What We’re Reading: Winter–Spring 2021

What We’re Reading: Winter–Spring 2021

“I just sit in my office and read all day,” Warren Buffett said once. This is a bit of Buffett’s trademark modesty to be sure, but nevertheless, most of the best leaders of our time have also been avid readers. Business and leadership guides, business memoirs, popular history books—and even novels—often contain gems of insight that can transform the way a reader leads and lives. Here are some recent and forthcoming titles to check out.

From Cubicle to Cloud

How to Start and Scale a Virtual Professional Service Business

Jennifer Brazer

January 2021

Greenleaf Book Group Press

330 Pages

Whether you’re an accountant, attorney, designer, therapist, or provider of any other professional service, you’ll benefit from Jennifer Brazer’s guide to implementing a cloud-based business model. In From Cubicle to Cloud, Brazer shares the story of how she disrupted the world of client account services and created one of the first completely cloud-based accounting services in the country. She then offers entrepreneurs proven tools for building their own cloud-based business—and unlocking their true profit potential.

Strategic Impact

A Leader’s Three-Step Framework for the Customized Vital Strategic Plan

Carol Poore, PhD

January 2021

Fast Company Press

270 Pages

Strategic planning lies at the core of the CEO’s responsibilities. Dr. Carol Poore’s Strategic Impact offers CEOs a chance to upgrade and clarify how their organization does strategic planning, delivered in the form of a useful primer. Dr. Poore’s three-part framework—applicable to any organization, regardless of size, scale, or structure—simplifies the strategic planning process and ensures a clear, comprehensive, and customizable approach for you and your leadership team resulting in strategic goals being tracked, communicated, celebrated and implemented.

The Art of Selling Your Business

Winning Strategies & Secret Hacks for Exiting on Top

John Warrillow

January 2021

An Inc. Original

256 pages

This is the latest of three books by John Warrillow on building value in your business, with an eye toward a successful sale. Following Built to Sell and The Automatic Customer, The Art of Selling Your Business dives into the process of completing a transaction that earns maximum value for the business you built. The book is based on interviews Warrillow held on his podcast, Built to Sell Radio, with hundreds of successfully cashed-out founders, offering readers real-world advice from those who have been there.

Just Work

Get Sh*t Done, Fast and Fair

Kim Scott

March 2021

St. Martin’s Press

416 pages

Since it was published in 2017, Kim Scott’s Radical Candor has become a phenomenon. Supplemented by Scott’s experiences at Apple, Google, and other workplaces, that book showed how to excel at giving honest feedback and build trust with teams. With Just Work, Scott turns her attention to the topic of injustice and unfairness in the workplace, and what each of us can do to root it out. “Kim Scott provides actionable, effective ways for fighting discrimination and harassment with engagement, collaboration, and respect,” writes Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

The Conversation

How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations

Robert Livingston, PhD

February 2021


368 pages

In The Conversation, Harvard social psychologist Dr. Robert Livingston explores what individuals and organizations can do to address racial injustice—a topic that came into a bright spotlight in 2020. Centered around the questions of what racism is, why people should care, and what we can do about it, the book offers thoughtful guidance to leaders of all kinds. “Livingston speaks not only with authority but with a refreshing optimism” says David Gergen of the book.

The CEO Test

Master the Challenges That Make or Break All Leaders

Adam Bryant & Kevin Sharer

March 2021

Harvard Business Review Press

256 pages

Over his career, Adam Bryant has conducted hundreds of interviews with top CEOs for his “Corner Office” column in The New York Times. Now, he’s teamed up with Kevin Sharer, who led Amgen as president and then CEO for two decades, overseeing its growth from $1 billion in annual revenue to nearly $16 billion, to write a handbook on mastering the unique challenges of the CEO role. If you’re a CEO, you know some of those challenges, ranging from isolation to relentless competitive pressure to finding world-class employees. Bryant and Sharer offer stories and lessons from real-world CEOs, designed to help leaders of any kind pass the test of this high-pressure role.

Management as a Calling

Leading Business, Serving Society

Andrew J. Hoffman

March 2021

Stanford Business Books

192 pages

In this thought-provoking book, Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, asks readers to consider the role of business and management in modern society. How can business leaders expand their purpose beyond “creating shareholder value” to something more accurate, inspiring, and service-oriented? Harvard professor Rebecca Hernderson describes Managament as a Calling as a “passionate call for business leaders―and the business schools that teach them―to play a central role in healing the world.”

Everyday Business Storytelling

Create, Simplify, and Adapt a Visual Narrative for Any Audience

Janine Kurnoff  & Lee Lazarus

February 2021


288 pages

Human brains are wired for story, a fact that communications experts Janine Kurnoff and Lee Lazarus know well. They have helped brands like Facebook, Nestle, Marriott, T-Mobile, and Boston Scientific harness the power of story, and now they open their playbook to the general public in Everyday Business Storytelling. They not only “unfluff” business storytelling’s reputation, but also offer a clear framework and striking examples to help any leader create a culture of storytelling across the organization.

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