CEO Summer Reading List

America’s Bitter Pill
By Steven Brill
(Random House, 2015)
Steven Brill has looked at changes in the health care industry from several distinctly different angles: as an attorney, as a journalist and as a patient. In America’s Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, Brill’s readable narrative meticulously chronicles the creation of the Affordable Care Act and its implementation. Compelling personal stories, insider details, backroom wheeling and dealing, drama and intrigue — it’s all here for the political junkie. And there’s a twist. Shortly before Brill finished the book, he entered the hospital to undergo open-heart surgery. As the reporter became the patient, he found himself rethinking all he knew about health care policy, colored by his newfound view from a hospital gurney.

The Purpose Effect
By Dan Pontefract

(Elevate Publishing, 2016)
No, this isn’t the sequel to Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. But those who have read Warren’s best-seller may want to pick up this new release as well. Flat Army author Dan Pontefract defines purpose as the “why” in our lives: Why do we work? Why do we work where we work? Why do organizations work the way they do? The answers hold the key to purpose — personal and organizational, and our role in it all. Where those purposes overlap and align is what Pontefract calls “the sweet spot” — a place where we can find balance and meaning and joy. Through stories and case studies, Pontefract offers leaders and team members alike the tools to fill our work, our organizations and our lives with a sense of purpose.

Rise of the Robots
By Martin Ford
(Basic Books, 2015)
What hath technology wrought? There’s some bad news coming on that front, according to software developer Martin Ford. In his book, Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, Ford sounds a warning about the impact of technological progress on our economic security. He argues that America’s “economic Goldilocks period” has come to an end — the same smart machines that serve as tools to make our lives easier and our work more productive today could become the workers that eliminate our livelihoods tomorrow without so much as a by-your-leave. Filled with examples, Ford’s book plots a course for employers, scholars and policy-makers to address the implications of this digital revolution, but be forewarned: you may not like his solution.

The Storyteller’s Secret
By Carmine Gallo

(St. Martin’s Press, 2016)
Everyone has a story. How we tell that story determines our success. Communications author Carmine Gallo profiles a collection of more than 50 of the world’s most successful people — all gifted storytellers — and breaks down their techniques to offer tools that anyone can use to improve presentations, branding, sales pitches, product launches and other business communications. Every chapter starts with a story — Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Mark Burnett, Joel Osteen, Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai and others — followed by a list of storyteller tools and the chapter’s core lesson, the storyteller’s secret of success. This book is a good read for the mesmerizing stories alone, but the valuable lessons will help anyone transform their passion (what makes your heart sing, Jobs said) into a good story.

Tension: The Energy of Innovation
By Chris Wasden & Mitch Wasden

(Scipio Press, 2016)
Most people equate tension with stress — and who needs more stress? The Wasden brothers are big proponents of tension. University of Missouri Health Care CEO Mitch Wasden and his brother, University of Utah professor Chris Wasden, believe tension is what drives innovation in the business world. The tug-of-war between the status-quo collective and the enterprising individual forms a tightrope that nearly every CEO must walk — how to encourage the creative solutions of tomorrow while navigating the day-to-day challenges of running today’s business. Using a bicycle metaphor, the Wasdens provide the tools to create a dynamic balance between routine and creativity. It may be painful; it may be messy. Tension is an engaging mixture of anecdotes, research and practical advice to encourage the creative genius that resides in us all.

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