Does a leader’s character really contribute to the organization’s bottom line, or are strong business results simply a reflection of a solid business model and positive macroeconomic forces? That is one of the questions asked by Fred Kiel in his bookReturn on Character: The Real Reason Leaders and Their Companies Win. The findings of the book are based on a large number of surveys of employees of substantial organizations, concerning their leaders, as well as interviews with the leaders themselves, and also financial information relating to those organizations.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

The U.S. economy is increasingly run by a “visible hand” instead of Adam Smith’s “invisible hand.” Large sectors of the economy are guided by a few powerful companies. The question is whether the visible hand runs these sectors with Smith’s “enlightened self-interest” or with just “self-interest”, according to Philip Kotler in his book Confronting Capitalism: Real Solutions for a Troubled Economic System.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Brands operate in sectors, and each sector is a separate playing field, according to Kartikeya Kompella in his book The Brand Challenge: Adapting Branding to Sectorial Imperatives. So, instead of trying to write a book on branding principles which are applicable to all industries, he assembled contributions from experts in a number of different sectors, to explain how branding in their sectors works.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

The most important thing in launching a crowd funding project  is to plan your pre-launch preparation properly, according to Johnathan Leow in his book Crowd Funding Checklist: The 90 Day Action Plan for Turning Your Idea Into a Best-Selling Kickstarter Launch. You will have to do many things, such as crafting your product message, setting up the campaign page, and building a base of interested audience prior to launch.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Digital tools allow digital disruptors to come at you from all directions—and from all ages, backgrounds, and nationalities; your competitors probably won’t come from within your industry—they could come from any industry, or from one that doesn’t exist yet, according to James McQuivey in his book Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation. Equipped with a better mindset and better tools, thousands of these disruptors are ready to do better whatever it is that your company does.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Never before have so many people had access, through mobile, social and digital technology, to so much data, knowledge and collective brainpower; this connectedness gives us power to solve big problems, turn dreams into realities, create amazing products, upgrade survival to prosperity, change social policy, discover life-saving medical cures and much, much more, according to Erica Dhawan and Saj-Nicole Joni in their book Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Where do the most compelling strategy presentations come from? The answer, of course, is from top tier management consulting firms, according to Dave McKinsey in his book Strategic Storytelling: How to Create Persuasive Business Presentations. So the author uses slide decks prepared by McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group and Accenture to demonstrate his principles, bearing in mind that strategic storytelling is mostly about what you do before you actually speak to a group.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.

Leadership can be dangerous; we who are in leadership can, on one hand, move men, women, and mountains for tremendous good; on the other hand, we hold the power to do irreparable damage to our followers by the mistakes we make, according to Hans Finzel in his book The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make. While much of the content is applicable in any leadership context, the book is primarily directed towards leaders of Christian organisations.

The author explains that the average leader faces at least five problems in learning to lead:

  • Today’s leaders replicate the poor leadership habits they have observed in others.
  • Today’s leaders often lack basic skills for common leadership demands.
  • Today’s leaders lack good models and mentoring.
  • Today’s leaders lack formal training in leadership.
  • Today’s Christian leaders suffer confusion over the conflict between secular and biblical leadership values.

Specific issues covered in the book include autocratic leadership, prioritizing tasks ahead of people, the importance of affirmation, recognizing useful mavericks, consultative decision making, delegating without micromanaging, clear communication, interpreting corporate culture, succession planning, and maintaining a future-focus.

There is room for argument about which leadership failings should make the top ten, but in my opinion this book provides a useful overview of a number of issues which are of great importance to leaders.

Leaders who have lofty dreams that influence the world also have feet of clay. That is one of the interesting conclusions drawn by Elmer Towns in his book The Ten Most Influential Churches of the Past Century. The book looks at 10 of the most significant trends in Protestant Christianity in the past 100 years and examines 10 churches which have been at the forefront of those trends. Just like the leaders of those churches, each of the trends seems to have its strengths and its flaws.

The book starts with the Azusa Street Revival and the spread of Pentecostalism, then moves on to discuss the Chinese house church movement, the Civil Rights movement, the Yoido Full Gospel Church, the Sunday School movement, the Bible-expositional preaching movement, seeker-model churches, Baby Boomer churches, Praise-Worship churches, and media-and-marketing outreach churches.

Lessons about the church which the author draws from his study of these influential churches include:

  • God is not impressed with denominational labels or systems of theology
  • God understands culture and expects us to live our faith in the culture in which we find ourselves
  • Churches have life cycles like all other living, organic things

It is easy for a church leader to develop firm convictions about the one correct way to run a church. This book helps to challenge such convictions by showing many different ways in which churches have been “successful”, but also by shining a light on the flaws in those churches and in the characters of their leaders.

As an entrepreneur, you need to accept that speed to market is the new normal, and that fast just means faster, to take advantage of the opportunities that are seemingly nowhere and then everywhere, according to Bernhard Schroeder in his book Fail Fast or Win Big. The book aims to explain how you can move faster, how you can learn whether you actually have something which could grow into a substantial company, or how you can evolve, pivot, or abandon the idea.

My full review of the book is available at my business book reviews website.