Back to School: End of Summer Reading … For Business

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What have you done this summer to improve your career? Planned to work harder? Longer? While you may complete more tasks, that won’t make you better. In place of more hard work, try reading—but not for pleasure.

Because the average adult reads just four books a year, and most of those are fiction, it’s up to you to step up and get your head back into business. So whether you've been completely submerged in A Game of Thrones or any of the Fifty Shades books, there is a whole other world out there of professional and business books that could benefit your financial career.

Check out the bestseller list or visit your library and immerse yourself in some professional development with business books—like these popular choices:

Smart Leaders

For those who are leaders at work, imagine harnessing all the energy and intelligence of the people around you. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter (by Liz Wiseman with Greg McKeown) can show you how.

Based on research from Stanford, Brigham Young and the University of Michigan that analyzed data from more than 150 leaders exploring crucial differences between the two types of leaderships (diminishers and multipliers), the authors demonstrate how to dramatically increase productivity by “multiplying” the intelligence of others in an ethical and human way. The five disciplines distinguishing multipliers from diminishers are based not on innate talent, but are skills and practices that even you can learn to use. In multipliers, you will observe through case studies and practical techniques, how the multiplier type amplifies the intelligence of others, creating collective, viral intelligence.

Habit Redux

Of course it is never easy to change, especially long-established habits. But in The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg takes a serious look at the science of habit formation and change, exploring how habits function. The author discusses how habits operate in the brain, how companies use the science of habit formation to study—and influence—what consumers buy.

The book confronts the root drivers of behavior, why humans are this way and how we can hope to change, both as individuals and as institutions, where even the most addicted alcoholics can become sober and the most dysfunctional companies can transform themselves.

Enough Already

Can we tell how much is enough? According to Robert Skidelsky and Edward Skidelsky, the authors of How Much is Enough? Money and the Good Life, after a certain level of development, research shows that wealth no longer affects happiness.

Drawing on philosophers, political theorists, writers and economists from Aristotle to Keynes, the father-son Skidelsky team has penned a timely and seductive call for a moral approach to economics. Citing a situation where “the poor work less than they want to, and the rich work more than they need to,” the book argues that economics is a moral science and shows how our lives over the last 50 years have wandered, and makes a plea for new thinking about what really matters in our lives and how to attain it.

As motivational speaker Charlie Jones said: “You will be the same in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read." So find a new title and start turning pages.

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