COO Forum's Must-Read Books

19.07.23 02:30 AM By Nicole

Books We Love! 

The COO Forum loves books! We're always reading books ourselves-and recommending them to other operations executives. That being said, we thought we'd start our own recommended book list. So far, the books range from self-improvement, culture, and leadership to strategy, innovation, and more! Don't see your favorite business book on the list? Make a suggestion and we can add it!

Journey Well, You Are More Than Enough
By Byron Edgington and Mariah Edgington
Journey Well, You Are More Than Enough: Mindset Matters is book number two in the Journey Well series of uplifting, affirmative, self-improvement books. Our mindset creates our reality. Our thoughts, and what we tell our subconscious, determine the quality of our lives, the goals we achieve, the happiness we have, and the way we live. As we write in this newest book, “Journey Well, You Are More Than Enough: Mindset Matters is dedicated to those who believe as we do, that there’s a better, brighter, gentler, and more compassionate world waiting for us all, and that world gets its genesis in our collective mindset, our thoughts.”

Rocket Fuel
By Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
Visionaries have groundbreaking ideas. Integrators make those ideas a reality. This explosive combination is the key to getting everything you want out of your business. It worked for Disney. It worked for McDonald’s. It worked for Ford. It can work for you.
Rocket Fuel details the integral roles of the Visionary and Integrator and explains how an effective relationship between the two can help your business thrive. Offering advice to help Visionary-minded and Integrator-minded individuals find one another, Rocket Fuel also features assessments so you’re able to determine whether you’re a Visionary or an Integrator.

Ignite. Engage. Retain.
By George C. Murray
Award-winning author George Murray asks leaders and business owners…if your company is struggling to find new employees, you are not alone. If you find new people, but they soon leave, usually for more money, you are not alone. If you are working hard to engage those who have worked for you for a while—-or are brand new—-this book has answers to help so you are successful. It's all related to the company's culture in how you Ignite, Engage, and Retain with both long-term and new employees. Make those people feel important and needed. Make your company a place "where you'd like to work" at all levels.

An Everyone Culture
By Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
In most organizations nearly everyone is doing a second job no one is paying them for—namely, covering their weaknesses, trying to look their best, and managing other people’s impressions of them. There may be no greater waste of a company’s resources. The ultimate cost: neither the organization nor its people are able to realize their full potential. What if a company did everything in its power to create a culture in which everyone—not just select “high potentials”—could overcome their own internal barriers to change and use errors and vulnerabilities as prime opportunities for personal and company growth?

Plan to Pivot
By Gerry Starsia
The speed of information flow, globalization, massive amounts of data, artificial intelligence, economic forces, and changing demographics are all factors that need attention and consideration as organizations decide what to do, how to do it, and when to stop doing what they are doing and pivot towards opportunities and success. By applying the principles of agile project management laid out in Plan to Pivot, organizations develop the muscle memory necessary to observe markets and consumer demands, connect deeply with customers, and bring products and services to consumers in order to deliver value more efficiently. 

Idea to Impact
By Igor Pistelak and Elizabeth Sale
Why do many transformations fail and only a few succeed? Because most companies focus purely on technology and completely forget about their people. It’s ironic that although we live in one of the most connected times ever, organizations today are probably the most disconnected they have ever been. Idea to Impact offers you a simple and accessible guide to the best transformation practices based on proven methods. It takes you through the steps of transformation DNA (Daily Needed Actions) and explains how work complexity and people morale interweave throughout the change process.

Beyond Disruption
By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
Disruption dominates innovation theory and practice. But disruption, for all its power, is destructive—displacing jobs, companies, and even entire industries. Are we missing an alternative approach to innovation and growth? Beyond Disruption redefines and expands the existing view of innovation by introducing a new approach, nondisruptive creation, that is free from the destructive displacement that happens when innovators set out to disrupt. Kim and Mauborgne reveal the distinct advantages of nondisruptive creation, showing how this new approach to innovation allows companies to grow while also being a force for good. 

