Books for Leaders

What Management is: How it Works and Why it is Everyone’s Business

101I have read a lot of books on management theory but Magretta’s book is the one I most frequently recommend to new and experienced managers. As the former top editor for the Harvard Business Review, she has a wealth of insight to bring to the table.

In this book, Magretta presents a coherent look at general management which she describes as the genius in turning complexity and specialization into performance.


Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice

100Million Dollar Consulting was the first book I read when I started my own consulting practice years ago. And it is the one I still recommend to aspiring entrepreneurs today. Weiss continues to churn out great advice for consultants, with numerous books, newsletters and seminars.

Start by reading this book – it covers the basics of setting up and running a management consulting practice. Weiss outlines success tactics and strategies that cover landing new clients, setting fees, ongoing client communications, dealing with the financials and nurturing long-term client relationships.

My own copy of this book is tattered and worn from repeat readings.

Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used

99Block’s book is the primer for consultants. Written more than 30 years ago, it still serves as a practical and useful guidebook on the nuts and bolts of setting up a consulting business.

He covers the essentials of contracting, dealing with resistance, diagnosing problems and providing feedback to the client. The appendix is full of useful checklists.

This book is a definite required reading for the new consultant as well as a refresher for those of us who’ve been in business for a few years.

The Consultant’s Calling: Bringing Who You Are to What You Do, New and Revised

98This is a great book for anyone who is an independent consultant. Bellman shares his lifetime of consulting best practices.

His slant: consulting is a calling, a vocation, something you are drawn to as the best way to integrate your personal and professional lives.

Even though I’ve been in business for myself for more than a dozen years, I found a lot to learn (and laugh with) in this book.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

97“The “E” in The E-Myth refers to entrepreneur. This book is a classic, must-read for anyone starting up or running their own business. Gerber’s base premise is that there are three characters needed to create a successful business: the entrepreneur, the manager and the technician. We all excel in one of these roles but all three are needed to create a sustainable business enterprise.


Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest and Delight

91I can think of no better book to remedy life stress than Wayne Muller’s “Sabbath.” This is a quiet book, and Muller’s message is unhurried and subtle, as anyone who celebrates the Sabbath would expect.

Do read it thoughtfully, though, and challenge yourself with some of the practices that Muller outlines. When you do, I am confident you will slowly learn how to create rest in your life.


Total Leadership: Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life

96Review by Alice Waagen
Book by Stewart D. Friedman
Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press, 2008

Not another leadership book, right? I too have grown weary of “leadership” books, which these days seem to grow on trees. Friedman’s’ book Total Leadership, however, puts the all-powerful concept of work on equal footing with the other domains that are important in a person’s life: home, community and one’s private world. Plus, he explains that one can truly achieve a form of personal leadership that transcends the limited definition so often found in business books today.


UPSTARTS: How GenY Entrepreneurs are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways you can Profit from Their Success

77Review by Alice Waagen

Book by Donna Fenn

I find myself pretty skeptical these days that yet another business book can present new ideas that have not already been churned out by the prolific business press. It is a tribute to the quality of Donna Fenn’s book UPSTARTS on GenY entrepreneurs that I read it cover to cover, taking notes and sharing her ideas with others in my network.


Make Your Contacts Count

66By Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon

I read Make Your Contacts Count years ago when it first hit the bookstores. I would not be exaggerating to say it dramatically changed the way I approached networking. That’s because before I read Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon’s incredible book, I thought networking meant attending business functions for the sole purpose of distributing and collecting as many business cards as possible. I never knew what to do with the cards once I got back to the office, but I was exceedingly proud of the huge pile I had amassed.