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The 14 best business-related books to read this summer

Beach reads, anyone? Luckily, the summer is not over yet! No matter what the COVID-19 crisis does to our habitual summer pleasures, it still can't deny us the pleasure of a nice, escapist book.

And what comes to the summer holidays, it’s a great time to reflect, get inspired, and mentally prepare for the fall season. Our team gathered a list of books that have inspired our team lately, as well as over the years but still remain in our minds (and hearts).

[Hot new books, Inclusivity]

Demanding More: Why Diversity and Inclusion Don't Happen and What You Can Do About It by Sheree Atcheson

Is your workplace as diverse, inclusive and accepting as it should be? In Demanding More, Sheree Atcheson, Global Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Peakon and ex-Monzo, writes based on her experiences as a young woman of color in a white male tech environment.

In her book, she explains what diversity and inclusion are and what it means in the everyday experience of millions of people, in the office and life. She addresses the lack of awareness around privilege, unconscious and unchecked biases and argues that the best strategy for us all to adopt is allyship aka. everybody taking ownership of the issues and standing up to bias or discrimination.

Demanding More is the diversity and inclusion book you need to read this year. This book gives tools and strategies for everyday activities, making us accountable for delivering change around us. A good and important read for all of us!

[Hot new books, Marketing]

Sustainable Marketing - How to drive profits with a purpose by Michelle Carvill, Gemma Butler, Geraint Evans

It's great to see books like this being published, introducing a more holistic approach to business! Sustainable Marketing is a guide to implementing, maintaining, and scaling sustainability in any marketing initiative.

Sustainable Marketing represents the new benchmark for modern marketing. The book demonstrates the importance of sustainability in today's marketing and provides a comprehensive guide to implementing and driving sustainable practices that any organization can apply.

This book stresses that sustainable marketing isn't just great for the environment but also results in creating a loyal consumer base and a respected brand identity.

[Hot new book, Leadership]

Digital Body Language by Erica Dhawan

Video calls starting with “Hi, can you hear me?!” instead of just “Hi!” Ambiguous text messages - emojis included. Sound familiar? After becoming ever so digital, and even more, after the pandemic, have we lost our inherent capacity to understand and connect.

Human beings have relied on body language to connect and build trust and connection since day one. Yet today, with most of our communication happening from behind a screen, traditional body language signals are no longer visible - or so it might seem.

Digital Body Language is the ultimate guide to communicating and connecting in our ever-changing digital world. Written by communications expert and thought leader Erica Dhawan, who in her book combines cutting-edge research with engaging storytelling and decodes the new signals and cues that have replaced traditional body language across genders, generations, and cultures.

Dhawan investigates large conferences and video meetings to daily emails, instant messages, and conference calls—and offers insights and solutions to build clarity and trust to anyone in our hybrid world. In our digital realm, reading has become the new listening. Writing has become the new empathy. And a video call is worth a thousand emails!

[Business, Leadership]

First 90 Days Updated and Expanded by Michael Watkins

In this book, Michael D. Watkins, an expert on leadership transitions and an adviser to C-level executives in all types of organizations, discusses today's increasingly demanding professional landscape: the daily challenges managers face and navigating the increased expectations when moving into a new role.

In this updated and expanded version of the international bestseller The First 90 Days, Watkins walks the reader through each aspect of the transition scenario, identifies the most common pitfalls new leaders encounter, and presents the tools and strategies needed to pilot through. The book offers proven strategies for surmounting the difficulties of transitions - no matter where you are in your career.

According to Watkins, the most significant part of a successful transition lies in shortening the learning curve. In other words, if you ask him, a shorter learning period is the crucial secret of successful new leaders.

[Business, Leadership]

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek demonstrates that organizations often talk about “what” they do and “how” they plan to do it without tapping into why they do it. And according to him, it is exactly the “why” that drives the loyalty of employees, customers, and advocates alike. Sinek compares successful organizations and individuals to others that could be more successful - if only they understood and communicated their purpose.

The book definitely makes you reflect: Why do you do what you do? And why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? The book includes inspiring examples - companies like Apple, and individuals like Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers - that come to change the world into a better place.

This book is for anyone - big business or small, in the nonprofit world or even politics - who wants to inspire others. Sinek says it well: “Those who start with WHY never manipulate - they inspire.”

[Business, Leadership]

Agile Leadership Toolkit: Learning to Thrive With Self-Managing Teams, by Peter Koning

In the Agile Leadership Toolkit, longtime agile leader Peter Koning draws on his extensive experience in leading and empowering high-performing agile teams. He offers a comprehensive toolkit that includes structures, metrics, meeting techniques, and governance for creating thriving teams that build disruptive products and services. Koning thoughtfully explains how to lead agile teams at scale, how team members fit into both the team and the wider organization, and how it's crucial to create the right environment for your agile teams.

This actionable guide is for leaders at all levels — whether you’re supervising your first agile team, responsible for multiple teams, or leading the entire company.

[Oldie but Goodie, Business, Leadership]

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim, Renee Mauborgne

Blue Ocean Strategy is a bestselling global phenomenon that has challenged traditional thinking about strategy. The authors, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne argue that competition results in “a bloody red ocean of rivals fighting over a shrinking profit pool.”

