Amazon.com updates its list of the bestselling business books every hour. Here is a snapshot of what is hot right now, this Monday morning, February 2, in the “Management and Leadership” category.
1. The Great Depression Ahead: How to Prosper in the Crash Following the Greatest Boom in History by Harry S. Dent. Dent explains “The Perfect Storm” as peak oil prices collide with peaking generational spending trends by 2010, leading to a more severe downtrend for the global economy and individual investors alike. He outlines the critical issues that will face our government and other major institutions, offering long- and short-term tactics for weathering the storm. He offers recommendations that will allow families, businesses, investors, and individuals to manage their assets correctly and come out on top.
2. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. You probably don’t realize it, but life is a series of highly improbable yet earthshaking events. That’s the argument of The Black Swan, which in many ways is a re-do of the author’s 2001 best-seller, Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets. The highly entertaining new book, though, is longer, better-grounded, and with more advice about how to live in the presence of deep unpredictability. The core of The Black Swan argues that economists, journalists, and corporate planners behave as if they’re living in predictable “Mediocristan” when they’re really in “Extremistan.” It’s a richly enjoyable read with an important message.
3. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell. Blink is about the first two seconds of looking–the decisive glance that knows in an instant. Gladwell, the best-selling author of Outliers: The Story of Success and The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, campaigns for snap judgments and mind reading with a gift for translating research into splendid storytelling.
4. StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup’s Now, Discover Your Strengths by Tom Rath. Are you unsure where your true talents lie? Do you feel that you are both a person who gets things done and someone who offers penetrating analysis? Well, you can discover whether you are truly an “achiever” or an “analytical” by completing the online quiz. Then, the book will give you “ideas for action” and tips for how best you can work with others. More of a patiencetester than Strengthsfinder, the quiz/book is probably best for those who have lots of time on their hands.
5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leapâ€¦ and Others Don’t by Jim Collins. The author of Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, Collins concludes that it is possible for a good company to become a great company, but finds there are no silver bullets. Collins and his team of researchers began their quest by sorting through a list of 1,435 companies, looking for those that made substantial improvements in their performance over time. They finally settled on 11â€“including Fannie Mae, Gillette, Walgreens, and Wells Fargoâ€“and discovered common traits that challenged many of the conventional notions of corporate success.
6. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink. Just as information workers surpassed physical laborers in economic importance, Pink claims, the workplace terrain is changing yet again, and power will inevitably shift to people who possess strong right brain qualities. His advocacy of “R-directed thinking” begins with a bit of neuroscience tourism to a brain lab that will be extremely familiar to those who read Steven Johnson’s Mind Wide Open: Your Brain and the Neuroscience of Everyday Life last year, but while Johnson was fascinated by the brain’s internal processes, Pink is more concerned with how certain skill sets can be harnessed effectively in the dawning “Conceptual Age.” The second half of the book details the six “senses” Pink identifies as crucial to success in the new economy-design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning-while “portfolio” sections offer practical (and sometimes whimsical) advice on how to cultivate these skills within oneself.
7. Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse (Lynn Sonberg Books) by Peter D. Schiff and John Downes. The country has gone from the world’s largest creditor to its greatest debtor; the value of the dollar is sinking; domestic manufacturing is winding down – and these trends don’t seem to be slowing. This book is a warning of a looming period marked by sizeable tax hikes, loss of retirement benefits, double digit inflation, even – as happened recently in Argentina – the possible collapse of the middle class. However, Schiff does have a survival plan that can provide the protection that readers will need in the coming years.
8. Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money–That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki with Sharon Lechter. Robert Kiyosaki reveals how he developed his unique economic perspective from his two fathers: his real father, who was highly educated but fiscally poor; and the father of his best friend – an eighth-grade drop-out who became a self-made multi-millionaire. The lifelong monetary problems experienced by his “poor dad” pounded home the counterpoint communicated by his “rich dad”. Taking that message to heart, Kiyosaki was able to retire at the age of 47. This book lays out his philosophy and aims to open readers eyes by: exploding the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich; challenging the belief that your house is an asset; showing parents why they can’t rely on schools to teach their children about money; defining once and for all an asset versus a liability; and explaining what to teach your children about money for their future financial success.
9. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni. The author targets group behavior in the final entry of his trilogy of corporate fables. When the instructional tale is over, Lencioni discusses the “five dysfunctions” (absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results) and provides a questionnaire for readers to use in evaluating their own teams and specifics to help them understand and overcome these common shortcomings.
10. The Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio: How to Build and Grow a Panic-Proof Investment Portfolio by David Gardner and Tom Gardner. The research, the stories, and the results that underpin this book stem from the revolutionary and wildly successful “Motley Fool Million Dollar Portfolio””â€”a one-of-a-kind Web experiment in which individual investors follow along as Motley Fool co-founder Tom Gardner invests and manages $1 million of The Motley Fool’s own money.
11. Strengths-Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. From the author of the long-running # 1 bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0: A New and Upgraded Edition of the Online Test from Gallup’s Now, Discover Your Strengths comes a landmark study of great leaders, teams, and the reasons why people follow. The book identifies three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.
12. Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton. The authors propose a unique approach: focusing on enhancing people’s strengths rather than eliminating their weaknesses. Following up on the coauthors’ popular previous book, First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, it fully describes 34 positive personality themes the two have formulated (such as Achiever, Developer, Learner, and Maximizer) and explains how to build a “strengths-based organization” by capitalizing on the fact that such traits are already present among those within it.
13. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury. Everything in life is a negotiation. The book, based on research from the Harvard Negotiation Project, offers a unique approach to conflict resolution as the authors explain how to separate problems from personal agendas, how to “increase the size of the pie” rather than making the slices smaller, and how to take the “charge” out of polarized positions.
14. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Dan Heath. Unabashedly inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, the brothers Heathâ€”Chip a professor at Stanford’s business school, Dan a teacher and textbook publisherâ€”offer an entertaining, practical guide to effective communication. Drawing extensively on psychosocial studies on memory, emotion and motivation, their study is couched in terms of “stickiness”â€”that is, the art of making ideas unforgettable.
15. The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth by Richard Paul Evans. Originally self-published, as was his bestselling fable, The Christmas Box, Evans’s pithy little financial guide lays out the five principles common to many self-made fortunes. While seemingly simpleâ€”decide to be wealthy; take responsibility for your money; keep a portion of everything you earn; win in the margins; and give backâ€”the lessons require discipline and commitment from their practitioners. They also require curtailing spending and eliminating debt. Evans shares his lessons through poignant personal stories, a few well-placed statistics and philosophical observations.