01 – February 10, 2019
First things first, thank you for your interest in reading content at CFO Bookshelf.
1. What I’ve Been Reading
- I’m about to wrap up A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Later this week, I’ll explain why financial leaders should be reading good literature. Also, I feel validated in my reasoning from Nucor’s prior and legendary CEO, Ken Iverson. And that leads to my next book.
- Plain Talk (by Iverson mentioned above) is outstanding. I prefer reading about leadership from CEOs. The risk is that you get leaders who pontificate. Instead, Iverson is humble. For now on, I’ll be recommending this book to all CEOs I work with.
- I do not follow that many people in Goodreads, but one person’s reviews I enjoy reading happened to have a book in his to-read list entitled How to Take Smart Notes by Ahrens. After reviewing the summary, I bought it immediately. I’ve only been reading about 1 chapter a day. Yet, it’s addicting. When I finish, I’m going to reread it in 2-3 sittings where I can spend more time figuring out how to apply his teachings in my note-taking process.
2. What I’ve Finished Reading
I’ll keep this short as I shared my January reading list in a blog post a couple weeks ago.
If you like memoirs that read almost like fiction, you’ll enjoy this one. As I was reading this, I couldn’t help but to think Molly could teach a class with Steve Blank and Eric Ries on business startups. Who would believe that running high-stakes poker games requires good marketing, sales processes, a great customer experience, and solid back-office procedures including collections. Oh yes, Molly’s games went viral. Everyone wanted in.
There’s also depth in this book such as family issues and complicated personal and professional relationships. Great book.
Also, I just wrapped up Flawless Execution by James Murphy. If you have taken the Kolbe A Index™ and have that Follow Thru instinct, you’ll probably enjoy this book. Or if you’re an operations-centric financial leader, you’ll gain a new perspective on projects from start to finish.
I use AARs (After Action Reviews) throughout my client work. Murphy’s company Afterburner teaches the STEALTH™ process which is similar, but more complete than AARs. Huge thumbs up on the book. I’ll be reviewing it this week on the blog.
3. What I’m Starting This Week
I’m a little intimidated by the thickness of the book, but The Power Broker has been on my wishlist since 2016. No more excuses. I start tomorrow. I anticipate it will take me two weeks to get through it.
If you are unfamiliar with the title as I was a couple years earlier, it’s by Robert Caro who is known as a great historian and his books on President Lyndon Johnson. Power Broker is about New York’s Robert Moses, a polarizing business person who helped to shape his city’s infrastructure and urban development. I’ve been finding this book on many business to-read lists. I’ll soon find out if it’s worthy of the critical acclaim by other bloggers.
4. What I’m Writing
My favorite post this past week was Books Published the Year You Were Born. I recently stumbled across the filter in Goodreads showing books published by year. Immediately, I searched on the year I was born, the year I graduated from college (the second time), and the years while I was working at KPMG. I think you’ll find this process fascinating. Look for the best business books on those lists. I think you’ll be surprised.
5. What I’m Reading Beyond Books
I work with numerous sales teams where the focus is making the sales funnel more efficient, more effective. But is that where growth comes from?
When time permits, bookmark this article to read which is about growth loops. The concept reminds me a little of Peter Senge’s book, The Fifth Discipline where the author’s focus is on systems thinking. Growth Loops are the New Funnels is a blog post you will not read just once. You’ll want to go back and reread, then think how your company’s sales growth fits into this framework.
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Take care and have a great week. Always keep learning.