As an avid reader, I’m always on the hunt for new, and mind-expanding books to add to my growing list. Through my association with TPP and it’s members, I’ve received many recommendations from fellow bibliophiles. Here is a (growing) list of recommended books, from TPP members and partners. Please email your suggestions ([email protected]):
The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack – Recommended by Darrel Hopkins (Controller, Prime Inc.) – If you’re business is is ‘stuck’ or going the wrong direction, I can’t think of a better book, or business model to get a company ‘unstuck’. This is the only book I’ve (Chris) read three times in the span of two weeks! Thanks for the recommendation Darrel!
Start with Why by Simon Sinek – Recommended by Chris Hayes (VP Business Development and Logistics – Southland Transportation). Start With Why shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
Warren Buffett: Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein – I never aspired to be an entrepreneur, or ‘in-business’ until I read this book. Although, it’s impossible to duplicate the success Mr. Buffett has accrued over the years, it’s fairly easy to use his contrarian approach to all things in life – including business. This book (which I’ve read over ten times), is the best biography on Warren Buffett in existence.
Measure What Matters by John Doerr – Recommended by Steve Hitchcock (COO, Duncan & Son Lines) – There is a massive demand from trucking enterprises, big and small to figure out a method or framework to execute rapidly on a chosen strategy. Many companies in the TPP program use formal programs such as 4DX (Four Disciplines of Execution) from the Franklin Covey Group. Without a doubt, 4DX, and similar programs are an extremely effective tool. However, it’s not the only method. This book details a proven, open-source (free) method for companies to get more done. Initially developed and refined by Andy Grove (legendary CEO of Intel), with massive success. This book is a must read, as is anything else recommended by Steve Hitchcock.
Multipliers – How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz Wiseman and Greg Mckeown – Recommended by Steve Perryman (CFO, Christenson Transportation Inc.) – Review by Booklist – Why do some genius-level leaders seem to drain intelligence and performance out of the people around them, while others stimulate, motivate, and get so much more out of their work associates? Wiseman labels the former group, people who need to be the smartest person in the room, as diminishers, while the latter are multipliers, people who use their smarts to stimulate and enhance the creativity of the group. Both authors are connected with the Wiseman Group, a leadership research center that advises senior executives and provides workshops and leadership assessments around the world. By analyzing 150 executives across America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the authors have identified what they consider the five most important disciplines that help managers to think and act more like multipliers, bringing people together, and giving others on the team more freedom, power, and responsibility, which ultimately generates self-worth and satisfaction. The book is a well-organized sytem that could be used as a personal tool or as a workbook for team-development seminars
The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership by Steven Sample – Recommended by Steve Hitchcock (COO, Duncan & Son Lines) – In this offbeat approach to leadership, college president Steven B. Sample-the man who turned the University of Southern California into one of the most respected and highly rated universities in the country-challenges many conventional teachings on the subject.
Chop Wood, Carry Water: How to Fall in Love with the Process of Becoming Great by Joshua Medcalf – Recommended by Steve Hitchcock (COO, Duncan & Son Lines) – Guided by “Akira-sensei,” John comes to realize the greatest adversity on his journey will be the challenge of defeating the man in the mirror. This powerful story of one boy’s journey to achieve his life long goal of becoming a samurai warrior, brings the Train to be Clutch curriculum to life in a powerful and memorable way.
The Breakthrough Company by Keith McFarland – Recommended by Jack Porter (Managing Director, TCA Profitability Program) – Keith McFarland reveals how everyday companies become extraordinary and that breakthrough success can be found through a set of strategies and skills that anyone can emulate. Powerful and specific actions steps and advice from leaders who have taken their companies to extraordinary levels of growth and profitability is provided on nearly every page. This book is stuffed full of real-world tools and insights that can be used by anyone wanting his or her business to join this exclusive circle.
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin – Recommended by Colt McLeod (President, McLeod Express) – Detailing the mind-set and principles that enable SEAL units to accomplish the most difficult missions in combat, Extreme Ownership shows how to apply them to any team, family or organization. Each chapter focuses on a specific topic such as Cover and Move, Decentralized Command, and Leading Up the Chain, explaining what they are, why they are important, and how to implement them in any leadership environment.
Blitzscaling by Reid Hoffman & Chris Yeh – Recommended by Craig Fuller (CEO, FreightWaves) – Silicon Valley is renowned for its striking number of businesses which have grown from garage start-ups into global giants. Hoffman and Yeh show that these companies prioritized speed over efficiency in order to accelerate to the stage in a company’s life cycle where it generates the most value. The authors provide a framework that will allow the reader to design business models which support growth at a furious pace, capture the market and allows them to navigate the necessary shifts in strategy needed at each level of scale.
The Third Wave by Steve Case – Recommended by Craig Fuller (CEO, FreightWaves) – AOL founder Steve Case urges corporate America to embrace the Internet’s “Third Wave”. The current wave is the successor to the “First Wave” of infrastructure development from pioneers such as America Online. The author weaves his story of business success with the sage of AOL and details AOL’s merger with Time Warner and the errors that led to its decline. The book in a call to action for entrepreneurs, policy makers and corporate executives to leverage the disruptive, decentralized and tech-enabled Third Wave.
