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- The COVID-19 pandemic has forced firms all around the world to shut down their offices and work from home – with many wondering what the future holds.
- Perlego – the “Spotify for textbooks” – analyzed data from more than 600 of its C-suite customers to find out what business leaders were reading in these strange times.
- Standouts include books by Nike cofounder Phil Knight, Nobel Prize winner Jean Tirole and tech investor Ben Horowitz.
- Perlego CEO Gauthier Van Malderen said senior execs were using their time in isolation to learn the “crucial skills” needed for businesses to survive.
- Click here for more BI Prime stories.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses all around the world to shut down their offices and tell employees to work from home.
Amazon, Facebook, and Google are just a few of the biggest companies close down offices their offices all around the world, forcing senior executives to strategize the future of their firms while relying on video-calls and text messages.
Perlego – an online library startup dubbed the “Spotify of textbooks”– has analyzed the most popular books ordered by more than 600 C-suite executives using its platform.
Titles include bestsellers by the likes of Nike cofounder Phil Knight, Nobel Prize-winning economist Jean Tirole and Ben Horowitz, one of the best-known investors in Silicon Valley.
“Many CEOs, executives and other managers are using our platform to access a great source of new information,” said CEO Gauthier Van Malderen.
“They’re reading books on leading in times of crisis, dealing with stress, engaging a remote workforce, preparing for a post-COVID world and many more topics.”
We broke down the top 20 most popular books among C-suite execs stuck in isolation:
20. “Adaptability” by Max McKeown
Outlining his top tips for business leaders, Max McKeown explores how you can increase the adaptability of your organization to create winning positions.
“Adaptability” is filled with fascinating real-world examples from business, government, military, and sport to bring these concepts to life.
19. “Resilient Organizations” by Erica Seville
In “Resilient Organizations”, author Dr Erica Seville poses the question: “Do we need to wait until a crisis strikes to see how resilient an organization is?”
Founder of the Resilient Organizations research programme, Dr Seville provides readers with the essential knowledge needed to allow businesses to thrive in the toughest of circumstances.
18. “Managing International Business in China” by Xiaowen Tian
Managing international business in a transitioning economy like China’s is a daunting challenge, especially amid a global pandemic.
In this widely circulated textbook, Xiaowen Tian presents a practical walk through the managerial issues foreign investors face in the Chinese market.
17. “Strategic Risk Management” by Paul C. Godfrey, Emanuel Lauria, John Bugalla and Kristina Narvaez
One of the newest on our list, “Strategic Risk Management” promises a “new approach”, enabling executives to think systematically and strategically and deal proactively with threats to their ventures.
Godfrey and Lauria’s “SRM” techniques outline how business leaders can use knowledge, principles, structures and tools to integrate future-facing programs.
16. “Hardiness” by Steven J. Stein and Paul T. Bartone
Published in December, “Hardiness” is the latest book from clinical psychologist Steven J. Stein and research fellow Paul T. Bartone.
The book uses case studies – including artists, athletes, first responders and soldiers – to demonstrate what they call “the three Cs” of hardiness in action: control, commitment and challenge.
15. “Data Driven Business Transformation” by Peter Jackson and Caroline Carruthers
The digital revolution has left many business leaders scrambling to keep up with the times.
In “Data Driven Business Transformation”, authors Peter Jackson and Caroline Carruthers explain how you can: create a data-enabled business model, use data to improve your own business methods, and keep employees onside all the way.
14. “That Doesn’t Work Anymore” by Robert S. Kricheff
Described as a “valuable tool for understanding how the world is changing”, Robert S. Kricheff, a global strategist at Shenkman Capital, offers readers a scintillating combination of research and real-life anecdotes.
In “That Doesn’t Work Anymore”, he argues that concepts like GDP, inflation, business cycles and supply chains have been radically altered by technology – and offers ideas on how executives can keep pace.
