Leaders are Readers | July Reading List

Here are three great books to read about timing (which really is everything), personal branding (which is also everything), and the secret to long-term success (also everything, kind of most of all).

You want new ideas. Good ideas. Things to ponder. And specifics to back it all up.

Well, that’s exactly what you are going to get from this group of book recommendations.

Two of these books are hot off the press and one is a classic (which I now know why is a classic).

Maybe one, two, or three of these will make good additions to your summer reading list.

dan pink whenWhen: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing is the latest book by Dan Pink, one of the best business book writers of our day, and it’s another gem.

Dan delves deep in to social science to uncover how timing impacts our productivity, thinking, and decision-making. The ideas are presented in his usual clear and engaging style with lots of practical examples.

The book will get you to re-think your day, realize its cadence and how to leverage it more effectively. We all have natural rhythms. We know this instinctively. But we often mis-use our timing more often than you might think.

This book will help you to understand exactly what’s going on and to make better use of your time with some surprisingly simple adjustments.

You will also find useful insights and tips for timing in a group or team setting. And as if that weren’t enough, Dan also includes a book within a book.

Each chapter is followed by a “Time Hacker’s Handbook” which gives specific exercises and tips to make use of the concepts covered.

When should you get this book? Now.

crushing itCrushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too is the latest offering from another great business mind of our day, Gary Vaynerchuck.

In this follow up to his earlier book, Crush It, Gary revisits the main themes that are key to success in the modern business world. Gary shows how to develop and leverage a personal brand for success in any kind of business using a variety of platforms.

This book contains lots of success stories from people who have been following his advice for years. They serve as good color commentary to the ideas in the book.

What I liked, though, was how Gary delved into detail on many platforms, from Facebook to Instagram to YouTube, in order to explain the basics of succeeding on each. He also provides overall strategies. But most importantly, he gives you real world advice.

There are no silver bullets, and Gary explains that you can use his advice but that you will only be specific if you have a serious level of commitment.

I listened to the audio book, which was fantastic. Because he did it himself. He’s not a great reader but he often goes off script to provide more up-to-date information, advice, or commentary. That was a lot of fun.

Even if you don’t intend to dominate social media or build a strong personal brand, you can gain a lot by getting a better understanding of what it takes to do that. You will also get a feel for how social media can be leveraged. But not just “social media is great” rhetoric. You will get detailed insights into a variety of platforms. That’s useful stuff to understand in today’s world, even if you’re not going to pursue it yourself.

And if you are thinking of leveraging new media platforms to strengthen your personal brand, then this book is a total “must read.”

the slight edgeThe Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness is a great book  to help you get better at anything and everything, little by little.

It brings home a clear message that slow and steady wins the race. That there is no such thing as an “overnight success” because any accomplishment is really the result of making lots and lots of small improvements.

This book provides a great deal of inspirational advice by looking at this idea from multiple angles. It has been a huge best-selling classic that I just got around to reading. It affirms a lot of my own thinking and experience in a very effective way.

This book is a great way to immerse yourself in the idea of incremental progress. Which may be very helpful to you because, as the book acknowledges, truly adoption this approach means embracing the idea as a personal philosophy. You’ve got to believe enough to stick with small changes long enough to see results. That’s what throws most people off track.

I found the book to be a great exploration of the topic with a good set of examples. It also includes some exercises that you can conduct for yourself to get you started on your own pursuit of the slight edge in your life.

What have you been reading? I’d love to hear your recommendations!