Top Takeaways From Our Favorite Books this Summer

As much as I love Labor Day and celebrating work by… not working, it also means that summer is officially over. The days at the beach, barbecuing in the backyard, and enjoying ice cream are limited (if not over) for most people.

It also means that our summer series is also over. If you’re not familiar, in our summer series, we picked three of our favorite books to help you lead change in your organization.

I’m a bookworm, and there’s one thing that I know – nearly all highly successful leaders are also avid readers. They all attribute their success to the knowledge they gained from reading, from Warren Buffett to Elon Musk, from Peter Thiel to Oprah. Simply put, books are the best way to develop your craft – anything from leadership to creativity to emotional intelligence.

The three books that we read for the series were:

  1. Turn The Ship Around by David Marquet
  2. The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett
  3. Dream Teams by Shane Snow

So, to wrap up the series, I want to share my top three takeaways from each book.

However, by no means should you take this post as a substitute for reading these amazing books. I’m just scratching the surface. I highly encourage you to go out and pick these books up immediately!

Turn the Ship Around: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by David Marquet

Imagine a workplace where everyone engages and contributes their full intellectual capacity, a place where people are healthier and happier because they have more control over their work, a place where everyone is a leader. That’s exactly what this book is about.

David Marquet, a Retired US Nuclear Submarine Captain, reveals his battle-tested plan for empowering people, creating technical competence, and gaining organizational clarity.

Top three takeaways:

  1. Control only works with a competent workforce that understands the organization’s purpose. As control is divested, both technical competence and organizational clarity need to be strengthened.
  2. Delegate down: Don’t move information to authority; move authority to the information. Not only will this create a more resilient, agile, and responsive organization, but it makes happier people too.
  3. Control, competence and clarity are essential for organizational excellence.
    1. Control: the decision-making authority that people have.
    2. Competence: how capable your team is with being able to do their work successfully/efficiently.
    3. Clarity: everyone throughout the organization understands what the organization is about and how their part of the project contributes to the whole.

Get the book.

View the replay and slides.

The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time by Allen Gannett

We have been spoon-fed the notion that creativity is the province of genius — of those brilliant few whose moments of insight arrive in flashes of divine inspiration. Either we have that gift, or we don’t.

Allen Gannett shows that simply isn’t true. He dispels the myths around creative genius and reveals the science behind achieving breakout success in any field

Top three takeaways:

  1. There’s a correlation between IQ and creativity. However, it stops once you get to a threshold of 104. Once you go beyond 104, the correlation between IQ and creativity goes away. In other words, if you have an IQ of 105 or 150, you have the same creative potential.
  2. Creative geniuses are constantly consuming content within their own niche. It’s not about learning a little about a lot of different things, it’s about learning a lot about one specific thing.
  3. Our brains balance risk and reward. People pursue the familiar because it makes us feel safe, but people also pursue novelty for a potential reward. In creative endeavors, make sure you have both elements of novelty and the familiar.

Get the book.

View the replay and slides.

Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart by Shane Snow

What are the secrets of the world’s most successful teams? Shane Snow, entrepreneur, award-winning journalist and Bestselling author will change the way we think about people, progress, and collaboration among teams.

This book is for anyone who aspires to be a leader, build a team or change history. Shane’s book is not a boring business book or case study about team-building exercises.

Top three takeaways:

  1. The idea of “culture fit” (i.e., similar interests, values, and ideas) if we want to have a great team often doesn’t work because this often causes blind spots in groups. You want a combination of people who are nice and care about each other, who don’t make things personal, but who are also different enough that their ideas and perspectives have conflict. They must be willing to engage in that conflict in a way that doesn’t get personal.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, the data tells us that two heads are always better than one. When you put a group of people together to brainstorm, they come up with fewer ideas of poorer quality than if each person were to brainstorm on their own. How do you overcome this? By using cognitive diversity (including people who have different ways of thinking, different viewpoints and different skill sets in a team or business group.).
  3. Creativity is not about just inventing things from nothing – it’s about making connections between things that haven’t been connected before. If you’re well-versed in different industries, then you have a bank of knowledge to connect dots and innovate.

Get the book.

View the replay and slides.

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I’m always looking for my next good read – What books did you read this summer?

Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger
Brandon Redlinger is the Head of Growth at Engagio, the Account-Based Marketing and Sales platform that enables teams to measure account engagement and orchestrate human connections at scale. He is passionate about the intersection between tech and psychology, especially as it applies to growing businesses. You can follow him on twitter @brandon_lee_09 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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