I think that one of the things that makes intelligent people tick is what books are on their bookshelf. I’m always fascinated by what leaders are reading.

At a recent public relations conference I asked a group of seasoned public relations professionals (including John Edelman of Edelman, Tiffany Dotson of PRIDE Technologies, Michon Ellis of LimeGreen, Shannelle Armstrong of Sears) what books they’ve read and loved.

I heard a few familiar titles which I have on my own bookshelf, as well as a few new titles. Take a look at their recommendations. Which books have you read?

The Art of Focused Conversation – 100 Ways to Access Focused Conversation in the Workplace by Brian Stanfield

Communication within many organizations has been reduced to email, electronic file transfer, and hasty sound bytes at hurried meetings. More and more, people appear to have forgotten the value of wisdom gained by ordinary conversations. The Art of Focused Conversation convincingly restores this most human of attributes to prime place within businesses and organizations, and demonstrates what can be accomplished through the medium of focused conversation.Developed, tested, and extensively used by professionals in the field of organizational development, The Art of Focused Conversation is an invaluable resource for all those working to improve communications in firms and organizations.

No Man’s Land – Where Growing Companies Fail by Doug Tatum

If starting a company is difficult, leading a company once the business has caught fire is infinitely more so. Thousands of startups each year approach the dangerous transition that Doug Tatum calls No Man?s Land?when they are too big too be considered small but still too small to be considered big.
Tatum offers the navigational rules these companies need, and valuable case studies of emerging growth businesses that succeeded or failed during No Man?s Land.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, has been a top-seller for the simple reason that it ignores trends and pop psychology for proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity. Celebrating its fifteenth year of helping people solve personal and professional problems, this special anniversary edition includes a new foreword and afterword written by Covey exploring the question of whether the 7 Habits are still relevant and answering some of the most common questions he has received over the past 15 years.

Speed of Trust  by Stephen Covey

Trust, says Stephen M.R. Covey, is the very basis of the new global economy, and he shows how trust—and the speed at which it is established with clients, employees, and constituents—is the essential ingredient for any high–performance, successful organization.

For business leaders and public figures in any arena, The Speed of Trust offers an unprecedented and eminently practical look at exactly how trust functions in our every transaction and relationship—from the most personal to the broadest, most indirect interaction—and how to establish trust immediately so that you and your organization can forego the time–killing, bureaucratic check–and–balance processes so often deployed in lieu of actual trust.

The Personal Touch – What You Really Need to Succeed in Today’s Fast-Paced Business World  by Terrie Williams

Terrie Williams, president of the renowned public relations agency that bears her name, tells her extraordinary story, and shares simple and inspiring strategies anyone can use to achieve their goals and dreams.

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Maubourgne

Blue Ocean Strategy provides a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant. In this frame-changing book, Kim and Mauborgne present a proven analytical framework and the tools for successfully creating and capturing blue oceans. Examining a wide range of strategic moves across a host of industries, Blue Ocean Strategy highlights the six principles that every company can use to successfully formulate and execute blue ocean strategies. The six principles show how to reconstruct market boundaries, focus on the big picture, reach beyond existing demand, get the strategic sequence right, overcome organizational hurdles, and build execution into strategy. Upending traditional thinking about strategy, this landmark book charts a bold new path to winning the future.

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life – 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work by Marilee Adams

Questions are at the core of how we listen, behave, think, and relate–as individuals and organizations. Virtually everything we think and do is generated by questions. Questions push us into new territories. The future begins with our thinking, represented by the questions we ask ourselves.

“Change Your Questions, Change Your Life” shows readers how to consistently choose the questions that can lead them to success, both personally and professionally. This technique, called “QuestionsThinking,” stimulates innovation, accelerate productivity, and create more rewarding relationships.

“Change Your Questions, Change Your Life” is a personal growth fable that tells how a seasoned executive, Ben Knight, uses QuestionThinking to move into a higher leadership role and how the same methods of change help him and his wife, Grace, enrich their marriage.

Good to Great by Jim Collins

The Challenge: 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 verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study: For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

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