You see a lot of book lists floating around the interwebs. Many contain great recommendations of useful books for consulting firm leaders. However, the books on the list are largely not unexpected or trajectory shifting.
(I say that despite many lists highlighting one of my books, which is flattering, of course.)
Some of the most life-changing and business-changing books aren’t about business at all.
Isn’t that more interesting?
My team and I tossed around non-business books that absolutely transformed our business thinking.
After eliminating all the dessert cookbooks, we developed a shortlist, four of which are noted below. (The word clouds show readers’ tags and are courtesy of LibraryThing.com.)
What should the fifth book be? You tell us.
5 Unexpected Books Every Consultant Should Read
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish
The origins of Right-Side Up Thinking are in the pages of this classic parenting book.* I read it when I was a young manager and first-time parent. It forever changed how I viewed the world and profoundly affected the success of my consulting career.
No Contest: The Case Against Competition
by Alfie Kohn
Consulting firm leaders who work with our group know we strongly encourage partnerships. We believe every aspect of your consulting practice, including marketing, delivery and infrastructure, runs more effectively and efficiently when you view your consultancy as a series of partnerships. Much of that thinking was influenced by Kohn’s seminal book.
Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones
by James Clear
This well-known book verges on business-related; however, since the word cloud doesn’t show “Business” in a large size, we included it. Good habits affect every part of your life and your business, and Clear’s book contains so many useful tips and approaches, we felt it has to be on the list.
The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself and Win
By Maria Konnikova
A memoir that explores the relative importance of skills, expertise and human connection through the game of poker. You’ll find concepts in the book that translate directly to consulting, such as understanding your client’s context, emotions and decision-making processes. For those of us who lead with our deep expertise, Konnikova’s tale provides a counter-balance that significantly improves our consulting game.
What should the fifth book on this list be?
The rules for inclusion:
- The book is not about business or intended for a business audience (i.e., no books about sales, marketing, fundamentals of operations theory, etc.)
- The book must be commercially published (no self-published books).
(You can tell whether a book qualifies by searching for it on LibraryThing.com. They display a word cloud about the book’s tags, and if none of the large tags is “Business” the book qualifies!)
What non-business books have transformed your thinking?
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