While it has been too many years to count since I have been in school, I believe that I am on a path of continuous and life-long learning. Every day I learn from members of my team, other folks in the industry, friends and family. And while I am starting to get into listening to podcasts and enjoying favorite blogs and online publications that I review, books remain a key source of both pleasure and instruction.
Over the years, I have found many books on leadership and management instrumental in helping me solve problems, formulate strategies and think of new ways to approach my work. There are some books that I read once and apply what I have learned and others that I return to each year and read over and over again.
As the holidays draw near and you find yourself with a bit of extra downtime, try picking up a book from which you can learn a bit more about leadership and management applications. Here are some of my favorites:
- Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the GratefulDead: The Ten Most Innovative Lessons from a Long, Strange Trip by Barry Barnes - What can you learn about business from The Dead? For me, the key takeaway from this book is about the power of “strategic improvisation.” Strategic improvisation is the ability to adapt to changing times or forces effecting your business. Improvisation has become a key value at JMC and I believe our success over the last five years stems from our ability to embrace change and our willingness to not only adjust, but to capitalize on the new realities in our business.
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu - This is a book that I return to year after year. Just as some people have a favorite movie that they enjoy countless times, for me, The Art of War fills that space. Over the holiday season, when you have an afternoon with no other obligations, I encourage you to visit or revisit this classic. Two key leadership nuggets of the book for me are its lessons about the need for speed—reducing the time it takes to make decisions, developing new lines of service and responding to the customer—and the importance of personal accountability—expecting it in yourself and demanding it of others.
- Market-driven Health Care: Who Wins, Who Loses In theTransformation of America’s Largest Service Industry by Regina Herzlinger - Even though this book was first published 17 years ago, it remains as relevant as ever. For me, this book’s imprint is on all the work I have done at Jupiter over the last five years. Here, Regina Herlinger, a Harvard Business Professor, forecasts the changing climate of our industry and identifies key elements— building a strong team, investing wisely in technology and focusing on specific products and services—that can help lead to the providing of convenient, cost-effective healthcare.
- Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch - There are few business leaders who provide more no nonsense and insightful business and leadership advice than former GE Chairman Jack Welch. In the name of transparency, Jack is a friend of mine and a friend of the hospital, but I was a fan of Jack and his books long before I first met him. Of all Jack’s books, this one remains my favorite as it combines the fascinating story of his rise through GE with business successes and failures and lessons on the importance of striving for excellence. It is also as funny and candid as Jack is in person.
And so I hope you have a joyous and restful holiday season and are able to enjoy some quiet time with a good book. I am looking forward to doing just that.