A Rich and Varied Reading List

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is the slowest time of the year. Offices close. Folks jaunt down to warmer climes for a few days off while others opt to lay low and go for a digital detox. But it’s a small window and, let’s face it, more and more folks use the downtime during the holidays to play catch up and get their business ducks in a row for the new year.

With that in mind, we thought it would be useful to provide agency owners and C-suite executives with a reading list for 2017. The 10 titles below share common themes: how to sharpen your management and leadership skills, inspire your employees and grow the top and bottom lines. All of the titles are available via Amazon.

> “On Becoming a Leader,” by Warren Bennis. The author has some comforting advice for PR firm owners and C-level managers still looking to get their leadership groove on: Leaders are not born—they are made. Bennis tackles the qualities that define leadership, the people who embody it and the strategies that managers and owners can apply to achieve it.

> “Financial Intelligence: A Manager’s Guide to Knowing What the Numbers Really Mean,” by Karen Berman & Joe Knight (With John Case). A must-read for decision-makers, owners and managers who want to demystify the numbers and make them work more effectively. Originally published in 2006 and updated in 2013, the latest edition brings the numbers up to date and teaches the ABCs of financial management. “Financial Intelligence” not only shows you what the numbers mean, but why they matter.

> “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” by Travis Bradberry & Jean Graves. The term “emotional intelligence” (EQ) has been circulating for decades, but it’s only in recent years that it’s become a crucial piece of the corporate food chain. As time gets squeezed and tempers inevitably flare, managers increasingly have to tap into emotional intelligence to manage effectively and not let their emotions get the better of them.

> “The Ultimate PR Agency Financial Management Handbook: How to Manage By The Numbers for Breakthrough Profitability of 20% or Greater,” by Rick Gould, CPA. J.D. The just-released fourth edition focuses on a crucial lesson for PR firm owners: How to manage your firm “as if” you’re going to sell (even though you may not want to). In practical steps, Gould tells readers how to shift their mindset in order to boost profitability, enhance valuations and improve utilization, among many other areas.

> “Doing It The Right Way: 13 Crucial Steps For A Successful PR Agency Merger or Acquisition,” by Rick Gould, CPA. J.D.  As the PR M&A market continues to heat up, this book provides a comprehensive guide for the M&A process and how buyers and sellers prepare for an upcoming sale or merger. Released earlier this year, the “13 Crucial Steps” range from building value to understanding what buyers need to structuring the sale.

> “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable,” by Seth Godin. Another must-read classic from marketing guru, speaker and best-selling author Seth Godin. His thesis is simple (and makes perfect sense in a post-digital world): If your brand doesn’t stand out from the pack it’ll likely get buried. With case studies from top brands, including Apple and Starbucks. An indispensable tool for PR firm owners who want to be indispensable for their clients.

>  “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by  Patrick Lencioni. Staying with the team concept, even the best of teams have bad days and losing campaigns. Half the battle may be how to unite disparate people and ensure that everyone is working toward the greater good. Lencioni, the best-selling author of “The Five Temptations of a CEO,” provides actionable steps for how to overcome the dreaded five dysfunctions and build a cohesive (and sturdy) team.

> “The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It,” by Michael E. Gerber. This book is mission-critical for owners of boutiques and smaller firms struggling with taking the business to a higher and more profitable level. The books busts some of the myths associated with running a small business and takes the reader on what should be a positive trajectory: from giving life to a “new baby,” through adolescence growing pains to the mature entrepreneurial perspective to regularly minting your services.

> “Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life,” by Spencer Johnson. M.D. While the title may a little too on the nose, it’s a fitting book for the current PR age. These days, what’s wildly popular within the creative services field in March could be considered antiquated by September. Johnson employs a classic parable to show profound truths about dealing with major change in business and/or relationships. Hint: Don’t underestimate your attitude.

> “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie. Millennials might consider this a book initially chiseled in stone, but the lessons offered by Carnegie are downright timeless. Carnegie offers keys for achieving maximum potential in life as well as business, with easy-to-use lists focusing on six ways to make people like you and 12 ways to win people to your way of thinking, for example.

What do you think of our reading list? We’d love to hear from you.

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