M. Taffer Consulting’s 2021 Essential Reading list

With many of my friends, colleagues, and clients still in some version of quarantine, I have heard from many folks that they plan to read more this year. In support of that noble goal, and at the request of a current client facing some new and exciting challenges in his business, I have compiled the suggested reading list below.

Have you read any of these? What did you love or hate? Have other suggestions I didn’t cover? Tell me in the comments below.

For the business owner

  1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

This book reveals and outlines the downsides of being the person at the top. Learn about the common challenges faced by business owners and CEOs along with techniques used to overcome normal day to day business challenges. This book was almost unanimously recommended by startup CEOs I solicited for advice. Having read it, I understand why!

  1. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup offers a new approach for entrepreneurs and their startup businesses, changing the way companies are built and products are launched. The new approach relies on a scientific approach to creating and managing a successful startup in today’s tech savvy and innovative world. 

  1. The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman & Kaley Warner Klemp 

Are you ready to change your life? To become a happier and more focused you, to focus less on  drama and experience healthier relationships both personally and professionally? Leaders who practice the 15 commitments are able to find their unique genius and invite others to do the same. This book provides you with an inclusive road map to shift from fear-based to trust-based leadership. 

  1. It’s Your Ship by Michael Abrashoff

This New York Times bestselling book will guide you on how to successfully execute top-down change within your business or organization. Through the lessons of Captain Abrashoff you will first learn how to improve your own leadership skills before learning how to motivate and improve the performance of your employees. 

  1. If You Have To Cry, Go Outside by Kelly Cutrone

In this New York Times bestseller, get served brutally honest career advice and learn from the media maven Kelly Cutrone as dishes on her secrets to success while staying true to oneself. 

This is an older read that I found earlier in my career. I was surprised by Cutrone’s advice and how absolutely spot on she was. After watching her play the role of the evil boss on the Hills I realized what I disservice the show did to her character. Imagine what young women would have thought had they really understood that she was the kind of boss that was willing to go the extra mile to see her interns grow and succeed?

  1. Grit by Dr. Angela Duckworth

In this New York Times bestseller, explore the hypothesis on what drives success. From her field research to interviews of highly successful people, Dr. Duckworth uncovers that a unique combination of passion and long-term perseverance is what really drives success. If you’re not into reading or you just want a video to break up all of the books on this list check out Dr. Duckworth’s Ted Talk.

If you’re looking to build a culture

  1. Powerful by Patty McCord

From the former chief talent officer of Netflix, Patty McCord shares her tips and tricks for recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams. For those who want to do away with traditional HR tactics this book provides readers with an alternative path for creating a culture of honesty, high performance and profitability.

  1. Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Do you want to know the secret to being a good boss? The key is to care personally while you also challenge directly. Kim Scott, former executive at Google and Apple, shares her lessons and new approach to effective management. In addition to her wonderful book you can learn all about her concept of Radical Candor by watching her speak about it in a 20 or so minute video.

For Service Excellence

  1. Never Lose a Customer Again by Joey Coleman

Learn how to turn a one-time purchaser into a lifelong customer, the key is to focus on the first 100 days after the sale. Through Coleman’s methodology you will learn how to understand and anticipate the customers’ emotions to foster long lasting customer relationships, increase customer loyalty and the bottom line. 

  1. The New Gold Standard by Joseph Michelli 

Discover the secrets to immaculate customer service and hospitality through a behind the scenes look at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Learn about the key principles and advanced methods they have instilled to provide continuous superb customer experience unlike any other.

  1. Be Our Guest by Theodore Kinni

Learn how to perfect the art of customer service by taking a page out of the magical Disney playbook. In this book you will understand the key processes and best practices taught at the Disney institute and how you can adapt these findings to your organization.

For the aspiring sales pros

  1. The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon

Do you have what it takes to become a top performing seller? Instead of focusing your efforts on building relationships with the customers, try challenging them. In this book you will learn about the challenger approach, tailoring your sales message to the customers specific needs, to deliver consistent top tier performance. 

  1. The Challenger Customer by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon

The Challenger Customer offers a new approach to business-to-business selling. Instead of focusing on making connections with the client try challenging them. Sharing new research-based tools, Adamson and Dixon reveal how to recognize the “talkers” from the “mobilizers” in any company. Learn how to challenge the customer and push them out of their comfort zone and into success. 

  1. To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink

From bestselling author Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human explores the idea that everyone works in sales, not just salesmen or saleswomen, and offers a fresh new look at the art and science of selling. 

  1. The Storyteller’s Secret by Carmine Gallo

The brain is hardwired to love the art of storytelling. In The Storyteller’s Secret, Gallo reveals the key to telling a powerful story that will motivate, educate and change the lives of others. Read about the success stories of 50 iconic leaders and learn how a story is your most valuable asset. 

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