Illuminate. Nancy Duarte & Patti Sanchez. 2016. ISBN 9781101980163. The sub head says, Ignite change through speeches, stories, ceremonies, and symbols. This is a book for change agents, almost a blueprint for change. Liberally sprinkled with recognizable examples the text is logically organized. The impetus for the book was a serious reorg that Duarte had to undergo when her business really took off. Likened to changing jet engines in mid air, Duarte carried it off. This is a book that you need t read end to end.
Confessions of a Pricing Man. How price affects everything. Hermann Simon. 2015. ISBN 9783319203997. I follow pricing literature quite closely. Each book has its value, but many times it can drop rather quickly into the weeds of economic theory. This author is not afraid of complexity, but her does know how to create value for the reader. Pricing discipline for profit does drive everything and it is always wiser to maintain profit over volume. The analyses he presents with the multiple real world examples ( and you will likely recognize most of them) builds a very readable book in a genre that too often is not known for readability. Again I am struck by the contrast between firms understanding that they need to deliver value to a customer to stabilize/grow their profits, yet in North America it is all about commission sales based on volume, not profits. Every CEO, CFO and Sales manager should read this book.
Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice. Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan.
Competing Against Luck: The story of innovation and customer choice. Clayton M Christensen, Taddy Hall, Karen Dillon, & David S. Duncan. .2016. ISBN 9780062435637. As ever any book from Christensen is a delight to read. This one fleshes out the concept of a Job to Be Done as the driving force behind successful innovation. Many successful and innovative companies start out with a clear focus on the users job to be done and they are wildly successful. Later as this focus gets muddied by all the reams of data coming from the marketplace, many companies lose their way. Using experience gained from the numerous companies they have worked with over the years, the authors clearly show how the successful companies like Amazon, Intuit, The Khan Academy , The Mayo Clinic and others continue to stay focused on their North Star. I recommend this book to anyone in a position of leadership to read, ponder , reread and implement.
A Truck Full Of Money. One man’s quest to recover from great success. Tracey Kidder. 2016. ISBN 9780399589553. I read Kidders seminal book , The Soul of a New Machine when I was first selling computer hardware. It was a book that changed and then reinforced my outlook to these wonderful machines. This book takes a look at the career of Paul English – who co created Kayak and then struck big time money. With his easy to read, cogent style, Kidder makes this into a novel that pulls you along English’s career track. You will come away, knowing much more about the challengers and pull of programming/software engineering and the mindset of these very creative often difficult folks. I recommend this book to anyone in the software industry today as well as those contemplating a career in it.