HR Management & Compliance

BusinessWeek’s Bestseller List

BusinessWeek ranks business books that are the most recent bestsellers and provides a short summary.

1. 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.

2. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss. Ferriss isn’t shy about tooting his own horn: He says he “speaks six languages, runs a multinational firm from wireless locations worldwide, and has been a world-record holder in tango, a national champion in kickboxing, and an actor in a hit television series in Hong Kong.” Is this the sort of person you really want to be taking advice from? Anyway, Ferris offers recommendations and resources for everything from eliminating wasted time to oursourcing your job and getting cheap airfare. Discover your dreams and live them!

3. Killing Sacred Cows: Overcoming the Financial Myths That Are Destroying Your Prosperity by Garrett B. Gunderson. Embrace a mindset of self-reliance, says inspirational speaker Gunderson, and don’t be misled by financial planners’ brainwashing! To Gunderson, the stock market induces a pro-gambling mindset that can only threaten your golden years.

4. Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution: Solving the One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier by Gary Harpst. A blueprint for creating a strategy and executing it, from a software executive and small-business coach.

5. 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.

6. Debt Cures “They” Don’t Want You to Know About by Kevin Trudeau. f you’re deep in debt and struggling to get out, this book offers fundamentals on what to do. Trudeau, author of The Weight Loss Cure They Don’t Want You to Know About, has a low opinion of credit card companies and expends a good deal of rhetoric denouncing it. But if you’re looking to improve your credit score, the basics are here.

7. Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School by Philip Delves Broughton. The author entered Harvard Business School at age 32—a good bit older than most of his classmates, to say the least—with a stint as Paris bureau chief of Britain’s Daily Telegraph in his past. Did that shape his experience of B-school? You bet, as he found most of the “fun” to be pretty jejune stuff. Still, his account of the two years at HBS is insightful and entertaining.

8. Our Iceberg Is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber. A simple fable about animals who face devastating change-and can’t bear to deal with it. Does this sound familiar? This year’s Who Moved My Cheese? maybe? Anyway, skip the story about icebergs and penguins and go directly to page 130 for the authors’ “eight step process of successful change.” Then, spend the time you’ve saved mulling over how these commonsense suggestions can be put into place at your organization.

9. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Dan Heath. Calling Malcolm Gladwell: Just remember, it’s the sincerest form of flattery. In this “complement to The Tipping Point,” the brothers Heath set out to define just what makes some ideas stick in the mind while others melt away. They discover six principles that are essential to getting people to pay attention to, believe, and care about an idea. With a host of stories involving everyone from baseball great Leo Durocher to venture capitalist John Doerr, there’s plenty to keep marketing directors entertained during their next plane trips.

10. When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change by Mohamed El-Erian. Formerly the head of Harvard University’s endowment and now the chief at bond-investment firm PIMCO, El-Erian says the global financial system is reeling from the first shocks of a major transformation. The engine of growth is shifting from the U.S. economy to smaller players, including India and China. As the poorer countries have begun financing the rich ones, investors are facing new opportunities—and new risks, says the author.

11. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. First published in 1981, The One Minute Manager helped to create the now flourishing genre of business fables: simple, instructive stories involving fictional characters. Here, an unnamed “young man” learns from an enlightened manager about three practical managerial techniques, all built around the idea that people must come first. “The people that he worked with felt that he was honestly on their side from the very beginning. And that made all the difference.”

12. Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini. Marketing prof Cialdini and his co-authors do indeed consider 50 questions about persuading others. Among these: Why should restaurants ditch their baskets of mints? When is it right to admit you were wrong? And does fear persuade or does it paralyze? These are a bit uneven, but some, like the chapter on Post-it Notes, are interesting. So be picky, and you may find some interesting tidbits.

13. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter. Are there things you do that have helped you succeed so far, but that how have your career idling in neutral? Executive coach Goldsmith identifies 20 such ways of behaving, from an obsessive need to show how smart you are to a habit of withholding information. The authors also provide a program to help you change your irritating ways. But will this stuff really help you get ahead? Let’s put it this way: Don’t pass up any chances to marry the boss’s daughter.

14. Women & Money: Owning the Power to Control Your Destiny by Suze Orman. Why is it that women need so many pep talks about money? In her eighth personal-finance book, Orman does little more than echo the now-tired sentiment that “women still don’t want to take responsibility when it comes to their money.” It seems that gals have “a totally dysfunctional relationship” with lucre, and therefore it’s necessary for more trees to die to help them get on top of the situation. There’s plenty of inspirational talk along with basic information on bank accounts, credit reports, retirement planning, and insurance. Strictly for beginners.

15. The Little Book that Saves Your Assets: What the Rich Do to Stay Wealthy in Up and Down Markets (Little Books. Big Profits) by David M. Darst. The author is a managing director at Morgan Stanley. In the latest in Wiley’s “little book” series of investing titles, he considers “the art and science of asset allocation” and getting the right mix of stocks, bonds, cash, gold, real estate, and more.

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