13. “The Customer of the Future” by Blake Morgan
Blake Morgan is known as a “leader in customer experience”, and has worked with a number of major firms around the world, including Accenture, Adobe, Ericsson and Verizon.
“The Customer of the Future” details the 10 key ways emerging technologies like AI and analytics are changing the craft of strategy, and how they can be integrated to improve products and processes.
12. “On the Future” by Martin Rees
Described as a “remarkable book” by the Wall Street Journal, Martin Rees’ 2018 release dives into the future of everything: from biotechnology to robotics via artificial intelligence.
Filled with insights into cutting-edge science and technology, this book promises to captivate anyone who wants to understand the most pressing issues the human race faces.
11. “Advanced Brand Management” by Paul Temporal
Filled with more than 40 case studies, including everything from Nike and Facebook through to the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, Paul Temporal has written the go-to book on building strong brands.
Lessons include: how to use emotion to secure brand success, how to respond to brand challenges, how to create a total communications strategy, and how to track brand success.
10. “Managing Oneself” by Peter F. Drucker
Widely regarded as the “father of modern management”, Peter F. Drucker’s 2017 tome is just the latest in his back catalogue of 39 books on management.
A short but solid read, “Managing Oneself” promises to help employees at every level take control of their careers.
9. “Crisis Leadership” by Tim Johnson
From the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the oil disaster of Deepwater Horizon, to the global pandemic now gripping the world, corporations are coming to realize that the impossible can happen all too easily.
“Crisis Leadership” examines the challenges faced by leaders at each stage of the crisis “lifecycle,” from the instant they learn of the crisis, through to moments of critical decision-making and the final tumultuous days.
8. “The Science of Storytelling” by Will Storr
It appears business leaders are drawing on creatives to learn how to tell their own company’s stories.
In “The Science of Storytelling”, award-winning writer and acclaimed teacher of creative writing Will Storr applies dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to our myths and archetypes to show how we can write better stories.
From Greek drama through to Breaking Bad, Storr reveals just what it takes to make stories work.
7. “Uncertainty and Strategic Decision Making” by Kristian J. Sund, Robert J. Galavan and Anne S. Huff
Released in 2017, this book brings together best practices as outlined by three National University of Ireland business experts, working through ideas such as the role of intuition in decision making, managerial biases, and strategic change.
6. “Leadershift” by John C. Maxwell
Released just six months ago, “Leadershift” is the latest work by New York Times bestselling author John C. Maxwell.
In “Leadershift”, Maxwell helps leaders make the changes the current fast-paced environment demands, including continual learning, speed, the big picture and uncertainty.
5. “Algorithms to Live By” by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
Described as a “remarkable book” by Forbes, “Algorithms to Live By” asks the question: “What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime?”
Acclaimed author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths show how the algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others.
4. “Can You Hear Me?” by Nick Morgan
In Washington Post bestseller “Can You Hear Me?”, Nick Morgan explains why the quality of human connection we experience in many forms of virtual communication is so subpar.
Morgan outlines five big problems with communication in the virtual world–lack of feedback, lack of empathy, lack of control, lack of emotion, and lack of connection and commitment–sharply highlighting what is lost in our accelerating shift to a more virtual world.
3. “Economics for the Common Good” by Jean Tirole and Steven Rendall
After winning the Nobel Prize in Economics, Jean Tirole was forced to reflect on what it meant to be a public intellectual, and no longer an unknown professor in a classroom.
The result is Economics for the Common Good, a passionate manifesto for a world in which economics can help us improve the shared lot of societies and humanity as a whole.
2. “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight
In this New York Times bestseller, Nike cofounder Phil Knight reveals what it was like in the early days of his intrepid startup – and how it evolved into one of the world’s most iconic brands.
Bill Gates named “Shoe Dog” as one of his five favorite books of 2016, calling it “an amazing tale”. He said: “[It’s] a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like.”
1. “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz
Top of the list is “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”, the 2014 bestseller by one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, Ben Horowitz.
Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, Horowitz’s is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from his personal and often humbling experiences.