Traversing the Traction Gap
By Bruce Cleveland and Wildcat Venture Partners
Vision, groundbreaking ideas, total commitment, and boundless enthusiasm characterize most startups, but they require capital to go from promising product to scalable business. More than 80 percent of all early-stage startups fail. Most of them can build a product, but the vast majority stumble when it comes time to take those products to market due to poor “market engineering” skills. Traversing the Traction Gap exposes the reasons behind that scary failure rate and provides a prescriptive how-to guide, focused specifically on market engineering techniques, so startups can succeed.

Trust & Inspire
By Stephen M. R. Covey, David Kasperson, McKinlee Covey, and Gary T. Judd
We have a leadership crisis today, where even though our world has changed drastically, our leadership style has not. Most organizations, teams, schools, and families today still operate from a model of “command and control", focusing on hierarchies and compliance from people. But because of the changing nature of the world, the workforce, work itself, and the choices we have for where and how to work and live, this way of leading is drastically outdated. Trust and Inspire calls for a radical shift in the way we lead in the 21st century, and Covey shows us how.

Dare to Lead
By Brene Brown
 Daring leadership in a culture defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human. The irony is that we’re choosing not to invest in developing the hearts and minds of leaders at the exact same time as we’re scrambling to figure out what we have to offer that machines and AI can’t do better and faster. What can we do better? Empathy, connection, and courage, to start.

Riding Shotgun: The Role of the COO
By Nate Bennett and Stephen Miles

The role of Chief Operating Officer is clearly important. In fact, it's arguable that the number two position is the toughest job in a company. COOs play a critical part in executing the strategies developed by top management. And, in many cases, they are being groomed—or test-driven—as the firm's CEO-elect. Riding Shotgun provides unique insight into this little-understood role. The authors develop a framework that illustrates who the COO is, why a company should create this position, and what the challenges associated with this job entail. Drawing heavily on first-person accounts from top executives, the authors offer a set of strategies to inform individuals who aspire to serve as COO.

The Compound Effect
By Darren Hardy

Do you want success? More success than you have now? And even more success than you ever imagined possible? That is what this book is about. Achieving it. No gimmicks. No hyperbole. Finally, just the truth on what it takes to earn success. As the central curator of the success media industry for over 25 years, author Darren Hardy has heard it all, seen it all, and tried most of it. This book reveals the core principles that drive success. The Compound Effect contains the essence of what every superachiever needs to know, practice, and master to obtain extraordinary success. 

Be a Better Team by Friday
By Justin Follin

As your company’s growth accelerates, the heat turns up, and teams break down. It gets harder to work together when things get tough. This book reveals the surprisingly simple skills required to get your team to the top. Fast. Learn proven strategies to inspire your teams to think bigger, communicate better, collaborate more effectively, and achieve your most ambitious goals. This isn’t just theory. The seven proven practices detailed inside are actionable tactics focused on getting remarkable results while improving morale.

From Impossible to Inevitable
By Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin

Why are you struggling to grow your business when everyone else seems to be crushing their goals? If you needed to triple revenue within the next three years, would you know exactly how to do it? Doubling the size of your business, tripling it, even growing ten times larger isn't about magic. It's not about privileges, luck, or working harder. There's a template that the world's fastest growing companies follow to achieve and sustain much, much faster growth. Whether you have a $1 billion or a $100,000 business, you can use the same insights to learn what it really takes to break your own revenue records.

By Greg McKeown

Essentialism is more than a time-management strategy or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter. By forcing us to apply more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy—instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.

What to Say When You Talk to Yourself
By Shad Helmstetter

The international self-talk best-seller. Each of us is programmed from birth on. And as much as 75% or more of our programming may be negative or working against us. In this newly updated and revised eBook edition, Shad Helmstetter shows the reader how to erase and replace past mental programs with healthy, new programs that can be positively life-changing. Considered by many to be one of the most important and helpful personal growth books ever written.

The 6 Types of Working Genius
By Patrick M. Lencioni

Beyond the personal discovery and instant relief that Working Genius provides, the model also gives teams a remarkably simple and practical framework for tapping into one another’s natural gifts, which increases productivity and reduces unnecessary judgment. What sets this book—and the model behind it—apart from other tools and assessments is the speed at which it can be understood and applied, and the relevance it has to every kind of work in life, from running a company to launching a product, to managing a family.