Bloomberg by Bloomberg – Michael Bloomberg – Recommended by Craig Fuller (CEO, FreightWaves) – This offers an intimate look at the creative mind and driven personality behind the Bloomberg brand. He describes in detail his early Wall Street career, both the victories and frustrations, including a personal account of what it was like to be fired and given $10 million on the same day. This book combines personal stories with penetrating insights into business and technology, while also offering lessons from his unique approach to management.
The Everything Store by Brad Stone – Recommended by Thom Albrecht (CFO, Chief Strategy Officer, Celadon) – Over 20 years ago, Amazon was just an online bookstore that at times detractors predicted would go bankrupt, that WalMart would easily crush it or that it would be out executed by the likes of eBay or Google. This history of Amazon shows how wrong those people were and describes the values that led to its success, including Jeff Bezos’ relentless ambition to beat competitors and take every advantage that Amazon can get. Of particular note is their culture of swift execution (through parallel high impact projects living at any one time) and reacting quickly to fend off equally fast executing competitors.
The Knowing-Doing Gap – Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton – Recommended by Tim Almack (Transportation Managing Partner, Katz Sapper and Miller) – Why are there so many gaps between what firms know they should do and what they actually do? Why do so many companies fail to implement the experiences and insight they’ve worked so hard acquire? Executives must use plans analysis, meetings and presentations to inspire deeds, not as substitutes for action. Companies that act on their knowledge-doing gap also eliminate fear, abolish destructive internal competition, measure what matters, and promote leaders who understand the work people do in their firms.
Problem Solving 101: A Simple Book for Smart People – Ken Watanabe – Recommended by David Roush (Transportation Managing Psrtner, Katz, Sapper & Miller) – Are you constantly putting out fires? Do your colleagues constantly form a line at your desk/office to get your input on a decision or task? Perhaps you and your team need to re-visit the concept of critical thinking, and the correlation between this rare attribute and high performance. Easy read, high value for time spent!
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen – Yesterday’s methods no longer work. Allen’s premise is simple: our productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. Only when our minds are clear and organized can we achieve effective productivity and unleash our potential. This book will show you how to pick up the pace without wearing yourself down.
Truckload Transportation: Economics, Pricing and Analysis by Leo Lazarus – Leo Lazarus covers every facet of truckload pricing including the truckload business model, dedicated fleet pricing and design, and bid response analysis. Concepts such as capacity and balance, utilization, length of haul, empty miles and revenue per mile are discussed in depth. Four detailed case studies in bid response analysis, multiple chapters on dedicated pricing and an in-depth chapter on network analysis are other features of this highly detailed book at will become a go-to resource.
Skin in the Game – Nasim Taleb – Nasim Taleb’s argument is attractive – if you don’t have any skin in the game then you shouldn’t be in the game. “If you give an opinion, and someone follows it, you are morally obligated to be, yourself, exposed to its consequences.” By having skin in the game, you will think well, learn from your mistakes and evolve by weeding out failure – those who don’t succeed must face something bad.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl – During, and partially because of his suffering in Nazi death camps, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy, known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is his search for meaning. This enduring classic of survival literature is a remarkable blend of science and humanism and an introduction to one of the most significant psychological movements of the last 60 years.
Make Your Bed by William McRaven – On May 17, 2014, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on their Commencement day. Taking inspiration from the university’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world,” he shared the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome challenges not only in his training and long Naval career, but also throughout his life; and explained how anyone can use these basic lessons to change themselves – and the world for the better. This timeless book will provide simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire you to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller – Ron Chernow – While providing abundant new evidence of Rockefeller’s misdeeds, Chernow discards the stereotype of the cold-blooded monster to sketch an unforgettably human portrait of a quirky, eccentric original. A devout Baptist and temperance advocate, Rockefeller gave money more generously than anyone before him. John D. Rockefeller’s story captures a pivotal moment in American history, documenting the dramatic post-Civil War shift from small business to the rise of giant corporations that irrevocably transformed the nation.
Hillbilly Elegy – J.D. Vance – Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis – that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never been written about as searingly from the inside. This is the true story of what a social, regional and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
Tribe – Sebastian Junger – There are ancient tribal behaviours – loyalty, interdependency, cooperation – that flourish during times of turmoil and suffering – the very same behaviours that typify good soldiering. The structure of our modern society is at odds with our tribal instincts and many of the difficulties that veterans face upon returning home stem not just from the trauma they’ve suffered but also from the individualist nature of the societies they must reintegrate into. Understanding that we all belong to one tribe or another will help us face the problems not just of our nation but of our individual lives as well.
The Innovators Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail – Clayton Christensen – Successful, outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership – or even fail – as new, unexpected competitors rise and take over the market. There are two parts to this dilemma: 1 – Value to innovation is an S-curve – improving a product takes time and many iterations. The first of these provides minimal value to the customer but in time the base is created and value increases exponentially. However, eventually the value of each iteration begins to drop; 2 – the incumbent has the luxury of a huge customer set but high expectations of annual sales. New entries find niches that do not require the yearly sales of the incumbent, resulting in more time to innovate. Because the newer entrant is in the middle of the S-curve, once the incumbent’s customers become interested in the new product, it is too late for the incumbent to react to the new product. This formed Christensen’s theory of “disruptive innovation”.