Business travel can be busy. You’re on the go. You’re shuffling around town, hopping in and out of your 8th Uber. You can’t tell if it’s your phone ringing, your computer or tablet buzzing, or if you just reached the point where you’re “hearing things.” What was that sound? If you have some leisure time during your business travel, then there are few better things you can do than whip out one of those antiques we call books and start reading.
I know what you’ll say. “I can’t even find time to eat, you want me to read?”
Yes. That’s exactly right.
If your business travel is especially busy, then reading becomes even more valuable to you. What else can so readily help you decompress (and reduce stress), steady your mind (so it’s not flitting about in a hundred directions), and teach you something at the same time? That’s right, reading.
“Ok ok, fine. I’ll read something. But what should I read?”
Glad you asked. Before you pick up your banged-up copy of Twilight for the 22nd time (why do you have so many highlights?), take a look at this list of bestselling business books that will help you level up. These books offer timeless insights into the different aspects of life, business, and everything in between. We’re kicking it off with…
The Eagle & The Monk – 7 Principles of Successful Change (recommended by Carl, our Events Marketing Manager)
Change. It’s easy to talk about it. It’s easy to create a meme with a rousing expression like “be the change,” or “change yourself.” But when the platitudes wane, what are we really left with? The reality is that most of us dread change, even if we recognize its value. Why? We are in love our comfort zone. In the tiny kingdom that is our comfort zone, we are king—we rule. That’s what makes it comfortable.
The Eagle & The Monk helps you align with the rhythms and motions of change by placing change in its proper perspective. What’s more, the book gives you actionable principles for managing change and making it work FOR you. What makes this book especially good is its use of allegory and metaphor to convey powerful messages. This is not a standard business book, it’s a wisdom book whose seven principles counsel you to:
- Accept your worth, acknowledge others’ worth (you rock, others rock too)
- Generate trust (put ‘er there partner)
- Learn by empathy (walk a mile in other people’s shoes. Wait, whose shoes are these?)
- Embrace change (tap in to your inner hippy and just roll with it)
- Unleash the synergy (this sounds like a Tony Robbins seminar)
- Discover champions, depend on masters, find a sage (is this a Star Wars training course?)
- Liberate decision-making (make less decisions! Share the decision-making)
So what do an eagle and monk have in common? Read the book to find out.
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead (recommended by Ashley, our Director of Corporate Integration and Channel Development)
A lot of the accent of today’s conversation around women in the workplace owes a great deal to Sheryl Sandberg’s 2013 landmark book Lean In. In the book, Sandberg—an American technology executive and chief operating officer of Facebook—expands on issues ranging from leadership, feminism, personal and professional development, and the breakdown of antiquated social barriers. The book is largely aimed at professional women but is also recommended for men who want a more equal society.
One of the central arguments of the book is that there continue to be barriers (both internal and external) that prevent women from stepping into leadership roles at work. Examples of these barriers include:
Internal: internalizing traditional gender roles, internalizing systematic discrimination, fear, etc
External: work discrimination, harassment (sexual or otherwise), overt and oblique sexism, motherhood, being paid less, fewer promotions, etc
While the book was timely in its release, four years later, Sandberg argues that “in terms of women in leadership roles, we are not better off” (source: USA Today, March, 2017). The challenge remains, but Sandberg is hopeful and determined to charge ahead and dispel archaic beliefs and practices. What makes Lean In such a seminal book is that it has framed the context for a proper and sober conversation around equal opportunity, both socially and professionally. It offers a fresh and modern paradigm that includes more women in positions of leadership and influence. The assumption here is that a more equitable society will be a more prosperous society.
If you are an advocate for social and professional equality, this is the book to pick up for your next business trip. Go ahead, lean in.
Meditations (recommended by yours truly)
That thing. That problem. That challenge in front of you. That frustrating, exhausting, worrisome obstacle preventing you from doing what you want—what if it’s not as bad as you think?
In Meditations, Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius dispels the notion that our problems and distortions arise from external events. Indeed, Marcus Aurelius would be the first to admit that s**t happens. However, he does not see this as a problem at all. Instead, the problem arises and is born from our reaction to what happens in our external environment. This is the crux of Stoicism.
That meeting, that negative co-worker, that flailing relationship, that colossal debt, that accident, that failure, that mistake—those things cannot and should not touch you. As Aurelius puts it, “you don’t have to turn this into something. It doesn’t have to upset you.”
Meditations will help you understand that there is a space, a tiny space, in between what happens to us in our environment, and how we respond to what happens. It is in that space, that moment, that we have enormous power to choose. Do you have to let it upset you? Does reacting negatively help you or the situation? Are you free or are you a slave to external stimuli?
Cultivating the practice of staying in that space between endows you with greater emotional resiliency, mental strength, and that ever elusive panacea: peace of mind.
People have been reading Meditations for thousands of years. There’s a reason for that. Join the club. Or it’s off with yer head! (That was our best Roman emperor impersonation)
Tools of Titans: the Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers
Tim Ferriss, human guinea pig and famed author of the 4-Hour Workweek is back with his latest offering, Tools of Titans. The material for this book was sourced from Ferriss’ interviews with over 200 world-class performers. Many of these interviews can be heard on The Tim Ferriss Show, the first business podcast to reach 100 million downloads.
Notable guests include celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Foxx, icons of powerlifting, rock climbing, and gymnastics, distinguished Special Ops commanders, and black-market chemists.
Despite the length of the book, it is broken down into snackable chapters that distill the essence of luminaries like Seth Godin and Tony Robbins. More important than essence alone, Ferriss makes every possible effort to offer the reader actionable recommendations that can be implemented immediately. Indeed, this is the raison d’être for the book.
Ferriss admits that his “job is usually to deconstruct world-class performers from business, military, entertainment, politics, or athletics, and then to tease out the routines and habits you can use.”
All things considered, this is an instant classic, allowing you to peer into the habits and routines of the most wildly successful people on the planet, so you can steal their ideas learn from everything they do.
The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Live and Buy as They Do (recommended by Kendra, our Social Media Manager)
People are different. Every person thinks, feels, senses, perceives, reacts, behaves, and intuits differently. As the Beatles put it, “you say yes, I say no. You say stop, and I say go go go.” According to author Clotaire Rapaille, the answers are in the codes.
In The Culture Code, Rapaille—a cultural anthropologist and marketer—reveals the techniques he used to generate profitability for dozens of Fortune 100 companies like Chrysler and Procter & Gamble.
Rapaille’s innovative notion is that even as children we silently adopt a system of cultural codes that become embedded in our psyche. These codes, in turn, shape and channel our behavior, often without our own conscious awareness.
It gets really exciting when Rapaille decodes about a dozen cultural archetypes for us. He covers everything ranging from money, sex, (do I need to continue?), health, success, etc. The findings in this book will help you understand others better; or rather, it will help you to understand the codes operating within people, where they came from and how they manifest.
If you understood your customers, friends, or family better, do you think that you could generate more positive outcomes? Yeah, thought so. Go grab a copy. Read it. Then send us the cliff notes.
Author: Alfredo Lopez