The Culture Blueprint
By Robert Richman

The Culture Blueprint is a systematic guide to building a company culture. This book is about fostering committed, enthusiastic employees. Distilling his years of experience teaching culture-building to companies like Google, P&G and Amazon, Robert Richman says that, in order to thrive, companies must do more than satisfy their employees; they must create passionate ones. The Culture Blueprint will teach you how to develop a culture that does just that.    


Lead Yourself First
By Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin

Solitude is a state of mind, a space where you can focus on your own thoughts without distraction, with a power to bring mind and soul together in clear-eyed conviction. But these days, handheld devices and other media leave us awash with the thoughts of others. We are losing solitude without even realizing it. To find solitude today, a leader must make a conscious effort. This book explains why the effort is worthwhile and how to make it. Through gripping historical accounts and firsthand interviews with a wide range of contemporary leaders, Raymond Kethledge and Michael Erwin show how solitude can enhance clarity, spur creativity, sustain emotional balance, and generate the moral courage necessary to overcome adversity and criticism. 

Inside the Box
By Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg

The traditional attitude toward creativity in the American business world is to “think outside the box”—to brainstorm without restraint in hopes of coming up with a breakthrough idea, often in moments of crisis. Sometimes it works, but it’s a problem-specific solution that does nothing to engender creative thinking more generally. Inside the Box demonstrates Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT), which systemizes creativity as part of the corporate culture. This counterintuitive and powerfully effective approach to creativity requires thinking inside the box, working in one’s familiar world to create new ideas independent of specific problems.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
By Patrick Lencioni

Equal parts leadership fable and business handbook, this definitive source on teamwork by Patrick Lencioni reveals the five behavioral tendencies that go to the heart of why even the best teams struggle. He offers a powerful model and step-by-step guide for overcoming those dysfunctions and getting everyone rowing in the same direction.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Crossing the Chasm
By Geoffrey A. Moore

 In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey A. Moore shows that in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle there is a vast chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. While early adopters are willing to sacrifice for the advantage of being first, the early majority waits until they know that the technology actually offers improvements in productivity. The challenge for innovators and marketers is to narrow this chasm and ultimately accelerate adoption across every segment. This third edition brings Moore's classic work up to date with dozens of new examples of successes and failures, new strategies for marketing in the digital world, and Moore's most current insights and findings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

The Culture Code
By Daniel Coyle

 In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade, to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

A World Without Email
By Cal Newport

 We have become so used to an inbox-driven workday that it's hard to imagine alternatives. But they do exist. Cal Newport makes the case that our current approach to work is broken, then lays out a series of principles and concrete instructions for fixing it. In A World without Email, he argues for a workplace in which clear processes define how tasks are identified, assigned and reviewed. Each person works on fewer things (but does them better) and aggressive investment in support reduces the ever-increasing burden of administrative tasks. Above all else, important communication is streamlined and inboxes and chat channels are no longer central to how work unfolds.                                                                                                                                                                                              

By Gino Wickman

The Entrepreneurial Operating System® is a practical method for achieving the business success you have always envisioned. In Traction, you'll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You'll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone's Mind
By Jonah Berger

The Catalyst identifies the key barriers to change and how to mitigate them. You’ll learn how catalysts change minds in the toughest of situations: how hostage negotiators get people to come out with their hands up and how marketers get new products to catch on, how leaders transform organizational culture and how activists ignite social movements. This book is designed for anyone who wants to catalyze change. It provides a powerful way of thinking and a range of techniques that can lead to extraordinary results. Whether you’re trying to change one person, transform an organization, or shift the way an entire industry does business, this book will teach you how to become a catalyst.                                                                                                                                                                                                 

By Seth Godin

It's human nature to seek out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads).  Now the internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. Social media gives anyone who wants to make a difference the tools to do so. With his signature wit and storytelling flair, Godin presents the three steps to building a tribe: the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.