed of people who contribute to others without expecting anything in return.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Dealing With Darwin by Geoffrey A. Moore

The Darwinian struggle of business keeps getting more brutal as competitive advantage gaps get narrower and narrower. Anything you invent today will soon be copied by someone else—probably better and cheaper.

Many companies thrive during the early stages of their life cycle, only to fall slack during periods of inertia and die out while others surge ahead. But as Geoffrey Moore shows, some notable companies have figured out how to deal with Darwin in their mature years—making changes on the fly while fending off challenges from every quarter.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

The Outsiders by William N. Thorndike

“An outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation.” — Warren Buffett

. . .
Named one of “19 Books Billionaire Charlie Munger Thinks You Should Read” in Business Insider.

“A book that details the extraordinary success of CEOs who took a radically different approach to corporate management.” — Charlie Munger, Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation

“Thorndike explores the importance of thoughtful capital allocation through the stories of eight successful CEOs. A good read for any business leader but especially those willing to chart their own course.” — Michael Dell, chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Dell. 

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Anti-Patterns  by Brown, Malveau, McCormick, and Mowbray

Are you headed into the software development mine field? Follow someone if you can, but if you’re on your own-better get the map! AntiPatterns is the map. This book helps you navigate through today’s dangerous software development projects. . . .

While patterns help you to identify and implement procedures, designs, and codes that work, AntiPatterns do the exact opposite; they let you zero-in on the development detonators, architectural tripwires, and personality booby traps that can spell doom for your project. Written by an all-star team of object-oriented systems developers, AntiPatterns identifies 40 of the most common AntiPatterns in the areas of software development, architecture, and project management. The authors then show you how to detect and defuse AntiPatterns as well as supply refactored solutions for each AntiPattern presented.

 (Amazon.com – 2015)

 

The Lean Startup by Eric Reis

Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable.  The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty. This is just as true for one person in a garage or a group of seasoned professionals in a Fortune 500 boardroom. What they have in common is a mission to penetrate that fog of uncertainty to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

Yes, And by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton

Executives from The Second City—the world’s premier comedy theater and school of improvisation—reveal improvisational techniques that can help any organization develop innovators, encourage adaptable leaders, and build transformational businesses.

For more than fifty years, The Second City comedy theater in Chicago has been a training ground for some of the best comic minds in the industry—including John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey. But it also provides one-of-a-kind leadership training to cutting-edge companies, nonprofits, and public sector organizations—all aimed at increasing creativity, collaboration, and teamwork.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney

An entertaining illumination of the stupid beliefs that make us feel wise, based on the popular blog of the same name.

Whether you’re deciding which smartphone to purchase or which politician to believe, you think you are a rational being whose every decision is based on cool, detached logic. But here’s the truth: You are not so smart. You’re just as deluded as the rest of us—but that’s okay, because being deluded is part of being human.

(Amazon.com – 2015)

 

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