There was no shortage of challenges last year. Not even 2023.
To prepare, check out my annual list of the best business books. Some dive into specific issues (supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, etc.), while others look at the benefits of uncertainty (the actual title of the book), and are all fun to read.
The starting point for my list was a recent survey of the biggest challenges businesses face today.
1. Bottom Line: How Leaders Become Strategists By Richard P. Rumelt — Feeling overwhelmed by all the challenges your company faces? Don’t despair. Rumelt’s new book is out. The strategy, he claims, is to find a manageable problem. Here’s how it works: Start by listing all the problems you might face. Then score on a scale of 1 to 10 in two dimensions. 1) the importance of the problem and 2) the solvability of the problem. Finally, map the results. Select those that score high on both importance and addressability. Taking this approach creates a killer strategy of its own. For example, when Netflix faced competition from new streaming his platform, it decided to move into content production in a very specific way. Knowing that Disney and other companies would stop licensing movies, they leveraged their international networks to target South Korea (Squid Game), Spain (Money Heist), and Germany (Dark). It created a worldwide hit that originated. they found the core. So are you.
2. The Benefits of Uncertainty: A Guide to Finding Possibilities in the Unknown By Nathan Furr and Susannah Harmon Furr—This book core, engages in tackling challenges on a more personal level. We all tend to hate uncertainty, but the author encourages us to look at the other side of the coin. They lead us from fearing and avoiding uncertainty to embracing it as a source of possibility. This can be accomplished using a number of tools, each covered in a short chapter. Among them are framings that help predict profits. Adjacent possibilities that can hover at the edge of consciousness. Infinite Games teaches us to question the boundaries and rules of the games we play. I love the solid foundation on which this book is built. Includes interviews, scholarly literature streams from multiple disciplines, and historical case studies of artists and first responders as well as businesses. The authors offer a glimpse into their personal encounters with uncertainty.
3. Deep Purpose: The Heart and Soul of a High Performance Company By Ranjay Gulati — In 2019, the Business Roundtable redefined the company’s purpose to foster an “economy that serves every American.” Then came the pandemic, which, as Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum put it, “…is a litmus test for stakeholder capitalism.” Old reflexes are hard to kill, and few were surprised that stakeholders are often more important than short-term gain. distinguish. When he started analyzing the activity on Mars, I was convinced. At first, I got the impression that Mars was an example of a purpose-driven company, citing the normal activities that many companies engage in. Mars doesn’t pursue an ambient purpose, but Loft’s goal of making the world a better place is rather hollow as long as he continues to live off unhealthy snacks. not. Achieving the latter would require significant changes in the product portfolio. In this book, he explains how deep purpose can be achieved, and how it translates into superior long-term performance. Perhaps this book will give stakeholder capitalism a second chance.
Four. The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Work Relationships By Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter—“I love my job. …But I work in a socially toxic workplace. , encourages betrayal, gossiping, and information concealment.” This quote from an engineer on page two of the book introduces a paradox. Companies go to great lengths to make work more meaningful, but complaints about rudeness, abuse, and bullying are at an all-time high. The characterization is that it prevents us from finding a permanent solution. A thoughtful and well-researched book on the issues at the heart of the Great Resignation. If you want to solve the labor shortage, this book will help you create a non-overwhelming work environment. It sounds easier than that.
Five. City of Gold: The Untold American Story of Immigration Success By Ran Abramitzky and Leah Boustan — The labor shortage didn’t exactly happen overnight. The baby boomers’ retirement was completely predictable. The most obvious solution has also been obvious for a long time. Most Western economies need more immigrants. Many more! However, this is a highly controversial topic. Abramitzky and Boustan use the power of machine learning to sift through millions of immigrant stories to provide a complete picture of immigration. It’s like researching family history, but doing it for everyone. I wonder why this is a business book. When a company advocates increasing immigration, it has to build a compelling narrative — one that persuades politicians and their voters. This book helps achieve this by examining how immigration affects us across generations, rather than in short electoral cycles.
6. Sharing Sisterhood: How to Take Collective Action for Racial and Gender Equity in the Workplace By Tina Opie and Beth A. Livingston — In the summer of 2020, Opie’s inbox started to explode. With nationwide protests putting social justice on the agenda, many executives need her help. An activist at heart, she realized two things. First, let’s move on to the agenda. Second, strong coalitions are needed to achieve institutional change. For too long, white and black women have been separated. She worked with her Livingston on her Shared Sisterhood, an agenda-setting but practical book. Her one of the techniques they share is amplification. Ask two of her friends to back you up before you speak at the meeting. So when you speak, one of them immediately realizes this is a great idea, followed by a second idea. is.
7. Power and Prediction: The Disruptive Economics of Artificial Intelligence By Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb – Twenty years after Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, only 3% of US households had access to electricity. Few factories used the new power supply. Over the next two decades, this began to change radically as entrepreneurs came up with new power-based solutions. AI is at an intermediate stage of equality. In this book, Agrawal, Gunz, and Goldfarb explore the implications of this insight. How should products and services be designed to take full advantage of AI? Basically they argue that the potential of AI lies in decoupling prediction from decision making . This is a bold hypothesis. Uncharted: How to Draw the Future Margaret Heffernan convincingly argues that our reliance on prediction is unwise, but it is certainly interesting to explore. A must read book. In the face of a recession, this book gives us hope for a better future.
8. The Chip Wars: The Battle Over The World’s Most Important Technology By Chris Miller — Supply chain issues keep many managers up at night. Those in need of semiconductors are likely to be the most sleep deprived. Unfortunately, this book is not meant to reassure them. Miller expertly lays out the history of the industry, coming to the conclusion that few sectors are exposed to rising geopolitical tensions. As more and more executives are beginning to recognize, there is a Taiwan risk that they have not factored into their plans. Addressing Security Concerns Washington is trying to respond with reshoring, which is not always economically feasible. This book differs from the others on my list in that its primary purpose is not to be informative for managers. This doesn’t make it any less practical because it gives you a deep understanding of the underlying issues that are likely to affect your company. I chose.
9. Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Leave By Annie Duke — The idea that losses outweigh gains dates back to the early work of Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. It’s hard to stop. All the more so because the business press praises tenacity. As Duke points out, this courageAuthor Angela Duckworth is explicit about trying different things which means quitting what doesn’t work. Duke explores the prejudices that keep us from quitting and how to overcome them. An entertainment book starting with boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
Ten. The Unicorn Within: How Companies Create Game-Changing Ventures at Startup Speed Linda K. Yates — Few ideas capture the hearts and minds of CEOs more than the late Clayton Christensen’s paper that incumbents develop new disruptive technologies but fail to turn them into viable businesses. Here comes a new competitor. Most recently, the successful company earned his billion dollar valuation and became known as a unicorn. The disease was clear, but the antidote was not. At least not in the details that management needs to act on. This is where the Yates book comes into play. We provide a practical playbook for large enterprises. For example, how a customer-driven, repeatable and salable methodology combined with careful navigation of inertia, legitimacy, and key performance-induced friction can take advantage of the “mothership advantage.” Outlined. indicator. This level of detail makes up for the book’s greatest weaknesses: lack of data and lengthy case studies. Without this evidence, one has no choice but to believe the author that this works. It’s worth a try.