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Recommended Readings for Creative Leaders Fall 2016

September 7, 2016

Fall 2016 promises a new shelf of instructive and inspiring books for creative leaders. The following sixteen recommended titles are scheduled for publication between September and December.

The Content Trap: A Strategist's Guide to Digital Change  
Bharat Anand
(October 18, Random House)
An accessible guide to greater success in our thoroughly connected world from the award-winning Harvard Business School professor. Using examples like Tencent, The New York Times, and The Economist, Anand argues that value in business today comes not from making the best content but discovering and enabling customers’ choice-making and connectivity to others.

Managing in the Gray: Five Timeless Questions for Resolving Your Toughest Problems at Work
Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.
(September 6, Harvard Business Press)

The author of Leading Quietly and Defining Moments shares helpful tools for better thinking in uncertain situations. Where analysis and precedent leave off, he proposes a proven framework of five questions for leaders to ask themselves to improve judgment: What are the net, net consequences? What are my core obligations? What will work in the world as it is? Who are we? And, What can I live with?

Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice
Clayton M. Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, and David S. Duncan
(October 4, HarperBusiness)

Moving beyond the long-held belief in understanding the customers’ needs and preferences, our leading thinker about disruptive innovation, and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, here prioritizes customer ‘jobs to be done’. Illustrated by cases including Airbnb, Amazon, Chobani and Uber, the result is the argument for a new theory of business growth more reliable than the prevailing hit-and-miss process of product and service creation.

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade  
Robert B. Cialdini
(September 6, Simon & Schuster)

Among the most renowned thinkers about persuasion, and the author of Influence: Psychology and Practice, Cialdini’s new work looks less at the message itself than at the timing of the message’s delivery. By recognizing the ‘privileged moment of change’ that exists before action is taken, his claim is that would-be influencers have a greater opportunity to redirect the focus of others’ attention – and pre-suade them.

Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life
Susan David
(September 6, Avery)

A psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and the co-founder of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital has written a powerful book on embracing your core values, being more decisive, and committing to meaningful change. Based in science and practice, David’s approach emphasizes the acknowledgment of uncomfortable emotions, thoughts, and experiences in order to adapt and move forward from them toward growth.

When Execution Isn't Enough: Decoding Inspirational Leadership
Claudio Feser
(September 26, Wiley)

McKinsey’s Global Head of Leadership Development shares the firm’s research saying that the essential work of leadership today has shifted from influence to inspiration. Feser’s resulting three-step model for leaders today is to: understand the neuroscience of inspiration, tailor your inspirational approach to different leadership scenarios, and initiate an inspiration cascade to influence people at scale.

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives
Tim Harford
(October 4, Riverhead Books)

While many would casually cite a relationship between messiness and creativity, Harford draws a series of compelling connections based in neuroscience, sociology and psychology. The award-winning journalist, economist, and bestselling author of The Undercover Economist, Adapt, and The Logic of Life explores how disorder and confusion are at the heart of the resilience and responsiveness that provide advantage at work and in life.

The New Alpha: Join the Rising Movement of Influencers and Changemakers Who are Redefining Leadership
Danielle Harlan
(September 30, McGraw-Hill)

An unconventional guidebook containing a concrete approach for readers’ individual plans to become better, happier and more effective leaders and people. The founder & CEO of the Center for Advancing Leadership and Human Potential, Harlan helpfully draws together such concerns as personal authenticity, humility, health and wellness, ethics and creativity as bases for developing a ‘Personal Leadership Identity’.

A Field Guide to Lies: Critical Thinking in the Information Age
Daniel J. Levitin
(September 6, Penguin Group Dutton)

How can we deal with digital overload, determine the better quality information, and become more effective critical thinkers and decision-makers? The Dean of Social Sciences at the Minerva Schools at KGI, and best-selling author of The Organized Mind and This is Your Brain on Music, offers a practical guide to better managing today’s constant flow of data and to improving critical thinking.

The Undoing Project: The Friendship that Changed Our Minds
Michael Lewis
(December 6, W.W. Norton)

The best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, and Flash Boys returns with an account of the extraordinary friendship and collaboration of Israeli psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. Their Nobel Prize-winning work, summarized in Thinking Fast and Slow, studied our assumptions and intuition, the decision-making process, and judgments and uncertainty, and ultimately produced a new theory of mind.

Innovating: A Doer's Manifesto for Starting from a Hunch, Prototyping Problems, Scaling Up, and Learning to Be Productively Wrong
Luis Perez-Breva
(December 16, The MIT Press)

The originator of the MIT Innovation Teams Program has created a thoughtful, lively, and immediately usable kit for innovating. Like Osterwalder and Pigneur’s Business Model Generation, the thoroughly illustrated volume is a practical handbook that guides readers to taking ideas from hunch to learning to experimentation to presentation.

Resilient Organizations: Responsible Leadership in Times of Uncertainty
Guia Beatrice Pirotti and Markus Venzin
(November 30, Cambridge University Press)

Based in multi-year research conducted across industries, two strategy professors from Bocconi University develop a measure for organizational resilience, identify resilience drivers, and demonstrate how firms can appropriate value from high resilience levels. Their insights should benefit leaders in building and sustaining more robust business models better able to survive and thrive amidst continuing challenges, shocks and crises.

Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas
Steven Poole
(November 15, Scribner)

The award-winning author of Unspeak, Trigger Happy, and Who Touched Base In My Thought Shower?, and The Guardian columnist, has penned a lively book on the evolution of ideas that reaches across examples from art and philosophy to science and business. Both historical and forward-looking, his central argument is that new ideas emerge from revisiting and remixing overlooked, incomplete and misunderstood ideas of the past.

Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways
William C. Taylor
(September 20, Portfolio)

While priority in creativity today is often given to tech entrepreneurs and disruptors in Silicon Valley and worldwide, the Editor of Fast Company and author of Practically Radical focuses here on the innovation and re-invention taking place elsewhere. Using examples of both start-ups and established firms, from Lincoln Electric and USAA to the WD-40 company, Taylor builds a valuable framework for anyone aiming to do the extraordinary.

Design a Better Business: New Tools, Skills, and Mindset for Strategy and Innovation
Patrick Van Der Pijl, Justin Lokitz, Lisa Kay Solomon
(September 19, Wiley)

The producer of Osterwalder and Pigneur’s Business Model Generation, a business model consultant, and an innovation strategist have stitched together ‘a complete design journey’ for those wanting to build, launch and scale a business. Filled with real-world case studies, the lavishly illustrated handbook works systematically through the essential skills and challenges of storytelling, presentation, business modeling, innovation, and questioning.

The Global Management of Creativity
Marcus Wagner, Jaume Valls-Pasola, Thierry Burger-Helmchen, eds
(December 14, Routledge)

Business faculty from the Universities of Augsburg, Barcelona and Strasbourg have gathered important scholarship on the global management of creativity and related innovation processes. In particular, the cross-disciplinary collection documents the shift from optimizing production, commercialisation activities and efficiencies to the rise of a more agile, flexible and idea-driven creative economy.

David Slocum Faculty Director Executiv MBA

Dr. David Slocum

Academic Advisor and Faculty Member
Berlin School of Creative Leadership