7 books that will challenge the way you work
Earlier this month, Celine Roque looked at 15 books that will inspire innovation. Now, for bookworms still filling out their 2017 reading challenges, or for anyone in search of a book that will actually impact their day-to-day, here are some of our favorite, mostly-new books on the topics of productivity and collaboration.
Deep Work by Cal Newport
Collabosphere keynote speaker Cal Newport authored one of the best books of 2016 for productivity nerds. In our age of constant connectivity and distraction, Newport urges readers to take a different, sometimes difficult path, that ultimately leads out of the shallows of emails and meetings and social media and inefficient time management.
Unsubscribe by Jocelyn K. Glei
The champion of Collabosphere’s Panel Island 2016, Glei tackled the perils of email addiction in this excellent, snappily designed and action-oriented book. The subtitle is key; she isn’t trying to kill email as a whole, just your negative relationship with your inbox. And let’s be honest: your relationship with your inbox has seen better days.
The Silo Effect by Gillian Tett
We devoted an entire blog post to The Silo Effect, and with good reason. Organizations that enable silos often have a hard time enjoying all of the benefits of a more collaborative workplace; silos (and the philosophy behind them) will have a direct negative impact on the user adoption and long-term success of solutions like iMeet Central.
“Mastering silos is not a task that is ever truly completed,” Tett writes. “It is always a work in progress.”
The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
This one is an outlier because it came out a few years ago (2013) and isn’t at all a business book, although our favorite book for business lessons in a recent year was The Martian, so this isn’t exactly out of character. This true story of a scrappy underdog crew from the Pacific Northwest vanquishing all sorts of Goliaths on their way to Olympic gold can easily be translated into the sort of business inspiration that will lead you charging into the conference room with a bullhorn.
“Crew races are not won by clones. They are won by crews, and great crews are carefully balanced blends of both physical abilities and personality types,” Brown writes. “…Good crews are good blends of personalities: someone to lead the charge, someone to hold something in reserve; someone to pick a fight, someone to make peace; someone to think things through, someone to charge ahead without thinking. Somehow all this must mesh. That’s the steepest challenge.”
Disrupted by Dan Lyons
Talking about the wonders of collaboration will often lead to talking about the wonders of a healthy company culture. The farcical problem of Disrupted, an account of the author’s mostly miserable year at HubSpot, is that one man’s awesome work environment can be another’s “someone please get me out of here.”
Powerhouse by James Andrew Miller
Miller is the master of entertainment industry oral histories, having previously tackled ESPN and Saturday Night Live. Powerhouse charts the incredible rise of CAA, a story that is most interesting during the agency’s ascent. It’s fascinating to read about the different personalities in the founders and key stakeholders that could have led to disaster, and certainly did lead to conflict, but ultimately helped fuel one of Hollywood’s great success stories.
But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman
This, too, is not a business book, but it does go to painstaking lengths to make and reinforce one very valuable lesson for leaders and collaborators in any industry: the conventional wisdom of today will often be discarded down the road. One of the more recent examples of this phenomenon is the open office plan, which had just reached the point of seemingly universal acceptance in the tech startup space, but now is the subject of an ever-expanding array of “AAAHH OPEN OFFICES ARE THE WORST” articles.