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Bill’s Comprehensive Book List

by Bill Weber

Posted June 25, 2018

Bill Weber is President of Development Guild DDI. Read his bio here.

I’m sharing some of my favorite reads, spanning from biographies to cookbooks to business how-to’s. I’m a big fan of nonfiction and rereading old favorites, and I’m always open to recommendations.

I welcome your thoughts and any suggestions for the next list. Send me an email at wweber@developmentguild.com.

Happy reading!            

 

BIOGRAPHIES & MEMOIRS

Never Look an American in the Eye: Flying Turtles, Colonial Ghosts, and the Making of a Nigerian American by Okey Ndibe

I rarely read memoirs, but I recommend this light read for a 3-hour plane flight. Fascinating observations on everything from cross cultural etiquette to American stereotypes about Africans. 

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

 Not just for artists, but relevant to any creative professional e.g. someone who writes a lot. Fascinating excerpts from diaries, biographies, etc. Everything from Toni Morrison’s pre-dawn writing to Truman Capote’s motivational mint tea.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

One man’s coming-of-age story; from the fall of apartheid South African to The Daily Show.

Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom by Thomas Ricks

It’s all about a quest for truth. And World War II is about as contemporary as I can tolerate.

BUSINESS

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

The first half of the book is excellent and provides 20 pithily presented workplace habits. For example, successful leaders are often held back because they try to give “too much value.” If you are looking to save time, the second half could be skipped.

The Strength of Weak Ties

The Strength of Weak Ties by Mark Granovetter 

A seminal study which invented the field of social network analysis before Mark Zuckerberg was born.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

Well-reasoned, easy to read pop social science. Relevant to everyone from community organizers to HR directors, from first responders to UN diplomats.

Money Ball

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

 The best book about recruiting ever! It’s all about finding hidden talent (and it’s a fast baseball read too!).

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen

 Puts emphasis more on receiving feedback rather than giving feedback (but useful for providing feedback too).  Helpful distinctions between coaching, mentoring, supervision, etc. Very humbling.

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael Watkins

 An indispensable guide for new hires getting a running start—and a must for employers too.

CULINARY

Dinner: Changing the Game by Melissa Clark

 Now that a McKinsey consultant recommended substituting “a recipe” for “a plan”, I can justify using cook books on this list too.  One favorite is “Pork Scaloppini with Sage, Black Pepper and Apples”!

Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

 Recommended by my colleague Susan Bragg Meurer, I had hoped Santa would put this cookbook under my Christmas tree, but no such luck. I ordered my own copy and suggest the Lamb Shawarma, Saffron Chicken and Herb Salad, and Na’ama’s Fattoush.

EDUCATION

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

 We all know that the valedictorians rarely live up to their peers’ expectations—more about why and how overachievers can compete…

HISTORY

The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America by Andrés Reséndez

 I needed to reevaluate my self-perception of being a well-read history major after reading this incredible Bancroft Award winning book. The subtitle says it all…

Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

 Epic story of migration of African Americans from the South between 1915 and 1970.  Great synthesis of social history and biography.

PSYCHOLOGY & SCIENCE

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

 It turns out what works as effective feedback for parents and teachers also works for employers and has been used by the Boston Celtics!

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

 A curious geo-biologist and gifted writer, Jaren makes the mystery of seeds fascinating and lives through challenges of women scientists in academia.

SPORTS

Golf and the Spirit: Lessons for the Journey by M. Scott Peck

 Self-help psychology meets the fairway! Relevant for any golfer who has ever “picked up” and walked to the next tee. If you have golf clubs and are comfortable with pop psychology, this is a must read.

TECHNOLOGY

Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
by Steve Krug

 The “user experience” bible for web design and mobile usage…and applicable to all kinds of communication. Think intuitive navigation and information design.  Well-illustrated and occasionally hilarious….

 

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