Recommended Resources – Freakonomics

StrategyDriven Recommended ResourcesFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D. Levitt and
Stephen J. Dubner

About the Book

Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner challenges conventional thinking by using economic analysis to uncover the underlying causes of everyday life events. Steven and Stephen reveal that economics is simply the study of incentives and that by understanding incentives one can reveal the hidden truth about why people behave as they do and the results consequently achieved. Freakonomics examines the commonly held myths surrounding:

  • Campaign finance
  • Cheating schoolteachers and sports players
  • Crime rates
  • Child-rearing

Why You Should Read This Book

StrategyDriven Contributors like Freakonomics for its logical approach to cause and effect analysis. Steven and Stephen examine problems from an unconventional viewpoint, unwilling to accept conventional wisdom as to why the world works as it does. Through their relentless pursuit of the truth, they expose many of society’s falsely held beliefs and reveal the incentivized behaviors driving the results we observe.

While sometimes controversial, Freakonomics represents the questioning attitude StrategyDriven promotes. Steven and Stephen push to find the highly quantified correlations between cause and effect necessary for sound decision-making. And although based on strong analytical principles, Freakonomics is written as a collection of easy-to-understand stories.

Freakonomics does not present a step-by-step method of performance improvement common to those books we typically recommend. However, it clearly conveys the importance of relentlessly asking those questions and performing those analyses necessary to gain an understanding of the true drivers of performance and is therefore a StrategyDriven recommended read.

Recommended Resources – AMA Business Boot Camp

AMA Business Boot Camp book reviewAMA Business Boot Camp: Management and Leadership Fundamentals That Will See You Successfully Through Your Career
edited by Edward T. Reilly

About the Book

AMA Business Boot Camp edited by American Management Association (AMA) International CEO Edward T. Reilly is a reader’s digest of fundamental management and leadership skills. Within this book, Edward compiles leading practices garnered from AMA’s ninety years of research and observation of the world’s top performing managers. This book contains essential insights for newly promoted and aspiring managers to:

  • Define their role as a manager; creating a healthy and productive workplace environment
  • Identify employee motivators; delegating for development and coaching for superior performance
  • Adapt to a changing organization; recruiting, interviewing, and selecting the right person for the job and the organization
  • Manage projects; from setting scope and selecting a team to delivering on-time, on-budget results
  • Develop a personal leadership style; building power and influence and motivating ‘difficult’ people while avoiding the pitfalls of office politics

Benefits of Using this Book

StrategyDriven Contributors like AMA Business Book Camp for its solid focus on management fundamentals. Edward thoroughly covers the foundational principles and practices every manager must embody in order to be successful. Additionally, the book contains many useful templates that newly promoted managers can add to their personal ‘tool kit’ so to further accelerate their growth into well performing leaders.

While thorough in its discussion of management basics, we found AMA Business Boot Camp to lack the vivid real-world examples that would have brought the application of its concepts to life. This lack of examples diminished the book’s actionable nature; challenging less experienced managers to determine for themselves what the recommended implementation would look like in the workplace environment.

AMA Business Boot Camp contains the complete set of solid management principles and practices every aspiring and newly promoted manager should embody. As such, we believe this book would serve these individuals well as they start their management journey; making AMA Business Boot Camp a StrategyDriven recommended read.

StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 65 – An Interview with Ed Reilly, editor of AMA Business Boot Camp

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Special Edition 65 – An Interview with Ed Reilly, editor of AMA Business Boot Camp explores today’s management and leadership challenges and the fundamentals that will help those in these senior positions achieve ongoing career success. During our discussion, Ed Reilly, editor of AMA Business Boot Camp: Management and Leadership Fundamentals That Will See You Successfully Through Your Career, shares with us his insights and experiences regarding the:

  • AMA Business Boot Camp book reviewthe difference between management and leadership
  • actions corporate leaders should take to close their management talent gaps
  • the biggest challenges facing new managers today and the actions they should take to overcome these difficulties
  • actions aspiring managers and leadership should take to prepare and position themselves for these advanced positions

Additional Information

In addition to the outstanding insights Ed shares in AMA Business Boot Camp and this special edition podcast are the resources accessible from his website, and Ed’s book, AMA Business Boot Camp, can be purchased by clicking here.

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About the Author

Ed ReillyEd Reilly is the 17th President and CEO of the American Management Association International. Prior to joining AMA in 2001, he was Presidetn and CEO of Big Flower Holdings, Inc., a leading provider of integrated marketing and advertising services. He also served as President of the McGraw-Hill Broadcasting Company, among various executive positions during his more than 25 years with The McGraw-Hill Companies. To read Ed’s complete biography, click here.

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal, and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

Recommended Resources – Impatient Optimist

Impatient Optimist: Bill Gates in His Own Words

edited by Lisa Rogak

About the Reference

Impatient Optimist edited by Lisa Rogak reveals Bill Gates’ core beliefs about business in a way no other author has been able to achieve… because these insights come directly from Bill Gates himself. Lisa’s book systematically covers a wide range of topics from ‘Addiction to Technology’ to ‘Relinquishing Control’, from ‘Streamlining Business Processes’ to ‘His Work Habits’, and ‘Hiring Employees’ to ‘Managing Employees’.

Throughout Impatient Optimist, three predominate themes are revealed:

  • the need to identify and understand any proposition’s return on investment
  • the value of maintaining the ‘big picture,’ and
  • the importance of family and of achieving an appropriate work-life balance.

Benefits of Using this Reference

StrategyDriven Contributors like Impatient Optimist because it reveals the intimate thoughts and beliefs of the man who is arguably the most successful business leader of all time but who is also one of the world’s greatest philanthropists. Many of Bill Gates’ approaches align well with the principles and philosophies we recommend business leaders adopt to further their organization’s success. While we recognize some may disagree with Bill Gates’ approach to certain circumstances – and on occasion we do too – all agree he is one of the great business leaders who continues to shape our modern world.

StrategyDriven Contributors appreciated the layout of Impatient Optimist, the organization of quotes around meaningful topic areas, the dating of each quote, and Bill Gates’ life story timeline provided at the end of the book. We found that knowing the setting and circumstances of the Bill Gates’ quotes provided insightful context from which to interpret them. As such, we recommend first-time readers review the ‘Milestones’ timeline presented at the end of the book first and refer to it often when reading individual quotes.

For it’s intimate portrayal of an American entrepreneurial icon, Impatient Optimist is a StrategyDriven recommended read.