I’ve got two libraries these days. My physical books are scattered across bookshelves in several parts of the house. My digital books (both text and audio) live on my devices and in the cloud. There are many books about business, of course. There are also books about many other things: history, biography, fiction, art, music, writing, speechmaking, and more.
When I was growing up, my parents helped build my library. I carried books in my seabag as a Marine. There have been bookshelves wherever I’ve lived. The question you may ask is, “Why?”
Why not “read ‘em and leave ‘em” like I do with the mysteries I read for fun? With apologies to Tennyson, all that I have read is part of me. My library allows me to refresh some of those parts.
I urge you to read books that help you grow. Read books that illuminate parts of your spirit. Read books that make you better. Read widely and deeply.
Use your library to collect the books that shaped you. Here are Art and my suggestions for creating a library of books that become part of you.
Wally kicks us off with his ideas on how to structure your professional development library Some basics, use some lists, listen to our podcast! (1:51)
Art highlights his angst over focusing your professional development library around “leadership” books and suggests you cast a wider net (3:00)
Wally offers his initial suggestions The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner; (3:50)
Art offers Call Sign Chaos by Jim Mattis and Bing West and Wally expresses regret in not beating me to this one. Wally highlights his appreciation of the book and particularly the reading list. (6:05)
Wally offers Mapping Innovation–A Playbook for Navigating in a Disrupting Age by Greg Satell as his innovation choice. (7:35) and Art counters with his innovation choice, Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley of IDEO fame.
Wally sends us down the Michael Porter rabbit hole. We both agree that we don’t value his writing…which is not a knock on this thinking or tools. (8:45)
Art offers up Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rummelt and Wally grudgingly admits that Art was right on this one. Wally: “Art likes books you can give a framework you can apply when you go back to the real world.” (10:00)
In a moment of weakness, Wally highlights that when Art recommends a book, “He’s usually right.” Music to my ears! (11:30)
Art loops back with a leadership suggestion: The Thoughtful Leader-A Model of Integrative Leadership by Jim Fisher (13:00) and then piles on some books about thinking: Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono and What’s Your Problem? by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg.
Wally highlights his strategy of only buying a book after it has been out there for six months as a quality control tool and encourages readers to look for the three-star reviews to get balanced perspectives (15:10)
Art prods Wally on the lack of history and biography selections on our starter selections. Wally pushes back. Art pushes forward with suggestions on Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill (17:30)
Wally offers some great books that include lists of books: 100 Best Business Books of All Time and Best Business Books Ever as tools to identify some starter selections. He throws in: The Leader’s Bookshelf by Admiral James Stavridis and R. Manning Ancell as a great idea prompter as well (19:20)
Art asks Wally why Peter Drucker’s The Effective Executive isn’t on his list (21:00)
Wally gives a shout-out to Michael McKinney’s great work highlighting and reviewing leadership classics (22:25)
Physical library versus digital library (including audible versions): pros and cons. And, we learn a great deal about Wally’s curious book buying, reading, and listening habits (23:30)
We cap off our guidance on starting your professional library. Wally: “Build your library intentionally and broaden your scope.” (27:45)
Note: All Amazon links for my recommendations are affiliate links. If you follow the links and purchase a book, I receive a tiny commission.