Based on a study of 150 strategic moves spanning more than a decade and across several industries, the authors demonstrate that lasting success comes not from battling competitors but from creating strategic moves which they call "blue oceans" — untapped new market spaces ripe for growth.

Blue Ocean Strategy presents a systematic approach for making the traditional competition irrelevant. The book outlines principles and tools any company can implement to capture their blue oceans.

[Oldie but Goodie, Business, Leadership]

The Situational Leader by Dr. Paul Hersey

The Situational Leader is a popular book in leadership training circles. The author, Dr. Paul Hersey, has recognized how extremely critical the employees are to the success of their organization. In other words, leading and developing them is where organizations should invest.

However, different situations call for different leadership styles. Hersey walks the reader through his Leadership Model: Situational leadership, which is a way of altering the management style to adapt to each situation or task, and the needs of the team or team member. Situational leadership requires leaders to have multiple leadership styles and to move flexibly among them.

The model describes four leadership styles to be used, depending on the situation: telling, selling, participating, and delegating. A "situational leader" should also develop characteristics including flexibility, active listening, clear direction, encouraging participation, coaching skills. A good leadership read, written in an easy-to-read format!

[Oldie but Goodie, Business, Leadership]

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 15 million copies. Dale Carnegie's first book is a timeless classic and full of rock-solid advice for success in business and life.

As relevant as ever before, Carnegie's principles endure and will help you achieve your maximum potential in the complex and competitive modern age.

Did you know that the only diploma that hangs in Warren Buffett’s office is his certificate from Dale Carnegie Training? That said, here is your chance to learn the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.

As more and more of our communication takes place in the digital realm, Carnegie’s lessons have not only lasted but become all the more significant.


Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight might be the best memoir written by a business person. This autobiography is a 360-degree view of the personal and professional life of an entrepreneur Nike's founder and CEO Phil Knight.

Earlier private about his life, in his memoir, he shares the inside story of Nike’s early days as an intrepid start-up. It focuses on the first decade of Nike, and its evolution into one of the most iconic and game-changing, and most profitable brands.

You see, building an empire is never straightforward, and will not happen without blood, sweat and tears, and a big vision. Shoe Dog is an ego gratifying story of his awesomeness, but above all, it's an authentic and incredible story, with many risks and daunting setbacks that stood between him and his dream, not leaving aside his early triumphs and his most important relationships.

Oh, and the famous swoosh? That had been designed for $35 by a previously unknown graphic design student he hired on a whim.


Becoming by Michelle Obama

Becoming is a warm and wise autobiography of a woman who has emerged as one of the most iconic women of our era. Michelle Obama invites the readers into her world, sharing the experiences that have shaped her: from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her years spent at the world's most famous address.

As the first African-American to serve as the First Lady of the United States of America, she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history. She established herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, as raising two down-to-earth daughters despite the unforgiving media spotlight, and of course, stood next to her husband as he led America.

Becoming is a deeply personal memoir of a woman of soul and substance, a story of a woman who shows extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure.

[Business, Customer Experience]

Platform Revolution by Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary

Companies like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, Apple and PayPal have disrupted their markets since their launch day. Today they are industry leaders. What is the secret to their success?

You see, when people talk about technology and market disruption, they are referring to what is a platform business and a platform play. The book explains it all - These cutting-edge businesses are built on platforms: two-sided markets that revolutionize the way we do business.

Written by Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne, and Sangeet Paul Choudary, Platform Revolution is the first authoritative, fact-based book on platform models. The three of the most sought-after experts on platform businesses reveal the what, how, and why of this revolution and provide the first "manual" for creating a successful platform business.

The team at Kavanders is very passionate about platforms. That said, we can warmly recommend this book for those wanting to understand the platform business better!

[Business, Customer Experience]

The Zappos Experience by Joseph A. Michelli

The Zappos Experience takes you through the playful and unique company culture Zappos has become known for. Joseph Michelli, the author, explains how Zappos does it — and how you can do it in your industry.

Zappos is a very impressive transformational business success story of our time, and a household name has come to stand for a new standard of customer service, an amazing online shopping experience, a great place to work.

Michelli takes us to the behind-the-scenes at Zappos, showing how employees at all levels operate while providing the “big picture” leadership methods that have earned the company $1 billion in annual gross sales during the last decade (with almost zero advertising).

The lessons in this book are applicable not only to every business sector but also to the personal and professional development of people at every level of an organization.

[Psychology, Happiness]

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Bringing to life scientific research in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, philosophy, and behavioral economics, this bestselling book reveals what scientists have discovered about the uniquely human ability to imagine the future. Gilbert explains why we seem to know so little about the hearts and minds of the people we are about to become.

The Stumbling on Happiness explores how the brain processes information, and this will help you understand how the brain often performs all kinds of tricks that you are not even aware of. It will make you realize that you shouldn’t trust your brain as much as you probably do.

We hope this list inspires you to pick up a book or your Kindle! Did we miss a good one? Please let us know!


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