Excel at the Job Dec 28 2010

Five Best Business Books to Read for Your Career in 2011

By kyle stock

Will 2011 bring a huge market boom or another economic catastrophe? Depends on who you ask. Still, there is no bear market for career advice and it almost always pays dividends. Here are some new offerings that will serve you well in the New Year.

1. Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World, by Stuart Diamond ($26)

Diamond is a chronic overachiever. Harvard law degree. Wharton MBA. Pulitzer Prize via the New York Times. CEO of a bunch of companies. And currently a professor at Wharton. In other words, he knows a lot about "getting more."

Diamond's tome advises to forget about power and probabilities in a negotiation and focus on who is sitting across the table -- their emotions and "the pictures" in their heads. He also makes the case for occasionally losing, which, honestly, doesn't seem like his strong suit.

2. The Soul of Leadership: Unlocking Your Potential for Greatness, by Deepak Chopra ($19.99)

Chopra, the author of "How to Know God" and "The Path to Love" probably doesn't carry as much clout in the business world as the Sage of Omaha, but he's has been teaching CEOs for some time. The core of his counseling here is of the know thyself variety, which is never bad advice.

Chopra writes: "At the deepest level, a leader is the symbolic soul of a group." Meditate on that.

3. Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader, by Linda A. Hill, Kent L. Lineback ($25.95)

Read a book...like a boss.

Seriously though, the savvy folks at Harvard Business School (whose press unit published this offering) probably know more than most about teaching people how to lead. Hill, an HBS professor, and Lineback, a writer and near-constant HBS collaborator, break leadership down into three fronts: managing yourself, managing a network and managing a team.

4. The Personal MBA, by Josh Kaufman ($27.95)

Kaufman, a former middle manager at Proctor & Gamble, has built a following teaching people how to do an end-run around the ivory tower. His website, personalmba.com, has condensed business books and broken b-school topics into digestible pieces since 2005.

The book version of Kaufman's schtick also includes a long list of sources to plumb for more information. At $28, it might be worth a shot.

5. The Futures: The Rise of the Speculator and the Origins of the World's Biggest Markets, by Emily Lambert ($26.95)

Lambert, who writes about finance and trading at Forbes magazine, provides a historic vista of the Chicago trading pits, from its feedlot roots to its feverish, tech-juiced present. She also makes the case for speculators.

As Uncle Sam goes about rewriting the rules on how derivatives are bought and sold, those attached to the business would do well to look back.

Write to Kyle Stock




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